Happy Friday, my friends! Just like that, we’re back for another round of #TryOnConfidential! I truly was blown away with the response from the previous week. In case you missed it, you can check out the stories here and supporting blog post here. Nonetheless, it made me realize how LITTLE knowledge there is out there about how to wear undergarments, where to buy them and so much more. Which is why I’m back again speaking about it because I feel like there are so many unanswered questions. Truth be told, I am still learning but I’m happy to be here, alongside you all, figuring it out together. I’ve compiled all of your questions into a three page document and decided to tackle your most frequently asked questions in today’s IGTV video and below.
LET’S START WITH BRAS
In case you’re new around here, I’ve been working in the modeling industry for close to 10+ years now. You can read how I got started here. Throughout my experience, I’ve worked closely with lingerie brands which ignited my passion for helping other women find their proper fit. Did you know 8/10 women are wearing the wrong size? I want to help change that statistic. I recently put together a Bra FAQ post but will revisit some questions here.
How do I know if my bra isn’t fitting properly?
Did you know that your support comes from the band, not the straps? The center wire (called the gore) should be laying flat against your chest, the band should be snug. If you’re getting red marks on your shoulders, your bra does not fit. If your breast tissue is spilling out of the top of the cup or there is gaping between you and the cup, your bra does not fit. Sound familiar? It’s time for a bra fitting. You can also check out a video I did about proper fitting bras here.
Where do I get fitted for a bra?
Bra fitting is truly a professional skill. There is nothing like getting fitted for a bra in person but someone who is truly knowledgable. My top suggestions would be Nordstrom (they go through an intensive bra training process) or a bra specialty store in your town. I do not recommend anywhere else, especially in the mall (talking about you, VS). If you’re in Buffalo, I’d highly recommend Lace & Day.
If you can’t get to a store, grab a tape measure and check out these resources that I have found helpful: A Bra That Fits - Bra Size Calculator - Wacoal Bra Size Finder
What’s a bra fitting like?
Fittings may vary from store to store however truly experienced fitters will never measure you. They may take a glance at you fully clothed or ask to see what kind of bra you’re currently wearing. They may bring you a bra to try on- this will help them determine your size, breast shape and help you figure out what type of bra / size you should be wearing. Fittings should feel comfortable and be professional with ZERO obligation to purchase anything. Be open to trying and don’t be shy- this is their job and they are there to HELP! If you’re not feeling the vibes or had a bad experience in the past, try again at a new place. Which leads me to…
What if I’ve been properly fitted but I don’t love what I’ve been fitted in?
If there is ANYTHING I can teach you about fashion, undergarments, life, etc… it’s if at first you do not succeed, try, try again. Look, what works for me MAY NOT work for you- AND THAT IS OKAY! We are all different. However, this does not give you an excuse to “give up” because you got fitted once and didn’t like what you got. It’s time to get back in the saddle and realize there are TONS of styles meant for all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes you just need to work a little harder to find but I promise, there is a solution for you.
How many bras should I have?
I’m probably not the best person to ask, I have an overflowing drawer full of them! (ha!) However, if you’re starting your bra collection from scratch, I’d say 3-4 would be ideal. I’ve heard you’re supposed to have a bra for every day of the week, rotating them frequently so they don’t wear down quickly. Pro tip: be sure you’re washing your bras after every or every other wear. This helps make them last longer, I use this detergent and wash all of my bras, underwear and shape wear together in one load on delicate and then hang dry.
How often should I replace them?
If you’re taking good care of your bras, washing them frequently and rotating them, they will last you awhile. Sure, I definitely favor some bras more than others so some will show signs of wear more than others. It really depends on how the fabric is holding up (another reason why I like to invest) and wires are in tact (not poking out).
If I get measured, how do I know if it’s the same size at another store?
Unfortunately there are not a lot of “standards” when it comes to bra sizing, especially in the US. However, from my understanding brands may fall into these sizing categories: Australian, France, UK, European, Japan, and US. Many of the brands that I share are UK brands like Elomi, Panache and Figleaves, which I’ve become favorable to because I’m able to bounce between them and feel confident that I can find my fit. In Elomi, I wear a 36FF (UK) which translates to 14FF (AU), 95H (FR), 80H (EU), 80I (JP), and a 36H in US sizing.
