What you need to know before you say “Yes” to the dress!
Welcome to the Bra~vo Blog! A little introduction…
Hello, and welcome back to the Bra~vo Blog! Whether you are a devout Bra~vo Believer who is interested in bulking up on her bra knowledge, or are a Bra~vo Beauty in waiting: this is a blog that all those who read it should keep in their back pocket! With longer days and warmer weather on the way, Spring is just around the corner. This is the time of year that memories are made and milestones are reached; Senior Prom and High School graduation are right around the corner, and that highly anticipated wedding day is getting closer and closer. I’d like to take this as an opportunity to take a note from Shakespear’s “Julius Caesar” and tell you to beware the ides of March… and dresses that were designed for undergarments that don’t exist (or are poorly manufactured!).
What to know before you say “Yes!” to the dress…
We won’t be getting into what the 2023 TikTok inspired Fashion Trends will be, instead we’ll use the pieces I know every woman has in her wardrobe as examples: does that dress with a deep plunging neckline sound familiar? How about that spaghetti strap sundress? Or even strapless? Not sounding familiar? How about a dress that’s completely backless? Still not sounding familiar? Okay, how about this: everyone seems to own a dress that hugs their curves maybe a bit more than what we’d like. Sounds right? I can work with that.
Here’s the thing with these styles, and don’t misunderstand me, they’re cute, they’re great, but they’re designed for bodies that either don’t exist or have been heavily edited! More importantly, as women, when we purchase these feel-good dresses, we think there’s a bra out there that can meet all of our requirements, when in reality a supportive, properly fitted bra that can do everything doesn’t quite exist (and if you find it, marry it and then message me!).
Regardless of what you’re looking for, or what dresses you plan on wearing this season, there are a few things you need to know, and yes, they’re about your undergarments.
What goes up must come down…
Let’s talk about how a bra actually supports the weight of your watermelons (or apples… or grapefruits). As I share with all of my Bra~vo Believers, and Fitters-in-Training, a majority of your support comes from an underband that fits snugly around the body, and low against the back; your bras underband should be parallel to the floor if you look in a mirror. Your underband should feel like a firm hug against your body, it needs to have a rubber band like fit and feel to ensure the weight of your breast tissue doesn’t move from your underband to your straps. Don’t fret though, your underband is like a new pair of shoes! Your bra will loosen up and get larger with wear-and-tear. Your straps offer you maybe less than 10% of your support, their primary function is to just keep the cups upright and against your body. When you start hiking up the hardware of your straps (aka tightening your straps) you’re not really lifting your breast tissue, you’re just shortening the circumference of the arm strap, thus ensuring your underband rises up your back.
What’s the issue with this? What comes up must come down. As your underband shifts and moves up your back, your cups and your breast tissue starts to take a vacation down south. When that happens, we lose all of that support we so desperately need and strive to have.
Have you ever seen one of those little older ladies with the discolored, deep grooves in their shoulders, typically where their bra straps are? It’s because they’re wearing an underband that is too big for their frame, so it shifts up their back, their breast tissue falls forward, and suddenly they’re depending on their bra straps and shoulders to support the weight of that breast tissue versus their underband.
Okay, why was that last part important?
That last part was important to know because your bra has to find a home on your body, and with so many of these dresses having cutouts in the back, off the shoulder and/or plunging necklines, you ladies have to know that depending on your bra size there might not be a bra out there that can be concealed by the dress! But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some suggestions that might work out…
Bras, bras, bras… oh, and more bras
Depending on what dresses you have in your arsenal, or what style of dress you end up looking for or fall in love with, I’ve compiled a list of bras that could work for you!
- Panache EnvyThe Panache envy is a great mid-coverage bra with a bit of a sweetheart neckline. This style is unlined, meaning it has absolutely zero foam lining, and seamed (check out our last blog here!) with a 4-part cup. The seaming and paneling of this style provides excellent visual uplift with just the right amount of forward projection, offering those who wear it great depth and dimension. It’ll make you look like you’ve had work done without paying for the work!
This style is perfect for lightweight summer dresses that have a thicker strap, or sleeve! Just be cautious of your neckline! This bra is perfect for outfits that have a nice, open sweetheart neckline. Avoid anything with a severe plunge!
