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bra fitting problems

Here’s the thing about bras: When they fit flawlessly, they can truly make your life easier. You feel comfortable, look incredible, and ideally, you don’t even notice the undergarment is there. You forget about it. However, when they aren’t the right size, bras can really wreak havoc on your day (and your mood, for that matter). From constantly having to pull your straps up or adjust your boobs in the cups to underwire digging into your skin, there is a bevy of issues that we women have to deal with when it comes to ill-fitting bras.

Fortunately, you don’t have to: We rounded up some of the most common bra fit problems and how to solve them.

1.  The underwire digs in

The underwire on a bra is supposed to lend some helpful support, not cause any pain. So if you feel like it’s digging into your skin — whether under the breast tissue, at the sides of your torso or near your underarms — it’s definitely time to make a change. Of course, you could switch to a wireless bra. But if you just can’t part with your underwire, try a larger cup size. When the underwire doesn’t adequately encompass the breasts in their entirety, that’s an indicator that it’s not wide enough. A larger cup size features not a wider underwire, which will prevent any poking. Keep in mind that sometimes underwire also gets bent out of shape after a lot of wears and washes — and if that’s the case, it’s time to toss it.

2.  Your breast tissue is spilling out of the cups

If your bust overfloweth, then you probably need a larger cup size. You also may want to consider a bra style with more coverage: A full-cup bra, for example, is more effective at encapsulating all of the breast tissue than a balconette or demi-cup bra.

3.  The center gore doesn’t lie flat

Does it look like the panel at the center of the cups is rising away from your torso? Then you’ll either require a larger cup size or a smaller band size. If you notice some spillage out of the cups, try going up a cup size, and if you can slide three or more fingers underneath the band, try going down a band size. If neither of those tactics works, then that particular bra style probably just isn’t well-suited to your breast shape. For example, a plunge bra or demi-cup bra that has a narrower, shorter center gore works well for women with close-set breasts.

4.  The band rises in the back

Ah, the rising band. Many women choose to accept this irritating little issue, but you definitely shouldn’t: this problem indicates that you’re wearing a band size that’s too big, which meant it can’t offer enough support. And the fact of the matter is, the band provides most of the bra’s support. So go for a larger band size if you’ve already tried tightening the hook-and-eye closures in the back — just remember that if you buy a larger band, you may very well need a smaller cup size (this is called your sister size).

5.  Your headlights are showing

Feeling a little self-conscious about your nipples showing? This is a pretty simple one to fix: Instead of an unlined bra, try wearing a padded bra (like a contour bra), or at the very least, one with some moderate lining. You can also stick some silicone or gel inserts into the cups for some extra nipple coverage on those unlined bras you love.


Related: How To Get Away With Not Wearing A Bra


bra fitting problems and solutions

Aline Wire Free Padded Bra P5252 | Aline Bikini P5253 in Black

6.  The straps are causing shoulder strain

If you can’t wait to rip off your bra at the end of the workday because the straps have been digging into your shoulders, it’s time to consider going down a band size. When the band is too big, you end up needing to tighten the straps too much to make up for it. Maybe the band has simply stretched out, in which case, it’s time to go shopping for a new bra. Either way, you’ll know you’ve got the correct size if you can only fit two fingers underneath the band.

7.  You’re getting some back bulge

No, your bra shouldn’t be creating rolls that aren’t usually there. So if you’re seeing some bulge in the back when you wear your bra, it’s safe to say that the band is probably too tight. If you’re confident that you don’t need a larger band size, it may just be a matter of opting for styles with a wider band. A longline bra is an excellent choice for solving this issue, as the extra fabric that extends down your torso under the cups can lend some shaping power and have a smoothing effect.

8.  The cups are gaping

Your breasts should feel secure, supported and perfectly encased by the cups — not like they’re swimming around in them. First, try tightening your straps. If you still notice some gaping, go for a smaller cup size. Still not seeing smooth cups? You might need a different style, especially if you have shallow breasts. For example, a demi-cup bra, which only covers roughly two-thirds of the breasts, may be a better bet than a full-cup bra, which can leave too much room in the cups if your boobs aren’t very projected.

9.  The straps keep slipping

Obviously, the easiest solution to this is to tighten the straps. However, if they’re still slipping off, you may have narrow shoulders. In that case, you should try a bra style with straps that are set closer together. A racerback bra, for example, can instantly fix this problem.

10.  One cup fits – but the other doesn’t

It’s not uncommon to have breasts that are two different sizes. If you suspect your breast are asymmetrical, you can try a molded bra to help in the shaping and sculpting department (just remember to always buy a bra that fits the larger breast). You can also even things out by using a padded insert in the cup of the smaller breast.

Don’t settle for an ill-fitting bra — you deserve better. Use these aforementioned tips to quickly address any pesky fit issue and you’ll no doubt notice a significant difference in your daily comfort as well as your overall confidence.


Related: How To Buy Bras For Different Sized Breasts


 common bra fit problems

Emma Wire-Free Soft Padded Bra P5491 | Emma Hipster P5495 in Black

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra P5351 | Sandrine Hipster P5355 in Black

Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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