So its BRITS week and unlike past years where I’m fretting about my hair, frock and which afterparty is really the one that will break the internet, this week one morning, saw me dedicating a whole morning to my boobs, all in the name of work!
Let me explain. My stylist friend last week demanded in his fierce snappy fingers manner
‘’girl for this years BRITs you need to be focusing on your cleavage, side silhouette and décolletage this season, its time for the boobies, they’ve come into an era of their own!’’
Its true. Recent red carpets, both at the BRITs and fashion weeks, have shown navel-slashed gowns and perfectly hour glassed figures on show & tell. So in trying to keep up with the Beyonce’s of this world, I set about my mission to ‘‘find the one!’’…bra that is!
It reminded me of a time years ago, my work colleague and I had strolled into John Lewis at lunchtime and were persuaded by their lingerie department to get a free bra fitting. It was a moment of revelation for me, who was always moaning about my ‘’side back-fat’’. The fitter took one look at me and declared ‘’ sweetie you’re wearing the wrong size bra. You’re not a B you’re a C, and that ‘’side-back-fat’’ is your boob!’’ Well, you could’ve slapped me with a Wonderbra and called me Eva Herzigova!
Being young and flighty I’d always associated teeny tiny underwear with sexy. This C cup contraption didn’t look like the delicate fabric that a Mills & Boon prince would delicately slip off my shoulders before ravishing me. It was the bra equivalent of huge granny pants.
Many women when asked what item of clothing they couldn’t live without claim ‘’bra!’’ but apparently 76% of women wear the wrong size and more importantly, the wrong shape. So I set off on a mission to get fitted and lo and behold, I understood why busy British women are all wearing the wrong bra, we cant get a bloody fitting!
Since Christmas I’ve walked into department stores and lingerie brands all over west and central London requesting a fitting, only to be repeatedly told their fitter only works once a week, at an ungodly hour or that they don’t do that service.
My stylist friend (him again), came to the rescue by hooking me up with Triumph, who have a 129 year history of crafting lingerie that helps women to look and feel their best, and are the largest lingerie manufacturer in the world for designing, grading and manufacturing.
Monica Harrington, their Product Manager, who has spent 23 years with the brand, is an expertise in fitting & product and runs the fit training programme, which is used to train all Triumph Tailoresses. She explained all the necessary steps and expertise every woman should be looking for so they find the perfect fitting bra.
During our chat she emphasized ‘’shape over size’’ repeatedly. ‘’Once you find your shape that’s the most important part done. Don’t worry too much about the price. There’s nothing wrong with Primark or M&S, after all M&S must be doing something right as they have over 30% of the market. At Triumph our prices are more middle of the road’’.
‘’What makes a bra expensive are things like underwire, more comfortable straps and using seam free wings. Also, once above a certain cup size you have to pay a little bit more. There’s a change now with women of different generations. Young girls these days, because of social media and adverts are more comfortable talking about it. Years ago women used to be horrified “your bras showing”! Now every other 20year old on twitter has a profile pic IN her bra! Women of today like to show their straps now too. So we make them pretty with detailing’’.
‘’I’ve been in lingerie for 30 years. 24 years at Triumph in different roles. Lingerie excites me so much! It’s about understanding women’s bodies. I’ve met so many women over the years. We’re all so blasé about body’s bumps and lumps. I’ve spoken to so many women who have perfect size 10 body, a face with no blemishes but as soon as women talk about bra fittings they become vulnerable and very sensitive and shy about it. Also, for most women seeing a sea of bra’s in department stores is a quite daunting so most just grab one and run and make it work’’.
Monica says the two most difficult things for a woman to buy are……guess…..denim jeans and bras. My regular issue with both bras and jeans brands is the fact that I can be a variety of different sizes in both? Monica patiently explains, ‘’It’s not the fit. It’s the fabric. Lace etc. I think though that measurement is a bit dated these days. And it’s all about finding the best shape for you. I like to bring the fitting room to life! Giving women back their confidence for a variety of reasons. Women who’ve had children, yoyo dieting, ladies who are shy about showing off their curves, their boobs are saggy, dealing with cancer experiences, breast implants, reductions, transgender, it doesn’t matter, our in store tailoresses have seen it all and know how to deal with every situation with respect and support’’.
She made me laugh out loud when she revealed that the average woman has a lot of bra’s in her draw, but keeps reaching for and wearing the same two. Yes. Guilty. Mine? Black and nude.
She revealed horror stories ‘’I’ve seen women come in with their back strap so high its at the back of their shoulders. If the bra’s up at back then the boobs will be down at the front! Short and tall women can be the same size cups and totally different strap lengths from shoulder to breast. It’s all about where the breasts sit. In a perfect world, they should sit halfway between elbow and shoulder. But as we age we lose elasticity. (We don’t like to use the word “sag”). We fit women everyday for events and even half of London’s fashion press are wearing the wrong sizes too’’.
