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Health & Wellbeing / Claire Blackmore

How To Buy The Perfect Fitting Bra Every Time

Whatever your breast size – big or small – if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably got a couple of trusty bras that you reach for every morning and the rest of your underwear drawer is full of wrong-uns that never see the light of day.

You know what we’re talking about; ill-fitting shapes that dig in, look weird under most of your clothes (don’t get us started on that double boob silhouette) or just aren’t that flattering on your body. Sound familiar? Add that to the fact that 80% of women don’t even know their correct bra size (do you?) it’s no wonder we cling to our faves ’til they’re threadbare.

But buying the boulder-holders needn’t be a minefield. Armed with a few expert tips from Suzanne Pentland, expert bra fitter for Freya, we’ll show you how you can find the right bra for your shape, every single time you hit the shops. Get ready for a undies refresh.

Get fitted

First things first, being measured professionally is essential to buying a bra that fits properly and is super-comfortable. Most high-street stores offer a bra-fitting service. Our bodies change regularly and boobs are no exception. Weight gain, weight loss and hormone fluctuations throughout the month can all cause our boob size to go up and down. Get fitted every six months so you’re always wearing the right size.

What style of bra to choose?

Small breasts: You need a bra that will lift, hold and enhance your boobs. Look for padded, plunge, or half-cup shapes.

Average breasts: Your boobs are easier to lift and shape than any other type. You can wear most shapes of bra.

Full breasts: Your boobs tend to sit lower on the chest than the average bust. But don’t lift them too much, they need to look natural. Choose balcony shapes and soft cup bras.

Pendulous breasts: Your boobs aren’t necessarily large, but they do lie quite low on your chest. Foam moulded cups and balcony bras will help lift your breasts.

Different sizes: This is actually very common and there can be as much as a cup size between one boob and the other. Try balcony or moulded bras.

Comfort first

How often do we shoehorn ourselves into a bra just because we like it? Making sure a bra is comfortable should be top priority – your boobs will thank you for it.

Suzanne says: “The bra’s underwire should sit behind breast tissue – you can check this yourself by pressing on the wire. If you feel soft breast tissue that means the cup is too small and the wire will dig into your breast as the day goes on. If you feel bone and not softness, then the wire is sitting behind the breast and cup is correct.

“Also, check to see that the bra’s wire is not too far back around the body as this will catch under the arm, and again will become very uncomfortable.

“Your bra should not move throughout the day; the band should be firm enough to sit in place throughout the day. If the band is too big, your bra will move around causing rubbing on the skin, which can result in irritation.”

The bra-fitting checklist

  • Make sure the under band of the bra is firmly anchored around the body.
  • Check that the bra’s band is also level at the front and back ­– not riding upwards at the back. You might need to adjust the straps.
  • Bra straps shouldn’t be too tight that they’re digging in or too loose so that they’re slipping off your shoulders.
  • Is your breast fully contained within the underwire? This is important for a comfy fit.
  • There should be no puckering in the bra cup or breast overspill.
  • Do the underwires of the bra sit flat against the chest wall?
  • Finally, check that your breasts feel comfortable and well-supported.

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