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bSmart Guide

Bra Education: Say Hurray! Inside, Outside, and Underneath

Kim Caldwell knows your boobs better than you do.  As a bra fitting expert and media business owner, she helps her clients look and feel fabulous inside, outside, and underneath.  With over 10 years of bra fitting experience, Kim has a unique perspective on how women feel about their bodies and how to find self-love and self-confidence.  With a mission to have all women say 'Hurray!' about their bodies, Kim launched Hurray Kimmay to offer bra education, personal shopping, and bra workshops to help you find the best fit for your body and also works with lingerie brands to spread their message through social media, blog and video marketing.  Kim believes that a well fitting bra can change a woman's life and empower her to change the world.  Find out your bra wearing and caring mistakes and what it takes to say 'Hurray' inside, outside, and underneath!

Click here to schedule an appointment, plan a workshop, or spread awareness about your brand with Kim!

I founded Hurray Kimmay to help all women feel great and say 'hurray!' on the inside, outside, and underneath.

Hurray For Lingerie

Where does your passion for bra education come from?

I’ve been a bra expert and lingerie fitter for over ten years.  I started in New York City, at Linda’s and then worked at Saks Fifth Avenue, La Perla, and Bergdorf Goodman.  I’ve traveled the country giving talks on lingerie and I’ve been quoted in publications such as Bride’s Magazine, Women’s Health, and Real Simple.  I've also been on the Martha Stewart Show, Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and a couple of other TV shows as a bra expert sharing my bra education. 

As a bra fitter, I would see up to twenty-five naked women a day and would be shocked at the things they said about their bodies.  I was struck by their lack of confidence and confusion or shame about their breasts, bras, or bodies.  I found it was my job to help these women find their confidence, stride, and comfort.  

I founded Hurray Kimmay to help all women feel great and say 'hurray!' on the inside, outside, and underneath.  The underneath portion includes a great fitting undergarment, but also the body – how we treat it, what we say about it, and how to respect it.  It’s all connected.

Watch Kim share why she became a bra expert

A good-fitting bra can change a woman’s life for the better.

Why is it important for women to seek help from an expert when it comes to bra fitting?

Women feel like they should be able to shop for a bra on their own.  But I say going to a bra fitter is like going to a lawyer.  Could you be your own lawyer?  Maybe. But should you?  Probably not.  The bra world is vast and there are a lot of things to consider.  For example, women tend to be three different sizes depending on the brand or style of the bra.  When you walk into a department store, there are hundreds of different styles you could try in each of those three sizes.  Women think because their breasts are such an intimate part of their bodies, they should know them better than anyone else.  I promise you, you don’t - and it’s okay!  I know your boobs better than you do.

There’s a lot of shame associated with cup size - whether it means 'I’m not enough,' or 'I’m too much.'

What were the typical responses to one’s body and bra size in your 10 years of being a bra expert?

The bra fitting room can be a little emotional - many times revolving around cup size.  Whether I tell someone they're an F-cup, an A-cup, or a J-cup, there’s a lot of shame associated with cup size - whether it means 'I’m not enough,' or 'I’m too much.'  I’ll typically fit a woman, but I won’t actually tell her the cup size.  When she tries on the bra she loves it and feels great.  Then we’ll put her shirt on and she looks phenomenal.  I then reveal her size.  It’s always a shock to her (I call it 'bra size shock'), but I say, 'Remember, you feel great and you look great.'  With this approach, I try to disassociate the size with the feeling.

Another complaint in the bra fitting room is back fat.  Every single woman talks about it and every single woman has back fat.  They’ll try to sacrifice how their bra fits in order to not have back fat and the bra will ride up in the back, fall forward, then fall down, so it’s not doing its job of providing support.  In order for your bra to fit properly, it has to be snug and you’re going to have a little bit of back fat.  But this way your bra can fit properly, you can walk tall and lead with your heart - that’s what really matters.

This way your bra can fit properly, you can walk tall and lead with your heart - that’s what really matters.

Meet Kim Caldwell 

Women I Admire: Marie Forleo, Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, Arianna Huffington, Amy Poehler

Must-have Shoes: Classic Black Leather High Top Converse Sneakers

Can't Live Without Product: Shaklee Vitalizer™. Without a doubt. Seriously the easiest way to upgrade your health.

Salon Recommendation: I love my stylist, Mike Martinez, at Cutler. The coolest guy with the best stories.

Best Date: The Bronx Zoo. My husband and I had our first date at the Bronx Zoo and were married there years later.

Travel Destination: Aruba's friendly hospitality and warm weather can not be beat

Best Advice: Whether it's your bra size, your weight, or the latest hits on your website: pay less attention to the numbers, and more attention to nurturing and loving.

Latest Gadget: Video nerd alert! I'm loving my clip on lavalier microphone to use when shooting videos. The sound is so crisp and clear.

College: Marymount Manhattan College, Theater BA and Musical Theatre minor

Bra School Education

What are the characteristics of a properly fitting bra?

There are a lot of things a fitter will look for, but the most important thing is a snug band.  This provides 90% of your support, so it should be snug from directly underneath your bust to the back, parallel with the floor.

