The Importance of Wearing a Well Fitting Bra….

I have a French friend (this is not a euphemism) and without wishing to make sweeping Nationalistic generalisations, she takes her underwear VERY seriously. She was raised to see her foundation garments as exactly that – the foundations of a good silhouette, good posture, excellent fitting clothes and comfort and ease. She thinks nothing of spending the same amount on a bra as she would on a dress and she always looks amazing. The wise man does not build his house on sand and by the same token the chic woman does not build her look on a £2.99 bra that she has guessed the size of and will survive three washes before it has irreversibly changed shape.

I, by way of comparison, walked around in the wrong sized bra for twenty years before I finally got fitted and discovered a whole new way of thinking about my underwear. During that time, I left uni, lost, gained and lost about ten stone altogether, had two babies and managed to reach 40. And yet still I thought I had the breasts of my 18year old self.

I wasn’t aware I was wearing the wrong size because I didn’t know what I was missing. It wasn’t until I was measured and fitted properly that I realised what a good bra feels like. My shape changed instantly, my clothes looked better, I was more upright and comfortable…Breathing? I was doing it! And despite spending years believing I had small breasts and a broad back, I discovered I actually had large-ish breasts and a narrow back (at least at the part the bra is supposed to fit on). It was a revelation.

Now, I’m not advocating spending a fortune on underwear in these troubled times, but my advice to every woman reading this would be to make sure you are the proud owner of at least one (and hopefully two, so that you can wash the first one occasionally) decent fitting bras. If your bra fits properly you will avoid back pain, posture issues, possible cysts, breathing problems, stretched breast ligaments and a whole host of medically un-proven but anecdotally correct self-esteem issues. You also need to bear in mind that all bras fit differently – even those from the same manufacturer in different styles can be a cup size or a band space out, so it really is no use buying the same size bra in different styles. If you go for a fitting in a well known high street chain and the fitter brings you five bras of different styles in the same size to try, run away before she can do any more harm. There is no way all of those bras are going to fit you  correctly, and there is a good chance none of them will.

Here are a few pointers to see if the one you have on right now is the one for you:

  • It should fit on the narrowest part of your back – on some women this may mean it is almost as low as the waist but this is where it should be to provide maximum support and to ensure the cups sit firmly at the root of each breast
  • It should move with you – not independently of you! If you raise your arms and it comes up too then it is too loose. By the same token, if you had Mr Tickle arms and could reach all the way round to the back, you should only be able to pull it away from your frame by about 1cm.
  • You should not be aware of it. You should not need to adjust it during the day and you should not need to fiddle with it.
  • The straps should be doing their job so well that there is no adverse downward pressure on your shoulders. By the same token, they should not be slipping about.
  • The side seams should be flat and in line with your armpits. Not baggy, not pulled and certainly not spreading outwards.
  • There should be no bulging breast tissue at the tops of the cups and no wrinkling in the middle either.

These are just a few of the ways you can tell if the bra you are wearing is doing its job. If it isn’t, make the next one earn its keep by being properly fitted by a trained professional. The bralady network is a good place to start.

These lovely women have all shared horrendous bra fitting experiences in the past and have been trained to help people in similar positions. They will come out to you to ensure you are fitted properly. I know this because after my revelatory fitting experience I decided to become one myself. (It’s a bit like Victor Kyam but without the actual purchase of any multi-million pound businesses).

Ladies, we owe it to our breasts to treat them well, and we owe it to our clothes to give them the best possible chance to look amazing. If you haven’t been fitted for a bra since you were 18, or indeed ever, then look up the bra ladies – I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

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New Years Resolutions

Making new year’s resolutions has always felt like the perfect opportunity to let myself down – if I haven’t managed to achieve the thing in question thus far then what is going to magically work on Jan 1st at one minute past midnight….the champagne? Possibly….the hangover certainly won’t help though…

Putting aside the idea of allowing alcohol to fuel all of my planning, I think there is room for some resolutions this year. We have had a very tough year and next year’s business plans are very structured and uncompromising. But the thing about being a mumpreneur is that at the heart of the business there is a mummy, and she may not always feel like responding to a structured and powerful business plan when life throws the other stuff at her….

