Mon | Jan 21, 2019

The perfect fit with La Belle Femme

Published:Monday | May 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie

"Maybe if I pulled the straps a little tighter, I would get a better lift."

"The band is too high and everything feels so tight and uncomfortable."

"Why are we forced to wear these unbearable contraptions? Isn't our time of the month enough?"

"Bras are society's way of controlling women and we need to be liberated. Say no to bras!"

How many of you would agree with the previous statements? Now, how many can admit that they have problems finding the right bra size? Approximately 99 per cent of women are currently wearing the wrong sized bra and are content with getting a close enough fit. Women are wearing bras that lack support, comfort and even shape, which over time lead to sagging, back problems, and ill-fitted clothing.

According to bra expert Donalda Reid, owner of La Belle Femme, a well-fitting bra is one in which all of the breast tissue has been swooped and scooped into the cup; the underwire surrounds but does not sit on the breast tissue. "When you put your bra on you need to anchor the bottom of the bra and move all of your breast tissue forward and up into the cup," explained Reid.

Reid indicated that one of the telltale signs that a woman is wearing the wrong size is when she complains about the underwire. The underwire should be resting between the breasts (flat against the sternum or breastbone in the front). This is called 'tacking', and then behind and under the breasts at the sides and bottom. All breast tissue comfortably within the frame of the underwire.




The band of the bra should be snug around your rib cage and not riding up at the back. It is the band that provides roughly 85 per cent of your support so it is important that it is snug. If you are tightening your shoulder straps to get the support, it is another symptom the bra does not fit.

"You should be able to slide two fingers comfortably between your shoulders and the straps," stated Reid.

The lifestyle of your bra is highly dependent on how well you care for it. "Depending on how you care for your bras and how many you have to rotate, bras can last for years without needing to be replaced (although you should be refit once a year to ensure that you are the same size," she explained. There are many factors that can affect breast size. These include weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy, weaning and menopause, just to name a few.

To help keep your bras lasting there are a few simple things to do.

Always do your bra up at the back so that the casing of the underwire sits in is not worn out. Doing your bra up at the front and 'spinning' it around to the back is the number one cause of underwires coming out.

Never wear the same bra two days in a row. It doesn't allow the stretch in the band enough time to recover. And wash your bras with care. Hand-washing is recommended by many manufacturers.

It is suggested that every woman needs at least six bras, which will include different styles, including strapless. However, if you cannot afford to purchase that many good-quality bras at once, if you take good care of the ones you have you can make do with three or four.




La Belle Femme carries over 120 different sizes of bras with band sizes from 28-46 and cup sizes A to K (No, the bra alphabet doesn't end at DD, and DD is actually smaller than average here in Jamaica, where the most common cup size is FF).

"We carry about twelve styles of strapless bras, three styles of encapsulation sports bras, about four styles of nursing bras, plus dozens and dozens of everyday and special occasion styles from about ten different brands, including Panache, Curvy Kate, Curvy Couture, Natori, Felina, Cake Maternity, Tutti Rouge, Dear Scantilly Wacoal and Parfait. The number fluctuates as we add to our offerings based on the needs of our clients," explained Reid.

Every woman should have at least four styles in her wardrobe: a balconnet for comfort and support, particularly if she is fuller breasted; a T-Shirt or smooth cup (which typically are made for women with G or smaller cup sizes; a strapless bra (and yes, virtually every woman can wear a truly supportive strapless bras, it is all about the correct fit); a sports bra and a plunge bra for lower necklines.

The best way to know your bra size is with a fitting by a bra fit specialist. La Belle Femme offers a highly personalized service as well as education as they fit. "Every woman's breasts are unique, as are her requirements in a bra," said Reid.

Visit La Belle Femme, the Premier Destination for Lingerie in Jamaica, at 53 Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston. Call 876-622-6091 email or view their collections on Facebook or instagram @labellefemmeja for more information.