It’s not unusual to have come across the statistic that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. I often question how true this is and if so, why are we getting it so wrong? A recent article in The Times suggests that the reason we might be wearing ill-fitting bras is due to a lack of standard sizing.
This is furthered by the different bra styles we’re presented when shopping. From underwire to non-wired, full cup to demi cup, t-shirt bras to sports bras, the list is ever-growing. What complicates the matter even more is that our bodies are always changing. Even if it’s not the big three; puberty, pregnancy or menopause, there are a number of factors that can cause our breasts to change over time. This is why it’s so important to get regular bra fittings.
What are the benefits of a good fitting bra?
Speaking from personal experience here, I’m considered to be a very awkward bra size. I often struggle to find my size on the high street. For longer than I would like to admit, I tried to squeeze into bras that were far too small. Recently I decided enough was enough of the wire digging and booked myself in for a bra fitting.
I was shocked to find out that I was two band sizes smaller and three cup sizes bigger than what I was wearing. I was even more shocked by my reflection in the mirror. What I first noticed was my change in my posture. I was standing up much straighter and my breasts were much higher on my chest. But more than this, my confidence shot through the roof. I spent the rest of the day walking around with a glow.
However, the importance of wearing the correct bra size is more than just a confidence boost. If you’re wearing the wrong size, you may be exposing yourself to a number of health risks. A recent study has shown that a lack of proper support could be causing breast pain for around 50% of women. Many women have also reported getting neck and back pain, as well as sore breast tissue.
The best way to avoid breast-related pains and always feel comfortable is to wear the correct size and style bra. This means going to a professional fitting service and going regularly. A bra fitter will take an under bust measurement to find your band size. They will then measure around your chest (at the widest point) to find your cup size. Depending on the shape of your breasts, the bra fitter will also recommend which bra style will provide the perfect fit.
Where can you go for a bra fitting?
There are many free bra fitting services available for both appointments and walk-ins. Fitters will make sure to find the best fitting bra that is available in-store (if not, direct you to one online). This way you can ensure you are buying a bra that fits perfectly. I would recommend, if possible, to be fitted in the same place that you purchase your bras from as there can be slight discrepancies in sizing between retailers.
I’ve had the best personal fitting experiences with Marks and Spencer and Victoria’s Secret. If you’re going through gender reassignment, I would definitely recommend Marks and Spencers as they operate a gender-neutral service. Other retailers that offer free bra fittings include Debenhams, Boux Avenue and John Lewis. These bra fitters are extremely professional and will often make special arrangements if you’re getting a fitting post-surgery or are nursing.
What to do if bra fittings are not for you?
One other option, which you may prefer if you’re a particularly shy or introverted person, is the Do-It-Yourself method. There are many bra fit guides online that tell you how to measure your own breast size step-by-step. These detail how the under bust band, straps, cups and centre front of your bra should look and the only equipment you should need is a tape measure. But even if you’re more than happy to visit a professional, I would still recommend learning how to measure yourself. It is the best way to ensure that you’re always wearing a perfect fit!