A properly fitted bra shouldn’t even feel like it is there. You shouldn’t be constantly adjusting things, hiking up your bra, tucking yourself back into cups, pulling up falling straps. If you are then it is time to check your fit. Nothing takes the place of a professional fitting, but you can give yourself an idea at home. This can be a guide to check your fit and see if maybe it is time to get in to see your fitter.
There are 5 areas to check for fit.
1. Band- The band should be tight. Not so tight it is painful, but firm tight. You should be able to fit 2 fingers under the back clasp and pull out about 2 inches. It should be worn on the loosest hooks so you can move in as the bra ages. Some red marks are OK, think about the marks you get from you panties or tight jeans. They should fade like a normal pressure mark. Lasting marks, scraps, bruises, bleeding are all signs of a fit problem (but not necessarily with the band). When you try it on try to remember that the band should be fit properly first, giving 80-90% of the support for your breasts.
2. Wire- The underwire should wrap completely around your breast. Many ladies end up with the wire sitting on their sideboob. Big no no. That will cause pain and discomfort. The wire sitting on your breast or too far back could be a cupsize issue, a bra style issue, or a bra brand issue. The wire should not dig into the soft tissue of your armpit. The height of the wire will depend on your needs, some ladies need a shorter wire to prevent digging under the arm while others need higher to fully encase their breast tissue. Wire issues can be addressed by changing brands, styles, or sizes of a bra, but before you do anything you should check with a fitter that is comfortable with the variances between brands. They can help you decide what the cause of the problem is and save you from ordering and returning because you tried the wrong correction.
*Wires can be bent or adjusted to curve to the body better if they cause pain under the breast. Only do this on a bra you plan on keeping. Bras I Hate has a great tutorial for bending your wires.
3. Cup- the cup should not dig or gap. Common problems are digging at the top (quad boob) from a small cup. Gaping in a molded cup (molded cups are hard to fit, especially new boobies). Wrinkling in a soft cup. Empty space at the bottom of the cup or in the fullest part of the cups. A light marking on your breast from the inside of the cup is ok (again think of those lace panties and the fabric marks you may have), a line at the top of the cup may mean you need to go up in size. Ladies with implants and existing natural tissue take note that the cup will shape and provide some support, ladies with out much existing tissue may not find the cup providing much support.
4. Center gore- The center gore should sit flat on your sternum. Lifting means the cups are too small, not that there is a problem with the bandsize! The gore should not sit on your breast tissue at all, if it does you may need a different style, size, or a thinner gore. It is common to have some pressure in the gore, but it should not hurt. If it hurts the bra may be the wrong style, the cups may not fit properly, or it may need to be broken in. You can bend the gore out a touch, but only if you plan on keeping the bra.
5. Straps- Straps should only take 10% of the support of your breasts. Sometimes their placement can be bad for small or wide shoulders, so experiment with styles. They should be adjusted tight enough to not slip, but not so tight to dig. They should NEVER be used to create cleavage! Strap problems can be tricky to fix, but are pretty uncommon. If you are having problems with your straps and you cannot find a good fit through trying on different styles of bra it may be time to get with your fitter. They may be able to use their brand knowledge to help you find a particular brand that may be more suited to your body type.
All of that combined should give you a bra that you forget about while wearing. If you are constantly adjusting, pulling your bra down, fixing your cups, pulling up straps, etc, then your bra does not fit properly.
It’s important to note that all brands and styles may not work for you. There is no one perfect bra and there is no way for a company to make all their bras to suit every woman. For example, I can’t wear a molded bra for the life of me. Be prepared to acknowledge that a certain brand or style just may not work for your body shape. It’s nothing wrong with you or the brand, it’s just a part of trying to ensure that there are bras to fit all shapes.
Ladies with implants, you can’t really expect a great fit early post op, those implants are still not where they will permanently be and you still have tender healing tissues. You should do the best you can to ensure you are supporting yourself, but don’t invest too much in a bras. Always consult with your surgeon before buying new bras, each doctor has their own recommendations for when it is ok in the healing process to wear underwire bras.
Bottom line: Your bra should be comfortable! If it’s not there is a problem. Don’t know what the problem is? It’s time to find someone to ask. You can ask me here, on facebook, twitter, or by email. If I can’t help, I’ll try and find someone that can. And of course, don’t forget your best friend, the fitter. Find a good one and keep her close, your lady lumps will love you for it! I’m talking close enough that you’d buy her a wonderful box of chocolate strawberries for Christmas close. She is that important!