Tag Archives: Bra fitting know-how

How should a bra fit your breasts?

After describing the most common mistakes in choosing a bra I think I can go on and show  how a bra should fit.

Take a look at the first sketch. You can see that the front of the underwires lie flat on the sternum (the part of your body between the breasts) – they also encircle them completely – which will be more visible on the next pair of sketches.

                                                                 sketch 1

Look at the next pair. If you drew a line from the side end of the underwire it would end in the middle of the armpit. Remember the sketches from the last note? Where did the wires ended?   You can also see smooth lines at the edge of the cups – they don’t dig into the breast tissue and they don’t form any spillage over the rim of the cups. The underband is snug around the body and nothing tries to “escape” under it.

                                                                        sketch2-3

And finally a sketch showing the back – you can see that the underband is horizontal – it doesn’t ride up towards the shoulder blades.

                                                                      sketch 4

To sum up: the basic rule of bra fitting says: 85-90% of the support in a bra comes from a tight underband, not the straps.

Secondly, your breast should be fully contained inside the cups – the outline should be smooth. The tissue under your armpits (most of it) is a part of your breast  and should be in the cup too.

Last but not the least, the straps – they shouldn’t be too loose and fall down from your shoulders, and too tight either.

This is how a bra should fit you all day long, no matter what you do, if it moves – up or down or to the sides, or your breasts don’t stay inside the cups it means the size is not good.

Well, how about some practice? Just like in the previous article…  Take your tops off and stand in front of a mirror. Compare bras you have on and how they fit you with the drawings I made. You think your bras are ok??? You’re sure????????  

Well, did you put them on correctly? 😉

At this moment you probably think: “What is she talking about?  Is she making a joke or whatever?”

Do you really know how to put on a bra correctly…….?????

To find out, read on….

The most common mistakes in choosing a bra

The first article of the blog showed you that you can’t really expect to get a good bra fitting in lingerie shops. Now I want to pinpoint the exact mistakes that most women make when they choose a bra (or have it chosen for them by somebody else).

                                                              img002

Figure A shows a badly fitted bra. Why? First of all, the cups are too small – arrow 1 points to a bulge caused by one of them, arrow 2 shows an underwire that is too narrow and doesn’t encompass the whole breast. There’s another bulge under the armpit because of it (however I can’t draw it, sorry, it will be shown better on the next figure). The end of the underwire should aim into the middle of your armpit and circle around the whole breast.  Secondly the underband of the bra is too loose and rides up on the back while it should stay horizontal no matter what you do – arrow 3. Due to the looseness of the underband the breasts have no support, they are not lifted and just sag down. You could probably get the same effect without a bra (apart from having 2 additional pairs of boobs over the cups and under the armpits).                                                               

                                                                    img003

Figure B shows a half profile of the another badly fitted bra. Here bulging under armpits caused by too narrow underwires is clearly visible – arrows 1 and 2. You may say “Oh, this is because I’m fat”. Well, this is fat, but this fat isa part of  your bust and should be contained in the cup. Wearing a right size – with the cups that are big enough and underband that is supportive can help you get rid of them.  Arrow 4 shows what happens to the front of underwires – this part of the bra should normally lie flat on your sternum, here it doesn’t. Moreover, this size is so badly fitted that the breasts simply peek out from under the cups on the bottom – arrow 3 (this checkered part).

                                                                   img004

Finally figure C shows a badly fitted bra on the back. With the band riding up (remember it should be horizontal), and some bulges under the armpits. What is not visible, is that the bulge on the back that was caused by the riding up underband. It simply takes some of the flesh with it and pushes it up (especially for those of us who have more fat than desirable).  What amazes me here,  is that even women and girls with relatively small breasts have problems with the underband that rides up. Normally it’s the girls and women with relatively big breasts that suffer from it. Which makes me think… How much TOO LOOSE are these underbands???

