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How can your bra impact your wellbeing?

From the perfect fit to open conversation, Curvy Kate talks cup size and confidence.

Curvy Kate is the lingerie and swimwear brand that’s known for celebrating the female form. For all shapes and sizes they’re all about having fun with underwear and swimwear that actually supports us and looks great at the same time. Everything they do hinges on the perfect fit, so the lovely Katie explained to us how to get the perfect fit from your bra or bikini, and how our underwear can impact our confidence, comfort and wellbeing.

How does our underwear impact how we feel?

I think the conversation around underwear has really changed in recent years and women are happier to talk about it, ask questions and say what they like or don’t. That said, it can still be an area where lots of women lack confidence and feel-good-factor. We want to change that because underwear should be fun but it also has a big impact on how you see yourself, how you feel about yourself, and also how comfortable you are each day.

A lot of women think lingerie should always be sexy, especially if it's for someone else. However, the definition of ‘sexy’ is often pretty limited - we tend to think of red lace and things. That is great if that’s what you like and what makes you feel good, but it might also be a beige lace bra or a simple bralette. Sexiness comes from being comfortable and feeling good about yourself.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about bra size?

A lot of us go for a bra fitting in our teens and then think our bra size is something that stays the same for years. We actually believe you should go for a bra fitting every six months - almost like a health check up. It might be that your size stays the same, or it might fluctuate a bit. 

Equally, the style that worked for you when you were 20 might not feel right at 40. Our bodies and our boobs change over the years - women have babies, have hormone changes and their personalities evolve. At Curvy Kate we also think you should have a range of bra shapes and types - you might want to wear one type when you’re on your period, another for evenings out etc. 

I think because they generally go underneath our clothes, women often underestimate the importance of their bra, or think that it’s something they shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on. However, what you wear underneath has a big impact on how your clothes fit and how you feel as you head out into the world each day. 

The conversation around underwear has really changed and women are much more open. For example, The Big Tittie Committee is an online space promoting healthy discussions about the way we think about our boobs. It was started by Hari Beavis and now has over 80,000 followers - it’s a really safe space for women.

So, how do you make sure your bra fits perfectly?

When it comes to finding a perfectly fitting bra, always speak to a professional rather than doing it at home. At Curvy Kate we have an online bra fitting service and a questionnaire, which are great, although I always think an in-person fitting is best. Retailers like Bravissimo are amazing.

That said, there are five key steps to checking whether your bra fits perfectly:

Always check the back band

This is the bit that’s measured 32, 34, 36 etc. You should have two finger tension, which means you can pull it away from your back by about two fingers. 80% of bra support comes from your back band - it is what lifts your boobs, not your straps - and it supports your posture.

Underwires

These should reach right around the breast tissue, all the way into the armpit area. Make sure that when you press them down it’s onto bone rather than breast tissue. Try our move scoop and swoop technique when you put your bra on to make sure it’s in place correctly. The scoop and swoop is also a good way to get to know boobs. We have a partnership with Coppafeel and feel it’s really important to build that positive relationship with your breasts. If you get to understand how they look each day and how they change over the month, if something doesn't feel normal anymore you can  hopefully act more quickly.

Discover the scoop and swoop.

Check the front of your bra

Make sure that the front centre of your bra, where underwires meet, sits against the breast bone without any gaps or gaping wires. It should be gentle but secure - it should feel like a hug - you know it’s there but it’s not tight.

Check the cup

So many women deal with double-boobing and we've been led to believe it's normal but it happens when the bra cup is too small. You can eliminate it by ensuring your cup size is correct. If you're seeing double-boob, go up a cup size rather than increasing the size of your back band, which is what a lot of us do.

Now onto the straps

I see a lot of women who can pull their bra straps up to their ears, but you should only be able to put two fingers under the strap and lift it about an inch when it’s on. The sliders shouldn’t be any higher than your armpit either - so your straps shouldn’t be digging in.

Then wear it with confidence. 

Obviously leading on from underwear is swimwear - what’s your suggestion for spa breakers who want to feel confident?

Swimwear is interesting because where underwear is either chosen not to be seen by other people or just one other person, swimwear is seen by lots of people - by the pool or on the beach. We tend to worry more about support - not falling out if we jump into the water and feeling safe in what we’re wearing but also wanting to look and feel good.

Our Rhapsody swimsuit and bikini is perfect for this because you can wrap it in different ways and it has an inbuilt strapless bra. You don’t get that mono boob problem - it separates and lifts like a proper bra - it’s one of my top pieces. 

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Do you have any final tips for women shopping for bras and swimwear?

  1. If you are anxious about bra fitting, virtual bra fittings can be a good option for you because it feels less intrusive.
  2. Try to go every six months to check you’re still wearing the right size - you will feel more comfortable or it’s a nice excuse to treat yourself to something new.
  3. If you are shopping online for bras, try them on at home and put your clothes on to see what they look like.
  4. Don't pigeonhole yourself to one style - different bras go with different outfits.
  5. Educate yourself by talking to the right people and opening the conversation with people you trust.
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