It was Mark Twain who said, “the clothes make the man”, but us women know that it is what’s underneath that really counts. Oh, it’s not what you think… we are talking about the BRA!
If you are fighting your own battle of the bra, don’t despair you’re far from alone. This battle is a long one, with generations of women tackling it in their own way. Urban legend has it that the bra was invented by a man, but the truth is we have women to thank for these contraptions.
After decades of stuffing themselves into corsets, women around the world finally began to get fed up. It was in 1913 that Mary Phelps Jacob, a 19-year-old, New York socialite, bought a sheer evening gown for an occasion, but at the time, the only undergarment available to her was a boned corset. The bones of her corset were sticking out around the neckline of her new dress. So she, along with the help of her seamstress, took two silk handkerchiefs, pink ribbon and some string, and fashioned herself the very first modern bra.
Almost immediately, friends started asking Ms. Jacob to create these “brassieres” for them, too. Sensing that she may be on to something, she went ahead and patented her design. The patent was granted in November 1914, and the new Caresse Crosby bra was born. Although Jacobs did not invent the first bra ever, her design was the first one to be widely used, and is the basis for what is in nearly every modern woman’s drawer today.
Not surprisingly, over 90% of North American women wear a bra, but almost 85% of us wear the wrong size. In the past several years this statistic has started a revolution of sorts, to get women into the right size bra. Oprah staged a national intervention urging all women to “rise up and get a proper bra fitting”, and there’s even a book…The Bra Book: the Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra by Jene Luciani and Ann Deal.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, according to experts, a well-fitting bra is first and foremost healthier for your breasts, it can also eliminate sagging, is important for your posture, can make you appear slimmer and even take years off your looks. These experts also suggest that women be professionally fitted for a bra at least once a year. It seems as though our breasts can change in shape and size more frequently than we change our hairstyle.
If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like to go into a lingerie shop and have yourself fitted by one of the “bra ladies”, there are plenty of tips and how to’s out there making it easier than ever to find your right size. If a good fitting bra is all that it takes to look a little thinner and younger, why the hell not?
The battle of the bra is definitely not over, we will always be searching for just the right one that makes us look and feel terrific, our suggestion… if you find a bra that you like, and it fits, buy yourself a big supply!
BAND MEASUREMENT (the number)
Most women measure their ribcage under their breasts to get their band measurement. Double check this measurement by wrapping a tape measure snugly around your back, under your arms and across the top of your chest above your breasts. Because your ribcage expands and contracts as you breathe, taking both measurements will help you find your most comfortable fit.
CUP MEASUREMENT (the letter)
With your bra on, wrap a measuring tape around your back and across the fullest part of your breast. Don’t pull too tight! To find your cup size, subtract your band measurement from this measurement.
If the difference is…
1 inch, you’re an A cup
2 inches, a B cup
3 inches, a C cup
4 inches, a D cup
5 inches, a DD cup
6 inches, a DDD cup