Have you been wearing bras for a while now or are you new to this whole bra thing? Either way, we want to make sure you’re set up for a happy bra-wearing lifetime. Welcome to the Underpinnings bra school (don’t worry, there’ll be no pop quiz!)
What size am I anyway?
Many adult women aren’t wearing the right size bras so don’t worry if you aren’t sure what size you need either! Bra sizes combine a band size and a cup size. The band size is based on the measurement around your ribcage, just under your bust. The band of your bra should be snug enough (on the loosest or middle set of hooks) to make sure it doesn’t move when you raise your arms or move around but not so snug that you feel it’s tight. This is pretty important because if the band doesn’t fit correctly you’re probably going to find that the bra is uncomfortable.
The cup size isn’t so straightforward and really depends on the number, or band size, it is attached to. For example, a 36D and a 30D are two very different cup sizes. Even though they are both ’D’ the 36D will hold a bigger breast than a 30D would. It can get confusing, so here’s what you need to know: figure out the band size that stays in place around your ribcage comfortably and then try on bras with that band size but different cup sizes until you find the one that fits, which brings us to…
A word about underwire
Despite what you may have heard from the adult women around you, bras should not be uncomfortable. In a bra that fits properly you shouldn’t even really remember that you have it on. When you are trying on bras, check to make sure that the underwire is lying flat against your ribcage all the way around, and not resting directly on your breast at any point. Think about it, if you were wearing a bra in which a piece of metal or hard plastic was poking your breast all day wouldn’t you be uncomfortable too? If that’s happening it’s a sure sign that the bra cups are too small, increase your cup size until you find one that can contain your entire breast.
How to put on a bra ‘correctly’
Once you’ve got some bras that fit well the next step is learning to put them on. The best way to put your bra on is to place your arms through the shoulder straps while leaning forward slightly and do the hooks up behind you. Leaning forward helps make sure that the fullest part of your breast makes its way into the fullest part of the cup – that way there is less adjusting to do once the bra is on. Until you get the hang of it though, hooking the band behind you can feel a bit awkward so an easier alternative can be to hook the bra around your waist in front of you then turn it around and while leaning slightly forward put your arms through the shoulder straps and raise the cups into place. An important note with this method- when you bring the cups around your waist to the front they should already be facing the correct direction – meaning they should not be upside down so that you need to flip them rightside up. Especially in a bra with underwire this flipping motion can distort the shape of the underwire which means the bra won’t last as long before you have to replace it.
Get the most out of your bras
Washing and drying
We have to say that washing your bras by hand is the absolute best way to have them last a long time (because it’s true) but really we just want to make sure that you don’t throw them in the washing machine with your jeans. If you’re going to wash them in the machine use a mesh laundry bag to protect them and use the delicate cycle of the washing machine…they’re called “delicates” for a reason after all. We will put our foot down at the dryer though. Never, ever put your bras in the dryer – heat and the delicate materials that bras are made of do not work well together. Instead hang them out to dry.
Don’t wear the same bra two days in a row- remember the band is stretchy and if it’s constantly stretched around your body it will get loose too quickly. Instead wait at least 24 hours between wears.
When to replace
Your body is still developing and the shape of your breasts may still be changing. If you notice that your breasts are starting to overflow the cups of the bra or the underwire is pinching or squeezing breast tissue it’s time to overhaul your bra collection. Similarly, if your size hasn’t changed but you notice that you’re using the tightest hooks and the bra band still shifts up and down your ribcage it is likely that the band is stretched out and the bra needs to be replaced. To keep it simple – if your bras are no longer providing comfortable support it’s time to go shopping. Fun!
Your first bra fitting
We know that this can be a tricky phase of your life and the idea of taking off your clothes in front of a strange woman might not be so appealing, but trust us – the right bra fit consultant will make you feel extremely comfortable and will make your bra shopping experience enjoyable. While we will need to see you in the bra to assess the fit, you never need to be bare chested if that makes you uncomfortable. You’ll be wearing bras for many years to come, and so a professional fitting can definitely help ensure you get the right bras for your body.
Enjoyed this post? Never miss an update! Sign up to receive these blog posts in your inbox.