Why does the band ride up? Well, firstly because it’s too loose, and secondly because it’s pulled up by straps. I will explain… Your breasts may be big and heavy (or even not) so obviously you want to get them lifted up so you shorten the straps of your bra. But the band of it is too loose to stay in one place so it’s pulled up. If your breasts are really heavy, sooner or later the straps will leave a red, painful and permanent groove in your shoulders.

I would like you now to make an experiment,  just stand in front of your mirrors and remove your tops. Look at your bras and how they fit you. How many of you can say –“ I don’t have any bulges, the underwires encompass my whole breasts and the front of them lies flat on my sternum, the band doesn’t ride up, the shoulder straps don’t dig in etc etc”

I want to show you now how the whole silhuette changes when you have a properly fitted bra. I was really amazed when I first saw these photographs and read the articles. They come from the Polish blog of Stanikomania (which means Bramania) by kasica_k.

                                                        mistakejagodajpg    

This is Jagoda. She measures 75cm under her breasts and 110 cm around breasts. The effect you see on the photos is not a joke or photoshop or breast reduction. It’s just her right size. So why did she have to put up in 90E (continental sizes)??? I remind you, these digits before a letter mean how many centimeters an underband has. If you have, say 100cm around your hips you don’t buy trousers for 115cm. Here, for a long time Jagoda was forced to buy a bra with an underband that was by 15cm too loose just because it had bigger cups that more or less contained her breasts. But that was a reality of the Polish market. And unfortunately it’s the same here – even exclusive shops don’t offer full range of sizes.  

Luckily for herself Jagoda discovered British brands and online lingerie stores like www.bravissimo.com  www.figleaves.co.uk  www.brastop.com etc. as well as British Ebay which is full of bras.

Some of you may say: “but she has big boobs, I have my 70A (or 70B or 75B, whatever) it’s not for me”. Well, take a look.

This  pair of photos comes from Stanikomania too and they show “polka w Brukseli” – a slim girl measuring 65/82cm.  The photo on the left shows her in a heavily padded push up – 70? ( no letter for the cup, just size S), on the other one she’s wearing a 60(28)DD – a Freya Arabella bra which is made of sheer mesh with absolutely no padding. Well, why are polka’s breasts bigger in a soft bra than in a padded push up??? 

                                                        misakespolkajpg

Just to prove that I’m not lying about no padding in Arabella – the right photograph comes from Brastop.com and shows this bra.

To read full stories of Jagoda and “polka w Brukseli” and many more go to: http://stanikomania.blox.pl/strony/BrafittingEnglish.html

“Bra fitting” in lingerie stores in Lisbon

Statictics say that 85% of women don’t wear the right size of a bra. Even in the Great Britain, which is a bra paradise as almost all brands that produce all sizes are British, a lot of women are still not fitted properly. Why is this percentage so big? Well, you can blame lack of knowledge, sticking to false beliefs that D is a huge size (and G is gigantic), lack of full range of sizes as well as lack of real professional advice in lingerie stores. Unfortunately shop assistants in these stores don’t have a faintest clue as to what to recommend to you that will actually fit you. What’s more, the sizes that they give you to try on are sometimes so far apart from what you should wear it’s incredible. If you want to work in a computer shop as a salesperson you have to have some knowledge about computers, the same applies to lingerie. 75B is not the same as 80C, if they were the same, manufacturers would produce just one size for everybody.

Me and my friend M decided to look around lingerie shops here in Lisbon to see what “choice” is actually available and to see if any store would provide us with a good brafitting. Altogether we went to 3 shopping centres and 5 lingerie stores. I can agree that it’s not much but still we managed to gather more than enough material for this article. I just hope you will have enough patience to read it all as it is quite long. 

Let’s start the ball rolling with an exclusive shopping centre in the middle of Lisbon. Me and M. enter lingerie department. After finding a shopping assistant we ask for some bras for our breasts, M. – for 80/115 cm, me – 72/101cm. Each of us is given several  to try on.

