Oh, this is going to just be my terribly misinformed misinformation on the subject. Yet maybe it will provide a laugh or two (or three or more). I could get something right by accident. As usual I’m just trying to help the just getting started crowd.
First of all my new girls, bras are not shaped the way you think they are in your head. You probably think that there’s this flat line along the bottom with the hooks at the back. You’d be wrong. Go pick one up and take a really good look. Notice the construction. You did pick a normal bra right? One someone would wear everyday?
Also, you probably think the girls are supposed to be aimed forward. Most of the time that isn’t quite true. Look at some anatomy books, you rib cage is not rectangular so the breasts are pointed somewhat off center.
I’m still trying to figure that out. You can spend anything from 2 for $20 at Target to $60 and more for brands like Natori. Are the expensive ones better? Is a $30 Bali better than a $10 Bali? I guess the answer probably depends on you, but I think the short answer is that cheap is not good.
A couple of anecdotes of experiences that are starting to educate me. I’m getting there. I had needed new bras after the BA surgery. I bought some from Hanes online. I’d class them as ok not fantastic. These were $20 a piece. I had gotten a less expensive bra from Costco that I used in recovery, it was fairly comfortable but I think it’s kind of shot – I’m reasonably sure I’ve thrown it away. (understand that after augmentation surgery I was concerned things could get messy and that an expensive bra could get ruined)
I more recently bought one from Jockey at their outlet store. Most of theirs list for $60, there was some deal for around $40. I find it pretty comfortable and it seems to be wearing pretty well.
I can’t say I have enough data to really make a recommendation but it really does look like (unsurprisingly) cheap is cheap and with more money you get better fabric, better elastic, less trouble with straps. Your milage may vary. Obviously it doesn’t pay to spend $60 on a bra if you’re still going through the early stages of HRT.
Why wear one?
If you have small breasts the answer might be don’t bother. Wear something more comfortable like a cami that will hide your nipples and call it a day. If you have much of any mass though, it can be very uncomfortable stepping hard or hitting a serious bump in the road without your breasts supported.
Almost every lingerie store and good department store will do bra fitting. It isn’t difficult or embarrassing. The statistics on how many women are wearing the wrong sized bra is insane. Do it! Tomorrow!
The front of the bra consists of two cups that cradle the breasts joined in the center by a gusset. The gusset is shaped a bit like a triangle or trapezoid. On nicer bras they’ll put a little non-functional decoration. Back when they’d put a little flower.
The construction of the cup depends on the kind of bra. Most of the ones I have are “wired” bras and they work better for me, but there are also those without. You’ll have to see what you like better. A “wire” in this context is often a piece of shaped plastic or metal that is encased in cloth. It serves as a cushioned but stiff lower edge to the cup. The cloth cup uses that as an anchor and the strap can then pull up to support the breast.
Without the wire, something similar must happen, but you may or may not like the results or how it feels. You might like it better.
The sides of the bra are elastic panels that go up toward the armpit. These vary quite a bit by brand and style. If you have a fair amount of extra, um, padding there let us say, there are bras that are meant to minimize the ensuing bulging or at least make it a little better.
The back of the bra is straight along the bottom. The top has curves on the outside of the straps to join to the panels for the sides. On the inside of the straps there are curves as well. This distributes the force from the strap across the band. Without that curve it would just pull up where the strap attaches, or you’d have to make it tighter to avoid that.
There are better places than here to research this! The basics are full coverage bras meant for everyday use. These come with a number of kinds of cups. Some cups are lined and some are not. T-shirt bras have a smooth outer surface to not show through a thin shirt and will also hide your nipples.
Padded and push up bras make more of what you have. They’re just like the everyday bras but have extra padding to move your breasts around and give you cleavage or add to the overall volume.
Front closing bras are another choice and make it easier to don and remove a bra.
Strapless bras are the answer for strapless dresses. They tend to be worn tighter since there are no straps to hold them up.
Sports bras are more intended for super support than fashion, but can be very comfortable.
Putting One On
I learned from my wife. She uses the upside down backward method. You place the bra around your waist with the band in front and the inside of the bra facing away from your body. Hook the hooks together, move the bra around your waist until the cups are in front and then pull it up and slip the straps in place (it really is easier than it sounds).
The other method is to put it on and hook the back in place. I’ve done this but find it a pain and very difficult to accomplish. I frankly have enough trouble taking it off.
You get home from work. Put you hands under the back of your blouse, unhook the band. Slip each strap out the armhole and over the hand on each side. Remove the bra from the front of the blouse. Voila! You’ve removed the bra without removing your shirt. Learned this from watching my wife too. She didn’t invent it.
Until you wear one everyday you just won’t understand why we swear at these garments. I’ve never felt some of the really uncomfortable feelings I get at the end of the day before but the bra is responsible. However, a good one makes it better.