According to our mothers, Oprah, and What Not to Wear, the right bra is essential to looking & feeling our best. I happen to agree. From personal experience, of course I’ve seen the difference a good bra or THE RIGHT BRA can make underneath my outfits, but I’ve also seen it on other people. The next time you’re people-watching, pay attention to outfits and see if you can tell who’s wearing the right bra and who’s not; you’ll be able to tell. And don’t forget about underwear – although I think that point has been belabored: we know we should wear thongs to avoid pantylines, and ALWAYS wear nude under white pants.
Anyway, I know how difficult it is to find the perfect bra, and everyone has personal preferences, but I made some really fabulous purchases recently, and hopefully they’ll help you get a little closer to finding your perfect bra.
This is my FAVORITE bra right now. It is by Natori and it’s so soft and molds perfectly to my b-cups (which is not easy to do) without any gapeing or holes anywhere. I also love that it’s lower cut and has that clear plastic band which makes it nearly invisible under low v-neck tee shirts. Just to go backwards a little bit, I have tried and owned so many different bras and only now do I feel like I have a good bra wardrobe. I have in the past only worn Wacoal bras, but have also owned LeMystere (the t-shirt bra that Oprah made famous), Cosabella, and Gap Body. I’ve tossed most of those, and now have four bras in my day-wear rotation – all underwire, and thick for ‘privacy’ – and a couple of un-lined, non-underwire bras for hanging out in the park or taking a walk. For everyday wear, I need an underwire and a little padding because my top is so much smaller than my ‘bottom’; perking ‘the girls’ up a little bit helps to make my body more proportional.
Three of my bras are nude and one black. Nude is just so easy, you don’t have to think about what you will wear on top when you put it on. My black bra is the Natori Demi Bra with lace trim and I honestly haven’t worn it since I bought it a month ago becuase I’m wearing more light tops than dark. I love this one because it’s a demi – meaning that it gives me a little push-up and there’s absolutely no problem fitting my small b-cups. It’s incredibly soft and the lace trim is so sexy. The straps are set further apart so it is nice with boatneck or scoopneck tops, as well as v-necks.
My next favorite bra is the OnGossasmer Bump it up. It honestly does what it says it’s going to do, which is bump up your cup size and create a little cleavage. It does give me a little cleavage, but only a little because it’s just not possible for me to have much more. It’s an extremely comfortable bra and also low enough to wear with deep v-neck tees. A trick the SA at Nordstrom told me about: you can twist the bra again for even more ‘bumping’ action. I’ve tried it…now there’s the cleavage!
A note about size. I may have been measured for a bra many many years ago, but it had been a while, so while shopping one day, I decided to give it a try at Nordstrom. The first time was a little off, I ended up going home with three bras that were too big becuase she sized me too big, and I was in a hurry. So I brought those back and got a different fit expert. She was great, and encouraged me to try more brands than just Wacoal and brought me a HUGE selection of bras in my size to try on. It took me a good hour to try everything on and then narrow my selection down to just three, but I did it, and I couldn’t be happier. When you do go bra shopping, especially if you need a new bra wardrobe like I did, expect to spend a while trying everything on, and if you have any tops or dresses that provide a ‘challenge’ in terms of finding a bra to wear with them, bring them to put on over the bras. That’s the only way you’ll find your perfect bra.
Bras alone do not a foundation make, so a quick word about panties. Most women seem to have a love/hate relationship with thongs, but they’re a necessary evil. And they’re really not that evil once you try on a few pairs and find the ones you like the best. My favorite are the OnGossamer Hip-G’s becuase they’re low rise and incredibly comfortable – I have about 10 pairs. But for days I don’t feel like wearing a thong, I LOVE my Hanky Panky Boyshorts. They do not create a pantyline, making them a great alternative to thongs if you really can’t do them, they fit wonderfully, and they’re very comfortable.
Last but certainly not least…let’s talk shapewear. I live in skirts and dresses during the warmer months, so good shapewear is essential to creating a smooth line. I know that Spanx now are synonymous with shapewear, no matter what the brand, but I prefer the Wacoal Smoothline Shorts to Spanx any day. The Wacoal shorts are lower cut than Spanx so they don’t cut into my waist, and they NEVER ride up on my thighs like Spanx do. I have about four of these Wacoal shorts, three nude and one black. When I don’t need as much support, I wear a Spanx Half Slip. This is GREAT for pencil skirts because it really hugs the body, but it is not too tight to walk in. It does tend to ride up a little bit over time and especially after getting up and sitting down often, but it generally stays put pretty well. I don’t find either of these to be too hot or too restrictive for the Summer heat, and anyway, I would take the tradoff because I love the way they smooth out and help accentuate my curves.
Most all of my new purchases can be found at Bare Necessities, and some at Nordstrom. Take the time to really evaluate your wardrobe, both underneath and on top, for what looks best on you and what makes you feel the best. That’s what it’s all about, and sometimes a good bra is enough to transform your outfit and your mood.