Durban - Bras are an essential undergarment for women.
We spoke to Liza Clifford, of Liza Clifford Professional Bra Fitting Studio, who says if you aren’t wanting to take your bra off when you get home or before you go to bed, your bra is not working.
What are some of the mistakes women make when choosing a bra?
Women don’t try on bras because they trust the bra will be the same as all the others they have purchased (in that size) and they do not get a proper professional fitting where they are assessed. This allows women to make better buying decisions in the future.
Why is it important for women to have proper fittings rather than just rely on chain store bras?
Chain stores offer a great measuring service, which allows you to purchase what is in stock. Women often feel that if a bra doesn’t work for them they are the problem, rather than the bra. Finding a bra style and size that suits you is a process that is often not supported by chain stores as it is time-consuming and requires trained staff. Once you know your size and style, you can make your purchases and the necessary adjustments based on the knowledge you are given in a consultation.
Explain bra support.
Support is comfort, not the bra. When the weight of your breasts is lifted off your rib cage and shoulders by a well-fitted bra, you will truly know what support is. If you rely on your straps for support or lift, you are wearing the wrong bra.
How many bras does one actually need?
We suggest three bras: one on, one in the wash and one clean. A good sports bra and a strapless bra are added options. Always have a nude one to wear under white and a black one for dark clothing. Remember you can wear nude under black as well. A white bra is not a necessity.
What are some of the problem cases you have come across when fitting women?
We have very few problems we cannot solve. We say that if we can’t sort your problem out, no one can. We find that our biggest problem is women not believing we can help them because they have been let down before.
Women who need breast reductions are always heartbreaking for us. This is a woman who does not fit into anything we offer and our motto – “your perfect fit, not the closest match” – does not allow us to put them in a bra that will do the very best for them. We have only had two such cases and we referred them to a plastic surgeon we work closely with.
How much does a fitting cost and how much do the bras you stock range from?
We charge R350 for a fitting. If a client chooses to buy from our range, we don’t charge for the fitting. Our bras range from R650 to R1 500.
Please explain the bra cup sizes you offer (A-K) – and tell us why South Africans are limited to sizes A-F?
We do not offer different sizes to the stores, we offer a wider selection of sizes. This is expensive, and for this reason stores often choose to keep the most common sizes. Offering a wide selection requires staff to be trained extensively, which is difficult.
How to fit a bra
Step 1: Determine Your Band Size
While braless or wearing a non-padded bra, measure around the bottom of the band, directly under your bust.
The measuring tape should be level and very snug. Round off to the nearest whole number.
If the number is even, add four inches. If it’s odd, add five. Your band size is the sum of this calculation. (So, if you measured 32 inches, your band size is 36. If you measured 33 inches, your band size is 38.)
Step 2: Take Your Bust Measurement
Wrap the measuring tape somewhat loosely around the fullest part of your chest (at nipple level). Round off to the nearest whole number.
Step 3: Calculate Your Cup Size
Subtract your band size from your bust measurement – this will give you your cup size. (Example: 37 inches (bust) minus 34 inches (band) = 3 inches. That’s a 34C).
Alyssia Birjalal, Sunday Tribune