Secondly, properly fitting straps are essential.  If they’re so stretchy you can easily pull them up to your ear - they’re too loose.  If they’re so tight that they’re pulling up your band, then they’re too tight.  You want to be able to pull them about an inch above your shoulder with a little bit of force.  

Third, the wire should fit directly around your bust, not too far below it or on it.  Make sure you can get all of your breast tissue inside the wire.  The bra should tack properly – meaning the gore (the center front of the bra) rests evenly between your bust and right against the body.

Finally, your breast should fill up your whole cup.  No spilling or gapping, and make sure that everything fits perfectly.

What is the best way to clean and take care of our bras? 

By far the best way to wash your bras is by hand.  They'll last longer and feel really good against your skin.  Using the right detergent is also key.  You want something specifically meant for silk and lingerie.  No Woolite, no Basic Tide, nothing like that.  Hand wash, air dry, and use really gentle soap to take good care of your bras.

When should we throw out an old bra?

Bras typically last about six to nine months.  You can help them last longer if you take good care of them such as washing them properly and having enough bras to rotate.  But, if a bra’s dead, it’s like having a bad boyfriend and you should get rid of it.  It’s not helping you, it’s not helping me – there’s no reason for having it around.  

There are a couple of different things to look for, but the number one thing that happens is they stretch out.  Bras that are dead have stretched out elastic; they might have stains, the wire could be poking out, the hooks might be mangled, or there could be pilling, denting or fraying of fabric.    If you have a bra that's dead - get rid of it.

What are a few of your favorite bra brands?

Investing in good bras is important.  You can get a great bra that’s around $40 - $45 and you can sometimes get them on sale for even less.  But spending up to $100 on a good bra is worth it for the right brand.  Some of my favorite bras are from Simone Perele (which are in the $80 - $90 range) and worth the price.  You can also shop for brands like Wacoal or Be Tempted, which are from the same company, but more moderately priced.  

Some other brands I like (especially for the full-busted woman) are Elomi, Panache, Fantasie, Freya, and Curvy Kate – all of these brands are D-cups and up, which is great for most women.  There are so many more bra brands now than there were ten years ago.  There are specialty companies for a full bust and small bust companies like The Little Bra Company.  There are so many options available and that’s why you need someone like me to navigate the bra world with you!

Watch Kim share her bra education

You have to commit to talking to yourself in a better way and nourishing your body.

Say Hurray Inside, Outside, and Underneath

How did your definition of beauty change with respect to women’s bodies?

I have a very unique viewpoint on the female body and why I think they’re all so beautiful.  I started bra fitting when I was nineteen and had a poor body image (partly because I was much taller than my friends and therefore I was always bigger) and also because I went to school in New York City for theatre and I was surrounded by very thin and pretty people.  After bra fitting for one week and seeing so many naked women, I realized my body was beautiful and I was taking my body for granted.  I saw people who had gone through pregnancy, the aging process, and cancer and I realized that the body is worth nourishing and loving as it is now.

Women would come into the store who I thought were gorgeous and they always had something negative to say about their body.  I realized what a waste of time it is to hate your body.  It absolutely changed my definition of what beauty is and what it looks like.  Instead of being bombarded with the air-brushed version of women, I saw the real woman every single day.  I felt honored to help her find her confidence and reassure her that she was worth loving and nourishing - no matter what she looks like.

I found that it was my job to help these women find their confidence, stride, and comfort.

How does the right fitting bra impact a women’s life?

A good-fitting bra can change a woman’s life for the better.  I’ve seen the change in women from wearing poorly fitted bras to wearing something that fits right.  A great bra can change their life and then they can change the world.  I’ve also seen young women (who are getting used to their changing bodies) find self-confidence through a good bra.  I’ve seen elderly women want to find confidence in their bodies again and I’ve seen that same thing with pregnant women. 

I’ve helped cancer survivors find their femininity again through a beautiful bra.  I always get teary when I think of this, but I helped a woman who had a double mastectomy and reconstruction find a beautiful, well-fitting, red bra, and she was brought to tears.  It had been so long since she felt like she could wear something that was beautiful, fit well, and made her feel good.  Once I actually had a woman take me to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, because she was so thankful that I helped her and her young daughter find bras that fit.  It’s what I do for a living, but they were so grateful.  That’ll stay with me forever.

Watch Kim share how a good fitting bra can change your life!

I was struck by the lack of confidence and confusion or shame about their breasts, bras, or bodies.

How can all bSmart members be smart with their bras and bodies?  

You can be smart by taking the time to get a bra fitting and go through your bra drawer and see what fits and what doesn’t and get rid of those 'bad boyfriends' to look and feel your best!  It makes a big difference, but you still have to commit to making the time for it - you have to commit to talking to yourself in a better way and nourishing your body.  You have to take the time to say you deserve this and to say 'hurray!' on the inside, on the outside, and underneath.

You have to take the time to say you deserve this and to say 'hurray!' on the inside, on the outside, and underneath.

 

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