5 Best Bra Fitting Tips and Vanity Bra Sizing

by Nancy on November 16, 2012

You’d think that after wearing a bra for over 40 years one would know most of what there is know about them. But no, while researching Two Things You Should Know About the Back of Your Bra, and Two New Ways to Shop for Bras Online, I kept learning things I didn’t know about bra fitting and bra care that I have to share.

Caring For Molded Cup Bras

Much to my dismay I learned I’ve been committing a big “no-no” storing my molded cup bras. When I fold my laundry I usually tuck one of the molded cups up into the other like this: 

Wrong! By doing that I am was deforming the shape that was created when the bra was made. Now I know why at Victoria’s Secret they have all those drawers and drawers of bras. The downside is storing them in my drawer where they take up more space.

Vanity Bra Sizing?????

Expert bra fitter Linda Becker raised a hoo-ha in the lingerie world last month when she wrote How Bra Band Sizes Have Changed. In the article she explains how she has seen women who used to always wear one size bra band all of a sudden need a smaller sized band. Linda believes that lingerie manufacturers have changed their sizing much the same way clothing manufacturers changed theirs so that what was once a size 14 dress might now be a size 10 or 12.

I have to say I’ve noticed this myself. My under bust ribcage measures 34.” Most fitting guides suggest I add 2″ to that for a 36″ band size. I bought a new bra at Nordstrom’s a few weeks ago and the one that fit best was a 34″ inch band. I haven’t worn a 34″ inch band since I was in my early 30s.

Recently my daughter, Julie called me and said, “Hey Mom, I went a got fitted for a new bra. My band size went down and my cup size went up and I haven’t gained or lost any weight.” Ahhh, just another twist in the already challenging world of trying to find a bra that fits well.

So you know other women experience the same pain in finding the right bra fit, here’s an entertaining article (with photos) of a size 32C model who went bra shopping at six shops and discovered she needed a different size at each store.

5 Best Bra Fitting Tips

Combing the bra fitting experts online they all agree that a good bra fit meets these criteria:

  1. The bra band is parallel to the floor. It doesn’t ride up or down when you have it on the loosest hook. When you are trying on a bra be sure and raise your arms, twist from side to side and sit down (your ribcage expands when you sit.) If the band rides up in the front or back it’s the wrong size. (The larger your bust the snugger the band should be. Sorry gals, it has to work harder!)
  2. The center panel of the bra fits flat against your breastbone. The smaller busted you are the wider the center panel width will be. (Here’s some great info about bra panels.)
  3. The bra cup fits properly. No spillage, no digging underwires, no gaping, no wrinkling.
  4. The bra lifts and supports your breasts so that the apex of your bust lies half way between your shoulder and your elbow.
  5. The straps don’t dig into your shoulders or slip off. Think of bra straps as stabilizers. It’s not their job to provide significant support. There’s a wide variety of strap design and fit. Learn more about it at the fantastically informative HerRoom website.


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