Why Wear the Right Bra Size?

According to many studies, over 80% of women aren’t wearing the correct bra size. This means that only 1 or 2 women out of every 10 are wearing the correct size! (!!!) I could start blaming this fact on the terrible fitting methods promoted by many well-known stores (especially in the U.S.), but not all women have even gone in for a bra fitting or used a bra calculator, good or bad. I think that many women just don’t really know how bra sizes work in general, or they don’t realize how important a well-fitting bra is.

Did you know, for example, that
You can be a 30 or 28 band even if you’re in the overweight range?
Sizes like DD, F, GG can look small or average, especially when paired with a smaller band size?
Bra band sizes go down to 24, and cups to L (UK sizing)?
The best starting point when figuring out band size for most women is to use the underbust measurement (without adding any inches)?

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of misinformation about bras out there. But why is wearing the right bra size important? Why isn’t wearing one that seems to fit “okay” good enough? Wearing the wrong bra size can cause a long list of issues! Here are some things that I’ve heard women complain about while wearing incorrect-sized bras. I’ll note that I personally experienced all of these issues when I was wearing ill-fitting bras.

Pain. This may be more noticeable for larger-busted women. Pain can be caused by poor posture and too much weight being placed on the back and shoulders due to wearing the incorrect size. Underwires digging in can also cause pain. Pain isn’t normal!

Breast tissue migration. With an incorrect fit (especially too-small cups and wires sitting on the breast tissue), the breast tissue can be displaced by the ill-fitting bra to other areas, such as under the armpits, sternum, and even the back. Some women find that after a little while of wearing the correct bra size (and putting on the bra correctly), they may go up a cup size as the breast tissue is guided back to its proper place.

Marks and grooves. Some red marks are normal – you can get light marks from bras just as you can from underwear and socks. However, deep red marks, shoulder grooves, and skin irritation are yet more issues that the wrong size bra may cause.

Bras “never fitting.” I’ve heard (and even used to think myself) women say that bras just never fit them right – or even that they know they’re in the wrong size, but don’t know about any other options. Feeling like bras are always uncomfortable or never fit quite right, that cups are always too small or big, or that bands are always too loose or tight, is an indication that you may need to measure yourself to see if you should be trying a different range of sizes!

“I can’t wear underwires.” While this may be legitimate for some (those with sensitive skin, medical issues, etc), the vast majority of women who “can’t wear underwires” think this because they’ve never tried on their correct size with an underwire bra. The underwires should encase all of your breasts and the middle wire should sit firmly against the sternum; the wires should never poke, pinch, hurt, stab, or sit on your breast tissue. If they are, you’re not wearing the right size (or the right kind of) bra.

-“Cute bras don’t come in my size.” There are actually a lot of companies out there nowadays that make a wide range of sizes! It may be harder to find certain sizes than others, but don’t get trapped into thinking that the beige granny bras you see sold in stores are your only options. There are correctly-fitting pretty/sexy/cute bras out there.

-Lack of support. Wearing a bra that doesn’t fit well (especially one with a too-large band) can cause sagging, an unideal shape, too much movement, and make you look a lot heavier than you actually are.

So, with all of these issues that ill-fitting bras can cause, why do so many women not wear a bra that fits correctly and well? Some reasons I can think of (many of which applied to me when I wasn’t wearing good bras):

-Many women aren’t aware of how bra sizes work, and think that their only options are the band sizes 32-38 and cups AA-DD (and many believe that anything above a C cup is “huge” and any band below a 34 is “tiny”). Some women think that being a larger cup means that they’re fat (even if they would be wearing a small band size), or they’re embarrassed to wear anything larger than a C-cup bra (even if a C cup is very-ill fitting).

-Many women don’t know how bras should fit and they’ve never worn a very well-fitting bra, so they just put up with issues like the above because they don’t know that there are other options.

-Some women have gotten a poor bra fitting and think that they must be the size that bad fitter told them, even if it’s uncomfortable. Or they compare themselves to other friends who aren’t wearing a correctly-sized bra either – “She’s wearing a DD and she’s WAY bigger than me, so there’s no way I can be an F cup or anything bigger than her!”

-Some women think that since their breasts are smaller, they don’t “need” a well-fitting bra anyway.

Have you experienced any of the issues above in regards to bras? Have you heard any of the same complaints from others? (If not, take a look at comments on just about any status on the facebook page of Playtex, a company notorious for using the incorrect +4-5 inch method)

Why do you think it is that so many women are wearing the incorrect size?