When you’re being fitted, be sure to ask what size you’re being put in and what brand. This will help you figure out how to work within brands, If you need help converting sizes, check out this resource here.
How do you know what bra to wear with the right top?
FACT: 1 bra will not be the best option for every single item in your wardrobe. For example, you may need a molded cup for a smooth look underneath a t-shirt. However, if you’re rocking a low cut dress or top, you may want something with a low gore like this. If you like racerback styles, you may want to try a bra with a J-Hook (a hook that allows the straps to connect) like this one. I’ve personally grown to love “cut + sewn” styles. Unlike a molded cup that is usually made of one piece of foam formed like the shape of a breast, a cut and sewn is made up of two or three separate pieces of fabric that are sewn together to create a supportive cup. The bra is usually softer and more versatile. Instead of the bra shaping your breast, your breast shapes the bra to give you a more natural-looking, yet uplifted silhouette without the gapping you can sometimes get with a molded bra. Maybe none of the styles I mentioned will work for you, maybe all of them will! You just need to experiment and be open.
In case you missed it: Sports Bra Recommendations + my favorite strapless bra
Coming soon: Comfy bra suggestions + Bralettes
AND NOW UNDERWEAR
What’s your favorite underwear for being wedgie free?
I’ve shared these underwear MANY times, most recently here. They have a patented Vanishing Edge technology with stay-put silicone at the leg openings keeps panties in place WITHOUT panty lines. They come in a bunch of different styles and fabrics. Shop them all here!
What’s the best underwear to wear while working out?
The same underwear that I love comes in a cotton blend, these are my favorite to wear working out.
Best underwear for tummy control?
My favorite underwear also comes in a Vanishing Tummy option. It has light/moderate support- great for everyday, comfortable wear with just a little bit of that “held in” feeling.
Your favorite underwear only runs up to a size 16/18, do you have any more plus size recommendations?
LASTLY, SHAPE WEAR
Does good shape wear have to cost money?
I personally believe in investing in your undergarments from bras to underwear to shape wear, it’s something you wear everyday and sets a good foundation for your clothes to look and feel better... which leads to a more confident you. However, it’s all based on your preference. I personally really like Spanx, I feel like their stuff is quality, lasts a long time and fits me well. They know I love them so I reached out and they enabled the code “CARALYN10” for 10% off your purchase, just for my readers! How nice is that?!
Are you embarrassed to wear shape wear front of others?
As I mentioned, I’ve been a model / changing in front of people for almost a decade. My modesty has left me a few years ago. I know some people can feel insecure but there’s really nothing to be ashamed about. If it makes you feel good in your clothes, why not wear it?
How often do you wear it? Everyday or only special occasions?
In the spring and summer months, I’ll wear it 2-3 times a week. I’ll wear it with everyday dresses, special occasion dresses, jumpsuits. There’s no right or wrong time to wear it, it’s really all about your preference/ your comfort level. In case you missed, I shared my favorite chafe balm here!
Are there lightweight options?
YES! You’d be surprised how far shape wear has evolved. As I’ve mentioned, I really like Spanx and they have 3 levels of support which I will be wear testing soon: Level 1 Smooth (a light hug), Level 2 Shape (a firm hug) and Level 3 Sculpt (a super firm hug). I’ve worn level 3 and level 2- the fabrics really do vary. Check out the photo below for comparisons.
How should it really fit? If in between sizes, should I size up or down?
You should feel held in, but you should be able to breathe. Your size really depends on your preference and how comfortable you feel. I personally like the feeling of being held in so if I was in between sizes, I would size down.
What does going to the bathroom really look like?
In every style I’ve showed, there’s a discreet little panel that you can pull to the side and use the restroom with ease. I promise, it’s not weird or difficult! I did it on my wedding day- worked like a charm!
Coming soon: comparing different shape wear, shaping cami/ everyday wear suggestions
OKAY, ONE MORE TIP ABOUT FASHION TAPE:
How do you use fashion tape?
You can use to keep straps secured and on plunging necklines to keep clothing in place. You don’t have to stick fabric to skin, it can be fabric to fabric as well. If you have a bra that is likely to be seen as clothing shifts you can tape the clothing to the bra. If you are wearing a button shirt and it’s gaping open you can attach a small piece of fashion tape and use it to secure between the buttons. Pants too long? You can always fold up your cuff and tape it in between trips to the tailor. Shop it here.