A little wiggle here, a pull there, a scoop at the end. Does this sound like your experience with trying to make your breasts more comfortable in your bra?
Did you know, 80% of bra wearers are not wearing the right size, and that means 80% of those that wear bras are risking their breast, back, neck and shoulder health too.
It isn’t just about sizing though – oh no. It’s also about the style of a bra and where you buy it from and which designer created that bra, on that day.
A bra that fits perfectly should be one that gives you endless support whilst still being comfortable. It most certainly shouldn’t dig in and you definitely shouldn’t want to rip it off at 2pm every day.
Since the invention of elastane, it’s become routine for brands to use stretchy mesh or fabric to make the underband of bras. This means the way we measure our bra size is different to how it was back in the day. If you usually shop at M&S, Ann Summers or used to buy from Debenhams, it’s likely you’ve been “+4’d”, which means 4-inches have been added to the underband, which is now unnecessary. This means your bra size isn’t accounting for the stretch in the fabric and so is probably rubbing against your ribs. Many people assume that if their bra is painful, it’s because the band is too small. But nope, it’s because there’s movement and no bra should move!
So how can you find the right size, style and which factors should you consider when selecting a brand?
Finding the right size
Finding the right fitting bra can be difficult but it starts with knowing your size. The first step is to get measured properly, by an independent bra retailer or by using a non-stretchy measuring tape. Check this handy guide to find out how to measure for a bra properly.
Don’t be alarmed, you might find that your size isn’t what you thought and that’s because we’re stuck with this old fashioned measuring system by adding 4 onto your size. This is inaccurate and outdated and can cause you discomfort.
It is also worth knowing your sister size, this is a bra that offers the same breast volume, but with a smaller or bigger band and then an adjusted cup to account for the larger or smaller band. Not all bra brands use the same measurements (although we’re campaigning for true to size bras to become the norm), so each brand will fit you differently.
Finding the right style
Once you know your size, now it’s time to find the perfect style for your breast tissue type It can be overwhelming when you look at the selection of bras to choose from both online and instore, so we have outlined some tips to make it easier for you to find the most supportive and comfortable bra for YOU!
Knowing your breast tissue type can help in discovering which bra style is the most supportive for your body. One way of doing this is bending forward and looking at the direction that your nipples are pointing.
Pointing towards your head, means your breasts are full on the bottom so we would recommend a plunge or balconette bra to lift and push your breasts together
Pointing towards the floor, means your breasts have even fullness so a balcony bra would be recommended lifting and separating the breasts
Pointing towards your feet, means your breasts are full on tip and so a full cup bra would provide more support and enhance the fullness.
Factors you should consider when searching for the perfect brand
So once you’re aware of your bra size and your breast tissue type, you can start shopping. However, here’s another issue. Different brands and even different styles within brands (and ranges!) have different sizes too.
For example, Confident Tiger bras are true to size. This means if your band measures as 28-inches, a 28-inch band will fit. However, other brands will say they’re a 28-inch, but will actually measure 26 or 30-inches. This means they aren’t true to size and you will need to size up or down a band.
The same applies to the cup size. As a general rule, one cup size is an extra inch on your band, so a 28AA would measure 29-inches around the fullest part of your breast, a 28A would measure 30-inches around your breasts and so on.
But here’s the rub: some brands don’t even offer double cup sizes, which means the sizing is incorrect anyway. So if you measure a 34DD, you would become a 34E in a brand that doesn’t offer a double cup, or a 34FF would become a 34H.
The materials can also mean the difference between a great fit and a bad fit. For example, super-stretchy mesh means you’ll probably need a smaller size as the lace will stretch more than a firmer mesh that’s more supportive.
It is so important for the health and support of our breasts to find the perfect fitting bra and to wake up with confidence and comfort every time we leave the house. Because a happy body is a happy you!