Things You Should Never Do When Buying a Bra, According to Pro Fitter
- As a professional bra fitter, I’ve seen people make mistakes when buying the garment.
- Be sure to try a variety of bra shapes and remember that your body is always the correct variable.
- A bralette or sports bra can sometimes be as good or better than an underwire version.
As a professional bra fitter for over a decade, I know many people struggle to find a perfect-fitting bra. Fortunately, my job is to guide clients as they discover which bras work best for their lifestyles.
Here are the most common mistakes I’ve seen people make when shopping for a bra.
Thinking bras have to be uncomfortable
During fittings, I always ask clients what they’re looking for and almost every person says, “A bra that’s comfortable.”
Unfortunately, most people, especially those with larger busts, are convinced that bras are the most uncomfortable things in the world. This should not be true.
The key is finding the correct size for your body, meaning your breasts are fully encompassed by the cup. The band should be supportive because the straps aren’t supposed to do the work, and of course, the bra should fit your personal style.
Blaming their body for a bra not fitting correctly
Emotions can run high during fittings so clients will often lament about the parts of their anatomy that they loathe, like weight gain, back fat, or post-breastfeeding body changes.
And how can I blame the client, who’s dealt with a lifetime of external messages about how bodies are supposed to look?
The most important thing to remember about how a bra fits is that your body is always the correct variable. The bra is supposed to fit your body, not the other way around. It’s always OK to say a bra isn’t for you because there are so many styles and shapes that may work better.
Going by what a label says and not trying on different bras
You can’t just go by labels when you shop for a bra. To actually see if the shape and size of a bra suit you, you’ll need to try it on.
A big part of my frustration with bras is that there seems to be no standardization for size. For example, one brand may label the garment as a D cup while another brand labels a similar bra as another size.
On top of sizes, each style — balcony, demi, full coverage, and wireless, to name a few — can fit breasts differently. Just like certain shoes can be more comfortable for your feet, specific bra styles are just better for your breast shape.
Instead of trusting a label, get a fitting room and remember that trial and error is part of the process.
Thinking they need a smooth T-shirt bra
In my experience as a professional fitter, the molded, smooth T-shirt bra is one of the most-purchased styles.
However, most people who wear bras have been conditioned since puberty to believe the style needs to be invisible under all clothing, with no lines, seams, or texture.
This particular want is valid but it also contributes to a lot of the frustration about the fit, especially since the T-shirt bras are pre-shaped. If a preformed shape doesn’t align with your body type, frustration can kick in.
Cut-and-sew style bras have a more democratic fit, especially for larger-bust individuals wanting support for their everyday errands, but they still might not work for every person.
If a smooth style doesn’t work for you or won’t fit your needs, move on and try another shape.
Believing cute bras don’t exist for bigger breasts
Those of us with fuller busts know the story of going into a department store and seeing the gorgeous, delicate designs of the small-cup bras, then turning to the bigger sizes and seeing more shades of beige than in the Home Depot paint section.
Many accessible brick-and-mortar stores (not including specialty lingerie shops) only carry up to a DD cup, meaning options are limited for those with larger busts.
Fortunately, online shopping exists. Brands like Ewa Michalak, Elomi, Panache, Elila, Gorsenia, Curvy Kate, and Molke specialize in fuller-bust bodies and have gorgeous looks to boot.
Thinking their bra size or shape will never change
Many older clients come in for a refit and are astounded that their breasts have changed after decades of consistency. Menopause, which causes hormonal changes and alterations to breast size and shape, can be a major cause.
The workhorse bra style that worked for years might not have the same support like it used to, and that’s perfectly normal.
If you’re not sure about your size, you can also turn to online resources. For example, the subreddit r/ABraThatFits has an online bra calculator to help give you an approximation of your size.
Avoiding a bra that leaves marks at all costs
Some bra wearers believe the garment should never leave marks, but hear me out. Fundamentally speaking, we are soft flesh. A bra is a giant elastic rubber band that is strapped around our bodies for over 10 hours a day.
The marks a bra leaves behind aren’t a bad thing, they’re simply a feature of wearing a rubber band all day. Wearing a bra shouldn’t cause pain, as that’s a sign of ill fit, but an imprint left over time isn’t cause for concern.
Convincing themselves they need a ‘real bra’
I often hear clients say they need “a real bra” instead of a sports bra or bralette. However, those sports bras and bralettes are just as valid as underwire versions.
There’s no bra police issuing citations to people who want to wear a bralette for the rest of their days so if they work for you, keep wearing them. The most important thing about bras is that you, the wearer, are comfortable in your own skin.