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Save Your Bra!

November 28, 2014

By John Festa

YOU’RE HOT!

98.7 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. This is why you should not wear the same bra two days in a row.

I’m sure you’ve seen a newspaper on the street that is starting to turn brown from being outside in the sun. The paper is slowly burning. It is oxidizing. Fire is rapid oxidation. Body heat will cause the delicate parts of your intimates to do the same thing: oxidize and break down. You are burning your bra, and not in a cool, radical, liberating 1960’s way.

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You wear your bra for 12-16 hours a day. The many components that make up a bra will slowly breakdown from your body heat; especially the elastic, of which so much of your bra is. This is one of the reasons you should not put your bras in the dryer. The tumbling can be minimized by using a lingerie bag, but the dryer heat will shorten the life of your bra dramatically.

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Men’s dress shoes come with the same caveat. Body heat will break down the leather and shorten the life of the shoes. It is widely accepted that the same pair leather shoes should not be worn on two consecutive days. It is also respectful of your coworkers.

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Yes, you are hot. So hot, you can slowly burn things. Have duplicates of your favorite, well-fitting bra and rotate their wearing’s. And, while I am a strong advocate for personal bra fittings, buying the exact style and size on-line can be easy and cost-effective.

 

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The Fabric of Our Lives ~ Cotton Bras

August 21, 2014

By John Festa

cotton-boll

So they tell us. Then why isn’t there more cotton in our underwear? Sure, there’s plenty of cotton panties, but what of bras? Is this only the domain of lady golfers and Mother Earth types? Perhaps there are compelling reasons why cotton is only a small percentage of the marketplace. I’ve checked in with some of my retailer customers on this topic. The marketplace always bears the truth — the cold, hard truth.

The lure of cotton is its natural fiber. There is a small but dedicated following for this. Most bras on the market today are of synthetic and technological fabrics. The majority of cotton bra seekers do so for this wholesome reason, compelled by philosophy, health reasons, allergies, among others motivations.

Other natural or semi-natural fiber options are mercerized cotton and modal. Mercerizing is a process invented 170 years ago by, amazingly enough, John Mercer. The cotton is treated with a chemical resulting in a swollen, stronger, easier-to-dye fiber. The process was improved upon in subsequent years by stretching the fabric during treatment and burning off stray fibers creating a silky hand and lustrous appearance. While mercerized cotton is beautiful, the chemical treatment may be counter to the natural philosophy of some cotton-wearers.

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Modal is a type of rayon. It is a semi-natural fiber made of cellulose from (mostly) beech trees. Modal has an even silkier hand than mercerized cotton. Its advantages are a higher absorbency than cotton, colorfastness and resistant to shrinkage.

Important factors when considering a cotton bra:

  • It must have stretch, with a small percentage of elastic fabric, elastane (i.e. brand names of Lycra or Spandex), as all cotton used in bras is knit, not woven, thus can stretch and bag.
  • Cotton will wear out sooner because it is a natural fiber

There are some brands that specialize in cotton, like Hanro, Calida and Grenier, while many others dabble in it with an offering or two, like Curvy Couture. Natural fibers feel terrific on the body. And nothing is closer to you, more intimate, than your underwear. That’s why they’re called Intimates. And, perhaps, you may like this as the fabric of your inner life.

Calida-Everyday-Cotton-and-Hanro-Cotton-Sensation

Calida Everyday Cotton Bralet and Hanro Cotton Sensation Bra

Grenier Extreme Cotton Soft Cup bra and Curvy Couture Cotton Underwire Bra

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I Know How The Caged Bra Sings

July 16, 2014

By John Festa

La-Perla

La Perla

Cage bra. Harness bra. A bra with a more complex strap configuration over the shoulder and/or on the back band. A look that has been growing in recent years. Seemingly at once, two events brought this style to the forefront for me.

While visiting the EXPOSED: A History of Lingerie at the Museum at FIT, the graduates majoring in Intimate Apparel had their work on display in the lobby. All five students incorporated some version of the cage bra.  Their work is exceptional, perhaps a hopeful foretelling of the future of the industry and market.

And the ubiquitous Victoria’s Secret has introduced a Very Sexy collection using all kinds of straps and configurations in a variety of different styles.

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Lascivious

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The Strapless: An Engineering Marvel

May 19, 2014

By John Festa

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Forth Bridge via Getty Images

Summer approacheth. A time for fewer, lighter clothes and more baring outfits. Tis the season for strapless bras. As if bras were not already an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, surrounded by mystery, now the job must be accomplished with no visible means of support. Finding a strapless bra that works seems to be an unending quest. In fact, there are quite a few bras today that perform this function quite well.

va-bien-and-Panache

Va Bien Ultra Lift & Panache Evie

Bras work by two main classifications of design:  lift and compression. In order for a strapless bra to have lift, an underwire is necessary. Those without underwire, most notably the circular, engineered knit bandeau type, only use compression … Read more

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Bra Fitting ~ Who Is The Real Expert?

March 6, 2014

by John Festa
bra-fit

In a very short span of time, I received three unrelated comments on my blog from women convinced bra fitters consistently put them in the wrong size bra. It was such an odd occurance. My first reaction was to think said women were resistant to their true size.

This got me thinking. Who knows more: the people fitting the bust, or the people with the bust? So I decided to ask the experts. I will tell you now the results were not at all what I expected. I have been happily educated.

Being in the wholesale bra business in NYC, I have access to some of the most experienced and knowledgeable retail operations and bra fitters in the country. Hugely successful businesses. … Read more

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CHEAP SEATS ~A Musing on the Balconette Bra

January 13, 2014

By John Festa

huit-&-la-perla

Huit & La Perla

I love balconette bras. There is no other bra style that can compare with its classic sexiness and shape enhancement. The literal translation of the word balconette is little balcony. Performers regularly joke about the theater’s balcony being the cheap seats, though there is nothing cheap about this extraordinary bra style.

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Lou Paris & Chantelle

Occasionally referred to as a shelf bra, the balconette is not for the meek. It is nearly a display case for the goods in a beautiful, tasteful way that exalts the female form.

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Aubade & Mimi Holliday

Many bras are called balconette, though not all are. The essence of this style is the shelf construction and low décolleté. In either the … Read more

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