Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bra Fitting: Five Signs of a Poor Fit

You may have measured yourself to figure out an approximate correct size, but how do you know if a bra you're trying on (or the one you're wearing now) is a good fit? If you notice one or more of these five common signs of a poor fit, then it's time to try a different size!


1. The straps are digging into your shoulders, leaving grooves and marks.
Most of the support that the bra gives should be from the band of the bra - very little weight should be on the shoulders. Straps digging in to your shoulders indicate that too much weight is being placed there. This can cause discomfort, pain, slouching, and marks/shoulder grooves (that can even become permanent)!


Solution:
If you have straps digging in and leaving marks, this probably indicates that the band of the bra isn't tight enough to give support. Go down a band size (and up a cup size for each band size) until the band is firm and supportive and you can just fit two fingers under it.

2. The wires are sitting on breast tissue.
The wires should fully encase the breast tissue on all sides of the bra. Wires sitting on breast tissue will lead to shifting, much readjusting, an ill-fitting look, pain, unwanted re-distribution of breast tissue, and all sorts of other problems!

Here the wires aren't going far back enough to encase all of the breast tissue - the wire would have to extend back to about the blue line to do so. There's some spillage going on in front, and the front wire is also sitting on the breast rather than fully encasing it and resting against the sternum.

The wires of this bra are very obviously sitting on top of the breasts and not against the ribcage at all. There's a lot of bulging out of the cup happening under the armpits. If we could see the side of the bra, the wire would most likely be sitting on the breast tissue there as well. The cups are much too small for this model - if the front wires were sitting under the breasts as they should be, about half of the breast tissue would be bulging out the top of the cups!

Solution:
If wires are sitting on your breasts, go up as many cup sizes as needed in order get the wires sitting comfortably against your ribcage and have the breast tissue fully encased.

3. The center gore of the bra isn't firm against your sternum (or isn't touching at all)
Relating to #2 - a center gore that doesn't sit comfortably against your sternum (you shouldn't be able to fit fingers under it) indicates too-small cups and probably a too-large band.

In the picture, you can see that not only is the center gore pushed far away from the sternum because of the too-small cups, the model's breast tissue is spilling out under the armpit, too! (Here's yet another example *tsks at Playtex*)

Solution: 
Go up in cup size (and down in back size if necessary) until the center gore sits completely against the sternum and no wires are resting on any breast tissue.

4. The band is riding up in the back (or is sitting too low)
This is one of the most common problems women have - a too-big band and too-small cups. The band riding up in the back (or sitting too low on the back) indicates that the breasts are not supported by the bra - the bra is functioning more like a sling rather than giving firm support for the breasts. The band of a new bra should be sitting straight and firm across the back on the loosest hook.
Other indicators of a too-big band are if you can fit more than a couple of fingers under it, or if you're always having to hook the bra on the tightest hook.

 The band here is riding up (rather than being firm and straight across the back), and it's also on the tightest hook - both strong indicators of a too-large band.

The band here is sitting too low - the top of the band should be up about where the red line is instead.

Solution: 
Go down in back size (and up a cup size each time) until the band sits firmly across your back. You may find need to go up additional cup sizes as well at the end, as it's difficult to see how well the cups are fitting if the band is much too large. For example, when I got properly fitted for the first time, I went from a 36DD to a 30G (a 36DD cup volume is roughly equal to 34E, 32F, and 30FF, so I went up an additional cup size once the band size was correct).

5. Your boobs are bulging out of the cups, creating the "quad-boob" (or four-boob) effect.
This may also mean that the wires are sitting on breast tissue (see #2). Boobs bulging out of the top of the cup indicate that the cup is too small. There's nothing wrong with some cleavage, but it should be a smooth line that the bra creates, not bulging.

It's a bit hard to see (most likely due to Photoshop smoothing), but you can still tell that the breasts are bulging out of the cups, which are cutting into the breasts.

Solution: 
Go up in cup size until you no longer get bulging out of the bra.


Got questions about proper fit? I'd love to hear them!

(Note: You'll notice that many of these examples are either Playtex or Victoria's Secret models/bras. It irks me to no end that neither of these two companies can even fit their models correctly!)

90 comments:

  1. Good article :) Nice and plain and good examples, too. Since I learned about proper fit, I've noticed that almost every woman who I've seen wearing a low cut top has not got the centre gore anywhere near her chest, let alone firm. Even women with small breasts.

    I have one problem that I don't know the solution to. Maybe you might? When fitting my mother, I put her into literally the tightest band she could wear. I could not do up the size down. However, even with that extremely tight band and cups that encased all of her breast tissue, the centre gore was still quite easy to pull away from her chest. I don't know why that is, when I could barely fit fingers under the band at the back. Do you have any ideas?

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    1. I have to say that the central gores is one of the touchiest areas to fit; if I go up 5lbs the gores of my well-fitted bras will pull away from the chest. You have to remember that the band is just the first step. If the cups are too small the gore will pull away, no matter how tight the band is. And, it can be tricky to see the right fit until you go up a cup size and see.

      Also, this could be a case of breasts that are close together. Different bra styles have slightly different gore shapes, and if the gore is too widely spaced for you mother's breasts, I imagine the gore could be pulling away to accommodate the tissue there.

