When you wear a bra that fits correctly, it will be comfortable and supportive -- all day long. Plus, you will instantly look better in all your clothes. Who wouldn't want that?
But, sometimes it can be hard to tell if a bra fits the way it should..
Follow these 6 simple steps, and you'll be able to decide if a bra fits -- all you need is a mirror.
Fit Test #1: Check the Gore
- What's the gore? The gore is the center panel of an underwire bra -- the part of the bra that connects the cups in the front, between the breasts. Not all bras have the same type or size gore, and some styles don't have this part at all. But if your bra has an underwire, then the gore will always be the part that's 'center front' -- and it should typically lie flat against your body
- How to Check the Gore's Fit: Move around -- is the gore rising up off your chest? This is a common sign of an ill-fitting bra. The gore should stay flat against your sternum, even as you move around, bend over, or lift your arms up over your head. If the gore doesn’t rest flat against your chest, the cups may be too small or the band too big.
Fit Test #2: Check the Straps
- Do your straps constantly slip off your shoulders? Your bra might not be the right style for your body type -- the straps might be too wide-set. Women who are petite or have narrow shoulders often have this issue, and sometimes can't wear bras with wide-set straps.
- Do your straps feel too tight? The straps should fit securely, but not tight -- check for red marks or indentations on your skin. Your bra's straps are not solely responsible for providing lift and support -- that's a job for the back band and cups. They shouldn't feel uncomfortable, even if you wear a large cup size.
Fit Test #3: Check the Band
- Does the back band ride up your back? The band should lie straight against the middle of your back, parallel to the floor and lie below your shoulder blade. If your band is riding up, then the band size may be too big.
- Is the band digging into your skin? The band shouldn't feel so tight that it's uncomfortable. If it does, then it's too small. It should be snug -- but not tight.
- Another tip: If a new bra has an adjustable back band with several hooks, it's best if it fits on the loosest hook. You'll have room to adjust it, when it stretches out -- and all bras will eventually stretch due to normal washing and wearing.
Fit Test #4: Examine the Cups
- Are there any bulges? Check the top edge of your bra cups for any signs of 'spillage'. Make you sure your chest doesn't 'bubble' over the top edge of the cups. Check all angles, looking at your side view in a mirror. You shouldn't see any spillage there, either. You should be able to pick up your arms up to make sure your chest isn't falling out from the bottom of the cups. What if you're wearing a sexy, revealing demi-cup style bra? Bulges are still a no-no! There's a difference between showing the top of your chest the correct way -- above revealing, demi-style cups -- and when your chest is bulging out the wrong way. The top of your chest doesn't need to be completely covered, but it should look flush with the part of your chest that's contained in your bra cups -- not bulging out. This is a common fit mistake that may be hard to spot at first, but try on different style bras until you know how to spot a bulge. If you wear a large cup size or have a full figure: It may be easier to spot a bulge if you put on a form-fitting T-shirt over the bra you're trying on. You can also feel the top of your T-shirt to make sure your chest -- and the spot where your bra cups end - are a "smooth slope" -- not bumpy and lumpy. Any bulges or 'spillage' are signs that you need a larger cup size If that doesn't work, you may need a more full-coverage style, or a bra that's designed for plus-sizes.
- Are there any gaps inside the bra cup? Check the part of your bra where the strap attaches to the cup. If there's any extra room or any wrinkles on the outside of the cup, then your cup size is too big.
Fit Test #5: Is the Underwire a Good Match for your Body Type?
- Does the underwire feel comfortable as you move around? The underwire should lie flat against your skin, without moving away from your body. If it doesn't, you may need to try a different brand, bra style, or band size.Underwires are made in different lengths, and each type gives cups a different shape curve, depending on the bra's style and brand.
- Do you feel the wire poking near your underarm? This can be a common issue among shorter women, because the wire is too long for your body type. A smaller cup size, or smaller cup style, such as a demi-cup, will have a shorter wire and may fit better.
Fit Test #6: Check the Overall Look
- Does your chest look like it's pushed too close together -- or too far apart? Your band size may be wrong, or the bra style isn't right for your body type.
- Is your bra forcing your chest to extend beyond the sides of your torso? This is a common fit mistake, which causes many women to look top-heavy. Check a mirror from all angles to make sure your chest is in line with the sides of your body. Your chest should only extend out in front of your torso, not from the sides. If you realize you have this issue, you'll be amazed at how much thinner you'll look the second you find a bra that fits better. (Check yourself out in a form-fitting T-shirt -- it'll be easier to notice the difference.)
The Bottom Line Now that you know some of the tips and tricks the experts use to assess a bra's fit, bra shopping will undoubtedly be less stressful -- and more fun. Just remember -- don't ever trust the size on a tag, and don't settle for anything less than a perfect fit.
It’s your body. Your bra fit. Ultimately, it’s your confidence.