15 In Shopping Tips

Losing five pounds in five minutes with the right bra

Getting a bra to help with the girls on BrendaKinsel.com

How I lost five pounds in five minutes


“You’ve just lost five pounds,” said Mariam, my sales associate and style muse at Nordstrom, Corte Madera. I’d just been fitted for a new bra and all thumbs were up (and so were my breasts). Can the right bra help you lose five visual pounds? Well, yes! It can seem that way.

I know what she meant. A results of a better fitting bra could be measured that way (losing five pounds) but really it’s about feeling uplifted, having more room in your torso, feeling stretched out, being able to wear clothes with more ease. That’s what the right bra can do.

A quick test to see if you’re in the right bra

I’m going to explain why there are broad lines across my body in this picture of me testing out a new bra. It’s actually something I demonstrated when I was on The Oprah Winfrey Show when my book 40 Over 40 came out. It was one of my tips for the Oprah audience about how not to look matronly. In the clip from the show, I had a client standing in front of a full length mirror. I said, “To see if your bustline is in the right place, draw an imaginary line across your waist. Now draw an imaginary line across your shoulders. Your bustline should be sitting right in the middle of those two lines. If those babies are heading south of that line, you need to pull up your bra straps or get a new bra.”

Those words came back to me when I experienced this myself in the dressing room after working with two clients on Monday. It didn’t start with me looking at my chest and thinking I needed new bras. No, I was actually looking at dresses. While I was still in the store I wanted to try on a dress style that didn’t have a waistline. I’ve seen people wearing them in magazine pages, in catalogues, or in Instagram and it’s intrigued me. They’re wearing them over jeans or leggings and I wanted to see if I could do that, too!


Lafayette dress for spring on BrendaKinsel.com

Trying on this Lafayette 148 NY dress

Trying on a dress led to trying on bras

So I tried on this Lafayette 148 NY dress. Mariam came to a look at it and said, “I think you should try a minimizer bra.” Okay, I was game. I could see my boobs weren’t looking quite right in this dress. Mariam called in Delores who has helped me many times. She’s a specialist in the lingerie department. A cancer survivor herself, she knows the special needs someone like me, a one breasted woman, has. I need a bra that will fit me with my prosthesis filling out one of the cups. Not all bras are capable of having a pouch sewn in them to hold the prosthesis and Delores knows all about that.

It was old home week seeing Delores. I just love her! (Go see her at the Corte Madera Nordstrom for all your bra needs whether you have one breast or two.) She looked at me and said, “I know you want to try a minimizer, Brenda, but I don’t think it’s going to work for you.”

She went and got one. I tried it on and she said, No. Okay then.

“But what you need is a different bra,” she said. She thought I should be looking perkier than I was in my Wacoal bra. So she brought in a Chantelle bra. I tried it on. Mariam brought me a thin lilac T-shirt to wear over it so it was easier to see the fit. I did the imaginary line test to see if my bustline was in the middle between my waistline and shoulder line. It was. I felt better sculpted in this bra.

Yay, new bras, more room!

Now I just have to muster the patience for the pocket to be sewn into them (I bought a nude one and a black one) so I can wear them. I hadn’t realized how sick I was of the bras I was wearing so I got a mental lift along with a boob lift with Delores’ amazing skill.

Erin was so impressed that she got fitted for new bras too. She took Delores’ card to give to her friend, Teresa. We all agreed that getting fitted for a bra was a perfect thing to do on a stormy night in Marin.

Have you been measured for a bra recently? Trust me! It’s uplifting!

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  • Reply
    February 23, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I love my Third Love bras. Very supportive, but comfortable.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2017 at 10:58 am

      This is a brand I’ll have to look into. I haven’t heard of it. I’d love to get a list of trusted bra lines. I think it just started with your comment. Thanks, Margaret!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2017 at 4:20 am

    So important to have the right bra….it’s funny how many of my friends shop for bras in discount stores or only when on sale at say, Macy’s, and look at the price tag rather than fit and comfort. Honestly, if you think about the cost-per-wear factor, undergarments and foundation pieces are where we should be investing! I love the Span Braleluljah line for comfort, lift and “headlight” coverage, but I am forever seeking something just as comfortable with slimmer straps.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Oh, my! I have been following you for awhile on Instagram, enjoying your style and your blog. I am also a one breasted woman (14 years now) and have struggled with finding the “perfect” bra. I am unaware of the Nordstrom option as I have always purchased mastectomy bras. Reading this blog definitely gave me hope that “perfect” bra may still be out there. Thank you!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Well, this is a really cool thing, Carla, and I didn’t know about it right away either. I’ve been one-breasted since 2004 and I used to purchase all my bras at A Ladies Touch in San Rafael which is a mastectomy store basically. Fine, good, great and everything. But I haven’t been back for quite a few years (probably should, I’m sure they have great choices) since I found out that Nordstrom had specialists in this. In fact, I get my breast forms there as well. They fit you and then they’ll sew a pouch into the side you need and your form stays inside it. The pouch closes with snaps.

