You are a teachable woman. Let me show you five ways to feel cute and supported at the same time. For starters, the life expectancy of your bra is about a year. Did you know that?
Buying bras can be a bit tricky. I never had any rhyme or reason. I would just make these assumptions about my size and go with whatever design, style, or brand looked and felt good. I was making the same mistakes over and over again.
Spending big bucks on a bra may not be in everybody’s budget, but this is one of those scenarios where quality matters. I have a newfound appreciation for bras. I've learned that all women need to be fitted for a bra every year. I had the honor and privilege learning more about how my own boobs are shaped and my bra type from the infamous Town Shop, a bra specialty store located in New York City.
Let’s keep it real.
Most of us look for any excuse not to wear a bra. We all agree whipping the bra off is consistently one of the best parts of our day. However, once those pigeons are loose, by default, we exhale. Most of us know our personal bra struggles. My biggest struggles are discreetly digging in my blouse in public to pull up a fallen bra strap, owning an everyday sports bra collection, and tightening my bra strap thinking my bra will fit better when in fact it’s just too old.
After my bra fitting, it turns out, I was wrong. The bra fitter told me I am a 34/36D. I was horrified. Big girls don’t cry, huh? I felt like I became a free agent, traded to D team. Even though my cup size doesn’t qualify me for the BIG GIRLS club, these rules do apply to women of all sizes. If you’re making any of these five bra mistakes like I did, that means you’re officially wearing the wrong bra size.
Bra Mistake #1 – Falling Shoulder Straps
When your bra strap falls down on your shoulder it’s because of two reasons: 1) the bra is too old or loose or 2) the bra band is not in the proper place on your back. It should be low, not high on your back.
Bra Fix – The number for any bra represents the back band measurement and the letter is for the cup size. If you can comfortably place two fingers underneath your strap and pull or slide it up and down, newsflash: your bra is too loose, old or it’s not in the proper place. If the band is riding halfway up your back, it’s the wrong size.
Bra Mistake #2 – Your Bra Size Can Change
Never assume that you will be the same size for the rest of your life. Our bodies are constantly changing, whether it’s from natural functions such as puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy or menopause.
Bra Fix – Buying 4-5 bras per year and get a fitting at least once a year to make sure that you are wearing the right bra.
Bra Mistake #3 – Hooking Up with the wrong one
When we purchase a bra for the first time, our first inclination is to use the tightest hook. I always wondered about the meaning behind each hook. After all, the newness of the bra makes it feel more snug, secure, and comfortable against our girls, doesn’t it? Not true.
Bra Fix – Turns out I was killing the lifespan of my bra and stretching it out way before its time. Putting more pressure on the bra band causes it to loosen and stretch faster. The rule of thumb is to start from the outermost hook and work your way in. Not the reverse.
Bra Mistake #4 – Back Fat
According to Town Shop's bra expert Alba Salas, the biggest complaint from women is back fat. Most women want to hide back fat over bra support.
Bra Fix – Back fat is driven by a woman’s weight and menopause as you age. Both contribute to back fat. Women need to adjust your bra to their life events. Make sure you’re wearing the right size band to minimize back fat.
Bra Mistake #5 – Tugging and Pulling the Cups
Cleavage can be sexy, but bulging out of your cup is totally not. Bra cups shouldn’t be baggy or half full, rather they should hug and hold on to your breasts comfortably.
Bra Fix – Your shoulders shouldn’t carry the weight of your breasts; it’s the fit of the back. 80% of your lift and support comes from the bra band. This happens when women constantly adjust their bra strap by tightening the strap until it runs out. For women with bigger breasts, this leaves an indentation on their shoulders resulting in pulling up of the bra band, and it tugs and pulls at your breasts.
I had so much fun and was amazed by the results of being fitted. I finally understood my cup size, shape, and now I know what a good fit feels like. Made me wanna to ditch my bra on the way out of the store. If you haven’t been fitted, you are doing a great disservice to yourself and your girls.
Bra fitting parties are fun girlfriendly moments to shop and compare. If you're interested in coordinating a sesh with your girls either in NYC or DC, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Makes a great holiday gift.
Nina is the founder and host of Keep it 100 Girl, an internationally-known storytelling podcast which discusses how to empower women and men to have open conversations in their lives with no filters. It’s 50 shades of cray cray where women and men tell the truth, nothing but the truth, even if it's totally embarrassing. Nina’s passion and purpose is to speak directly to the uninformed girl and woman in an edgy but informative way. Nina reveals what women are thinking, but not saying out it loud, because they are too shy, nervous, or embarrassed to ask questions. She resides in the Washington, D.C. area. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @ninababel.