Everyone wants to know that, right??
Believe it or not, I’m not going to tell you to revamp your diet, hire a trainer and sign up to run a half marathon. (Although if you REALLY want to look 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger…. it’s not a bad idea!)
No, what we’re going to talk about today has nothing to do with diet and exercise. I’ll pause while you all breathe a sigh of relief.
This is much less painful, I promise.
Today we are going to talk about a very delicate subject — one that I get asked about quite a bit and haven’t tackled here on the blog in a very long time, if ever. Are you ready?
(Men — all 5 of you — you may want to skip this one and come back tomorrow. I made braised short rib last night. Oh, yes I did! And I’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow, so don’t stay away for long.)
Ladies, listen up. Because today we are going to talk about the importance of proper undergarments.
Oh yes, I am going there.
And the men run for the hills.
Proper undergarments are KEY to good style.
It doesn’t matter how cute your clothes are, if you’re sagging and dragging, ahem, you will look schlumpy. Yes, that’s a technical term.
Wearing the wrong size or old, stretched-out foundation garments will make you look older and heavier than you truly are. Finding the right size and fit will immediately take 10 pounds off, I guarantee it.
How long has it been since you’ve had a professional bra fitting? Have you ever?
It is estimated that something like 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. And if you think that’s just a clever marketing ploy, look around. I believe it.
The older we are, the more of a problem it is. Our bodies change, yes, but I think we also put less of a priority on our underwear because, let’s face it, we’re not as cute and perky as we used to be, and it’s just not as much fun to shop for.
But it must be done.
If you were fitted 10 years ago, before you had kids and when your metabolism was still working for you, you are probably not the same size anymore. As we age and our weight hems and haws, our bodies change. Every woman should get a professional bra fitting every 5 years or with any major body change (weight loss or gain, childbirth, pregnancy, etc.)
How long has it been since you replaced your bras?
Uh-huh. Thought so.
I’m a bad one for this one, I will admit. I wear mine for too long, I know. But they say (don’t you love “they” — know it alls, “they” are) that bras that we wear on a regular basis should be replaced every six months. I’ll stretch that to about a year, (haha, stretch… I’m so punny) but after that, it’s time for a new one.
Again, this is not just a brilliant marketing strategy on the part of bra manufacturers. Take a look at the straps on your favorite bra — especially the band that goes around your back. Does the elastic look stretched out and worn? See that? It’s time for a new one.
Have you ever bought the same bra as one you have in your closet and compared the new with the old? These babies don’t hold up for much more than a year of regular use. Once they start to stretch out, they don’t do their job, and the next thing you know, your saggin’ and baggin’.
No one wants that!
Take an afternoon for yourself, go to the mall, ideally go to Nordstrom or a place that provides professional bra fittings, and freshen up your foundation garments with new ones in the right size that put the girls back where they’re supposed to be. Then see how much better your clothes look.
And here’s something else to ponder.
Do you ever wear shapewear?
There was a time, you know, when a lady would not leave the house without a girdle, and that time wasn’t all that long ago. Nowadays, in the name of feminism or comfort or I’m not even sure what, we just let it all hang out.
Why? I do not understand.
The same is true of bra straps and even our underwear. NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT, PEOPLE.
Speaking of which, I’ve been asked how I wear tank tops and my bra straps never show. Well, I’m sure they slip out sometimes. My husband detests seeing bra straps, so he always informs me if mine are visible so I can fix it.
But it also takes time and effort to find the right bras for the right tops. I love tank tops so I searched high and low to find a bra with straps that are thin enough to hide in tank tops but that still offers enough support to keep the girls in place. When I found it, I bought 5 of them in 3 different colors. I keep replacing them when they wear out.
If you find one you love, buy several! I have even been known to buy a few and save them with the tags on until my current ones wear out, in case they get discontinued. If you have a hard time finding bras that work for you, you may want to consider doing that too.
I also only buy tank tops that hide the bra. Depending on your needs, ahem, you may have to wear tanks with wider straps to cover wider bra straps. And you may have to come to terms with the fact that there are certain styles you cannot wear. For example, I never wear spaghetti straps. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I just can’t do it. The most important thing is to find a bra that fits right and gives you the proper support. Then you can find shirts and dresses that cover them properly. If they don’t, then you can’t wear them. Or you have to go in search of appropriate undergarments for a specific outfit.
It’s been years since I’ve worn a halter or a strapless top because I don’t want to mess with a strapless bra. If I had a special occasion that required such a dress, I’d make sure to find the proper undergarments for it.
But I digress.
Back to shapewear . . .
I’m a huge proponent of shapewear.
I wear shapewear several days a week. I know, people think I’m nuts. I probably should have been born in the 50s. But it’s not as uncomfortable as you might think, and when you get used to it, you almost feel naked without it.
I’ve been asked by a friend to show photos of myself with and without shapewear, and I’m not QUITE ready to go there! But suffice it to say, wearing shapewear can make a huge difference in how your clothes fit and how you look and feel.
If you have an area of your body that you are particularly self-conscious about, consider finding a piece of shapewear to disguise it. For me, it’s my midsection. I have thin limbs, but when I gain weight, it goes right to my middle, making me feel lumpy and dumpy. It’s also aging, so I have resorted to wearing the Kymaro Cami under, well, almost everything!
This is my best kept secret. Are you ready for it?
(And no, THAT IS NOT ME IN THE PHOTO!!! Just wanted to clarify that.)
I like how the Kymaro Cami sits underneath the bra so it doesn’t reshape your chest area — I hate that. You can actually remove the clear straps entirely, and tuck the tabs under your bra, and it stays in place. It’s more comfortable that way, as those plastic straps do dig into your shoulders a bit, and they are visible in tank tops. I used to only remove them when I wore tanks, but now I never use the straps.
Unfortunately, the way their site is set up, you have to buy the Body Shaper to get the Cami — the Cami is an add-on. But I do it to get the Cami. I occasionally wear the Body Shaper in the wintertime, and I like how it smooths out the back area around the bra band, but it’s pretty hot for summer and shows in most of my summer tops.
If that one’s not for you, there are SO many options out there nowadays. It’s all about finding what works for you. I wrote about several of my favorite shapewear pieces a few years ago on All Things Chic. Melissa also has a post over there about Summerweight Shapewear, for those who might be interested. And if you REALLY hate the idea of shapewear, and you can’t stand things binding you, check out my friend Grace’s post about keeping a Smooth Profile.
Spanx has TONS of shapewear options that tackle every problem area, and some that manage several areas at once.
Other great articles on the topic — What To Wear Under Your Clothes at Mom Trends.
In the wintertime, I LOVE Spanx Tights under dresses. They are awesome for holding everything in place, and the tights are completely opaque so you can’t see through them.
Finally, let’s talk about panty lines.
You don’t want ‘em. Do what you have to do, ladies, to avoid the panty lines.
And that’s all I’m gonna say about THAT!