I’ve seen several posts around the internet about how to tell if a bra doesn’t fit you. I’ve touched briefly on the topic myself a few times. But how can you tell when a bra does fit really well? I’ve previously posted about how to measure yourself, but that sort of measurement still only gives an approximate size. You will still need to make judgements about what does and does not work for you. Here are some signs of a well-fitting bra.
Before judging the fit of a bra, make sure you scoop and swoop.
First and foremost, a good bra should be comfortable. The idea that bras are uncomfortable is a widespread one (see also the prevalence of myths about bra-burning feminists). However, a properly fitting bra does not hurt. It does not need constant adjusting. You should be able to more or less forget that you’re wearing it.
Most of the support provided by a bra comes from the band, so the band needs to fit snugly around your ribcage. It should be horizontal all the way around your ribs - if it rides up at the back or down at the front, it’s too big and won’t support you properly. Additionally, a new bra should be comfortable and supportive when fastened on the loosest hooks.You may need to switch to tighter fastening with older bras in order to compensate for the band stretching out.
Your breasts should be fully contained in the bra cups. They should “fill” the cups without “overflowing” from the sides or top - if you do get an overflow or “quad-boob” effect, try a larger cup size. If the cups wrinkle and you don’t quite fill them, try a smaller size.
If you’re wearing an underwired bra, the wires should sit against your ribs and encapsulate your breast tissue in the cups. The wires should not sit on breast tissue; if they do, try a larger cup size or a bra style with wider cups.
The centre gore (the bit between the cups) should sit more-or-less flat against your sternum, keeping your breasts separated and contained in the cups. If the centre gore gapes away from your sternum, try a smaller band size and larger cup size.
Finally, keep in mind that breasts come in different shapes as well as sizes. You may find that, even in your correct size, a bra is the wrong shape for your breasts. If this is the case, don’t despair! It can take time to find bra brands and styles that suit your particular breast shape. I’ll address this topic in more depth in a later post.
I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit lately. Uni took over my life for a while, but I’m going to have more time to myself these next few months. What I’d like to know is what I should be posting. I started this blog intending to make it resource blog focusing on bra fitting and related issues from a New Zealand perspective. I intend to keep that aspect of it, but I’m wondering if I should add/change anything.
For example, I’m considering posting occasionally about feminist issues not directly related to bra fitting, breast health, or body image. I will probably also post some bra reviews at some point, and I plan to continue my bra-fitting 101 series of posts. Is there anything else that people would like to see? Do you have any other feedback?
Since brastop currently have a discount thing happening (coupon code LEAF13, ends 11am Monday NZ time), I thought I’d post about buying bras online. I’m fairly new to this myself. The biggest advantage to buying bras online is that it’s cheaper than just about any local shops - I can get bras for around NZ$60 that I’d be paying $90-$100 for if I bought them in this country, and that’s not counting sales and discounts. The biggest disadvantage to buying online is that you don’t get to try the bras on before you buy them.
So, if you’re going to buy online, bra reviews are a godsend. Bratabase is a good place to find these, but Google searching “[bra brand] [style] review” also works pretty well. Reviewers will often mention if a bra runs small or large in the cup or band, and will also mention issues like the spacing of shoulder straps and other factors that could affect fit.
I admit another tactic I’ve used for judging fit is to try the bras (or similar ones) on in Kirk’s before ordering. I don’t buy from Kirk’s anymore - I’ve posted about my dislike of them before, and their prices are also pretty inflated, even compared to other New Zealand shops.
If you’re unsure of your size, some bloggers recommend buying the same bra in several sizes and returning the ones that don’t fit. This is not my preferred option, as it means I need to spend more money initially, and usually pay for shipping back to the UK (or wherever I’m ordering from). If I end up buying a bra that doesn’t fit (it hasn’t happened yet, but like I say I’m new to this) I’d probably try selling it on Trademe or something.
I bought two bras from brastop a few months ago. Brastop often sells bras for even lower prices than many other online retailers; the trade-off is that shipping to New Zealand is about NZ$29 for orders under £125 (NZ$240). If you have friends or family with similar bra-fitting predicaments to you, it may make sense to combine your orders and split the shipping cost.
I ordered my bras on a Friday, and they arrived the following Tuesday - pretty impressive for something shipped halfway around the world. I ordered one in my usual 10G (UK 32G) as reviews said it fit true to size; I ordered the other in 8GG (UK 30GG) after learning that the band was on the generous side. Both turned out to be correct fits. I’m definitely going to buy more bras online in future.