This is a question we hear almost daily at Bustin’ Out, “this bra feels fine, but look at this…” a client will say twisting their torso, pointing at their back or sometimes their arm put area, “Is this normal?” The answer 95% of the time is YES!
It’s a fact of life we as human have skin and body fat, and contrary to what magazines will lead you to believe we do need to have these for survival. One huge thing to remember is that we are our harshest critics especially when it comes to our bodies and how it looks (or doesn’t look) in certain times of clothing. Another thing to remember is that a bra is not shapewear. Bras are designed to be a support garment in order to get that support a firm band is key, this does mean that it will cause some indentation of the skin, but this isn’t a sign of ‘imperfections’ this is a sign that your skin is elastic and is flexible and is 100% normal. No matter what your size is.
A Victoria’s Secret photo before and after photoshop. Like most humans she also has skin and bodyfat.
Another area that our customers often wonder about is what a lot of folks refer to as “armpit fat.” However this again is a normal part of our bodies that often gets photoshopped out of advertisements. This area is called the Tail of Spence and it’s actually a combination of breast tissue and lymph nodes. And for some of us it is more prevelant than it is for others. Some styles of bras will hold in this tissue but not all will. It’s important to remember that this is a part of our anatomy, is not an area that will magically disappear with exercise and is usually covered up by our shirts and anytime you don’t see it on an image it’s because of photoshop!
Body image is a tough subject for a lot of us, but we want to let you know that most of the people you see on a day to day basis see you for your personality and not wheather or not you’re at your goal weight, what size you wore in high school, or if there’s a small bulge from your bra that they can’t see anyway because you’re fully dressed. And anyone that is judging you based on these things probably isn’t worth your time anyway.
Written by Hollis Kitchin, Co-Owner of Bustin’ Out Boutique and bra fanatic who wishes women weren’t so hard on themselves.
Holiday shopping can be challenging so we’ve put together a guide of great gifts that are perfect if you aren’t sure of a loved one’s bra size.
1 Night Gowns: These are a classic piece for anyone.
Both this night gown and robe are available in sizes S-XL.
This gown features a beautiful lace back detail that makes for a very elegant piece.
2. Robes: A fun but practical choice that can be worn year round. We have robes available in both floor-length and mid-length styles.
This floor length black robe features a silk sash.and is incredibly soft.
This long gown features a beautiful silk t-back design for a more unusual silhouette.
3. Pajama sets: A cozy set is perfect for this colder weather! Perfect for lounging around the house or for those lazy weekends.
Incredibly soft, this pajama top could easily be worn out and about.
Beautiful lace adds just the right amount of flair for this stunning pajama set.
4. Chemises: A little more playful and lighter than a night gown, a chemise is perfect for a gift that’s a little more playful but just and beautiful.
5. Smaller Gifts: Eyemasks, a cute pair of underwear, a bottle of Soak wash or a gift certificate are all perfect gifts for friends and loved one’s when you aren’t 100% sure what size they’ll need. They also make great stocking stuffers!
As we are coming to the end of our second year of business we want to thank all of our customers for supporting us! Some of you have been with us since before we opened our doors, some of you live here in Juneau, others provide support from far away, and some of you are just now discovering us. But for everyone that enters our shop whether just digitally or physically we are incredibly thankful.
Over the course of two years we’ve undergone a lot of changes; moving to a larger location, having kids, working on expanding our size range, increasing the variety of items we carry, meeting new people, creating events, forming new friendships, and figuring out the ins and outs of our ordering process. This store allows us both to do something that we truly enjoy, interacting and connecting with our community.
We’ll be honest, starting a business isn’t easy and when it comes to bras we know a lot of you are all looking for something different and we strive to find the best fit for everyone no matter what their needs are. Some fittings have been easy and other’s have been trickier but we are continually learning and working towards various bra fitting certifications in order to serve you all to the best of our abilities.
We honestly can’t imagine doing anything else and the fact that all of you allow us to continue to create a store and business that we love means so much to us. We only hope to continue to provide all of you with a safe place to vent about your day, a place to feel comfortable, and a place to create positive memories for years to come.
Happy Holidays, Warmest Wishes, and Sincerest of Thank Yous!
