Katherine Salt is the co-owner of Plums Lingerie
Delicate lacey embroidered lingerie is all well and good but the majority of us don’t have the lifestyle where we can carefully select a perfectly matching lingerie set to wear with our azure blue dress or fuschia pink blouse. Instead, getting up and out in the morning can be more of a mission and you are more likely to grab your favourite smooth t-shirt bra, safe in the knowledge that whatever you decide to throw on to take the kids to school, dash off to the office or even embark on a myriad of errands your underwear will not let you down. So let’s hear it for the basics, those underappreciated stalwarts of the lingerie drawer. The workhorse bras that we rely on to get on the right road for the day. If you are going to invest this is where to spend the money. A good well fitting basic bra will have a fantastic return on investment.
What Makes An Ideal Everyday Bra?
To get the maximum wear out of your bra it has to look good and feel great. Any pinching, rubbing or other discomforts will ensure that bra is either stuck at the back of the drawer after a couple of wears or you put up with the pain. Try before you buy will help you get the right bra as even bras from the same brand can fit differently. Try and give yourself 30 mins to make sure you are choosing the perfect fit for you. Ideally, if you can get to a specialist lingerie shop you will be able to to take advantage of a trained fitter who will be able to help you and get you the perfect fit with the minimum hassle.
The band around the body will be snug and should stay in place when you move around. The band is where most of the support for your bust comes from. If the band is too big it will shift around causing it to rub. If you are not getting the support from the band the weight of your breast will be carried by the shoulder straps. This can lead to them digging in leaving red marks and dents in your shoulders.
The centre of the bra should fit flush in between the breast. If your breasts are very close together and full this may not happen.
The breast should fit fully inside of the cup. A tip to check this is, bend forward and if you feel like you are going to tumble out of your bra try a larger cup size. The cup should cover the breast without digging and causing ‘double bubble’ at the top of the bust so you have a perfectly smooth line under even the tightest fitting t-shirts. The underwire should encircle the breast and fit snuggly underneath where the breast meets the torso and not dig into any breast tissue.
Adjust your shoulder straps so they are tight enough to stay on your shoulders but not so tight they dig in and feel restrictive.
Everyone has different tastes when it comes to their underwear. Some prefer a boost with a bit of padding, others like a foam cup to hide any active nipple action (ANA) or a soft cup that feels light. If you aren’t sure what is going to work for you try a few on. Not all bras with a foam cup are the same. If you want a bit of protection against ANA but don’t like the firm feel of foam try a spacer bra that is much lighter and squishier in texture.
There are a variety of different bra shapes, a balcony bra will suit you if you are shallow at the top of the breast or if your boobs are set apart. A full cup will ensure there is no chance of tipping out and you will get a smooth shape, however, you might find it a little too much bra especially if you are petite.
One of the most popular styles is a smooth plunge fronted bra like the Marie Jo Avero Multi-way Bra which has the added benefits of convertible straps. This style allows you to wear scoop and v-neck tops without your bra poking out.
Gone are the days of when your only choice of colour was black, white or beige. There is now a wide range of colours, although there is still some way to go with different skin tones options. Prima Donna has launched the Every Woman collection with four different skin tone options but we are still waiting for Marie Jo to do the same. A colour as close to your skin tone as possible will be the most practical choice as you’ll be able to wear it under any outfit. If you do have a pale skin tone a blushy pink is a prettier alternative to the beige. White is always a popular choice but it will show through under white tops.
One of my favourite t-shirt bra tips is that scarlet bras can’t be seen under white unless it’s a very fine fabric. This has completely changed my lingerie drawer which used to be overtaken by beige every summer. I now buy myself a couple of Prima Donna Twist I Do in red to see me through the summer. I do not know why red doesn’t show under white but I’d recommend giving it a try!
Finding the basic bras that work for you means you will always have the perfect bra to put on whatever outfit you choose to wear.