Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sewing for a stranger that is YOU... let's talk FOUNDATIONS Part1

Foundations...yes as in under garments.

In a building the foundation is that starting point for the entire construction process. It is the heart of a building, provides for it's strength and stability as well as the basis for its style. It is not so much different in fashion either.

Bras and panties can make or break a garment. It is that simple. Want to look great? Get great foundation garments. I am going to break this into two separate posts, top and bottom if you will.

So...before my weight loss I was wearing a 48H bra. Once upon a time, a long time ago I had *normal* breasts...a LONG time ago. It seems with each child I went up another cup size and STAYED there. It made no difference how long I nursed they just never.went.away. I thought I had gone down to a semi normal size. I definitely did not fill out my formerly nice t shirt bras and digging through the bra drawer I did find an old 44DD that I could stuff myself into for a minimized look. I was hopeful I was going to be able to walk into any department store and find bras again in the 20-40 dollar range. So hopeful.

I knew prior to making a new wardrobe I needed to be sized...properly. I needed a bra that put the girls up where they belong, didn't flatten me and would allow me to measure properly for pattern sizing. I made a plan with my hubby to get a kid free trip into the city so that I could concentrate on getting some under fashions. Let's face it, it is not the most enjoyable of tasks but it certainly need not be a bad experience either.

I began at my old "plus sized clothing" haunt. There the gal whipped out a tape measure and threw it around me right on the floor. Over my clothes and all. She exclaimed "Oh! I am not sure I can fit you." Really? I  used to buy my bras here... I KNOW my breasts are WAY smaller...I tried a couple on and knew I could get better service. I still had two different options planned and was not going to settle. Next morning I went to Sears. Yes, I had an overnight in a hotel alone!. Usually Sears has a nice older lady who fits bras...she was not to be found. I grabbed a 44DDD off the rack and was not happy with the fit. Seems "uderarm boobs" are going to be my nemesis..... <sigh>

I finally went looking for a specialty bra shop that I got my HUGE nursing bras from. Turns out they had closed down and that is why I spent 40 minutes driving around and posting on FB a plea to find it. I had one more option...the "other" specialty bra place. It was fancier and more expensive and had less selection for nursing bras way back when, but I headed there.

I am SO GLAD that I did!

I walked in and immediately asked "What size do you go up to?" The lady replied with "I have you covered dear, we go to a P." P?????? Holy, ok.

She took me to a large fitting room, asked if I had been fitted before (yes) and explained her usual procedure and to please not be uncomfortable. I told her my concerns, where I had been at bra size wise (48H), that I had recently lost 40 lbs and have lots of weird jiggly places and no longer fit my bras and what size old bra (44DD)I had stuffed myself into.

She measured and congratulated me on my weight loss and disclosed she had lost 65 lbs herself and that she "got it". I think a brick lifted off my shoulder right then. She explained that the jiggly underarm boob stuff will move forward into the breast tissue in time. Then she told me to be PROUD. I had gone from a 48 band to a 42! Yay! I thought! That is "normal"....aka that is easily found in retail outlets.

Then I saw it....starting me in the mirror....

....isn't it so true?

Next up she says remember the alphabet is just does not define you. She tells me she thinks my cup is a H. DEFEAT....I am no longer "normal" again...oh correction....retail, non specialty shopping is gone again. Selection is gone. Choices are gone. She must have seen my shoulders slump.

" have gone down 4 band sizes...that is HUGE! You have done SO MUCH work. Every band size you go down, your cup increases one. So yes, your old cup was a H in a 48. That would make you a L in your current band HAVE done well!" Hmmmmm.....I am not quite convinced. She promises me she will find a bra that will make me look and feel AMAZING. IN my head I run through the alphabet... L, M, N, O ,PPPPPPP.

We start trying on bras. She is right there with the next one hanging it in front of me and adjusting things in the back while I put the girls in the cups up front. Some fit ok, others we try a different size (cup smaller or band bigger) and then we finally start finding a couple of brands who's styling and cups fit ME...MY shape, MY size. They are comfortable. They look good. The underarm breasts are minimized or gone. The bra does not move all over the place when I raise my arms. The bottom of the breast does not poke out, the band is flush against my skin. The brands are Felina, and Elomi. They are both European, German and French I think. there is an exciting arrangement and array of styles, COLORS and prints!

The girls are up where they belong!!!  She narrowed it down to 6 or so. A nude, a couple blacks, a red satin number (shown here in blue), and a couple "animal print", one pink the other brown. She left me to ponder and retry any I wanted to make a decision. I looked and felt best in the brown animal print. While I had never had one, I KNEW it was going home with me. She assured me it would only show through under the tight white shirts it was a pretty chocolate color not a deep black. It had a beautiful smooth cup so I knew it was going to be good for t shirts.  Next I was thinking to get a light bra as well. White or nude. When it came down to it though, it was not my favorite, rather it was the least of the group so it went to the no go pile. Red satin with hearts or a black....I decided on one of the Felina blacks.

I knew these were pricey and as I am continuing on my weight loss did not want to get too many. She assured me I had room to go down in the bands and these should do for a bit. She made a customer card for me with exactly what worked for future reference, went over care instructions and congratulated me once again.

I left the store knowing I had had great customer service and had my girls well looked after now. My wallet was much lighter, but a good fitting bra is an INVESTMENT IN YOU.


Now an assignment.

Every lady who reads this post. I want each of you to go to your yellow pages and find out your local specialty bra shop if you do not already know it. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT and get a FITTING.
I am not saying you need to spend a fortune there but you do need a proper fitting. EVERY woman does. Do that for YOU. These are where the best fitters are found. The ladies that KNOW their stuff and can best assist you hands down.  At least, be aware of what size you should be looking at and learn what makes for a well fitting bra and how it feels. We change as we age, after children and as we loose (or gain) weight. Have the knowledge so that even if you are able to buy off the shelf at a "big box" yourself, you know what is and is not working for you and look and feel great.

Now  for assignment 2. FYI, I am also doing this tomorrow when hubby is on afternoons and will update this post with photos. Go to your bra drawer and empty it on your bed.
  • Remove all the nursing bras if you are no longer nursing.
  • Remove all the bras that are missing one or both under-wires
  • Look at the backs...are they all stretched out and practically see through? Ditch it.
  • Try on the remaining bras...
    • got bubbles and bumps at the nipple...toss it
    • does it sit against your rib cage below the breast...yes, ok; no, put in the toss pile.
    • is it over 5 years old? you KNOW what you need to do.
    • is the top of the cup "empty" or does the cup cut into your tissue and give you extra breasts?...sing it...TOSS!
What are you left with? Anything?

Please do this for yourself. I now have 2 bras in my drawer. Yes, they are 42H. Yes, I had a mini crisis over that. YES!!! I feel and look great in them though! I also now know I can move forward in creating a wardrobe that will look equally fabulous now that the girls are "just right".

Next post will deal with the bottom half of the body. I promise it will not be as long either but will have equal importance!

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