Join us and view our entry for the 2017 Modeled by Role Models window display campaign put on by Panache Lingerie. This window display allows us to celebrate local women who do incredible things within our community. This year we are honored to include 18 Juneau women in our window display with a mix of life roles and responsibilities, these women help to shape our fabulous town. Special thanks to Fera Photography for capturing such beautiful images of some of our local role models.
We believe that everyone has the opportunity to be a role model in someone’s life and that many of us are role models for other women without even realizing it.
This Display will be up for the entire month of November, and we hope you’re able to stop by and enjoy it with us.
This is always an area of bras that drives us a little crazy at Bustin’ Out Boutique. I’m going to start out by saying the word ‘nude’ irks me, because most people take the word ‘nude’ to mean beige and for a lot of women that color isn’t even close to what a ‘nude’ bra should be for their complexion. But let’s start with the reasons that a lot of women think they need a nude or white bra, for years we’ve been told that these are basics to have in your bra wardrobe. And depending on what you do and the clothing you have they can be an essential item to own. But for a lot of us they aren’t really vital.
When you’re looking for bras really think about your wardrobe and the colors you tend to wear, if you own a lot of white shirts or shirts that are on the sheerer side and wear them regularly, then go right ahead with your beige bras. But a lot of women, especially here in Alaska tend to wear thicker shirts or dress in layers which means that ‘nude’ or white bras aren’t quite essential. If you wear darker colors you can pretty much wear whatever color of bra you want under your tops.
White bras can be tricky to find in the US, especially in the size range we carry. This is primarily because a lot of UK based companies don’t produce a lot of white bras for the US market. When we can find them, they are usually marketed as a ‘bridal’ piece and tend to be more ivory in color and use materials that aren’t quite compatible with everyday wear and tear. White bras are actually more likely to show through your lighter clothing because they create such a stark contrast with our skin tone. Now if you wear a white camisole under everything anyway this isn’t as much of a concern, but for those of us that don’t do this it can make it harder to wear certain tops. In addition to this, lighter color and pastel toned bras are just harder to keep looking clean and bright in general as they can become dingy fairly quickly.
Now if a ‘nude’ bra is really what you are looking for we recommend finding one that is fairly close to your skin tone or the undertones of your skin. If you’re very pale or have a deep complexion a beige bra can heavily contrast with your skin tone and depending on the top you’re wearing the bra will stand out even more than if you were to wear a bra that has pinker or more reddish tones.
– Written by Hollis Kitchin, Co-Owner of Bustin’ Out Boutique and Bra Enthusiast (ok we admit it, she’s obsessed with bras), Photo by Hollis Kitchin.
Congratulations you’ve gotten some new bras! You’re wearing them on that loosest set of hooks and they feel comfortably snug, supportive and all around awesome. But how do you know when it’s time to readjust and move onto the middle or even tightest set of hooks? As the elastics in the band stretch out the tension that helps keep everything in place start to make a few things shift around, so we’ve put together a short guide on what to look for when it’s time to move those bras in a notch.
The gore (where the wires meet in the center) starts to dig into your chest wall: Everything is going well with your bras, but one day you notice that the wires are starting to put pressure on your sternum. Think of the bra band like a belt, when it has just the right amount tension, everything will stay in place, but if it starts to stretch out that belt buckle is going to shift around throughout the day, digging into your stomach or pelvis.
The wires start to rub or chafe under your armpits, or dig into your rib-cage under your breast tissue: As the band loses elasticity the tension on the wires is no longer staying level with your underbust, when this happens your bra isn’t defying gravity as well and it has a bit of a teeter-totter effect, the band slides up a bit and the wires shift down causing pressure on the breast tissue or on your rib-cages (sometimes both)
The band doesn’t feel as secure: Sometimes the band will just loosen up over time and you won’t feel the shifting of the wires when you’re wearing your bra but over all the bra just doesn’t feel as supportive.
You feel like you’re adjusting your bra more frequently during the day: When your bras fit well and are brand new they tend to stay in place for most of the day, if you start noticing yourself pulling the band down more, or feel like you have to readjust your bra on your lunch break it might be time to tighten up the band a bit.
Sometimes these changes are gradual, other times your bra starts bugging you right in the middle of the day! If you’re on your last set of hooks and you notice these irritations, then it’s probably time for a new bra!
