When it comes to your bra, fit is important – and finding the right fit is easier said than done. Whether you’re being measured by a professional bra fitter, measuring your bra size at home, buying a bra online or cleaning out your bra drawer, understanding how your bra is supposed to fit and knowing the basics of what to look for can make a world of a difference. After all, you always feel your best when you’re wearing a bra that fits you!
But, let’s face it. A bra is a complicated garment that involves a lot of different parts. In order to truly understand how a bra should fit, you need to know the purpose of each part of the bra and the signs to look for.
How should a bra fit?
The easy answer: A bra that fits well should always be comfortable and supportive while making you look and feel good. But we all know there’s more to it than that.
How can I tell if my bra fits?
If you really want to test your fit, get a bra from your drawer, stand in front of a mirror, and follow these steps:
Check the band.
Bra bands have several purposes. They’re responsible for carrying the weight of the breasts, all while keeping the bra up and comfortably fitting around the torso. So making sure you’re in the right band size is vital!
Make sure your band is snug, but not binding. It shouldn’t be easily pulled away from the front or back of your body.
Look in the mirror. The band of your bra should be straight across and parallel with the floor.
Check for bulges. While having a little overhang or back fat is completely normal, if it seems excessive you can always try a bra style with a wider band. Bras with wider bands are great for smoothing out back fat and giving you a less “lumpy” look under close-fitting clothes.
Bend over, move around, and see if your band is staying in place. If it rides up, creeps down, or moves side to side, your band is probably either too big or stretched out. NOTE: Bra brands will stretch out over time. So when you’re buying a new bra, we recommend you buy a bra that fits you at the loosest hook. This allows you to tighten the band as it stretches over time.
If you feel like the band is too snug or binding, increase the band size.
Check the center panel.
The center panel, or the center gore, is the part of the bra that connects the two cups. Getting the right fit in the center panel is key to having proper cup placement.
Make sure the center panel of your bra lays flat against the skin between your breasts. If there is some space between your body and the center panel, this most often means your cup size is too small or your band size is too large. NOTE: Some bra styles, such as minimizer bras and plunge bras, may not have a center gore that lays flat – or one at all. This is normal.
Gently try to pull the center panel away from your body with your finger. You shouldn’t be able to easily pull it too far or fit your hand between it and your body.
Check the underwire.
While bras with underwires give your breasts the best definition and lift, an ill-fitting underwire bra can be uncomfortable.
Check to see where your underwire is. It should fit around the bottom of each breast’s tissue, without sitting too far below or directly on top of the breasts.
Make sure the underwire fits comfortably and is closely against the bottoms of your breasts, along with the center panel, and your entire breast is inside of the cup. Note: If it doesn’t fit correctly, your cup size may be too small, or your underwire may be too short/narrow for your cup size.
Make sure the side of your underwire isn’t on your breast. If it is, try scooping your breast tissue forward while pulling the underwire back. This should help place the breast inside the underwire.
Check the cups.
With a little basic knowledge, you can assess your cup fit to make sure you’re in the right size.
Make sure your breast tissue completely fits inside your cups, with no gaping or spilling over. Note: If there’s extra room in your cups, try to go down a cup size. If you are spilling out your cups, you can either try a larger cup size or a full coverage bra.
Check the tops of your cups to make sure they fit closely against your skin.
Check the straps.
The most common misconception about bra straps is that they’re the most responsible part of the bra for carrying the weight of your breasts. This couldn’t be more wrong. Bra straps should only be doing a maximum of 10% of the heavy lifting. The rest of the burden should be managed by the bra band.
Make sure your straps fit snug enough to stay in place without falling off of your shoulders.
Make sure your straps are holding the cups in place and firmly against your skin.
Slip a finger under your strap and pull it away from your shoulder. Using mild force, you should only be able to lift it about one inch away from your skin. Any further, and it needs adjustment.
Have more questions about bra fit? Connect with us in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter. You can also learn more about the parts of a bra on our bra anatomy page in The Fitting Room™.
Find a better fit,