Bra Fitting 101

bra fitting 101

First of all, our relationship with our bras has historically been a love/hate one. We like the support, but hate wearing them. Usually, we aren’t wearing the best fitting bra for our needs.

Purchasing a new bra can be intimidating, especially if you are buying online and not able to try it on first. In this time of quarantining and social distancing, we need to be pretty sure of our size before we go to the online checkout button.

We also tend to focus on styles, trends and fashionable fabrics before we look at exactly how the particular fit will be. With the price of some of the most popular brands available, realizing that we jumped into a bad purchase can be costly and more than just a little irritating.

With all the shapes and sizes of breasts out there, it can be confusing and feel like information overload. Small breasts, large ones, side-bulge, east-west, breasts that are far apart, all these are things that can be obstacles to the right fit. Every brand claims to have the right one for you!

If you are one that has a hard time finding the right bra, consider some of these tips before you make your next purchase. Hating to wear bras is normal for those that never find the right fit. Let’s try and help that battle.

How Do I Know If My Bra Doesn’t Fit?

The Back of The Bra

If the back slips up and constantly bothers you, it might mean the bra is the wrong size. Does that scratchy hook keeps bugging you, or does it fit tightly on the last clasp? We must be mindful of the back.

The Dreaded Elastic Band

Try to stick two fingers underneath the band and see if it has some give. Does it fit well on the middle hook, in case you gain or lose weight? Our bodies constantly change, and our breasts are no exception.

Do Your Shoulder Straps Stay On?

Your straps should stay put on your shoulder. Do they keep slipping down and falling off, or are they digging into your skin? If after you adjust the length of the straps and it keeps slipping off, then you don’t have the correct fit.

The Cup

Do you find yourself pulling the cups up?  The horror of nipples falling out the top can be a major sign that the bra isn’t for you. Do you have “muffin top” boobs where they are spilling and poking out over the cup? Does the side boob keep sliding out and you have to do the dreaded “scoop” over and over? All these problems can occur with the wrong cup size.

The Small Chested Need As Much Support As Larger Breasts

 Yes, even small chested women can have the sagging affect accelerated without wearing a supportive bra.

Realizing that we must support ourselves early on will save us some drooping in the future. Prevention is the best medicine. Finding a comfortable fit with small breasts can be difficult, just like for larger breasts.

Our Bra Sizes Change

Try to get fitted, or fit yourself, at least once a year to make sure that you are wearing the right bra for you. Our menstrual cycles, gaining or loosing weight, menopause, or even stress can cause us to change our sizes. Having a variety of sizes on hand can help relieve the stress of changing body shapes.

Sister Sizes Can Help

Sister sizing means that if you wear one certain size, you can go up and down a size and change the cup. Say you wear a 38C and you want another size, you can sister size down to a 36D, or up to a 40B. This can sometimes help alleviate problem areas or product availability.

The Signs of a Great Fitting Bra

  • The fabric piece, or the front clasp between the fabric and your breast, called the bridge, should lie completely flat against your breastbone.
  • Your breasts should sit comfortably in the cups without gaps or unsightly bulges to the side or above.
  • The underwire lays flat against your ribcage.
  • The band is straight across your back, not squeezing, and allows for two fingers to be slid inside.
  • Side boobs are well kept inside the cup and wider side band.

The Bothersome Side Boob

The side swoop breast shape is ignored for the most part, but is a common problem for many women. There are great bra types out there that specialize in bras for the side swooping breast. Finding a bra that lifts and supports can give you a great boost of confidence while allowing for that comfortable fit.

Women with side swoop affect could consider a shorter underwire that doesn’t go all around the breast, or have no underwire at all. The bra should support the sides with a wider, more sturdy sidewall.

Warner’s Women’s No Side Effects Full Coverage Underwire Bra is a great fan favorite to help alleviate the side ride-up. This bra allows for more protection to keep bulges and side fallout in tact. It sells on Amazon for an affordable $12.99, in a variety of colors and sizes. You can’t beat that! They also have a version with no underwire: the Warner’ Women’s No Side Effects Wire-Free Contour Bra.

Tips For Doing At Home Sizing Yourself

STEP 1: Determining Band Size

  • Get a measuring tape and take notes.
  • Take the measuring tape and place your fingers on the 1″ mark of the tape with your hand and place it in the center of your breasts.
  • Bring the tape behind your back where your bra band is.
  • With your other hand, pull the measuring tape to the front of your body, towards the top of your breastbone, meeting the tape that shows your band size.
  • Write down the number. (example: 36″)
  • Do not pull the tape too tight or too loose at your breastbone.
  • If your measurement is an odd number then add 1”. (i.e. if you measured 31,” then round up to 32″).

STEP 2: Determining Cup Size

To ensure accuracy, we recommend you measure yourself while wearing an unpadded bra, or nude. Using a measuring tape, measure around your body across the fullest part of your bust. Again, this should not be too tight or too loose. To calculate your cup size, subtract your band size from Step 1 from your cup measurement. 

1″: A 2″: B 3″: C 4″: D

Now you have a basic start in determining your size and you can research bras that fit your special needs. If you have any questions, try an in-store fitting and ask an expert.

Good luck, and happy bra shopping!

Image Source: Pxhere

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