Here are a few tips for your next bra-shopping trip:
1. The Sizing Numbers aren't everything
In a bra size of 36D, for example, the number "36" represents the band size and is based on the measurement around your ribcage under your bust- directly where your breasts meet your ribcage. But someone can go up, down an inch from their measurement. The letter “D” represents the volume of the cup or the amount of breast tissue the cup can hold. Many women don't realize that the number and the letter are proportionate, so that a 32D for example represents a COMPLETELY different breast volume than a 36D.
2. The breast should be contained
Breasts should be encased in the cups and not spilling out the side, top or bottom of the cup. If the entire breast is lifted and contained in a well-fitting bra, irritation will be avoided.
|The dreaded Quad Boob from overspilling is not attractive|
|A good fit is shown here. See how the band is snug around the ribcage and all the breast tissue is in the cup.|
3. Support is NOT from the straps
The support in a well-fitted bra always comes from the band, not the straps. If your breasts look “saggy” even with a bra on, and your breasts are completely encased in the cups, try going down a band size (for example from 36 to 34) and up a cup size (for example from D to DD) INSTEAD of tightening the shoulder straps as far as they will go. I’ve seen women with deep shoulder grooves caused by carrying the weight of their breasts on their shoulders instead of distributed around their ribcage as it would be in a well-fitted bra. A good rule of thumb is to take your straps off and raise your hands above your head. If the band isn't secure and snug, then it is too big.
|Sagging, gaping cups are a poor fit|
In a well-fitted bra your breasts should sit about mid-way between your shoulder and your elbow, with the nipple in line with your bicep. If, with a bra on, your breasts are tending more towards your elbows than your biceps it's time to ditch that bra!
|Saggy breasts or compressed ones from sports bras will change your shape and can even make you look heavier. |
5. Underwire is your friend
Women of all ages complain about underwired bras and in most instances the cause of the discomfort is the same – the bra does not fit well. In a well-fitting underwired bra the underwire should rest on your ribcage, not on breast tissue. Also, the underwire should not press into your skin or cause pain at any point but should feel pretty snug which takes some getting used to if you have been wearing a bra size that is too big. As a woman ages or in women with larger breasts, underwired bras will provide more lift, support and shaping than a soft bra can. A seamed or 3 paneled bra also offers superior support than a molded or seamless cup. It takes some getting used to for clients because the breast is more conical in shape which is actually more natural.
6. It should be a Hell Yeah!
When trying on a bra take a moment to be sure it is comfortable. Raise your arms – the band should stay in place and not shift position. Make sure there are no uncomfortable points because over the course of a long day that discomfort can be exaggerated. Put on your top and make you are happy with the profile the bra is giving you under clothing. I always tell my clients that your bra should feel like a "Hell yeah" and you should walk away with something that feels and looks good.
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