Here in the fashion world, we're accustomed to thinking of clothing as something that has the power to ultimately flatter the wearer—or, well, to not flatter her. The clothes you wear can help you present the best version of yourself, but they can harm that image just as much. And it turns out, your undies might are no exception.
We sat down to chat with Michelle Lam, bra maven and founder of lingerie brand True & Co., who shared her incomparable wisdom about how your bra might be making you look sizes larger than you are. To be clear—we're not speaking out here against large-ness, but rather we want to empower you to choose undergarments that make you look as fabulous as you feel when you wear them.
Keep scrolling to see what Lam had to say about how your bra might be making you look larger than you really are.
"If you’re wearing a bra that’s too small, it will make you look bigger—that quad-boob action," Lam explains. "Many women actually run into quad-boob because they’re wearing a bra that’s too small. All the flesh is being squeezed out of the cup, out the sides, out the back—it’s like wearing a too-tight pair of pants. It’s the breast version of the muffin top. Of course that’s going to make you look bigger!"
Many women who are smaller-chested think the solution is to slip on a push-up bra, but many times that's actually a mistake.
"Don’t be afraid of an unlined cup," Lam says. "It can be your best friend, because it shows your natural shape instead of adding a layer of fabric, which a push-up often does. If you're opting for a push-up, there is a way for a fuller-cup woman to do it: go for the banana-shaped pads or just a slight push-up to help shape and lift the breasts, which is going to give her that beautiful look. But the only women who really need push-ups are those who have gaping at the top of the cup in their bras."
"Most people think minimizers are really great, but we have found that most women just don’t feel a minimizer does a great job for them," Lam says. "Everybody talks about the minimizer, but very few women pick it up and make a go of it. Because of the compression of your breasts, it’s not great, and can actually have the opposite effect—in most cases, we will recommend that women pick a bra that has a power mesh and a sling on the side that lifts the breast from the side so it’s not falling into your armpit."
"This is a mantra that so many people say—that you’re defying gravity with your bra," Lam says. "The spandex in bras and body sweat do not mix well—the body sweat actually breaks down spandex pretty quickly. You’ve got spandex and sweat going on, so you need to check every three to four months; look at your side profile in the mirror, and see where your nipples are pointing. If they are pointing down, you need a new bra! Your breasts should be lifted up, away from your rib cage."
To avoid having your bra make you look sizes larger than you really are, Lam says that it's important to make sure your bra fits properly, to avoid push-ups in most situations, to never wear minimizers, and lastly to try out a balconette.
"Balconette is the bra of the year—it reduces the risk of quad=boob, because it’s essentially a shelf," Lam explains. "Marilyn Monroe was actually the first to wear it—it got its name because it looked like a balcony for her breasts. If you looked at her from the top down, all you saw was breast—you couldn’t even tell if she was wearing a bra!"
Do you think your bra sometimes makes you look bigger than you really are? Sound off in the comments below!