Monday, July 27, 2015

Fabulous Fit & Function with Wacoal Bras from HBC

All of my life I was an A cup. Or maybe "almost" an A cup.  I used to joke with friends that "at least I'll never sag!" (What a joke!) And I was all about the padded push-up bras to try to make the most of what little I had. Also? I didn't really need to wear a bra if I didn't want. Not anymore.

Naturally when I got pregnant, my breasts grew. Then I nursed Boo for 16 months. And I gained weight over the years.  My breasts changed dramatically. Gone are the days of going braless or buying demi-cups off the discount rack. And we won't even talk about how it feels to walk downstairs unsupported. Ouch. So, a number of years ago, once we'd stopped nursing for a while, I went for a proper bra fitting. And I was SHOCKED to learn I was a D cup. Actually, between a 34D and 34DD, depending on the bra. Talk about proud :)

But that was long ago, and our bodies are changing all the time, so I was due for an update. Enter Brenda Lllewellyn, the Wacoal bra Fit Specialist and her magic (not really) tape measure. I met with Brenda at the Yorkdale Hudson's Bay store, and after a quick measurement she announced my new size - 36D. Yep. I've gained a little weight, and my rib cage is a little bigger than it once was. That's ok. I'm still a D :)

I do want to talk about the Wacoal brand and their gorgeous bras, but first just a few words on the importance of finding the proper fit. It is critical ladies! When you next visit the lingerie department, ask if they can measure you. There are different approaches, but generally you'll be measured over your current bra. Brenda measures over the top of the bust, under the arms, to get the band size (I am apparently exactly 36 inches), and then from nipple to band to get the cup size - 4 inches = D cup. But keep in mind that this measurement isn't gospel; it gives you a place to start looking. Take that size and head to the racks, preferably with a little professional assistance if possible.

Size is only one facet, and cup shape and support must also be considered. Because of this you may find that you need a slightly different size in a different bra. Or you may find that certain bras are just not an option (bye-bye demi-cups). An interesting fact Brenda taught me - there is a lot of variety in the weight of breasts, even within a cup size. For instance, a D-cup breast can weigh anywhere from 5-15 pounds. Wow.  Wacoal has a line of bras specifically for women weighing in on the lower end - B.Tempt'd. I suspected I might be in that range, but she didn't. She did humour me though and bring me a couple to try so I could see the difference. There are no photos of those. I did not feel the same support, and did not get the same coverage at all. Bottom line - get measured, know your body, and try on lots of styles!

How did my fitting go? I am now convinced of my proper size and found lots of options in Wacoal bras for different occasions, including an amazingly comfortable and supportive sports bra.

Ladies, if you run, or do aerobics, or anything active - you want this bra. It doesn't flatten you out, but it keeps you in place. The straps have an easy adjustment to tighten the support for more intense activities. The underwire is outside of the bra, which minimizes movement and maximises support. This was the #1 sports bra in the US in 2014.

In the interest of full disclosure, yes those are my breasts, and yes I do feel a little awkward putting them up on the blog. But I want you to see the difference the right size makes, so I'll include a few more shots. And really, my bikini top covers less than these bras do, so there's that.

34D is the size I would have chosen for myself. It's what I've been wearing for years now. The problem was a little difficult to photograph, but the band is too small, resulting in a lot of squeezing and a noticeable bulge under the band. This bra is tight. The cup is also not quite big enough, as you can see a little bulge over the sides. But, as I said, this is the size I've been wearing and I didn't realise my bra could be more comfortable. Of course, my current bras have likely stretched on the band over time.

36C is next. The band on this one was fine. Comfortable. But the cups just aren't containing me. Bulges at the sides and a tiny bit over the top. At the same time, I could easily have thought this one fit me if I didn't also try on the 36D. The fit isn't right, but it's not extreme. I still can't quite accept that I am a D-cup, so I can easily convince myself the C is the correct size.

36D was bliss. No bulging. No straining. Total comfort on the first set of hooks. This bra lifts me to the right position and keeps me there. This is the bra I ended up buying. It's a little piece of heaven.

On the topic of comfort, I have to say that the fabrics in all the bras I tried were really soft, stretchy, and gently supportive. Wacoal sources all European, modern fabrics, and employs innovative technologies, advanced manufacturing processes, and unique designs in their processes. These are really high quality bras at affordable prices. Soft cup and sports bras start at around $38, and the most expensive bra I saw was $89. The range of styles is huge, and so is the sizing. Wacoal bras come in band sizes 32-44 and AA to H cup. B.tempt'd runs 30-38 band and A to DDD cup. (Note though that not every bra comes in all sizes.)

The Wacoal line also includes coordinating lingerie pieces in many styles, including panties, garter belts and chemises.
coordinating lingerie line from Wacoal

And also very important to me is the shapewear line. Briefs, high-waist briefs, camis, leggings, bodysuits - they have it all. I particularly appreciate the high-waist shapers that come with optional shoulder straps. I seem to have a problem with shapewear folding over my tummy, and those straps would come in handy to help keep things in place! Very clever idea.

How much do you love the tagline "Hope on a Hanger"!
Many of their shapewear pieces feature laser cutting to avoid lines under your clothing.
The Wacoal company began in Japan in 1949 as Wako Corp., and came to the US in 1985. The brand is well-known and respected in the US, and I think it's great they are now in Canada as well. Wacoal is available at Hudson's Bay stores across the country. Check with your local Bay to see if they have a Fit Consultant in store. Brenda spends one day each week at the Yorkdale location, so you can check with them for her availability. I cannot overstate the importance of being properly fitted for a bra, especially as we *cough* age. Did you know that 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size? Are you one of the 8 or one of the 2? A Wacoal Fit Consultant will let you know!!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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