Uncomfortable, annoying, and sometimes downright embarrassing! We are all familiar in some way or another with the bra problems that plague women everywhere, causing us to rip off our bras in frustration when we get home at the end of the day.
Slipping straps, straps that dig in, wires that pinch, fabric that puckers... the list goes on and on! But these problems are not just a fact of life and you don't have to just "put up with it." Did you know that almost all of the problems and discomfort that you experience with your bras, is actually to do with size and fit? Where there’s a bra problem, the Bra Fit Specialists at Forever Yours Lingerie have a solution!
It is our goal to help you understand what the root causes of these common bra problems are, so you can correct them or prevent them from happening to you. You should feel relief in the support your bra gives you, not discomfort! Read on to find out what you can do to look and, more importantly, feel your best when wearing a bra. Check our our most common bra fit problems below.
Some would argue that there’s nothing worse than the feeling of your bra slowly creeping up your back. Not only is the slow sensation enough to drive you mad, but it’s not exactly easy to yank at your bra in public! Either way, your bra band should never ride up your back. A snug bra band provides up to 80% of the support for your breasts. If it’s not snug, then it will inevitably start climbing up your back. This is because the weight of your breasts are pulling the back of the bra up, up, and up until your bra looks more like a necklace than a support garment!
A snug band, not the straps, will provide firm anchorage for your breasts and bring everything in the front up to where you want it.
A correctly sized bra band will feel tight at first, but it should not be uncomfortable. The band should be level with the front of the bra and parallel to the ground. There should be room to pull the band away from your body so a fist fits between your back and the bra, but you should not be able to pull it away any farther.
This is one of those things that makes you want to resort to tape or safety pins. That one irritating strap that won’t stay on your shoulder, no matter how much you tighten the strap.
If you suffer from slipping straps, the first thing to check is that your strap is indeed snug enough on your shoulder. You should be able to fit two stacked fingers comfortably between your shoulder and the strap, without being able to pull the strap much farther away from your fingers.
If they are indeed tight enough, the most common reason for a slipping strap is that the bra band is too big. As the bra band increases in size, the whole width of the bra’s construction increases—including the strap placement. If you’re buying a bra too large in the band, the bra is not fit to your body’s width. The straps will be set to far out on the shoulder, resulting in constantly slipping straps.
Another common reason for slipping straps is narrow or sloped shoulders. If your band is snug enough and you’ve ruled out the first two possible explanations, you may have sloping or narrow shoulders. If this sounds like you, avoid balconettes or other bra styles with wide-set shoulder straps to prevent your straps from slipping. Look for bra styles with a strap that’s wider and further inset. Another option is to try a bra that has a J-Hook—It is a small hook and loop that link the straps together on the upper back, creating a racerback. Or, try the Hide-a-Strap Solution or Strap Doctor, which both help to prevent slipping straps.
Women whose straps dig in, causing redness, soreness, and deep grooves in the shoulder, are more likely to suffer from headaches and nerve problems in the shoulder or neck region, making it an issue of increasing concern. Many women experience this problem not realizing that, for the most part, it is preventable.
Firstly, let’s tackle the bra band issue. If your band is too loose, your straps are doing all the work. The weight of your breasts pulls down on the straps because they aren’t being properly supported by your band. This puts a lot of strain on your shoulders, causing the painful digging.
Second, if you’re tightening up your bra straps looking for more support, you’re barking up the wrong tree! While tightening straps may increase lift and support in the short term, they may start to dig in if they’re too tight. Does your bra band ride up when you do this? If it does, chances are your bra band is too loose. As the finger is often pointed at the band when dealing with bra fit problems, you can see how important it is to wear the correct band size.
Lastly, if the the straps are too thin they may dig in. While some women can wear thin bra straps without issue, thin straps are not for everyone. If you have larger, heavier breasts, you simply need a thicker strap to protect your shoulders. There’s a reason they make bigger bras with thicker straps—for your comfort and to protect your health.
If you’re wearing a uniquely-styled top such as a strapless, halter, one-shoulder, or racer back, then altering your strap position will effectively hide the straps from view. Most convertible bras will convert to a halter or racer back position. For strapless or one-shoulder styles, you will need a strapless bra that comes with convertible straps.
