Let's Get Educated on Bras

Did you know that 70% of women wear the wrong bra size?

Before I started working at a certain bra store, I never thought I could be wearing the wrong bra size. I mean, I wear a bra everyday—how could I get it wrong? But as part of my training as a bra-selling specialist, not only did I have to learn how to do proper bra measurements, I also had to undergo a measurement myself.

I don’t think I ever had a bra measurement before a year and a half ago. I would do what basically 70% of women do: I’d walk into a bra store, pick out a couple sizes in different colours, try them on, and go with whatever felt the most comfortable (or what I thought was comfortable). At the time, I was wearing bras from Aerie in a 34C. And 34B. And occasionally a 32C. Anyway, you get the picture: I had no idea what I was doing and no one ever showed me what was wrong. Sometimes a 34C fit me best while other times I felt more comfortable in a 34B; I didn’t really know my true size, and I didn’t think that there was such thing as a “true” size, so I went on in whatever bra felt the best.

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But girl, was I ever wrong. After having a proper measurement, it turned out I was supposed to be in a 32C. However, it didn’t stop there. After my measurement (which is done with a basic measuring tape), I didn’t just grab a million bras in a 32C; instead, I made my way to the fitting room, and tried on the “Fit Bra” in my measured size. It turned out that 32C was in fact too small; I had to go up a cup to a 32D. And when I put that 32D on, I never thought a bra could feel the way it did. I actually felt supported; the cup didn’t gape, I didn’t spill out, the band was snug but not uncomfortable. It was a life-changing experience for me.

Here’s another fact: you get 80% of your support from your band—not your straps, contrary to what most women think. Yes, straps do play a part in giving you the perfect fit, but if a bra’s support depended solely on straps, then we wouldn’t have strapless bras. Now, because we get so much of our support from our band, it’s important that it fits nice and snug. Also, keep in mind that bras never shrink—they only stretch. So even though the band will feel tight at first, in a matter of a few weeks, you’re going to notice the band stretching. i know so many women who come in wearing a 36 band when they should be a 32; unfortunately, this makes it difficult to convince someone of their true size because they think the band should have a loose fit for their own comfort.

When a woman has been wearing the wrong bra size her whole life and is blatantly told so, she doesn’t always take it too well. I’ve had several customers who refuse to believe that they should be in a band size two sizes smaller than what they’ve been wearing. Let’s face it—we’re women: we don’t like to be wrong (at least, I know I don’t). But it’s so important to remember that at least 70% of women are wrong when it comes to their knowledge around bras. A band size that stretches to the point of fitting two or three of you is NOT the right size. You say it’s comfortable to wear and that you hate feeling like you’re wearing a bra. Well, newsflash—you are wearing a bra, and if you hate the feeling of bras that much, you’re definitely not in the right size. Being in the right size bra makes all the difference in comfort and fit.

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Another fact: wearing the wrong size bra is the equivalent to not wearing a bra at all. If you’re wearing the wrong bra size, you’re not getting the proper support that you need. If you should be in a 32 band but you’re wearing a 36 for “comfort,” you need to believe me when I say that this can have a major impact on your body. For one, if the tissue density in your breasts is not being supported, then you run the risk of losing this tissue density over time. This means that your breasts can end up sagging or become increasingly disproportionate. And to be honest, I don’t think any of us want saggy Grandma boobs. Wearing the correct sized bra is one of the factors that contribute to firm, perky breasts. Also, particularly for women with larger breasts, not giving them support can lead to negative effects on your body, such as back problems (I know a lot of women who have had this problem as a result of not having the proper support).

I promise that it is 100% possible to find a comfortable bra. Not all bras come with a ridiculous amount of padding; there are so many different options to fit several different types of breasts and body types. My personal favourites are Victoria’s Secret’s Body by Victoria and Dream Angels Demi—they’re both incredibly comfortable, give me the support I need, and come in a lot of fun colours. I’m even a fan of the bralette trend; although they don’t provide women with too much support, they’re better than not wearing a bra at all. Keep in mind, though, that if you wear bralettes to avoid underwire because it digs into you or rubs in the wrong way, this is a sign that you’re not wearing the right size. If your bra moves around during the day, your band is probably too big. If you experience spacing in the cup throughout the day, then you may be in the wrong cup size. I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to go to a bra store and get a proper fitting; not only will it make bra shopping a lot less frustrating, you may even find yourself enjoying shopping for bras. When you know the right size, trying on different styles can feel so empowering: a change in bra size can mean a change in the way you look at yourself.

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If you’ve never done so, please consider getting a bra measurement. It’s important to keep in mind that each store goes by different sizes—their measuring tactics are meant to work for their bras, not bras from other stores. So it’s incredibly important that you get a measurement done every time you go to a different bra shop. As a bra-selling specialist, I can tell you that we actually like to help and we’re not trying to sell you a million things—we understand your limits and make the appropriate recommendations. We make these suggestions to make your shopping experience easier and enjoyable. Ever since I got a measurement and found my perfect fit, I’m addicted to bra shopping. Sure, not all bras look great on me, but it’s amazing when I find one that does. Give yourself the chance to love bras again and to experience your best fit—get a measurement and listen to the expert!

*This article is in no way associated with Victoria’s Secret or L Brands.