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What to Look for in Choosing the Right Bra: Part 3 – A Good Fitting Bra

My Fit Series continues! Let’s explore all the small but so important details that will make a bra the best fitting bra for YOU.

But what is a good fitting bra? While every one of us has our own ideas about bra styling and fabrics that feel better, the true definition of a ‘good fit’ is really about support as well as comfort.

A properly fitted bra will not ride up at the back. The straps will not fall off the shoulders; the breast or breast prosthesis will fit right in the cup without any bulging or looseness, and the centre of the front will sit on or very close to the breastbone (4).

The support in the bra should come from the bottom band, so the elastic band should not roll up or dig into the ribcage. The comfort level will be determined by the style of the bra, the seaming, as well as the fabrics used. Both the support and comfort level will change from woman to woman, so it’s important to remember that what works for your best friend may not work for you.

Many details will help determine the support. One of them is the sizing: to determine the size of the band, your ribcage circumference measurement is taken while you are wearing a bra, with a few inches added for comfort.


So let’s say that your ribcage measures 36”. Your perfect fitting bra could be anywhere from size 36 to 40.

The other element that makes up sizing is a letter that represents cup size. The measurement of the fullest part of your breast is taken and then deducted from the ribcage circumference. The resulting difference is your cup size. If the difference is 1”, your cup size is probably an “A”. The difference is 3”? Probably a “C” then.

Your professional fitter will measure you and this will give her enough information to pick a few bras for you to try on. Keep in mind (as I mentioned in a previous post in my Fit Series) that a different brand and styling will give you a different size, so it’s better to keep an open mind: don’t worry too much about the actual number or letter but rather how you feel in a bra.

There are a few ways to put a bra on: clasp the back first then rotate the bra; or put your breast in first then clasp…. do whatever is easiest for you. Then, run your fingers inside the back of the bra just to make sure the label and hook & eye are flat against your skin and not folded the wrong way.

Also make sure your the back of the bra is pulled down and parallel to the floor (1). If the back is not at the proper place, chances are the bra band size is too big and the perfect fit is certainly compromised. Next, bend forward slightly to allow your breast to fall into the cups. Take your hand to lift the opposite breast and place it properly into the cup with your nipple at the center of the cup (2). Look at yourself in the mirror to make sure the bra is parallel to the floor and your breasts are sitting front and center in the cups. If there’s breast tissue bulging out over the cup at the neckline (5) or creeping out at the underarm (6), the cup is too small for you and you should go up a letter.

The straps are very important but have more to do with comfort than support. They can vary in material and fabric, but they should always lay flat against the body without straining the cup material and without creating any marks in your shoulders (3).

The straps do not carry the weight of the breasts; this is what the bottom band is for. When the cups fit well and are supported properly by the band, you should barely feel the straps.

Now it’s time to give your favourite bra a tune-up! Readjust the straps as they often shift during washing, and put the bra on at the middle hook & eye adjustment.

How does the bottom band feel? Too tight or too loose? Change the hook & eye position to feel better. If you’re at the tightest level and the bra is still too loose, the elastic is probably stretched out and this means that it’s time to treat yourself to a new bra! Look at yourself in the mirror; how do your breasts look and feel in the cups? If you do not feel fully supported by the band, very comfortable in the cups and most importantly, attractive, maybe it’s time to schedule a professional fitting.

Remember, if your bra is shifting during the day and needs to be readjusted, you probably have the wrong size bra and/or the wrong bra style for your body shape. There’s another style or size out there waiting to fit you better!

In my next posts I’ll discuss more solutions to common bra problems as well as some of the bra myths we hear (too) often. I’m looking forward to reading your questions and comments about your experiences with bras that might not have been the perfect fit for YOU.

Let’s talk soon!
Annie B.
Trulife – Bra Design