Tuesday, January 7th, 2014...3:01 pm

5 expert tips on bra care and fitting from San Francisco’s Alla Prima

Jump to Comments

5 Expert Bra Care Tips

In need of a proper bra fitting, I recently visited the wonderful San Francisco lingerie shop Alla Prima for the first time. In addition to a new size diagnosis, I also got a lesson in bra care that I won’t soon forget. In the spirit of spreading great advice that will extend the life (and dollar) of your underthings, I had to share.

  1. Don’t wear bras more than one day in a row, and wash every three wears. Dirt and sweat break down the elastics, so interspersed wearing and regular washing will keep them feeling new longer.
  2. Always hand-wash, using Forever New. Don’t use Woolite, it’s a detergent rather than a soap and is hard on lingerie (and even clothes). Tocca is another good alternative. To remove excess water, don’t ring out, press between towels. Lay to dry.
  3. When you’re trying on a bra, clasp it at the outer-most hook, the largest band size. All bands will stretch out over time, so give your band room to grow while maintaining the right fit.
  4. Three basic bras and three fun bras is a good wardrobe minimum at any given a time.
  5. Get fitted by an expert. I always thought my band size was a 34, but Alla Prima measured me at a 32. It felt tight at first, but after wearing this size for a few months, I now realize how important that is for support and taking into account the way bands relax over time.

Another note on fit: I’ve heard for years that for proper support, the band should fit tighter than you might expect. But after being sized by novices at shops like Gap Body and Victoria’s Secret, I went years with band sizes that were too loose. Think of it like buying jeans — you know they’re going to stretch with wear, so start tight with room to relax over time.

If you’re like I was and need a full bra-fitting revamp, be prepared to get “friendly” with your measurer, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the nuances of fit and cup styles (demi, plunge, full-coverage, on and on). There’s no sense being shy about getting a fit that will help you feel great about yourself!

***

Lastly, for the easiest bra shopping you’ll ever experience, I can’t recommend True & Co. highly enough. The online bra boutique offers free shipping for at-home try-on boxes of five bras at a time, and the feedback they’ve gotten over time on those boxes has led to invaluable information on what bras are suited to what body types. Before I ordered from True the first time, I knew I needed a hands-on fitting to determine the right size (hence the learnings above!), and my second box of try-ons is on its way now. You can get $25 off a purchase of $100 using my referral link.

Graphic at top made from images from trueandco.com

Leave a Reply