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How to (Correctly) Wear a Bra

I’ve written so much in the past on how NOT to wear bras that I figured it was high time I wrote a post showing the right way to wear them! I’ve found that many women have actually never worn or even seen a well-fitting bra worn in their lives – so how are they to know what one looks or feels like?

If you’re not sure if you’re wearing the correct size, check out 5 Signs of a Poorly-Fitting Bra. If you’re experiencing any of these signs of a poor fit, never fear – this post should help get you back on the right track! You may also want to measure yourself (WikiHow also has a great guide) to check your starting point size.

First things first:

Steps for Putting on a Bra

[Blogger CarissaRose has a great tutorial with pictures that is infinitely better than this written list! But here’s a long-winded step-by-step in any case:]
1. It’s generally recommended that you start by holding the bra so the bottom wires of the cups are under your breasts and hook the band from behind, but if that’s too difficult right now (or you just don’t prefer doing it this way), go ahead and hook it in front and spin the cups forward, no one will tell 😉 Be sure you’re fastening it on the loosest hook.

2. Now that the bra is hooked on and the cups are in front, pull up a bit if need be to be sure that the bottom cup wires are right under your breasts. Go ahead and put your arms through the straps (loosen them for the moment if need be) and put them over your shoulders.

3. Now for the fun part: bend and scoop! Bend forward and reach down into the sides and bottom of the bra cups to to lift and adjust your breasts into the cups, pulling in any breast tissue from your underarm back into the cups. Jiggle things around if need be! Make sure that the wires are sitting against your skin underneath your breasts.

4. Stand up and finish making sure all your breast tissue is inside the cups (if you’re getting overspill at this point, you’ll know instantly that the cups are too small) and that the wires are sitting firmly against your skin. Then adjust/tighten the straps.

When you have your bra on, remember that it should feel a) snug and supportive, and b) comfortable. If it doesn’t feel supportive and/or comfortable, you’re probably in the wrong size (or style).

For a quick summation, check out this great short video by Ewa Michalak for a visual example of how to put on a bra, along with an example of proper fit. Also, all of the models on the EM website are wearing the correct size, so it’s a good reference!

Now that your bra is on properly, on to figuring out if it’s fitting you correctly!

The Wires

The wires of your bra should be fully encasing your breasts and sitting firmly against your ribcage – not floating off the ribcage or digging or sitting on the breasts! The center gore (the wire between the cups) needs to be sitting firm and flush against your sternum, not floating between the breasts – but it shouldn’t be cutting or digging into your breastbone, either. Your breasts should definitely not be falling out the wires/bottom of the cups.

Proper Wire Placement:

Bras from Ewa Michalak

Note position of the wires in all these bras. The wires are underneath the breasts and extend to underneath the armpit (some bras will have wider wires than Ewa Michalak bras, and will extend a little further under the armpit). The center gore sits flush against the sternum. No wires are sitting on breast tissue. The bras in the above example are all plunge-type bras, but the same goes for other styles with higher center wires.

The Band

The band of the bra should feel firm and snug on the loosest hook, and it should sit level around your body (it shouldn’t ride up, and the bra shouldn’t shift around). You shouldn’t be able to pull it very far away from your body – maybe a few finger’s worth at most – and you shouldn’t be able to easily put it on the tightest hook right away. At the same time, the bra shouldn’t cut in uncomfortably.

Proper Band Placement:

Bras from Ewa Michalak
The bands on these examples are snug on the loosest hook and sitting straight and firm across the back. They’re not digging in, nor are they riding up.The Cups

Tied in very closely with the wires – once the wires are in their correct spot, there should be no overspill anywhere (top, sides, or bottom!) or gapping in the cups. The cup should create a smooth line on your breasts. Your breasts should look “uplifted” and not droopy.

Proper Cup Fit:

Bras from Ewa Michalak and Cleo by Panache

The cups in these examples are fully encasing the breasts.

The Straps

The straps should not be cutting or digging in, nor should they be taking much weight – they should only be doing around 10-15% of the lifting. At the same time, make sure that they are tightened up enough so you’re not getting sagging in the cups. Any of the above picture examples show proper strap placement.

Movement and Comfort

Does it seem like your bra is in line with the signs of a proper fit? Great! Now move around some – walk, jump, sit, jiggle, raise your arms. Does the bra poke or stab uncomfortably? Does it shift around? Do you lose support? A bra that’s a proper fit will hold your shape and its support well, and it won’t move out of place.

Some final well-fitting examples to wrap it up:

Bras from Curvy Kate

So – does your bra look like these examples? If not, it’s time to try another size (or style)!