My boobs and I have always had an interesting relationship. Growing up, I looked to my mom (a petite busted lady), thinking I was destined for an A-cup chest. Over the years, I've learned that everyone's boobs are different, and from my teens to adulthood, my boobs have transformed with me.
Getting to a point where I am openly writing about my breasts on the internet took a lot of time getting comfortable with the idea of intimacy and looking at it as a personal thing versus something shared with others. Part of becoming more intimate with my adult body has been consistently checking in with my undergarments: Are they meeting me at this current phase? Because my body has changed a lot, it's common to feel confused about finding the right accessories for comfort, protection, and confidence.
After losing 23 pounds this year, I jumped at the opportunity to speak to celebrity stylist Kate Young about her new partnership with Bare Necessities and ask for tips on how to dress my chest for this season of life. Young partnered with Bare Necessities on the brand's relaunch, which, in addition to releasing some dope and comfortable underwear, is all about reframing the idea of intimacy. Ahead, Young and Bare Necessities experts break down everything there is to know about creating a bra wardrobe that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Eunice Lee-Meldahl, the designer of the Bare Necessities launch, says that the rebrand is about creating confidence at your most intimate layer. "When the bra fits better, her clothes look better, her shape looks better, she feels better," Lee-Meldahl says. "Wearing products that feel good and free us from physical discomfort helps us feel empowered and confident in making connections."
Still, feeling comfortable in a brasier is easier said than done for non-experts. According to Young, most people don't know their bra size, which could be attributed to online shopping habits versus those days of going into a store for a physical fitting. "Many of us are used to wearing clothing off the rack that sort of fit," Young says. "But once you try a bra that is the correct size, you'll never go back."
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Bare Necessities bra fit expert Kristyn Polin tells me that one common mistake most people make when picking out bras is not shopping by goal or silhouette. "Different styles will offer different benefits," Polin says. "If you want your breasts to be front and center, you should look for a side-support style to guide them to the center of your chest," she explains. "A minimizer style will do the opposite, displacing the breast tissue to the side to minimize forward projection." Of course, you don't have to be married to one style in particular, and your preferences might change based on your outfit, occasion, or how you're feeling at a specific moment.
For Young, she says to evaluate your comfort level first and create a bra wardrobe with a few different styles. "I think about what I'm wearing: Is it a T-shirt, something lacy that will peek out, or is it strapless or sporty?" Young explains. The celebrity stylist also says building out a bra wardrobe is an opportunity to experiment with your clothing overall. "I wear a lot of neutral colors, so I love to wear bright and unusual underwear for fun," Young says, adding that she's a fan of a peekaboo moment or showing the right bra underneath a blazer or jacket.
Young says she likes layering the Bare By Bare Necessities Essential Lace Unlined Balconette with a sheer top or the Flirty Lace Longline Bralette with a suit jacket. She says that if you wear a button-down, don't be shy to leave a few buttons undone to let a lacy style like the Essential Lace Curvy Bralette show through.
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Finding the best bras for your preference and finding the right size (which you can always do with the help of a bra fitting expert) is half the battle. Polin says that caring for your bras greatly affects how well they hold up. "It is important to rotate your bras so that you are giving them time to rest and not stretch out too quickly," she says. "You should have at least five good bras of various styles that you can rotate regularly."
Laundry Habits Matter
Laundering habits also should be addressed. "The preferred method of laundering would be to hand wash in cool water with a gentle or delicate fabric wash, free of dyes or harsh chemicals," Polin says. "Forever New is a good example of a delicate fabric wash." For machine washing, you can store your bras in a lingerie bag and wash them in cool water, Polin explains. Ultimately, her biggest no-no is to avoid putting bras in the dryer. "High heat will destroy the elastic in your bras. Always lay them flat to dry," she explains.
Ultimately, bras are incredibly personal and should create maximum comfort and freedom when they fit your body correctly—not the other way around. Young says that taking a moment to think about your first layer is as important as putting together pieces on top. "The right shape and fit can change your look and confidence," she says. Ultimately, we should think of our boobs the way we feel about ourselves: Constantly evolving and changing as life does. And a change is the perfect excuse for a wardrobe upgrade, even if it's just for your boobs.