The Ultimate Bra Fitting Guide

Did you know that a poorly fitted bra not only looks unflattering, but can also cause bad posture, sagging and adversely affect the overall health of your breasts? Scary, huh? Even scarier when you consider that most women in the UK are wearing the wrong size bra! So I've done some research and asked around, and come up with the ultimate guide to bra fitting, with a little help from my friends at Playtex.


*I have received a Playtex Contour Perfection set in return for an upcoming review, but this post hasn't been sponsored - I simply got some great information from the brand :)*

We all know how difficult it can be to find a bra that fits perfectly, and honestly most of the time we don't know what to look for! I recently had a professional fitting and found I'd been wearing the wrong size for years and was completely oblivious to it! So when the lovely Jessica from the brand Playtex got in touch and shared some great resources with me, I thought I'd do some research of my own and share this wealth of information with you!

Types of Bra

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Although it might seem obvious, a bras can be wired or non-wired, literally meaning they may contain an wire below the bust for extra support. You may also want to opt for a padded bra, which can be in the form of a gel or foam pocket - which can sometimes be removable, depending on the bra - within the bra cup and will add an extra body and lift to your boobs. Some bras come strapless or with detachable straps, meaning you can remove the straps if you're wanting to wear something off-the-shoulder, or even cross them over if they are multiway straps to create a halterneck effect.

1. Full cup bra provides the most support and comfort, covering the breasts entirely, making it excellent for everyday wear
2. Demi bra offers half a cup, so does not cover the entire breast, and creates a nice cleavage
3. Balconette bra has a horizontal line going across the top of the bust, and is essentially a demi-cup bra which covers a little less of the breast, and would not be seen if you looked from above, hence "balcony"
4. T-shirt bra is design without any raised seems so that it can be worn below a tight tshirt without being noticed or creating any bumps
5. Plunge bra is very low-cut in the middle so that you can wear low tops without your bra being seen
6. Push-up bra is generally padded, and designed to literally push your breasts together and lift them to create an enhanced cleavage and silhouette
7. Bandeau bra tends to be unsupportive, and is simply a material bra worn across the breasts with little shaping or structure
8. Sports bra is used to offer firm support to the breasts to prevent them moving during exercise, and typically offer a lot of coverage
9. Minimiser bra is designed to play down the size of the breasts, compressing and shaping them to look smaller

Bra Sizing

There are two measurements involved in bra size - cup size (a letter) and band size (a number). The band size is measured in inches and increase in increments of 2 (you won't find a size 31, only a 30 or 32 for example). A band size 28 means it is 28 inches around your body, a 32 is 32 inches around your body and so on. Cup sizes start at AA, then A, B, C, D and confusingly DD (which is bigger than a D, but an AA is smaller than an A - who knows?!), and increase from there as boobs get bigger.

Cup size is proportional to band size, so a 32C would fill out less volume than a 36C even though they're both C cups. Make sense?

Now, all manufacturers vary slightly in their sizing, so you need to try each bra on. Sometimes, it may be a case of getting a sister size:
- To go down a sister size - reduce band size and increase cup size, e.g. 36C to 34D
- To go up a sister size - increase band size and reduce cup size, e.g. 36C to 38B

How to Get the Correct Fit

The bra band -
1. The band should be firm around your body to provide support, but should not dig in.
2. Once fastened, you should just be able to fit 2 fingers (sideways) under the band.
3. When viewed from the side, the band should be horizontal and not ride up the back - this means it's too big.
4. The band should give the most support to your breasts, not the straps.

The bra straps -
1. Straps should be firm without digging in.
2. If you feel you have to pull the straps very tight, the back size might be too big.

The cups -
1. Your breasts should not bulge over the top or sides of the cups, no matter what style - this is a sign the cup is too small.
2. There should be a smooth line between the top of the cup and your breast.
3. If the cups are loose with a gap between your breast and the cup, it is too big.

The underwires -
1. The underwires at the front should lie flat against the sternum.
2. They should not dig in, rub or poke out anywhere.
3. They should follow the line of the bust, and sit behind the breast tissue rather than on it.

So that's everything I learned about finding the right bra for you - do you have any tips of your own?

18 comments:

  1. I hate bra shopping, ive been to loads of stores that all say different sizes so i just wear what is comfortable now =]

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, that's the danger of just buying the same size in each shop, it's super important to make sure each bra fits properly :-)

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