– Written by Hollis Kitchin, Co-Owner of Bustin’ Out Boutique and Bra Enthusiast (ok we admit it, she’s obsessed with bras)
Let’s talk about underwires and why they are used so frequently in bras. The thing I really want to emphasize before getting any further is that when your bra is fitting you properly the wire should not rest on your breast tissue, it should not pinch, it should not rub, it should not poke you and it shouldn’t cause irritation on the skin. When your bra and wire fits your breasts correctly it should just barely trace around ALL of your breast tissue, from under your arm pit to the center of your chest between the two breasts. If that description sounds like a mythical fairy tale then come on by and we can help you figure out what’s happening.
An early bra from around 1913 featuring a series of vertical stays (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Another early bra featuring vertical seams to provide a rounder silhouette. (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Having the breast tissue separated but contained within the wires allows for the weight of the breast tissue to be more evenly distributed across the chest as you are no longer relying on fabric and creative seam work to support the breast tissue. The use of wires allows for lighter, thinner and more elastic materials to be used in other parts of the bra which can be helpful in larger cup and band sizes as it allows for more breathable materials. Stiffer materials, while stronger and more resilient to wear-and-tear aren’t always the softest and comfortable for the more delicate skin of the breasts. This is why at times it can be difficult to find wire-free bras in larger sizes that are also soft and delicate feeling as well as supportive. However the association that wired bras are painful is why a lot of women look for wire free options.
A very sheer wire free bra from the 1940’s made from silk (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
A silk bra from the 1920’s that is more for coverage than support (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Wire free bra from the 1940’s with lots of darting to help shape and support the breast. (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Italian bra from the 1950’s, still no wires but lots of seams to help shape the breast, a lot of fabric as well (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
A longer bra from around 1935, more delicate lace but still not a lot of support or shaping (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Beyond the support aspect of the wires, they also help to bring the breast tissue up and forward, which allows for for different design changes within the structure of the cup itself. The underwire didn’t gain popularity until the 1950’s. Prior to the use of the underwire stiffer fabrics, extra layers of fabric, extra stitching, and boning or stays were used within the cups instead of around the base of the cups to provide more support for women with that needed more support for their breast tissue.
An early wired bra from the 1950’s of French design, much fewer seams in the cup and a delicate lace. (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Another French bra with more pointed cup, but a much lower profile band is needed for this bra (photo from The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
A different style of bra that featured a wire designed to rest above the breast to provide lift.
Because of this lift and more forward projection with a wire you will sometimes get a different shape within the bras. They can make the breast tissue appear smaller, they can create more separation of the breast tissue (unless the bra is designed to create more cleavage), and it can help ensure that no breast tissue is resting on the rib cage. Some wire-free bras can also provide the appearance of separation of the breast tissue however depending on the cut it can lift the breast tissue outwards in what we call an ‘east-west’ look, so instead of the apex of the breast tissue being lifted front and center they are more splayed out. Now this might be the look you’re going for but depending on your body shape it can help create the illusion of an hourglass figure.
But a bra that is designed with an underwire will not provide the same support or shaping if you were to take the wire out of it. The materials, the stitching, and the wires are all designed to work together and if one of those elements is removed the entire physics behind the garment is compromised. The same premise will also apply to a wire free bra, if you were to add a wire to a classic bralette shape the entire structure will change and it won’t be doing what it was designed to do.
When we look at styles of bras from earlier bra designs there is a much wider band, and much more bulk to the bras, now obviously things like the bullet bra are trying to achieve a very pointed and projected silhouette, and different bras from the 40’s are either very muted or use fewer fabrics (due to fabric rationing during war time which I might go over in a different post) however, they still are using a lot of darting and creative shaping to provide subtle coverage and support. Even with modern wire free bras designed for larger cups you see a lot of similarities, stiffer fabrics, more pointed/projected cups, fuller coverage, and wider bands and straps, etc. However styles like modern bralettes look very similar to a lot of wire free bras from the 1920’s- 1940’s.
Now whether you love wired bras or hate them they do exist for a reason, and if your bra isn’t fitting you properly no matter what the style, cut, material or brand it’s most likely going to be uncomfortable and you’ll want to rip off as soon as you can. On top of that our bodies are constantly changing and what might have worked for you a year or two years ago might not be the best option for you now.
