Bra Fit Basics: 3 Ways to Tell If Your Bra Fits Correctly

Me trying on a 34HH bra. By Darlene Campbell of Hourglassy.com.

There’s a new video up on The Lingerie Addict YouTube Channel, and in it, I’m sharing a little bit of what I learned about bra fitting from the Eveden Group while in NYC for Lingerie Market.

Eveden, which owns the brands Huit, Fantasie, Fauve, Freya, Goddess, and Elomi, teaches a bra fit seminar at Curve every market season. It’s always well-attended, and after hearing great things about the class from Elisabeth Dale (of The Breast Life) and Laurie Shapiro (of Toad Lillie), I had to go. And I’m glad I did because it was definitely an eye-opener.

Video Screenshot – Me in the Wacoal Lace Embrace

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I’m really honest about not being a bra fitter. I’ve never worked in a lingerie boutique. I can’t look at you and guess your size. I’m rubbish with a tape measure. Basically, I have no qualifications whatsoever to fit you for a bra.

All the same, I get a ton of questions in my inbox every week asking about bra fit. And while I’m still not a fit expert of any kind, this short video will tell you if your bra is doing okay or if it’s time to go in and get resized. I recently went up a cup size myself (from a 34B to a 34C) and when I used these bra fit criteria in my old bra size and my new bra size, I definitely noticed the difference.

If you don’t have time to watch the bra fit video right now, here are the key takeaways from it:

  1. There are 3 places you can easily check on your bra to determine if it’s fitting you the right way or the wrong way: the gore, the underwires, and the band.
  2. The center gore (the bit of fabric between the cups) should lie flat against your breastbone with no gaps or spaces.
  3. The underwires should completely surround the breast. There shouldn’t be any breast tissue outside, over, or under the cup. You can test this by pressing on the outside edge of your underwire – it should be laying against your ribcage, directly on the bone.
  4. The band, where most of your support comes from, should be horizontal the ground, not riding up or dipping down. It also shouldn’t be so tight against your body that it hurts or bruises.

I hope you enjoy watching this video, and that if you’re new to bra fitting, it helps you figure out what to do next. If you have any bra fit tips and tricks of your own to share, I’d love to read them in the comments.

10 Comments

  1. 20/03/12 at 10:01

    Funny, we just missed each other! I went the next day. Isn’t Freddy great? I always learn great bra tips from her. Wasn’t that exercise of carrying an additional eight lbs eye opening? Our post is going up this week too!

  2. UpliftMaximizationTechnician
    20/03/12 at 12:30

    That’s a well done video. One important thing I have to add is in regard to the gore or center wire placement. Usually the center wires will just “slot” in between the breasts, but this is not always the case for all women. Some women have “pectus excavatum”, or simply, an inversion of the sternum bone. That means that the breastbone divots inward, creating a hollow between the breasts. I often see this on extremely slim women, in varying degrees from mild to extreme. A lot of my clients with inverted sternums ask me why their bras “don’t fit”, and I assure them that as long as all the other criteria regarding wires, band, strap placement are met, and that they are not feeling any discomfort in the sternum area, their bra will likely be fine. Most often, depending on the depth of the inversion, they will never get that wire to sit flat, and it will “float” between the breasts. This isn’t a problem, as long as the center wires do not impede with breast tissue. I caution these clients to contact me as soon as possible if they do feel discomfort. I have noticed, in my experience that women with an inversion often do well in deeper plunges, and occasionally in demi cups with a taller center wire. Pressure points along the sternum can be very sensitive, for all women!

    Secondly, breasts come in all shapes, sizes, and density. Some women are have a lovely wide divide in the cleavage, others have very close set breasts. Ladies with dense, close set breasts occasionally will not achieve full placement of the center wire along the sternum bone. These wires may stay in place for a short time, but may simply be pushed slightly (note I say SLIGHTLY) outward to rest just outside of center breast tissue. Looking for styles with thinner, close set center wires, or again, plunges can allow for better contact. This also goes for women who have had augmentations and implants. Implants are very firm, and the current aesthetic (unfortunately) seems to lean towards an extremely close set placement. Coupled with a very thin woman WITH even the slightest inversion, it is nearly impossible to achieve wire contact in the sternum area.

    There is also one more important thing, which is deserving of its own post. Most women have a breast that I like to call “dominant”, or simply, larger. It’s again, very, very common and it is usually the left breast. A dominant breast will pull more on the fabric and the wire, and often, pull the center wire towards it. If the dominant breast is significantly larger, the wire closest to it will occasionally flip outwards, especially on close-set women in the deeper cup and back combinations. Fitting a fuller side can be tricky business, and compromises may have to be made aesthetically, (less so, thanks to stretch lace!), but again, consult your trusted fitting professional.

    One thing that was missing from the video was strap placement. I again, could write a whole post on that alone, lol. But, just quickly, it’s as important as the other things mentioned. If you have narrow or sloping shoulders, look for straps that lift from the center of the cup, as opposed to wider set straps. Make SURE you are not in an absurdly large band size. If the bra is just too wide for your body, you will NEVER keep your straps in place. Wider straps do alleviate cutting. Deeper cup sizes, you’re just gonna have to put up with wider straps, so make them pretty. Your back and shoulders will thank you.

    So, to recap, inverted sternum babes, likely your bra is okay but I advise going to see a knowledgeable professional for advice. No, there’s nothing wrong with you! But likely, you’ll be more more comfortable in styles that better suit your body.

    Trea, I just had to say, you look lovely in that video! And I’m glad you’re wearing a C cup now, lol.

    :-)
    UMT

  3. Zoggi
    20/03/12 at 14:35

    I would add that a bra should fit on the largest adjustment when it’s new, to enable it to be tightened when it starts to wear out. The bra you’re wearing in the video seems to be doing its job well enough, but if you had a heavier bust you might find that the back rides up. I think this is why a lot of people disagree on how firmly the band should fit and how their measurement relates to the bra size. It bears repeating that going to a professional bra fitter rather than measuring is the best way to establish a good fit. Only drawback is, a lot of “professional” bra fitters will just measure the customer and not really fit them. Do you have any pointers for choosing a good bra fitter? Maybe a post on how to tell the difference between a good and a bad bra fitter would be useful (if you haven’t already written one!)

  4. C.
    24/03/12 at 22:04

    Great video! I’ll be reccomending it!
    I’m a newbie fitter; I’ve only been fitting for a year and a half or so. I like to fit clients on the loosest hook of a bra. If you are getting snug, firm support from the loosest, you know that the bra will last for a very long time (especially important for bustier girls who generally have more issues with wear and tear).
    I notice that a lot of women wear theirs on the tightest out of habit. Going down a band size (and consequently UP a cup size) will give you much more bra life if you are doing this. ALWAYS try it on, though, and have it checked by a fitter if possible because some brands will not transition smoothly this way.
    Lace Embrace does run pretty tight in the band, in my opinion (most Wacoal does). A size down may be TOO small for this particular bra.

  5. Isabel
    14/01/13 at 19:56

    oh dear, thank you so much for sharing this with us. It was absolutelly brilliant.

  6. 04/12/13 at 17:48

    Excellent material for those late bloomers who are now starting to wear bra’s and other lingerie I am just learning my new bra size and hope to have a
    Properly fit bra before the holidays.

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