SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For all you bra wearers out there, we have a few questions. When was the last time you really knew what you were doing when you went bra shopping?
Did you make your selections based on your "usual" size? Did you try several styles on? Did you actually make a purchase?
No matter what your age, finding a bra can be intimidating. They're called "intimates" for a reason...so it can be a little awkward asking for help, too.
This story came up when the Morning Blend team was talking about story ideas for our 11 a.m. show (Morning Blend: Extra Shot airs at 11 a.m. M-F). We searched for an expert that could help us answer the questions that came up.
Our source for this article is Benita Kimball, the Co-Owner of "At Last Bra & Lingerie" on Howe Avenue in Sacramento. Keep in mind, her advice in this article is female gender based, but can be adapted to other needs.
Word to the wise: Depending on your size, you really don't have to spend a lot of money to find the right fit. It will cost you some time though!
WHAT'S WITH THE FIT ISSUE, ANYWAY?
Benita said the two biggest reasons that a woman is wearing the wrong bra are based on money and knowledge. Sometimes, a person is so size oriented or overwhelmed by the selection — they don't ever try on other sizes and options. But the thing is, bodies change and sizes vary by brand.
Benita also said something that made us grin: "American's have a problem admitting their size."
"No one wants to be the size that they are," she said, smiling. "We get caught up on numbers and letters...as opposed to just how it feels and how it looks."
SIGNS THAT YOUR BRA IS THE WRONG FIT:
- If you can pull the bra away from your chest more than three fingers
- If you have spillage. If the cup runneth over, it's not the right fit.
- If the band feels like it’s cutting into your back. The band should be flush with your skin, not rolling or cutting into you.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT:
- Get fitted! Invest some time and stop by a specialty bra store. You might not want to (or be able to) spend that much, but you'll at least learn some options and gain some bra-finding confidence.
- Bra breakdown: The number in the bra size indicates the circumference around your torso, beneath your breasts. At your fitting, this is one measurement an expert will take to help you find the right fit.
- Don't stick to one size: The average woman's cup size will change at least seven times after she gets her first bra. Age, weight loss or gain, pregnancy and fitness level all play a role in your cup size. So every few years, a fitting might help.
HELPING YOUR BRAS LAST:
NUMBER: Now that you've got the basics of how to find the right fit, the number of bras in your repertoire is really up to you. Functionally, Benita suggests having at least three so you're not overusing any one bra.
"Two good basic bras, and you can have that one 'fun' bra," she said. "So those two basic bras you're gonna rotate wearing every other day — which is gonna give you a much longer length time of a bra."
Keep in mind, if you're an A, B, C, D, or DD cup, a good bra should last you a little over one year. If you're swapping them out every day, they could last a little longer, Benita said.
CLEANING: Again, this one is up to you. But surprisingly enough, Benita said, "No Woolite ever on your bras, I have not one manufacturer that will say that."
In her store, Benita and her co-owner recommend a cleaning product called "Forever New."
"It's not a detergent, it actually is just a cleaner," Benita said. "It's gonna naturally lift all of the oils and the stains and the scents out of the garment."
That being said - Benita also says no bras in the washer! If you're washing your bras, by hand will add to their longevity. With Forever New, she uses a capful in a clean, filled sink for two to three bras.
It's all about preference, budget and time. Start by going to a fitting to see what you like and what size is right for you. Then decide what your budget is and where you'd like to find your bras.
To find Benita and learn a few more tips, you can visit "At Last Bra & Lingerie" at 1325 Howe Ave. #100 in Sacramento. Benita said the average bra price there is $70.
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WATCH MORE: Finding the right bra | Extended Interview