      Good luck,
      Hannah

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    2. Thanks! I know there are a few other signs of a bad bra fit, but I wanted to touch on what I felt were the most common ones :) I think one reason so many women have bras that don't fit well is because so many bra companies have examples of poorly-fitting bras, so women aren't aware that the wires shouldn't be on their breasts, etc.

      I think I agree with Hannah in that center gores can be a little tricky. My first thought is that maybe the cups are a little small, which will cause the gore to be pushed away. I've heard the principle "go up in cup size until you know it's too big," and I think that's a pretty good method. Often it seems like cups are fitting fairly well, but then when you try the next size up, you realize that the new size is actually better. You never know till you try!

      You could also have her try different styles with a smaller or narrower center gores - as Hannah said, it could be that the gores she's trying are too wide.

      Hope that helps! :)

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    3. Thanks for the replies :) I didn't try a cup size up because the size looked good, but next time I will look at that. She wasn't keen to hang around so it was hard to make sure everything fit!

      Oh, and thanks for following my blog Christine :) I couldn't work out who it was until I came to read this reply!

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    4. Ha, my mom is like that - never wanting to hang around places too long... But bra fitting takes time!

      Make sure, too, that she's bending over and adjusting/gathering all the breast tissue into the cups of the bra once it's on - that way she'll get the best idea of how the cups really fit and if she should try a different cup size.

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    5. Yup, fortunately we've got that sorted. First thing I teach someone I'm fitting. No use trying to fit a bra you're not properly in!

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    6. Hi Kiwi.

      To take literally the tightest band possible often is not such a good idea, because it can mess up all of the bra construction - the wires are stretched, the cups become more shallow, a lot of the cupvolume is ending up somewhere under the arms where there is no tissue anymore and one keeps going up sizes in cup to outbalance the tight band. We called this "Reversed Letterphobia" at Busenfreundinnen-Forum because it just reverses the usual fitting problems (band to wide, cups too small, straps too long) into the complete opposite.
      In order to check, if you're a victim of reversed letterphobia (as I have been for nearly 10 month), you should check out, if you by default choose to wear a bra with the straps shortened as much as possible and how the fit would be if you use a bra extender. If there suddenly is exzessive fabric, a smaller cup probably would do.
      Brafitters at Busenfreundinnen recommend (fitting advice no 1) to try to get wires that are enclosing the breast tissue as accurately as possible.
      If you, for example, choose a very short band and a too small cup, you end up with the bra forming the infamous triangle - as a result the wires are pushed away from the body.

      Just wanted to point out that possiblity. Seen it a lot of times and having experienced it myself I know it's kind of a common mistake in the first wave of bra fitting euphoria.

      :)

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    7. I will never have a bra with fitting center gores as my chest slopes inward from underbust upwards. The closest I can come to a center gore touching my ribcage in the upper 2/3 portions of the center gore are a select few full cup styles that have elasticized tops of cup that pull the center gore so it also slopes inwards.

      If the center gore isn't pushing out, is vertical or slopes inward and touches my ribcage properly at the bottom it's the best fit I can get.

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    8. Anon, are you referring to a condition like mild pectus excavatum? Something like that will most definitely present different fitting challenges! Certainly, we'll all need to adjust the "rules" according to our own particular body types and differences - the list here is merely some of the most common-occurring ones that are usually seen. It sounds like you're really on top of what works for you :)

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    9. I'm a bra specialist, for a living and all I have to say is " scoop method " if she is wearing the right cup size. This helps all the tissue fill up any gaping in the top of the cup while letting the center gore lay flat to the chest. It sounds like you may be going too tight with the band, you don't want her to be uncomfortable. When he arms are relaxed and down by her side, the end tip of the underwire should be just barely touching her arm, so if you haven't checked for a larger cup size to encompass all of the tissue, try that. Lastly, and least likely, maybe the bra wires are bent strangely in the bras you're trying.

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  2. Great post! It's the first time I read about the band sitting too low indicating a band that is too wide and as someone who as never had a band ride up my back, I must say that it is fantastic advice!

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    1. Thanks! The band riding too low is a little less obvious than a band riding up sometimes, but it's still a problem for some girls!

      I love your recent posts on your blog, by the way :)

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    2. Just wanted to add: Breasts are sitting higher or lower on the torso, so it's really different from person to person where the band is right. It also depends on the fit of the bra, so the important thing is to check if the wires are just beneath the breasts - and not somewhere else and if all of the breast tissued is inside the cup. Sometimes, especially with smaller breasts, the extra long straps often indicate too small a cup.
      :)

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  3. What would be the difference between having cleavage and the quad boob effect? All of my bras fit me well except for the one that is a plunge style. I had read the recommendation of going up a cup or two for plunge style bras. I seem the have the quad boob effect with my plunge bra. I just ordered a plunge style bra the other day that is one cup larger than my usual size so I can see if one cup size larger will fit better. How do you know if it is cleavage or the quad boob effect?

