Linda shows Parents TV’s Anne Ebeling the best ways to manage the beach in full support and beauty.
BY: CARA BUCKLEY 2010
Whether they resemble Olive Oyl or Jessica Rabbit, women of all degrees of buxomness have found the right fit thanks to Linda Becker, a k a Linda the Bra Lady. Ms. Becker, 60 (“but I look like I’m 40”), started her first shop 23 years ago in Lafayette Hills, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, and opened a store in New York in 2005. She sells 200 sizes of bras at Linda’s Bra Salon, on Lexington Avenue, with a second shop scheduled to open in Murray Hill this fall.
The beginning: My children were in school, I was bored, I had to do something, and I read that women’s lingerie was the fastest-growing industry in the country for women. I thought, “That’s something I would have fun doing.” When I opened up the lingerie store, I thought I’d be selling robes and nightgowns and pretty slippers. Shortly after, the American Cancer Society asked would I go to school to learn to fit bras for prostheses and bras for mastectomies, because no one was doing it in my area. And I said sure.
Eye-opener: I took the course. It was a week long, and after that I realized I had the wrong bra on. I thought I was a 32B at the time. But I was really a 34A. And I realized everyone that walked into my store had the wrong size bra on, too. I thought: “This is more important than selling nightgowns. Everyone that’s coming in needs bras.” I tell you, that really opened my eyes.
Current bra size: 34F. Six years ago, the industry changed the sizes. If this was six years ago, I’d be a 36D. Twenty-three years ago, I weighed 102 pounds. Now I weigh 142 pounds. Some people gain a lot of weight in their breasts, which I do. All through life your breasts change. You work out, you have babies, you have a condition, you lose weight, you gain weight, you’re lifting weights, your back gets bigger. Sometimes you do none of these things and your breasts change. I always say breasts have a mind of their own. They’re like two bad kids. If you don’t control them, they’re out of control.
Why size matters: The wrong size bra is very uncomfortable. It’s the same as the wrong size shoes, and you know how much that hurts. Women are walking around every day in the wrong size bras, sometimes their entire life.
Ever tempted to stop women in badly fitting bras on the street? All the time. Sometimes it’s so bad I want to give them a bra. It’s so hard to look at.
Most popular size: An H cup.
Largest size sold: A 54N, on our online store.
Number of bras sold in a week: About 4,000.
Most expensive bra sold: $129.
Most inexpensive: $29. A lot of places have bras that start at $80, $90, $100. That eliminates a lot of women.
Bra school: I teach a class for my employees. It’s all about how you behave and talk to the customer. When you’re fitting women for bras, you see everything. I see women who’ve had reconstruction, who have no nipples,who’ve been treated for cancer or who have no breasts. Or who are very, very uneven. You have to be very conscious of being sensitive to the customer.
Size of shop: 370 square feet. It’s very, very small, with bras from the floor to the ceiling. We’re looking for a new space. It gets so busy we now have those round discs that restaurants give their customers, that buzz when it’s your turn.
Source: The New York Times
Knowing how to buy the right bra is only half the battle. It’s amazing how much abuse our bras go through. Here’s some advice on how to keep your bras (and you!) looking fantastic.
Before you Buy
After You Shop
Know When to Quit
Stay fabulous, ladies!
Think you’ve got the right bras for every outfit? Think again. Read on to learn about three new bra styles and what they can do to improve your wardrobe…and life!
A racerback bra has bra straps that meet in the back to form a Y shape. You may also see this type of bra referred to as a T-Back. I recommend having a racerback bra in your wardrobe if you wear tank tops or if you have difficulty with your bra straps falling down. Many women also find that this bra style has great lift and creates cleavage. Most racerback bras also have a front closure. Because you cannot adjust a front closure bra, you’ll need to make sure the band size is a perfect fit.
Try this style: The Wacoal Custom Contour T-Back Bra is a great T-shirt bra with racerback straps.
Bra Vocab! A convertible bra has straps that detach from the back of the bra. You can then rearrange the straps so that they cross in the back. Some convertible bras can also be worn as a halter, one strap, or low back bra. A convertible bra is a good investment if you need a special occasion bra because you can wear it as a regular bra later.
A longline bra is a bra with a wide waistband that goes down to your waist or hips. This not only helps lift the breasts, it also offers stomach support. Another advantage is that longline bras can be very low in the back without sacrificing support. While longline bras are often associated with bridal bras, they can also be great everyday bras for women who want tummy control or back support.
Try this style: For everyday posture support, try the very comfortable Elila Jacquard Soft Cup Posture Bra. Need a slimming longline bra for a special event? The smooth and seamless Le Mystere Bridal Bustier is your best bet.
Bra Vocab! A bustier is a decorative longline bra that ends at the waist and usually has push-up cups. A longer version of a bustier is called a basque. Don’t confuse a bustier or basque with a corset – which has much strong boning that is designed to reduce the waistline, and often does not cover the bust.
