23 October 2015

How to fit your own bra


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and in aid of that I've spent the past few weeks talking about everything breast related. Last week I talked about the importance of wearing a bra that fits correctly, you can read that here if you haven't already. So this week I wanted to give you a Bra Fitting masterclass. I've been working as a professional bra fitter for a leading department store for the past 5 years so a wealth of knowledge has built up that I want to share with you. Especially if you're still plucking up the courage to get fitted professionally...

Band


There are 2 ways to find your back size, the easiest way is to grab a tape measure and wrap it around your body, just under the breast tissue, inch side up. Depending on the measurement, add 2 inches to get the band size. The second way is to, again, measure around your body under the breast, but this time with centimeters. Once you find your measurement, use the conversion chart below to find your back size. Theoretically, doing it in cm's is more accurate however inches is easier and faster. But remember, the tape measure is just for guidance and from personal experience, it is only right 75% of the time. The majority of finding your bra size should be from looking at the way the bra fits and adjusting accordingly. 


The band is the part of the bra that gives you the most support. It should lie completely horizontal all the way around the torso and back. If it rides up your back and forms a bridge or comes away from the body on your rib cage, then the back is too big and you should go down a size. When you have the correct band size, when tugged the band should only give 1.5inches (3 fingers), any further then it isn't giving you the support that you need. 

Straps

The straps of the bra only give 20% of the support, so if they are digging into your shoulders and leaving painful marks then too much of the weight is being left to the straps. To fix this you need to go down in the back size, this will lift the breasts and take more of the weight giving your shoulders a deserved rest.

Similarly to the band, when tugged the straps should only give 1.5 inches or a width of 3 fingers. If they give more than that you need to tighten them to make sure they are taking full 20% of support they are there for! If your bra is more than 6 months old, toss it in the bin, no matter how much you tighten the straps, your old comfy bra isn't going to support you the way it should be!

Cups

The cup size is probably the most difficult part of finding the right bra size. Every bra is different the same as every body is different. Chances are the perfect, comfy t-shirt bra you live in won't fit as nicely as the pretty balcony bra you love because the shape is different. It's kind of like dressing for your shape, if you have an hourglass figure you go for clothes which cinch you in at the waist because they accentuate you assets! It's similar with bra's.

If you have a good Google on how to bra fit, most sites will tell you to measure the bust. I was never taught that way because it's not very accurate because every breast shape is different. The way I do it though is to look at the bra you're wearing. If you're in a 34D and the back size is perfect but the breast is giving a double boob effect then you need to try a larger cup like a 34DD for example. However, if the back size is too big but the cup is perfect then you need to go to a 32DD. If you go up in the back size, go down in the cup and vice versa, Boux Avenue have a great video that explain it well here

Wires

Once you've picked a cup size that you think is ok, you need to check the wires. The wires must sit flat on the chest, if the wire presses into the breast tissue leaving marks or comes away from the chest then the cup size is still too small. 

You must also check the ends of the wires underneath your arms too, they must come back past where the breast tissue ends. If they don't I would suggest trying a smaller back size if the bra fits everywhere else I've mentioned, if that doesn't work increase the cup again. It's important that the wires don't poke in anywhere if they do they can block your milk ducts which could eventually lead to Mastitis (you can read about it here). The condition is most common in ladies who are breastfeeding but I have worked with people who have developed it from wearing the incorrect bra size! 

And that is everything, I tried to keep it as short at possible, but there's so much information to learn! I've read so many sites which put it more concisely, but they leave out so much information that I think is super important. 

I urge you to pop in and see a professional if you're unsure or have never been fitted before. Most places offer a free bra fitting service with no obligation to buy afterward. There's nothing to be afraid of, I work 30 hours a week and probably fit around 20 people alone, we're all professionals and there's nothing we haven't seen before. If you have any questions leave a comment below or even send me an email if you want a more private response. 

And then just before I go, like I said at the beginning, this post is part of my Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, you can learn more about that in my post here. If you would like to donate you can visit the official Breast Cancer Awareness website here.

Love always,
Melissa


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