Finding the Perfect Fit: Where Should A Bra Sit on Your Back?
May 28, 2023
Most women aren't in the right bra size. And with how much there is to consider, including different styles, sizes, and your breast shape, it's easy to understand why.
I know I'm not the only one who grew up assuming the straps were where the support was. They hoosh the girls up to where they should sit, right?
They certainly help, but they're not as crucial as the band for support. The support of a well-fitting bra depends on the band.
Bra bands should lie horizontally (parallel) across your back, directly under the breast tissue. Or the inframammary fold for bra nerds!
Before diving into common ill-fitting bra issues and other annoyances, let's see what each element of a bra should be doing for your girls!
I won't bore you with an in-depth explanation of each component's role. Most of us know what's going on. But it's worth a mention!
Bra band: is responsible for supporting the weight of your breasts.
Straps:helps lift and mold the cups closer to your chest.
Cups:provide a comfy, supported place for your breasts to rest.
Center gore:connects the cups together and keeps the breasts separate or together, depending on the bra style.
Hook-and-eye closures:i.e., the clasps at the back. Keeps everyone in check!
With the basics done and dusted, it's time to make sure you're putting on your bra properly.
Putting On Your Bra: The Scoop and Swoop Method
Putting on your bra is straightforward, right?
Some people just stick their arms through the straps and fasten hooks. Job done. Others hook it at the front before swishing it around to the back and wrangling the girls in.
Or some fasten their bras and step into them like you would a dress. (That's a new one for me!)
Whichever your way, the ultimate bra fit for getting your girls sitting pretty in your bra is the Scoop and Swoop method.
It's a simple technique and becomes second nature in no time.
First, put your bra on as normal, making sure it's comfy on the loosest hook. Then, lean forward and, using your hands, scoop all of your breast tissue (starting from under your armpit) into the cups.
You want all of your breast tissue sitting comfortably in your bra with it spilling out the tops or sides.
With your breasts situated, you can suss out if your bra is sleeping on the job.
Signs Of An Ill-fitting Bra
Before diving into what a perfect bra should feel like, let's see what common issues women face on the daily with an improperly-fitting bra.
Does your band ride up or dig into your sides? If your bra band rides up your back, you're gonna need a smaller band size. But, if the band is too tight and digging into your rib cage, you gotta increase the band! Also, remember to check for your sister size so you're spoilt for choice.
Is there too much empty cup space or major boob spillage?If there's gaping or excess material, you need a smaller cup size (or that bra style might just not suit your breast shape). Are your breasts feeling smooshed and spilling out (or quadboobing)? They need a larger cup size.
Do your straps fall down or gouge out your shoulders?If your bra straps leave rivets in your shoulders, they need loosening. Or if you have ones that love falling down, they need tightening. (Why adjustable straps are essential!)
Center panel doesn't lie flat or digs into your breasts? Also known as the center gore, if yours doesn't lie flat against your chest wall, restrict your breathing, or spill your breasts out, the gore most likely is too small. If the center panel is too narrow, the underwire may distort or dig into the breast tissue.
Is your underwire gaping or sitting on breast tissue?Signs of an underwire being too narrow include the wire sitting on your breast tissue and digging into your rib cage! If you find too much space between your girls and the underwire, it's a sign it's too wide.
So, with all those signs to watch for, how should your bra feel against your body?
How Should Your Bra Fit?
So, once you've done all the swooping and scooping, how can you tell if you've the perfect fitting bra?
The bra band should feel snug against your body but not feel like you can't breathe. It must be tight enough to feel like you're being correctly supported during the day.
If you're not sure if you have a snug fit, a comfortable band will have enough give to slide two fingers under the band on both sides. Roughly 1-2 inches of stretch.
everybody isn't the same!
If you need the band to sit a little lower than parallel because of rib flare, you do you. Or if you prefer having more give in the band because it's more comfortable, go for it!
As long as the band staysputduring the day, you have the right bra band size.