I am going to use my New Year’s Resolutions to cushion the business plan with thoughts, feelings and reminders that will help me when the going gets tough next year…. In the absence of something more rigid to guide me, I think a resolution or two could help…:

1)      Look after my health

Recently I managed to make time for some serious regular exercise – after saying all year long I needed to do it, I finally committed over November and December. It has been wonderful. I am energised, happier, more relaxed and far more efficient. Next year, when my motivation wanes and other things start to eat away at my time, I will read this paragraph and remind myself why for me, a crucial aspect of functioning well, is making time to exercise.

2)      Look after my family

My new year’s resolution for my family is going to revolve around food….Instead of grabbing something from the freezer, sticking it in the oven and rushing the children through it so I can get back to work while they watch telly, I am going to cook at least one meal from scratch and eat it slowly with them. Every single day. Without the radio on and with the phone switched off….Better dust off that Annabel Karmel book….

3)      Look after My Parents

I have spent all year resisting the fact that both of my parents need a good degree of support. It has felt inconvenient and restrictive and to be brutally honest I have felt resentful that they need this level of help when my children are both still so young and I am trying to keep my business going. Then I waste time feeling guilty for not being more understanding. Someone much wiser than me once said “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I need to get on with the business of accepting this situation for what it is. If I can’t help them with good grace and patience, then I shouldn’t be trying to do it at all.

4)      Accept My Family as it is

I spent a lot of 2011 wishing for another baby. It’s not that I can’t have one, but my husband sees our family as complete. I also get extremely ill when I’m pregnant (hospital features heavily, as does a lot of lying down, some crying and a GREAT deal of vomit). He would have to look after me, my parents, my children and the dog for months, whilst holding down his job and pretending to be pleased that I am bringing another little person in to the world against his better judgement. I have wasted a lot of time being sad, angry, resentful and ashamed at myself for all of the above feelings and we are no further forward. It seems to me, I can allow the sadness to pervade my otherwise happy life, or I can choose to get on with enjoying what I DO have. Guess which one I am going to try for in 2012.

5)      Lighten Up

Some days, this year, it has felt as though I have to remember to be happy. I now realise that with exercise, good food, the odd reminder of the brighter side and a gentle-telling-off-of-myself when I start to wallow, that happiness does not become a conscious decision. It just happens. The business has been very challenging this year and for a while I forgot why I was doing it. I also forgot to enjoy it. I want 2012 to be the year that we remember when laughing our heads off was the norm and being stressed or angry was unusual. I plan to maintain that mindfulness and accept control of it. Wish me luck – this could be the best year of our lives if I let it …..

Rocking Your Bump in 2012

Rocking Your Bump in 2012

Happy New Year! If you’re expecting a baby this year, then you already know it’s going to be a great one – but let us help you really start it with a bang with a few tips on shopping the sales to rock your growing bump!

January means sales – so what better time to stock up on some gorgeous maternity wear?  Remember, choose key pieces that you can dress up in different ways – and maternity styles that double up as breast feeding pieces are even better value for money!  Our Anna Jane Nursing & Maternity dress is a perfect example (http://www.mummylooksfab.co.uk/Anna-Jane-Nursing-and-Maternity-Dress) – it’s simple, but chic – will see you right through pregnancy and breast feeding, and is currently reduced to just £35!  It’s a great little dress that you can adapt for work or play, or even dress up with some statement jewellery for a night on the town – grab one quick!

Our Laeticia Nursing Dress is another complete bargain – currently half price at just £25 (http://www.mummylooksfab.co.uk/Laeticia-Nursing-Dress).  The fitted yet stretchy style will hug your bump beautifully, and once your little one is here, it provides  easy, discreet feeding access, while still making you feel like a super glam yummy mummy!  Choose from classic black, or bang-on trend plum (Or while it’s half price – why not treat yourself to both?!)

The sales are also a great time to pick up a great pair of maternity jeans – choose a style that will grow with you, which you can also wear after the birth while you’re working your way back into your pre-baby skinnies!  A well fitting pair of jeans is the staple of many a bump-rocking outfit, so shop around to make sure you get a pair you love.

And while you’re browsing, remember to look out for other bargains you’ll need soon too – a great changing bag, a gorgeous nightgown for in hospital, and of course tiny little sleep suits for that little person you’re busy making!

Having a baby is an expensive business – so grab yourself a cuppa & milk those sales for all they’re worth!