Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sister sizing

In my post from three weeks ago, I showed a diagram of bra cup and band sizes. This illustration includes "sister sizing," which is where the cup volume remains the same as the band size increases, thus the number increases and the letter decreases. My bra making instructor would cringe when she heard the term sister sizing, and here is why.

Many lingerie stores will try to get you into a sister size if they don't carry your size, or if they have sold out of it. Don't be convinced that this will give you a properly fitting bra. It never will. When I worked retail, we only used sister sizing as a means to determine cup volume, and we would use that information to create a special order if we were out of a certain size. Now, what happens when you are put into a sister size is that the cup will be the best fitting part of your bra. What about the rest of the bra? Your bra band is actually the most supportive element in your bra. I know, it's surprising to think that wearing the correct band size will give you the best support in your bra.

This is not to say that the other elements are not important because they are, but if you wear a "sister size" where the band is too big (this is the case for most women), the band will ride up in the back. If the elastic in your band is not getting worked at all, your band is too big. When the band is too big and rides up in the back, the breasts will actually droop in the front, even with the correct cup size. Then you will find yourself shortening your straps to hold up your breasts, and the back will ride up even more. It's a vicious cycle.

You might think, okay, I'll just go with the sister size that is a band smaller than mine, but you will not be happy here, either. When you wear a sister size where the band size is smaller than you should wear, the band will feel tight. It might actually dig into your skin, creating...dare we say, back fat. And if this weren't enough, when wearing a band that is too snug, it will actually force the underwire that resides closest to the side seam, into your ribs. This is incredibly painful, and for some women, will actually leave bruises.

You deserve a properly fitting bra, and to feel comfortable when wearing one. My hope with this post is that you will think twice when you are being talked into trying a bra in a sister size. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015


I am often asked what inspires me when designing custom bras and lingerie. When I am designing for myself, it can be any number of things. I am inspired by other lingerie designers, vintage inspired clothing, old Hollywood glam, bold colors, beautiful fabrics, and lace. I love lace! If you've had the opportunity to work with Intimate Underpinnings, you know how many samples of lace you get to look at, particularly embroidered lace. I know it sounds cliche, but I often let the fabric (or lace) talk to me.

When I am designing for someone else, THEY inspire me! I have the rare opportunity to take their unique style and personality and blend it with their vision. Inspiration is around us all the time.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Common fit issues

When I tell someone that I am a custom bra maker, nearly everyone tells me a story about the horrible fit of their bra or a bad experience that they had at a lingerie shop. If you are frustrated by the fit of your bra, trust me, you are not alone. Approximately 80% of women do not wear a properly fitting bra. That is a HUGE percentage!

If you are small-busted, you have probably experienced some of these fit issues with your bra...
*The cup is too big
*The underwire is too small and digs into the breast tissue
*Why is there so much padding?
*The band is too tight (and causes the underwire to dig in even more)
*Did they run out of the fun colors when they got to us?
*If you're athletic, your pectoral muscles and breast tissue will widen, making it impossible to find a bra that fits
*If you have a muscular back, straps often irritate

If you are large-busted, you have probably experienced some of these fit issues with your bra...
*The cup is too small
*The double boob dilemma (it should look like 2, not 4!)
*The band is too big and rides up in the back
*What is up with those tiny straps?
*The band makes it look like there's back fat
*Straps make dents in your shoulders
*I think they ran out of all of the fun colors here, too
*To find one that fits, it looks like something my grandma wore

If you are average-busted, generally those lucky ladies that can wear the most commonly sized ready-to-wear bras, you still might have some fit issues in your bra...
*The underwire might be too small
*Maybe the straps slide off your shoulders
*One breast might be larger than the other, and the cups do not fill evenly
*The band might not fit properly
*Not enough coverage