Heidi Klum's Bra Advice In Germany's Next Topmodel

       There I said it, I watch Germany's Next Topmodel. I have a love-hate relationship with the show, on one hand I realise it is a shallow and judgemental thing. On the other I enjoy watching the beautiful photo shoots and always get extremely excited about the episode about acting. I also like how Heidi Klum actually mentors the girls, like shopping with them at Whole Foods and teaching them to cook healthy stuff. She is often very candid, admitting she sucks in her belly in or "it was either bangs or botox, so I went for bangs".
      One episode every season always includes a Victoria's Secret-esqe show, with lingerie and (original VS) wings. This season the show was cut to include much more back-stage and behind-the-backstage material, which included the girls trying on lingerie for the show. I was very much expecting to cringe, and I did, when the girls wore bras that clearly didn't fit. Here you can see the clip I'm talking about.
  Now comes a critique of the fit, feel free to skip it and  move on to the surprising advice Heidi Klum gives.
   Fuller-busted Betty was put into cups much too small for her and were supported by her boobs. Jolina was wearing a cup size to small and too big band that rode up in the back -- the classic "badly fitted bra model" look. Nancy had very padded cups that made her breasts look optically too small. Steffie's underwires were on top of her boobs (the center gore didn't lie flat), and her band rode up like crazy. Interestingly, things looked a tad better on the runway than they did backstage, probably because a team of stylists worked hard to make the ill-fitting bras look less ill-fitting.

   Heidi brought an armful of lingerie with her, and the girls had to try on everything. They didn't get bras in their size, but that was what I expected: models usually have to fit into clothes and shoes in generic sizes. Many photo shoots are done with clothes clipped at the back or cut open. What surprised me however is nobody acknowledging that the bras weren't in the right size (unlike shoes, the candidates often complained about having to walk in shoes that were too big or too small).
   I was a bit suprised at Heidi telling Nathalie not to wear the bra too high, saying that it is better to wear the band tighter and let the straps looser, otherwise one becomes folds under the armpits. Generally I do agree with the statement that the band should be as tight as possible (without being uncomfortable). However folds and bulges under the armpits mean that the cups are too small (and the band too big).
   So how high the bra should be worn? You should grab each end of one underwire with each hand and pull the cup up until the underwire sits flush with the bottom of the breast. That is the correct height! If you don't have a feel for how high you need to pull the cup up, your best bet is to try it with an unpadded bra and in front of the mirror. Now, if the band is sung enough (and the cups big enough), the bra should stay in place at this perfect height. However if the band is too loose, chances are the cups will sag; to make up for this you will want to pull the straps higher. This looks weird and feels uncomfortable.
     When you wear a bra in the correct size at the correct height, you can still decide how tight you want the straps to be. I like loosening the straps all the way, and then tightening them a bit. However I know that many women like to tighten their straps more to get a bit more cleavage. Maybe that is what Heidi Klum was referring to?

Kinda exaggerated, but you get the idea. Actually, most push-up bras flatten even more than in my illustration.

   Another interesting scene was Heidi putting on a dress on top of a soft triangle bra. She said: "We don't really want mega push-up bras any more, we don't want them hoisted up here, it's old fashioned. They can sag slightly, when they're hoisted I think it's old school to hoist them that high."
   I think what she is referring to here is the demise of the push-up silhouette, where cleavage is created at the cost of flattening the breasts from below, or the mega-padded silhouette where the breasts are impossibly round. Breast shapes do go in and out of fashion. I wouldn't mourn the demise of the round-and-high shapes since these can be achieved only with very padded and moulded bras, which are not really kind to the breast tissue. A softer, more natural silhouette might mean that unpadded bras will be more popular -- and such bras are the best for keeping the breast tissue firm and in a nice shape.
    Funnily, the bras looked like they fit better on the runway than backstage: the wings pulled the band down, and I imagine that the stylists and assistants were re-arranging boob tissue and smoothing stuff to make it look good.

  So, anyone else watches Germany's Top Model? Who did you root for? Or anywhere else's Top Model?

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