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    1. Anonymous - it's generally fairly easy to tell if you do have it, especially if you look at the bra from the side. If the fabric of the cups is cutting into the breasts and creating bulges rather than a smooth line, then it's what some call "quad boob" - the "four boob" effect. If you put a tighter top on and can see bulges rather than a smooth line, that's another sign that there's quad boob going on.
      There's a better picture example of it in this post by Venusian Glow: http://www.venusianglow.com/2008/04/does-this-bra-fit-how-do-i-tell.html

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  4. Great article! We couldn't agree more!

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    1. Thanks! Love the range of sizes your site offers! x

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  5. I thought my bra was the right size, having gone down one back already. and now having a good shape and good support. BUT, I have permanent grooves in my shoulders, my straps do dig in and leave ,marks and I have had bad posture, slouching, shoulder / neck pain for years. The problem I have, is that I actually measure 37 inches under the bust, so have gone from a 38 to a 36 and can't realistically go down to a 34 as I'm just too fat for that size!

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    1. Anon - yikes, shoulder grooves are no fun, I know! Have you tried going up in cup size as well to make sure your breasts are completely contained and supported? It sounds like that could stem from a cup that is too small...

      Also, I wouldn't completely rule out a 34 band, especially those that may run a bit big. Band size also depends on body shape and build, so very athletic girls, for instance, may need to wear a 34 or 32 rather than a 30 band because of being so firm, where as others who have more give/squish factor may be able to size down in band fairly comfortably. If 36 bands are quite tight already with the correct cup size, then this may not be the case for you, but it might be something to look into.

      Good luck!

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    2. I'm a bit late with my comment, but I hope Anonymous is still reading. You could very well be a 34 band, because bigger bands stretch more than others and fat tissue compresses. You might want to try a 34 band, that wouldn't hurt!

      I just wanted to say that that's nothing weird to have a band smaller than your chest size. Also, a 34 band isn't a small band unlike many think. It actually is more of a "plus size" band meaning, that a slim woman usually needs a 24-28 band.

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  6. I have noticed that VS is taking a lot of flak (not necessary in the post), but I have also heard the fabric should be very smooth and comfortable.

    Does anybody know if their size 34DDD would be ok for a person, who normally uses 34E from brands like Freya and Curvy Kate?

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    1. Anonymous, I don't know too much about the fit of the bras (though I have heard from different sources that the cups tend to run small and the bands tend to run big - not sure if this is true for all their bras), but a DDD in U.S. sizing is equal to an E in UK sizing, so the letter exchange seems to work out, anyway.

      It may be difficult to find a 34DDD in Victoria's Secret stores, however, and I'm not sure how many choices they have in it... If you're looking for a smooth, comfortable, moulded bra, have you tried out the Freya Deco Plunge?

      I really don't mean to bash companies, but I do take issue with the fact that VS does such a poor job in fitting customers (they "measured" me, a 28GG, as a 34C once!), and that they stock a very small size range. I think those are the main things that bloggers in general take issue with - that and the fact that they don't fit their models correctly. I hope this changes, however gradually! :)

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    2. As I live in Europe I was planning to order from their website, where they seem to have several 34DDD. From what I have heard about their shops I wouldn't dream of buying from them.

      But with shipping costs it could easily get expensive, especially if the sizes don't fit proberly.

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    3. Honestly, I wouldn't risk it. Just to compare, if you check Bratabase, a VS 34DD has a band that stretches to 38 inches, cup width of 6 inches, cup depth of 8.8 inches. The Freya Arabella, also in a 34DD, has a band that stretches to 35 inches, cup width of 5.5 inches, and a cup depth of 10 inches. VS adds the padding to the cup after the size has been established, so many women actually end up going up at least 1 cupsize in a VS bra when compared to other brands. Also, they tend to be very stretchy in the band in styles above a 34 band and a C cup.
      Yes their fabric is smooth and comfortable, they have padded underwire now too (how cool is that??) but you really do not get what you pay for. The Body By Victoria (which I have been told is one of the most comfortable) is available in a 34DDD for $45. You can get a Freya Deco online in the US for about $56. You can buy a better bra for not that much more.

      *The same applies for Frederick's of Hollywood which also offers a 34DDD/F. Their 34DDD is closer to a VS DD, with more width and a slightly smaller band. They usually do a 2/$40 and the bras are not good quality.

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    4. Regarding #4 in the main post: the band sitting too low can also be a sign that the bra is too narrow in the frame, and/or that the cups are too close together. In this case, going down in the band size won't usually help, even if you go up one or more cup sizes.

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    5. You're right, it could be a style issue too; I was mostly trying to illustrate how the band riding down can happen when the band is too big (I think I've mostly seen examples of this in thin girls), but there are definitely other causes of it as well. At any rate, it's something to look out for when you're checking for signs that a bra isn't fitting right!

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  7. I don't agree with saying that your bra might be too large if it's sitting too low. As George says, breasts sit at a different level on different people. I think it would be better to say that the back of the bra should be level with the crease under the breast, ie horizontal around your body. The bra in the picture does look very low, but we can't see the front so we have no idea how this bra actually fits.

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    1. It is hard to tell without seeing the whole bra... I found that with many sites, they showed either the back or the front of the bra, not both! I'm just guessing that the bra doesn't fit well in the front on the example I used; the band looks loose/not firm enough to me even disregarding the band placement issue.

