Archive for January, 2011
January 27, 2011
There have been a couple of articles written this week proclaiming Oprah as the reason that sexy and fashionable plus-sized lingerie is available in the market today. This is simply nonsense.
Every plus-size lingerie brand we carry at HerRoom has been around for years prior to Oprah’s ‘Bra Intervention’ programs. But I will give her credit for bringing an awareness to women that they are probably in the wrong size bra. However, her deal with Nordstrom stores to promote/push women to get fitted there and proclaiming them as the mecca for lingerie shopping did no one but Nordstrom any favors.
Between her recent big ‘secret,’ these articles of self-promotion and numerous personal interviews as of late, I think we can all figure out that she is simply manipulating the media with her star power in an effort to promote her new network OWN. But hey, if I had her power, I’d probably be doing the same thing.
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Posted by Tomima at 7:49am
2 Comments »
January 13, 2011
I sell a lot of shapewear from many shapewear manufacturers at HerRoom. So, I’ve heard all the pitches as to why each brand thinks they do it the best. And, with some brands, I agree that their approach is unique. But, (and this is a big but) shapewear is not the panacea that many women think it is. It absolutely has limitations. For starters, women need to understand that it can only reduce your measurement 1 to 2 inches at the most. This makes sense if you think about it. You know what a tourniquet is – a tightly compressed bandage you put on your body to stop the flow of blood. If your shapewear was too tight, your blood system could not function. This is one of the reasons why I get mad at my daughters when they put their elastic hairbands on their wrists; they are cutting off the flow of blood to their hands. This is also the reason why doctors don’t want you to wear tight knee-high nylons; this stops the flow of blood to small blood vessels in your legs. So, now you get why shapewear has its limitations in terms of how much compression it can provide.
But, here is another important point. You can not reduce body mass. A pound of flesh is a pound of flesh no matter how much you compress it. Think of it as a water balloon. You can’t make it smaller, you can only reshape it. So, let’s say you buy a biker short piece of shapewear. Yes, it will compress your tummy (assuming it comes up high enough) and your thighs, but at each end of this piece you will see a bulge – muffin top, and lines on your thighs. Your body mass has to go somewhere. It does not go away. One fact is true, the more you cover your body with shapewear, the smoother your body will appear and it can reduce the largest measuring points of your body.
A discussion of shapewear must also include a quick comment on fit. First, never buy a smaller size thinking it will give you more support. All you are doing is buying a garment that is too small for you. Buy your correct size. If your shapewear garment constantly rolls up on your legs, or rolls down from your tummy, your shapewear is too small; you need a larger size. Having said all of this, I am still a believer in shapewear, and I wear it on occasion. It’s not because I am delusional, it’s because I am wearing something form-fitting and I want to look smooth. The other reason I wear shapwear is when I have a tummy and the garment I’m wearing will show this. A piece of shapewear helps to smooth my tummy. Also, because it is there pushing in on me, it reminds me to keep my tummy muscles tight. So, for me, it’s also a kind of silent posture reminder.
Shapwear comes in many control levels from light to very firm. The lighter levels are mainly selected by women to provide a smooth shape all day. A light to medium control camisole, for example, helps reduce bulging along the bra lines on your back. The firm to very firm should really be worn for no more than 4 to 6 hours – it’s event shapewear. Wearing this all day is a real challenge and a mental distraction because no one is truly comfortable wearing this level of support for long periods of time, and don’t even get me started about the challenges when going to the bathroom.
So, what shapewear brand do I recommend? Well, clearly every brand on my site. But, each has its own reasons. Let me enlighten you to a few. Alphabetically, let me briefly talk about BodyWrap, Cass, Rago, TC Fine and Va Bien.
BodyWrap is the original shapewear that actually knits in different levels of firmness throughout the shapewear piece. Made by a Canadian swimwear manufacaturer, it is a great product for women who want to keep their curves. It factors in having less compression in the bust, and bottom area so that these shapes can be shown off.
Cass Luxury Shapewear was the first to create garments that you can wear as outerwear but with compression built into them. So, instead of wearing shapewear AND a camisole, just buy one of their beautiful pieces and you don’t have to cover it up. The pieces look great on, and you look smooth.
