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Brassiere-ology! Check out these Essentials to get a Perfect Fit

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Bra Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013001Someone has been hounding me to write this post for days now. Apparently he has been seeing a lot of women who should not even be allowed to utter the word ‘bra’ walking around Lagos. Unfortunately so have I.

When it comes to our undergarments, we tend to forget that whatever happens on the inside, reflects on the outside. Wearing a bad type of brassiere is one of them. Wearing the wrong type of braziers can affect our skin, posture and even our health.

Skin – When we buy bras that are either too big or too small, they can cause damage to our skin. Small bras would be so tight that repeated use would cause bruising an scarring on our backs and sides. For bras that are too big, because we want the band to be fitted, we might take drastic actions like sewing them too tight or using safety pins to hold them in place. These methods can prove hazardous to the skin.

Posture – When a part of  our body is uncomfortable, the rest feels the need to reciprocate for the discomfort. That is why when someone has a headache it could be due to lack of food or low water percentage in the body. When you feel discomfort in your back, the rest of your body would feel the need to make up for it. That is probably why you may see people who slouch while they move due to an over sized bra or remain upright because they cannot breathe due to an under sized bra.

Your health could also be at risk because if you do not stop wearing bras that bruise your skin, after a while you may develop a sore. This sore could open up and become infected.

Instead of going through this hassle, there are simple steps you can take to knowing what type of bra you should buy. Here is how to know your bra size and the qualities you should be looking for in a bra.

When shopping for bras, make sure you go to a reputable store or a fashion store that stocks in lingerie. When you get there, ask the shop attendant to help you with the following;

  • Use a measuring tape to determine the size of your chest. To do this wrap the tape around your chest, under your breast making sure the tape rests flatly on your chest and back; that will form the band width. eg; 33D; the ’33’ is the measurement of your chest. Add 2-3 inches to that number to get a perfect band width because bands usually come elasticized. Going for an exact number would make it a little too tight for you. If you end up with an odd number, move one number up to the even one, this is because bra sizes come in even numbers.
  • To determine your cup size, place the measuring tape across the fullest part of your breast i.e over the nipple, and measure from the top of your breast to the bottom. If you already have a well fitting bra that does not flatten your breast, you can wear this while measuring. Write the number down and find the difference between that and the band size number. The difference in inches is the cup. You can determine this as follows:

Difference:       <1                1                2″                   3″                 4″                     5″                           6″                      7″

Inches:               AA             A                 B                    C                  D                 DD or E             DDD or F      DDDD or G

Always look down after you have worn the bra to check for spillage. If there is, try another one with more coverage of over your breast.

Now that you have the essentials down, you need to know just what type of bras you should have. From sport bras, to strapless, there are a lot of types every woman should have in their wardrobes.

Strapless bra What to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija001

We all need a good strapless bra. This type of bra comes without straps which makes it possible to wear underclothes that do not have straps like a mono-strap or halter neck and boob tube gowns or tops. When selecting one, your attention should be on the band and cup because those are the two places that would give you maximum support without straps.

T-Shirt braWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija002

These bras are great for wearing under t-shirts; they give a seamless silhouette which hide any bulge or demarcation under your clothes.

Specialty braWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija003

A specialty bra can accommodate any top or dress that has a plunging neckline. They are patterned to blend in with the dress, so as not to show while they are being worn.

Push-Up braWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija004

When you want to give yourself a boost, this is the way to go. The push-up bra gives extra support to the breasts making them seem perkier and fuller. However, be careful with them because they usually come tight and this could make you uncomfortable.

MinimizerWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija005

This bra is great for women with full/large breasts. It smooths the breast reducing any chance of spillage or bulge.

Sports braWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija006

This is definitely one for the sport lovers. It is not enough to go jogging or exercising with any of the above. You need a good and solid sports bra to give your breasts the support needed during exercise. The breast is said to move 21cm while engaging in exercise and it moves vertically and horizontally. Purchase a good sports bra from a fitness centre which would serve you in both directions.

Bedroom braWhat to know about Brasiers  - June 2013 - BellaNaija007

Y’all should know what this is. It’s that special brazier for those special occasions in your bedroom. It is softer than others, mostly see through and easy to come off. You get my drift.

Sometimes, even though we have the perfect size of bra, it is possible for that bra not to be good for your breast. Below are the different types of breasts and bras that are better for them.

