A bra that fits perfectly can change everything. It can benefit your shoulders and back, make you look better in your clothes and prevent gravity from doing its worst. The trouble is, many of us are wearing the wrong size bra. The fitters at my favourite lingerie shop, Pudding, report that many of the customers are wearing a back size far too big and a cup size far too small when they arrive for their first fitting.
I used to be one of those customers. I wore bras sized 36C for years. Then I visited Pudding. Depending on the bra, my correct bra size is normally 32F – 2 sizes smaller in the back and 3 cup sizes bigger.
Nothing beats a professional fitting but as not everyone lives near enough to visit my favourite lingerie shop, I asked Helen from Pudding to share some tips.
“Bra fitting is as much art as it is science so can’t be done properly with a tape measure. That’s because breasts and bodies come in all different shapes and sizes (and so do bras) so there really is no substitute for trying on some bras and getting a professional fitting.
If you are fitting yourself at home, here’s our top tips for what to look out for.
First things first, what’s the best way to try on a bra?
- Find a mirror or a friend to help you
- When putting your bra on, start on the loosest hook as your bra will stretch over time, allowing you to tighten the back band as it stretches (meaning your bras last longer).
- The back band should be sitting firmly and horizontally across your back.
- The straps should sit firmly on your shoulders without leaving any angry looking marks. You should be able to place 2 fingers underneath the strap without the straps falling off.
- Once the back and straps look good, you should check your breasts are well positioned in the cup . Lean forward and make sure all the breast tissue from under your arms is supported by the cup. The wires should feel firm but not dig into the breast tissue and your breast should not be spilling out.
Once you’ve got your bra on, there really are only 2 things you need to check; the back size and the cup size.
The back – Does the bra sit in a straight line on your body from front to back?
If it does, fantastic, you can start looking at the cup size. If the back is riding up and the front is drooping, and you are wearing the bra on the loosest hook or if it is an old bra, reduce your back size by one size e.g. from 36 to 34. If you are already wearing the bra on a tighter hook and the bra is not too old then you probably need to go down in the back by two sizes e.g. from 36 to 32. Moving down 2 back sizes is very common if you have not been professionally fitted the past.
Remember the back size you’ve worked out so far, we’ll move on to look at the cup size now and we might want to tweak the back size again if we change the cup size.
The cup – Do your breasts come over the top and sides of the cup? Does the centre of the bra stick out from your chest rather than sitting flat between your breasts? Are the wires at the side soft and squidgy and able to be pressed in when you touch them?
If the answer to any of these three questions is yes then your cup size is too small. If the problem is not significant then increase the cup size by one e.g. from C to D, but if the problem is very pronounced then increase the cup size by two e.g. from C to DD/E (DD and E cups are very similar.)
Finally, if you already worked out that the back size needed to be smaller, you now need to further increase the cup size. (Or decrease the cup size if you felt the back size should be bigger). This is because cup sizes are automatically smaller on smaller backed bras, so for every size you drop in the back, you now need to further increase the cup by that many sizes too.
You’re currently wearing a 34C.
You believe the back size needs to reduce by 2 sizes. Move to a 30C.
You believe the cup is one size too small. Move to a 30D
Because you adjusted the back size by 2 sizes, you should readjust the cup size by 2 sizes and try a 30E (or possibly 30F as DD and E are often very similar).
Bra sizes are not for life
Our bodies are forever changing; through pregnancy, illness, weight gain or weight loss as well as normal monthly hormonal changes. Ours bras also change over time too; through wearing and washing. So we’d recommend a bra fitting at least every 6-12 months (every other month if you’re pregnant).
Wearing the correct size bra is important for your health. It can reduce back and neck pain and prevent the dreaded droop! Not only that, you can look slimmer and feel more comfortable, confident and sexy!”
All photographs courtesy of Pudding.
Update: Sadly Pudding Lingerie have now closed. This is not a sponsored post and I have not been compensated in any way.