"Wherewithal started w/ a personal need. A strapless bra that wouldn't fall down."
I was 9 years old when I was told I had to start wearing a bra. For me, that was in 4th grade, which was the peak of my tomboy phase, and wearing a bra was the last thing I was interested in doing.
Throughout the years, that sentiment never changed. Bra shopping has always been such an unfulfilling process, I believe it's this way for many reasons. The mirrors have to be from fun houses, right? The lighting, the cold hands of the woman who keeps telling you what size you should be in because, although this is a garment I started wearing in elementary school, I still had no idea how to find my size. And better yet, this was a garment that is made to support our bust in the clothes we want to wear, but any bra style other than a bra w/ shoulder straps never gave me proper support to feel secure in the off-the-shoulder or backless garments I would dream of wearing. But that was the way of the world and something I had to accept, based on the bra styles available to me.
It wasn't until an XL bathing suit top that barely covered my areola. I remember finally stopping to ask myself, and the universe, and God, who is this even being made for? Size standards in fashion aren’t a secret — as size goes up, style goes down. But this was a bathing suit style that would have been fine if they would have used an appropriate amount of fabric for the size they labeled it to be. From that moment, I decided to make my own clothes that would fit me as I am, and stop letting these companies that couldn't care less about what feels best to me force me into standard sizes that were never made to fit my individual, unique and personal size. So, I did what any fed-up-with-the-industry-millennial would do; I fired up YouTube, bought myself a sewing machine, and began teaching myself how to sew.
Bathing suits quickly turned into clothing (daydreaming of backless items), where everything I designed had a bust-supportive element built-in. Thinking about adding this supportive element to every apparel piece was daunting. And then it hit me — aren’t bras supposed to be doing this? Isn’t the entire purpose of a bra to be the supportive element we wear under our clothes? Jumping to my next thought, “how do I keep a strapless bra from falling down?"
I believe the reason our strapless bras fall down is because this is a style that removes the shoulder straps, and as a result, we lose support of the upper bust. I needed to figure out a way to subsume the support of the upper bust without the shoulder straps. The way I thought to do this was by replacing the one-dimensional hook+eye back band w/ back band that could be adjusted. I re-designed the bra a dual back band support system, intentionally made so there is a second band that supports the upper bust, to keep our strapless bras in place. I went home that day, chopped up my bras, re-engineered the design, and created a strapless bra that wouldn't fall down.
The adjustable back band was first intended to provide security, but I quickly realized the second benefit of this new design feature. This adjustability allowed me to customize my size and personalize my fit. This was a new-found freedom I had never felt before w/ bras or bra sizing.
There is nobody that knows what feels best to you - other than you. My hope w/ Wherewithal is that you not only take back control of your bra size and create your own personal fit, but this becomes a tool of self-connection for what feels best to you. Our bras are made for you to decide, and embedded w/ the functionality so that you can change your fit as often as you change your mind.
A bra is the least interesting thing about anyone who is wearing it, it is a tool we use to wear the clothes we want to wear, and The EveryWhere Strapless Bra is just the beginning.