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How to find the perfect bra

How to find the perfect bra

Most women wear the wrong bra size, the experts say. And that doesn’t only mean you are not looking your best – it’s quite likely it’s also causing you discomfort and maybe harming your posture.

Over the last month Simply Be, Britain’s number one lingerie retailer, have been running their first ever campaign targeted at lesbian, bi and trans women to help Gay Star News readers get perfect fitting bras.

We asked their experts to give us the low-down.

Why do women find shopping for the perfect bra tricky?

Shopping for the perfect bra is easy peasy… if you know how! Unfortunately over 80% of women in the UK are currently wearing the wrong bra size and that’s simply because women don’t know what a perfect fitting bra is – what it looks or feels like.

At Simply Be we like to educate our customers on how a bra should fit. It’s really important for women to know how to do this, and it’s really easy too. All you have to do is try a bra on and take some simple, logical steps to finding the right size. We have lots of fitting advice, videos and hints and tips online. We have a bra fitting customer helpline and you can visit our staff in store too!

Trying on your bra before you buy it is really important – you won’t know how it fits until you do. Many people think they are just one bra size and that it will always fit regardless of style or brand, but that’s just not the case. Just like clothing, you will be different sizes in different bra styles and in different brands so it’s really important to try them on.

The other reason is women don’t really understand what a bra size is, and how to manipulate your size depending on how the bra fits when you try it on. Going back to the first point, it’s all about educating the customer – if women don’t know what’s wrong, they can’t fix it!

What are the most common bra fitting errors?

Most women wear a bra that is too big on the underband, and too small in the cups.

Your bra should be firm enough around your body to lift your boobs, and big enough in the cups to completely encase the volume of your boobs.

Is it better to get a bra fitting in a store, rather than go online?

That all depends on what you’re comfortable with, we have a range of bra fitting services to suit everyone.

We have loads of info online about what the perfect bra looks like, how it should feel, how to get the fit right and common bra fit problems. We even have style guides and videos to help you out. If you want the privacy of your own home, but some expert advice to reference then our online info is like your own a bra fitting library!

If you feel like you could do with a chat about how to fit your bra, we have some helpful ladies fully trained in bra fitting at our customer contact center. You can call them about any bra fit query and they’ll be able to help you. Again, this option gives you the privacy of your own home but the reassurance of a second opinion.

Our stores offer the one to one experience many people need to fully understand how to fit a bra. It’s really easy, but sometimes you need a helping hand. A trained member of staff will guide you through your bra journey and explain all about fitting and help you understand how to bra fit yourself.

What should you look for if you believe you have the wrong bra?

If the underband of your bra rides up your back during the day making an arch shape up your back, and you have to keep pulling it back down – you’re probably wearing the wrong underband size. Easy and quick test – you shouldn’t be able to pull the underband of your bra away from your body by more than a couple of inches… if you can it’s too big. Try a smaller underband size (and go up a cup size too).

If your boobs pop out of the front, bottom or sides of the wires at any time, and you have to re-adjust to get them back in, you’re probably wearing the wrong cup size. Try a bigger cup size until you don’t pop out and the wires sit flat against your body.

If your bra is uncomfortable, digs in or gives you a big cleavage, you’re probably wearing the wrong cup size. Try a bigger cup size.

Your bra should feel firm and sit level all around your body. The wires at the front of the bra, under your boobs and at the side of your boobs should sit completely flat on your body. The cups should be smooth to your body, no popping out or gaping.

How would you advise women to get the right bras as their bodies develop?

Get regular fits. Our bodies change so much throughout one day never mind between weeks and months. We advise our customers to get fitted for a bra regularly, approximately every six months.

We advise teens and pregnant women to be fitted more often, because the body goes through so many changes and this would be the same for transwomen.

Keep an eye on how the bra is fitting and when you feel like things are starting to change, go and get a fit or fit yourself for a new bra. Investing in a soft bra (no wires) might be a good idea too, this will ensure that wires do not become painful as your boobs get bigger.

As your boobs get bigger you should be going up cup sizes, and this may mean a new underwired bra every time. If you get a soft bra you might get a little more use out of it as the boundary between cups sizes is a little more blurred. When you feel the soft bra is too small get a bigger cup size.

Always keep the bra fit checklist in your mind:

  • The wires at the front, in the middle of your chest should sit flat against your body. If they don’t, try a bigger cup size.
  • The wires should sit flat against your rib cage in the crease of your bust with absolutely no lifting away. If the lift or don’t sit flat, try a bigger cup size.
  • Breast tissue should be encased completely by the wire. The wire should sit behind the breast tissue, under your arms. If your bra wire is un-comfy or sitting on your boobs, try a bigger cup size until it’s clear of that area.
  • Cups should fit with no bulging over or gaping at the top. If you’re popping out over the top of the bra then you need a bigger cup size. If you have lots of space try a smaller one.
  • The back-band should sit horizontally across your body, in line with the wires at the front of your bra. If it doesn’t, try a smaller back size and you should go one cup size bigger too – this keeps the bra size the same, just makes it a bit more supportive.
  • Your back-band should be nice and snug. You should not be able to pull it more than two inches from your back.
  • Your straps should be adjusted in length to give support to the cup but should also be comfortable.

How would you help a transgender woman buying her first bra?

Getting your first bra is a big deal for any woman so take your time and remember the checklist above for a perfect fitting bra. Getting the right size bra is all about trial and error, don’t be scared to try loads on and always remember that you won’t be the same size in every bra you buy.

If you’ve had a breast implants or enlargements then it goes without saying that you have to be patient and completely heal before going on a mad shopping spree! You need to look after yourself and respect the products you’re trying on.

Also you don’t want to spend load of money on bras that might not fit you in a weeks’ time – after the swelling has gone down. Wait and enjoy the experience.

How much should you be spending on a good bra?

A ‘good bra’ is a bra that fits you properly regardless of how much you spend. A bra offers you the best support in its first six months, after this it really depends on how often you wash and wear it.

We have bras for all budgets so it’s all about personal taste and what you like in terms of styles, fabrics and colors. Our packs of two bras start at £20 and our single bras start at £12.

After regular washing and wearing the elastics degrade and fabrics and components may start showing signs of wear and tear. Keep you bra wardrobe up to date and throw out the old ones, this will keep you supported and feeling fabulous.

What sizes and styles do you offer?

We cater for cup sizes B to K and back sizes 30 to 50. Our styles are balcony, front fastening, full cup, longline and midi, minimizer, plunge, pull-on bras, push-up, sports, strapless and multiway, and t-shirt bras.

Do you believe that online shopping is the future for bra sales?

Online shopping is a private experience and that is important to our customer base. When you’re buying bras, always try them on, go through the checklist and don’t forget we have free returns.

Find out more about Simply Be and their range here and watch their fitting video guide here: