Bra Fitting Myths & Facts

Photo: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

If 25 years of bra fitting has taught me anything, it's that women are often misinformed about their bras. From thinking bras are supposed to hurt to the common misconception that bra straps are what provide you with support, most women can benefit from a bra makeover. Read on to learn about the common myths women have about their bras and the truths that will set you (and your breasts) free.

Myth: Your bra is supposed to hurt.

Fact: If your bra hurts, it's likely because you're wearing the wrong size. For instance, if your band digs into your sides, your band is probably too small. If your bra straps are digging into your shoulders, it's likely your band is too big and not supporting your bust enough. Don't settle for a painful bra! For a more detailed explanation of common bra problems, check out my bra fitting guide.

 

Myth: Your bras support comes from the straps.

Fact: If your bra straps and band were a married couple, the band would be the wife and the straps would be the husband. Read: you get most of the support from the band. For a perfect fit, your band should fit snugly and should lie in a straight line across your back. Consider it a shelf for your bust. The job of the straps is to help the bra lay flat against the skin. When wearing a strapless bra, it's important to size down in the band and size up in the cup. This will provide you with enough support to not need straps at all.

Myth: All styles will work on your body.

Fact: Bras are a lot like your jeans “ certain styles fit better than others. Maybe skinny jeans look great on you but wide leg jeans make you look shorter. The same principles apply to your bra. The shape of your breast will heavily determine the type of style that will look good on you. For instance, if you have full breasts, which means that you have a lot of breast tissue on top, you ™ll likely look great in balconette bras. If your shape is more like a tear drop, with more fullness on bottom than top, consider demi-cup, molded bras. These types of bras help lift the bust in all the right places. Once you know what works best on you, you ™ll feel and look better.   For a more detailed list of breast shapes and the best fitting bras, check out this post on my blog.

Myth:You know what size you are.

Fact: It is important to get a bra fitting every six months, especially if your body has undergone drastic changes. Weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy, nursing, hormonal changes and even certain medications will cause your bust size to fluctuate. If you find your bra is suddenly fitting you too tight or too loose, you may be due for a fitting. In addition, different brands and styles run differently so your size may vary depending on the style you're wearing.

Myth: Your bra will last forever.

Fact: Nothing lasts forever, especially not your bra. Most have a lifespan of six months if worn regularly. The bigger your breasts are, the harder your bra works to support you. The harder it works to support you, the quicker it will want to retire! But don't get discouraged. There are ways to prolong the life of your bra. For instance, don't wear the same bra two days in a row. Instead, have a rotation of three to four bras so that you can let one rest while wearing another. You should also wash it properly. Which brings me to the next myth.

Myth: I can wash my bras in the machine as long as I don't dry it.

Fact: The preferred method of washing your bras is hand washing. And never, ever, dry your bras. The heat of the dryer damages the elasticity of your band, can cause your underwire to break, and will damage any lace. Similarly, petroleum based washes like Woolite make elastic brittle. I recommend using Le Blanc or any other non-petroleum based lingerie wash.

Myth: I can't possibly be a size (insert size here)!

Fact: Yes, you are a size _____________. Many women have a crippling form of BSD aka: Bra Size Denial. The good news is that it's not your fault. The problem is that media, entertainment, and chain stores have led you to believe that DDs are the biggest size out there. It's not. In fact, DD is an average size that a lot of women fall into. Just because a size sounds too big or small doesn't mean it is. And at the end of the day, it's not the size on the tag that matters but how the bra fits.

And stay tuned because more bra fit advice is on the way!

4 Comments

  1. This is great info! I just got sized for maternity/nursing bras at Pickles and Ice Cream. It was a little bit shocking, but bras that fit are changing my whole day. 🙂

  2. Good post about bra fitting myths and facts. I wonder how many women get bra fittings every six months?

  3. Christina says:

    I have been trying to find a good person/ store to fit me. I have a injury that causes me constant pain in my left shoulder. Going with out a bra would be great., but I also need some the support for my breast. Not to mention that I was raised on the saying that real ladies never go out in public without the proper undergarments.

    I’m looking to be a lifetime customer. Is there any one in the Rowlett area? I’ll even go to Dallas if I have to.

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