By and large, most women have to wear bras. It’s just a social norm. While it may be more natural to ditch your bra and let the ladies hang, it isn’t practical in this day and age to go braless in public. Even though most women wear bras every day, many are wearing the wrong bra for their body type.
There are all sorts of reasons that you might be wearing a bra that is not right for you. First of all, the way bras are sized varies by brand and style. You could wear a size 34C from one company and a 34D from another.
Another reason that women wear bras that aren’t a good fit is that their bodies change over the years. You may have worn a 32B in college. And while it may seem that your breasts are roughly the same size, your body has changed since college. Gaining or losing a few pounds can change the size of the bra you should buy. Also, pregnancy, nursing, and hormone levels can cause changes in your bra size. Some women may even wear one bra size for three weeks out of the month and need a different cup size entirely during the week leading up to menstruation.
If you’re wearing a bra right now, I have a little exercise for you. This may help you determine if the bra you’re wearing is the right bra for you. Sit up straight, with your back away from the chair or stand. Then fully extend your arms over your head like you’re trying to touch the ceiling. Twist 90 degrees to one side, then to the other. Now hold your arms out to your sides and twist again from side to side. Did your bra move? Are you readjusting it now? Do you have to adjust your ladies and place them back into their cups?
If you answered, “Yes” to any of the above questions, you’re probably wearing the wrong bra for your body type. I’ve put together a list of eleven other signs that the bra you’re wearing is not the right one for you.
- When you remove the bra, there are red marks on your shoulders. A good bra should not carry all of the weight of your breasts with the shoulder straps. If you remove your bra to find painful red strap marks on your shoulders, you are likely wearing the wrong bra.
- The back of your bra rides up. Your back bra strap should stay in a straight line horizontally across your back. If the back strap is curved and sliding up your back, you are likely wearing a bra that doesn’t fit you correctly.
- Your breasts sag past the middle of your upper arm. Take a look in the mirror when you’re wearing a bra. Keep your arms at your sides. Your breasts should not be hanging low to your elbows. Rather, they should be supported well and sitting midway between your shoulders and your elbows. A good quality bra should keep your breasts lifted up off your ribcage. If your breasts are sagging, it’s time to shop for a new bra.
- The straps of your bra keep sliding down. While your straps shouldn’t be so tight that they are causing red marks on your shoulders, they should definitely stay on! You are wearing the wrong bra if the straps keep sliding down off your shoulders.
- Your breasts are spilling out the sides or top of your bra. You shouldn’t have a muffin top situation with your bra. If your breasts are spilling out the top or sides of your bra, the cup size is likely too small.
- There are gaps between the cup and your breasts. If there are significant gaps between your breasts and the fabric on the cups of your bra, you are almost certainly wearing a bra that is not sized well for you. Your breasts should fit comfortably inside the cups of your bra without any gaps.
- You struggle with a bit of underboob. I know it sounds a little crass, but you probably know exactly what I mean by underboob. It’s when the band of your bra actually sits more on the bottom of your breasts than on your ribs. This creates a bit of a gap in the front and can be really uncomfortable. Underboob is a sure sign of a bra that doesn’t fit you correctly.
- Your breasts are squished together. Remember the first sports bras? There was no separation in the middle of those constrictive jogging bras and they made it look like you had one oblong breast that went horizontally across your chest. Fortunately, sports bras have come a long way. However, it isn’t uncommon to find a daily wear bra that causes you to have that same uni-boob look. If your breasts are pressed up against each other like puppies in a box, you’re wearing the wrong bra. Poor separation can cause heat rash and other skin irritation. It’s also not the most flattering look.
- You feel uncomfortable in your bra. If you’re constantly aware that you’re wearing a bra because it is highly uncomfortable, it isn’t the right bra for you. When you’ve found a properly fitting, high-quality bra, you’ll forget you’re even wearing it.
- You’ve had a “wardrobe malfunction” while wearing your bra. If you’ve ever had to get somewhere private to put your breast back in the cup of your bra because it fell out, there’s a problem. There is really no good time for a nip-slip. Get a better fitting bra to avoid embarrassing mishaps.
- You always fasten it with the tightest hook. If you use the tightest hook on your bra strap, you may want to consider trying on a bra that’s one size down on the band measurement. Ideally, you should buy a bra that fits you in a way that you can fasten it on the last hook. As the fabric is stretched over time, you may need to fasten it on a tighter hook. Also, make sure your band isn’t too tight. You should be able to place two fingers between your ribs and the strap comfortably.
Underwire or no underwire? I recommend the less restrictive, the better when it comes to bras. Underwire bras can be quite restrictive and can irritate the skin on and around the breasts. They aren’t recommended for nursing mothers because they can cause clogged milk ducts. Additionally, older studies have shown a link between these constrictive bras and breast cancer. However, mainstream cancer think-tanks have come out strongly against that idea. Nonetheless, acupuncture practitioners and many people in the natural medicine community regard underwire bras with caution. I don’t recommend underwire bras for anyone.
Which bras are best? Ideally, you should look for a bra with the most support and the least constriction. Your breasts should never be bound or stuffed into a too-tight bra. There are some companies that sell camisole-style tops that are supportive enough for even large-busted women to wear for support without the discomfort of a traditional bra. Try on several before you settle on one. Check them against our eleven signs that you’re wearing the wrong bra so that you can be sure to find the best bra for your body type.
How do I know what size bra to buy? Have you ever been fitted for a bra or taken your own measurements? Many women haven’t. It’s common for a woman to try on several bras at the department store until she finds one that fits. She then assumes that the bra she buys is her size.
A better way is to determine your actual size before you go out bra shopping. Even though bra sizes vary by brand, fabric, and style, determining your general size will definitely help you find the right bra for your body type.
Here’s how to find your correct bra size. First, grab a flexible measuring tape. Remove your bra. Now measure around your ribs just under your breasts. The measuring tape should be flush against your skin and straight across the back. That’s your band size. Write it down.
Then measure around your bustline. This will be at about the center of the breast, across the nipples, and around the back. Don’t pull tightly on the measuring tape for this. It should be a fairly loose measurement. Write this number down too.
Finally, subtract the band size measurement from the bust size measurement. This will help you find your cup size. Look at the chart below to find your cup size. If your rib cage measures at 34 inches and your bustline is 39 inches, you will subtract 34 from 39 (39 – 34 = 5). Find the number on the chart. In this case, the number is 5, which corresponds with the cup size ‘DD.’ Your bra size is 34DD. It’s a good idea to measure your bra size about once a year. Are you wearing the right bra? A quality, correctly sized bra can help you look and feel your best. Use this article as a guide to finding a bra that is perfect for you.
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Choosing the right bra size. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.onehanesplace.com/measure-bra-size
Da Silva Rios, S. (2016). Wearing a tight bra for many hours a day is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Retrieved from: https://www.omicsonline.org/open- access/wearing-a-tight-bra-for-many-hours-a-day-is-associated-with-increasedrisk-of-breast-cancer-aot-1000105.php?aid=72034