Some of us go our whole adult lives never really considering how the way our bras fit affects our self-confidence, our posture…even our mood.
If there ever was a time to check in on your bra fit, it would be every January. With renewed resolve plus the post-holiday lull, this month is ideal for taking two minutes for yourself. Reexamine your bras, and suddenly your wardrobe looks—and fits—so much better.
To make touching base with yourself and your bras as easy as can be, we picked the brain of Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert Kristyn Polin to help you uncover what you didn’t know you didn’t know. By taking a quick, close look at how the bras you’re in now serve you—or don’t—you can finally unlock the angels-singing kind of support you’ve long been looking for.
See if you can find yourself in Kristyn’s common scenarios, then try her tiny tweaks that make a huge difference.
YOUR BODY HAS BEEN THROUGH THE WRINGER
Oh, you’re still plodding through a global pandemic, too?! Whatever your personal reasons (more time sitting around; eating for comfort; anti-anxiety meds), so many of us have noticed fluctuations in our weight of late. Throw into the mix a major life event like pregnancy, childbirth, nursing or breast surgery, and all signs point emphatically to “revisit your size.” Start by reviewing how to measure, which Kristyn and all of our Bra Fit Experts recommend doing twice a year.
YOUR SIZE HASN’T CHANGED IN YEARS
Most women establish their bra size as teenagers—which in and of itself suggests it might not be, like, 100 percent accurate—without realizing that our bra size isn’t this sacred, static number-letter combo we never have to think about again. Like the rest of our bodies, though, our breasts change over the years in density, size and shape.
“Chances are your size is no longer what it once was. And keep in mind that a brand-new bra will probably fit a lot different than a bra you’ve been wearing for years,” says Kristyn. “Just as you do with a new pair of jeans, you probably have to break in a new bra.
“Measurements are a starting point. You can’t expect every bra in your size to fit like a glove; it’s a trial-and-error process to find what works best for you.” But when you do? WORTH IT.
YOU WEAR YOUR FAVORITE BRA MOST DAYS
Of course, finally finding a bra you really love can be a double-edged sword: The more you rely on it, the more wear and tear it endures, hastening its own demise. Squeeze extra life out of your best-loved bra by rotating it with a bunch of others—multiples of the same style, even. Then launder with love: Use lingerie wash and a lingerie bag for the washing machine or rinse by hand in the sink, and always, always, always air dry.
YOU’RE NOTICING SIDE BOOB
A lot of us already know that any spillage over the top of the cups means the cups are too small, but that extra bit of fluff near the underarms? That’s spillage, too. You’ll know the cups fit right when the underwire extends back behind all of your breast tissue. (If you’re in a wire-free style, then that channel underneath the cup should end behind your boobs.)
Kristyn says to gauge whether the underwire is reaching back far enough, lift your arm and trace a line down the middle of your armpit. Your finger should hit the underwire when you come to the bottom of your armpit. If the wire is too far to the front and sitting atop fatty tissue, increase your cup size.
YOUR BAND IS “EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE”
“When we hear a woman say that her bra straps tend to slip, we don’t think straps; we think band,” says Kristyn. “Many women are taught to fasten their bras on the middle or smallest hook-and-eye closure, but the best support is going to come from a snug band, and it should fit snugly on the very first set of closures.” As the band stretches out over time, you can cinch it tighter and tighter to get it back to how it felt in the first place.
To assess if your band is tight enough, you should be able to slip the straps off of your shoulders and the band stay right where it is, as if you were wearing a strapless bra. If the bra starts to head south once the straps come off, get yourself a tighter band. It’s too tight if it’s cutting into you and your ribcage can’t expand. Short of that, though, you’re probably fine—you’ll get used to it, promise.
YOUR STRAPS HAVE SLACK
If your band size is right and you’re still constantly digging around to hike up your bra straps, then they’re too long for your frame, no longer adjustable or stretched beyond redemption. When you’re shopping for new bras, look for convertible styles you can customize more, with straps that don’t have those little O-rings you can’t adjust beyond.
3, 2, 1, LIFTOFF
Another fit issue people don’t even realize is an issue is when the center gore isn’t tacking, says Kristyn.
The center gore, FYI, is that piece of the bra that connects the cups together in the middle. When a bra fits properly, the gore should be tacking right up against the breastbone. If you see a space between this part of the bra and your chest, it could be a sign that the cups are too small; breast tissue that’s not fully ensconsed in the cups is pushing the bra away from the body in an effort to find somewhere to go.
Another reason the center gore may not sit flush: close-set breasts. Women whose breasts are very close together, nearly touching at the top, may do better experimenting with a different style; a center gore that comes up too high on close-set breasts may never tack. To solve for this, try a bra with a shorter center gore, like a plunge.
If you need an assist taking your bra from “good enough” to “great,” our in-house team of trained Bra Fit Experts can totally help. Chat with them on barenecessities.com or call 877-728-9272 x4 for a complimentary fit consult. You might even get Kristyn.