Monday, September 9, 2013

It's All About The Lift

When we're talking about bras, the most important aspect that women, asymmetric or not, need to understand is that the right size MATTERS.  You should NOT be running around in a bra that's not fit for you.  At this day in age, when a woman can walk into numerous different retailers and be fitted for a bra, it's almost inexcusable that women are still wearing bras that don't fit them right.  Any woman can walk into a Victoria's Secret or Lane Bryant, for example, and ask to be fitted for a bra.  They'll give you, at the very least, a starting point for what you SHOULD be wearing.  You can go from there.

Now, let's get into the nitty gritty on bras.  As I have posted before, when you're asymmetric, padding is your best friend.  The catch here is that it's not JUST about padding.  You can buy a bra that's so padded it makes Serta Pillow Top  Mattresses look like plywood, but if it's not the right fit, you're still back at square one.  So, when we're talking about SIZES here's what we're talking about: 

* The Band Size: The distance around your rib cage JUST under your breasts.
* The Cup Size:  The distance around your the center of your breasts.  The difference between the Cup Size and the Band Size will be what we're looking for.  If you measure a Band Size of 36" and a Cup Size of 40", the difference is 4" and that will correspond to a D cup bra.

Now, these measurements aren't always correct, and that's why I urge women to go to someone who is trained in how to do bra fittings.  If you'd rather do it at home, this WikiHow page and this HerRoom page do a great job of detailing the measuring process. 

You might be saying, "That's all fine and well, Danielle, but I'm asymmetric! Those measurements won't work for me!"  I hear ya!  Here's the thing: you MUST be in the proper bra size for your larger breast.  This might seem counter-intuitive, I know, but go with me here for a second.

The bulk of your bra's support should come from the BAND AROUND YOUR CHEST.  Now, as someone with asymmetry, I'm thinking, "no it shouldn't, it's the straps," but that's not the case.  You see, if your bra doesn't fit right around your ribs, then you run the risk of your bra sliding down constantly.  We can't have this.  This SHOWS asymmetry way more than you could ever imagine.  So, you have to get the right BAND size.  Now, when it comes to the cups, you have to fit to your larger breast.  HOWEVER, there's a catch to this.  I am a 34DD, but many of the 34DD bras don't work so well for me.  My implant/weirdo boob/asymmetric breast might sit nicely in a 34DD, but my natural breast is spilling out like a glass of pop that was poured too fast!  This is about the time where the panic starts to set in.  You start having that meltdown and your eyes well up with tears.  Calm down, I say!  There's a secret!  Bras have "sister sizes," which is probably the best gift to asymmetry the industry could have given.  So, let's say your larger breast doesn't like a 34DD, and you're getting some weird muffin-boob thing going on.  Try on a 36D instead!  Now, you might be saying, "I didn't measure a 36, Danielle. I measured a 34, and I'm not a D, I'm a DD. I got measured like you told me to!"  Trust me.  If you go UP one band size, but go DOWN one cup size, it's almost like the same bra!  You can go DOWN one band size and UP one cup size if you feel like the cup is too small for your breasts, too.  So, you try on a 36D and you find that you have minimized muffin-boob/spillage for your larger breast, and your smaller breast will actually look different in the cup, too.  This provides just a little more room for your smaller breast, but allows your larger breast to fit more naturally into the cup.

Let's get to the straps now, shall we?
THERE IS ONE IMPORTANT NOTE I MUST MENTION!  YOUR BRA MUST MUST MUST HAVE FULLY-ADJUSTABLE STRAPS. This means that your bra cannot have some fancy design on the front of the straps and only allow you 4" of adjustment room in the back. This will not work and will in no way help your asymmetry.  You cannot use a bra that does not have fully-adjustable straps.  Fully-adjustable means that you could take the adjuster piece all the way to the front of the bra if you wanted to.  Again, your bra MUST HAVE FULLY-ADJUSTABLE STRAPS.

Now that you've been fitted with the CORRECT SIZE bra, we can talk about how to adjust your straps.  When we were picking the bra out, we catered to the LARGER breast, now we cater to the smaller breast in some ways.  So, if you have some pretty drastic asymmetry, this part will be pretty difficult.  For DRASTIC asymmetry (2 or more cup sizes), I'll address everything at the end of this post.  Drastic asymmetry has to be handled a little differently.  Don't worry, ladies, I'll handles those breasts, too!  No breasts are left out in my blog!

Adjusting the shoulder straps on a bra is one of the most important parts of hiding breast asymmetry.  Women seem to have this really weird notion that your straps absolutely must be adjusted to the same place on each side.  Who came up with that idea?  Why is symmetry so important in bra straps?  Your breasts aren't symmetric, so why do you think your straps need to be?  If you want to hide your asymmetry, you need to THROW THAT IDEA OUT THE WINDOW.  Do it. Right now. Throw it out.  Ok, now that it's gone, we can start fresh.  Everyone wants perky breasts.  Nobody has ever seen National Geographic-like boobs and said, "I want those!"  It's just never happened.