M. gets: a Felina 85G and 85F; I get a Chantelle 70E, Gemma70E and Chantelle 70DD.  Before you look at the photographs and see how badly these bras were fitting us, a few words about these sizes. European 85G is for a woman measuring 110cm around breasts(85F for 108cm), and about 90cm around ribcage. Why? We measured the underband of this bra. The Felina we were given is 80cm unstretched and 96cm stretched to the maximum. A bra has to provide support for your breasts, and to do it the band, which is elastic, has to be  smaller than your frame. Look at the photographs, how unsupported M.’s breasts are in  these 2 Felinas, you’ll also see the cups of these two bras are too small. And just for you to compare, M. in her correctly fitted size (Read on to find out what it really is). Notice a difference?

 bromba in felina 38g frontM in 30K

               M. in a correct size                                                                       M in 38G

M in felina 38F profileM in felina 38G profile

                   M. in Felina 38F                                                               M. in Felina 38G

The bras that I was given: 70DD –  for 91 cm around breasts, 70E – for 93cm  I have 101cm around breasts… Just look at the photos…

Again you can see a difference between the looks of breasts in a correctly fitted bra and a bad one.  Too small cups mean a lumpy-bumpy look, as if you had four breasts instead of just two. Not to mention an additional pair of them under our armpits – this is what too small cups do. They cut your boobs into as many pieces as possible and squeeze them out of the bra.

me in Arabella 30GG frontme in chantalle 32DD frontme in gemma 32E front

 Me in correct   size            Me in Chantelle 70DD       Me in Gemma 70E

me in Arabella 30GG profileme in chantalle 32DD profileme in gemma 32E profile

 Me in correct size                   Me in Chantelle 70DD          Me in Gemma 70E

You may say that we look quite ok in these bras but the photos above don’t even show the massacre that these bras did to our breasts, it’s really really bad underneath our tops…:(((

me in Chantalle 32DD close upme in gemma 32E close up

                               Me in Chantalle 70DD                                 Me in Gemma 70E

Do you think it looks ok?  This is absolutely not a way a properly fitted bra should look like on your breasts.

Ok, the second phase, we give back the bras that we just tried on, saying that the cups were too small and the band too loose (that’s only M.,the bands of  mine were quite acceptable). We get: another Felina 75H for M. and Chantelle 70F and Triumph minimizer 75F for me. 75H is for a person who measures 102 cm around bust so as you can imagine its cups are drastically too small for M. . 70F is for 93cm around bust so it means it will be too small for me either. A 75F is for 98cm around breast so actually its the cups are not that small, but the underband is very stretchy and I loose all the support I had in a 70.  Not to mention the fact that a minimizer simply flattens breasts and gives them a peculiar shape that is not really nice at all.

On both photos: M. in Felina 75H

bromba in felina 34H frontM in felina 34H profile

If you look carefully you’ll notice the bulging over the cups and under her armpits even on the left  photograph, the right one shows these bulges clearly …

All 3 photos: me in Chantelle 70F

me in another chantalle 32f frontme in another chantalle 32f profileme in chantalle 32F close up

Me in Triumph minimizer 75F:

me in min triumph 34F frontme in Triumph34F min profileme in minimizer triumph 34F

Again, do we really look ok in these?

We give back the bras with our comments and we are told that there are no bigger cups that come with a 70 underband, the same for M. – there’s nothing bigger with 75 underband. And the point is: if this shop assistant actually knew the size charts of these brands she should know from the very beginning that we would not find anything to fit us correctly. I suppose she thought: “I’ll give them what I have, maybe it will fit maybe it won’t, I hope they will buy something”…

Another Lisbon shopping center, I have some free time so I just decide to have a look into a Triumph shop. Though, I don’t really expect to find anything for me… as this brand is not really known for having full range of sizes. I just go there to check  my theory, mind you – without a camera, so no photos this time.

So I ask for a bra for 72/101 and a shop assistant there measures me with a “special Triumph measuring tape”. The measurements she gets differ from mine – she measures my ribcage loosely and she gets  77cm.  And then I get two bras to try on – a 80B and 80C….Well…. This is really highly incompetent. Considering how stretchy most Triumph bras are an 80 doesn’t provide any support, and the cups… well 80B is for 95 around breasts, and 80C – 97cm and about 85-90cm underbust. I try them on knowing they will not fit- it’s a massacre what they do with my breasts. Jesus, my poor boobs try to escape from these small cups in any direction they can – up, down, to the sides, the underwires dig into my breast tissue and don’t lie flat on my sternum. The band rides up almost to my neck. I just regret I didn’t take a camera….   I ask the shop assistant to take a look. She doesn’t even try to claim that it looks good, she brings  80D…(for 85-90/99cm). which still has too small cups, too wide band and doesn’t support anything.

I show it to the shop assistant and she brings a 80E which in theory is for 101 around boobs – it should fit…. shouldn’t it? However, after putting it on correctly the cups are still too small, not to mention the fact that the underband is still too loose. If I removed the straps it would simply fall down… I show it again to the shop assistant and try to explain what the problem is – small cups, band rising up etc. Well, the shop assistant suggest loosening the straps…

Oh my God<banging head on the wall>  It means that owners of such shops don’t really train their stuff in anything!!!

Well, more examples. Another shopping mall with several lingerie shops. I am there by myself, M. doesn’t have time to go with me and investigate, but this time I have my camera…

I start with another Triumph….

What I get there is 80D (for 99cm bust):

80d

You can see a bulge under my armpit and also on the right the underwires don’t lie flat on my sternum.And 90D (109cm bust)…. Looking more or less the same as 80D… (meaning – bad)…  And actually these two models are not really that stretchy… but they still ride up on my back.

After that the shop assistant there measures me and she gives me a 75E… a very stretchy one – stretching up to 20 cm more (96cm bust), as you see it proudly claims on the label “up to big cups”. It really made me laugh, 75E is NOT a big cup at all.

75edim

And another 75E which is a minimizer…

brafitting12jpg

And it says there on the label “comfort wire”…. Well, if it’s fitted correctly then maybe it is comfortable. I didn’t find it like that… Loose, riding up band, wires cutting into my breast tissue, wires at the front not teaching the sternum… And personally I’m not a fan of this “breasts hugging each other” look… although you can get it in a well fitted bra too

Then I “haunt” DIM…

I ask for a bra for 72/101 (as usual) and I get 85C …. Just look, my boobs support this bra, the bra doesn’t do anything but covers them….

brafitting13jpg

I assure you, the photo on the right doesn’t show my ass, although this bra is so wide I could easily fasten it around my hips 😉

Then 75E….. You clearly see, it doesn’t fit me….

brafitting14jpg

And 80D…

brafitting15jpg

What I did on the second photo is done on purpose – to show that if I shorten a strap there my boob will try to escape down under the wire of the bra…

What was very sad, is the fact, that when I was going out the shop was full of customers trying on and buying, most of them looked just like me…

After that I see a shop with French lingerie (how exclusive…)

I get 80DD (too small cups, too loose band, 90E – too loose band, I can almost wrap it around me twice), 75E (too small cups, too wide band).  I show the shop assistant that the underwires at the front should touch the sternum, then I get 75G  where the cup is almost ok but the band is really too loose. Again I tell the lady that it’s not tight enough and rides up, but the cups are actually ok…What I get is another 75, the same model with a smaller cup. I don’t even try on other bras that I got there – 80E and 80F, I just know they will have too small cups and too wide bands.  You can imagine what they looked like….

To sum it up – these Lisbon lingerie stores didn’t prove to be an exception. You can’t really expect professional advice  there. They will only stuff you into something that is too wide and unsupportive with too small cups making lumps out of your boobs.   Now I can partly understand why virtually no woman on the street wears a correct bra size, irrespective of age, weight and breast size. What I can’t understand is why you haven’t rebeled yet against this situation. Incorrectly fitted bras affect your figures even when they are hidden under your clothes. You could see these differences on photographs from the first shopping centre. For more differences like these, read Stanikomania. There are several articles there showing the changes in figure when you start wearing a well fitted bra. And you can undergo such a change too… Ladies,  it’s time to express your dissatisfaction – don’t let them sell you things like that.

