logo 10 October 2019

Bras did not originate with under-the-cup-wires in them. Wires were added after World War II because of two reasons. One, the rationing on metal was lifted and two, the end of the War saw further emancipation of women. Cleavage was in. With lower cut tops and blouses in vogue, a wire was needed beneath the cups to display it more.

Jane Russell kick started the trend in an underwired bra for The Outlaw, who looks very attractive indeed on the haystack with a gun in her hand. Her practice caught on like wildfire and over the years underwired bras became a must have.But, how does the wire work?

Support in a bra comes from the volume of fabric used in the cups;
that’s why high support gym/sports bras have a lot more fabric in them than a regular bra. But a cleavage can only show through a low cut bra with reduced fabric in the cup. So, the wire is your answer!

The underwired has singularly spawned a large number of theories and in my image years in the bra world, I have concluded the following:

  • That, like everything else in moderation, an underwired bra too is great if worn once in a while. This does not mean that those who wear it on a daily basis are committing a sin. If you are comfortable in one, then do continue with it!
  • That, like a shoe that needs to be an optimum fit, the same goes for a bra. More so for an underwired.
  • That what ultimately matters in an underwired bra is the wire. It should be neither small nor big, otherwise it shall poke into you constantly and may harm your health.
  • That, in a regular bra, a size a tad tight or loose is absolutely acceptable if it is comfortble, but in an underwired bra, the wire must rest snugly against your skin, cover all your breast tissue and not protrude any higher than your breast towards your arm pit.
  • That, there is no conclusive evidence to prove that underwired bras cause cancer.
  • That, a staple strapless worth its weight in salt, has to be under-wired. Where else can it derive support from?
  • That, most underwired bras will be non-cotton because of the way the cup is cut. There are some worthwhile exceptions to this norm.
So this festive season, fall not to fashion dear readers! Chart your own course to comfort!

logo 24 October 2019

Two decades back it was diffidence on both sides: survivors of breast cancer would telephone, make appointments in advance and visit me - accompanied by their family members, while I too would greet with equal shyness the strong women who had given up a most vital part of their bodies to be able to fight back the dreaded disease.

Time flies. Now the survivors walk in more confidently.

The factors that can connect bras and breast cancer need to be pondered upon:

  • Bras must not be loose in the cups, at least not in the formative and younger years. This sometimes causes tiny lumps called fibroids in the breast.
  • Bras must not be so tight in the cups that it causes the breast to spill over from the sides, top or under. This may affect drainage from the lymph nodes since one of the largest clusters of lymph nodes is located under the armpit.
  • Underwired bras are perfectly fine if worn through correct sizing which will ensure that the size of the wire is precise: neither too high under the armpit, nor so low that it digs onto the breast below the armpit. If the size is incorrect it may constrict drainage from the lymph node in the breast bone area.
For those who have undergone mastectomy, a good, durable, value-for-money and comfortable prosthesis becomes the need of the hour.

There are primarily two kinds of prosthesis. Tthe one used in the West is made of synthetic polymers called silicone.

As with most things western we have blindly caught on to this fad too, despite it being very uncomfortable in our hot and sweaty climate.

A Silicone prosthesis is also heavy, requiring special bras and being a great source of stress for the shoulders which need to bear its weight. It may also puncture or crack with time or with pressure or sometimes by a fall.

The other simpler option is a fabric - and or foam - based prosthesis that is much economical and lighter in weight. It can be washed, aired and is generally very easy to maintain.

It absorbs sweat and doesn’t cost the earth either. Being light in weight it suits most bras too, i.e., it doesn’t need special bras to be worn into. It is far easier for breast cancer survivors because it does not stress the post-surgical shoulders.

On an average the polymer synthetic silicone type costs at least 8 to 15 times more than the type with fabric and foam.

Let’s focus on the strong, empowering and beautiful “can” in cancer.

logo 7 November 2019

What a significant time it is for a mum to start her daughter on her first bra. Ask your girl to wear a T shirt and run towards you. You will know by the movement of her chest if it’s time for her first bra. A bra is not a slip or a chemise, so let her first bra not be the one that’s called a ‘sports bra’ and is actually a slip cut off at the upper waist and bound by an elastic.

A first bra need not necessarily be a proper bra – unless you have delayed your daughter’s initiation - but it must have some semblance of a cup. A cup is a shape that’s literally defined by a seam, or gathers, so that the breasts do not lose shape. From the start.

This first bra must have hooks and eyes at the back which your daughter will learn how to fasten. Watch if she’s outgrowing these bras. The next bra must be a proper bra, firm and fit, in a fabric preferably knit, so that it can provide support to a growing body. As with a correct bra, this must not to too tight, nor too loose please.

Your daughter must be taught the right way of wearing a bra. This will stand her in excellent stead in the years to come. Ensure that she switches to a larger size when needed. Soon she will know it herself.