– Written by Hollis Kitchin, Co-Owner of Bustin’ Out Boutique and Bra Enthusiast (ok we admit it, she’s obsessed with bras)
Bras are works of wonder and excellent engineering, but like all things wonderful and excellent bras are not meant to last beyond a certain point. It would be lovely if we could have three bras for our whole life but it is, unfortunately, completely unrealistic to think our wonderful feats of engineering are meant to last more than a few measly months. You may need new bras because your old ones are falling apart or simply lost/gained weight.
That being said we all have our favorite bra, the one that looks good, feels good, does amazing things to our decolletage, and we have had FOREVER. Probably longer than we should and we refuse to give it up or just don’t realize that the ‘life expectancy’ of the bra has expired. The life expectancy of a bra is the length of time a bra supports you properly and to its fullest capabilities. This of course is determined by a few factors: how you wear it, how often you wear it, how many bras you have and how often you wash it. How you wear your bras. You should be wearing your lacy or moulded cup bras for your normal daytime activities. You shouldn’t be wearing them for activities that you will cause you to sweat profusely or for high impact activities. So make sure you have a dedicated sports bra for your trips to the gym, going for long hikes, kayaking or even work if you have a labor intensive job. How often you wear your bras: Ideally you will wear your bra one day then let it rest for at least one day, this is assuming you have only two bras. If you have multiple bras try and let your favorites rest longer, this will allow them to last longer! How many bras you have: If you have two bras they will last you maybe 6-8 months, so if you find a bra you love it might be a good idea to get another in the same cut. We recommend a minimum of two bras but ideally three just because it’s nice to have a good bra on laundry day too. The more bras you have in your regular rotation, the longer they will last you. How often you wash your bras: Believe it or not this actually makes a big difference in how long your bras will last you. Never washing them means your bras will never be free of all the sweat, oils and dead skin which will make the elastic and other materials degrade faster. So washing your bras every 2-3 wears will help them last a good long time.
How you wash your bras: While washing machines are fairly quick and convenient they aren’t always the gentlest on your bras. Hooks can get caught on lace or other clothing and can cause some serious damage. Putting your bras into a lingerie bag will help prevent extra wear during washing. Hand washing will be the gentlest on your items in the long run. But the biggest thing to remember is NEVER put your bras in the dryer! Here are a few signs your favorite bra has reached the point of giving up: you’ve reached the last set of hook and eye attachments and the band is beginning to ride up, the shoulder straps are falling of your shoulders and never used to, the underwire pokes out or is bent, the fabric is falling apart or has lost its elasticity, and it just doesn’t feel like it’s supporting you like it used to.
When you’ve reached the last set of hook and eye attachments and the band is riding up, doing the bridge or looking like a rainbow, it’s definitely time to get a new bra! You have hopefully been noticing how your bra doesn’t quite fit as well as it did when you first bought it a few months ago and have moved from the first set to the second set of hook and eye attachments. Typically this happens every few months, longer if you have more bras, and it should make the bra feel supportive again. After you’ve gone to the last set of hook and eye and the band is beginning to feel loose it’s time for a new bra! The shoulder straps falling off is another sign that the bra is getting old. Once those straps stretch out too far they’re more likely to slide around and slip off your shoulders. If you can no longer keep them taut but comfortable it’s probably time to look for a replacement. If the underwire is poking out at any point it is time for a new bra! Underwires do not belong outside of the bra and if you have sewn it in because you love the bra please say goodbye and find a new favorite! When the fabric is beginning to fall apart it is definitely time for a new bra. This may happen sooner than many of the other signs, especially if you aren’t washing your bras regularly or are using them for things they aren’t meant to be used for. When the lace loses its elasticity, the foam of the cup begins to crease or dimple, the band no longer stretches and the fabrics generally look like they are dingy and fraying it’s time to look into getting a new bra.
Finally, when the bra just doesn’t feel like it’s supporting you like it used to then you should absolutely be thinking about getting a new bra! Bras are amazing and are also a support garment because of this they cannot last forever. So even if it is your absolute most favorite bra in the whole wide world if any of these symptoms are showing on your bra come on in and see us at Bustin’ Out Boutique so we can find a you a new favorite bra!
– WRITTEN BY LINDSEY BURNET, CO-OWNER OF BUSTIN’ OUT BOUTIQUE AND LOVER OF ALL THINGS LINGERIE.