- Sculptresse Estel I try not to have favorites, but the Estel has a very special place in my heart. This style’s lace is relatively flat, so you won’t have to worry about it showing up under a thin blouse or dress. However, it is seamed and because this style is meant to support a larger, dense breast, the seams are quite overt and it is possible that they show-through in a thinner material. This style has an excellent wing fabric though; if you’re someone who is prone to their underband flipping and rolling up, Sculptresse bras are designed to fit snugly into the contours of our body.
This style is perfect for a sweater dress, or a dress that’s made from a slightly thicker blend! Again, be aware of the neckline: this would be perfect for any type of dress that has a collar, or a squared off, sweetheart neckline. Avoid dresses with moderate to severe plunges with this style unless you’re okay with a little something-something peeking through! This style is great for dresses that cling to the skin a bit more because of the smoothing control the bra’s underband provides!
- Elomi Bijou This style was easily one of my go-to’s when I was a newer Bra Fitter for Bra~vo intimates. This low coverage style doesn’t have the most severe plunge, but the plunging neckline on this style is still deep enough to work with a deep-cut neckline without making us feel like we’re going to have a wardrobe malfunction. Now, this style is considered to be a Contoured T-Shirt bra, so this is one of the denser foam linings available for T-Shirt bras; the shape this allows for is often uniform and round, but is almost meant to help create shape to breast tissue. This is excellent if you’re someone who has lost a bit of top volume, or is low-breasted like myself because it will give us the illusion of carrying breast tissue where we normally wouldn’t.
This style is perfect for any dress that has a halter neckline, just connect your J-Hook to conceal your straps and voila! You now have a bra with that traditional, sought-after “racerback” style! The Bijou is perfect for dresses that have a moderate to severe plunge, or wrap dresses that show off a bit more action! It’s also great for lightweight blends because it will provide a seamless fit!
- Fantasie AuraThis is a full coverage Contoured T-Shirt Bra with one of the most unique shapes that this category of bra has to offer. As I previously mentioned, T-Shirt bras often offer a shape that is uniform and around, and while the Aura is still uniform and around, it offers a dramatic level of visual uplift and forward projection. This is great for those ladies that want forward projection and are interested in enhancing their silhouette from the front and side-profile. Will give you a very similar smooth, polished finish, but works better with outfits that have a more conservative neckline. Much like the Elomi Bijou, the Aura has an adjustable J-Hook, so any outfits or dresses that have a halter neckline, you could easily use to conceal your straps for a seamless finish.
The Aura is perfect for dresses that cling to your form, or are crafted from a lightweight blend that may require a smoother finish. Avoid styles that have a moderate to severe plunge, as this is a fuller coverage bra.
- Fantasie Aura Strapless Do you enjoy the shape and coverage of the Fantasie “Aura” but need it as a strapless? We’ve got you covered (literally). It’s the exact same frame, so whatever size you would wear in strapped Aura is what I would recommend you purchase or wear for the Aura Strapless. Keep in mind that because this is strapless, your underband is going to run a bit firmer than usual. That’s okay! The alternative is wearing a strapless bra that you’ll have to pull up every couple of minutes and who wants to spend their night out on the town doing the bra shimmy for most of it?
Much like it’s T-Shirt Bra counterpart, the Aura Strapless is perfect for dresses or off-the-shoulder shirts that require a smoother, more polished finish. Because this style is strapless, you have a little bit more leeway with your neckline; it offers perfect top-cup containment for those that seek it, and is great for anything that has a lower cut or sweetheart neckline. Still, it is a fuller coverage bra, try to avoid anything that plunges too low.
- Sculptresse Dana The Sculptresse Dana is a full coverage strapless bra with a nice sweetheart neckline. This strapless bra has been designed and created for the fuller-figured, fuller-busted guest who struggles to find a strapless bra that can support the volume of her bust. Note that because it has been designed with that fuller bust in mind, it is seamed (remember, seams are our friends!), but the seaming has been done rather covertly, so it will offer you a relatively smoother finish in whatever it is you decide to wear.
This strapless is perfect for sleeveless dresses that have a moderate plunge, or a sweetheart neckline. If your dress clings to your figure, this strapless bra is a nice, wide underband that will help smooth things out in the back. With multiway-straps, you can wear the Dana for a multitude of neckline options, whether it be for a nice summer dress or a wrap-blouse.