Rago is one of the oldest and most traditional shapewear brands out there. The size range is vast going up to 9xl. Thier products are impressive pieces of construction with boning, non-stretch tape, and extremely firm fabrics being used to create their silhouettes. Spend the time to get into one of their garments, and you will know that you are contained with nothing hanging out.
TC Fine Shapewear specializes in firm control garments and does very impressive and very extensive wear testing before putting something on the market. They have an army of women who wear-test their garments and wash them repeatedly, then provide feedback. They boast that their products have extraordinary comfort given their firm control, use thin fabrics, give a tailored appearance, use invisible seams and do not ride up or roll down.
Finally, Va Bien is a terrific brand of shapewear owned and designed by the Gimble Family who are French. They specialize in shapewear that is also beautiful. You would never be embarassed being caught in your Va Bien shapewear. Thus it is a favorite for brides and their mothers and for other special occasions. But, you can also wear it for every day and feel like you are wearing something very beautiful. With the New Year upon us, think about creating a new you, whether it be with exercise or shapewear or both.
Posted by Tomima at 12:00pm
4 Comments »
January 07, 2011
Personally, I think finding the right band size is really tough. A bra’s cup size either fits or it doesn’t, but finding the right fit in a band size can be a little subjective. And it’s because of this that mistakes can be made.
Simply put, women – and bra fitters for that matter – have their own opinions on how tight a band should fit. I know that I prefer a bra band on the slightly loose side. I’ve seen bra fitters put women in band sizes that I thought were way too tight. The final decision should ultimately rest with the wearer of the bra. So, how do you decide your personal band size?
First, women with cup sizes C or smaller can decide what is the most comfortable for them. Their breast size does not dictate the necessity for a firm band size. But, D cups and larger really need to consider a few more variables. Ninety percent of breast support comes from the bra band. Therefore, the band should be firm enough around the chest to support the breasts. A quick trick to see if this is the case is to put on a bra, then take the straps off your shoulder. If the bra falls down to your waist, or slips down your torso, your band needs to be tighter. Another test is to put on a bra and then twist your shoulders side-to-side. If your bra band is moving on you while you do this, your band is too loose.
The difference between band sizes is 2". Almost every bra comes with 3 hook closure options along the back. The difference between the loosest and tightest position is between 1" to 1 1/2". So, when you put a bra on for the first time, try it on its tightest position first. If it feels comfortable, I would go down a band size. The reason is that you have nowhere to go once the bra begins to stretch with wear, and the next band size down will accomodate that stretch. Say you are trying on a 38 band size on its tightest fastening and it feels comfortable. I think you should go down a band size to a 36. Note: when you go down a band size, you need to go up a cup size if you want to maintain the same cup volume.
Alternatively, when you put on a bra for the first time, you should fit to the loosest adjustment. Put on a bra and attach the hooks to the closest eyes on the bra’s other end. Does it feel snug? If it does, that’s your band size. Now, as you wear that bra, you have the ability to adjust it tighter as the bra stretches out over time. And, all bras stretch over time.
So, where do you start to find the right band size for you? Begin with a tape measure. Making sure it’s parallel to the floor, wrap the tape measure around yourself along your bust crease – the place where your breast skin turns into tummy skin. Do this while not wearing any bra, and exhale to make this measurement as small as possible. Now, to that measurement, add 3" or 4" to get you to an even number. This should be your starting band size. But, it doesn’t have to mean it’s your final band size. You decide whether that band size feels comfortable to you and you like the support it provides. Go up or down a band size till you feel comfortable. But remember two things. 1. Each band increase/decrease means a 2" difference in the circumference. So, if one size is a little tight, and the other is a little loose, fine tune your decision by moving the bra closure in the back to the second position. 2. Cup sizes change in fit when you go up or down a band size. So, say you like the fit of a 38C bra in the cups, but the band is too tight, you should move to a 40B. If the 38C band is too loose, you should move to a 36D.
Again, let me emphasize that you should be the final arbiter on what band size you wear. Don’t let someone else tell you what it should be. There are a lot of women who own bra mistakes because they didn’t speak up or challenge the band size choice when they were fitted.
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Posted by Tomima at 9:26am
9 Comments »