Let’s face it bralettes are in this season in a big way, especially those cute strappy ones. And while those of us that are more petite framed and with a little less breast tissue can easily toss on a bralette and go on their merry way, it can be a little more challenging as a fuller busted woman. I’ll be upfront, I LOVE the way bralettes look, I LOVE how soft they can be, and I LOVE how flirty and easy they look. However, as a woman that wears a larger cup size it’s not very easy for me to just walk around in just a bralette. Beyond the obvious fact that they aren’t very supportive, most of the time there just isn’t enough fabric to keep the ladies contained. BUT! This doesn’t stop me from wearing them (and even in public).
I’m going to go ahead and say it, because to me it’s super obvious: WEAR THEM OVER YOUR REGULAR BRAS!
Adding contrast with a fun color makes for a more dramatic affect.
Some styles of bra might be too full coverage to get the strappy effect.
Show off those straps with a low cut top!
I know it sounds strange. But when you find the right style bralette that will work with your bras it can be a really fun contrast and add another dimension to your lingerie. Some cuts of bras or bralettes might work better than others, but keep it fun and play around with it.
Now some bralettes are more about showing off your back, so go for it! Pair them a low back dress or a shirt with fun cut outs. Wear it with a sheer shirt of the same color so it subtly pops through or with a lace back top. With this style of bralette it is less important to find a bra that works well with the font design and more about figuring out how to show off those straps!
Show off a bralette with a strappy back in a low back dress.
Have a bralette that’s a fun color or has some great lace details? Wear it instead of a camisole under your tops!
Don’t want to show off your bralettes? No worries! Wear them under anything and everything you’d like. Hopefully this helps you decide weather to take the plunge into the world of bralettes.
– Written by Hollis Kitchin, Co-Owner of Bustin’ Out Boutique and bra enthusiast. Hollis wears a size 32H, and usually wears a large or extra-large in a bralette. Photos by Randi Spray.
Washing and caring for your bras can seem like a daunting task, we get questions from customers everyday about how to care for bras and what not to do. So we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to make hand washing bras a little easier.
A lot of women rarely wash their bras, maybe once every month or even less! There are a lot of good reasons out there as to why you should wash your bras on a regular basis.
They will last longer. Our sweat and body oils help break down the elastics and fabrics in bras, washing them on a regular basis will help keep them in good shape for a longer period of time.
Most of us wash our shirts after a wear or maybe two, but don’t wash our bras very often. Sweat and bacteria will stay in the bras and the longer you go without washing them the higher the risk of getting a skin infection, a rash or some kind of irritation can occur. This is doubly important for nursing moms. When nursing your body is essentially producing a food product, and not washing can lead to thrush (yeast infection of the breast) and can alter milk flow and just be plain uncomfortable.
If you wash your bras regularly they will show signs of discoloration slower, this is especially true of lighter colored bras.
The biggest thing that will make washing your bras easier is having the right kind of lingerie detergent. Not all detergents are created equal and bras are made with specialized fabrics that need to be washed gently. Look for detergents designed for silk, lace, or are labeled as lingerie detergent. Some are easier to use than others and don’t require any rinsing after the initial soak or agitation, soaking times may be 15 minutes or longer depending on your detergent.
Knowing when to wash your bras is also a big part of proper bra care. As a general rule, we recommend washing your bras after every 2 or 3 wears. If you have a higher impact day and are sweating a bit more or if you just did a workout in a sports bra you might need to wash it the same day. If you’re traveling in a drier and dustier climate you might need to wash it sooner. Washing your bras before there is a noticeable odor will help them stay cleaner and will prevent odors from lingering after you wash your bras.
Hand washing your bras is by far the gentlest way to care for them. Those hooks are notorious for getting caught on clothing (or your favorite sweater)! Washing machines can be pretty brutal on bras in general, especially padded and lacy bras. Popping your bras in the drier will dry them faster, but it will also break down the elastics quicker, and the heat is likely to warp the wires.
Want your items to dry out a little faster? Press out that extra water with a bath towel Especially if you wear a molded cup or padded bra. Use a salad spinner to get out the excess water. Hang your bras to dry over an air vent or somewhere with good airflow will also help them dry quicker.
Washing your bras while traveling is also a good thing to think about, do you have a detergent that is easy to transport? If not, try to pack enough bras to last you for your trip. Traveling for a week? Pack 2 bras and wear one on the plane. Traveling for two weeks or longer? Pack some detergent! We carry travel sized packets of Soak Wash that are also excellent for hand washing clothing in a pinch!