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Posts tagged ‘breasts’


Buying a Bra … An amusing take on a simple(?) purchase

No man – unless he’s Gok Wan – can be expected to understand about bras. It seems that I’m not very good at it myself despite many years of experience. It all seems perfectly simple. You start with the measurement around your ribcage, and then add on to that various letters of the alphabet to indicate the volume of the breasts concerned. What’s hard about that?

Frankly, when you compare it to the identifying names and numbers of the different models of certain cars, it seems a doddle. The difference, I suppose, is that there’s no compulsion on men to get their heads around bra measurements whereas obviously if they’re thinking of investing in a new car, no amount of time is too great to be spent studying magazines and listening intently to the latest pronouncements by badly dressed men on BBC TV.

Some time, when I’ve nothing better to do, I might compile a list of The Things That Would Be Different If Men Had To Do Them. The trouble is that that list always starts with Having Babies, and every woman who’s ever given birth wants to be included in that discussion.

Meanwhile, returning to the subject of bras, does anyone out there find that she can just go into a shop, take what she thinks is the appropriately sized bra off the hanger, and go away happy? The last time I tried choosing bras off a hanger was in M&S and (with no disrespect intended to Marks as they’re no worse than any other retailer and do at least have a huge variety of styles), I took, in stages, ten bras, each one supposedly of about the same size, into the fitting room – and not one fitted. If anyone thinks I was being fussy, think again. When I say they didn’t fit, what I mean was that in many cases they couldn’t even be fastened around my ribcage while others were so loose they fell down to my waist. A few could be done up, but the accommodation for my breasts was about half what was needed so just a fraction of the essential me was contained inside the cup, the rest bulging out in all directions. Once, I put one on and sighed with pleasure as it felt so comfortable. This was the one! The band felt secure, my bosom fitted nicely inside the cup, this was perfect! I put my T shirt on over the top and looked in the mirror, and couldn’t see my bust! I looked like a rather podgy man. I looked down – no breasts in the place where they usually lived! When I took off the T shirt I realised they’d sidled around into my armpits where they sat, looking smug and comfortable but more like lumps of dough than objects of beauty.

Then there’s the question of the wires. Can you actually imagine any man wearing a garment containing wires? It just wouldn’t happen, would it? The fact is that wearing wires is doomed. It’s inevitably going to produce problems and discomfort, at the very least. I can almost feel sorry for the designers as the infinite variety of women’s figures makes it next to impossible to design a wire that will fit all comfortably. If it sits happily under the breast, you can be sure that the ends will poke sharply into the soft area between them, or into the flesh under the armpit.

But let’s suppose for a moment that you’ve found the perfect bra, which fits comfortably and just as the designer intended. What could go wrong now?

Well, for a start, let’s grapple with the vexed topic of nipples. Who was it that decreed that women should be assumed to be nipple-less in public? Men too have nipples. Are they bombarded with advice on how to avoid them being visible under their clothes? Are there little nipple-shields for men to be worn under T shirts? I think not. But women are programmed to believe that their nipples must lead a double life, rather like spies; invisible most of the time, before springing into action when the situation demands.

This means that a seam has to be inserted across the cup so as to conceal the nipple, but because no seam is ever going to be totally smooth like skin, any garment worn over the bra is going to reveal little lumps and puckers of fabric, each one looking from outside remarkably like – a nipple! This will attract an interested audience of men trying to decide which little lump is actually the nipple (no, I don’t know why either), or of women criticizing your choice of bra.

As if this wasn’t enough to spoil the appearance of your clothes, we next have the innate idiocy of some designers/buyers. Does a bra really need to be made more feminine? By its nature, it can’t be much else, but how many manufacturers insist on adding tiresome bows or miniature roses? You put on your slinky new top over your deliciously pretty and flattering new bra, but nobody is going to think how nice/sexy you look as their eyes will be drawn to the bizarre construction whose outline is deforming the fabric between your breasts. What has she got tucked down there? A hamster? A sandwich in case she feels a bit peckish later?

At least these days they make bras which mould the breasts into relatively normal, rounded shapes, unlike those of the 1950s which contorted the bosom into something which looked as if it should be contained in an armaments storeroom. The only exceptions nowadays are sports bras, which still produce a scarily aggressive silhouette. Whenever I drive to the gym I half expect the police to stop me for possessing offensive weapons!

So, is there an alternative? I don’t know how many women of the 60’s really did burn their bras, never to return to wearing one. I suspect very few did, because the average natural bosom, left unsupported, doesn’t produce an attractive shape underneath clothes, and certainly doesn’t help if you’re running for a train. Some women wear crop tops underneath loose and flowing clothes, but this won’t do if you work in a formal office, particularly if you work in the City where the attributes of female staff seem to require as much studying as the year-end results of multi-national companies. Is there an answer? I wish I knew.

Do get in touch if you have an answer!
Janet Hamer, Guest contributor
Imagery: © Pintail

How do I look from behind?