Back when physics was discovered, mankind used physics to make the simple tasks of living far more enhanced.  The wheel was invented, levers and pulleys were utilized, gravity was fought with might and valor, and buildings that reached the heavens were erected and supported.  Somewhere along the way a bra was invented.  The first bra was weird, and really didn't serve any real purpose for support.
We now, however, have amazing bras with amazing support, and we have used the beautiful world of physics to start making our breasts defy gravity.  When I enter a room, I always want my breasts to enter before I do.  I want them to greet the people in the room with a friendly smile, and I want my breasts to be as though a halo of beauty entered the room.  While this is completely unrealistic and just a figment of my imagination, there is some reality to it.  When people see YOU, they also see your breasts.  Now, if you hide your asymmetry well, they'll never notice a thing.  However, that doesn't mean if you hide your asymmetry and you still have those mammary mounds hanging low that people won't notice that.  When you have asymmetry, you generally are self-conscious about it (it will go away eventually) and don't want to draw any attention (negative or positive) to your breasts.  Bras not worn right attract negative attention.  Period.

This brings me back to my original point: ADJUSTING YOUR STRAPS.  Here we need to cater, somewhat, to the smaller breast.  Adjust that strap so that the breast is supported, but not so much that it's actually pulling the cup/band/bra upwards and your breast is falling out the bottom.  This should never happen. Ever.  Allow the smaller breast to be comfortable in the bra, but you do not want it to sag.  You do not want to feel like you have to keep pulling your bra strap back into your shoulder, either.  Bra straps shouldn't wander.  Once your smaller breast is where it should be, it's time to adjust your larger breast.  Start by bringing the adjustment on the strap to the same place your smaller breast is adjusted to.  This is important because you have to have them equal first to adjust from there.  More than likely your larger breast is heavier than your smaller breast, which means you will have some sagging when they're adjusted to the same spot.  This is good to note.  You should be able to see how much lower the larger breast sags, and that sag is the distance we need to cover.  Start to bring the adjustment on your strap of the larger breast towards the top.  Do this in slow increments and adjust your breast within the cup each and every time.  Do not just lift up the adjuster, and leave your breast as it is.  You must pick it up and adjust it back in the cup properly.  Keep adjusting until the vast majority of the sag difference in the cup is changed.  Now bring your attention to the cleavage of the bra.  Make sure that if you were to wear a low-cut shirt that your breast fullness looks even.  If you feel that your smaller breast looks more full than your larger breast, start bringing that strap up more.  Keep in mind, you can always place an insert into the cup of the smaller breast to fill it out more, and the insert can always be placed under the smaller breast to give it more lift/fullness.  Fullness is a huge part of hiding asymmetry.  You want your breasts to look equally just as full.  Once you get the straps where the breasts look equally just as full, put your shirt on and see if everything looks good.  Keep in mind that you know you're asymmetric.  The rest of the world doesn't.  They aren't going to notice a minor difference like you will.  Sometimes it's helpful to put a safety pin in your strap just under the adjuster to keep them in place, as they can sometimes slip back down, or mark your strap in some way so you know where to adjust it to.  Bras will settle and stretch and relax over time, so you will always have to adjust them again. 

For the women with drastic asymmetry:
Really, not that much will change here.  If you're dealing with a 2 cup or more difference, the biggest thing that you'll likely need to do is use an insert.  If you've purchased for your larger breast, which you should, and it's, for example, a D cup, and your smaller breast is only a B cup, you can still make this work.  My recommendation for drastic asymmetry is to buy a bra that has only moderate padding and isn't too much of a push-up.  This allows you to actually use a push-up pad in the cup of your smaller breast to make the breast appear to be just as full as your larger breast.  It's all about tricking the eyes, ladies.  Make sure the smaller breast is padded on the UNDER side of the cup to provide lift and support, then fill the front of the cup with any additional padding as needed.  Some bras have the ability to easily remove the padding, but I wouldn't recommend removing too much padding from the larger breast, because one being held in a thin cup and one being in a padded cup is a noticeable difference.  You'll adjust your straps just the same, and not much will change except how you deal with your smaller breast.  Here, you might want to try "sister sizes" as well, maybe even adjusting by either two band and cup sizes, IF it works for you.  Not all bras will work by two size adjustments.  (Example: If you should be a 36D, going to a 32DDD, or maybe even to a 40B. Again this, more often than not, doesn't work well, but I have seen it work for some women. It will be specific to the store and their product line.  Again, remember, the most important part of support is the BAND under your breasts and not the straps.  You want to make sure that you're still correctly fitting yourself so that way your larger breast doesn't just start wandering around like a dog off the leash.  You don't want a boob peeking out from under your bra for some fresh air. That's never been flattering, and I can say that from personal experience.  I've had it happen to me! 

While right now I'm only asymmetric by about a cup size, my biggest problem with my current asymmetry is that my implant does not sit right, and it wants to wander.  However, I can speak from personal experience on even drastic asymmetry, as I had a nearly two and a half cup size difference for a good part of my life.  I'm not speaking about breasts as an outsider putting her two cents in, I'm speaking to you ladies as someone who has HAS these problems, and as someone who has FOUND SOLUTIONS to these problems.

Keep those breasts looking beautiful!  

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