Did you know that over 90% of women are currently wearing a bra that isn’t the right size for them? You might look at that and think it’s a rather inflated figure. After all, the bra you’re wearing is perfectly fine. But you know what? You’re probably wrong. The fact is, it’s not just the obvious ‘this is painfully tight’ signs that tell you when a bra doesn’t fit. There are many more, subtler signs that your underwear is sending you that it just isn’t the right fit for you. Signs like:
This the most obvious and painful of the signs, and usually the one you will see first. Most of us have experienced stabbing underwire at one time or another, usually when our bra finally gives up after a long life, and the underwire simply snaps. But if your bra doesn’t fit properly, this will be a daily feeling. The underwires in ill-fitting bras will poke into your underarms and between your breasts, or catch your arms as you move and generally being very irritating. If the underwire is catching your arm as it moves forward, you need a bigger cup size. If it’s poking your armpits, you need a smaller cup size or a bra with shorter wires.
Your Underwire Is Away From Your Chest
Underwired is still the most popular style of bra bought in the UK. It offers support and shape for your breasts, and keeps you from experiencing discomfort doing every day things like going upstairs. But it does make finding the right size bra more difficult. To find out if your underwired bra fits properly, put it on and take a look at where the wires are sitting. Are they fitting into the natural crease of your breast, underneath the cups? Is it flat against your chest at the central gorge (which is big in the middle of your cleavage where the 2 wires meet), or is it pulling away? If your bra isn’t fitting snugly against your skin, or the underwire is lifting away from your skin when you lift your arms, it’s the wrong size.
A well-fitting bra will never leave any marks on your skin. But one of the major problems in bra fitting is straps digging in, leaving painful red marks. You see, the support given by your bra isn’t just done by the band and cups – the straps do a lot to hold it all together. If they are digging into your skin, it’s a good sign that they’re doing too much of the work because the rest of your bra doesn’t fit properly. This usually means you need to go down a band size, which will allow it to take some of the weight and reduce the strain on your shoulders. This also prevents some significant back and shoulder problems!
When you put your bra on, you shouldn’t be able to see any ‘spillage’ in any direction. If your breasts are squeezing over the top of the cups, out of the sides or in any other places, you probably need a bigger cup size. To make sure you get the right fit straight off the bat, we recommend you bring a slim fit t-shirt with you when you try on your bras. This will show you exactly where any spillage is, so you can find the right cup size for you.
A High/Low Back Band
IN an ideal world, the back of your bra band should be sitting in the middle of your shoulder blades, sitting as a perfect, uninterrupted circle around your chest. But if the band is riding up, it is too small, and if it’s bowing down, it’s too big. That’s what gives it the stretch. Switch to a different band size (up or down depending on the symptom) until your band stays put in that horizontal line.
Gaping, Wrinkling or Sagging Cups
Gaping or wrinkling cups is one of the sure-fire signs that you’re wearing a bra with the cups at least a size too big. Your breasts should completely fill the cups, without spilling over or shrinking down. Go down a cup size or two and find a comfortable fit that isn’t too tight or too loose. If you find that one breast fits perfectly and the other gapes, consider adding padding to even them out and create a symmetrical look.
This is more of an issue for those who prefer seamless t-shirt bras. Because they offer less practical shaping support, if you wear the wrong size you will notice that your breasts are falling to the sides, instead of going straight forward as they should. If you’re particularly big busted, you may even find yourself trapping one under your arm – ouch! If this sounds familiar, I’m sorry to say it’s time to ditch the T-shirt bra and find something more structured. The seams created by underwiring are usually unnoticeable under clothing (especially if you’ve got the right size), and for ladies with larger busts, the support and direction are important. For best results, look for a bra with a 4 part cup – one that has an extra seam on the sides to guide your breasts in the right direction.
Remember, having a bra that fits correctly isn’t just about it looking good. It’s about giving your shoulders and back the structure they need to support the weight of your breasts. Women who wear the wrong size bra often come across back problems, particularly in their shoulder blades where their bra band should be helping ease the strain. Having a problem with your bra that you don’t see here? Get in touch with our bra experts for their advice.