If you want to make your everyday, non-convertible bra into a racer back, use the Bra Strap Solution to quickly and easily bring your straps together in the back to hide them. Some bras even have a J-Hook on the back straps which is a small hook and loop that link the straps together on the upper back, shown in the photo on the left.
If you are wearing a backless outfit, Breast tape is a great option!. We have Booby Tape, Brassy Bra and ByeBra brands to suit your needs and support requirements.
If your straps are simply showing with your regular top, then you may need to try a different bra style. For example, try a style with thinner straps, if you can. Or, try a Balconette bra with a boat neck or square-cut neckline. Balconette bras have wide set straps that are less likely to show underneath these kinds of tops.
The “quad boob" look is caused by the top edge of the bra’s cups cutting into the breast tissue. This happens when A) a woman is wearing a bra that is too small in the cup for her, or B) she is wearing a style that is not suited to her breast type. Sometimes, it can be a combination of both.
To avoid this bra fitting offence, the first thing you can do is make sure that you are wearing the correct bra size! A bra that fits well should be snug in the band, with center underwires that lay flat against your chest (not your breast tissue!). The cup should encompass your breast and provide a smooth transition from bra to breast, with no skin squeezing out of the top.
We also need to clear up a little myth, which is also partly responsible for the increasing perpetration of the “quad boob.” Ladies, you do NOT need to wear a bra that is too small for you to get clevage! There are a host of Push up Bras available that can enhance your bust AND fit you well.
Wearing the wrong style for your breast type can also cause the “quad boob” effect. Usually, it happens when a woman with a soft breast tissue wears a bra style that doesn’t mould to her shape, such as a pre-formed, foam-lined bra. As a result, the stiff edges of the cup cut into her breast tissue, creating a visible line underneath fitted clothing. If you have a soft breast tissue, choose something that moulds to your shape, such as a Spacer foam Bra or a style with enough stretch in the cup.
The wrinkled cups problem is the opposite to the “quad boobs” effect. This bra fit problem is wrinkling, puckering, or space somewhere in the cups of your bra. If this is happening on you, it can mean 1) that the cup is too large, or 2) the bra style is not right for you.
If the cup is too large, the fix is easy—try a smaller cup size. If in the smaller size the wrinkling in the cups has disappeared but now you don’t have enough coverage under your arm, or your skin is now otherwise squeezing out over the bra, then the size wasn’t the issue. The style is likely just not meant for you.
If your breasts are not round and you try on a bra made for a full and round breast it will have some space in the cups on you. Likewise, if you have a soft breast tissue that has lost some fullness and you are trying on a bra designed for a firm breast, the style won’t have the same effect on you. This isn’t a bad thing. Different styles are made to fit and flatter different bodies. Instead of trying to wear something that’s not for you, try something that is designed to flatter your unique shape! For example, If you have a swooping breast type, try a Balconette style that boosts your bust and eliminates the possibility of excess space at the top of the cup. Or, if you have soft breast tissue, try a pretty lace Cut and Sewn Bra instead of a stiff, moulded bra.
“Side boob” is when your breast tissue is peeking out the side of your bra, resulting in excess skin being exposed under the arm. This bra fit problem happens when your bra is either too small in the band or in the cup.The quick fix for this one: make sure you are wearing the right size bra!
A bra that is fitting correctly should encircle and contain your breasts. The underwire should extend to the side of your body, near your underarm, and it should not be sitting on your breast. If the bra fits, there should be enough coverage under your arms so that excess breast tissue is not spilling out the side (or anywhere else for that matter!).Some women have a hard time finding a bra that provides this level of fit and side coverage. If this is you, try a bra with a wider band and a high-cut side. Or, try the Elomi, Goddess, or Panache brands, which all have a great underwire widths.
Underwires that pinch are almost always a result of wearing the wrong bra size. Granted, there are some styles that specifically contain a harder underwire for strength and superior fit. However, most underwire bras can be comfortable when worn in the correct size.
If your underwires pinch, you might also experience some of the bra fit problems we have described here (think “quad boob” and “side boob”). This tells us that your pinching underwire is likely caused by a bra that is just too small.
