I have heard that buying a new bra is often compared to buying a new pair of jeans. The experience is often not a good one.
Understanding bra styles and how a bra should fit is key. Self-fitting a bra is easy if you know how.
Types of bras
It is important to remember that a good bra will only fit up to 70% if women. This is because all of our body shapes are different and our busts vary depending on size, weight and shape.
1. Full coverage:
This bra will cover the entire breast and is well suited for fuller busted women, who need maximum support.
This is a very popular style and is well suited for a range of different bust types. The balcony styles bra is by far the most popular style of bra because of its versatility.
A plunge bra will give you increased cleavage and are ideal for smaller busted women who are looking to enhance their bust line.
Ideal for smaller busted women as the coverage is minimal in this style of bra.
How to self fit your bra
Once you have decided on the type of bra you will purchase it is very important to make sure it fits correctly.
When self-fitting it is very important to do it in front of a mirror.
1. Back Band
The back band should always fit firm and snug. The band should sit horizontally across your back and should not dig in nor rise up your back.
90% of the support in a bra comes from the back band so it is important that the band fit correctly.
Pregnancy: Early on in the pregnancy the bra should be fitting on the tightest hook. This allows room for expansion of the rib cage. Most good maternity bras will have up to 6 hooks and eyes.
Nursing: Your nursing bras should be purchased at approx. 8 to 9 months of pregnancy and the back band should be fitted to the loosest hook. This allows you to tighten the back band as needed after the birth of your child, as your rib cage returns to normal.
The cups should fully encase your breasts. No breast tissue should be spilling out the top, bottom or sides of the bra.
It is a good idea to lean forward when putting your bra on, to ensure the breasts fall neatly into the cups. It is always advised to use your hands to lift and position the breasts in the bra cups once the bra is on and tightened. The nipple should be positioned in the middle of the cup.
Pregnancy: Purchase your first cupped sized bra at approx. 3-4 months of pregnancy. By this time your breast growth should have stabilized. Your breasts should be fully encased with no wrinkling or excess fabric.
Nursing: It is advised to wear a seamless bra. in the early stages post birth. It is during this time that you will experience rapid and increased amounts of breast growth. At approx 4 weeks post birth your body should have learned to regulate its milk supply and it is at this time that you should begin to wear your cupped sized nursing bras.
Ensure the bra you purchased has top cup stretch. This will allow for small amounts of fluctuation as the milk comes in and out. Avoid the temptation to purchase a bra with extra room in the cups. This bra will not provide you with that much needed support.
Access the fit
Stand in front of a mirror and check:
1. The back band is firm and horizontal across your back.
2. When you lift your arms the band does not move or ride up your back.
3. The cups should be fitting neatly over the breasts with no spilling out the top, side or bottom of the cups.
4. Should the bra have an underwire. The wire should be sitting neatly around the breast tissue and should not be digging into your armpit or breast tissue.
5. The cups should be smooth with no wrinkling be present.
6. Lean forward. Your breasts should remain contained and should not fall out of the cups.
7. The bra should feel comfortable and not irritable to wear.
8. Lastly put your T-shirt back on over the bra. Are you happy with the shape and appearance this bra gives you?