      It is a bit of a tricky one; I have noticed this issue with bands falling down too low mostly with thin, smaller-busted girls, I think. It's not really the most common sign of a poorly-fitting bra, but it is something to watch out for. It probably would've been better to phrase it like you did, since it's true that everyone's breasts sit at a different level! Thanks for clarifying :)

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  8. Hello, thanks for writing this clear guide. I suffer from the quad boob, and what I like to call the "armpit vagina" from breast tissue spilling out the side. I'd like to find a comfortable bra but bra sizes are so confusing? I've tried the over-boob, under-boob, and plastic surgeon measurement method and my size calculates different each time. With the over-boob method I'm a 36B. With the under-boob method I'm a 34D. With the plastic surgeon method I'm a C cup (this method doesn't measure band size, though.) If I use the calculator @ http://www.85b.org/bra_calc.php it says I'm a 38B. I've never heard of 38B but this site @ http://www.breasthealthonline.org/cgi-bin/mwf/topic_show.pl?tid=48932 says it's the same as 40A, 38B, 36C, 34D and 32DD? I'm so confused. My bras that don't fit are a 34B right now, I'm not sure what cup size to go up to, although they clearly don't fit!

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    1. Hey, Anon! I'm not sure what the "plastic surgeon" method is, but it looks like those two bra calculators you used used the "adding 4/5/6 inches" rule to the underbust measurement, which is NOT accurate! Try any (or all) of the calculators in this post - they are quite accurate: http://boosaurusbras.blogspot.com/2012/03/bra-sizing-calculators.html

      Your band size should be about equal to your underbust measurement, and it definitely sounds like you need to go up several cup sizes, especially if you go down in band size. Let me know how you get on!

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    2. Thank you for you advice! I used all those calculators and 32DD came up twice so I guess that's where I'll start. I'll be sure to keep this page in mind when I'm actually trying on bras, though! I think it's so strange that I've been wearing the wrong bra size for years. I feel like a lady-failure, lol.

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  9. Hi, I realize this post is from a little while ago, but I have a couple questions that have been baffling me. The biggest problem I'm having right now is that after wearing my bras for a whole day, they seem to ... slide down? Like, I end up with underwire marks several inches below my boobs, and they're touching my torso at the bottom of my boobs. I thought this might be because of too small a band, that it was riding down to a skinnier area, but any bigger and I get it riding up in back. Sometimes I sort of push up on the underwire and get it to sit right at the bottom of my boobs, but then when I sit down it seems to push really hard against my (large) stomach and hurts badly. Right now I *think* I'm a 34F (UK), though I might need to go up a cup size next time I get a bra.

    The other problem is possible less of a fit problem and more of a style problem? All of my bras, while the mostly fit comfortably, separate my boobs a *lot*. I end up with such a wide gap between them that anything that doesn't fit tightly (and stretch unpleasantly across them) falls into the gap and looks terrible. I can solve this mostly by wearing a cami, but man, in the 100+ summer heat, I don't want another layer! :) And I miss having actual cleavage. Do you have any suggestions for styles that might help? I'm mostly wearing unpadded seamed cups, as I've never been able to find a molded cup that actually sits right. >.<

    Thank you so much, sorry this is so long.

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    1. Hi goreycat! Hmm, it actually sounds to me like you may have too big of a band. I suspect that it's actually riding down because it's not supportive enough.

      When you put on your bra, have you tried to "hoik" up on it to make sure that the underwires are up under the breasts where they should be (see here: http://questfortheperfectbra.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/how-to-pull-up-on-underwires/)? This may help you determine how the bra should sit better. Also, you may want to check your size against some good bra calculators: http://boosaurusbras.blogspot.com/2012/03/bra-sizing-calculators.html You may very well find that you could use a smaller band.

      Overall, the issues you're describing might be fixed if you figure out that you need a different size (like a smaller band and a larger cup). You also might need to experiment with different brands. What brands have you been wearing? Some definitely tend to give more of a "separated" look, but there are other styles that might work better for you. Have you tried out many plunge styles? Can you describe what you mean by moulded cups not sitting right? Again, this could be a sizing issue...

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions :)

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    2. Yeah, that sounds like it could be it. I'll try a smaller band next time I get a bra. And heh, that 'hoik' thing - I do that, exactly, but I end up with two problems - if I'm standing, after a while it just slides back down, and if I sit, it gets caught painfully between folds of skin and presses painfully into my stomach if I don't sit ramrod straight.

      Right now the two that I have that worked best for me are from O Lingerie. And they did sit much better when I first got them - actually, I think I've lost some weight since then, so maybe that's part of the problem. I haven't tried any plunge styles yet. Unfortunately, due to where I live, there's nowhere even remotely close I can actually try on bras that even come close to fitting me, much less *actually* fit me, which makes it really hard, and while ordering online is possible, I just don't have the money to get any bras for a while. With molding cups (and this might just be a style issue with those particular ones) it's like ... even when I go up in size, the shape of the cup seems to go ... it's more angled upwards from the bottom? So even if I can get it sort of caught in the right place, it just ends up folded over the underwire. if that makes any sense. I'm thinking what I need is a molded cup that's fuller at the bottom, but I haven't run across any yet.

      Thank you!