If you are wearing the correct size, you shouldn’t even feel your underwire. See our Bra Fitting 101 page and our Bra Size Calculator to make sure you get into a better-fitting, comfortable bra today!
If, in between your breasts, where the underwires meet (called the “gore”) is sitting on your breasts or away from your body, then the bra is likely not fitting correctly and your bra is at risk for being damaged! This may be damaging your bra because if the gore is not sitting flat, your breasts are putting pressure on the wires. This increases the likelihood that they will bend, break, or poke through at the ends, which no one wants!
The gore’s job is to separate the breasts. To do this effectively, the center underwires need to be resting at your sternum, against your chest and not on top of or in front of your breasts.
If the band is too large then it is not snug enough to pull that underwire close to you and effectively separate the breasts. If this is the issue, try a smaller band size. Keeping in mind that if you do, you will need to adjust your cup size.
If the cups are too small then they are not deep enough to encompass your breasts. This makes it so that the bra is literally just covering the front of your breasts, rather than having the underwire separate, shape, and support them. Try a larger cup size. Unlike adjusting the band size, when you adjust the cup size there is no need to change the band size.
If your breasts are very full, round, large, or close-set, you may have a hard time finding a bra that rests completely flat against your sternum, even in the correct size. If you are sure you are wearing the correct size and you continue to have this problem, opt for bras that have deep cups and strong underwires, to get as close as you can to a flat gore. The Elomi and Empreinte are both great brands that should do the trick. Plunge and Balconette bras (bras with low center wires) are also a great option for this breast type. Low center wires usually rest fairly flat against the chest on a woman with larger, or close-set breasts.
As odd as it may sound, breasts are a lot like feet. Most women have one breast that is slightly larger than the other. For some of us, the difference is a little bit more substantial.
While it’s completely normal to have one breast larger than the other, it can make bra fitting tricky. If the difference is more than one cup size, you may have trouble finding bras that fit both sides reasonably well. To avoid personal discomfort and pressure that can possibly damage your bra, you should always fit your bras to the larger side. This can leave a little bit of space in the cup of the smaller breast. Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do to offset the difference in size.
The first option is using a “cookie” as it’s called in the bra world, to fill out the space in the smaller cup. A cookie is a foam or silicone pad that you can insert into any bra.
The second option is opting for a particular bra style that de-emphasizes the difference in size. For example, Lace or Cut and Sewn bras or bras with some stretch in the cup conform to each unique breast, making the difference virtually unnoticeable! Alternatively, balconette bras or bras with very open necklines are also pretty good at hiding this issue.
Escapees are breasts that try to make a break for it! Their most common escape tactic is usually an attempt to slip underneath the band of your bra, often at the most inopportune moment (especially when reaching with your arms above your head to grab that really important thing).
But in all seriousness, escapees are not one of those things that women just have to “deal with.” If you are wearing the correct size, this should not be happening to you! We can help.
The most common reasons for your breasts to slip underneath the band of your bra are that the cup is too small or the band is too big. It’s pretty self-explanatory. If your breasts don’t have enough room in the cup there are really only two places they can go: up or down. Factor gravity into the equation and which way do you think they’ll choose to go? Similarly, if the band is too loose what’s stopping your breasts from making a break for it right underneath that band?
If you have sensitive skin or health concerns, wearing a bra can be uncomfortable regardless of whether or not you are wearing the correct size. Among other things, allergies and excessive perspiration are the most common problems we are presented with at Forever Yours Lingerie.
Fortunately there are an increasing number of solutions. If you have allergies to certain elastics, more and more cotton bra styles are beginning to appear. If your allergies are severe and the cotton content is not high enough for you, you may wish to consider wearing a fitted camisole of an acceptable fabric, underneath your properly fitted bra.
If you have reached that stage in your life where body heat and perspiration are a concern to you, finding cool materials to wear can be difficult. Cotton and moisture-wicking bamboo are excellent, breathable materials to wear if heat is a concern to you. Try the Wick’ems Bra Liners —these are a great piece to use if you suffer from irritation and rashes caused by perspiration under the breasts. Fresh Breasts is another product to provide some relief from perspiration. This Lotion-to-Powder dries as a cooling silky powder that prevents chafing and wetness.