Sunday, July 28, 2013

All About Bras

Ok ladies; let's talk a little about bras and the proper fit.

From the beginning of my bra days, I have NEVER liked wearing a bra.  They have always been uncomfortable with a capital U, hurt at times, and have just been plain weird.  I always had to adjust my bra throughout the day and the underwire was always digging into my ribs.  When I was younger, my bra spent more time in my purse then on me, I would never wear it more than a couple of hours.  Then as I got older, the bra was the first thing to come off when I walked in the house, if it even made it that far, many times I took it off in the car and my way home.  

I finally decided to sit down and do some research about bras.  In my research I found that, like me, most women wear the wrong bra size.  Most women are currently using bra sizing that dates back to the 1930s, when bras were in their infancy.  Back then, material wasn't stretchy so you would measure the ribcage and then add 4 or 5 inches to get the band size.  4 inches if the ribcage is an even number, 5 inches if the ribcage is an odd number (a 31 and 32in ribcage would wear a band size of 36)  Over the years, many things have changed, including the way bras are made and the materials that are used.  Modern bra material is stretchy and inches should not be added when figuring out what bra size to get.  If your ribcage measures 32 inches, the proper band size is 32.  90% of the support should come from the band and 10% from the straps.  When the band is too big, then the "girls" will not be properly supported.  Many women with larger breasts have "back" problems.  This is caused by the woman giving in to the weight of her breasts, they are heavy so she leans forward, in the process she hunches her back, and voila, here comes the back pain.  If the band fits properly, you won't have any "weight" from your breasts.  As with most articles of clothing, every brand is made different and will fit different.  When choosing a bra, always try them on, even if it's the same bra that you have worn before.  Even a 5lb weight difference will cause a bra to fit differently.

Ladies, you can measure yourself, by measuring snug around your ribcage to get the band size.  Then measure the fullest part of your bust loosely to get the cup size.  Each inch of difference between the ribcage and the bust is a cup size.  A ribcage that is 32 inches with a bust of 36 inches would have a bra size of 32D.  When you are trying on bras, start with your measurements and make adjustments according to the bra.  Some bands run smaller, so you will need to buy the next band size up.  The band should be snug on the first notch, so that you will have room for adjustment, when the material stretches.  After a few weeks the band will stretch out and you can move it to the middle, then eventually the last notch.  You will get more use out of the bra, than when a bra is bought and is worn on the last notch from the beginning.  

The back of the band should sit under your shoulder blades and the gore (middle front) should lay flat against your chest, the gore should not be raised or gap.  When you have the bra on and move your body or raise your hands, the band should stay in place.  When fitting the cup, it should lay nicely across your breast.  The cup should not cut into your breast; you shouldn't look as if you have 4 boobs.  There should not be a gap between your breast and the cup.  When you bend over, the bra should not gap and your breast should not fall out of the cup.  

Here are a few ways to easily know if your band is too big: 

  • The band rides up in the back and you always have to pull it down, 
  • The underwire digs into your ribcage, 
  • The gore isn't flesh to your chest, 
  • The cups gap from the strap to the gore or along your underarm, 
  • And last but not least, the band slides when you move. Many times, the straps are tightened more than they should be, causing the back to rise, which causes the underwire to dig into the ribcage.  

After I spent a lot of time doing this research and measuring myself, I decided that it was time to go find a bra.  I went to Victoria's secret, JC Penney, and Fredericks of Hollywood, they all measured me the same way, which isn't the right way.  At Fredericks, the lady tried to put me into the wrong band size and then tried to convince me that it was a proper fit.  I explained to her why it didn't fit right, handed her back her bra, Said "thank you for your time, but I will shop elsewhere" then I turned to leave, this is when the lady said "you really know your stuff" I turned back to her and said "excuse me" she said "you know what you're talking about, most women won't wear the proper size bra because they say that it's too tight" 

I did a lot of searching and finally found a specialty bra shop and this is where I discovered "European" brands and I fell in love.  I also fell in love with the service that I received from these specialty shops.  There isn't a bra shop in the city that I live in, so I have to drive a couple of hours to find specialty shops.  I do have to say that the drive is well worth it.  I found a store called Intimacy and I absolutely love this store, it's like being in bra heaven.  In my research for a comfortable bra that actually fits, I found that European brands have much prettier bras, especially in larger sizes.  I would get so frustrated, because I always had to buy a nude color bra, because larger bras don't come in pretty colors.  European bras also have wider cups, which is really great for someone who has breast implants and a lot of "side boob" My 2 favorite European bras are from the brands Freya and Fauve.  

If you do shop at Victoria's Secret, Fredericks, or any other store, you can find the proper size.  Just know your "stuff" and don't let them convince you otherwise.  They are just going by what they've been taught.   

And Ladies, do not let them convince you that it's ok to go up a band size and down a cup size, in order to get a certain bra.  This is not ok; it defeats the purpose of finding a proper fitting bra.  

I'm so happy that I finally found some proper fitting bras.  These proper fitting bras are so comfortable.  I never have to adjust them after I put them on and sometimes I don't even feel like I'm wearing a bra.  One more little tip before I go: Sports bras with compression are not healthy for natural breast tissue, or breast implants.  If you're going to wear a sports bra, they make non-compression sports bras.

Have a great day and happy bra hunting!!!

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  1. Great advice, thanks! I'm going to look into those European shops!

  2. Great information, looking forward to trying those European bras.

  3. We have a bra boutique store in my town called the Bra Lounge. After going there and getting a proper fitting and a great quality bra I will never go back to the cheapies. It makes all the difference in the world.

  4. Don't be fooled by the D = huge myth. D cups are not that huge for most band sizes. Also, learning to put a bra on the right way us very important. Scoop and swoop!

  5. This is great information. I was wearing the wrong size for years until I got professionally fitted. And you're right, department store employees aren't always professionals! Sometimes they don't know what they're doing either. I just wish bigger bra sizes weren't so expensive.

  6. I am wearing the wrong bra right now. and I hate it! I also have gotten bigger ones after I had my son. I need to definitely get new bras...