It was Coco Chanel who reportedly said that ‘Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.’ It’s a trite cliché to say that when dressing, women should start with a good bra and work up from there. But apparently I was, until recently, one of the 80 odd percent of women wearing the wrong size for years, so excuse my excitement as I rave about how wonderful it is to wear one that fits properly. (It makes your clothes hang better! Now I finally understand all of that fashionista chat about silhouettes and the importance of underwear. Oh, I could take on the world in this well fitting bra, I can walk taller, prouder!)
I’ve always loved pretty underwear – it can be the secret that puts a spring in your step, your hidden super power. But ever since I bought my first bra, I’ve always felt almost as if I’m a fraud, a child pretending to be a grownup… that the shop assistants don’t take me quite seriously when I ask them for advice about which bra size I am. (I’m not sure why this is – I always put it down to the fact that I didn’t have big enough boobs, but perhaps it’s just because a lot of shop assistants are lazy or feel awkward about the whole thing.) I’ve fluctuated between wearing painful bras that ride up and dig into you in all the wrong ways, and ones that flap around with too much room in them and make you feel like your boobs are disappearing off the face of the planet.
The other day, I finally got up the courage to go and get properly fitted in Bravissimo. My hesitation and embarrassment was down to the fact that I was sure I wasn’t big enough; I felt like an intruder. But the lovely, motherly lady in the fitting rooms told me that it didn’t matter, she’d let me know what size I was even if they didn’t have the right size for me there. Turns out I was way off, so it’s a good thing I checked. Now I can’t wait to donate all of my old, ill-fitting bras to the bra bank (for charity, there’s one in every Bravissimo shop) and start a new collection. In an ideal world, it would be made up of Elle Macpherson Intimates and the chic French brand, Princesse Tam Tam. If you haven’t ever had a proper bra fitting – DO IT!
I’ll leave you with the brilliant Caitlin Moran, on the subject of bad bras:
‘The relief of taking off a bad bra is immeasurable…. Bad bra removal is a measure of your friendships. If you would feel comfortable in going round to someone’s house at the end of a long day, and saying, ‘I’m just going to take my bra off,’ you know you are intimate friends.’