If you had to guess how many women wear the wrong bra size (whether or not they’re aware of it), what would you say? 10%? 50%?
Eighty. That’s right—studies have shown that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Of those 80%, 70% are wearing bras that are too small and 10% are wearing bras that are too big.
You might be asking yourself—how is this possible? How is it that so many women can be wearing the wrong size? Can’t they tell how uncomfortable they are? While it may seem mind-blowing from an outside perspective, there’s a good chance that you may fall into this category.
It can be surprising to find out you’ve been wearing the wrong size, especially if you aren’t necessarily feeling any discomfort or noticing puckering, slipping, or any other signs of a wrong bra. Finding the perfect bra size can be slightly tricky! If you’re not able to get professionally measured quite yet, here are a few tips that may make the process a little easier:
1. Pay Attention to the Band
A lot of times, people who wear bras or lingerie don’t pay much attention to the band unless it’s noticeably too tight or too loose. When you’re looking in the mirror while wearing the wrong bra, the first things you’ll notice are most likely the straps (and whether they’re slipping or digging into your skin) and the cups (and whether they’re too large or uncomfortably tight). However, the band is a critical part of your bra that shouldn’t be neglected. In fact, the band is responsible for about 90 percent of your bra’s support.
When you’re wearing a bra with the right band size, you should be able to comfortably fit your finger between your back and the band with only about an inch of stretch.
2. You Have a Sister Size—Do You Know What It Is?
Many people still don’t realize that they don’t actually have one perfect bra size – in fact, everyone has two!
Your “sister size” is the bra size that you might want to try if your usual size doesn’t feel quite right in a specific brand. Just like all other articles of clothing, different brands can have drastically different sizing structures that can impact your fit.
The rule for determining your sister size typically goes as follows: if you go up in the band, go down a cup size (and vice versa). For instance, if your usual 36C isn’t cutting it at a specific store, try a 34D or a 38B.
3. Your Straps Can Say a Lot
Who hasn’t experienced the annoyance of a perpetually slipping bra strap or one that leaves a mark in your shoulder when you take it off? As important as the band of your bra is, your straps can make a world of difference and can tell you a lot about your needs and what the perfect bra looks and feels like for you.
If your straps are digging into your shoulders, that could mean your cups are too small. On the other hand, it could also indicate that your band is too big, because this means your straps are doing all the work to support you. Obviously, slipping straps are a clear sign that your cups are too big.
4. Don’t Hold Firm to Your Cup Size
As previously mentioned, it’s important to know your “sister size” when shopping for a new bra. However, this isn’t only because different brands tailor their bras in different ways – it also helps bypass “vanity sizing,” which refers to the way certain brands will label bras to have a larger cup size in order to appeal to people who want the confidence boost of being a certain size.
When trying on a bra, pay attention to the way the cup itself behaves when you’re doing various movements. For instance, does it pucker a lot when you bend over? It’s probably too big. Does it stretch an unusual amount when you spread your arms? It’s likely too small.
5. Choose a Style That Works for You
Another important factor to consider when shopping for a bra is the style of the bra itself. Bras have a variety of different features, including their wiring, closure, coverage and level of compression. A size that fits you perfectly in one style might feel more uncomfortable in the opposite style.
The style of bra you choose will largely depend on your personal aesthetic and what clothing you plan on wearing the bra with. If you’re shopping for a bra for a special event, it’s recommended to bring the outfit with you while trying on bras for this exact reason.
Don’t be discouraged if you find out you’ve been wearing the wrong bra size this whole time. Chances are, most of the people you know who wear bras are in the same boat!