Mums these days ask for transparent straps or strapless bras – with lesser support than is desirable - for early and pre-teens. Most avoidable please. Your girl will go for these sooner or later so don’t introduce it to her beforehand. All it needs is some bit of pragmatic shopping for her garments for you to help her avoid transparent straps and strapless bras for as long as possible.

Underwired, seamless, fiber-filled, padded or foamed bras are a complete no-no for young girls. Given our humid climate and their tender growing bodies, the less the frills and and the more the support, the better their breast health.

Lastly, if your daughter is involved in dancing or sports, please introduce her to higher support bras that are not just aesthetically appropriate but also supportive enough to keep her breasts from untimely sagging.

Enjoy this phase. For this too shall pass by in a flash !

logo 21 November 2019

It’s a bra that has steadily crept up on the wardrobe of every woman of who wears shirts, tees or tops. It’s known by a variety of different names; sometimes seamless, at other times as a T Shirt Bra or even a padded bra.

But what exactly is a seamless bra and how do you know whether you need one?

  • Bra cups are designed with a stich or a seam running through them. The seam creates the curve of the cup. The curve holds the weight of the breast. Without the curve the cup would be a flat piece of fabric incapable of holding anything.
  • The seamless bra is a new fad, designed for thin garments in vogue these days.
  • In the older days, apparel was made of thicker material, which is why normal, seamed bras as mentioned above, sufficed. Moreover, the ‘look’ that wearers were used to then, was not that of the ultra-rounded look that’s almost becomes a fixation now.
  • In the absence of a seam, what holds the breasts is a thick, moulded cup.
  • The thicker the moulded portion the better the rounded shape.
  • A seamless bra without the moulding inside the cup is totally useless in holding up a breast; in fact such a bra may contribute to sagging
  • A seamless bra too requires a good fit like any other regular bra.
  • The moulded up of the seamless bra prevents the nipples from showing up in a colder temperature.
  • Despite the positives, the greatest problem of a seamless bra is the fact that the moulded cups are non-cotton.
  • The synthetic cup generates heat in a humid climate.
  • Seamless bras are not to be confused with fibre filled bras which do not have moulded cups in them; the fibre filling in them is healthy and prevents nipples from showing.
  • A seamless bra needs special care during washing. Heat damages the moulding so no soaking in hot water.
  • One good wringing is enough to de-shape or crack or weaken the moulding so no wringing at all please. Only a gentle pressing of the moulding to squeeze out the water is enough. Hangar or line-dry.
  • Seamless bras naturally take longer to dry.
Be careful not to overdo it if your garment does not need a seamless bra. After all, in a humid hot climate caring for your skin is far more precious than blindly sporting a fad or a look!

logo 21 November 2019

To show, or not to show And if to show, how much to show And that which you do show Was it meant to be on show?

This, in a nutshell, is the story of the bra straps. Opinions vary. Reasons on either side abound with such strength of conviction that the only way I can rest my case is by the reminder that a bra is still classified as innerwear. And so, in the realms of the inner it ought to be, unless the wearer has the panache to not be embarrassed, and of course, to not embarrass others either.

So, what is it that we need to know about when to show, when not to show?

  • Standard straps, elastic or cotton, are a no-no in many milieus. Even if we may be able to carry their showing-off with élan, the embarrassment of the others that may end up embarrassing us instead. So, before you decide whether to fling those straps into worldview, pause and think of where you’re going and how you’re getting there. Having a sense of propriety is a matter of personal choice, so exercise it wisely.
  • If you must show off the straps ensure that they are either the see through variety or the ornamental variety made of metal, fabrics, pearl or bling.
  • When using any of the above, ensure that you are carrying a replacement in your purse. I cannot overstress this point. There is absolutely nothing more mortifying than a snapped strap.
  • When buying see through straps,ensure that they are stable. These straps are made of plastic and can snap in no time; thus good quality matters. The higher your cup size the greater the risk of your fancy straps snapping since the appeal of these straps lies in how they look and not how they perform.
  • Avoid the completely transparent kind since they are like mirrors on your shoulders; all gleamy and shiny, screaming for the very attention that was to be avoided in the first place.
  • A muted, slightly translucent variety (in picture) goes very well with Indian skin tones. Opt for it.
  • Beware of buying ornamental straps. Most of them are support-less, and what’s more, they hurt like hell, with little bits of bling poking the soft shoulder area.
  • Expect very little support from fancy straps. Know that the way you look in a bra with normal straps is quite different from how you will look in a bra with fancy straps. Only those who are very small built can wear fancy straps without looking changed in any way.
Devoid of newer fashion fads, the West is now trying to prove that bras are blouses. Just think, how would it be if men wore see through pants? Gotcha!!