Katrina Anderson owes it all to Oprah.
Five years ago, the Tucsonan was watching "The Oprah Winfrey Show" when the featured topic was how pretty much all women wear the wrong bra size.
Anderson realized that she'd never been fitted. Things snowballed, and she ended up opening Bravo boutique, which specializes in intimate apparel, in 2007. The goal: to get women into the right bra.
"It's nice to have a mission," Anderson said with a laugh.
With its soft track lighting and the smell of coffee brewing in the morning, Bravo has that be-pampered atmosphere down pat.
The store sells everything from strapless bras suitable for beneath a wedding or formal dress to smoothing T-shirt bras, shapewear, underwear (a popular seller - $24 Invisi'bulles by Simone Perele, no panty lines) and soft cotton robes and jammies. A crisp cotton shorts and cami set ($76) with green polka dots would be perfect for a summer night. Brands include big names like La Perla, Cosabella and Hanky Panky to luxe French lines Aubade and Simone Perele.
There is no Bra University, no classes you can take to learn how to find that perfect over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder, but Anderson has fit about 2,000 women since she opened, so she's picked up a lot of tips to share.
Most women go bra-shopping once a year. When you do, get measured. As Oprah already established, a lot of us are wearing the wrong size.
And, don't get hung up on a number, Anderson advised. Just because you wear a 34C in one brand doesn't mean you will in all brands. Shop for bras like you would clothing - try 'em on and try on different sizes, Anderson said.
"All about the band"
Most women don't realize how important band size is.
Bra riding up? Straps sliding off? Blame it on an ill-fitting band.
"It's all about the band," Anderson said.
The right band size will fit snugly and make you want to stand up straight, Anderson said. You should be able to get only two or three fingers beneath it.
A new bra should fit well on the very widest setting. After a few months of wear, you'll need to clasp it on the middle hooks. A few more months after that, you'll clasp it on the tightest setting. Once it starts to feel loose, it's time to go bra shopping.
The life span of a bra
Expect to get eight months to a year out of a bra before the elastic is shot.
Between wearings, spritz bras with a fabric refreshener and let them air out. Anderson suggests handwashing in very cold water with an extremely gentle detergent such as baby or lingerie wash. Never, ever put a bra in the dryer.
Expect to pay about $50-$60 for a good bra. Anderson's top seller is a nude Marie Jo bra ($110) with embroidered flowers along the straps.
"People will pay a ton of money for high thread-count sheets," Anderson said. "Well, you wear a bra a lot longer than you're sleeping on 800 thread-count sheets."
"Have some fun stuff"
Functional can still be fun. Women tend to buy nude and black, but eyepopping colors are everywhere these days.
"You've got to have some fun stuff," Anderson said.
Lace bralettes are popular, as is lace in general.
"Lace is not your enemy," Anderson said.
In fact, changing up your bra can amp up your style, she said, forcing you to trade in that tired old T-shirt for a spiffier top.
If you go
2840 E. Skyline Drive, Suite 140, at North Campbell Avenue. 299-1588
• Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays.
Cosabella Trunk Show
• When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today
• What: The line, known for its lace underpinnings, has a show featuring its bras, underwear, pajamas and chemises in its latest styles.