Ask any woman, and most of us love “shopping”, but we hate bra and swimwear shopping! We are told again and again that 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra, and these stats never seem to change!
“Bras are Uncomfortable; the wires dig in, the straps slide off my shoulders, the wires dig into my armpits” for just a few complaints. But no matter what, we can’t stress the importance of getting the right bra.

Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes if we are not happy with them, we change this by having a Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction, Breast Lift, Breast Implants, and nowadays even the latest fat transfer to the breast.

We love our breasts, but why are we getting it so wrong? Are we too busy to get fitted, do we not allocate enough time for a fitting, are we getting fitted, are we bothered or do we just rush in and purchase the same old bra and size as we normally do, or are we embarrassed?

Bra FittingIt’s not something we get taught to do or hand down to our daughters, because we don’t really know ourselves. If we get up in the morning and just sling on any old bra, so what, who’s to know, nobody can see it. You might not be able to see it, but everyone else can, believe you me when it’s wrong, it stands out. A common problem a lot of women are making when purchasing a bra, is that they are wearing the band too loose (because it’s comfortable) or big and their cups are too small. If your band is riding up your back like this one, it’s too big or old and it’s time to get a new bra!

With our breasts constantly changing throughout our lives, and if you think about it, it happens even from month to month. The changes starting with puberty, then pregnancy, lactation, weight gain and weight loss, certain medications, menstruation, menopause and age. Knowing how often our breasts can change, replacing the old faithful time and time again will never be successful. Let’s add into the equation, that no two women have the same size, shape and spaced breasts. So two women, who measure up to be a size 14C in the same style of bra, will not fit it the same way, and it may not fit them at all. Why, they were measured?

Let’s look at the humble bra. It’s an engineering marvel, its purpose is to support, lift, shape and space our breasts, and each bra style will alter all these factors, in their own way. When you think about it, they come in so many styles and sizes, no wonder we’re confused and getting it so wrong. There are strapless, moulded, soft cup, underwired, seamed, balcony, demi, sports, maternity, just to name a few. It’s a shame we don’t know how to it’s meant to look and fit on!

Breast Shapes

Let’s go back to the fact “No two women have the same shaped breasts, not even on the same woman”! Do you know what shape your breasts are? It’s important to know the shape of your breasts, so you know which shaped bra will suit your unique shape the best. To do that, stand in front of the mirror, naked of course, and have a good look at yourself, front and side on. You already know if you’re large, small, perky or pendulous, but also are your breasts high set, low set, wide set or close set? Do you carry most of your breast fullness evenly all around or mostly have upper fullness or mostly lower fullness? You may even have a combination of these eg low, wide set, pendulous, with lower fullness breasts. You’re looking for the best possible bra cup for your shape.

Bra Fitting

Figure 1: Close set breasts, a one finger space between the breasts, or breasts that are joined in the centre

Bra Fitting

Figure 2: Wide set breasts, have a spacing of 2-3 fingers between the breasts and can end half way under the armpit

Examples of breast shapes and bra styles that don’t work

Close set, full breasts (which means a space of 1cm, or no space at all between your breasts) don’t suit a plunge bra if worn all day, because your breasts will eventually jiggle their way towards the centre, spilling over giving you a quad breast look! Worn for a few hours for a special occasion is of course fine. Wide set breasts, with lower fullness, won’t suit a full cupped bra. As they don’t have enough or any fullness in the upper portion of the breast, leaving the cups empty, causing puckering! A great bra would be a demi (or half cup bra) or a Balconette or Balcony bra, (deep cups in the lower half of the cup and less or no cup in the upper section of the cups).

Bra Fitting

Ill-fitting bras can in fact make you look larger, older, and create unsightly bulges, (where you don’t need them), even distort you. That’s only the cosmetic down side, then there’s the physical down side that can affect us.
If your bras not doing it, your muscles will, and an ill-fitting bra can cause neck, shoulder, back problems, headaches, pulled ligaments and even cause rashes.

Bra Fitting

Focus on the fit and not the size, because you can’t rely on the size alone. Another thing to remember is, that your bra size does not relate to your clothing size. So if you wear a size 14C bra, it doesn’t necessarily mean you wear a size 14, in your clothes, but maybe a 16 or a size 12! A correct fitting bra band should be firm (it has to be firm because that’s where 90% of your support comes from) comfortable, and makes you look slimmer, taller and younger who doesn’t want that?

Bra Fitting

The secret to successful bra shopping, is to know your breast shape, not just your size. Sizes will differ with every manufacturer. We don’t force our feet into shoes and purchase them because they’re our size, we go by the fit!
We should get a professional bra fitting (every 6 months), and remember that the size the tape measure says you are, is only the base line towards the correct size, and not your actual size.

Be Breast aware!

Get to know your breasts, so you know what is normal for you and get in the habit of doing a Breast Self-exam, (BSE) each month, and then any changes will be obvious to you. Several days after your period ends is best time, as your breasts are less likely to be tender and swollen. Remembering to include all parts of the breast including right up into the armpit and up to the collarbone! If you’re Menopausal, do the BSE at the same time each month.

What to look out for specifically?

Lumps, swellings, redness, thickening of the skin and orange peel looking skin, pain, discharge from the nipple other than milk, dimpling, and puckering of the skin. Unless inverted nipples are normal for you, and they are very common.
Don’t delay, see your doctor today!

For FREE Breast screening appointments Australia wide, call 132050, no referrals are necessary.
It is recommended that you have one every 2 years, unless there is a family history then, you may be eligible for a yearly mammogram. Most women with Breast implants can have Mammograms, but check with your doctor first. Also inform the Mammographer on your arrival, that you have implants, for your Mammogram.

Don’t forget the men in your life, pink and blue coz men get it too!

Julie Lamont

Julie Lamont – Our Bra Expert!
Through educational workshops or personal shopping, Julie offers solutions to all of your underwear dilemmas, through humour, educational articles, and everything bras and boobs. Learn once and for all, how to successfully choose and fit your own bra, by sight and feel, for your unique size and shape. Julie specialises in all Post Surgical bra fittings, Augmented Breasts, Breast reductions, Mastectomy and Reconstruction, Medical conditions (ie Hiatus Hernias, Respiratory or Breathing problems) Difficult Fittings – (ie Scoliosis, Asymmetrical breasts, Pectus Excavatum (sunken chest) Pectus Carinatum (Pigeon chest), Gigantormastia or Hypertrophy (Excessive Breast Growth).

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