Bra Rules I Didn’t Know

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.12.17 PMEarlier this month, Megan Mayer wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled “The 6 Most Basic Bra Rules You Probably Didn’t Know.” When I saw the title, I was certain I’d know all of the rules, since I’ve examined more than 6,000 women who have come to my office for cosmetic breast surgery. Turns out I scored 50 percent: #2, #4, and #5 fooled me.

Below, you’ll find Megan’s rules in orange and purple and my comments in black.

1. Bras will never be a comfortable clothing item. Their primary function is to support your breasts, so they are supposed to be firmly hugging your torso.

When my wife, Joyce, takes off her bra at night, she lets out a great big sigh. She’s always in search of a comfortable bra and never seems to find one. It makes me glad I don’t have to wear one.

Joyce is the co-author of The Dictionary of Jewish Words, where you’ll find the Yiddish word mechayah, which perfectly describes the feeling of relief she gets when she unhooks her bra at the end of the day. My mother defined mechayah as the feeling she got when she took off her girdle. It also describes how it feels to take off your stilettos.

2. Clasp those babies. To preserve your bras, be sure to CLASP them while they live in your underwear/bra drawer so they don’t get caught on other articles of clothing.

Joyce doesn’t clasp her bras; she hangs them on the doorknob of our bedroom closet for easy access, which makes sense to me. I can throw my underwear in the drawer without arranging it a certain way. This is one of the benefits of being a guy.

3. You should definitely have more than one bra. Bras are like underwear — you should have more than one pair and rotate them.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I thought that everyone would know and abide by this rule. Megan could have eliminated it and used this one instead:

You don’t need to wear a bra. A bra will keep your breasts from sagging, but only while you are wearing it. There’s little evidence that wearing a bra delays or prevents breast droopiness or the formation of stretch marks.

4. Be aware of the gore. The center of the bra that connects the cups in front is called a gore.

It’s interesting that someone picked a word that also means bloodshed and carnage to describe this bra part. When I looked it up in the dictionary, I found out that the gore, a triangular piece of material, is used not only in making bras but also for umbrellas and sails.

5. Hand wash your bras. No dryers and no dry cleaners. Hand washing will maximize the life expectancy of your delicates.

I never thought about how you washed a bra, but if I did, I’d imagine you’d throw it into the washing machine. Happily, I can throw my underwear in the washing machine. This is another of the benefits of being a guy.

6. Your bra size is subject to change. You are most likely a different bra size at various undergarment stores. Just like clothes and shoes, bra sizes run differently.

I run into this issue every day in the office when women tell me that what cup size they want to be after surgery. The problem is that a C cup can mean one thing if it’s made by Victoria’s Secret and another if it’s made by Vanity Fair. A woman might wear a B cup in a full-coverage bra and a C cup in a demi bra, even if the same company makes both styles.

Because there is no standard cup-sizing system, I prefer to call it a C look. And to achieve a C look, a 5-foot woman with a small frame might need a B cup while a 5-foot-8-inch woman with a large frame might need a D cup.

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What do bras and shoes have in common?

By Joyce Eisenberg

More than you’d expect. Here’s my list:

1. Women own more of each than they wear.

Screen shot 2013-02-02 at 11.58.05 AMThe average American woman has 19 pairs of shoes in her closet, but she only wears 4 pairs regularly, according to a poll that appeared in ShopSmart magazine. Another 4 or 5 pairs have only been worn once. There are similar statistics about bras. According to Britain’s Daily Mail, the average woman owns 16 bras at any given time but only wears 4-6 of them on a regular basis.

2. Our drawers and our closets are stuffed with shoes and bras that we don’t wear but don’t want to give away  – just in case.

Screen shot 2013-02-02 at 11.59.51 AMThese are the shoes that looked great in the store but didn’t quite match the dress you were hoping it would complement, and the bra that was really sexy but made your boobs look bad under your new sweater. These are the shoes that felt okay when you test-drove them around the store for two minutes and the bras that were comfy when you tried them on for a nanosecond. Back at home, in the harsh light of day, they are too uncomfortable to wear. But they’re pretty.

3. Because of traumatic experiences like the aforementioned, women buy comfortable shoes and bras and sexy shoes and bras, and they are rarely one and the same.

Screen shot 2013-02-02 at 11.58.20 AMManufacturers understand this, which is why bra companies market ultra-comfortable styles, like the Coobie Bra, a seamless, stretchy, one-size-fits-almost-all bra that’s so comfortable you can sleep in it. They also sell super-sexy models, like Victoria’s Secret’s Bombshell bra that “adds 2 cup sizes for instant hourglass oomph.” Shoes walk the same path. There’s the Blossom, with 5-inch stiletto heels and a rhinestone studded ankle strap, and comfy Ugg boots with their fleece lining.

I haven’t found any bras or shoes that bridge the gap, but a Chicago Tribune reporter tested shoes marketed as “comfortably sexy day and night.” One tester came close to tears cause the shoes hurt so bad; but there were some success stories. I’m sticking with my sensible Aerosoles.

4. If you lose weight, both your cup size and your shoe size can decrease. If you gain weight, the reverse is true.

“I dropped about 40 pounds – three dress sizes,” one woman wrote in an online forum. “Went from a 36DD to a 36D bra. I’m not complaining about that; I just don”t want to go below a C cup. However, some of my shoes are a little too big now, and that does piss me off as I’m an absolute shoe fiend…”

Screen shot 2013-02-02 at 12.03.51 PMAnother women replied, “35 pounds for me was more than a full cup size. Also, I actually had to get a new helmet for horseback riding because the old one got too big. Weird, huh? Didn’t know I had a fat head…”

Breasts, which are made up mostly of fatty tissue, are often the first indicators of weight change. But all parts of the body of capable of storing fat. So if you are dieting, maybe you should squirrel away the money you’re saving on food shopping to use on shoe, bra and helmet shopping when you’ve reached your goal.

5. At the end of the day, women can’t wait to get their bra and their shoes off.

Nuff said.