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    3. Just a quick comment. I think you might have much better luck with padded seamed cup bras vs. moulded cup. Moulded cup bras won't adapt to the shape of your breasts as well whereas seamed cup bras do. Something like Ewa Michalak might work very well for you because they avoid the East-West problem (I get that too in a lot of sheer cups). What brands are you trying because some brands are more prone to this then others?

      RE: the band. It depends too. It could actually be that the curvature of the band does not work well with your body. How tight does the band feel? Is it the same tightness on top of the band as on the bottom?

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  10. Hi I have recently tried on differing size bras 34B 34C and 36A (UK sizes) and for differing reasons none of them fitted. They were all too tight around my body the 34B the cups were too small, the 34C the cups came too far up under my arms and the 36A the gore of the bra was away from my body and the same problem with the cups under my arms. I am at a loss to know which size to try next, any advice would be gratefully received.

    Thank You

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    1. Hey Anon! First of all, have you tried measuring yourself? This can at least give you a good starting point! http://boosaurusbras.blogspot.com/p/bra-fitting.html

      If the 34B cups were too small, then I would definitely suggest going up at least one cup size. It sounds like the problem with the 34C (the cups coming up too far) could be both a style problem and/or the cups being too small as well. If you find from measuring yourself that you probably need a smaller bandsize and a larger cup size, this could solve the problem. Remember that if you're wearing a cup size that is too small, the band will feel too tight as well!

      Hope this helps, let me know how you get on! x

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  11. Thanks Christine for taking the time to reply it's very kind of you. I seem to get different measurements every time I try but I'll go with these. I am 31.5 inches around the ribcage and 35.5 inches around the bust, so if I am understanding the instructions I should be a 32D. Wow if I'm correct that's a surprise, with the band being too tight with the sizes I tried on previously I would never have thought of trying on this size.

    Thank you for the advice.

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    1. No problem! Remember, the measurements are just a starting point, so start from there and see what happens! A 32D has the same cup volume as a 34C, so it's not too big of a leap ;)
      You should be able to find 32D's fairly easily at places like Nordstrom, and they can probably offer you fairly good advice there on how the bras fit, too. Good luck!

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    2. The problem for me is that there is no where I can find my bra size im a 28B could u tell me a place if you know thanks ccccc

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  12. First off, I've always had the "armpit spillage" though I have just contributed that to "if I lose weight it'll go away" (I am about 45 lbs overweight). I'm 19 years old and I have a few issues with bra fitting. The biggest issue that leaves me crying in the dressing room and running out of stores as fast as possible is that my left breast is about an inch all around smaller than my right. The bra size I currently wear is a 40 C. Though after using "a sophisticated Pair" bra size calculator I'm shocked to see it says I need to be wearing a 36 G! My boobs don't look nearly that big. What's going on? :O

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    1. Caitlyn, a 36G could actually work out much better for you than a 40C! Is that the US or the UK size you got?

      "Armpit spillage" is generally the result of wearing a bra that is too small. When you put on a bra, you'll need to bend forward and scoop all your breast tissue (including from your armpits) into the cups of the bra to make sure all the breast tissue is contained. You'll get a better idea of how the bra is fitting that way, too! Also, a lot of women have asymmetrical breasts, so you're definitely not alone. Always fit your larger breast, and you can use an insert to fill out the cup on the smaller breast. :)

      If you live near a Nordstrom or Dillards, you should be able to find some 36G bras there to try on. Good luck!

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  13. Every time I get fitted I am a 34d but I find that NO 34D bra fits me. The straps dig into my shoulders and my boobs bulge out the top. I hate bra shopping! I tried on a 32DD and my boobs were still falling out everywhere. Should I try a 32 DDD? Who even wears that size?

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    1. Hey Anon, a 32DDD (that's a 32E in UK sizing) is not at all an uncommon size. Have you tried measuring yourself (bust/underbust) and figuring out your own correct starting point size, though? You may find you need a smaller band and a larger cup, like a 30F - most store fitters won't give you a correct fit. I hated bra shopping before I figured out my correct size, too!

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    2. Anon, at just like a woman, her 32size goes up to the letter L!! So your covered, as well as her room, fig leaves, bravissimo, (I've done at least a years worth of research)

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  14. Hi There! My most recent bra fitting put me at 32DD. But I have a problem with bras bending out near the armpit. I feel like my bras aren't doing my clothes justice because the bra is flairing out at the corners instead of sitting down flat and pulling my boobs in. I don't know if I've grown out of the bras or they're stretched out...

    What are some good brands to shop? It's very difficult to find good, smooth coverage in the front as well as a band that doesn't dig into my back, making me look like I have rolls when I don't. -_-

    It's to the point where I'm reluctant to buy tops because the bra just destroys the look.

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    1. It sounds like you may not be in the correct size - I would check out the Bra Fitting tab and re-measure yourself, and try out a good calculator like sophisticatedpair.com/bracalculator.htm. Once you figure out your correct size, you'll have much better luck with getting a good shape and fit from bras!

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    2. I believe the 32DD to be an accurate size. The calculator you linked me to put me at 30DD, but I think the band would be too snug at 30 since it can get tight at 32. The bras I described above were not 32DD sized. Most are 34D or some other "settle" number since I couldn't find my size. :(

      I really need a good brand to search through. Fredericks is too tight and I don't like the back fat the band creates.