Many women are more comfortable sleeping with a little breast support, especially women who have large breasts, are pregnant, or are nursing. For nighttime support, I recommend wearing a bra that is designed to be comfortable for sleeping. A sleep bra is designed to support your breasts from the sides instead of the bottom, which offers more support when you are lying down. If the bra you are wearing to bed is not specifically designed for sleeping, make sure it is a non-underwire bra. Sports bras can be great for sleeping, but only if they are “low-impact.”
Try this style: The Marguerite Sleep Top is just right for sleeping, with no snaps, wires or hooks to wake you.
Don’t see the bra style that you’re interested in? Feel free to email me and my bra fitting team for more help and personal advice.
Semi-demi, merry widow, balconette… sometimes bra shopping can feel like a foreign language! Here’s my guide to some of the most popular types of bras.
Try this style: The Dream Tisha Lace Bra by Le Mystere is an updated version of one of our all time best-selling T-shirt bras
The Bra Vocab! A molded bra is a bra that has a thin foam lining to help it keep its shape. Many women think that a molded bra will make them look larger, but really it will lift the bust and create a rounder shape. A lined bra is a bra with an extra layer of fabric in the cup. This helps with shaping and prevents your nipples from showing.
Try this style: The Wacoal Minimizer Bra can make your bust look up to two cup sizes smaller.
Soft Cup Bra
Try this style: Wacoal Everyday Soft Cup Bra is a customer favorite thanks to its extremely comfortable fit and support.
Bra Vocab! A bralette is a simple soft cup bra with no padding or hooks. This is a very comfortable bra style that is popular for women with small cup sizes.
Demi Cup Bras
Bra Vocab! A balconette bra, or balcony bra, has a little more coverage than a demi cup bra. You’ll often see this description on full-figure bras that show a little cleavage! Like demi-cup bras, balcony bras are cut straight across rather than plunging in the center, which offers more support.
Have another question about bra shopping? Feel free to email me and my bra fitting team for help! You can also call my bra fitting hotline at 1-888-262-4887.
When is a D cup not a D cup? Bra Fitting Basics
32A, 40D, 34DDD, 38B … We all recognize a bra size when we see it. But do you know what these numbers and letters actually mean? You’d be surprised how many women don’t know the basics of bra fitting – and you may even be one of them!
What does Band Size Mean?
The number portion of your bra size is your band size. This number relates to your “underbust” – the spot right under your breasts where your bra band should lie. The wider this part of your body is, the higher your band size will be. Notice that your band size has nothing to do with how large your breasts are. It will correspond roughly to your weight or dress size.
The letter after your band size is your cup size. The cup size tells you the difference between the size of your breasts and the size of your ribcage. This brings me to a very important bra fitting tip: as the band size gets bigger, the cup gets bigger too. For example, a 36B bra has bigger cups than a 34B bra. If you go down to a smaller band size, your cup size has to go up if you want the same amount of space in the cup. So a 36B bra has the same size cup as a 34C bra.
With this in mind, don’t get too hung up on your cup size. Some women are shocked or upset when they find out they’re a AA or DD or G cup. In reality, the cup size is almost meaningless without the band size. Buy bras that make you look and feel great and don’t worry about the size on the tag. Nobody will know but you and me!
For more help determining the best bra size for you, visit my online Bra School or give us a call at 1-888-262-4887. We’re always happy to help.
At my New York bra store and in emails from customers, I hear a lot of women who are miserable in their bras – and some who think bras are supposed to be annoying and painful. That’s just not true! While every woman’s body is different, most of the bra complaints I hear fall into a few categories. Do any of these sound like you?
Bra Complaint #1
“I can never wear an underwire bra!”
Lots of women are convinced that an underwire bra is little more than a torture device. Really, an underwire bra should sit comfortably below your breast without poking and prodding. Most women who are uncomfortable in underwire bras are actually wearing the wrong size. Try our Soft Cup Bras section.
Bra Complaint #2
“I know I wear a size 36B (or 32A or 40D…) but bras never feel comfortable.”
Have you been infected with Bra Size Denial? Here are some common symptoms of BSD: wearing the same bra for years, saying you’ve always worn the same size, and suffering in uncomfortable bras. There’s no such thing as “your bra size.” As women, our bodies are constantly changing and our bra sizes change too. Remember to re-measure yourself every six months to make sure you’re still wearing the right size. Another important fact to remember is that every brand and style runs a little differently. How you look and feel in your bra is much more important than the number and letter on the tag. If you are uncomfortable in your bras, check out our Bra Problem Guide to figure out why.
Bra Complaint #3
“My boobs are just too big.”
News flash – there are millions of women who don’t fit in an A, B, C or D cup. So why does it seem to be impossible to find nice bras in bigger cup sizes? The simple answer is that many bra companies and retail stores don’t want to spend money on making more sizes available. Luckily, there are fantastic brands out there making bras all the way up to an O cup. Check out our Plus Size Bras page for dozens of bras in DD cups and up.
Have a different bra problem or need help finding the right size? My team of expert Bra Fitters is available to answer any questions you have. Simply respond to this email or call us at 1-888-262-4887 for more help.