Are you wearing the wrong bra?

BRONWYN WILLIAMS
Last updated 14:07 04/02/2013

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Are you wearing the wrong bra?

Probably. As, according to Oprah, 85% of us have our size wrong. And if you've only just wrapped your head around the whole there being both numbers and letters thing, we're about to throw a serious spanner in your works - there's even more to bra fitting than just the size. 

"Bra fitting is not just about the cup and band sizes" says Ali Smart, technical designer for Rose & Thorne lingerie. "There are a range of different breast shapes as well, not to mention that everybody wants something different out of their bra. Most breasts naturally hang down and outwards slightly, but we'd all love it if they pointed directly to the front."

While some of us point downwards or at odd angles, some women are soft through their sides, and with the wrong bra their breasts tend to fall outwards. "A bra that pulls that breast tissue from the sides round to the front will be life changing for them" says Anya Merryfield, Rose & Thorne's brand manager.     

Ill-fitting bras are not only uncomfortable, they can do serious damage as well. "They can damage your breast tissue" says Ali. "And if it doesn't support properly, you can get back problems, especially for larger busted girls. They get huge indentations in their shoulders, and the constant pressure can cause migraines. If you don't support them properly then it can also rip your ligaments inside the breast; they stretch right out and they'll never go back. When they're gone, they're gone." 

HOW TO GET THE RIGHT BRA                                                       

There are various sites online (including Rose & Thorne's site www.roseandthornedesign.co.nz) that can help you find your right fit, although there's less chance of getting it wrong if you get yourself professionally fitted in person. Most lingerie stores do complimentary bra fitting, and it's worth doing, as many women discover they've been wearing the wrong bra size for years.  

FINDING THE BEST FIT

It should fit snugly, but just like with a good fit of collar on a pet dog, you should be able to get two fingers under the band comfortably. 

"If the back of the bra is riding up or you're hauling up the shoulder straps throughout the day, then the band size is too big," says Ali. Remember you can always adjust the hooks and eyes in the back, but if this still doesn't do the trick then you'll need to go a size down. This is the number - 10, 12, 14 etc. 

If your bra cup is moulded, your breasts should fill it completely; you shouldn't have extra room in the cup - that's just wastage. Nor do you want to be spilling out of your cup, if this is the case you'll need to go up a size.

Flap your arms about and wave them around, "If the band rides up and you start to fall out the bottom then it's too big," says Ali. If this happens, try adjusting the shoulder straps, or make the band smaller. If it's still leaping about then go down a size. 

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If you're getting back fat when wearing your bra, then your bra is actually too big. Oversized bras ride up and pull your back fat up with it. Choose a smaller bra size that sits in the centre of your back where it's supposed to be and you'll no longer get the back fat.

If you're petite in frame and you can't find a bra that fits, try a Demi bra. A Demi has a shorter wire so you won't be spiked in the armpits.

Your bra should never be painful or uncomfortable to wear. If it's even slightly niggly, ditch the thing before you get to the cashier. 

When wearing an underwire, the wire should lay flat against your breastbone. It it's popping up, morphing or riding up, you've got the wrong size. "Underwires that sit on your breast tissue and not under it can damage the tissue long term," says Ali, "So tug your boobs up and make sure they are sitting in the bra properly." 

HOW TO PUT ON A BRA

You may think it's only a wives' tale, but there truly is a way to put on a bra. 

Lean forward; your breasts are sitting correctly in the bra if your nipples are in the centre of the cup. By leaning forward and allowing your breasts to fall into the cups, you'll find it easier to place them comfortably into the correct position. You may like to dive your hand into your bra and gently tug your breasts up and into place afterwards as well.  

Women with big breasts will need to use the 'stoop, swoop and scoop' manoeuvre. Stoop - bend forward and let your breasts drop into the cups. Swoop - take your hand across to the opposite side of your body and swoop your breast up and into its cup. When wearing an underwire bra, your breast should sit inside the underwire. Repeat on the other side. Scoop - with your opposite hand again scoop your breasts up to make sure there's no boob left hanging below the underwire. Now give them a jiggle to centre them before straightening up and doing up the band. 

GET A FREE BRA

Rose & Thorne lingerie are good friends of Dress for Success, and between now and February 13th they are giving a free bra to every visitor to their store - all you have to do is donate to charity. To take advantage of the offer pop into their store in Cross Street, Auckland, and make a small donation to Dress for Success - anything you can give is great, from a gold coin to a note. You'll get a free fitting consultation and walk away with your new bra.

For more info go to freebra.co.nz

- Stuff

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