      I’m in no way saying the bra I’ve yet to receive in the mail is perfect for all because as you know, everyone’s anatomy is different. But you’d certainly have more things to check out! I’m so happy to meet another one-breasted woman! Yay!!!!

  • Reply
    February 25, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Well, Brenda, what a timely question about bras? I just returned from a lengthy trip and again, your bra extender tip saved the flight!! Thank you, I will NEVER forget this suggestion For my everyday bras I do prefer a European design, Prima Donna. I have found most bras have too much space between the breasts resulting in the girls going east -west. I would love to try the brand you suggested….which design did you choose!

    Again, thank you for all you share so lovingly.
    A faithful fan,

    • Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Welcome home! I love when you remind me of that tip! I don’t remember the style name and they haven’t arrived yet. I expect to see them this week. I haven’t heard of your favorite rapper company. There’s so much to learn about foundations!!!
      Faithfully yours,

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    February 26, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I’m a huge supporter of having the right bra (ok—that sounded funny, but you know what I mean, right?–ha ha).
    I always learned that you should bend your arm and the elbow and your nipples should be between the elbow & shoulder in the mirror. It’s basically the same thing you’re showing, I think.
    Isn’t it funny how a different color bra can make you feel different, too? I thought this was silly, until I got a blue one—for some reason, it made me feel a little extra special!!

    • Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Oh, just did that tip! Yes, that does pretty much come out the same! And I really do know how a bra can make you feel so special! All the more reason to keep refreshing them and also getting into the right size! Thanks, Jodie, for those two great points!!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Thank.s so much for this! I am newly one-breasted, after a
    Mastectomy four weeks ago. My mastectomy bra is uncomfortable and gives no support to my remaining breast. I’ll check out Maryland.
    Nordstrom stores for this service. I wore Chanterelle bras before, so I know their advantages.

    • Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 8:15 am

      The bra you’re wearing right now so soon after the surgery will also change once you’ve healed some more. I remember having to wear a bra that was sort of like a bra with training wheels before I got to wear one that was more like what I wore before. I think Nordstroms everywhere specializes in this service. Just state your needs and they’ll have a specialist to help you. Thanks for sharing, Sharon!!

  • Reply
    La semaine d'une gourmette
    March 2, 2017 at 4:19 am

    OK, so I tried and looked at myself in the mirro and discovered there is NO WAY my bustline can be in the middle of those two lines. To achieve that, I would have to push my (small, A cup) breasts so high (with a pushup bra, maybe?) it would be literally painful. There is also no way it can be between my shoulder line and my elbowas – same applies. So I tried to analyze why:
    1) I have a very, very high waist. So high that high waist pants are just normal pants for me
    2) I have short arms. When I stand with arms hanging, the tip of my longest finger is just at the level of my hips, well above my crotch (and I should know, I have to shorten the sleeves of every single jacket I buy).
    My bust line is about one third of the way above my waistline, and it really doesn’t look low.
    So that rule doesn’t work for me – and my point is (yes I have a point ;-)): Know thy body, not every rule can work for everyone.

    • Reply
      March 3, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Your rule is so true. I love that you took the time to share this with us all. A very good reminder that not every rule works. I tried to imagine in my head how you were trying to get your bustline in the middle and how painful that would be. Great lesson here, thanks so much!

  • Reply
    March 17, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    ‘One Breasted ‘ new phrase to me but love it. I have been one breasted since 2003. I did not realise until I read this blog entry you wore a prosthesis. I don’t like pockets. I find they squash the prosthesis like a clenched fist. So I wear an underworld bra. I am in the U.K. and it is so difficult to find an unmatronly but supportive bra. My favourite is a bra by Fantasie. I have now been told they are discontinuing it. The shop assistant said it is a very popular bra and many women who wear ‘a chicken fillet’ (my phrase not hers) buy them. And I As going to write to them and ask them to inctrease their colour range. Reading your blog today has reminded me. But not before I read more from you. Thank you for being so generous with your time.

    • Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks, Leelah, for sharing. I haven’t heard the phrase chicken fillet but that is so true! I hope you track this down before they discontinue it. One breasted women like you, me, and thousands of other women need resources like this!

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