Fancy getting some new lingerie for Valentine’s day? Or is your underwear draw just due for an upgrade?
As a Chiropractor, I’d advise you make sure your bras fit well! Badly fitting bras will not provide adequate support and will put extra strain through our spines meaning they could be the reason for your back or neck pain.
And plenty of us aren’t wearing the right bra size due to many high street shops using the old-fashioned way of measuring around your ribcage and adding 4 inches (this is an outdated relic from when bras were made of stiffer materials).
Firstly, use this fit calculator to get a picture of your true size. And don’t be surprised if you’re way off! I personally couldn’t believe the cup size but since using this method and wearing the correct shape bra, my bras have never fit better.
Then when trying on a bra, “swoop and scoop”. This ensures the tissue is in the right place. Make sure all new bras are fastened on the loosest hooks (unless you are pregnant, as your ribcage will likely grow it’s best to start off on the tightest hooks) and feel comfortable on those hooks. This is because the band will stretch over time.
Here are some signs of a Poor Fit
To determine if a bra fits well or not, you must look at each part of the bra. This includes the band, the straps, the cups, the wires, and the gore (which is the piece in between the cups, over your breastbone).
|Band rides up your back||Your band is too large||Go down a band size while maintaining cup volume*|
|Band is uncomfortably tight||Your band is too small or your cups are too small||Try the bra on backwards; if it still feels too tight, go up a band size while maintaining cup volume*. If it is now comfortable, your cups are too small, so go up a cup size in the same band size.|
|Straps dig into your shoulders||Your band is too large (so you are compensating the lack of support by over tightening your straps)||Go down a band size while maintaining cup volume*|
|Straps fall off your shoulders||Your band is too large (so the straps are too wide set for your frame)||Go down a band size while maintaining cup volume*|
|Cups have wrinkles||Your cups are too large, or are the wrong shape||Go down a cup volume, or try a different shape|
|Cups are overflowing somewhere||Your cups are too small or are the wrong shape||Go up a cup volume or try a different shape|
|Empty space between underwires and the outer side of your breasts||Wires are too wide (either due to the cup being too large or simply because you have narrow roots)||Go down a cup volume or find a bra with narrower wires|
|Wires sit below where the bottom of your breast attaches to your chest||Your cups are too small, or the wrong shape||Try a bra with wider wires, more depth at the bottom of the cup, or a narrower gore.|
|Underwires are sitting on your breast tissue||Wires are too narrow (either due to cup being too small or simply because you have wide roots)||Go up a cup volume, or find a bra with wider wires|
|Gore does not touch your breastbone||Cups are too small or your breasts are too close set for the width of the gore||Go up a cup volume or try bras with narrower gores (like plunges)|
*To complicate things even more, something called sister sizing exists which means the volume of your cup changes with your band size. For instance, 34B is the same as 32C, 28E = 30DD, 36G = 34GG, etc. So think of this when you’re working out your new size.
Please note that the most important aspect of bra fit is comfort. If you are not comfortable in a bra, even if it meets all of the above standards, it is not a good fit.