Buy a Bra Like a Pro: 4 Lingerie Experts Tips

by Jessie Ajluni

Ah lingerie, one of the burdens – and beauties – of being a woman. To say that I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with my underthings over the years would be an understatement.  At times, the pieces can make me feel incredibility sexy and confident, ready to be the take charge girlboss I know I am. But on other days, it can be one of the actual last things I want to put on my body, and unfortunately, as a slightly larger-than-average breasted woman, going braless is just not an option.

But really what my discomfort and annoyance with wearing bras comes down to is purely fit. I’ve been working as a fashion editor for years and have had tons of bra fittings during this time, each one coming up with different sizing diagnosis. I’ve run the gamut from a 34B to a 36DD despite the fact that through all this time my boobs have remained the exact same size. So, what to do? Well today, Pretty Birds, I’m taking charge of my bust, and picking the brains of a couple of the coolest lingerie experts around.

Below, we chat about everything from finding the ideal fit (definitely needed) to the best ways to care for those perfect bras once you’ve found them. So, read on, ladies – freedom awaits!

Christina Remenyi, Founder & Designer of Fortnight

What should you look for when investing in luxury lingerie?
Luxury lingerie should have a flawless fit and fabrics that feel impeccable against your skin. Something to look out for is the seams in the cups and bridges.  These add structure and support to foundations, and usually signify that more workmanship and development went into the garment. It’s quite remarkable how far a millimeter goes in the pattern development of these tiny yet highly functional pieces!

And because they are so closely contoured to the body, placement has to be just right. And when it is, you’ll feel it. The garment will feel like it’s made just for you and behind that impeccable feel went a lot of hard work and development to get it just right.  Seaming also means the garment will be more durable and last longer.

Luxury lingerie fabrics should feel soft, but not too stretchy.  Something that is flexible with some compression will offer the best support and structure.

What tips can you give to find the perfect bra fit?
There are 4 main points to look at for the perfect fit.

The band – it should fit snuggly on the loosest hooks. It is where all your bra’s support should come from, not your straps! To save your shoulders and make sure you’re getting the best support, your bra should fit snug and stay parallel to the floor, even when you shrug your shoulders up and down. Fastening on the loosest setting allows you to move to a tighter setting, as your bra stretches with repeated wear, and this will keep the fit feeling perfect for a longer time.

• The wires – They should fit flat against your sternum and not lift away.  If they do, this could indicate that the cups are too small. If you’re wearing a wireless bra, it’s ok if the centre front lifts away slightly

The cups – these should fit smoothly. There should be no wrinkling, or this means your cups are too big. There should also be no bulging out of the top or sides, or this means your cups are too small.

The straps. These guys should just rest on your shoulders (with about 2” of slack) since your band is fitting perfectly and doing all the work!

Can you give us any tips on maintaining your underwear? ie. washing, storage, etc…
Oil and heat break down elastane.  Because of this, it’s best to hand-wash your bras ever 3-4 wears with a mild, clear soap, just to get body oils out of the fabrics. Keep away from dryers and hot water.  Hand washing can feel like a pain, but to make it feel like less work you can just bring it into the shower with you and hang it over the door/rail to dry!

What is your favorite piece of lingerie you’ve ever owned?
I have a very small collection of vintage bustiers. The workmanship and tailoring that they are made with is so beautiful and inspiring.

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Jennifer Zuccarini, Founder of Fleur Du Mal 

What should you look for when investing luxury lingerie?
The fabric, fit and construction are important things to look for. Expensive lace might appear to be delicate, but can actually be quite durable. Same for silk – I love silk lingerie, it’s comfortable and also really lasts if you take care of it. Since lingerie is also an emotional purchase, I think it’s also how you feel when you’re trying something on.

What tips can you give to find the perfect bra fit?
As we know, most women wear the wrong bra size.  Get measured and try on a number of sizes-if your cup is gaping on the top, the fit is too big, cutting in and giving you a “double boob”, then too small. The band should be pretty snug without digging in – but it will stretch out so tighter is better than looser. Adjust the straps! So many women try on bras and don’t know to adjust. Bend over and shimmy into the cups. If the wire is standing away from your body, the cups are too small. Size doesn’t matter-if you thought you were a 36B but you’re really a 32DD, embrace it, you’ll look so much better for it.

Can you give us any tips on maintaining your underwear? IE: washing, storage, etc…
Secret fun fact, I actually machine wash my lingerie – but I put everything in mesh bags in cold water, delicate detergent, and hang to dry. The dryer is absolutely worst thing in the world for lingerie.

What is your favorite piece of lingerie you’ve ever owned?
I have a little collection of things that I don’t even wear, I just like seeing them in my drawer. My favorite bra is a silk plunge bra from our first Fleur du Mal collection – I’ve had it for 5 years and it’s the best. It weirdly didn’t sell well so we stopped making it. We’re actually finally bringing it back, mainly because I desperately need a replacement.

