We all wear bras, all day every day, and yet there are still so many contradictory facts about whatâ€™s good and whatâ€™s not. In fact, thereâ€™s so much underthings-folklore going around that itâ€™s like our bras (which according to said folklore could very well be the wrong size) are out to get us.
To help answer the questions that plague us on a regular basis, we looked to bra expert and author of The Bra Book Jene Luciani. Here are the biggest myths she wants to debunk, stat:
1. Bras can endanger your health. This is a prevalent and equally unnerving belief that women have been fretting about for over 20 years. It began with a 1991 case study that found women who didnâ€™t wear bras had a lower risk of breast cancer than those who did. Even though the scientists who conducted the study believed it was actually due to factors connected to wearing a bra, rather than the bra itself, it still set off alarms. â€œThey believed that that too-tight underwire compressing mammary glands could trap toxins.â€ explains Luciani, who researched it at length for her book. â€œBut there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.â€
2. Sleeping in a bra makes breasts perkier. Women tend to be split right down the middle on this matter. The first half faithfully keep their bra on through the nightâ€”some for comfort, others because they firmly believe itâ€™s the secret to flouting the forces of natureâ€”and the other half hardly make it home before unclasping that baby. Sorry to disappoint the former, but sleeping in your bra is not whatâ€™s going to keep â€˜em pert. What will? â€œWearing a supportive bra over time can help, especially when exercising and breasts are significantly stretching or bouncing up and down,â€ says Luciani. â€œOther than that, there arenâ€™t many ways to really avoid it.â€ L
3. Bras have fixed sizing. Much like a size 6 dress can yield varied interpretations across different clothing retailers, bra brands have different sizing. â€œUnfortunately, there is no consistency at all,â€ says Luciani. â€œEach brand has their own â€˜fit modelâ€™. Plus, you can be a different size for several styles within the same brand.â€ To ensure you donâ€™t walk out of the store with something that doesnâ€™t fit, get fitted on-site and try on several, and we mean several styles.
4. The letter determines the size of the cup. If youâ€™ve ever heard the term â€œsister sizeâ€ at a bra fitting, itâ€™s because another style can hold the same volume of cup depending on band size. â€œThe letter correlates with the cup size,â€ says Luciani. â€œHowever, that is determined based on the calculation between the two measurements.â€ Word to the wise: Even if you were an ace in calculus back in high school, always leave the math to your bra specialist.
5. The average bra size is in the B range. In reality, itâ€™s larger (Luciani estimates that itâ€™s somewhere around a C cup), but this myth sheds light on a bigger problem: women often wear the wrong bra size. â€œMany women are fitting themselves into the sizes most commonly found in stores instead of getting a proper fitting and a truer size,â€ says Luciani. â€œOn top of that, bra makers know what sizes tend to sell the most, and so those become the â€˜averageâ€™ sizes.â€ Full disclosure: As conscious as we try to be about wearing proper bras, weâ€™re so guilty of the grab-and-go when we hit the stores.
6. You can just throw your bras in the washing machine. Picking up our dry-cleaning is trying enoughâ€”handwashing our underthings is the last thing we want to add to the list. Alas, the well-being of our bras, and thus our cleavage, could be at stake. â€œThe center drum can crush cups and stretch straps if they snag on them and hot water can break down the elasticity of the braâ€ says Luciani. â€œSo, if you want to go the machine route, hook the bra and place into a mesh bag and wash in cool water with a gentle detergent.â€ The best option though is to handwash your bras by soaking them in a sink with lingerie wash, and lay them out flat to dry.
7. You only need to wash your bra once a week. It looks like we could all be a bit more hygienic in this regard. â€œThe dirt and oil in our skin can break down the elasticity of the bra,â€ explains Luciani. â€œSo itâ€™s best to wash as often as possible.â€ If laundry day occurs less often than youâ€™d like to admit, thereâ€™s an easy workaround: Add more bras to your repertoire!-Marie Claire