The first thing many women do when they step inside the door at home is to take off their bra. But should a bra really be so uncomfortable that you don’t want to wear it? No, absolutely not. A bra that fits perfectly should never feel uncomfortable. So, today we’re going to go through how a bra should NOT fit and how to fix the problem.
It doesn’t matter how well made your bra is, if you wear the wrong size it will never fit or feel right. If you’re very unlucky, an incorrect size can cause discomfort and aching shoulders, bust and back. To check if you’re wearing the right size, put on a bra and look at yourself in the mirror. Here are the signs to look for to identify what you need to change for your bra to fit really well.
SIGNS THAT THE CUP IS TOO BIG
The cup creases. If you wear an unpadded cup, the material in the cup can crease if you wear a size that is too big. If there is a big difference in size between your breasts, the material or lace may become loose or crease on the smaller breast; this is of course perfectly normal. But if the cup creases on both breasts, then you’re wearing a cup that is too big. Keep the bandsize but go down a cup size.
The breast doesn’t rest against the bottom of the cup. The bottom edge of the cup – whether it is wired or an ordinary seam – should follow the bottom of the breast. There must not be empty space at the bottom of the cup. The bra commonly fits like this on small and medium-sized breasts that don’t need a lot of lift. Regardless of size and shape, the breast must be able to rest and get support from the bottom edge of the cup. If your bra fits like this, you should choose a bra with a smaller cup size.
SIGNS THAT YOU’RE WEARING A CUP THAT IS TOO SMALL
A bulge forms above the top of the cup. If the breast spills out over the edge of the cup forming an extra ‘bulge’, sometimes called a ‘double breast’, the cup is too small for your bust. The breast shouldn’t swell up between the shoulder straps or towards the armpit. You may need to go up several cup sizes to fix this. Some women think they get a fuller décolletage when the breasts swell out, but the breasts don’t get the support they need from the bra, and it is very obvious if you wear a tight top that the bra is too small as the double breast protrudes very clearly then. There should be a smooth transition between the bra and the décolletage.
The cup doesn’t cover the whole breast. The underwire (or cup seam if you wear a non-wired bra) should not press against the breast tissue at the side, bottom or middle. The whole breast should fit into the cup. Underwires that press or pinch the breast tissue are very uncomfortable. Go up one or more cup sizes until the whole breast fits in the cup.
The underwire does not separate the breasts. If you wear an underwired bra and the underwire does not separate the breasts but ‘lies on top’ of the breasts, the cup is too small and shallow. Instead, the breasts are pressed together in the middle and push the bra out away from the body. The underwire should always separate the breasts and lie tight against the breastbone. Then it offers optimum support. The underwire does not serve any function if it only floats on top. Try a bra with a bigger cup size.
SIGNS THAT THE BAND SIZE IS TOO BIG
The back is pulled up. If the back of your bra rides up and is no longer a straight line, the band size is too big and you have shortened the shoulder straps too much so they alone lift the breasts. The back of the bra should provide most of the bra’s support. Look at your profile in a mirror, lift your arm and see if the bra forms a straight line. The band should not be higher at the back than under the breasts.
The breasts creep out under the cup. If the cup glides up when you stretch your arms so that the breasts start creeping out underneath, the band of the bra is too big. Breasts should never escape from a bra at the top, bottom or armpit. Think of a cup as an escape-proof cell and the band size as the lock. If the cup fits well, you can solve the problem by going up one band size at the same time as you go down one letter in cup size, for example from 36C to 34D. Read more here about the relationship between the cup and the circumference and how to move between sizes.
SIGNS THAT THE BAND SIZE IS TOO TIGHT
The back of the bra cuts into your body. If your bra hurts and cuts into your side, back or under the breasts, the band is too tight. It must not be difficult to take a deep breath. A bra is not a torture instrument. The back should be tight but not so as to ever be uncomfortable. Test by pulling out the bra band at the back with your finger. If it fits right it should be easy to pull out 2 inches from the body. Just as in the previous example, go up one or more band sizes. For each band size you go up, you must go down a cup size.
SIGNS THAT THE SHOULDER STRAPS ARE TOO LOOSE
The shoulder straps glide down. Many women have problems with the shoulder straps constantly falling down. This is almost always due to the shoulder straps not being tightened enough or having lost their elasticity and stretched. Adjust the shoulder straps every morning. If they continue to become loose as soon as you’ve adjusted them, it’s time to throw away the bra.
If the shoulder straps are loose, they will inevitably glide down and the cup will not be tight against the breast but crease and thereby give the impression that the cup is too big. So, adjust the shoulder straps first before you try changing cup size. If you have very narrow or sloping shoulders, the shoulder straps can glide down anyway. There are models with ‘no slip’ straps that are sewn extra close together at the back to prevent them gliding down.
SIGNS THAT THE SHOULDER STRAPS HAVE BEEN SHORTENED TOO MUCH
The back is pulled up. If the back of the bra is pulled up you have shortened the shoulder straps too much combined with the band being too big. The rule of thumb is that if the shoulder straps are tightened enough, you should be able to fit one or two fingers between the shoulder and the strap.
The shoulder straps form dips in the shoulders. For many women with large busts, the shoulder straps often are a problem. They cut in and leave dips in the shoulders that remain even when they take off the bra. Here, the problem is the belief that it’s the straps that should provide all the support and lift the bust, resulting in shoulder straps are adjusted too tight instead of wearing a bra that fits more firmly around the back. The shoulder straps should only provide about 20% of the bra’s support, also for large cup sizes. It is around the body that the bra provides almost 80% of the support. It is therefore important that the band size has a snug fit.
We hope these simple tricks will make it easier to identify what needs to be remedied to find a bra that is a good fit for you.