Your body is a blank canvas…
The human body is a work of art, some are pieces that are still in progress, some have completed their work, but your body is yours to do whatever you want with. If you’re someone who is happy in just a bra and panties, do your thing! More power to ya! For those of us who are looking to smooth down some of our curves, or accentuate our figure, may I suggest some shapewear?
- Chantelle Lace Shapewear High Waist Pant
This is a piece I purchased because as a pear-shaped shapewear fanatic, I loved the idea of having a piece of shapewear that would lift what my mother gave me and not look noticeable. As someone who carries a bulk of their weight in their lower tummy and thighs, anytime I try shapewear with thigh coverage you can always see it digging into my thighs through trousers or skirts, so I’ve always stayed away from it as a result. This piece though has become a staple in my wardrobe, and I’m looking to bulk up on it in a different color very soon. It smooths out my thighs and doesn’t flip, dig or roll up. Some pros to this piece are:
- Mid-thigh coverage that doesn’t dig or ride up.
- Medium control so it will smooth out lumps and bumps without feeling like a contraption around the body.
- Offers an invisible look and is completely comfortable.
- Shapes your thighs and lifts your rear.
- Chantelle Basic Shaping High Waist Mid-Thigh Brief
I’ve been interested in shapewear for as long as I can remember, I would consider myself to be a bit of a fanatic when it comes to this type of foundation wear. This style, at least when I first started off at Bra~vo, really managed to intimidate me! It was like a scuba suit. For years I wanted to try on this piece, but was afraid to do so, and let me tell you: its bark is worse than its bite. This shapewear is a journey to get in to, but if you’re looking for something that is going to give you maximum control and smooth you out, this is the piece for you. Remember, if you want a new shape, especially with shapewear, you can’t put yourself in a size that’s too big otherwise you’ll lose that control, and will experience your shapewear rolling down! Don’t get overzealous though, putting yourself into shapewear that’s too small won’t smooth you out or give you the control you’re looking for either. Some pros to this piece are:
- Silicone waistband that doesn’t dig into the skin, but stays in place.
- Mid-thigh control that will help smooth you out.
- Seamless, invisible look that is perfect for even the thinnest of materials.
- Firm control.
The key to shapewear is finding your correct size. If there is a size chart provided, start off by trying on their recommendation. Remember, every style will vary based on brand, and firmness! If you find that the recommended size is rolling down, this could indicate that it’s too big! Try sizing down.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that wearing shapewear in several sizes smaller than what you need will do the trick either, unfortunately it won’t leave us the smooth, polished look we were looking for! Skin will always move in the path of least resistance, and if you’re putting yourself in shapewear that’s too small, all of your skin will move to one end or the other. `
If you’re interested in creating a personalized shape that you just aren’t seeming to get out of shapewear, try experimenting with multiple pieces! One of my favorite combinations is wearing my Chantelle Lace Shapewear pant, and then sliding on my TC Shape away high waisted brief. For my body shape, which is a steady combination between pear and hourglass, the Chantelle Lace Shapewear will help smooth out my thighs and lift my rear, it will help smooth out my lumps and bumps, but I want my waist cinched in – this is wear my TC Shape away comes in!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your shapewear, and if you’re purchasing shapewear for a specific occasion, bring the outfit that you plan on wearing! And remember, if you want to look like you’ve had work done without paying for the work, your shapewear might not go on like Cinderella’s slipper, but it should feel like it once you have it on!
If you haven’t said “Yes!” to the dress yet, I highly recommend professing your love to your foundation wear first. It will save you a lot of time and heart-ache, especially if you find yourself in a position where you now own this beautiful dress, but can’t seem to find a bra or shapewear that goes with it. Now, there are always alternate routes you and your Bra Fitter can explore like Breast Tape and adhesives, but from my experience in the fitting room, it’s not a route that is kindly taken to. If by writing this blog I’ve inspired you to do anything, it would be to get an updated Bra Fitting and to try something new.
To book an appointment for your very own Bra~vo Experience visit our website and arrange an appointment there or call us at 248-582-7286. Click here to contact us and book your bra fitting appointment. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with our blogs, fitting tips and beautiful new bras!