ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Miss Malaysia Universe 2010 and Neubodi spokesperson Nadine Ann Thomas shares her insights on women's 'bosom buddies'.
As the saying goes, a good bra is like a good friend: it supports you, never lets you down, and remains close to your heart! Now, Miss Malaysia Universe 2010 and Neubodi spokesperson Nadine Ann Thomas dispels the top ten myths surrounding women's 'bosom buddies'.
Myth 1: Only women with bigger breasts need bras with good support.
Nadine subscribed to this misguided belief for years as she thought that only the more ample-chested needed to wear good bras.
“As I’m not very well-endowed, I thought it was good enough to wear a bra with underwire. I’m in my 20s and gravity is picking up, so I’m starting to realise how important it actually is. All women need to invest in bras with good support!” she said.
Without proper support, cooper ligaments - the connective tissue in breasts which are attached to the body’s pectoral muscles - will stretch and cause breasts to sag.
Myth 2: I know my cup size, so I don’t have to be fitted!
According to Neubodi, the average Malaysian woman wears a D cup, with each breast weighing around 250 grams. Thus, they carry bras from band 30-44 with cup options ranging from A to I.
But many other retailers employ a standard sales practice of recommending bra sizes according to visual assessment, which has led many women to believe they are a smaller cup size than they actually are.
“I was always a B cup. But when I got myself properly fitted here, I am an E!” said Nadine, who feels that it’s hard to change female mindsets when it pertains an undergarment worn everyday.
Thus, choosing a bra that fits goes beyond mere statistical measurements, and remains dependent upon a woman’s body structure, shape and bra style.
Myth 3: Bras do nothing to help my posture or improve my health.
Nadine once felt there was no truth to bras being beneficial to one’s health, but eventually realised that not every claim was a mere marketing ploy.
A good bra made her shoulders “ache a little bit” when she slouched, which the broad-shouldered beauty queen pinpointed as an issue of self confidence.
As a lanky young girl, she was bullied in school: “Being tall, I’m used to hunching a bit as people are generally shorter than me when I have my heels on.”
“However, a good bra forced me to sit up straight and produced better posture. It may feel snug at first as it offers a level of support not previously enjoyed,” she added.
This resulted in a strong, defined silhouette, and Nadine enjoys how clothes now look better “especially in the front, where my breasts look fuller.”
Myth 4: A bra’s design is more important than its function.
Having worked with many lingerie companies, Nadine finds that emphasis is sometimes placed on non-essential features such as “season-themed” campaigns: “To be honest, whether you buy the winter, fall or summer collection, you still wear it anytime of the year.”
“Most companies target the fashion and style element, but functionality is most important. Choose the style only after you figure out what kind of bra fits your breast shape best,” said Nadine, adding that Neubodi advised her against some bras that did not suit her.
Myth 5: I can wear the same bra straight from the office to the gym.
Differing levels of physical activity require different levels of support, and the yoga-practising Nadine loves the brand’s Flexi Bra from their Active Collection.
“As it has no underwire, it’s comfortable and great for low impact sports. It even provides better support than some of the yoga bras I have!” she said.
Materials used in everyday bras, such as silk, may also be unsuitable for workout sessions: “Here, the white bamboo charcoal stimulates blood circulation, absorbs sweat effectively, and has micro holes which provide better ventilation.”
Myth 6: Just put your ‘girls’ in their cups and you’re good to go!
In the past, Nadine was unaware of the proper ‘swoop and scoop’ method to putting on a bra.
Most of the time, women are content to just do the first two steps: “Before fastening your bra hooks, lean forward slightly so that breasts fall nicely into the cups. Then, adjust straps to a comfortable level.”
However, the ‘swoop and scoop’ method details a more complete process: “Bend your body forward, and slip a hand into the back of the bra to sweep the fatty tissue into the front and back into the bra cup. Then, stand straight and slip one hand into the cup to lift your breast while the other hand holds the underwire in the correct position. Lastly, ensure that the bra band fits snugly around your body.”
With practice, this will ensure fuller breasts as displaced fatty tissue will return to its original place.
Myth 7: It’s hard to match good bras with my clothes.
In her line of work, Nadine needs to present herself in a variety of looks without sacrificing the need for good support.
“The bra bands may be a little bit high, but that was something I got used to, in terms of finding clothes to wear,” she said.
When it comes to more glamorous events, she favours an evening After Hours collection, which is “sexier with lower bands”.
It just takes a little daring experimentation and sartorial imagination: during one of her DJ gigs, Nadine turned a corset into a tasteful crop top simply by taking the straps off!
Myth 8: Only one kind of bra works for me!
Two bras of the same size might fit a woman in totally different ways. It is dependent on the bra style selected (half cup, three-quarter cup, full cup), fabric used (smooth, lace, etc) to even the paddings used on the bra (full padding or partial padding).
Nadine used to only buy plunging V-shaped bras as she was convinced that no other style would work for her body type.
However, proper fitting and better knowledge of her own breast shape soon opened up a whole new selection of bra styles: “I used to share bras with my sister, which is something we should not have done. Now, when we go shopping, we buy completely different styles and sizes for ourselves!”
Myth 9: I can wear push-up bras every day for an extra boost.
The push-up bra style uses heavy padding at the bottom of the cups to create a dramatic push-up effect by pushing breasts inwards and upwards for a centralised cleavage.
Despite their breast boosting properties, Nadine was quick to caution against constant use of push-up bras.
“There is no actual support. When the bra forces a cleavage, breasts have no where else to go but up. Fat tissue is displaced to the back, and when fatty tissue is squeezed constantly, it will loosen in the long run,” she said.
Myth 10: A good bra will last forever!
Hormonal changes, weight gain or weight loss may impact a bra’s fit. Thus, a refitting is suggested every six months.
According to Neubodi manager Estee Ong, one bra can last through 180 to 240 washes if worn everyday. Thus, one should have at least three bras: one to wear, one to wash, and one as a spare.
“That way, each bra can last for one and a half years. Hand wash and air-dry your bra after every use, and don’t wear them for two days in a row. Doing so would overstretch the band and straps elasticity,” said Nadine.