I said to my Instagram followers to “Ask me a Question” on a recent story and I was very intrigued by some of the questions which really needed a longer answer that are worthy of a good read lasting longer than a few seconds. I am so happy to able to respond that I decided to write this blog. This is not an exhaustive list of bra fitting determination but more a little guidance into common issues and how to understand them therefore if you are really stuck with bra fitting a personalised consultation is the best solution and I would recommend it for every brand as they all can size differently so one size really does not mean it is universal for all brands. So here are the questions put to me about the fit of a bra, the sizing and how to care for your bra.
How do I know I’m wearing the right size bra?
This question was rather general as there are so many variants to think about such as the style of bra and breast shape, for example, a balconette style bra would suit a tear drop breast shape as this would help even out the volume. So I believe a blog about breast shapes and bra styles deserve their separate explanation.
But to answer this question in a reasonable manner it goes without saying that many of us do not wear the correct band size. Instead of asking you to get a tape measure out, here’s is what you can do.
- Can you pull the back of your bra away from your back?
- If so, how many inches from your back does your bra stretch? If you have quite a bit of stretch, the next step would be to check which hook your bra is on.
- Already on the inner hook? How old is your bra?
If the band of the bra can stretch beyond an inch or two and is already on the smallest available hook, either the bra is old and needs replacing or the band size is too large.
- Try raising your arms above your head to see if your breasts fall out of the cup from the under band. This too may indicate a band size too large.
Going down one band size? Automatically go up one cup size. Go down two band sizes and go up two cup sizes and so on. The size of the breast does not automatically determine the cup size but rather the band size helps to determine your cup size. It is the band that provides the support to your breasts.
Other indications to a wrongly fitted bra are:
- the side boning is uncomfortable or squishy, side boning should be flat against your skin and should not leave a rounded indent after wear or cause discomfort this can be due to many reasons including your body shape but this may indicate the style of bra is not suited to you or your bra needs replacing
- the front panel does not sit comfortably against the body, if it is raised off the chest the cup size may be too small or the band size too large
- the upper part of the cup causes a crease or bulge along your breast, this may be so evident that the bulge can be seen through clothes and may indicate a cup size too small
- on the other hand if there is not enough fill into the cup and there is wrinkling of the material or a gap between the cup and breast this may indicate a cup size too large, this ay also happen if the style of bra is not suited to your shape
- bra straps dig into the shoulders, this may be due to the cup size being too small. We may also unintentionally cause our straps to dig into our shoulders when our bra band is too big causing the band to rise upwards whilst compensating on the smaller length of the straps.
- underwire pokes into the skin, this could be the cause of the wire being too small or too large depending on where it is poking, if it is irritating the breast tissue the wire may be too small or poking into the armpit the wire may be too large, please note that not all brands adjust the size of the wires as the size appears to increase. It is important to understand that the best way to check if a wire does increase in size is to take two different cup sizes of the same bra and brand and place them against each other to see if the wires are different in size.
- the peak of our cup/shape should be level in between our shoulder and elbow, please note that larger breast sizes may need to adjust the style of bra for the additional support
Keep an eye on posture from the side view and really look at how the posture sits. When I am wearing a good supporting bra my chest is lifted and shoulder blades are back and down. I do not slouch. When I get tired and discomfort in my upper back I use that guide to let me know that just maybe I need a new bra or my size is changing. My size has drastically changed since I was a teen and through childbearing years so having a bra fitting is just as much a lifestyle for me than changing my make up or clothes.
In general, how do you feel when you are wearing a bra? If you don’t feel great, you are not comfortable or you can’t wait to take your bra off, you may need to adjust your size or maybe look at a different style bra to suit your breast shape. If you notice any of these signs and want to discuss further please feel free to contact MillieWonders or send a DM on instagram or facebook and I can arrange a personal bra fitting for you. All of these issues, to name a few, are indications that you may not be wearing the correct bra size or style and there is no one solution for all as we are all different, we may have the same problem as the next person but our solution may be different, so I hope I have given you enough guidance to help you think about your bra fit and try a few alterations to see what may work out for you.
Why do bra straps fall off?