I divulged what I thought was a unique secret. I have always only worn an underwired bra. Is that normal? She laughs! ‘’Most women today wear an underwired bar. That’s why we introduced our “magic wire” make. It gives you a really lovely silhouette. We use silicone to replace traditional under wiring. Its much more comfortable. By the way, there’s no medical evidence to say underwired bra’s are bad for you, so don’t panic when you hear those stories. However in 2015, women don’t want to wear wire much as much as there’s a comfort issue so we made our magic-wire set which replaces wire with silicone and is really very cosy to wear daily’’. (I tried it, it is!-yeay!).
I wondered at Monica’s job and if in the same way that doctors at parties get asked about ailments, Monica finds herself evaluating other random women’s boobs. “I don’t gawp at women on the tube but when I’m in the park or gym and boobs are bouncing in an un-supportive bra I do despair. You need firm support in sport with any size breast. I see a drastic difference in older women. Life was very different for them growing up in the late 60s and 70s. They grew up with very few cup size options (up until 15 years ago there were literally only A, B and C cup sizes) so what we’re trying to do is re-educate all women for the whole experience and necessary steps and rules they need to know in order to find the perfect fitting bra’’.
Monica’s personal hate? ….’’Men buying bras for wives are a nightmare. They think in their ‘Small/medium/large’ worlds. They always want to buy her red and racy, which of course she’ll bring back to exchange”. Tips for fabulous boobs? ‘’Exercise, moisturising the breast skin, have enough bra support for your size’’.
I couldn’t help wonder about cleanliness after this weeks Independent and Mail stories that four out of five British women don’t shower or bathe regularly. Our bra hygiene must be shocking! Monica nods ‘‘the closest thing to your body are bra and briefs. I change and wash my bra daily but I’ve seen women come in and are drop dead gorgeous in beautiful outfits but their greying, frayed and stained bras are held together with a safety pin! I guess women get comfy and in the same way that they might let their leg shave lapse, their bra game goes downhill too’’.
My own cornerstone bra memories are as a teenager seeing the then celebrity famous page 3 Sun girls like Sam Fox and Maria Whittaker, then the outrageous Wonderbra campaign in 1994 with Eva Herzigova supposedly cause car crashes as giant billboards of her ginormous breasts loomed down upon distracted motorists was captioned ‘’hello boys!’’ Soon afterwards Madonna wore the Jean Paul Gaultier conical bra in her Blonde Ambition world tour. Also the infamous Kelly Brook Triumph promo campaign in 1998.
This year the hot catchphrase has been ‘’waist training and boob training’’. Women internationally are rocking corsets and shape wear on a daily basis. In fact, at one recent wedding my friend loudly exclaimed,
“My husband helped me get into my Spanx before this party, he always does bless him!”
There’s also been a lot of talk in fashion circles and Kim Kardashian’s twitter these days about waist training. You can’t navigate twitter without being visually assaulted by yet another sexy maiden posing in skimpy underwear and showing of her ‘’waist training’’ corset to get that all coveted hourglass shape. Only this week at work, I spoke to three women who are actively discussing their daily corset experience.
When it comes to celebrities that work their boobs to their and worst angles Monica gushes ‘’Kylie is a hit for bras and boob silhouettes. Helena Christianson also has a very real body shape. She knows lingerie’’. Monica won’t be pushed on celebs that need a fitting. Although I think we can all immediately think of a few. Tis makes me giggle as I envisage the next big thing in celebrity product placement like fragrances having bras with names like Buxom Beyonce, Mamamia Mariah, Curvy Kim and Sizzling Salma.
In 2015 lingerie is a multi million pound industry and the recent Victoria’s Secret shows globally, show just how crazy both men and women are about sexy undies. Ironically, it’s the only industry I can think of where women are paid more than men. I wonder how much super male model David Gandy gets to pose in his pants?
Oops, I digress! Back to the messaging ladies, get yourself a fitting a.s.a.p. Your boobs will thank you.
It may take time to find the right bra for you, but remember: you’re worth it.
“Find the One” Campaign
Jeans and bras have a lot in common – every woman wants to find the perfect fit. Leading lingerie brand Triumph will globally launch “Find the One” on Monday 2nd March, a new initiative aimed at finding the perfect fitting bra for 500,000 women worldwide by the end of 2015. That’s a whole lot of measuring!
The ‘Find the One’ campaign will focus around a compelling, cheeky film for social media by acclaimed director Ivana Bobic (who has worked with Stella McCartney, Whistles and Adidas amongst others) and a new digital hub. The short film celebrates that incredible life-changing feeling women experience when we find and wear the right fit bra and encourages others to follow suit and find the one.
The new interactive digital hub will take users through a step-by-step fitting and finding journey, full of advice – fashion tips from experts to bra style guides – that will transform the whole bra finding experience, like never before. The first class digital hub will also feature influential fashion and lifestyle personalities including Ella Catliff – founder of La Petite Anglaise, Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl and beauty expert Sali Hughes amongst others. They all share specialist advice, guidance, tips of the trade and personal experience, alongside real women from all over globally.
Find the One bra for you at triumph.com/findtheone