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Can a bra be both sexy and supportive? The short answer is yes—but you'll need some expert tips to make sure you pick the right bra.
Confidence comes from within, and what gives you a bigger confidence boost than wearing a sexy bra? It's too bad that oftentimes sexy and comfortable are opposing forces when bra shopping. But, finding a bra that is both supportive and sexy is possible—you just need the right tips and to look for the right details to find one. To help, we spoke to Marie-Josée Koury, Wacoal consultant and marketing director at Anita Canada, Olivia Leroux, to learn more.
1. Find the right fit
When we asked what makes a good supportive bra, the overwhelming response was having the proper fit. No matter what kind of bra you're looking for, fit is key. A bra that fits well shouldn't make you want to take it off the second you get home, suggests Koury. Instead, a supportive bra should feel like you're not even wearing a bra at all. To achieve this, there's a short list of details that are musts when bra shopping. Things like: the back of the bra is parallel to the ground, the breasts are positioned properly in the cups and the center of the bra (called the gore) is sitting flat against your chest. Leroux adds that for ultimate comfort, you should be able to fit one finger under the band and two fingers under the strap. For the best possible understanding of bra fit, it's a good idea to head to a boutique or store that offers bra fittings. Picking a brand you already love is a good place to start because then you'll know what size you are there.
It's important to remember that not every bra brand, or even bra style, will fit you in the same size. “It’s only a number," says Kourey. "In one brand you might be a 40 and in another, you might be a 42, but who cares about the number, you’ll be comfortable!" The Josephine Underwire Bra by Anita is a great example of a sexy bra that comes in a variety of different sizes, ranging from 32B to 42G, to ensure the perfect fit for you.
Also, remember that 80 per cent of a bra's support comes from the band, not the straps. Because of this, Leroux suggests looking for bras made of a low-elasticity fabric that will not stretch too much overtime. "Yes, you do want an elastic fabric but make sure it's not too stretchy," she says. "The bra should fit on the loosest hook when purchasing it and you can move to the next set of hooks as it begins to stretch."
Anita Josephine Underwire Bra in Black starting at $63.50, amazon.ca.
2. Choose a sexy style
Once you know how to find a bra that fits you well, you can look for sexy styles. Both Koury and Leroux agree that sexy is a very personal term. What makes one person feel sexy is not universal. "An everyday bra can certainly be sexy if it's the right colour for you and the correct size," says Koury. "If you're standing in your bra and there's overflow everywhere, no matter what the bra looks like, you're not going to feel sexy." To find something that makes you look (and feel) your sexiest, start experimenting with different colours, fabrics, designs, cuts, push-ups, lace detailing, embroidery—the list goes on and on. Maybe you like the look of a bright red bra with a deep plunge and a double-whoah push-up, or maybe you prefer a delicate lacy half cup bra like Simone Pérèle's Délice bra. The choice is yours! Once you know how a bra should fit, have fun trying on different styles to see which ones give you that oh so sweet boost of confidence.
Simone Pérèle Délice Half Cup Bra in White, $125, saksfifthavenue.com.
3. Know what to avoid when shopping
When shopping for sexy bras, it is just as important to know what to avoid, as it is to know what to look for. Koury suggests nixing things like scratchy fabric, uncomfortable hook and eye closures, straps that dig into your shoulders, cups that aren't smooth to your chest, ridged wires that don't stretch to fit your shape, and anything that creates bulging, drooping, or breast overflow. Leroux adds that customers should avoid buying bras that only come in sizes small, medium, or large. "Sizing like this does not account for the wide variety of shapes and sizes that women's bodies come in," she says.
But, you can still wear a beautiful bralette and get the support you need. The Embrace Lace Soft Cup Bra by Wacoal is a wireless alternative to the classic bra that can still give you the shape and support you're looking for.
Wacoal Embrace Lace Soft Cup Bra in Blue Denim, $47, thebay.com.
4. If you're bustier, pay more attention to support
If your bra cups are a size C or higher it's more difficult (and more important) to find a supportive bra, according to our experts. Koury and Leroux recommend looking for bras with less stretch, wider straps, wider bands, and more structured fabric on the band and cup. The Breathable T-Shirt Underwire Bra by WonderBra is a great example of how a bra can be designed to support larger breasts and still have a hefty dose of sex appeal. Koury also suggests looking for bras with memory foam cups. "A lot of women think that because they're a little deeper it'll make them look bigger," she explains. "It doesn't make you look bigger, it just gives you a better shape." It's also important for women with larger breasts to find a bra with flexible wires. She suggests playing with the wires a little before you even try it on. You want wires with movement that will fit to your breast shape better. "If the wires are ridged, I would stay away completely," says Koury.
WonderBra Breathable T-Shirt Underwire Bra in Warm Steel, $45, wonderbra.ca.
5. Think outside the regular bra experience
Koury recommends trying on a bra then wearing a favourite t-shirt overtop to see if it gives you the shape you want. If you're shopping for a bra to wear under a specific garment, bring the clothing with you and try it on overtop—this includes date night dresses, special event blouses and your favourite sweater if you know you'll want to wear this bra with those items.
Finally, don't discount a bodysuit. They can provide your breasts with the same support as a bra while simultaneously giving your body a nice shape as well. "Bodysuits are back, and they're doing well," says Koury. For a casual bodysuit that you can dress up or down to feel like your most confident self, there's The Every Bodysuit by Knix. This bodysuit features a built-in wire-free bra with removable padding and is highly adjustable to fit every body.
The Every Bodysuit in Passion, $85, knix.ca.