I recently went for a professional bra fitting by the lovely ladies of Wacoal. With my top off (yes…the way to get a girl’s top off quickly is by telling her you’re fitting her for a free bra!), my fitter put her measuring tape around my back, looked at me and said: “32 C”.
At this point my fitter was grabbing 32 C sized bras. While I’m seriously thinking “C? WTF? HAHAHA” in my head, she shuffled me in to the pretty 32 C sized bra, and wa-lah! The bra fit like a glove, and more amazingly I transformed from small A’s to seemingly larger C’s!
Okay, okay, let’s backtrack a bit. You’re probably thinking “Girrrrl. Yeah right.” How can a girl mistakenly think she’s an A cup when really she’s a C cup?
Let’s face it. We’ve all owned bras in different sizes and are unsure of which ones even fit properly. If you’re anything like me where in the morning you basically slip on your “favorite bra of the week”, you’ve probably never even put much thought in to your bra size. So how do you know if you’re wearing the right or wrong bra size? Today we’ll be going over the bra facts, the signs that you’re wearing the wrong sized bra and some tips for getting the right fit for you!
The Bra Facts
• 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong sized bra.
• Most women wear their bras 1 – 1 ½ inches too big in the band and 1 cup size too small.
• If you gain 5-7 lbs, your bra size will change.
• Your bra size changes during your menstrual cycle.
• Bra sizes are inconsistent between different brands.
• Well-made bras last up to 100 washes and wears before they change size.
32, 34, 36…Don’t Underestimate The Number!
There are two parts to your bra size: your band size, which is the measurement around your ribcage and back right under your breasts (also known as the number part of your bra size), and your cup size. The band is one of the most important factors of your bra, but is usually overlooked by cup size. The band gives your bust support while the cups simply give you the comfort of fit. That explains the drastic changes in the results of my bra fitting—my chest isn’t necessarily bigger because I went from an A to a C—I just have a smaller rib cage and back.
What Happens When You Wear the Wrong Bra Size?
Wearing a bra that doesn’t give the proper support has some permanent effects to your body’s appearance. If you’re wearing the wrong bra size, you run the risk of stretching out your breast tissue and the main ligaments (aka sagging — every woman’s biggest fear that comes with aging and, well, gravity). This can lead to the two words that women do not dare say in public— stretch marks. Sagging and stretch marks cannot be undone but wearing a bra that gives you proper support can prevent them.
Wearing the wrong size can cause your body strain depending on whether your bra is too big or too small. This can lead to future physical problems such as back, chest and neck pains, as well as restricted breathing. It’s best to avoid and prevent all these negative effects by wearing a bra that fits comfortably and gives you the proper support.
Signs That You’re Wearing The Wrong Bra Size
1. You always wear your bra on the tightest hook.
So many girls like the feeling of their bra feeling as tight around their bodies as possible, thus they hook their bra on the last clasp (usually the third one). In reality though, girls should be able to wear their bra on the first clasp, the hook with the loosest fit.
→ What that means: Are you able to pull your bra strap over an inch away from your back? You need to throw out that bra! If you’re finding that your bra is too loose when it’s on the first hook that means that either the band is worn out, or that you need to go down a band size.
2. Your bra straps are too tight on your shoulders.
Bra straps shouldn’t cut into your shoulders—your band provides 80% of the bust support, while your straps should only be giving 20% of the support. If your straps are cutting into your skin, that means they’re giving too much support and are adding strain to your shoulders, which can lead to shoulder and back pains.
→ What that means: Your chest is not getting enough support as you’re forcing your shoulders and straps to provide support. You need to go down a band size. The smaller your band size, the more support for your bust and the less strain on your shoulders!
3. You have bulges at the top or the sides of your bra.
If you lift your arms above your head, the band of your bra should lie flatly against your ribcage. Your cups should completely contain all of your breast tissue. You shouldn’t have underwire poking at your sides or causing bulges on your sides—aka give your armpits boobs!
→ What that means: You’re wearing too small of a cup and too large of a band. Bras that are too small in cup size will compress your breasts and form bulges on your sides. While many women like to wear a cup size smaller for the look of larger breasts, it is actually uncomfortable, doesn’t give proper support and causes unnecessary strain to the body. There should be no breast tissue spilling out anywhere else besides inside your cups!
4. Your bra has wrinkles.
If you wear cloth bras, you’d be able to see if there are any wrinkles or puckering on the cups. There may also be extra fabric at the top, all which doesn’t look great under clothes.
→ What that means: The cups of your bra are too large for your chest so they wrinkle. You need to move down a cup size. Your bra shouldn’t have wrinkles if it fits properly.
5. The gore (middle fabric between the cups) doesn’t touch your skin.
The gore is the fabric that connects the cups of your bra at the front center. Is the gore of your bra pushed forward, away from your skin? The gore should rest flatly against your chest wall.
→ What that means: The gore doesn’t rest against your chest wall when the cups are too small. You need to move up a cup size so that the band is able to give you proper support.
“Should I Get Fitted?” The Answer is YES!
After my fitting, I learned that I was way off on my bra size. My co-worker who came along with me to the fitting had the same revelation as me. Both of us were two cup sizes off and our band sizes were too large!
Wacoal bra expert Liz Smith says that a woman should be fitted at least once a year. Most women think they don’t have the time for a professional bra fitting or that they know what their size is. Why not be sure by getting a professional bra fitting at one of your local shops or by Wacoal, which is sold at all major retailers? It will only take up to 15 minutes!
Trust me, you know when your bra is the right size and most likely, if you haven’t gotten fitted, you’re not wearing the right bra size. Get fitted and start wearing the right size that fits well—it’ll be awesome!
Need more help figuring out your bra size?
Fit Guide by Wacoal