Have you ever wondered why no matter what bra you buy it never seems to fit or feel right? Are you tired of hearing the statistic that 80% of the women are wearing the wrong size bra knowing you are one of them? Are you at the point that you just don’t think you will ever find a comfortable bra, let alone more than one? Well, if so, you have come to the right place! Although there is no 100% ‘perfect’ fitting bra, finding the most ‘ideal’ size, fit, and style in a bra is much more of a realistic and attainable goal than you may have thought. Simply stated, finding your ideal bra is ‘more an art than a science.’ So, let’s get down to the basics to set things straight for your girls and get them out of the bra war you may be battling!
I continue to be amazed by the number of magazine articles, blogs, and media discussions around the universal bra fit problem, especially considering there are so many brands and styles from which to choose. The truth of the matter is, there are some very key issues which come into play when trying to find the ‘right bra,’ and many of these bra fitting facts are still either unknown, undermined, or simply ignored. To top it off, many women simply just dread the idea of shopping for a bra. As we discussed in our previous blog, due to the fact that the majority of American women have never been professionally measured and fit for a bra (and we are not speaking about being measured at Victoria’s Secret), most of us are walking around in uncomfortable bras and clueless about what really is our ‘true’ size. Well, the good news is, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! Over the next series of blogs, we are going to be exploring the ways to get out of that bra you hate and into an ideal bra you love. Our goal at a bra palette is to lead you through an easy and authentic journey to discover the right size, fit, and style so you can finally begin bra shopping with confidence!
a bra palette was founded out of the need for a woman to have her own personal bra sizing and styling journey with a special focus on her authentic self. I believe once a woman is empowered to feel beautiful ‘underneath,’ she will exude an overall powerful presence. As discussed in earlier blogs, learning to love the body you live in and ending the trauma around body bashing is a tough battle. But, becoming empowered in your own authentic self is accomplished in many fashions. One of those is truly how we dress our beautiful bodies underneath our daily wardrobes. So, if you are constantly struggling with an uncomfortable bra, have ‘older than the hills’ panties, and have never been consulted on the benefits of shapewear, then it’s hard to feel good in the clothes you are wearing!
Let’s dig into the enemies which contribute to the bra battle. For starters, a woman’s bra size rarely stays consistent due to the fact that our breast shape and size changes over time. Life circumstances such as weight gain or loss, pregnancy, nursing, hormonal changes, menopause, and breast surgery are some of the primary culprits. Since we all have our own authentic breast sizes and shapes, it is not only necessary to be measured properly, but also be re-measured if your bra is no longer fitting or feeling the same!
Unfortunately, there are plenty more enemies in the bra battle and some of the worst are the bra parts themselves! For instance, the center gore is not ‘tacking’ properly against your rib cage, the band is too loose or feels like it is constantly riding up your back, bra straps are sliding off your shoulders, the cups are gaping or double bubbles appear over the cups, and wires are pinching or poking you. These issues alone are enough to say, enough is enough! But don’t lose hope because this is the beginning of your journey with a bra palette…to uncover what is not working with your bra!
The bra BAND…Whenever I listen to women talk about why they hate their bras, this is one of the primary complaints; ‘my bra band is always riding up my back!’ That annoying tugging and yanking at the back of your bra that I am sure most every woman has had a battle with. To make matters even more complicated, as much as 90% of the support of a bra comes from the band itself! When I am working with clients, I cannot stress enough that the band of a bra must fit snuggly around the bodice and preferably on the loosest hook if it’s a new bra. Because a bra band stretches out over time, it needs to be gradually tightened to the other hooks to keep it snug. The bra band should also be parallel to the ground and sit halfway between the elbow and shoulder (as your arm hangs loosely by your side) for the best fit. Wow, who knew a bra band can cause such a battle. But one enemy is usually followed by another!
Right behind in the battle are the bra STRAPS, which account for the other 10% of a bra’s support. Do you feel like you are always pulling your straps back up onto shoulders? Or just as annoying, do you feel like your straps are digging into shoulders to the point they leave divot markings? Both of these are either due to being in the wrong size cup or strap adjustment problems. Furthermore, when a bra style has wide set straps and a woman has narrow or sloping shoulders, sliding straps can be an issue. This is where the style of the bra comes into play, so looking for a t-back or multi-way strap bra can alleviate these problems. Clearly, since the bra band is responsible for so much of how the bra fits, straps can become the victims of a poor fitting band which only defeats us in the bra battle.
One of the lesser known culprits of the bra battle is the center gore or ‘tacking.’ This is the area of the bra which connects the two cup together. It varies in size and shape depending on the style of the bra. When all of the other parts of the bra are fitting correctly, and the breasts are in the right style bra, then the center gore should fit firm and flush against the sternum. In other words, your bust will be lifted to the right height and your breasts will be separated or brought together to the right degree.
Next up in the battle zone…how about those CUPS…are they overflowing or only half full? The old adage of ‘is your cup half empty or half full’ doesn’t apply to a well-fit bra! The reality of the wrong cup size is often because you have not been professionally fit and are in the wrong combination of band size and cup size. The right band size, with too small of a cup size, leads to bulging breast tissue out of the cups or the infamous ‘double bubble’ effect at the top of the cup. Or, there is the opposite problem, the ‘gaping’ cup. This is when your breast tissue simply does not fill your cups, either on the sides, underneath or up top. As a result, this creates a space or gap between the breast tissue and your bra cup. Since we know there are so enemies in our bra battle, you may be in the wrong fit or style of bra which is creating the overflow or gaping of the cups. Even a correctly ‘sized’ bra may not fit well if the cup style doesn’t work with your breast shape. Ugh! We will be talking more about breast shapes and bra styles that work well together in an upcoming series. Unfortunately, our bra battle isn’t won in a day!
One of the most important defensive strategies in the bra battle is obviously to be measured and fit professionally. But, there is another key strategy to keep in mind. It is somewhat of an underutilized tool, but vitally important for when a woman is being measured for the first time or if her bra band size changes. It is referred to as ‘SISTER SIZING.’ I am going to keep this as simple as possible because when you actually join a bra palette’s authentic fit journey, you will be given your ‘ideal’ size, your sister sizes, and bra style options based on your individual breast characteristics. But for now, a simplistic explanation of sister sizing is this; whenever your bra band size changes, your cup size must change in response. For instance, if you have been wearing a 36C, but after going through a bra palette’s bra sizing matrix it is determined that your band is really a 34, it does not mean you are a 34C, but rather a 34D. This may sound strange to some of you who have never heard of sister sizing, but every C cup is NOT the same ‘size’ in every band size (which also means that every cup letter is not the same ‘size’ in every band). So, by moving to a 34D, it doesn’t mean anything more than the cup size itself matches the band size. The bottom line is that the general cup ‘sizes’ in a 34D, 36C, and 38B are the same, regardless of the letter. This is one of the biggest battles won once a woman realizes that if her band size changes, her cup size must change too! To best illustrate how this works, please take a look at the ‘SISTER SIZING CHART’ below:
As we wrap up this blog on the strategies to win the bra battle, hopefully you have learned more about the culprits behind why your bra size changes over time and how you can turn your bra part ‘enemies’ into friends! In the next ‘Building Bra Confidence’ series, we will be looking at how different breast shapes and placement are suited for different bra styles to achieve the best overall fit. In the meantime, if the battleground still seems confusing, you can always reach out to us by commenting below or contacting us @ abrapalette.com/contact. And remember, we love you!💜