Full service history

I’ve had all my bits examined this month. The annual mammogram and breast clinic consultation has coincided with my long-overdue smear test, so I feel like I’ve undergone a full service.

There was breast cancer in my immediate family. She’s well and healthy thanks to the swift action of the NHS. But that means despite my tender age (don’t laugh), once a year I have to have my boobs squeezed almost to bursting point in a mammogram machine. That’s followed by a consultation with the oncologist, where I get a very thorough fondle.

I had to have a biopsy last year when the mammogram results showed some anomalies. The lumps turned out to be calcification. I seriously hope I don’t have to go through that again.

And then there’s the smear. Who doesn’t dread a smear test? The nurse at our surgery was wonderful though. We had a bit of a giggle and she was very gentle.

I’m waiting for the all clear on both fronts (pardon the pun).

Lazy lingerie

All that squeezing and groping can leave a girl feeling a bit like a piece of meat. So it was lovely to be offered a beautiful set of Playtex lingerie to give my boobs and bits a bit of love.

We all know how a badly fitting bra can ruin an outfit. The dreaded side boob can be avoided with this guide to buying underwear that fits.

I usually treat my underwear as a purely functional thing. My laziness means that ‘handwash only’ bras get the full washing and drying machine treatment; white undies turn grey in mixed laundry loads; and I never, ever bother with ‘sexy’. Poor Mr Maven.

I think this might be the first time in 45 years I’ve had a matching set of bra and knickers [hangs head in shame].

I thought this would be a good opportunity to ask the experts at Playtex how to find the perfect fitted bra. Apparently up to 80% of us are wearing the wrong size.

There are several tell-tale signs: the back strap rides up the back; side boob; and of course the dreaded double boob (or muffin boob as I prefer to call it).

I was measured at a department store a few years ago and had been wearing the wrong size for years. I am a 32E, but I had been wearing a 34C. Confusing the cup size with the back size is a common problem. I was a cup size G when I was breast feeding. It’s a wonder I was able to stay upright.

Here are some top tips for choosing the right size bra.

The band

The fit of the band should be firm around the body, without digging in. You should be able to fit two fingers under the band once it’s fastened on the middle hook. If you can’t fit two fingers under the band, go up a back size. If the band rides up your back, you should go down a size (ie 34 to 32). If you go down a size in the back, you might need to compensate by going up a cup size.

The straps

The straps should sit firmly on the shoulder without sliding or digging in. If you have to pull the straps too tight, your back size might be too big. The main support is meant to come from the band, not the straps.

The cups

If the cups are loose, obviously your cup size is too big. If you’re getting a bit of overspill – muffin boob – you need a bigger cup. I sometimes find it hard to tell until I put a plain t-shirt over the top of a bra, so take one with you when you’re trying on underwear.

The centre

The centre of the bra should fit flat against your chest. If there’s a gap between your skin and the bra, the cups are too small. If it digs in to your chest, go up a cup size.

The wire

The wire should follow the line of your bust and sit behind the breast tissue, not on it. If the wire is on your breast tissue or stands away from your boobs, the cup is too small. If the wire is loose, try a smaller cup.

Flower Elegance

Playtex sent me the Flower Elegance in Bordeaux Purple bra and briefs, which is also available in white, black and beige. We agreed I wouldn’t be modelling them for the blog. You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say I look exactly like this:

We all know how a badly fitting bra can ruin an outfit. The dreaded side boob can be avoided with this guide to buying underwear that fits.

They’re true to size. There’s no muffin boob or side boob; the band sits in the middle of my back and everything is comfortably tucked away where it should be.

Full service, followed by self-care: accomplished.

Much love, Vx

[Disclosure: Playtex gifted me this underwear in return for a blog post. The Flower Elegance set is available from JD Williams]

We all know how a badly fitting bra can ruin an outfit. The dreaded side boob can be avoided with this guide to buying underwear that fits.