Are you wearing the correct bra size?June 18, 2011
Most ladies are already aware that it is really important to make sure you wear the correct bra size – however, this does not mean everyone necessarily is.
Wearing the wrong size can damage your back and posture, it can change the shape of your breasts, not to mention make you look bigger than you really are (and I don’t just mean around your bust…)
80% of women are wearing the incorrect bra size, and it’s not even necessarily their fault.
DD+ sizes just are not talked about in the media. They are largely ignored, and sometimes considered ridiculously ‘big’ sizes because they haven’t been openly discussed; people are not quite aware of how common these sizes really are.
I know a few years ago, I myself wouldn’t have even thought that there was anything beyond an E cup – that was the biggest I had come across. I didn’t have busty friends, or female family members to ask, and there was no one to tell me that the 34DD I was wearing was completely wrong for me in every way.
One day I got so fed up of being in pain, and feeling uncomfortable in my bras, that I agreed to a fitting at La Senza. The woman there was quite hard on me for wearing a bra that was “so clearly the wrong size”, going on to say that my breasts were becoming deformed because of all the ‘sideboob’ squishing out – she wasn’t wrong, but she wasn’t nice about it either!
She decided (without a measuring tape) that I was a 34F and that’s what I should wear from then on. So, I did.
I was probably a 32FF at the time. The problem is, that if a professional bra fitter tells you “this is your size” and you don’t know any better, then that’s what you will wear.
Nowadays, I know immediately if my breasts are changing and whether I need to increase/decrease my bra size; I’m currently a 30GG-32G, and so clued up about my sizing, I wonder how on earth I didn’t see it all through my teens and early 20s.
So, I thought I’d give a few tips on how a correctly fitting bra should look, and what to avoid.
First of all, tape measures are unreliable. BUT, if you have no clue where to start, I would recommend using one just to measure your underbust. Say for example you measure 31″ underbust; that gives a pretty good indication that you should try both a 30 band and a 32 band, and see which one fits you the best. It is important to note that both band size and cup size can vary depending on which brand you wear. As for finding the right cup size, try a few around what you already wear, and you may discover that some seem far more comfortable than others.
When you become familiar with your size and shape, you will probably have no real use for a tape measure. You will know instantly by the fit and feel whether a bra is right or wrong for you.
I will be using this gorgeous Curvy Kate bra as my ‘correct’ example of how a bra should fit. It’s new, today, this is the first time I have worn it. I measure 30.5″ underbust, and this is a 32G. Remember, it’s important to try a few of the closest band sizes to your measurements to find the best one.
The first thing to remember is that you should always start off using the loosest hook. Bras loosen with wear and age, so you need those other two sets of hooks to be able to tighten it up over time. Otherwise, within a few months your bra will become useless and unsupportive.
You should comfortably be able to fit two fingers underneath the band; any looser and it will be too big, any tighter and it will be too small. If you stand side-on, the band should run horizontally around your chest, and not ride up at the back.
The band is 80% of the support for your breasts, this means the straps should not be tight on your shoulders. Again, you should be able to fit two fingers under the shoulder straps – they should not be digging in or causing you pain.
The centre gore (which is the join piece in the middle of your bra), should lie flat against your chest, and not pull away from it at any point. If it does pull away, then you need a bigger cup size.
The cups should fully encase your breasts, and there should be NO overspill on top, (creating the four boob effect), or round the sides (giving you the ‘sideboob’ effect). Most women will have one breast slightly larger than the other, like me.
If this is the case, it’s best to make sure the bra fits your biggest breast, not the smallest. If you have a noticeable difference that you’re not comfortable with, there are lots of breast fillet products that can placed inside the cup to even them out.
What to avoid:
These are the same sort of examples, but wearing the ‘wrong’ bra, to show you what it shouldn’t look like.
If your back band is riding up all the time – this means you need a smaller band size, and you current one is not supportive enough; your shoulders will be feeling the effects.
If the band feels tight instead, and is causing you pain – this means you need to try a bigger band size.
If the centre gore pulls away from your chest, then you will need to go up a cup size so it lies flat.
The same goes for breast over spill on the top (or underneath) of the bra, and also what I like to call ‘sideboob’, where breast tissue spills out of the sides of your bra – this again means your cup size is too small.
If instead, you find you have excess material in the cups – this means you need a smaller cup size.
Don’t forget, when you put a bra on, you should ‘arrange’ your breasts inside them so they are properly encased. This is the best way to tell if a bra fits you or not.
The most common mistake is wearing a band size too big, and a cup size too small.
If you have just discovered you are wearing the incorrect band size, and you need to downsize, remember that you must increase your cup size too. For example, if you have been wearing a 34DD that’s too big in the band, you would be a 32E or a 30F. Even then, if your original 34DD was small in the cup, you may still need to go up a few more cup sizes, and vice versa.
If you want to get measured professionally, I would recommend heading into a Bravissimo store – they are the most accurate fitters I have come across.
If you also want to buy a new bra to try some alternative sizes, I recommend having a browse on Brastop, they do some great deals on gorgeous Lingerie.
If you want to check your measurements online, the most accurate bra calculator I have come across is here: Butterfly Collection Bra Size Calculator
It may not be perfectly accurate, it was for me, but of course it depends on the person. Give it a try anyway.
If you have any questions, or concerns that I haven’t addressed here, please feel free to ask me. Between me and my blogging bra friends, we can probably work out what the issue is.
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