The gentleman's guide to bras

Katy-PerryFor as long as there have been breasts there have been bras, and for just as long they have puzzled and confused men. It isn’t just the universal question of how to undo the back of a bra with one hand without fumbling around, but even the basic understanding of a bra is beyond men. It isn’t surprising, most women are probably wearing an ill fitting bra, so if they don’t understand them, what chance do mere men stand?

Let’s go over a little bit of history as well as the basics of bras. It seems that women started wearing bras, or garments that worked as bras almost as soon as they started wearing clothes. From the mid 1500’s until the mid 1800’s, corsets were used as the fashion demanded smaller waists for women. In 1889, Hermine Cuddle invented the first garment that used the shoulders for support.

As for common bra styles and designs, there are many. These are some of the most common ones. Demi-Cup, a bra with a half cup, designed to show cleavage. Front Closure, designed to make all school boys give up and cry. Full cup, gives the most possible support and coverage for the large breasted lady. Padding bras are designed to increase the perceived size of the breast whereas the pushup or wonderbra, creates more cleavage and leaves men wondering what happened when the bra is removed. The Sports bra is designed with soft material to minimize the movement of the breasts during exercise and the under wire bra features slivers of metal as scaffolding.

That covers the bra, or does it? In addition to the above, there are different ways that straps can be worn. From strapless to straps that cross in the back, from one strap to halter neck.

Now that we all know the difference in styles and are familiar with possible strap configurations the next step in the process is getting the measurements rights. Men will have difficulty with this. Apart from the fact that men are always trying to convince women than something is bigger than it really is, any man familiar with pin up girls recognize that the measure(ment) of a woman are the breast, waist and hips, in inches. This translates to 36-26-36 when talking about Pamela Anderson. So men think that 36 is the size of the bra, right? Wrong.

It is time to raise a cup as it were. The cup is the material part of the bra designed to cover and support the breast. As with so many things in life, breasts and cups, come in various sizes. Cup size start at an A and increase as the size does. The average size of a bra in Canada is a C. As an aside, the average size of bras worn by porn stars is 34B. It is not uncommon for a woman to have slightly different sized breasts. It is nothing to be concerned about.

It is a romantic idea to shop for a loved one, slipping away and ducking into the local lingerie store and picking up something for the weekend. It is romantic, often unexpected, and certainly more challenging than picking up a box of tampax for your significant other.

Men are biologically drawn towards breasts, so walking into a store with wall to wall bras can give a lot of men the deer in the headlights stare. Once a man is able to blink however, he must remember the style, size and what kind of strap before looking at colours and patterns. If you are able to provide style and size, there is usually a store assistant who is able to help find the perfect bra. These, usually, women probably help several lost looking men a day so don’t panic, they are professionals. Please don’t try to be the slimy guy who suggests that the assistant model something for you. It won’t be the first time they have heard it, it won’t be the last, and unless your life is a porn movie, it isn’t going to happen.

There are common fitting issues for bras including rolls of fat above and below the back strap, underwire bras poking into flesh, the back of the bra rising as the front of the bra droops, the dreaded uniboob, and the appearance of double boobs, one set above the other when the bra is too small.

Rather than buying the bra by yourself, why not treat your lady to a professional bra fitting (no you can’t watch) and once you have the correct size, pick out the bra (and matching knickers) together. How romantic!

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