Archive for the ‘Ask Linda’ Category

How Long Do Bras Really Last?

By Linda the Bra Lady on January 9th, 2012 in Ask Linda, Linda's Quick Tips

Many women come to my shop in a bra that is so “dead” that I tell her: “You’re not leaving here in that dead bra. Throw it away right here and now and wear a new bra home!” To me, it’s obvious when a bra has expired. Many women, however, don’t have a clue! They’re walking around in bras that should have been replaced months or even years ago and don’t even know it. There’s no point in keeping a dead bra. Your bra has a job to do, and once it’s dead, it can’t do it.

Many women ask me  “How long do bras really last?”. The answer: it depends. And it depends on quite a few factors. Just like “how often should I get refit“, I do not have a one part answer. And before you know how often you should replace your bras, it’s important to know for yourself what qualifies a bra as “dead”. So, here’s my very best advice on how long bras should last, how to help them last longer, and how to know when it’s time to say goodbye.

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The Secrets to Swimwear Shopping Success

By Linda the Bra Lady on December 8th, 2011 in Ask Linda, Linda's Quick Tips, Swimwear

So I’ve helped you find the perfect bra. Hurray! That’s what I do. But did you know that I also carry a wide range of bathing suit styles? Even at the beach, you need to be supported. Just because you are taking a vacation doesn’t mean that your breasts can. Besides, wearing a bathing suit it the closest that many of us come to wearing lingerie in public. In such a fragile situation more important than ever to wear the right garment so you can truly feel your best.

You may be thinking “why in the world is Linda writing about swimsuits in the winter?” First of all, I’m worldwide! So some of my friends on the other side of the equator are actually in the middle of Summer! And second, it’s much easier to feel confident when you go to the beach during the summer: you’re tan, you’ve been slurping fruit and playing outdoors. But, for those that want to indulge in a winter vacation, they’re dealing with pastey skin and a season of wolfing down gravy, eggnog and pie. In your weakest hour, I’m here to help!

Cup Size: Luckily, many of my favorite bra brands also make some of my favorite swimwear! Imagine if you’re a 34F or a 40D and you were asked to buy your bras in small, medium or large. I don’t think so! I carry swimsuits from AA-K cup. You read that right. Get the same support and shape you get from your bras in your swimsuit top. Remember, just like bras, styles and fit vary by brand and style. And just like a petite bust who wants a push up or demi cup, or a fuller bust who needs more coverage, the cup style matters too. Remember, you’ll get the best fit from a cup sized swimsuit top if you get fit or refit by a professional bra fitter, like me! Can’t make it into the store? Pay attention to my suggestions on each item’s Fitting Support, or ask my Bra Divas for help.

Band Size: Again, just like bras, your back band gives the most of your support! So many women tell me “I don’t want the back to dig in – everyone on the beach will see my back fat”. I have the same answer for women who complain about this and their bras: Get over it! A lifted bust will always help you look and feel your best, so without clothes to cover you up, it’s even more obvious if your bust is sliding down your front. Believe me, a lot less people look at the back of you. Focus on the front first!

Underwire vs. Non-Underwire: If you have been blessed with a perfectly perky bust, you can wear a little triangle bikini top or other non-underwire style. But, if your breasts need a bit more lift, try an underwire bathing suit top! Many women don’t associate an underwire with lounging around on the beach, but in the right size, you’ll actually feel more comfortable. Not to mention how supported and secure you’ll feel if you decide to pick up a game of volleyball, dive into the pool or chase after the kids! Just like in your basic bras, an underwire can add more support for those with more to support.

Swimwear for your shape and lifestyle: Women come in all different shapes and sizes and knowing what styles best compliment your own shape will make shopping so much easier. Take a look at a few options below.

  • Women with petite breasts who enjoy a fabulous push up bra or want to create a little more curve on the beach will love the Panache Atlantis line. Their suits are super stylish, but also have built in push ups! Another line, Voda, has string bikini styles with that extra bump. No one will have to know! It’s our little secret. And, because the padding is built in, you won’t have to  run the risk of finding floating push up pads in the pool.

 


  • Women with a full figure do not need to fear the beach. Picking a suit that helps you feel comfortable will also help you feel confident. First rule: wear a supportive top! Lifted breasts will always help you look taller and thinner whether in clothing or swimwear. A Gorgeous one piece like the Fantasie suit below flatters with it’s basic black torso. Also, the subtle print and twisted material emphasizes your best (and now perky) asset!

