Research suggests that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. You wouldn’t hobble around in uncomfortable ill-fitting shoes, so why do it with your bra? Michele Poynter is a Bra Fitting Specialist and CEO of Mish; the UK’s Best Lingerie Boutique as voted by Drapers 2019. Here she discusses the importance of a correctly-fitted bra.
Women with larger boobs (size DD+) have heavier boobs, so they have more problems if wearing an incorrectly fitted bra than women with smaller boobs. Wearing a correctly fitted bra not only makes women look and feel more in control, but it can correct posture and end back pain. A good bra makes a massive difference to how clothes hang, and can have a hugely positive impact on bad backs and sloping shoulders. It can quite literally, change your life.
Understanding Bra Sizes
To put bra sizes in perspective; there are 7 different shoe sizes that women can be (and most women are only 4 or 5 of these sizes), but there are up to 100 bra sizes! Increments are very small and there is lots of variation and the way different bras fit; sizing is as vast and individual as you and your boobs. There is no standardised bra fitting chart so you could be a 32DD in one bra but 34D in another.
To dispel a bra sizing myth – double letters aren’t half sizes! In the UK we have double letter sizing but German-made bras, for instance, don’t have double letters and will go straight from a D to an E. Double letters are full sizes which just go up in smaller increments.
How to Spot When Your Bra Doesn’t Fit
Rather than trying to fit a bra yourself (leave that to the bra fitting experts!) I would advise that being able to identify when your bra doesn’t fit is the first important step. Breasts can change size because of so many factors… pregnancy, weight change, diet, change in medication, change in exercise routine… even if the scales aren’t changing, what you’re eating can sometimes make breasts change size/shape, so getting properly fitted regularly is vital.
Knowing when it’s time to get a newly-fitted bra is the first crucial step to becoming empowered and finding a new (more comfortable) you. When you’re measured for a bra you won’t need a tape measure – using a tape measure to measure boobs is like using one to measure a jug of water. Boobs are 3 dimensional and a tape measure is 2 dimensional – it just doesn’t work!
A good bra fitting specialist (just like a good tailor) will be able to fit you by eye. All bras fit differently and a good bra fitter should be able to fit each bra to each person. Here at Mish we look at:
A good-fitting brand should be parallel all the way around and be in line with clips at the back. 80% of the work is done by the band so it needs to be right!
Not all bras are underwired but those that are need to have the wire sitting outside the breast tissue in the centre against the rib cage nice and flush against the skin. Sometimes it won’t because of the shape of breast or sternum- each person is different.
Crucially, the breast tissue should be sitting inside the cup and not be cutting it in half to create that ‘four boob’ effect!
The tension of the shoulder straps is crucial. It should have enough ‘give’ and be able to pull up an inch, but not around your ears! Ideally if you drop your shoulder and try to wriggle the bra strap off it shouldn’t come off. If it is then it’s too loose (or it could be that the band is too big). Straps shouldn’t be so tight that they are digging in and are not there to lift your boobs; that is what the bra band (or bra style) does.
How to Know When You Need a Bra Fitting
If your boobs are slipping down under the bottom of the bra, if the top of the bra cup is baggy or tight, or if the side wires are sitting on breast tissue then it probably means that the bra size or style isn’t right for you and you need a professional bra fitting.
If you find yourself with bad posture or sore shoulders then try going for a bra fitting and see how miraculous the right-size bra can be to your health and wellbeing! If you go for bra fitting, allow yourself enough time so it’s a nice experience and you can ask lots of questions and choose the ideal size and shape for your body. You won’t regret it, I promise!
About the expert
Michele Poynter is a Bra Fitting Specialist and CEO of Mish; the UK’s Best Lingerie Boutique as voted by Drapers 2019. Michele says, “My mission for the last decade has been to empower women by fitting and providing bras for ladies with larger boobs. Mish Lingerie fills a void in the marketplace by bringing supportive, yet attractive lingerie to ladies of all shapes and sizes. I speak at events, act as an advisor, mentor start-up businesses and run workshops to help women to find their correct bra size and to realise the importance of wearing well-fitted bras. My team are boob aficionados, masters of their game, proud bastions of the bra industry… what we don’t know about fitting bras isn’t worth knowing.”
Find out more at www.mish-online.co.uk