A century after the invention of the bra, most women are still wearing the wrong size. Studies show that 8 of every 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra. Your bustline can be one of your most flattering assets. A bra that fits perfectly can make you look taller, define your waist, make your bustline look larger and your overall figure look slimmer. If your bras leave red marks or are just plain uncomfortable, chances are you’re wearing the wrong size.
The Bra Facts
• 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong sized bra.
• Most women wear their bras 1 – 1 ½ inches too big in the band and 1 cup size too small.
• If you gain 5-7 lbs, your bra size will change.
• Your bra size changes during your menstrual cycle.
• Bra sizes are inconsistent between different brands.
• Well-made bras last up to 100 washes and wears before they change size.
Signs That You’re Wearing The Wrong Bra Size
1. You always wear your bra on the tightest hook.
So many girls like the feeling of their bra feeling as tight around their bodies as possible, thus they hook their bra on the last clasp (usually the third one). In reality though, girls should be able to wear their bra on the first clasp, the hook with the loosest fit.
What that means: Are you able to pull your bra strap over an inch away from your back? You need to throw out that bra! If you’re finding that your bra is too loose when it’s on the first hook that means that either the band is worn out, or that you need to go down a band size.
2. Your bra straps are too tight on your shoulders.
Bra straps shouldn’t cut into your shoulders—your band provides 80% of the bust support, while your straps should only be giving 20% of the support. If your straps are cutting into your skin, that means they’re giving too much support and are adding strain to your shoulders, which can lead to shoulder and back pains.
What that means: Your chest is not getting enough support as you’re forcing your shoulders and straps to provide support. You need to go down a band size. The smaller your band size, the more support for your bust and the less strain on your shoulders!
3. You have bulges at the top or the sides of your bra.
If you lift your arms above your head, the band of your bra should lie flatly against your ribcage. Your cups should completely contain all of your breast tissue. You shouldn’t have underwire poking at your sides or causing bulges on your sides—aka give your armpits boobs!
→ What that means: You’re wearing too small of a cup and too large of a band. Bras that are too small in cup size will compress your breasts and form bulges on your sides. While many women like to wear a cup size smaller for the look of larger breasts, it is actually uncomfortable, doesn’t give proper support and causes unnecessary strain to the body. There should be no breast tissue spilling out anywhere else besides inside your cups!
4. Your bra has wrinkles.
If you wear cloth bras, you’d be able to see if there are any wrinkles or puckering on the cups. There may also be extra fabric at the top, all which doesn’t look great under clothes.
What that means: The cups of your bra are too large for your chest so they wrinkle. You need to move down a cup size. Your bra shouldn’t have wrinkles if it fits properly.
5. The gore (middle fabric between the cups) doesn’t touch your skin.
The gore is the fabric that connects the cups of your bra at the front center. Is the gore of your bra pushed forward, away from your skin? The gore should rest flatly against your chest wall.
There are two measurements you need to determine: band size and cup size. To find them, put on your best-fitting unpadded bra and stand in front of a mirror, holding a tape measure.
- Band size: With the tape measure, measure around the top of your rib cage, directly under your bust. Be sure to keep the tape evenly horizontal to get the most accurate number possible. When you have the measurement, round it off to the nearest whole number. If the number is even, add 4 inches; if it’s odd, add 5 inches. Your band size is the sum of this calculation. (So if you measured 32 inches, your band size is 36. If you measured 33 inches, your band size is 38.)
- Cup size: Place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust, again making sure that it stays as even as possible around your body. You also want the tape to be snug without digging into your skin. Round that measurement to the nearest even number and calculate the difference in inches between this number and your band size. A difference of 1 inch equals an A cup; 2 inches equals a B cup; 3 inches equals a C cup; and 4 inches equals a D cup. So if you measured a 36 band in the first step and you measured a 38 here, your cup size is B.