The band should be supportive enough on the outermost hook, allowing the bra to stretch out over time.
The perfect cup will cover your breasts while helping to support them. But before worrying about cup size, getting the right band size is the top priority.
There shouldn't be any spillage or major gaping. Your breasts need to be comfortable in their harnesses.
Well-fitting bra straps will support your breasts without digging into your shoulders. Seeing as nobody is the same, most bras have adjustable shoulder straps, so you can tailor the length to whichever you want. Your shoulders will thank you for it!
Also known as the center panel, the gore is that little bit of fabric that connects the cups. For a properly-fitted bra, the gore should lay flat against your skin.
Not everyone likes or wants to wear wireless bras, so the most common style to go with is underwire bras.
With your underwire bra, you want the wire to sit comfortably, encompassing the breast without sitting on the breast tissue.
Why Does My Band Size Change Between Brands?
It's a pain, I know. But your band size will change between brands because of different stitching, fabrics used, and how the bras are made.
Some brands also use different bra sizing guidelines. So, you might have to play around with the band size before locking down on your favorite bras.
For instance, some Polish brands, particularly Ewa Michalak bras, advise their shoppers to size up on the band.
So when you're hunting for a new bra, make sure to check out the brand's bra fitting guidelines and customer reviews before buying!
Why Does My Bra Band Feel Too Tight At Night?
I know I can't be the only one that gets super uncomfortable in their bra in the evening. It's why so many of us whip our bras off the moment we're in the door.
But is there a reason why this sudden nighttime discomfort kicks in?
Actually, there are a few!
Your body is doing its thing:Throughout the day, your rib cage fills out ever so subtly, digesting tasty food and...you know, breathing! Plus, after a hard day, slouching on the couch will change where the pressure of your bra sits against your chest.
Your body is hot: Your body's temperature fluctuates and retains heat at night. So, natural sweat and heat make some fabrics less flexible.
Your body is tired:Nighttime is for relaxing your body and mind. With less to be focused on, our minds turn toward uncomfortable sensations against our bodies and chest.
How Can I Make My Bra Band More Comfortable?
Once you're in the correct size, it can be difficult to get used to it. Especially if you've spent years in a loose band.
So, are there ways to make your band more comfortable?
Knowing your sister-size bra is a godsend to many of us. Nothing is more annoying than finding a great bra only for the store to be out of stock of your size or finding that a bra fits perfectly in the cup but not quite right in the band!
Sister sizes mean you can get a larger back band if you need it, letting you move your gorgeous self as nature intended! And it doesn't restrict you from exploring different bra styles!
Remember that if you size up in the band from your typical bra size, you'll need to drop the cup size one letter in order to maintain the same cup volume. For example, if you typically wear a 34DD but find that a particular style is too tight in the band in this size while the cup fits just right, you should try a 36D to sister size up in the band.
Adjust hook-and-eye settings
The Hook-and-eye settings are the fancy term for the clasps and hooks on the back of your bra.
A well-fitting bra will be snug but not tight on the loosest hook. This will allow you to wear your bra longer, even with the fabric stretching over time.
But if you feel like the band is too loose, move the clasps to the middle hook. And then, after a tiring day, move it back to the loosest hook to keep your band feeling comfy all day long. Easy peasy.
Try a bra band extender
These extenders are small pieces of fabric with hook-and-eye closures that you can hook onto your band.
Extenders are a great option if you find yourself caught between band sizes, and sister sizes aren't cutting it.
Or if you've gained some extra cushion and don't have the budget for a brand-spanking new bra.
But even though band extenders are great in a pinch, they can't replace a properly fitting bra. Plus, you run the risk of ruining the fit and longevity of your bras.
Give underwire bras a break
If your go-to is an underwire bra, but the band feels stiff and uncomfortable, check out non-underwire bra styles.
Some women don't even think of wireless bras as an option. They can't handle the weight of your girls.
If you find your band feels tight at night, especially after a hard day, switching to a wireless bra could be exactly what your breasts are craving.