So, we’ve talked couture consignment – how the savvy fashionista keeps her head above water. We’ve talked skinny jeans, plaid (ugh), and girls’ night out fashion. We’ve talked petite designers, sky-high heels, top fashion lines…and we’ll certainly continue those discussions. But not today.
Today is reserved for the bra.
In the words of my friend and fellow fashion maven Julie Bruns (who also happens to be the Intimate Apparel Fit Coordinator for Macy’s North region), “Women today just don’t wear the right bra at the right time. We need a bravention. Bravention, please!”
And so, today, a bravention – because I’m in agreement that the bra issue needs to be addressed. Women really are usually wearing the wrong bra size, but more importantly, they are just as often wearing the wrong bra styles. Again, in the words of Julie, “Why is it always the tee-shirt bra? With all the amazing styles out there, why the tee-shirt bra? Why???”
I believe it was the fourth or fifth season of Sex and the City (the ultimate girls guide to fashion, including both what you should and shouldn’t do) when Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, the ubiquitous Carrie Bradshaw, began flaunting her bras as a part of each of her outfits. Instead of wearing strapless bras with tanks or dresses or plunging necklines, she just wore regular bras with straps and lace in plain sight.
While I wouldn’t recommend parading around publicly in the jeweled panties she donned in the infamous “runway roadkill” episode (that’s a fashion don’t), the Carrie Bradshaw bra approach is an example of what you should do, and is in direct accordance with Julie’s views of exemplary bra-wearing. In fact, she is starting a movement to make peek-a-boo bra appearances a part of appropriate outfits. And I have joined her revolution.
After all, why not wear a regular bra and show it off as part of the outfit? If you’ve got a deeply cleavage-y dress or shirt, or a delicate embellished tank that has racer-back lines, instead of getting those cumbersome 5-in-1-how-the-hell-does-this-work bras from Victoria’s Secret, why not make your underwear outerwear? After all, your bra is just a layer, and when you do it right, layering is about as chic as it gets.
That said, there is a catch. To make this work, you’ve got to have the right bra. And not just any bra will do.
First of all, when considering a bra, there’s the matter of the right fit. To use another example of a Sex and the City fashion don’t, Julie pointed at Carrie Bradshaw in another season-four bra-flaunting episode, and said, “That doesn’t fit her.” I stared dumbly at the television, and mumbled something along the lines of, “Yeah, right, what’s wrong with them. Wardrobe should have caught that.”
Sensing my lack of bra knowledge, Julie explained that the band of the bra was jacked way up Sarah Jessica Parker’s back, and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. In fact, if you’re worried about back fat (and who isn’t?), Julie says that wearing your bra band up high in the back will actually increase the appearance of back fat by pushing stuff where it’s not supposed to be.
I put this bra wisdom into practice and saw immediate, positive results – including unexpectedly increased comfort. That’s because the bra band is supposed to provide 90% of your support, and it can only do that if it’s in the right spot – mid-back. The straps are only supposed to do 10% of the work. So, if you’ve got Grand Canyon-sized groves between your shoulder and your neck, you need to get in for a bra fitting, because you’re not wearing it right.
The second issue, after fit: style. There is more to life than tee-shirt bras. I had to learn this the hard way – I’d be getting ready for an event with Julie, and she’d have on the most delicate, beautiful bra – ornate and feminine and lovely. And I’d be wearing what amounted to a nude or black canvas tent. It was mortifying.
I’ve since remedied the issue because there’s just no excuse for it anymore – not with all the gorgeous bras with exquisite details and perfect fits available at all price points. You no longer have to face a once-every-five-year bra splurge from La Perla or Agent Provocateur (though they are the best out there – particularly Agent Provocateur). Instead, you can find bras with the same elegance and great fit by DKNY or Chantelle or On Gossamer or (my personal favorite) Elle MacPherson.
Plus, if you hit Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, or TJ Maxx, you can find them all on sale. It’s a wonderful thing.
And this, ladies of the world, concludes our bravention. Visit Macy’s for a fitting, get something gorgeous, and go proudly forth, bras blazing. Or peeking out, anyway.