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  15. Hey, so I emailed Linda the bra lady this question and she went around it. My problems are, before when I was a 34 band, it would always slip down about an inch or two towards my stomach. And trust me, the straps have always dug into my shoulders. So I got a 34 tailored an inch so it would be tighter (since I have big boobs and a smaller band, I had a 34DD, then I gained 65 lbs, so now I wore a 34H, now I'm wearing really a 32HH) but the fixed smaller band still slides down when I slouch and sit down and leaves red marks, grooves and irritates my skin and it feels SO much better without a bra. But then my boobs droop and hurt because they're not being supported. I was 100, now I, 165, and I'm going to shrink back to 110 in about 6 months. Also, the tighter band makes my extra back skin pooch out so it makes me look fatter than I actually am.

    Should I just wait till I lose more weight and maybe the sliding and marking will stop or am I doomed forever or am I doing something wrong? Oh, and her site and her room said I'm a 32J/K (because I'm really a k but they said since I'm so stupidly "unique" I should go down a cup size) Oh, I'm also planning on buying longline bras once I her down to a H/G (the brands that work for me are panache which their fabric irritates me and I think freya but I'm not sure, then again freya has too small cups for me and too big of a band in reality) so other bras are just cupped too small.

    Do you know what's going on ?? please help!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm, first, have you tried out a good calculator that gives both UK and US size, like sophisticatedpair.com/bracalculator.htm? Taking your own measurements is the best starting point!

      It sounds like you need a different size - quite possibly a smaller band along with a larger cup. If you try wearing a firmer band with cups that are too small, you can get some of the problems you describe. Loosing weight won't help your current bras fit better - you'll have to reevaluate your size as your body shape changes, and you'll almost certainly go down in band size (although you may not go down in cup size, depending on how your body loses weight).

      Also, you may not be wearing the best brands and styles for your shape - have you tried brands other than Panache and Freya? Panache may not be a good shape for you, and is thus causing you some issues. There are many brands that go up to the H-K cup range (Bravissimo and Curvy Kate immediately come to mind) that may be better suited for you!

      Hope that's at least a bit helpful...

      Delete
    2. I have ordered a few curvy Kate bras in 2 different sizes about 10 days ago, will try more brands on then! Thank you for that suggestion. It might just be be solution.

      Delete
  16. I only wear sports bras because I can't ever find a comfy bra. My rt boob easily fits in a 38DD comfy but my left boob gets cut in half and looks stupid. Big breasts are common in my family but I'm the only one with this massive of a size difference. I am pretty sure that my band is tobig but I just try to fit my left boob more comfortably. In sports bras I'm doing 1x or 2x. When I got sized at jcpennys she told me I was a 36c that was a year ago and a C just doesn't feel right. If I wear a 36c it digs into my shoulders and I'm constantly readjusting to make sure there isn't quad boob.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angel, do you know your underbust/bust measurements? Generally it's best to fit the larger boob and then pad the cup on the smaller side if necessary. It sounds like you're wearing a band that is too large and a cup that is too small currently (very common!) x

      Delete
  17. Hi, I can't seem to find a bra that fits currently wearing a 36 c strap is fine but I'm falling out so have tried sizes up and fit a dd but a 36 is way to small but if I got up to a 38 its to big and a 36 d is to smal and a 38 d I fall out of any idea what size I should try next

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalie, have you checked out the Bra Fitting tab? Knowing your underbust/bust measurements is the best starting point! x

      Delete
  18. I wear a 36 B, but the straps dig into my shoulders and are leaving marks. I can fit about 3 fingers in the band in the back. I've tried the 34 C, but it seems as though the cup buckles on the top and the band is snug. Help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you know your bust/underbust measurements? It could be that the 34C you tried just isn't the right shape for you (bands should feel snug, but the cup may not be good shapewise for you), or it may not be the right size. I'd check out http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/ for a great place to anonymously ask questions/fit advice! :)

      Delete
  19. I did the measurements by leaning forward at the waist, which to my surprise was 39". My underbust measurement is 35. I'm thinking the 36 B is not the right size bra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like from your measurements that a 34D may be a better starting point for you. Which particular bra styles that will work best for you will depend on your breast shape - for example, if you have "shallow" breasts, or full-on-bottom vs full-on-top breasts, etc. Luckily, you should be able to find a good range of bras in stores to try out! Make sure to lean forward and scoop all your breast tissue into the bra to get the best idea of fit. Good luck! :)

      Delete
  20. The one about bulging under the armpits, can't that be because of fat, or weight gain? Because I certainly am not a C cup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you taken a look at the Bra Band Project (link at the top of the right sidebar)? A "C cup" means nothing without band size - a 28C, for instance, is much smaller than a 36C - a 28C is equal in cup volume to a 30B, 32A, and 34AA. All "C cup" means is "about 3 inches of difference between underbust and bust measurement", so it is a relatively small cup size.

      Many women will have a bit of extra skin/fat under the armpits even with proper fit, but it can often be an indication of a too-small cup, especially if there are other signs of poor fit going on.

