Bra Advice and Fitting FAQs

Bra Advice and Fitting FAQs

These are just some of the questions that we hear on a regular basis. You can see here at a glance how to make small differences to your underwear that will give big results.

We get many questions about how to find the best fit. What to wear with special outfits and how to make sure underwear is comfortable. This page attempts to answer some of those questions in bite sized chunks.

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Is my band too big?

For maximum support the front and back of your bra band should be level. If the band rides up at the back towards the middle of your neck then the band is too big. When this happens the weight of your bust will pull the bra down at the front.

Signs of a band that is too big include over tightened straps and the underwires digging into your underarms. Also the center of the bra pointing outwards instead of sitting flat against your body. The band of a well fitted bra should be firm and allow only two fingers to be placed underneath the band. If you can pull the back of your bra away from your body more than an inch then it’s too big for you.

Why do my straps dig in?

As above this can often happen when the band of the bra is too loose. A loose back means that the breasts will sag. Thus pulling down on the straps. Well adjusted straps should allow two fingers to be placed comfortably beneath the straps. If they can be lifted an inch away from the body they should be tightened. If they dig in they should be loosened.

Why do my underwires dig in?

A good fitting underwired bra should never cause you any pain. If you find the underwires digging in there are a few points to check. Firstly, the back. If the back is too loose it will sit higher up your back than the front of the bra. When this happens the bra becomes misshapen pulling the sides of the bra up. This causes the wires to twist inwards a little and dig into the skin. Getting the right size band is key to a comfy bra. If the wires still dig with a good fiting band then the likelihood is that the cup is too small.

The test here is to press lightly on the underwires at the sides of the bra. If when pressed they move your boobs or dig into breast tissue then the cup is too small. Increasing the cup size will bring the underwires further back towards your underarm. Thus ensuring they’re not going to push on your breast tissue. We often see ladies whose underwires sit on the sides of their boobs. The truth is your breast tissue goes back a lot further. Underwires should sit with the top of the underwire pointing at your armpit.

Why do I get double boobs?

Double boobs are caused by the cups of the bra being too small. This squeezes the breasts and pushes breast tissue out of the top of the cups. If this happens you should try increasing the cup size gradually until the whole breast is encapsulated in the cup.

Remember though, when you increase the cup size you’re also increasing the overall size of the bra. You may then need to take the band size down by a size for every one or two cup sizes that you increase. If you don’t adjust the band size the bra will get looser until you lose the support.

Why do I spend all day putting my bra back in place?

A well fitted bra should stay in place all day long. If you’re constantly having to pull at the band, pop your straps back on your shoulders or pop yourself back into the cups then you’re not wearing the right bra for you. It may be a combination of the wrong size, wrong style or both.

There are a variety of bra styles that are marketed as a solution to clothing issues. However it may be that there are certain styles that don’t suit your shape. For example, balcony bras are often marketed as being perfect for square neck tops however if you have close set breasts without much space between them you may find balcony or balconette bras uncomfortable to wear due to the depth of underwire.

Which hook should my bra be fastened on and why are there three sets of hooks?

When wearing a bra for the first time the hook and eye should be clasped on the first set of eyes. This is the set furthest away from the bra and the nearest to the end. The first set of eyes that the hooks reach. One common mistake that people often make is to fasten it to the tightest hook thinking that as they gain weight they will be able to extend the bra by using the looser eyes. This only serves to shorten the useful lifespan of the bra as the bra stretches.

Bras will give a litle with each wash and wear so by starting on the end set of eyes you will be able to tighten up the bra as it gives, retaining some of the support that you initially felt when the bra was new. It’s generally considered to be that each set of eyes will give you 2-3 months wear (depending on how many bras you wear) When you get to the tightest set of eyes it’s time to start thinking about replacing the bra. Bras do not last forever, elastane stretches, and you will start to lose support and comfort.

I’ve tried on bras in stores and the back fastenings just do not meet.

We often hear this complaint from ladies when trying on bras in store. It’s often assumed that the bra must be too tight as they cannot get it around them. Often this is overcome simply by extending the bra straps. When the bra straps are over tightened you’ll never be able to bring the back down low enough to make the fastenings meet.

We always advise lengthening the bra straps as much as possible before trying a bra on and then adjusting them once the band is done up. If you’re in a small store most bra fitters will advise you to do this and then adjust the straps for you. If you’re in a bigger store don’t be afraid to ask an assistant for help or perhaps take a friend or family member with you that can help you to adjust the straps. Lets be honest, shopping is more fun with a friend.

I always buy the same size bra.

We hear this a lot when helping people to choose a bra however no one is ever any one size. Just like when you shop in two different shops for trousers because they fit differently, bras are exactly the same. You can’t even be sure that two bras from the same brand will fit in the same size as the cuts, fabrics and even colours can make a difference to how a bra fits.

For example, a balcony bra that fits well in a 34F will fit differently to a plunge bra. You may need to go up a cup size in a plunge bra if you have full breasts all over to ensure that you get support and coverage in the center of the breasts.

In order to reduce bounce sports bras are made of notoriously firm fabric. We find that ladies often go up a band size in a sports bra to allow for this firmness while non wired bras don’t always need to be quite as big in the cup as underwired bras as you don’t need to take the wires into account.

You’re probably wondering how the colour of a bra can make a difference? Well, dark colours will firm up fabric during the dying process. We’ve found that black bras can come up firmer on the band. This isn’t always an issue if you prefer a looser fit but for those ladies that like a firm fit it may mean that they go up a band size. If a lady says that she always wears the same size then it’s unlikely that she’s not wearing the best fit for her.

Other Things To Consider

Weight loss or gain may also impact on your bra size. Just 4lbs gain or loss can totally change the way your bra fits both on the cup and the band.

Take a look at our Bra Fit Guide for step by step instructions or check out Panache Fitting Video below.

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Panache Lingerie Fitting Video