A good bra can be your best bosom buddy: it’s there for you when you need support or just a friendly boost. Bras have gone through many changes over the decades, but they remain a shaping necessity for many women of all sizes and shapes!
We’ve rounded up the top 5 things you never knew about your bra, from the surprising history of the sports bra to finding the perfect fit to keep your gals looking great.
1) Sports bras started as jock straps
This one is a bit of a shocker: the first “athletic brassiere” was actually two jockstraps sewn together! It should come as no surprise that, in practice, this prototype wasn’t very effective. The two women who refined the original sports bra during the 1970s quickly realized that women needed more support than a makeshift jockstrap could give. The “Jogbra” soon followed and gave many women the freedom to go for a run and exercise in comfort.
2) Bras don’t actually prevent sagging
Sagging happens, ladies. And, unfortunately, there’s not anything the best bra in the world can do to prevent it, because the real cause is loss of skin elasticity. So forget wearing a bra 24/7 in an attempt to prevent sagging. Instead, do the classic things for promoting skin health: get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and don’t smoke. And, while no bra can stop the march of time, getting the proper fit can go a long way toward helping your gals look their best. If sagging has already affected your bustline, the one proven way to correct it is with a breast lift.
3) You’re probably wearing the wrong size
Bra sizing is notoriously difficult. Just the awkwardness of the tape measure can cause some women to abandon the process and stick to their “regular” size, even if it doesn’t really fit. This is a major mistake because having a bra that fits feels so much better—and it will make clothes look better on you too! The good news is more and more boutique lingerie stores with expert fitters are popping up in cities across the US, and even if there isn’t one handy for you, online tools can help.
Part of why many women don’t get a good fit is that our bra size changes both day to day and throughout life. Because of this, getting a good fit every day often requires owning bras in a few sister sizes. Watch for changes during the month along with your hormones and throughout the year if you gain or lose a little weight seasonally. Once you have bras in the two or three sizes you hover between on hand, you’ll gain a sense for what feels right for you on a given day and easily pick the right size out of your drawer.
4) Bras don’t last forever
So you’ve finally found the right fit. The band is snug (but not too tight) and the cups hold your breasts in place without spillover. Eureka! You’ve found the perfect bra! Just don’t get too attached: even the best bra has a limited lifespan, given the work it has to do shaping your figure all day, every day. Some experts say that women should replace their bras every six months to keep the elastic strong and the cups supportive. The good news is that regularly replacing your bras solves the last surprising fact we pointed out. Chances are your breasts have changed slightly since you last bought bras anyway, so treat yourself to a new one at regular intervals and cycle out old bras that are getting tired.
5) Size doesn’t matter as much as you may think!
Let’s say you go to a major department store for a fitting. The kind lady in the dressing room measures you and declares that you’re a 36C, so you pick out a few high-quality bras and leave with the satisfaction of knowing your true size. But before you go online and order the cutest bras you can find in your newfound size, keep in mind that a 36C in one brand could be a 34D in another. You might even be a size 38B in some lines! Bra sizing is tricky, so don’t be too tied to one size or discouraged by the numbers. Find a fit that works for you and be open to changing it up when you buy a new brand or style.
The good news is that there are a myriad of bra choices out there. It might take a little time to find the right bra for you, but knowing the facts is half the battle. You might even start to love bra shopping!