      Delete
    2. Damn... and I just bought new bras not too long ago >_<

      Delete
  21. hi can you help me? ive recently been resized and the bras fit lovely untill i go home and sit down then the bra just gaps and i hate it. do i need to go down a bra size? thanks Gem

    ReplyDelete
  22. ^Me too. Or after a few minutes even. I'm guessing it is because I do not have the right bra. I don't know if this has to do with the same reason, but my boobs seem to have spaced apart more, just a little, but I've noticed it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I find that I fit a very wide range of bra sizes with the right amount of adjusting in the straps except for the fact that whatever the band and cup size combination is, my breasts are always too close together for the bra to sit properly. The underwires that are meant to sit between the breasts are always on top of tissue and the gore sits quite far away from my chest, even if I try to pull my breasts sideways to let the underwires sit flat. I haven't found a single brand with a gore that is narrow enough for me.This problem does improve marginally with non-padded bras, but I don't like to wear them often as my nipples are very prominent. Is there any solution?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds to me like you could be describing a too-small cup issue (especially since it sounds like you may be compensating for some fit issues by adjusting the straps), so first I'd make sure that you're pretty confident in your cup size. You can double check with this handy guide: http://bustyresources.wikia.com/wiki/How-to_determine_bra_size

      If your breasts are naturally close together (as in, you can't lay more than a finger or two between them when braless), then you'll need to look for brands/styles with narrow center gores. I'm not sure what size range you're looking for, but plunge-style bras (such as those from Ewa Michalak) may be a good choice!

      You can also alter a center gore yourself to make it more narrow by bringing the fabric together and stitching it (http://brasihate.blogspot.com/2011/12/saving-princess.html).

      For more specific style/sizing questions, http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/ is a great place to ask and get lots of advice :)

      Delete
  24. I measure 31.5 underbust and 38.5/39 overbust my breast are close together and the center gore always pulls away in tshirt bras. Ok so seamed or mesh bras pull them apart and make the look pointy. If I ho dowm a cup size thet look better but wires slightly on middle breast tissue. I wear a range of sizes in different brands. Freya 34e on middle hook. Some 32ddd or e fits and some brands like natori a 32g cuts my breast at the top.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am so frustrated trying to find a bra that fits. I went in to VS and tried on 34A and 36A. The 34A's wire cut into my breast tissue and felt like it was built for a much smaller framed person. But when trying on the 36A the cups where way to big. I measured myself and came up with 34 underbust, 35 (or maybe a little less) bust. I am not a little person, I am about 5' 9" with an athletic build. please help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like a 34A is a good starting point from your measurements; the issues you were having may be a bra style issue, as most bras at VS are plunge-shaped and not the best for shallow breasts. I would try some Demi styles, and check out this post on Shallow-Shaped breasts to see if it applies to you: http://www.venusianglow.com/2012/09/small-breasts-with-broad-base.html

      Delete
  26. my chest is getting hanged below.it is not giving a perfect fit of any bras..what i have to do

    ReplyDelete
  27. Do you perhaps know how to make the padding alil less hard it's not a push up I'm pretty sure it's the right cup and everything it's just the pad is hard and I don't want anyone to feel it when I hugsomeone and then ask why my boobs are so hard....?

    ReplyDelete
  28. my band size is 36 and cup size is 39 . What is the size i should buy for my breast

    ReplyDelete
  29. My left breast is an A cup and my right breast is a B cup. What size of bra should I buy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should fit your bra to the larger breast, otherwise your bigger girl will be very uncomfortable.

      Delete
  30. If you are having trouble with finding a proper fitting bra, you may try going to www.herroom.com. They are very helpful in sizing. For example, I found out I have been wearing the wrong size, which is one of the reasons I have been having back pain. I thought for years that I was a 32DD, but it turns out I am actually a 30E.

