Wearing the wrong bra can be miserable. Not only does it pinch and pull it does absolutely nothing to flatter your figure. Eight out of ten women are wearing badly-fitted bras. Why is it so difficult to find the right one? Apparently, the answer to that questions is the traditional method of measuring bust size is outdated. Using a tape measure is a waste of time because women’s bodies have changed dramatically since the system was invented in the 1930s.
The traditional method of bra-fitting, still used by most stores, involves two measurements: one from under the bust and around the ribcage, and the other from around the fullest part of the bust.
The first measurement gives the back size in inches, and the difference between the two measurements determines cup size (A denotes a difference of one inch, B of two inches and so on).
But according to a new study, this method is hopelessly out of date because it was designed to go only up to a D-cup. These days women go way beyond D’s and most wear their bras too loose on the back and too small in the cup. 80 per cent of the support given by a bra comes from the band around the middle — not the straps or the cup — and if it’s loose, you are not getting enough support.
The secret to finding the perfect fit is to take a five-step approach: assessing the length of the straps, the shape of the underwire, how well the back fits, how well the cup fits and whether the front band is in contact with the breastbone.
FIVE STEPS TO A PERFECT FIT
- STRAP LENGTH: You don’t need to adjust your straps to the same length on each side. Many of us have sloping shoulders, perhaps from carrying bags around on one side for years, and so it could be that one strap needs to be tighter than the other.
- UNDERWIRE SHAPE: If you press on the underwire of your bra, it should press on bone, not breast tissue. The underwire should sit on your ribcage, encasing your breasts but not digging into them.
- BACK FIT: You should just be able to fit two fingers under the band. It should feel snug — perhaps tighter than you’re used to, but not uncomfortable. If it rides up in the middle of your back, it’s too big and won’t give you enough support.
- CUP FIT: Nine times out of ten, women are wearing too small a cup size. You should not have any breast tissue spilling out the top of the cup — known as ‘double boob’. The average woman is now a D-cup, yet most think they are a B-cup.
- FRONT BAND: The middle should sit flat against the breastbone. If it’s pulling away, leaving a gap between the middle of the bra and the skin, the cup size is too small.
Do your girls a favor and take this guide with you the next time you go bra shopping.
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