Round & FullBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013002

These are breasts that are big and full, sometimes spilling over to the side of your chest. For this bra it is better for you to buy a bra that covers the totality of your breast like a T- shirt bra that has a high cut. This way you give your breasts the perfect balance without having the four boob effect. Please remember that if your breasts are quite large, maybe in the DDD or DDDD area, please stay away from strapless bras. The weight of your breasts are probably too much that the bra would not give you enough support and would ruin your bra faster.

Full at the bottom but slightly droppedBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013001

If your breasts are fuller at the bottom and your nipples are slightly facing the ground then you have pear shaped breasts. This type of breast needs to be given proper support so as to make up for the drop at the top of the breast. Try a padded t-shirt bra for a better lift.

Perky and pointedBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013003

 A lot of women believe that as long as their breast is perky, then they can wear just any type of bra. This is not true. Every type of breast needs support. Try a padded or push up bra for extra support so you never have to worry about sagging.

Augmented breastsBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013004

As much as we hate/love to admit it, more women are getting their breasts increased. Mostly because of the silicone injected in the breast, they have no problem with bra sizes. Advice? still use a good supportive bra like a Push up bra with the bra straps slightly loosened or a minimiser to give your breast a more natural look, if it doesn’t already look natural.

– Athletic breastsBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013006

Athletic breasts sometimes prove a challenge to manipulate due to their size, however a good push-up bra can make your breasts look fuller and more feminine when worn.

Wide set breastsWhat to know about Brasiers - BellaNaija - June2013

Wide set breasts are breasts that are placed more to the side. For this type of breast you want to use as much control as possible. Get a bra like a speciality bra that has a wide centre to make up for the space in-between the breasts and give you great control over your breasts. You can also use a push up bra with adjustable padding to push the breasts closer together.

Narrow breastsBras Essentials - BellaNaija - June2013005

This is just the opposite of the wide set type of breast. Instead of going for a wide set middle, get a bra with little or no middle. This is best suited for this type of breast.

As much as we love to look great when we step outside, we should always remember that a good bra can make an outfit look and feel a whole lot better. If you have any undergarment advice that can help anyone, don’t forget to share.

Photo Credit: Freshpair . Healthyblackwoman . Kohls.com . clutchmagonline . Bravissimo . ek-las-bz . globalgrind . Kootation

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of BellaNaija.com. Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at)bellanaija.com or style(at)bellanaija.com | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle

27 Comments

  1. Onos

    Onos O

    June 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    YAY! *Jay-Z voice “Y’all gon’ learn today!”

    • Idak

      June 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Rubbish boy. I know say you don read this article three times. Meanwhile you keep scrolling up to take a second look at the illustrations. 🙂

  2. Abiola

    June 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    lol

  3. scorpio

    June 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    lmao…Funny thing is, I did get my chest sized and ”errythang” but its been soooo painful letting go of those super sexy bras I got pre-pregnancy, I still squish myself in..*hides face*

  4. Shawn

    June 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I remember writing about this during my internship at the Sun some years ago. Thank you for the refresher, many ladies need this!

  5. Purpleicious Babe

    June 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    interesting…… good info…

  6. Idak

    June 17, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I struggle to understand women who can’t decode different types of bras and the correct size for their busts. I had a keen interest in the topic and ever since my best friend taught me the basics, i rarely get it wrong. Done bra shopping for a couple of females and i can deduce the bra size of most women after taking at most a second look at their chest(obviously without touching).

    Btw, i am a guy.

  7. Mz Socially Awkward...

    June 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Jennifer, God will bless you & your friend who was hounding you. This truth has been withheld from Nigerian women for far too long; in fact, the day I saw Atoke’s Monday morning banter titled “What’s your bra size?” I thought she was fixing to discuss this very subject..

    We no know our bra-size for Naija & no be our fault, after-all, where is the M&S abi Bravissimo fitting room where consultant fit measure us? Make we talk true, many of us decided on our bra-sizes when one chick returned from Jand, with “things for sale” and she used her eye to measure us before declaring, ‘ah, you’ll be like a 36C’ just because na that be the size of underwear for plenty for her boxes?

    Maybe na just me sha but I honestly continued in my ignorance even after living within easy access to proper consultants on the subject. It was only this year, after 34 years on earth, 20 of which I’ve spent wearing adult sized bras, I finally realized I’ve been wearing the wrong bras for decades. Ladies, this information is a definite money saver, trust me who went and packed all the wrong sizes at Lasenza’s last Christmas sale. Wetin I wan do with those beaurriful bras, now? I fit bone still dey wear dem but at least now I know how to keep the girls properly ensconced 😉

    No be wear I go manage dem so?

