Helen Kestler and Cyla Weiner at SyLene of Washington
Cyla Weiner and her sister, Helen Kestler grew up around lingerie. They spent their weekends and school vacations working in their parents’ New Jersey lingerie shop. Cyla came to Washington to attend American University, and after college she worked as a buyer for Woodward & Lothrop, a large department store. After getting married to her college sweetheart, Cyla worked as a substitute teacher. In August 1975, bored with her teaching job and excited by the idea of opening a boutique, Cyla opened SyLene, a women’s lingerie boutique on Fairmont Avenue in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. It was a natural move since she grew up in the business, and she brought with her a level of expertise that the D.C. area didn’t have. In 1980, Cyla’s sister, Helene Kestler joined the business. 1985, SyLene moved to Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, and in 1999 the store was moved to South Park Avenue off Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase.
Over the past 34 years, the lingerie business has changed to keep up with all the changes women have made over those three decades. The change has been enormous as women have been liberated, and have grown in independence. Talking about sex or breast cancer wasn’t done 30 years ago. When Cyla first opened SyLene, men were buying lingerie for women, but now women are buying lingerie for themselves as a gift for men. Shapewear and stockings have also changed greatly over this time.
Sylene has been involved with many nonprofit organizations over the years. They donate bras to Families Forward, donates prostheses to Howard University Hospital and Inova Fairfax hospital. The SyLene staff is organizing a team to participate in “Walk for Hope” on October 11, 2009. They’ve also fitted women from Second Chance and given them free bras and panties. In addition to running SyLene, Cyla enjoys traveling to different places with her husband and family, and escapes to spas with her sister. She loves reading and cooking when time permits.
I interviewed Cyla to get her take on everything from dating to sports bras:
Best date spot?
I’m sort of out of that loop. For a romantic dinner in the summer I like Old Angler’s Inn — it’s also nice in the winter around the fire place. My favorite steak place is The Palm because you always know that your food and service will be excellent, and there are interesting people at the bar.
How do you know if he’s the one?
It’s a comfortable feeling that you get inside. You don’t feel threatened, competitive, or lonely.
Should women call men?
Yes, I see nothing wrong with that.
Do you have any dating advice for my readers?
Follow your passion and do the things that you love. Love has a way of turning up when you are happy and not really looking. Don’t settle—it’s not worth it!
How can my readers across the country and around the world find a bra-fitting expert in their area?
I recommend that a woman check around and see if there are any small lingerie shops that specialize in bra-fitting. At Sylenedc.com we also have bra-fitting tips available online for those who cannot go in for a personal fitting, which is the preferred method. There is a perfect bra for every woman, and a good lingerie shop will offer a variety of sizes and styles.
What are some common mistakes women make when shopping for bras?
Women typically buy the wrong size. The most common mistake is band size. Style is also an issue that leads women to purchasing the wrong bra. If you find the right bra for you, your clothes look better, you look slimmer and you feel good about yourself. You’re also much more comfortable.
What steps are taken to properly measure a woman for a correct-fitting bra?
To ensure the perfect fit, one needs to be measured in three places:
– Underneath your rib cage
– At the apex of your bust
- Underneath your arms above your breasts
Does a woman’s body change that much during her lifetime that she would need to be fitted more than once or twice?
Absolutely, your bra size can change six to eight times during your lifetime. Weight makes a big difference up or down. Depending on the person. five to 10 pounds can change your bra size. Other life factors such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and an exercise program also make a difference in your breast size and can require a new size or even a different style of bra be worn (i.e. a nursing bra).
Do bra styles differ between regular and plus-size women?
Yes, to some degree they do. Bras need to have enough support and be properly constructed to give the right look.
What is the most common bra size?
Right now I would say it is 36C.
Some women have breasts that are different sizes. How can this be accommodated?
There are many different things one can purchase to take care of this problem. One solution is soft shapers, which are available in different thickness. Another great item available is called a breast balance shaper. This is made out of silicone and feels very natural and soft.
What about women who have had a mastectomy or other breast surgery? How should they be fitted for a bra?
Sylene of Washington specializes in fitting women who have undergone breast surgery. We went to the White House and fit Nancy Reagan for her first State dinner after her mastectomy. Getting the right bra is the most important part of the process. There are many types of prostheses available to accommodate all types of breast surgery. Breast augmentation also requires getting fit for the right type of bra.
There’s been debate whether sports bras really do the job. What is your opinion?
Sport bras are like sneakers. If you’re doing yoga you don’t need as much support as if you were running every day. One needs to purchase the right bra for the activity level you are pursuing.
What can a properly fitted bra do for a woman?
The perfectly fitted bra can make you look slimmer, let your clothes fit you better, give you a smaller waistline, and give you a great boost of confidence. If you wear a pretty bra it can also make you feel sexy.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
A good bra wardrobe is really important for every woman. There’s no need to not have the perfect bra for every item in your closet. Bras are fun, can look great, make you feel good and give you plenty of support.
I highly recommend that you stop by SyLene next time you’re in Chevy Chase. We are fortunate to have a lingerie store of this calibre in Washington. You will find a level of expertise that only comes from decades in the lingerie industry. If you love lingerie, this is the place for you!
- Miss A