What to look for in Choosing the Right Mastectomy Bra

What to look for in Choosing the Right Mastectomy Bra – Part 6: Twelve Bra Myths Finally Explained

I hear a lot of preconceived opinions in the fitting room; and for some people, when they hear it often, it then becomes the truth.  It could mislead you to make a decision on a bra style that might not be best for you.

Let me shed some light on the common myths we hear too often.

MYTH #1: There is a perfect mastectomy bra

Fact: Perfection comes from a proper fitting.  There is no universally perfect bra for all women.  Get professionally fitted and you’ll feel the difference! Trulife’s 210 Barbara, our number ONE selling style, fits a variety of shapes and sizes and is praised to fit the majority of women who try it.

MYTH #2: My body is to blame for my poor fit

Fact: A well fitted bra should support your body, not vice versa.  Many stores carry only the most popular sizes so it can be difficult at times to find the right size.  Make sure to inquire regarding sizing availability and if they can special order a bra that could be the best fit for your body.

MYTH #3: A loose fitting mastectomy bra is the most comfortable

Fact: this is my favourite and I fell for it many years ago!  A firmly fitted bra will be the most comfortable as it does not shift on your body during wear or during activities. It supports and evenly distributes the weight from your bust line, resulting in greater comfort.  You can begin by fitting firmly on the loosest hook, then as the bra ages and stretches, move to the second hook and perhaps unto the third hook adjustment, so that your bra always fits nice and snug. Try it…you’ll see and feel the improvement immediately! 

MYTH #4: My back pain and shoulder stiffness is due to my shape and fullness

Fact: Erroneously, most women rely on the shoulder straps of the bra to support the bust line.  Only a small percentage of the support should come from the shoulder strap; most of the support should be achieved from the bra band. 

MYTH #5: Underwire bras are uncomfortable

Fact: You should not feel the underwire of a well-fitted bra.  Most underwire complaints are the result of a cup too shallow or the bra band riding up the back.  This forces the underwire to slide forward into the breast tissue, causing it to impinge on the rib cage or dig into your skin. Fluctuating weight and ensuing changes in your shape are also frequent factors as to why you are no longer comfortable wearing your underwire bra; you should then get fitted again for the proper size needed.

MYTH #6:  A bra that shows back fat tissue is too tight

Fact: The proper position of a bra should be level across the bodice, front to back.  This will minimize the appearance of soft tissue on the back since it will encase that soft tissue to prevent show-through and increase comfort.

MYTH #7: Only padded or thick bras can eliminate nipple show through

Fact: You can minimize the show-through by positioning the nipple on the seam of your bra.  Plus, a properly fitted bra eliminates shifting and nipple irritation, which can help prevent protrusion of the nipple. In its product line, Trulife has foam cup bras that offer concealment. Try Daniela 4033Alexandra 4013 or Lexi 4043.

MYTH #8: The lightest coloured bra is the least visible

Fact: While we may think that wearing a bright white bra under a white shirt is the least visible option, it couldn’t be further from the truth!  Choose a bra colour closest to your skin shade, like a nude or latte, to avoid your bra showing through.

MYTH #9: My bra size is the same within the same brand

Fact: Sorry, there is no consistency at all between brands.  You may fit into different sizes depending on the style, even within the same brand, due to the various rigid or stretchy materials used which end up providing different fits. Please try on an array of new bras while disregarding the actual size; go with the bra that feels and fits the best for you.

MYTH #10: A good bra can last a lifetime

Fact: Wouldn’t it be nice?  Unfortunately, bras have a relatively short lifespan, somewhere near 6 to 9 months.  After that, the band is definitely going to stretch out and it will not support you properly anymore.  Several factors will influence how long your bra will remain at its best: the way you wash and dry it, the way you store it, how often you wear it, etc.  It is best to wash your bra as often as possible since dirt and oil from our skin will rub onto the fabrics and break down the elastic. Try Trulife’s TruKleen, a gentle cleanser for elastic fabrics. You should have a few bras you can wear in rotation; hand wash them often, and air dry them please!  The dryer is sure to destroy the bra materials thereby shortening its lifespan!  Just in case you’re wondering, hand washing with a soft detergent is best but it’s also acceptable to use the gentle/delicate cycle of the washing machine. You need to use a lingerie bag because the straps and hooks can become tangled on other clothing items or around the agitator, which can damage the bra or significantly reduce its lifespan.

MYTH #11: Bras should be fastened on the tightest hook

Fact: During its lifespan, a bra will stretch out as much as one to two inches. Fit it on the first set of hook and eye, because after wearing it for a few months, you’ll need to tighten it to the middle one and then perhaps to the third and tightest one, if it becomes a tad more stretched out.  If you incur frequent weight and shape fluctuations like I do, you can start at the middle set of hook and eye which allows adjustment on either side. Every Trulife bra has the standard three rows of hook and eye for adjustment. 

MYTH #12: Underwire bras increase the risk of breast cancer

Fact: There is no scientific evidence supporting this claim.  This is a myth that surfaced in the mid-90’s after a pair of medical anthropologists claimed that by inhibiting “lymphatic drainage”, bras somehow trapped toxins in the breast tissue, which led to cancer. Read more from Scientific American regarding this myth.  The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences offer more insights: “The overall consensus among doctors is that neither the type of bras nor the tightness of undergarments has any connection to the risk of breast cancer.”  Feel free to wear the type of bra that makes YOU feel the best!

I hope this information is helpful; I look forward to reading your questions and comments below.

All the best,

Annie B.

Trulife – Bra Designer