Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Strapped for Solutions: Bra Straps

Have you ever decided not to buy a bra because of the wide straps? Nothing screams sexy like a bra strap that is wider than your belt.

Often times there IS a reason for a wide strap: if the band supports 80% of your bust, then your straps have to hold up the other 20! That means that each strap gets to support 10% of your bust weight (I'm sure you never thought you'd use physics with regards to bras)! If you're particularly busty, the weight can add up and thin straps just won't cut it.

And if you are not super muscular or don't have firm skin, those bra straps can cut in to your shoulder. If the band size is correct and the weight of your breasts pulls the straps, then that can be OK. Bra companies have added wide straps to bras to disperse all of the weight to a wider surface area (so much physics today!). And some have even added cushioned straps to really help make the experience less miserable.

So what about if your straps keep falling off? Or what if they just slide around a lot and chafe a bit? Or what if they are cutting in a LOT!

Here are the steps you need to do before making a drastic change:
Cacique's cotton molded no-wire bra

  1. Tighten the straps but not enough to drag up your bra band. If the band pulls up while you're tightening your straps, then go down in your band size. You'll be in a never ending loop if you tighten your straps to pull up your band that pulls on the straps which pulls on the band, etc.
  2. Consider shortening the straps. If your band is sitting parallel to the floor, your breasts fit the cups, and the gore sits flat then maybe you have a short torso. It might be time to get crafty by following Crafting a Green World's tutorial on How to Shorten Bra Straps. If you bought your bra at Nordstrom they may also be able to provide an alteration service as might other tailoring services. A bra strap that is even a little bit too long can chafe and cause red marks.
  3. If neither of those methods work, then consider buying cushions OR buy a bra with a wider strap. Don't be afraid to try some of those wider strapped bras. Cacique carries a wide range of wide-strapped bras. Or Lululemon carries a cute long-lined, wide-strapped number at a reasonable price.
The Takeaway
Bra straps should be wide enough to support the weight of your breasts and only long enough to lift up slightly away from the shoulders (two fingers should fit under the strap). If they are too long they can chafe or fall off OR they could indicate your bra size is incorrect.

**If you have a particularly long torso and the straps are at their longest, then I will have to come up with a different solution for you! I'll have to investigate.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Lingerie Libra's Lazy Girl Guide to Bra Cleaning

I have made mention of cleaning your bras by hand in the past (Cup Shapes - Molded), so I figured I could go a bit further in depth for the subject. I'm also cleaning a TON of my bras now after moving, so this blog post is real time!

Hand washing one bra usually requires a sink or a bucket. Reminder: clean sink!

Why does hand-laundering your bras matter? There are a few perks to hand washing your bra:

1) Delicate details (lace, bows, etc.) won't be destroyed with high friction.
2) Moulded cups can be damaged irreparably by machine-washing.
3) You can spot clean more easily by hand vs. a machine.
4) You use more water using the "delicate spin" portion of your washer so thus... more $$.

I'm going to guess that you will look at the list, think about the perks and then discard it as too much effort! That's what bra laundry bags are for, right? So how did I get over machine washing and jump into hand washing? Because my money matters!

There are currently six bras in this tub. Bulk cleaning!
According to Redbook, the average woman owns 9 bras! You should be refitted about twice a year (the usual time women are told to be re-fitted). Now imagine you buy 9 new bras each time you go in (humor me, please). I tend to see my size of bra priced around $68, so that's... $1224 (damn!) a year JUST on bras. You should wash your bra every 4 to 5 wearings or if you sweat/live in a muggy environment, more often! In that six month period of owning 9 bras, I will wear each of them 20 times (9 bras/182 days = 20.22 wears), washing them every 4 to 5 wearings means... A lot of washing. But that also means the longer I can keep my bras intact, the less money I'll spend over the course of a year (oh gawd, I've spent so much money on bras!!).


Think about how crazy that is!

$3.35 FOR A DAY! (Sales tax not included)

And that doesn't include the money I use to clean them!

So how do I wash my bras? In bulk! I hear some women clean their bras while they're in the shower, but that seems incredibly wasteful of water (roughly 2 gallons of water a minute). So I either fill a sink (such as at the top of this post) or a tub (above). My cleaners of choice? OxyClean or Tide Free & Gentle. I use the unscented version because fragrances can irritate the skin and, if powerful enough, can mask perfume.
Free your bras of grime and stink!
I always clean bras with similar colors. Dye can bleed into other material! Even bras I have owned and washed repeatedly still leach color (especially black).

After using a gloop (technical term) of Tide or a TINY amount of OxyClean, I let my bras soak for 15 minutes in lukewarm water (not hot or cold), pour the water out, and then refill with clean water (no cleaner) unless I'm washing sports bras that REALLY need it. After they soak for 15 more minutes (and no longer smell like detergent/cleaner or... body), I will hang them to dry.
Clothing lines and 90 degree weather are perfect for my lifestyle.
There are other bra drying tips (lying flat, hanging, etc.) so do whatever works best for your space. For me, I have a handy line to dry mine on. NEVER dry your bras in the dryer. The heat can damage moulded bras, possibly shrink material, or just damage fabric.

Now you know how I do it. I don't tend to buy SUPER expensive bras or ones with a lot of delicate details (lace, especially) so what works for me might not work for you. But keep in mind: bras are an investment and should be treated with care!

On to the next load...
No bras were harmed in the making of this post.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sports Bra: Panache Underwired

The best part of working out is the sports bra. This is when I prove to you that I'm not crazy, right? Because with articles like this from Buzzfeed I think the general consensus for D+ cup sized women is that sports bras are insufficient, ineffective and the devil in uniboobed form.

So why do I think sports bras are the best? It's because I have fallen in love (sorry boyfriend) with the
There's no denying this bra's effects on the lingerie blogosphere. Bra's I Hate & Love liked it (although they don't carry her size, she's a 28HH). Fry Sauce & Grits "really, really, really like[s] it." And Marathoning for "real" women gave it a rating of 23/25 (marked down only for bouncing and appearance). For more reviews you can flip through The DD Plus Review, Invest in Your Chest, Diary of a Fit Mommy, and A Sophisticated Pair. Also The Full-Figured Chest, Sweet Nothings, and probably a dozen others. Seriously, this thing is amazing.

I own four of these, the most of any other bra I own (rivaled by the Freya Deco). One in gray, two in black, and one in the Olympic edition that is red, white and blue. There are currently THIRTEEN colorways available at Amazon. The price there ranges from $45 to $68. If you're thinking that is steep, well, how much do your double-bra "sports" bras cost and how often do you have to replace them? I've owned my gray sports bra for roughly four years and it's still holding itself together!

In terms of comfort, this is the most comfortable bra (not just sports bra) that I own. The wires are lined with a comfortable gel to protect against rubbing and jabbing. The material is meant to wick moisture away from the body and as a prolific sweater (I DO love to share, don't I?) I find that this does the job!

Like a lot of smaller cup bras, there are J hooks in the back so you can make it a racer back. If the cups aren't tight enough then hooking these up will do the trick. A lot of people find it difficult to hook them together but I haven't found it extremely difficult. The band is firm (mine hasn't budged much since I bought it) so don't feel the need to size down in the band. The cups are fairly true to size. Although the front of the bra sits fairly high, depending on the top I would just wear this under regular clothes.

Are you looking for a new sports bra? Looking for a bra that isn't bedeviled? Try the Panache Sports Bra at Amazon, Nordstrom, Figleaves, A Sophisticated Pair and you can check out the stockists shown on the Panache website.