Fashion Trends

Essential bra fitting tips

The size printed in the back is a fitting guide only and is exclusive to each bra, from one style to another and one brand to another. You must try on - and preferably have somebody help you with fitting - every single bra you buy.
The size is made up of two measurements - the under bust and the cup. The under-bust measurement relates to the width of your back. The cup measurement relates to the size of the breast. To determine your cup size, measure around the fullest part of the bust. Any signs of sagging in your bust, loss of elasticity or tears in your existing bra all mean one thing - it's time to get fitted for a new one.
Professional fittingsIf you can get to one of the main centres, Smith & Caughey in Auckland, Kirkcaldie & Stains in Wellington and Ballantynes in Christchurch provide great fitting services, along with a huge range of brands and sizes, to make sure you're getting the right bra for the job.
Do it yourselfIf choosing an underwire bra, the wire should fit completely around the base of the breast and sit flat against the torso. The centre front of the bra should sit flat against the chest wall. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to lift the breast so it sits halfway between your shoulder and elbow. If the straps are too tight, they will pull the back strap up. If they are too loose, they will slip off the shoulders and make your breasts appear saggy. The back strap should sit below the shoulder blades.
When trying on a bra, put your arms through the straps, pull the centre front of the bra to meet the centre of your chest, lean forward into the cups then fasten the back on the second-to-tightest hook - not the tightest (this gives you room to tighten once the bra has stretched after a few months of wear). Never do your bra up in the front and swivel it round, it's impossible to get the bra centred and the underwire can end up resting on the breast rather than supporting it underneath.
Common fitting problems
The bra cup is too bigA bra cup that is too big will not support the bust. The cup will be loose or wrinkled, particularly around the neckline and armholes
The bra cup is too smallIf the centre front of the bra sits away from the body or the breast is spilling from under the base or wire, then the cup is too small
The double-decker effectThis is when half the breast sits in the bra and the other half spills through the armhole and over the cup. This gives the illusion of a double breast. You need to go up one cup size.
The bra is too big around the bodyThis will provide little or no support. Typically, a bra that is too big will ride up the back and feel loose or sloppy.
The bra is too small around the bodyThis will cut into the body, making it look squeezed and pinched - and it will hurt.
Red marks on the shoulders from strapsYou may need to go down one under-bust size so the support is coming from the diaphragm section, not the straps
Sport supportThe Australian Institute of Sport has found that the average unsupported 12B bust will bounce an average of 8cm during exercise. If you're involved in high-impact sport, a good, firm-fitting sports bra is essential.
Best bra for the jobA lingerie fit expert helps you choose the right bra for your contours and clothing. There's no reason to wear a "nana bra" just because you have a full bust. Delicate laces and meshes are now designed with more support and strength so some dainty-looking lingerie can still give you all the support you need. The first step to looking and feeling slimmer is to make sure you have a properly fitted bra that offers the best support. For summer tops and dresses with shoestring straps, choose a strapless bra or one with strong, narrow straps. Choose a nude, pink or peach coloured bra to go under a white shirt.
Choose the right bra for your clothes
Balconette bra: With a lower cut, this works under low necklines and is particularly flattering for women with shorter necks. It gives slightly less coverage but still offers reasonable support.
Plunge bra: Worn with V-necks, open collars or plunging necklines, a plunge-bra style shows off your décolletage.
Full-coverage bra: This bra is perfect under tops with higher necklines.
Racer-back convertible bra: A versatile bra featuring both standard and racer-back strap configurations provides comfortable support for a fuller bust.
Contour bra: Great with fitted or fine fabric tops, because they give a natural rounded shape and nipples can't be seen.
T-shirt bra: A perfect solution when you don't want to see any lines from your bra.
oinimiser: If you are wearing a correctly fitted bra, your bust will appear smaller. To reduce your bust profile even further, you can choose a minimiser bra.

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