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've never spent over $40 on a bra. In fact, I only have four that I usually wear. I also haven't had my size measured in years, but now that I'm 28, I've decided it's time to take 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 regard to fittings, you may be wondering how often you should get one. Eloise Rigby, founder of The Pantry Underwear, says you'll want to get measured 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," she tells us.
But Ana Didillieu, senior designer at Wonderbra, had this to say: "People often only think about their breasts' size, but breasts' shape is just as important." Our shape can evolves over time due to weight, age, menstrual circle, and events like pregnancy. "Considering these regular body changes, it's advisable to get fitted every time you buy a new bra," she tells us.
Before breaking down the bras that are considered "essentials," I wanted to know the shelf life of each bra. "Depending on the quality of the bra, try and understand the 'fit points,'" says Rigby. "If you can pull the back strap away from your back by more than an inch with ease on the tightest set of hooks, you bra has stretched out too much."
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," Rigby explains. "I'd recommend owning a T-shirt bra, a non-padded bra in either a full-cup plunge or balconette, a strapless option, and 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 strapless, plunge, and multi-way 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."