It's slightly embarrassing to admit this, but the one area of my wardrobe that I neglect and put off investing in is my underwear drawer. I have never spent over £30 on a bra. In fact, I only have four that I usually wear. I also haven't had my size measured in years, but at 33 years old, it's time to have a more grown-up approach to my underwear drawer. My bra education started with getting measured and discovering that all four of my bras were all the wrong size (our bra-size calculator is rather handy). Next up, I turned to the experts to discover the types of bras they think everyone should have. They also provided some tricks to finding the right one for you.
In regards to fittings, you may be wondering how often you should get one. Eloise Rigby, founder of The Pantry Underwear, says "at least once a year. Don't let your wardrobe dictate when you get a new bra. Your entire wardrobe will look better with good fitting foundations." However, Ana Didillieu, senior designer at Wonderbra, says that people "often only think about their breasts size, but breasts shape is just as important." Didillieu says that peoples' "morphology can evolve along years according to weight, age, menstrual circle and specific events like pregnancy. Considering these regular body changes, it is advisable to get fitted every time you buy a new bra."
Before breaking down the bras that are considered "essential," I wanted to know the shelf-life of an average one. "Depending on the quality of the bra, try to understand the 'fit points,' so if you can pull the back strap away from your back by more than an inch with ease on the tightest set of hooks, your bra has stretched out too much [or was too big in the first place]," says Eloise.
So is there such a thing as a "bra starter pack"? "It completely varies from person to person—some women can make a single bra work for every purpose, as they're just not comfortable in anything else. I'd recommend owning a T-shirt bra, a non-moulded/padded bra in either a full-cup plunge or balconette shape, a strapless option (this doesn't have to be your typical strapless bra) and finally a cup-sized sports bra."
"It depends on each women's morphology as either a plunge or balconette shape may work better," says Didillieu. "For everyday life, at work, for instance—we find women prefer invisible bras. Therefore a microfiber T-Shirt bra is essential. It's important to select it correctly as there are many low-cost T-shirt bras that are not comfortable and don't last many washes. It's then important to own specific shapes like our Ultimate Strapless, Plunge and Multiway bras. These styles don't compromise comfort, fit or support when wearing occasional pieces like off-the-shoulder clothes, asymmetric tops or deep plunge dresses. Finally, a high performance sports bra is hugely important not to damage breasts when exercising."
Now we've all got the bra lowdown from the experts, as a shopping expert, these are the styles I recommend.
Shop the Best Bra Styles:
1. The T-Shirt Bra
2. The Strapless Bra
3. The Non-Padded Bra
4. The Sports Bra