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Caroline Peaslee, Global Merchandiser Manager of Cosabella 

What should you look for when investing luxury lingerie?
A lingerie wardrobe is key – first assess what you have and then look at what you immediately need and want to add to it.  Seek out pieces and collections that hit different levels – all day comfort items for everyday wear, sexy items for date nights, and fun colors and trendy items to keep things fresh.

We recommend you try to round out your lingerie wardrobe with items like a bodysuit, robes, chemises, and pjs too.  Many items in your lingerie wardrobe can be worn with your outfits out around town – your bustier under a jacket, your bodysuit with a sheer top, your bralette peeking out from your wide neck top…

What tips can you give to find the perfect bra fit?
Finding the right bra can really change your life!! Some pitfalls in Bra Fit to AVOID are: gapping, riding up, breast spillage on top or sides, straps slipping, wires digging in or poking out, and bras not lying flat to your chest.  All of those are signs of an ill-fitting bra.  First and foremost, make sure you get measured or measure yourself properly. Use our Measuring Guide or get professionally fitted in a store. (NM, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom all have great fitting associates).

It is vital to get new bras every six months – YES six months, because with as much as we wear bras, they simply cannot hold up longer than that. You should also get re-fitted any time your body changes (weight gain, weight loss, pregnancy, etc.), or when your bra shows signs of wear or gives you discomfort.  You should have 3 bras in your wardrobe at all times….one to wear, one airing out (wash bras every 2 wearings, unless they get really dirty after one), and one in the wash/hanging to dry. See our bra fit guide here.

Can you give us any tips on maintaining your underwear? IE: washing, storage, etc…
You have invested in quality pieces, take care of them with washing and storage and they will last for a long time. Store bras cup-to-cup in drawers, while adding the matching bottoms in with the cups to help them keep their shape. We also suggest buying two pairs of underwear for every one bra. Stuff socks in bra cups when packing for trips to help them keep their shape.

What is your favorite piece of lingerie you’ve ever owned?
Every season as new collections come out every one of us here at Cosabella have new favorites and must have pieces.  Our wardrobes are absolutely overflowing with Cosabella Greatness. There is no way to narrow it down to one… so how about three….

I am currently obsessed with our Pret-a-Porter collection and especially the lace Bodysuit. It is so stunningly gorgeous with the mix of laces, and its construction with the plunge front makes it sexy… You cannot go wrong adding this to your wardrobe

I’m also really into the Never Say Never Plungie Longline Bralette. Its comfy fit, beautiful lace, mesh lined cups, and longline styling make it a go to piece for comfort in a bralette. (I’m really over bras right now) I love it in Bright Berry. The color is stunning. And yes, you can do bralettes even if you’re a D cup. This one in Medium fits me in 34D.

A classic favorite and one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe for years, has been the Marni Low Back Bodysuit. With a plunge front detail and sheer sides that provide an almost a smoothing panel in the front, it is sexy and perfect. Wear it as underwear or as a top.

Wait – one more- I really can’t stop wearing these basic but cute and SO FLIPPING soft bottoms, the Lorena Hotpant and Bikini. I bought like 7.

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Alexandra Popa, Founder of Bordelle

What should you look for when investing luxury lingerie?
Look out for pieces with a point of difference that are timeless. A luxury price tag should address and offer superior design, comfort and quality.

What tips can you give to find the perfect bra fit?
There is no proven universal rule for finding a bra with a perfect fit. I do recommend a professional fitting, but even then, you may disagree and still feel uncomfortable or dislike your supposed correct size and that’s because bra fitting is totally subjective. Size and fit also very greatly between brands, so once you have been measured into your most adequate shape look for features on the bra that allow the fit to be customized.

Can you give us any tips on maintaining your underwear? IE: washing, storage, etc…
Always check the care label as most delicate underwear, particularly silks should only be hand washed in cold water with mild detergent and dried flat, no wringing and stored away from direct sunlight or heat in order to preserve the integrity of the material. Padded or molded cups on machine washable bras can be steamed back into shape if affected during the washing cycle.

What is your favourite piece of lingerie you’ve ever owned?
I have so many it’s hard to choose. I’m not one to opt for traditional or basic lingerie so from Bordelle it would have to be the Waspie as it’s totally unique. I have a bespoke one that’s also adjustable and was made by my London atelier. Handcrafted from our customized satin elastic strapping and fastened with a gold plated chunky zip, this piece can double up as the sexiest shape wear I’ve ever seen. I’m also in love with La Perla’s Neoprene and Ricamo Chantilly lace longline bra from a few years back, as I think the contrasting combo of modern neoprene with delicate traditional lace really sets this piece apart from the rest.

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