If you've ever experienced the pinch or pain of an ill-fitting bra, you'll already know the importance of wearing one which fits you well.
Unfortunately, most of us will have no idea we're even wearing the wrong bra size or type until we experience these painful indicators - and quite often we just ignore or put up with them when we do. Here's where this handy bra fitting guide comes in...
Why is it important to wear a correctly fitted bra?
Aside from the obvious benefits of feeling comfortable and getting the right support, a bra which is fitted correctly can improve your posture, accentuate your figure and help to make your outfits look more flattering.
What are the signs you are wearing the wrong size bra?
- You are getting marks or indents from your underwire
- The straps are cutting into you or slip off your shoulders
- The band across the back rides up and is not sitting level
- You can't tuck two fingers underneath the back of the band comfortably
- There is gaping or puckering in the cup area
- There is overflow in the cup area
How often should I be getting a bra fitting?
Your bra size has a tendency to change at different stages in your life—and even throughout the year, thanks to hormonal changes and weight gain or loss. While you might have been professionally fitted in the past, it is important to check in every six to 12 months for a professional fitting to ensure you are still wearing the right size.
How to measure yourself to find out your bra size
A professional fitting will guarantee you get an accurate and expert recommendation on the size and style of bra you should be wearing to suit your body type and your lifestyle. But if you are not able to see a professional straight away, you can also measure yourself to get an indication.
The two measurements to take into consideration are underbust circumference (which will determine your band size) and bust circumference (which will determine your cup size).
- Using a measuring tape, measure around the body, directly below the bust. You can measure with or without a bra on, but it should be a non-padded or very lightly padded bra if so.
- Ensure the tape is level and pulled snugly but not tightly.
- To find your cup size, measure around the fullest part of your bust.
- Visit this handy Bra Calculator to calculate your bra size.
Which bra style is for me?
Buying a bra isn't all to do with size; different bra styles will fit and flatter depending on breast shape and outfit choices. Here's a breakdown of different bra styles and for whom they might be best suited to:
PUSH UP BRA
Push up bras do exactly that – lift and enhance your cleavage by pushing your breasts up and closer together. They are padded with foam or silicone gel on the underside of the cups which give the appearance of a fuller bustline, so are ideal for breasts which are slender (slimmer at the top, fuller at the bottom) or side set (breasts with a wide space between them).
Because of the definition they give, you can instantly add two cup sizes to your figure (depending on the amount of padding) and can wear them with pretty much anything where you are looking to give the appearance of enhanced cleavage. You may have to go up a cup size in a push up bra to get the best fit.
A wirefree (or soft cup) bra is usually unpadded and without any underwire, so is extremely comfortable and fuss-free – perfect for people who don't like to feel restricted. As there is no structure or padding to offer shape and contouring, it relies on your natural breast shape to define the cup shape. Round or tear drop breasts that have natural fullness often suit this style well, but anyone who is looking for comfort above all else will be a fan!
A t-shirt or contour bra has been designed to give a smooth finish and go invisible under body hugging outfits while also providing definition, shape and support. Slender or bell shape breasts will both benefit from the supportive qualities, but it is really a must-have in every woman's lingerie collection as it is a practical choice for everyday wear.
Underwire bras provide support and a natural looking lift and shape, so are quite possible the most popular style of bra. They can be padded or unpadded, depending on the result you are after, and are suited to most breast shapes and sizes, including tear drop, round and bell shaped.
Your next step? Take our handy quiz to see which type of bra suits your individual preferences and lifestyle. Or visit your nearest Farmers department store to receive a complimentary fitting from one of their lingerie experts who can help you to find the right bra for you. You can find more information online.