Q&A with Boob Whisperer: Kayla Henniger
This week, I'm introducing you to my best friend and boob whisperer, Kayla Henniger. She has spent several years working in the lingerie industry and has some great tips for us when it comes to finding the perfect bra. This is also for those working towards a quality, long-lasting collection.
Q: First introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background.
A: I've worked as a vendor/merchandiser, sales, and hosted several fit events for some of the top retail leaders in the industry. I'm also lingerie fit specialist & a certified prosthesis fit specialist. I have experience fitting women, transgenders, and men.
Q: You're essentially a boob whisperer. Please loop everyone in and tell them why.
A: My clients have told me this many times, that I'm a "boob whisperer," and it's the highest compliment I could receive from them. Bra fitting is like an art form. I actually prefer not to use a measuring tape when doing my fits. I just eyeball it and bring a couple of sizes to have them try on. Most women are wearing the wrong size. When they've been wearing a C cup for years and I put them in a DD, they're just in shock. I like to let the bra speak for itself. I can't tell you how many times I've had a good cry with my clients in a fitting room. When they tell you it's the first time in years, if ever, that they a good fit and actually feel confident or sexy, it's rewarding. Never underestimate the power of a great bra!
Q: You are not kidding. Can you enlighten us on sizing and how we can find a better fit?
A: Cup sizes are different with each band size. The cup on a 34B is different than a 38B. If you normally wear a 34B, but the band is a little tight and you need to go up, you would go for a 36A. When you go up in the band, you go down in the cup. When you go down in band, you go up in the cup. If the band feels good, but you're not filling out the cup, try going down a cup size. Or you can try going for a demi style over a full coverage.
Q: What's the biggest thing you've learned working in the industry?
A: That plastic surgeons are not always on point with cup sizes. I can't begin to tell you how many women I have fit after surgery that have said "my doctor says I'm a full B or a small C." 90% of the time they are larger and sometimes by a few cups! Cup size changes with band size and most doctors don't take the band size into account.
If you do decide to have breast augmentation or a reduction, don't discuss cup sizes. Instead, go to a store, look at the different bra sizes, and try a few on. Once you find your band size, stay consistent with the band and just go up or down in the cup. Bring some inserts, socks, or whatever to stuff the cup and see how it looks. Then bring the bra with you to your consultation so you can see which implant is closest to that bra size.
Q: You mentioned earlier that you are certified for prosthesis fits. Can you share some options for those who've had mastectomy/lumpectomy?
A: Depending on where you live, forms and prosthetic bras can be challenging to find. My advice is to look for a retailer that sells Amoena, which is an amazing brand. Most Nordstrom stores carry Amoena and will even accept some health insurance. Always call ahead though. Make sure you also check with your insurance provider to see if and how many forms are covered. Some insurance companies will cover a certain number of bras too.
If you haven't purchased a new form in the past 10 years, I really recommend checking out some of the new ones. Prosthetic forms have come so far in the past few years. They are much lighter and even more breathable. You can even find ones specifically for swimming. Also, if you have had a lumpectomy, there are smaller forms that will help even and fill out your bras.
Q: What are some of your other favorite brands out there?
A: Natori is probably my favorite and one of the first brands I go to because they fit like a dream. The quality is excellent and the materials they use are so soft.
- Petite/small bust: Calvin Klein, Betsey Johnson, On Gossamer, VS Pink!
- Petite/full bust: Freya, Panache, Fantasie
- Average/full fit: Natori, Wacol, Chantelle, Maidenform, Spanx, Victoria's Secret
- Full figure/full bust: Elomi, Le Mystère, Playtex, Bali
- Nursing bras: Cake, Rosie Pope, Belly Bandit
Some of these brands fall into more than one category though. Also, a lot of these brands have sports bras and nursing bras. If you like a lot of support when you workout, I recommend going with a sports bra that goes by your bra size, instead of the generic small, medium, large, and so forth.
Q: In a perfect world, every girl would have your bra collection. If someone was revamping their collection, what would you recommend they purchase?
A: I recommend having a bare minimum 3 everyday bras in your rotation: 2 nudes, 1 black (or color of your choice). Ideally though, the best set up is 3 everyday bras, 2 sports bras, 1 strapless/convertible, and 1 sexy bra that makes YOU feel fabulous. The more bras in your rotation, the longer they will last. When you find a bra you love stick to it and stock up on it!
Q: What is the best way to care for your bras?
A: NEVER use hot water or fabric softener on your bras, underwear, shapewear, or active wear. Fabric softener is made for natural materials. Heat and fabric softener will destroy the elasticity. Hand-washing your bras is the best way to maintain their life span, but lets be real. We don't all have time for that. Get a mesh laundry bag for your intimates (I use mine for my delicate shirts too). Make sure the bras are hooked to help prevent any snags, use cold water, and a gentle detergent and wash cycle. Avoid the dryer and lay flat to dry. As for how often you should wash your bras, it totally depends on how many are in your rotation. I would wash at least once a week.
Q: Anything else you want readers to takeaway?
A: Your bra will stretch out over time. To get a longer life span, start with the first hook that way you can tighten it as it starts losing elasticity. When the band starts riding up your back, it's time for a new bra. Remember, you get most of your support and lift from your band. The snugger the band, the perkier your breasts.
If you have any questions for Kayla, please leave them below.