Finding comfortable, fashionable swimwear for the well endowed can be a bit of a headache. Bulging out of a swimsuit is the least attractive aspect, especially if you can’t see what you look like from behind. So with comfort and confidence in the pool area a priority I was immediately interested to find out more about a range on offer from UK Swim Store and I asked Sarah Bohn to tell us all about it. Val Reynolds Brown, Editor.

When you think about it, there are few activities or hobbies, which you would do in public, that require you to wear so little. Normally when out and about, whether exercising or not, I like to keep my bottom and thighs nicely covered and my breasts safely in my bra.

So why is it then that to enter a swimming pool in the traditional view is to wear a garment that offers no support to your breasts, allowing them to pop out all over the place and that displays far too much of your lower half than you are comfortable with.

Fortunately this outdated perception is being eradicated by the increase of swimsuits offering women a whole lot more. The days are gone of swimsuits only coming in high leg or with gaping open back cut outs. Now women can cover their bottoms and thighs, suck in their tummies and secure their ample bosoms comfortably.

Speedo Premiere UltimateSuits such as the Speedo Sculpture Premiere Ultimate are such a fantastic revolution that I can’t stop talking about them. Firstly made in a material that is designed to sculpt the body, it holds you in. And with extra tummy control too it gives you confidence in the stomach department, so you can breathe out once in a while.

The next fabulous feature is wide adjustable straps and bust support given by a lining piece and not an underwire. This means the swimmer can tighten or loosen the straps to give a perfect fit, just like with a bra, and is supported without a wire annoyingly poking into the side of their breast when swimming. With a low leg, small opening in the back and going up to a dress size 22, this suit is ideal for some many women. At £45, it is not the cheapest suit available, but with a host of confidence boosting features in one suit it is well worth it.

The next revelation in swimwear that I simply must share with you is the legged swimsuit (sometimes known as a knee suit or boy leg).

Speedo Mindset Legsuit

This style of swimsuit is basically a swimsuit with legs or short style bottoms integrated into the suit. Many of these styles have bust support, offer great coverage at the back and even have adjustable straps. When purchasing a legsuit look out for the leg length or crotch seam measurement. The length of the leg will determine where the suit finishes on your leg. Some styles are quite long going down almost to the knee, others are particularly short offering a more sporty style, but might not give you as much coverage as you need. But with such a variety of legged swimsuits to buy nowadays, you will never need to expose your bikini line again.

A new breed of swimwear is also hitting the pools, swimwear separates that allow you to create your own level of coverage. Items such as ladies swim jammers, swim leggings, swim skirts, bra tops and tea shirt style tops all allow the swimmer to buy different sizes top and bottom and create the look and fit they need. Swimwear doesn’t have to be a one piece suit that might not suit your individual shape and coverage requirements.

For example you could add a swim skirt to your favourite swimsuit to give a bit of coverage to the tops of your legs. Or choose ankle length leggings to protect your legs from the sun on the beach, but wear with a bra top to expose your arms. Now your swimwear can be as individual as you.


Tips for buying swimwear for curvier women

  • Think about back shape. If the back of a swimming costume is very open or strappy, you may feel like you are oozing out the back of it. Instead go for a closed back suit, or one with a small open back.
  • Look at how much material there is under the arms. If the suit is very cut away or has a racing style or strappy back, then they may not be enough material to cover your breasts. This means when you swim your breasts may feel like, or may actually pop out the side of the suit.
  • If opting for a legsuit, think about where the suit is finishing across the leg. Some ladies may find the way the suit creates a horizontal line across the thighs unflattering or even uncomfortable. A swim skirt may be a better option for some ladies.
  • Black is slimming, yes, but navy can also be slimming, and a warmer colour for some skin tones. Also patterns can be slimming too, a busy pattern can have the effect of hiding lumps and bumps.
  • If you want a slimming style look for a swimsuit with vertical side panels or stripes which will give shape and definition.
  • A detail under the bust is also very flattering and gives a beautiful shape.
  • If you are in-between sizes always go smaller in a swimsuit than bigger. This may seem strange advice, but a lot of materials will get ever so slightly bigger in the water. It is better to have a suit that holds you in, than one that is too loose and falling off your shoulders.
  • Look for chlorine resistant fabrics. This type of fabric has been designed to last longer in the chlorinated water. So once you have found the perfect suit it will last and not degrade (that horrible see-through eaten effect) like a basic elastane swimsuit can.
  • To keep your suit looking its best for longer always read the care label instructions and rinse your swimsuit thoroughly after use. Avoid shampoos and products and hang up to dry as soon as possible.
  • Sign up for the newsletter, to get regular updates on new styles and colourways in stock. If you have found a perfect style of swimsuit for you, it is always handy to know when it has been released in a different colour, or if alas is being discontinued.
  • And my final tip that I give all women who ask for my advice is, once you are in the water no-one can see what you look like anyway. Just jump in and enjoy swimming.

Sarah Bohn    Director of UK Swim Store and Founder of Bohn Swimwear

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