After 7 months of working as a bra fitting specialist, I have become very good at my job. I have learned a lot about bras, bodies, and peoples’ reactions, and I’d like to share what I’ve come to know. Keep in mind: this is not the ‘be all, end all’, and I am not an aficionado. I am simply one woman hoping to change a few lives with some important info.
There is no standardization in the bra industry. Big American stores do sizing very differently than specialty stores. At La Senza, I was a 36C. At my store, I am a 32C. 4 inches is a huge difference, and when I put on an old bra I feel like I am swimming in it; not comfortable at all. Try on some European brands because they have the history to figure out how to make a good bra. The US market isn’t old – cause the country isn’t old. European brands also do sizing differently than the US.
Keep in mind that European band sizes are not in inches. So, 30C UK = 65C EU.
Everyone with natural breasts has one bigger than the other. There are various reasons for this, but the important part is this: you’re not abnormal because one is bigger than the other. Some people have one that is significantly larger, while there is a minimal difference for others. Regardless, implants will be the same size; everyone else will have two different sized breasts.
Breasts change! Breasts can change significantly with age, weight loss, weight gain, monthly hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and probably other reasons that I’m forgetting. Get fitted at least once a year to learn how you’ve changed. Both my band and cup changed in the 7 months I’ve worked at the store – no wonder my bras don’t fit properly anymore!
Big American box stores, like Victoria’s Secret or La Senza carry about 40 sizes. If your cups are too big for a DD, they will simply go up in the band: you should be in a 32F but they’ve put you in a 36DD. Those are physically the same cup size but you’re not getting the kind of band support that you need. Specialty stores have A LOT more sizes. Mine, for example, carries 122 and can order more.
Here are some tips on how a bra should fit on your body:
The band of the bra should be parallel to the ground. When the band is too big, people often tighten the straps to compensate. This lifts the band up and drops the breasts forward, thus defeating the purpose of wearing a bra. 80% of the support comes from the band, so it should be tight.
When it comes to the straps, you should be able to easily run one finger between the shoulder and the strap. Any more than that, and the straps are too loose.
You will notice in the above photo that there is skin “poking out” above the bra line. Everyone complains about this skin; everyone has this skin – it doesn’t matter whether they are a 28 band or a 48 band. The skin that you’re all complaining about allows you to lift your arms above your head, to stretch forward to hug people, and to lean forward to scratch your shin. It’s important skin, so quit complaining!
When wearing your bra, nipples should be halfway between shoulder and elbow.
Breast tissue should not be coming out of the cup anywhere: not the sides, not the top, not under the wire. If it is, you’re in the wrong size. These photos also taken from http://justforyoufinelingerie.com
If you’re in the right size bra, your chest will look smaller and be more supported. F is the average cup size. That’s right, F.
The photo below shows the exact same breast size on different sized rib cages and how that affects the bra you should be wearing and what it might look like on you.
The type of cup you choose will make a big difference on the functionality of the bra. Soft cup has more support and conforms to your natural shape way better than moulded cup. North America seems to freak out about nipples, so the big stores put everyone in a moulded push up bra. Good quality lace provides more support than a cardboard mould. Moreover, good quality lace should not be itchy.
The one on the left is the Marie Jo Avero moulded, the right is the Primadonna Madison soft cup. Both taken from http://justforyoufinelingerie.com/
Do not fold moulded cups in on themselves. Lay them flat or hang them up. Folding will cause creasing and your bras won’t last as long.
If looking for special bridal stuff, here are some good steps:
Find the lingerie after you’ve found the dress 2. Get your dress fitted while wearing your undergarments. There is nothing worse than having a dress that doesn’t have enough room for your bra. 3. Start looking at lingerie at least 3 months before the wedding in case something needs to be ordered in for you.
Hand washing bras regularly allows the bra to last longer. We suggest that you wear it, rest, wear it, wash it. You need to give the elastic in the bra time to go back to its original shape. The more you wash it, the fewer skin oils it will keep, allowing the elastic to last longer.
HAND WASHING IS SO EASY: fill up your sink, put the special soap in, put 3-4 bras in. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse and hang up. DONE. If you want, you can push the soap along the wire and the band. DO NOT scrunch the cups – especially for molded. This will cause creases and the cups will cease to be effective. Woolite, Zero, Forever New, and Eucalan are good washes. Sunlight or Tide are simply way too harsh.
When we wear clothes that we feel good in, everyone can tell: our confidence skyrockets. Wearing a good bra can help us feel great about ourselves, even on the days when we feel like garbage. No one else needs to know you’re wearing a fancy, colourful bra; it can be just for you! Self-love breeds self-love. My co-worker gets a lot of flack for her body shape, yet she is so incredibly comfortable with how she looks. She is an inspiration. After hearing SO many people complain about their bodies, it is so refreshing and amazing to hear someone say, “This is my shape; it doesn’t matter how much weight I gain or lose, I will always have a round belly. I am happy with how I look.” Because of her, I have become far more accepting of how I look. We need more female-identified folk to love their body shapes and what these bodies allow us to experience. Please get yourselves properly fitted; it can make a world of difference!