  • For those that have serious curves but still want to show it off, I love underwire bikini sets like this one from Panache. The underwire is so supportive and fits so well, you will never have to worry about a swimsuit malfunction while out and about. And sets likes these allow you to mix and match or choose the bottom that best flatters your hips. This boyshort style is a great mixture of coverage and cute, but you could also choose the bikini style or go with a great solid bottom!


  • For those who are very active, even supportive basic styles may not work. Trying a style like this new one piece from Freya will keep all parts of the swimsuit (and of the body) where they should be. I especially love the criss-cross back which acts as extra support. Don’t ruin your swimming experience by wearing a sports bra under your suit (this actually happens!). Wear a supportive and attractive sporty suit instead!

  • Pregnant women are some of the most beautiful women in the world to me, but they don’t always feel like it. It can be stressful to debut your new body at the public beach. Finding a suit that is both comfortable and flattering is the best way to feel fabulous while you wait for Junior to arrive. Whether it’s a one piece, tankini or bikini, finding a suit like this one from Anita and wearing the correct (often upgraded!) cup size is key to feeling great.


  • I’m proud to offer so many amazing mastectomy products in my new Murray Hill store and online! I was trained to fit bras by the American Cancer Society ages ago, and still believe that women who have gone through a mastectomy, lumpectomy or even reconstruction deserve bras and bathing suits just like any other woman. One of my favorite mastectomy brands, Anita, makes great one pieces and this fab tankini! See? Your options don’t have to dwindle after surgery!


These are just a few of my top tips for finding the right bathing suit. Knowing what size or style to wear can really make a difference in how you look and feel. Don’t hide under a floppy hat – flaunt what you have and be proud of what you’ve got!


PS: A special thanks to our current BFF, Tina, who inspired this blog post!


Stay fab!



 

 

Ask Linda: How Often Should I Get Refit?

By Linda the Bra Lady on November 3rd, 2011 in Ask Linda

Usually, in my “Ask Linda” posts, I will pluck an email or comment with a great question to share with my loyal readers. This time, I have to tell you… I couldn’t choose just one. This question gets asked almost every single day. I mean it. So, it’s about time that I answered it, huh? Today’s “Ask Linda” question is: How often should I get refit?

You’d think this would require a single sentence to answer, right? Not so fast. This is a complicated one and lots of myths are flying around out there. I’m determined to bust them!

Myth 1: “I’ve been a 34B my entire life!” Yeah, right! Women who come into my shop for the first time often say “I don’t need a fitting. I already know my size- I’ve been a 34B my entire life”. Sorry ladies, but it’s just not possible. You may have been wearing a 34B your whole life, but that doesn’t mean you should have. We are women, and our bodies change all of the time! And, even if your body has stayed about the same (lucky you!), bra manufacturers often change how they fit. Lots of things affect your bra size: pregnancy, menopause, weight gain and loss, illness, medications, hormonal shifts… the list is long! Believe me, there are so many reasons that your size can change. Keep reading!

Myth 2: My breasts won’t change that much during pregnancy. Here’s the truth – during pregnancy your entire body will change. Breasts are one part that will change drastically. Many women notice a big difference in their first few months! It’s not uncommon to change both back and cup sizes during pregnancy. And, of course, once you give birth and the milk engorges your breasts they will seem to change overnight! It’s so important to get refit while you are pregnant. I suggest getting a few “transition” bras when you first start to notice that you are outgrowing your bra. That means two or three good bras that can keep you supported until it’s time to get refit and get a brand new bra size. Believe it or not, you may have to do this a few times during pregnancy. If you plan on nursing, wait to buy nursing bras until about your 8th month of pregnancy. It’s easier to estimate what size bra you will need once you are ready to start breastfeeding.

Myth 3: After I’m done breastfeeding my breasts will go back to how they used to be before I had kids. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but this is not the case. Pregnancy takes a toll on delicate breast tissue. Nursing makes your breasts work even harder. It’s up to you if you want to nurse. But, either way, your breasts (and body!) have gone through a lot of changes, and will not be exactly the same as before. C’mon, you created a new human life! In the scheme of things, I’d say it’s worth it. And, a new body shape is even more reason to make sure you wear the right bra size.

