One of the best acts of self-care? Treating yourself to a bra fitting!
by Claire Ruhlin
Ladies, chances are that if you’ve ever bought a bra before, you’ve probably unknowingly bought the wrong size. “If the first thing you want to do is rip your bra off at the end of the day, that’s a sign you’re not in the right bra,” says Candice McDowell, manager of Rigby & Peller Atlanta, a luxury lingerie boutique in Phipps Plaza. The key to the right-fitting and -feeling bra? Leave it to the professionals by investing in a custom fitting.
“Women try to save money and time on bra shopping because they imagine the bra doesn’t show the way that shoes and purses show,” says Jenette Goldstein, founder of Jenette Bras, which specializes in sizes D and above and has locations in Los Angeles and Decatur. “These are the ways it shows: It lifts and shapes your bust, which reveals and creates your waist and sets the draping of your clothes. You stand up straight and beam confidence too because you’re not hunched forward in pain.”
A custom fitting will cover the foundational checkpoints of bra sizing —the band, the straps, the underwire, the gore (or center) and the cups — as well as lifestyle factors and body type.This includes details like shoulder width, slope and breast shape and orientation.
Once you find your perfect fit, be sure to stock up so you have good bra rotation, which is about a week’s worth. “You’ll get more longevity and continuous support if you properly rotate your bras,” says Candice. It’s also important to get a fit checkup every 6 to 12 months to see if anything has changed.
Having a bra that fits properly is an investment that helps you look and, most importantly, feel your best. “Your breasts need support, but so do you,” says Jenette, who offers in-person and remote fittings via Google Meet. “We talk with women as we fit them, not only about the items, but about their feelings, about their bodies, about the stages of their lives. You need to find a professional who’s knowledgeable and supportive, pun intended. So many rites of passage, from prom to pregnancy, are helped by a good bra and a kind ear.”
5 Steps to the Perfect-Fitting Bra
Rigby & Peller, the luxury lingerie retailer founded in 1939, shared the following advice every woman needs to ensure they’re wearing a properly fitted bra. Because if you’re going to wear a bra, it should be one that not only looks good but also feels comfortable and does its job.
1. The band is the most important part in providing the necessary support. Fasten your bra on the middle hook. If the back rides up and isn’t sitting horizontally, the band size is likely too loose and you should try going down a size bracket. Ideally, you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers under the fastening of the band at the back. If more than two fingers fit, the band is too loose. Similarly, if fitting two fingers is difficult, the band is too tight. Note that if you go down in the back, you will need to go up in the cup to compensate. For example, if a 34C cup is loose, try a 32D cup.
2. Check the central part of the bra. Ideally, the middle section in the front between the cups should sit flat on your chest, directly on the skin, without digging in or feeling too loose.
3. Adjust the straps. They should sit firmly on the shoulder without digging in or leaving marks and indentations. Straps help to balance the weight of your breasts with the main support coming from the band.
4. How does the wire sit? Follow the wire with your finger: It should be sitting closely but comfortably around your bust to give you the best fit. If it is sitting directly on your breast tissue or stands away from your bust, the cup is too small and you should try one or two cup sizes up. Similarly, if the wire is loose, try moving down a cup size.
5. Check the cups. If you notice the cups digging into the breast or any wrinkling around the cup, the size is likely to be incorrect. Your breasts should be fully encased, creating a smooth, clean silhouette. Assessing the fit of the cups is best done with a non-padded bra.
Found the perfect bra? Learn more about how to dress your best from stylist Lillian Gray Charles here.