    • Janey

      June 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

      haahhahaha….. i love u *nohomo*

  8. Floxy

    June 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Wow nw i knw better bt forget even wt all dis lecture person fit still buy rubbish if i stand for where i wan buy bra dey do all dis experiment d saler sef go vex for me ni lol but all d same itz an eye opener

  9. comment awaiting moderation!

    June 17, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I wish I could do without wearing bra,I just hate them,no matter the size…it the first thing I normally hurriedly pull off on getting home…sumtime I wish I’m boobless* may be like Eku,I wondn’t have bother putting on any

  10. Been there

    June 18, 2013 at 7:30 am

    i wish you could have included where to buy affordable quality bras in lagos. i wear a 34F and it is one of the difficult sizes to buy. most times, even when available there are no options so one has to settle

    • emerald

      June 18, 2013 at 11:59 am

      babes we are on the same page oh, it’s just horrible. Some have even nick-named me “no size available” as that size is truly difficult to come by. Help sistas in need biko!!!

    • Idak

      June 18, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      i know a place in naija,unfortunately it is not Lagos.

  11. Ready

    June 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Yeah…what @Been there said. Many folks still buy their bras from markets, and you know they can’t be asking for fittings over there. Maybe Etam or one of those mall lingerie shops will do it? There’s a huge market for lady stuff in Nigeria that’s not being filled. Maybe Idak (Mr. Keen interest) should do something about it.

  12. Regina

    June 18, 2013 at 9:46 am

    For all you busty ladies out there, check out Bravissimo (UK) or {Intimacy} (US), they stock bras from DD up to K. And they don’t use a measuring tape, instead they help you try on bras that fit you well. It is well worth the experience if you are travel abroad. If not, their websites still have useful tips.

    Bonus: Bravissimo also stocks clothing for the generously curved as well, on a sister website called Pepperberry. Great for work clothes, jackets that fit(!!!!!!) and well tailored dresses for the curvier figure. They don’t ship to Nigeria yet, but fingers crossed, someday they will.

    • Regina

      June 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

      It is well worth the experience if you are/travel* abroad.

    • Titi

      June 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Herroom is actually better in the US. Best online bra store. If you are a DD up like me., try balconette bras hey fit better. Freya, panache etc make nice colorful and sexy bras!

  13. HRS

    June 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Many thanks for this!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used to heeny-meeny-maieny-mo to pick my bras and as a well endowed lady, I end up buying ill-fitting ones, though I’m better at picking my bras now, this has helped a lot, no more guessing my size… 😀

  14. The President

    June 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Something’s wrong somewhere. Based on this i’m a 32 DD and i’m not that busty. help!!!

    • RunnerGirl

      June 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      That’s what you think. Wearing the wrong size bra has got many women thinking you have to be super busty to be a D. Plus Victoria’s Secret sizing is inconsistent with most other brands. I thought I was a 34C after a VS fitting and wore that for eons. I went to Nordstrom recently only to discover I am a 32DD and those fit way better. As if that wasn’t a big enough mental adjustment, I am a 30F in some Euro brands. But it fits a lot better so I have had to accept that I am fuller than I thought. Many people are wearing very wrong band sizes and that leads to illusion if a smaller cup.

      Check out figleaves.com and barenecessities.com. They have videos on how to measure

  15. RunnerGirl

    June 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Those sites also have more descriptive info on breast shapes. The photos in this article largely contain push-up bras which is uninformative when it comes to fullness on top vs bottom.

  16. Bimpe

    June 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Please what do I do, when I wear bras; they begin to show the graph line, you know those ones that follow the “demand” and “supply” curves in economics. Please i just got a good one and i dont want to lose it in d same wise

  17. Yesmina

    June 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I’m a 32D and I rarely ever find my bra size except when I travel or get someone in u.k tp send to me. I’ve seen a few at the Woolworths store at palms though

  18. Malaika's Secret

    June 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Ladies the solution to your problem is malaikassecret.com, Africa’s version of Victoria’s Secret ….

  19. Adeyinka

    July 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    judging from this article, I”ve been wearing the wrong bra size all along. just discovered I,’m a 40G. nah to dey search for that Size up and down as I’m errrm endowed

  20. rubi

    October 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Where can i buy a good sports bra in lagos.

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