Ask any experienced Bra Fitter to reel off the things they wished Australian women knew about bra fitting and I am sure we’d all give you the same answers. This article will guide you through what I think are the most important bra fitting tips that will ensure you only ever have good bra shopping experiences. Finding a comfortable bra that actually offers support requires you to find your correct bra size – this article should help you with that.
Bra Fitting Tip 1: Know where the support *actually* comes from
It’s not surprising that most Aussie women aren’t fully across where the support comes from in a bra, after all, tracking down an experienced Bra Fitter can be quite a challenge. But understanding this will go a long way to ensuring you get the most support and lifespan out of your bras.
Drumroll…. The underwire is not the main support system in a bra. Say what?! Yes, it’s true. The real hero in a bra is the band that runs around your ribcage. This band is responsible for holding the weight of the breast and stabilising breast tissue in your day to day living, or while you exercise of course.
The strategic role of an underwire in a bra is to shape and separate the breasts. If you like it in your bras, no worries, roll with it. If you don’t, you may be excited to hear that you can still find supportive bras without it – just so long as the bra is fitting well and is produced with support in mind.
To allow this heroic “band that runs around your ribcage” to offer you support it absolutely must be fitted snug against your body. This is sadly where most women go wrong. We see women gravitate to a looser fitting ribcage band without realising that they are compromising support and unnecessarily loading their shoulders with the weight of their breasts.
To assess the firmness and fit of your ribcage band, pull this part of the bra away from your body. You should not be able to pull out further than 2 inches from your body, ideally 1 – 1.5 inches.
Bra Fitting Tip 2: Understand how bra sizing works (hint: it’s not as simple as you think)
Generally speaking, Aussie ladies have a good grasp on the fact that the letter part of the bra size relates to the cup size (eg C) and the number part of the bra size (eg 12) relates to the band size. But what a lot of ladies don’t know is that the cup size is relative to the band size. So as the band (number) size changes, so will the cup volume.
I’ll give you an example. A size 12D is a whole cup size bigger than a size 10D. Or to use a more extreme example a 20D is 5 cup sizes larger than a 10D. So if someone says they are a D cup this information is useless to a Bra Fitter without knowing the band size.
What this means is that in some brands a 10DD may fit you best and in order brands, a 12D will fit you better. A 10DD and a 12D are in fact the same cup volume, it’s just the band sizes that are theoretically a size difference.
So, if you find yourself heading towards a change room in a department store with a handful of bras make sure you keep this sizing model in mind. If you’re in a 12D and the cup size fits well but the band around your ribcage is too loose you’ll actually need a size 10DD, not a size 10D.
Bra Fitting Tip 3: How to measure your bra size
When shopping online I really think it’s best to have a good idea of your measurements in order to make an informed decision in hopes of buying the correct bra size. This is of course most relevant to ladies who haven’t had a bra fitting recently or since a change a shape.
? Here’s a guide on how to measure your own bra size: https://youtu.be/DJepKDNT_6U
Keeping in mind also that a size 12 bra is generally designed for a size 12 frame, and a size 18 bra for a size 18 frame etc will also help guide you to your rough band size. And if you are a size 8 frame wearing a size 12 bra I can guarantee (with 99% confidence ?) that you are wearing the wrong size bra. In this case, you should consider going down a band size and up a cup size as a starting point.
Bra Fitting Tip 4: Not all sizes are created equal
While this may sound obvious, I definitely think it’s worth highlighting as I am always amazed at how many women are surprised by this bad news. What one brand defines as a size 12D could be completely different to another brands definition of a size 12D. This is because there is no real standardisation when it comes to cup volume or general bra sizing.
Add to this such a diverse range of materials and design features that have entered the lingerie market over the past few decades and it’s no wonder it’s a tough garment to navigate sizing.
We also find it commonplace for different models of bras from one brand to fit completely differently. For this reason in our bra fittings, we like to educate our customers about how a bra should fit and why – empowering them with the intel they need to shop solo should the occasion arise.
If you have to head out bra shopping without the help of an experienced Bra Fitter take note of the size on the tag of the bra that you think fits you best and use this as your starting point when dragging bras into the change room.
A note from an experienced Bra Fitter
As a little bonus bra fitting tip, my best advice is to head into a bra fitting with an open mind to try a variety of styles (and sizes if necessary) that you may not have considered in the past. Head in with a positive attitude and plenty of time to take in all that your experienced Bra Fitter has to offer you. It may well amaze you how much you learn about what is right for you, both in style and fit.
Tish Tily is the founder of leading bra store, She Science. Tish is an experienced Bra Fitter having personally fitted over 10,000 A – J cup ladies. She was independently trained in the UK and continues to undertake further education at any opportunity to progress her wealth of industry knowledge.