  Do you know what size I actually wear? As I said in the introduction, it used to be 75DD (more than a year ago) but on the photo here I wear 30(65)GG – this is a British size corresponding to continental 65K or 65L. M. wears a 34(75)K – a British size, its continental equivalent is 75R… Ladies, such sizes do exist and it is possible to buy them. There are more than 100 of them , with bands starting at 28(60) and cups from AA to K (British sizes). However, most  shops unfortunately carry only 30-40% of what should be available to you:(  Why not look for some other shops then? Check out: http://stanikowamapa.prv.pl/  – this is a map showing locations (and contacts to) lingerie shops carrying all sizes and what’s more important, being able to provide you with professional brafitting. You can ask here – “why are all these shops in UK and in Poland”? Well, as I already said, UK is a bra paradise. As far as Poland is concerned, you can thank Lobby of Big-boobed women for the  quite high number of good lingerie shops there. Though, if you don’t like travelling to do your shopping, a lot of these shops sell online.

A little introduction about why and how to get right size bra for you!

What do you think of your bras? Do you think they are necessary evil, a cause of inevitable discomfort and you’d rather do without them at all? Do you have a feeling that  your breasts look somewhat strange in bras you have? Or perhaps you feel bad with the size that you were given at a lingerie shop? Do you put off shopping for bras over and over again because you know you’ll come back empty handed and furious. Or you may have an impression that you have never actually had a good bra and that this piece of garment is an invention out of hell?

Most women, unfortunately, are  not aware that something is wrong with their bras and even if they are, they usually blame their bodies and breasts for the problem.   Well, I did it myself too… I lived most of my life in a Bra Matrix, thinking (like most of the population) that  cup A means small breasts, B – breasts that are slightly bigger, C cup – well, quite big, D – very big. I used to think that bra underbands started at 70 and went to 90 (perhaps 95). I also used to think that I have big breasts as I had to wear 75D and it was too small – I also blamed my boobs for being too big, for not fitting into what was available in shops. Practicing sports was painful and uncomfortable as my breast were not properly supported by bras that I had. But more or less a year ago  I was given a red pill to awaken from this Matrix reality me and my breasts were pushed in (as says Katinkowa from Stanikowy Matrix – one of many Polish blogs about bras and bra-fitting). It completely changed my way of looking at bras. It changed the size that I wear. Now I feel comfortable – I know I can do anything and my breasts will stay inside the cups and nothing will spill making me look as if I had 4 breasts instead of just 2, I know the bra won’t move around my body, I know the underwires won’t poke into my breast tissue either. I know the straps won’t dig into my shoulders even though I can wear quite thin ones with my new size. I know I won’t suffer from back pain due to weight of my breasts too now that they are properly supported. Can you ladies, with your hands on your hearts, say the same?

I came to live in Portugal several months ago and from the very start I was able to notice that almost all of you must feel very uncomfortable in your bras. It’s quite easy to spot for a trained eye (and even untrained eye can sometimes see that that something is not right). With the coming of summer, when everybody starts to wear light clothes it’s even more visible.

Will you take a red pill and read on? As  members of an online communies of big and small boobed women (Lobby Biusciastych and Lobby Malobiusciastych) and  participants of endless discussions of blogs of Stanikomania (Bramania) and Balkonetka I and my friend Bromba would like to share all the knowledge we gathered there. We would also like to invite you to join this online comminity of women with well ftted bras irrespective of the actual size of breasts. To give you links to really ingenious articles written by Kasica in her blog of Stanikomania, more articles by Mauzonka from Balkonetka, size charts, how to measure yourself and to calculate a bra size etc etc. This blog will be written in English, I hope it will be convenient enough for you. Unfortunately I don’t speak Portuguese yet.