I originally wrote this post over a year ago. During this week's Styling Session for homeless and formerly homeless youth at YouthCare, we had a wave of young women asking questions about bras. We measured a few of them, helped several find bras and discussed fit throughout the process. These are things your mom or another significant woman in your life usually helps you with. It was really an honor to have these young women feel open to having us help with such a sensitive topic. I wish I could show you, Dear Reader, the look on one of the women's faces when she realized that SHE would be leaving with three NEW bras. I liken it to Christmas morning.
Because of all of this, I'm opting to share this info again. After all, every woman deserves a bra that fits. And, if you have some lying around at home that are ready to be donated, you'll be glad to know where to send them. Enjoy!
One of the easiest ways to look better is to find a better fitting bra. True story. Any woman who has had a baby or major weight loss/weight gain is especially aware of this fact.
I feel like many women have heard this before, but that doesn't necessarily drive us to run to the closest department store for a bra fitting. After all, we are adults, right? Well, I'm here to encourage you to do just that and have the chance to help women in Africa. That always feels good.
First things first. You might be wearing the wrong bra size if:
- Your bra moves up your back when you lift your arms.
- There's spillage.
- The cups wrinkle.
- The straps are constantly falling down.
- Underwire is poking you.
- It just doesn't feel quite right.
Okay, so it is possible that your bra size is incorrect. This can occur if your weight has changed, your body has changed due to pregnancy or it's been a while since you have measured yourself.
Here's how to measure your bra size yourself (no sales associate needed):
Take off your bra (and your top, of course). Use measuring tape to measure the area where a bra's band would normally go. Keep it snug and straight. Got the number of inches around? Round to the nearest whole number. Now the magical formula: If the number is odd, add 5 inches. If the number is even, add 4 inches. For example: a 33 inch band equals a size 38 or a 34 inch band... wait a minute... also equals a size 38 bra.
Now, wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your breast, that means the tape will go across your nipple. Once again, you'll be rounding to the nearest whole number.
Subtract your band size from your bust measurement and refer to the chart to determine your cup size. Example: 38 inch bust - 36 inch band is 2 inches. According to the chart, you are a B cup.
Make Sure it Fits.
When you head out to the lingerie store for a new bra, make sure it fits. Here's how:
- When putting the bra on, bend forward then hook. This way your breasts are in the bra properly. Adjust the straps so that they do not slide off of your shoulders but also are not tightly pinching you. First tighten the band, then follow by shortening the straps.
- The front of the bra should be level with the back.
- You want the bra to fit best when you are using the outermost hook. That way if the bra changes shape over time or stretches out, you can simply use a hook closer to the inside.
- You should be able to fit one finger in between the band and your skin. If more fit, this isn't the size for you.
- Try on a slim shirt over the bra. It should sit smoothly on the bra. No puckering, no breasts falling out of the bra.
- Your breasts should sit right in the middle between your shoulders and elbows when looking at your side profile in the mirror. If not, you need a more supportive and better fitting bra.
- If you need to go up a cup size, go down a band size. Alternately, if you need to decrease the size of the cup, increase the size of the band.
Commence to Saving the World.
Now that you are looking and feeling better, it's time to determine what to do with your old bras.
Donate them to Free The Girls.
27 million men, women and children are being held as slaves around the world and 80% of those are women and girls. Free the Girls offers an opportunity for the average woman to partner with women rescued from sex trafficking to earn a living selling second-hand clothing while going to school, getting healthy, and caring for their families. They can work as much or as little as their school schedule permits.
In short, your gently used bra, the one that kept you from looking your best, can help one of these women make a living. Bras are a highly sought after item and some of the girls in the program are making 5x the minimum wage in their community by selling bras! Bras also provide an opportunity for these women to work with other women, since they have a history of being abused and used by men.
Learn more at Freethegirls.org and take this opportunity to do something for yourself while simultaneously doing something for women who need your help. Or, drop off used bras right here in Seattle at Title Nine or Bella Materna.
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