The anatomy of a good outfit always starts with what’s underneath the outfit. In fact, I believe in this concept so much I wrote an entire mini-eBook about it. Truly, wearing the right undergarments is one of the easiest ways to elevate any outfit. However, many women are still wearing improper bras. Anything from the wrong size to the wrong style to a really old bra can cause you style (and BACK) problems. Let’s talk about 3 common bra mistakes and how you can fix them.
1. You’re Wearing the Wrong Size Bra
We’ve all seen the statistic that 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra. That may or may not be true, the number is really high. But here’s what I can pretty confidentially say — if you have bras from multiple brands, you’re probably wearing the wrong size in one of the brands. Here’s why, bra sizing (like ALL other clothing sizes) isn’t universal. So, you may be a 36 C in one brand but a 34 C in another. We typically don’t get measured at every store we go to. We find out our bra size at one store, like Victoria’s Secret, and then buy bras in that size from every place else.
So, since all bra sizes aren’t created equal, how can we combat the issue of wearing the wrong bra size WITHOUT getting measured at every single store? There are a couple of things you can look for in your bras to make sure that they are well fitting, regardless of the size. If you notice any of these things are amiss, you can look to size up or size down depending on the issue.
- Make sure the band of your bra is snug. The support of your bra comes from there, so it is important that it fits well. You don’t want it to be too tight (if it is, size up) but if it’s loose or you can fit more than one finger underneath, you need to size down to a smaller band size. Band size is the numbers, if you didn’t know, like 34, 36, 38, etc.
- Speaking of bands, when you first buy a bra, you should be using the hooks furthest to the right. As you continue to wear it and the band stretches, you’ll move to use the next set of hooks, and then the next, until you get to the last ones. If you aren’t starting wearing the 2nd, 3rd (or 4th) set of hooks, size down on your band.
- Make sure the band is parallel to the floor and doesn’t ride up. You can test this by lifting your hands in the air. If the band rides up it’s too big. You guessed it, size down!
- The wires in your underwire bra should not be digging in (go up a size) or riding up your breast (go up or down a size — you can have this issue with too big or too small bras).
- Check your cups for spillage or extra room. Your cup should be full but not overly so and you should have room between your breast and the cup. Extra room? Size down. Spillage? Size up.
- Make sure your straps sit comfortably on your shoulders. They shouldn’t dig in or fall off. You can adjust them to get them to the right fit.
- Finally, remember that different style bras might mean different sizes for you. For example, I have to size up any time I purchase a strapless bra or a balconette bra. Depending on the style, you might have to get a different size.
2. You’re Keeping Your Bras Too Long
Hate to be the bearer of bad news here but bras are designed to be worn for 6 months. I know, I know. It sucks. But it’s true. You might be able to get some longevity out of them if you make a point of rotating them on a daily basis. Honestly, that’s what I do. But I also buy bras from my favorite shops year-around and especially when they have sales. I don’t necessarily add them to the rotation right away, but I like to have them on deck. Here are a few ways to know you’ve had a bra too long:
- You’ve been wearing it more than 6 (OK, 12) months
- The straps constantly fall down or won’t stay tightened
- You’re clasping the last set of hooks on the bra
- Even when you’re clasped on the last set of hooks the band is too big
- One or both of your underwires is poking you or has come out completely
- Your bra has lost its shape from too many washes (pro tip: wash your bras in a lingerie bag on gentler cycle and hang dry them)
- Your bra color has faded or looks dirty even when it is fresh out of the wash
3. You’re Wearing the Wrong Type of Bra
You need different bras for different outfits. And wearing the wrong one, much like a VPL (visible panty line), is a flashing arrow that tells everyone your outfit isn’t 100% pulled together. Nowadays, stores make it easier than ever to know what type of bra you’re buying — plunge, t-shirt, full coverage, balconette, etc. You want to make sure that you’re wearing an appropriate bra for your outfit. For example, if you’re rocking a deep v-neck, opt for a plunge bra or a lower cut balconette and skip the full coverage bra. If you want lift and to avoid appearing saggy then you need to check out underwire and molded bras. T-shirt bras and bralettes are great for wearing underneath loungewear. And, if it’s important that people don’t see your bra straps opt for strapless, convertible, or racerback options. There is truly a type of bra for every occasion.
I know that finding a bra can be tough, especially during times of Covid. Here are a few of my favorite stores — for in-person and online bra shopping:
- Nordstrom (their fitters are EXPERTS, the best out there!)
- Cacique x Lane Bryant
- Third Love
- Savage x Fenty
- True & Co.
Need help finding the perfect bra? Try booking “Just an Hour” or a “Moodboard” appointment with me so I can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. When you book via my GlamHive profile, use the code: ERIKA15 for 15% off your service.