80% of women do not wear the right bra size. Here are some tips on how to find the right bra size to make sure you’re not one of them.
1. Shop in the right places
Those 20% of women who wear the right bra size? They went to a reputable fitter. Avoid high street stores like M&S, Anne Summers and Boux Avenue. Their sizes are very limited, and they will prioritise making a sale over your comfort. Bravissimo provide an excellent service for free even if they don’t stock your size. If there isn’t one near you, Freya’s online fitting service is very informative.
2. Don’t trust the tape measure
Never trust a bra fitter who determines your back size with a tape measure. The only way to accurately determine whether a bra is right is to look at how it fits the woman. The use of tape measures indicates a sub-par fitting service.
3. Try the bra on the loosest set of hooks
If you’re wondering how to find the right bra size, a brand-new bra on the tightest set of hooks is effectively the next size down. Always fit a bra on the loosest, that way as the bra stretches with washing and wear, you can work your way towards the tightest set of hooks to get more wear out of the bra.
4. Make sure the backband fits
The backband of a bra is made of elastic, and in order to support you it must be taut. It is impossible to achieve this by wearing a bra the same size as your back. If you measure 38, try a 36 or even 34. A good way to check is to pull the backband away from your back. If it stretches more than an inch away from your skin, it is too big. If the bra is riding up at the back, this is also an indicator that you need a smaller backband. Wearing a bra with a too loose backband will cause the bra to move and chafe.
5. Make sure the shoulders fit
80% of the bra’s support comes from the backband; the shoulder straps are mostly there to improve shape. If your bra makes your shoulders ache, it’s probably too loose at the back. Check that your straps are right by pulling them away from your shoulders. If they stretch more than an inch, they’re too loose.
6. Make sure the cups fit
When you first put the bra on, make sure that all of your breast tissue is in the cups. You can do this by leaning forwards, lifting the fabric under the cups away from your skin and jiggling it from left to right. Another method is to reach inside each cup and scoop up the breast tissue, then release. The wires at the front of the bra should be flat against your breastbone, not pressing into the tissue or twisting. The wires should likewise sit against your ribs rather than on the breast tissue itself.
7. Your size may change depending on brand
If you are fitted and told that your size is a 30FF, that doesn’t mean that every 30FF bra under the sun will be right for you. Like clothes, different bras fit differently, and if you’re a 30FF in one style or brand it’s quite normal to be a 28FF or 30F in another. Also, bear in mind that just because something is technically the right fit, it doesn’t mean it will suit you.
8. No online shopping
If you’re wondering how to find the right bra size, unless it’s a tried and trusted bra and you’re simply ordering a repeat, don’t even think about buying a bra online. However promising it might look on the model, remember that even reputable bra companies use Photoshop. If you’re not willing to order 10 different bras in a variety of sizes to ensure you get the right one, online bra shopping is a waste of time.
9. Break in your bras
Bras should be treated like shoes — wear them around the house for a few hours with the tags on to make sure they’re right for you. Any problems should become apparent in this time. Most reputable bra fitters should advise this.
10. Look after your bras
Good care is essential to ensure that your bras keep on fitting you. Never, ever machine wash a bra — it stretches the fabric, weakening the bra structurally so that it will not support you. Machine washing may also cause the wires to come out and puncture the drum of your washing machine, a costly repair job. Instead, hop in the shower and give your bra a scrub with shower gel, then hang it up to dry… simple! Store bras in a drawer, cups tucked inside each other, so that the wires don’t bend. The lifespan of a bra, if you wear it every day, is about 3 months.