IT’S LIKE UNICORN HUNTING. That’s the feeling I had after trolling endless department stores and mall-based lingerie shops for the perfect strapless bra. Having lost a little weight this year—how shall I put this?—my cups no longer runneth over. And I’ve settled somewhere in the vicinity of a 38B (aka the “mythical creature” of bra sizes).
“Girl, your shoulders are sexy,” explained the perhaps-too-honest gal at Victoria’s Secret, as she wraps a tape measure around my torso. “But your breasts just can’t keep up.”
Translation: You and your miniscule boobies might want to consider a clothing-optional community, because you’re never going to find a bra that really fits you.
Turns out, she was wrong. I took my broad back, shrinking “girls” and bad attitude straight into Bare Necessities at Green Spring Station, where owner Lynn Fram straightened me out.
“Every bra fits differently—even in the same line—so it helps to have lots of styles and sizes under one roof,” explains Fram, whose personal mission is to save women from the indignities of back fat, side lumps, over-boob and nip slips—not to mention ugly bra syndrome. Her store is brimming with beautiful brassieres from 30A to 52L, including more than 20 strapless options. (Other stores I visited had two or three.)
After hand-selecting some boulder holders for me to try, Lynn and I agreed on two gorgeous little numbers—including one black “plunge” bra that rivals my favorite from my 20s—that cost about $50 each. The key: selecting a strapless where the support comes from the band with added silicone lining to prevent slippage. (She also suggests washing after every wear to remove oils and prevent stretching.) Here are some other tricks of the trade I learned.
SMALL BUST: Go for a bra with padding only on the bottom to give you a little lift without looking like you’re wearing Madonna cones.
FULL FIGURE: Consider a bustier with boning in the bra and a waist-slimming corset. (Yes, you can find one that’s comfy.) “If you get a little mush at the bottom,” says Fram “just add a pair of Spanx.”
BETWEEN SIZES. Fram staffs two full-time seamstresses who can quickly (and affordably) customize any bra for the perfect band/cup ratio. “We just move a tab or add an extender in the back. It’s not magic, but it’s pretty close.” 410-583-1383, necessarysecrets.com