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Most of us are pretty particular about the things we buy and the products we put on our body.   We see images of what's fashionable and very often we make our choices on aesthetics, price, comfort or a combination of these factors.   Based on these reasons for our choices, it's not surprising that more than half of us are wearing the wrong size bra.    

Why should this matter?   Some among us might say, "So what.  If my bra is pretty and more or less comfortable, if it's the wrong size by a bit, it shouldn't be a big deal."  This may be true about a shirt that's a bit small or a pair of pants that doesn't drape in a flattering way; the most one suffers is a fashion faux pas.   But as we all age, the ligaments that keep our breasts uplifted can stretch and the only thing that can make the difference between "perky" and "pooped out" is proper support.   Proper support comes from a properly fitting bra.

I recently attended a bra fitting workshop for lingerie professionals in New York City.   My husband jokingly insists that this was a workshop he would have liked to have "taken notes" at.   Truth be told it was a rather technical presentation....not rocket science, but practical engineering principles were at work here I assure you.  When a bra is improperly fitting, it allows parts to sag, squeeze, and endure discomfort in ways that can be easily avoided.   Here are some of the things I learned, and perhaps by checking some of these points in the comfort of your home you might find your way to a perfect fit:

Bra band too tight- The band of your bra should not bind or constrict. It should sit firmly across your chest wall and not be so tight as to press into your skin.

Bra band too loose– The band of your bra should not rise at the back.   If it does, this indicates that it is too loose and it will not provide necessary support.

Cup size too small– This is one of the most common problems.   Most women are wearing too small a cup size.  You can check this on a bra you currently own by observing the two sides of the cup.   By the underarms, the cup should not cut into your breast tissue but rather sit flat against the chest wall on the ribcage under the arm.   There should be no pinching of breast tissue at the side or the bottom of the cup.    The second critical spot to check is at the center of the bra.   The technical term is "tacking".  A properly tacking bra has the center portion of the bra resting gently against the chest wall between the breasts.   If there is a gap or tented area at the center, this is a clear indication that the cup size is too small.   When the cup size is too small, the breast cannot be properly supported.

Straps cutting into the shoulder– Very often this is caused when one of the above factors (band size and cup size) is not correct.   When the band and cup are not properly fitting, then too much of the weight of the breasts is handled by the straps.  

Buy with longevity in mind- When you buy a new bra, ideally it should fit properly on the loosest band setting (bra hooks clasped on the largest setting (i.e. closest to the end of the band.))  In this way, as the bra elastic relaxes and stretches a bit over time (which it gradually will no matter how gently you treat it), you can extend the life of your bra by just using the tighter row of hooks.  If you do the reverse, and buy a bra that fits using the tightest set of hooks, then in short order the bra you loved may no longer do its job properly.

In a properly fitting bra, the bra band and the cup work together to create the gentle forces that support our precious cargo.   You deserve to have a day of comfort and beauty; some people, particularly those of us with larger gifts may think it's impossible to find a well fitting bra that achieves this.   Fortunately, there are designers out there who are now catering to finding fit and beauty without compromise.   Designers like Jodi Gallaer seem to have found the perfect balance.  

Going through the simple process of evaluating bra size and fit can actually be intimidating for some women.   In my experience working with women of all sizes in dressing rooms, women with smaller breasts tend to welcome stepping up to a larger cup size.   Women with larger breasts are sometimes resistant to the letter sizes over DD.   It is a psychological and labeling resistance.   The truth is that you need to ignore the letter and think about fit and function.   No one but you and your trusted bra provider needs to know the size you wear...the truth is that if you can step beyond the label or letter, and find the right fit, then you will not only look better but you will feel better too.   Why?  Because a well fitting bra lifts us up in more ways than one.  

I’m always open to helping with fitting questions.  Zip me an e-mail at [Link Removed]

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