Myth 4: It’s better to wait until I’ve lost the weight to get new bras. I hear this in the fitting room all the time! As adult women, it seems we’re almost always trying to lose that extra 15 pounds. But, if you’re not on a serious weight loss plan, be an adult and get real with yourself. Are you uncomfortable in your bras now? If so, then get new bras now! You don’t have to buy 20 or anything. Just don’t put things off until it’s too late. Get a few great bras to rotate and if you do lose the weight (good for you!) come in and get your new size! And if you don’t (just saying!), come get duplicates or more styles to add into your rotation. At least you were more comfortable during the weight loss process. And, here’s a great tip: If you’re uncomfortable with that extra 15 pounds and don’t feel like you look your best, a bad bra is only going to make it worse. Wearing the right bra size can even help you look slimmer! Don’t wait to lose the weight. Get fit now!

Myth 5: Holiday eating and stress won’t affect my bra size. We all love to indulge in our favorite holiday foods, but those extra calories can affect your bra size. Usually I suggest getting refit after you have gained or lost 10-15 pounds. If you are a very petite person, you should do so for every 5-10 pounds. Just like you may have those post-holiday jeans that are ::cough cough:: really worn in (read: one size bigger), you may need to see if you bra size has changed. The same goes for those who are sick or stressed and lose weight. Keep an eye on your weight. If you feel like your clothes are fitting differently than before the same may be true for your bra!

Myth 6: Once I’ve been fit, I know my size for good! Women are often surprised when they come back to my shop for a second visit and we ask them to take their top off for a fitting. “But I’ve already been here. I know my size now!” But, do you really?  It’s important for fitters to recheck your measurements and start fresh each time you try on bras. Remember, you may be in between sizes, some brands will fit differently, and your body may have changed! With all of the styles, brands and cuts out there, would you dare buy a new pair of jeans without trying them on and expect them to fit perfectly? Of course not! And, even if you want the same style you bought before, I always suggest to get refit about every 6 months to a year. Get a bra check up and have a professional make sure that your tried and true favorite is still the best size and style for you!

Fittings are key to finding your right bra size. And wearing the right bra size is key to feeling and looking your best. Don’t wait for the holiday season and its mayhem to arrive. You have parties to attend, family to impress, and new clothes to unwrap! Start the holidays right with new bras in the right size. Make an appointment today! Can’t make it into my stores for a check up? Try my Bra Calculator to get an idea of your current size.

Happy refitting!

 

 

“Ask Linda” – Nursing Bras, Beyond DD

By Linda the Bra Lady on November 4th, 2010 in Ask Linda, Bra Fitting

Hi Linda!

I am currently nursing and before I was pregnant my bra size was a 36F. Now after giving birth and 5 1/2 months of breastfeeding they are a 36 H/I but I still cant find a bra, nursing or not, that will hold me in. I went to a specialty store in the mall near me and after trying on 6 bras even the saleswoman told me there was nothing that could help me and wished me luck.

Do you have any suggestions for a nice bra that will lift me up, hold me in and still look pretty? I am 26 years old and am not interested in a “granny” bra.

Thanks for your help!
-L

Thank you for sending me your bra question!

In a strange twist of fate, it’s difficult to find nursing bras in larger cup sizes, even though nursing women have larger breasts! Luckily, there has been a growing movement not only to increase the size range of nursing bras, but to offer styles that are more fashionable. At this year’s lingerie trade show I saw new brands that are aimed at stylish moms, plus some “regular” bra companies expanding into nursing bras.

Panache Sophie Nursing Bra

My bra recommendation for you would be the Panache Sophie Nursing Bra. Panache specializes in bras for DD cups and up, so they fit well and are very supportive. But instead of bland beige, the Sophie bra is covered in black lace! This is a soft cup, or non-underwire, nursing bra that has easy-to-use drop down cups.

Because Panache uses UK bra sizes (and that’s an article for another day…) they do not have I cups. Instead, you would want to wear a HH or J cup in this bra.

For an everyday “T-shirt” bra style, I recommend an Anita Underwire Nursing Bra. Because you have been nursing for five months, your cup size is probably much more consistent than when you first starting nursing. This means that you can begin wearing a properly fitted underwire bra. Anita Nursing Bras are available up to H cups and are known for their fantastic quality.

I’ve left the most important advice for last: Work it, sexy mama!

Stay Fabulous,



Linda the Bra Lady