Till now we have been addressing fit and cut of clothes but today lets focus on what’s underneath. Intimate apparel or lingerie is as important as the clothes we wear if not more. The fit of our clothes actually depends on the right fit of our undergarments.
First lets understand what we will talk about today bra and panties. So let’s clear what are the essentials when you look for the perfect bra :
1. Getting measured : you can get measured at one of the retail outlets or you can measure yourself:
by band : which is around your back and meeting in the middle above your chest ( your ribcage) e.g. 32 inches .
By cup : measure around the fullest part of your bust area which will be your cup size e.g. 34 inches so your size will be your band (above e.g.) is 32 + 2 inches is b cup . So this means that every inch more is a cup size ranging between a to h. You can also use the abtf (a bra that fits) app on your smart devices.
2. Snugness : you know your bra fits right when your band is snug .i.e. it should be hooked on to the middle hook. When in doubt, go for a snug band size and a bigger cup size.
3. Coverage : one should not be spilling out from all sides, even if it is a demi cup or push up bra.
4. Check the fit : test the fit by lifting up your hands , if the band moves away from the body then the band is too big or too small. If it doesn’t move then it’s the right fit. Remember one important thing: bra sizes differ company to company and style to style.
Bras are always divided in terms of bands and cups. So the
2 main differentiators for bands are :
1. Underwire: these bras have an underwire in the band to give more support and lift. The support is from the underwires.
2. Non wire : these bras have no underwire but offer the same amount of support and lift. The support is from the straps.
Then there are 2 differentiators for cups :
1. The moulded cups : the bra is smooth and contoured (shaped) which gives a natural rounded silhouette. These bras are mostly seamless and are for wearing under smooth tops or shirts as they don’t peep from underneath.
2. Soft cups : the fabric is softer and takes the shape of your breasts. These bras have seams and some are seamless. The seams show, and they can be more visible under smooth fabrics.
These were the main differentiators and which you prefer depends on your preferences. Now, lets look at the different styles :
1. Balconnette : the cups cover half the breasts and have thin straps and also come in strapless options. They mostly come in underwire and always have moulded cups. They give good support under very fitted outfits and formal wear.
2. Demi cups : the cups are wide apart giving you more cleavage. They are more supportive and good for everyday wear.
3. Full coverage: the cups cover the entire breast tissue and come up hire on the cleavage. The straps are thicker and has more side band coverage. They give more support and can be worn under anything.
4. Minimizer : they give full coverage and more sturdy as straps have no elasticity. They minimize your bust line and are good options for women who are very conscious.
5. Sports bra : they are full coverage all around similiar to a crop top. They come in slip in options as well other than the regular options. The best way to wear a sports bra is to slip into it rather than over your head. You should always wear a sports bra for any athletic activity as it gives more support as the fit is very snug, and stops extra movement.
6. Padded bras : these are thicker moulded bras that enhance your breast tissue and make your cup size look bigger. They are good for adding a size.
7. Push up bras: these are similar to padded bras but the main difference is that the cup sizes are smaller but give more push to your breast tissue to enhance your cleavage. They are good to wear with deep necks .
8. Racer backs : they are front open bras. Mostly to be worn under tank tops and ganjis.
9. Strapless : these have no straps and mostly come in moulded cups. There are bandinis which are basically a band with cups in elastic fabrics. They are good to wear under spaghetti straps and halter styles.
10. Bralettes : these are leisure or sleep bras. They are thin straps , non wire and slip on bras. They are for sleeping in or to wear at home on a lazy day.
These are the different styles and varieties. The most important thing to keep in mind is snugness and containing the tissues when looking for the perfect bra.
Since, we have covered bras now lets take a look at underwears and their varieties. The most important thing while buying underwear is the seams. These are differentiated by :
1. Seamless : they have no elastic or seams on the edges or sides. They give an invisible look specially under fitting trousers and skirts or thin material outfits.
2. Seamed underwear : you can see the edge outline and also have side seams. They can be worn under thicker materials.
Now lets see the different varieties:
1. High cuts: these come up mid waist and the leg portions have higher cuts. They have are more control top for tummy areas.
2. Bikinis : they are low waisted and medium cut on the legs.
3. Hipsters : they are low waisted but have more side and back coverage.
4. Boyshorts :these are mid rise and cover your entire butt area. They are good to wear under thin materials.
5. Briefs: they are full coverage on all sides and come up mid waist.
6. Thongs : have more front coverage than back. They are good for very fittted clothes as they give no outlines.
These were the panty options but it is important to keep in mind that the underwear should show no outline under thin and fitted fabrics as no one wants to see an outline.
Undergarments actually give us the overall fit and look of the outfit. If you are wearing the wrong bra or underwear in terms of fit and fabric then it looks sloppy. e.g. lace bras under smooth t-shirts or a seamed underwear under synthetic khakhi pants. You can not only see the outlines but even the fabric will stand out from underneath. So, it is very important to keep in mind the style, fabric and fit while choosing intimate apparel.
Special thanks to Lubna Varcie for her knowledgable contribution.
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