Oh, bras. Regardless of whether we’re talking nude T-shirt styles or something with a bit more zing, the facts are the facts: The thing’s gotta fit, especially when weather calls for snug sweaters that show off lumps and bumps. I loved this post I just stumbled on from Tracey, who reported that while the average bra size was rising in the U.S., it might be because women just weren’t wearing the proper sizes before (talk about a lightbulb moment).
Whether you’ve never been properly fitted or just haven’t been in years, there’s a possibility some of the soldiers in your lingerie drawer aren’t quite right. I connected with Michelle Lam, CEO and founder of fit-focused online bra shop True & Co., to assemble a checklist of sorts (she’s the same woman who gave us this genius trick for combating back fat). If any of these feel “omg, that’s totally me!”, get thee to a lingerie shop, stat.
You might be wearing the wrong bra size if…
The top of the cup isn’t perfectly aligned with your breast. You shouldn’t have a gap between you and the bra or have it so tight that there’s a bulge, adding a visible bump.
The band isn’t horizontal. “If the band is riding up on your back toward the shoulder blades, it doesn’t fit correctly. It should be horizontal on the torso.”
The straps are falling off your shoulders. If the bra is less than a year old, strap problems are a sign of a poor fit, not wear. “A good fit will prioritize a flush fit of the band and cup to your body,” Michelle told me. “It allows for comfortable tension on the straps, helping them stay in place.” If you’re experiencing strap problems with a bra you’ve had for a while though, it could just be a sign that you’re due for a shopping trip. Elastic will stretch over time, with sweat and the heat from our bods exacerbating the problem.
It’s fastened on the smallest hook. There are multiple closures for a reason, but if you can wear yours only on the slimmest setting, you might want to consider going down a band size.
You’re feeling pain. Hello, Captain Obvious, right? If there’s actual pain involved, something isn’t right, but odd pressure can also indicate sizing issues (not something to be blamed on your body type). If it feels off in the area where the cups meet, along the curve of the underwires, where the straps meet the cups or bands, or under the armpit, try a new size combo.
Michelle also echoed Christina’s story from this summer that your ideal bra won’t just be the right size, but the right shape too, depending on your ladies. Many women also find that one breast is bigger than the other; if it’s caused a problem with finding the right fit, Michelle suggests stretchy cups (the sort that don’t stand up on their own when laid on the ground) which can adjust perfectly for any difference.