I have a confession – I’m a hoarder. If like me, you have a penchant for holding on to things for a little too long, including your old faithful bras, then you’ve ended up in the right place. Bras aren’t meant to last forever (although we wish our favourites did!) so here are some signs that it might be time to say goodbye to your ‘oldies but goodies’.
1. Your bra rides up at the back.
If you find yourself constantly re-adjusting your bra throughout the day, having to fix yourself into the cups or pulling your band down, this is a surefire sign that it’s not a good fit. A well fitting bra will feel snug and secure and hold you in place all day. Given that 80% of the support comes from the band, this is what you should always check first before moving on to the cups. This is a pretty common issue as many people find that they often need a smaller band and bigger cup size than what they’re wearing.
Tip: If you find your band is riding up, you will need to go down in the band size. A well-fitting and secure band should be fitted to the first or middle hook and run horizontally all the way round the front and back of your body. A good way to test this is to raise your arms in the air like you’re reaching for something – the band should stay secure. If it lifts, you may need to try going down another band size. And remember, if you’re going down a band size, you’ll need to go up in the cup size to compensate!
2. The cups are spilling over.
Overflowing cups is a sign that your cups are too small and you need to size up. When your breast tissue doesn’t fully fit into the cup, not only can it be uncomfortable but it will give you that ‘quadboob’ look and a bumpy silhouette potentially ruining that gorgeous outfit, which we definitely don’t want!
Tip: Go up in the cup size and ensure the underwire is fully encasing the breast tissue and not sitting on it. Breast tissue starts much further under the armpit than most people realise so it’s important to make sure the whole boob is contained in the cup. In some instances, it may be that the style of the bra you’re wearing is causing the overspill – lower cut styles such as a balconette or demi-cups may cause a little more overspill than fuller cup styles, particularly if you your boobs are fuller on top.
3. Your straps are digging into your shoulders.
With 80% of the support coming from the band, the straps should not be doing the heavy lifting! If your straps are doing a lot of the work or you’re finding you have to constantly tighten them, it’s a sign the band may be too big or has loosened to the point it’s no longer giving you the support you need. When a band isn’t supporting you as it should, you’ll find that you’re probably tightening the straps quite firmly and the weight of your breasts will pull down on the straps causing them to dig in to your shoulders. Over a period of time, this can cause pain and damage to your neck and shoulders so if you find yourself in this position, an easy solution may simply be a well-fitting bra.
Tip: Try going down a band size or moving to the tightest hook. If you’re fuller busted, look for bras that have slightly wider straps as these will help distribute the weight of your boobs more effectively. If you’ve had a mastectomy or lumpectomy and lymph nodes removed, there is a risk of lymphoedema and it’s important that pressure around this area should be minimised as much as possible with padded shoulder straps. Some styles, such as the Anita Havanna Bra, have wider and slightly padded straps which provide extra comfort, as well as pockets to hold a prosthesis.
4. Your straps keep slipping down.
There’s nothing more irritating than having to pull up your bra straps every few minutes (we’ve all been there) but it can be for a number of reasons with the most common being that the band is too big. When the band is too big, it will curve or ride up at the back, pushing the straps higher and making them sit looser against your shoulders.
Tip: It may be that the elastic in the straps have naturally loosened over time so a small adjustment to tighten may be needed and that’s totally normal. If it’s the band that’s causing the issue, try fastening on the tightest hook or going down a band size to ensure a more secure fit. If you have narrow or sloped shoulders, you will want to avoid bras with wide-set straps as no matter how well the bra fits you in other areas, the chances are you’ll still have this issue. So how should your straps sit? You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers underneath the strap.
5. The centre gore (the panel in between the cups) sits away from your body.
The centre gore of your bra connects the cups and keep your boobs separated and should lie flat against your chest (without being uncomfortable) when your bra is a good fit. If you find that there is a gap between the centre panel and your body, it could be that the cups are too small and your boobs are pushing the bra away from your body. In this instance, you may find that your boobs may spill out the tops, sides or bottom of the bra.
Tip: If the cups are too small, your breast tissue won’t be full encapsulated in the cup so try going up in the cup size to ensure your boobs are fully contained.
6. The cups are wrinkly.
Wrinkly cups can often mean that the cup is too big – your boobs should fill out the cups and smooth out the material. In some cases, if you have shallow boobs (when breast tissue is more spread out so there is less projected volume, and often less volume at the top of the breasts) you may struggle to fill out the whole cup and finding your true bra size can be a little trickier.
Tip: Try a smaller cup size to ensure your boobs are filling the cup so you’re getting maximum support. If you think it’s because the shape of your boobs are shallow, try a balconette style bra (slightly lower cut) or styles where the cups aren’t as full or deep. Lightly padded bras may also work for you as the padding will help fill the cup where shallow boobs can’t reach.
If you can identify with any of the above, it may be a sign that it’s time to get yourself properly fitted and into some gorgeously well-fitted bras! If you need help with any sizing or fit issues, pop me a message at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help.