The length of the straps have been adjusted but continue to slide off? Possibly the bra is old or needs replacing, if this issue persists whilst wearing a new bra it may simply be that the style does not suit the breast shape or either the band size is too large.
Let’s think about this logically, if your band size is too large, your straps are further apart and therefore your straps will not be able to cross your shoulders in the correct position. A loose band size may also cause the back of the bra to ride upwards. If these are noticeable, it is possible that the band size is too large. When going down one band size, go up one cup size.
Alternatively, if the band size fits snug whilst the straps fall off it may be possible that the cup size needs amending. One should not need to adjust the length of the straps to accommodate the entire fit of the cup size. Check to see if there is a gap between the breast and cup or whether the cup is too tight there is evident bulging.
When adjusting the length of the bra straps try to fit two fingers between the strap and top of your shoulder, this is a recommended allowance. Also by removing your straps from your shoulders, the band should still support the breast and the bra should not move downwards.
How often should I wash my bras?
This may be a choice about personal hygiene, in general washing your bra after two, three or four wears is fine however during the summer months or high intense activity washing after every wear may be necessary. We all perspire differently so I let you be the guess of that. I feel that this question was less about hygiene and more to do with how a bra will last after washing. Taking care of lingerie during laundry stage can easily be done.
Avoid using the dryer and/or dry cleaners or drying under direct sunlight (more so during the summer months in Cyprus). For best care, hand wash in 30 degrees with a mild washing detergent. One may wish to purchase detergents suited to the material. Keep colours separate and remove buckles or anything that can be removed. Try not to soak for more than half an hour. Use a towel to pat dry and avoid wringing, rubbing and squeezing (especially with silk). If you must use a washing machine, use a low heat and/or gentle wash and hook the bra before loading, if possible use a laundry bag for all bras/lingerie. Still not sure what to do? Always read the label for extra care. Avoid wearing your regular, everyday lingerie items all the time. Alternate your bras and lingerie often, so go ahead and wear those items supposedly saved for a special occasion.
Can I wear the same bra every day?
I totally get this! When I find THE bra that fits just right and it’s so comfortable I do not want to change it…
Try to buy 2 or 3 of the same bra, maybe in a different colour so they can be alternated. Whilst wearing our bras they naturally stretch and so they need time to retract back into position. As bras get older they lose elasticity over time. This is why we have more than one hook. When buying a new bra, the band size should be snug and on the last hook of the bra. As time goes by and the elasticity of the bra wears we are able to shorten the length due this extra stretch by fastening the bra on the inner hooks. This is the reason more than one hook is available on good quality bras.
Why do my underwires cut through?
To think it is fault of the product or washing machine, maybe the latter is true hence the reason to use laundry bags for our bras/lingerie to eliminate this issue. But if this happens more than once or repeatedly and a dryer (tumble dryer) is not being used then a common reason may be that the band is size too large. Take notice when a bra moves around whilst you’re moving as this may cause the underwire to move too and eventually it may wear the casing until it pops through.
As for the product I will not comment on specific brands as this is not my intention for this blog but when buying a bra on the lower end of the budget it may also be of a lower quality. So when thinking about bras and lingerie please consider that the process to making a good, quality bra that will provide support to your breast and posture is a skill and normally involves a long process from start to finish and may even involve hand sewn.
Why does the underwire break?
There may be multiple reasons for this to happen and whilst not using a dryer and already hand washing bras may be the first concern to eliminate this problem, there may be other reason to cause this, therefore if the cup size is too small the extra stress placed on the wire may eventually cause them to break. If the band size is too small the excess stress by pulling the bra further apart can also place extra stress to the wire. As mentioned before, hand washing provides you the best care for your lingerie however if your using a washing machine, close all hooks and use a laundry bag to help care for your undergarments.
I hope you enjoyed reading how should a bra fit? Simple ways to determine a bra fits, how to look after your bra and when it’s time to buy a new bra. I hope this has provided some guidance to into bra fitting and lingerie care.
There is so much more to cover and my blogs will continue to provide more information and hopefully a good read for all. Please feel free to contact MillieWonders via website, Instagram or Facebook if you would like to book a personalised bra fitting consultation.
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