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  31. You give great advice! I wonder if you can help me...
    I'm petite and have small breasts that are fairly flat in profile. The issue is that I have prominent tissue/muscle between the "round" part of my breast and my armpit, right where bra straps usually go up. I've always resorted to wearing a too big bra very loosely (which doesn't give much support) because its painful to have straps cutting into that tissue. It doesn't fit inside the underwire cups because its high up, so if I had a higher underwire to contain it, it would be stabbing me in the armpit. I would try going up a cup size, but I already have a huge gap in the front of the cups of my 34A bra. I do use the "scoop" method to get my breasts into the cups, but this armpit tissue is hard (because there is muscle underneath, I'm an athlete) so it won't move shift away from that spot.
    Any advice?
    thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Good tips on buying the right bra. I think it would be good if more salesperson could quickly help customers to find a bra that fits well too. Some stores offer this service but in many stores now, you just go in and fend for yourself, when you really haven't got too much time or knowledge to find the perfect fit.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh uh.
    My bra soon after it comes on the cups slide around and I get this gap between the upper part of my breast and wear the underwire ends toward my armpit. The underwire diggs in slightly too towards my armpit again. The straps dig in when they're tightened or just slide off, there is no in between. I took measurements with the straps completely loosened and I'm 38" underbust 45" bust and 40 inches overbust. Without the bra it's 40 inches underbust 44.75" bust and 39.5" overbust. The bra I have is 38C (American) Vassarette (I think that's the brand). I'm 5' and from my clavicle (and wear my neck kinda ends) to the bottom if my breasts wear the underwire should go is only 6 inches. I have a "boxy" as a friend said once body. To be within the healthy range I need to loose weight down to 120. It's been a few months since I was last weighed (doctors I don't own a scale). I've gained a little and I'm about 145 now.
    I got the current bra five months ago maybe, but it had friends when I bought it so I've been wearing this one mostly recently. The elastic is still pretty intact, if not a little loosened.
    More information the merry? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I really don't see anyone talk about a bra that is plenty tight on the band but it still slides down when I sit down. The band it tight enough to leave red welts. The wires begin right in the fold under the breasts. The cups are full and the scooping and swooping gets it all in under the wires. But with a short torso most wired bras chafe near the armpit, especially with the balconette style where the straps are set wide in the front. The wires do not poke and the gore sets tight against the sternum. My correct size is a 34GG. I'm going to try a 36G but with the price of these bras, I can't just buy one a week!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello, this post is quite old, but I have a big problem with buying bras. I'm only 17 and have problems with my thyroid, which prevented me from properly gaining weight during puberty. I measured my underbust to only be 23" and my bust to be 28-29". What should I do? I'm not rich and going off to college soon so I can't afford to spend a couple hundred on a custom bra. I currently wear a 28C, which fits me decently most of the time. My boobs tend to spill a little if I do the scoop method, but there is slight gaping towards the center. They fall it at the bottom very quickly after I start moving around. Also, the gore does not lie completely flat. I thought my boobs were too small for the bra but a 28B flattens my chest even more and I definitely bulge if I do the scoop method. Hello please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      You may want to check out the forum http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/ for more advice, but your measurements alone suggest a size of 24DD - equivalent in cup volume to 26D and 28C, so you're on the right track with what you've been currently trying, as 24-26 bands are only available by custom order.

      It sounds like you're at least partially running into a shape issue, along with perhaps a size issue (you may do best with a 28D with an altered-down band, for instance). Again, I'd check out the above-mentioned forum and try to figure out your breast shape, which then will give you an idea on the types of bras that will work best from you, and if you pose your question on the forum, I'm sure you'll get some good advice from those who are well-versed in the "smaller bust" side of things.

      Good luck! :)

      Delete
  36. My bra has been fine for three years. All of a sudden by noon, I have to loosen it up and it cuts me in two. But, even when I loosen it to the last hook it still feels miserable for some reason. It is fine in the morning! What is wrong?????

    ReplyDelete
  37. My bras always give great cleavage for 15seconds or fit comfortably but don't give any cleavage at all. The former I think just ends up with boobs spilling under the underwire/etc like you said. But if I try going up a cupsize there are huge gaps between the bra and my breasts.When I play with band size going smaller on anything, even on the farthest notch, it leaves red marks. I'm beginning to think I'll never find a nice fit that also gives nice lift/shape. I'm fine wearing bras that show my boobs as they are, but it'd be nice to have bras that create lift without constant adjustment for certain outfits.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks for good points I always have a problem with bra some time if cup proper fit then I got problem in strap it's fallen down from shoulder, second problem is the last point of your article my boobs are bulging out of the cup I try always different one which one can fit proper and push ups my breast but still I couldn't find right one most of time my size fit 36 c but some are fit some are not. Please give me some good points which can help me .

    ReplyDelete
  39. Any solution for bands that roll? I have two well-fitting bras, except for that problem. Within a few minutes of putting them on the band starts rolling (from under the armpit towards the back) and gets really uncomfortable. The side wired bras don't do that, but they are hard to come by. Is there any way to add a side wire?

    ReplyDelete
  40. The center of the gore is firm and against the chest and when I raise my arms up, or move around the bra itself doesn't move. However I have found raising my arms up or just resting my arm on a chair arm, it causes some of the breast tissue to rise above the top of the bra, causing a slight bulge. Does this mean I need to go up a cup size or is this normal? When relaxed, with both arms down by my side there is no bulging. Please help, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Can we talk about bathing suits?

    ReplyDelete
  42. I wonder if anyone is still reading these comments... I was recently fitted at a bra boutique and left with a 34FF Fantasie bra and also two 36G Le Mystere bras. I've since determined the 36G's are too big in the band and also much too small in the cup (the gore is not even close to flat on my chest). The 34FF seems to support me the best but it is almost uncomfortably tight around the band and leaves red marks under my breasts. I just bought a couple of 34FF Freya unpadded plunge bras and while they're more comfortable than the Fantasie padded t shirt bra, they still do the thing where the underwire under my breasts seems to slide down onto my ribs when I sit and move around. It ends up leaving red marks farther down than my bra should be sitting anyway. Can anyone give me some input on what might be wrong? I've tried a 34G bra and found it too big in the cup, but the 34FF bras seem almost too small in padded bras. Also I have arm pit fat issues. Not major but it's there. I just figured maybe that's the way I'm built? :\

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  43. My problem is that I have a long torso and the straps are never long enough and I end up hanging out of the bottom of the cups no matter how tight the band , any suggestions?

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  44. thank you but It didn't help.i need to know if mine is to small

    ReplyDelete