If Nancy Drew had ever solved The Case of the Ill-Fitting Bra, then I bet more women would strive to avoid such notorious things. As it were, however, 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size.
I recently learned that I was wearing the wrong bra size, so naturally I feel the urge to spread the gospel of proper-fitting bras. Before getting properly measured, I thought I was a 38DD because this was the only size that would fit me in department stores. So when I visited Bra-Te-Da, a local specialty bra shop, I was surprised to discover that my cup size is actually a 34G. I never knew such a size even existed.
I was even more surprised to see pretty options in my size. Wow, something besides tan and black. How refreshing!
Until my visit to Bra-Te-Da, bra shopping was always an exhausting and frustrating process that would end in me settling for whatever (sort of) fit me the best. And forget about asking for help. Most of the sales people at Dillard’s and Victoria’s Secret would just stare at me like a deer in headlights (no pun intended) and direct me to whatever was their largest size.
If your experience has been similar, then I encourage you to visit a specialty bra shop. Not only will you get properly fitted, you will receive expert service. Vivi, the attending bra expert, was super helpful in adjusting my straps and fetching different colors and brands for me. (To anyone who has shopped for lingerie, you know how frustrating it is to constantly undress and then dress each time you need to run out of the dressing room in search of another size or color.)
On top of all this, I was offered a beverage and some light refreshments!
While I sipped my ginger ale, Vivi gave me the following tips…
How To Buy A Bra
#1. Which Clasp?
A bra band will stretch out with use so in order to extend the life of your bra, use the set of clasps closest to the edge first. This way, as the band loosens over time, you can move up to the next set of clasps to tighten the fit. (Seems obvious, but this seriously never occurred to me.)
If using the very last set of clasps on a new bra is the only way to get the band to fit snuggly, you are wearing the wrong size.
#2. Where the REAL Support Comes From
The straps on a bra are NOT the main source of support. It is the shelf, the part of the bra that rests against the ribs, that holds everything up. On a properly fitted bra, the middle of the shelf should rest firmly against your breastbone. If it gapes or hovers over the skin, the bra is most likely the wrong size.
#3. Cup Fit
The cups should fully encapsulate the breast. This means nothing should be spilling over the top or out of the sides. Also, the wire on the side of the cup should rest directly behind the breast tissue.
#4. To Minimize or Not to Minimize
I am always on the hunt for a good minimizer bra because, after all, I want to appear smaller. When I asked Vivi if she could bring me a minimizer, she told me told me this:
If you are wearing the correct size, you won’t need a minimizer.
#5. Bra Care
I know never to place a bra in the dryer, but the washing machine can be just as damaging. (Even in a lingerie bag, my bras get all twisted up.) The best way to preserve your investment is to soak it for at least 30 minutes in warm (not hot) water with a small amount of Woolite or other gentle detergent. Rinse with lukewarm to cold water and hang dry.
By the end of the hour, I had tried on a multitude of bras, but instead of feeling exhausted, I felt refreshed and encouraged…and I wish the same for you.
Whether you are a double M or a double A (Bra-Te-Da carries these sizes and everything in between) you deserve to wear a bra that fits. And it’s more than just aesthetics–a good bra can reduce back and shoulder strain and reduce tissue tearing/stretching.
Boobs are a pain in the neck. Support them well!
A special thanks to Vivi for helping me solve the case of the ill-fitting bra!
If you are in the Abilene area, visit Bra-Te-Da at 3238 South 27th Street or give them a call at (325) 695-2727.