Bra Fit FAQs
We've compiled some of our most common questions we're asked about bras on this page. Click any of the following to be brought to the answer!
GENERAL BRA FAQ
MATERNITY & NURSING BRAS
GENERAL BRA FAQQ: How do I measure myself for a bra?
A: When measuring yourself for a bra, you will take two measurements:
1) Your Underbust Measurement:
Hold the tape measure firmly around your rib cage, snugly up under the base of your breast. Measure in inches, and write that number down.
2) Your Around-Bust Measurement:
Hold the tape measure firmly around chest and back, underneath your arms, and with your arms relaxed at your side. Make sure to hold the tape measure level around your back, and the center of your breast. The tape measure should be parallel with the floor, and not angled. Measure in inches, and write that number down.
Your underbust measurement, in inches, will be your band size, and the difference between your underbust measurement and around-bust measurement will determine your cup size. For every 1 inch your around-bust measurement differs from your underbust measurement, you will increase your cup size by one. So an ‘A’ cup is a 1 inch difference, a ‘B’ cup is a 2 inch difference, and so on. For example, if you measured your underbust at 36” and your around-bust at 43”, then your bra size would be a 36G.
Please note that this measurement is not always 100% true to your size, and becomes more difficult to compute accurately as the band size increases. Particularly for women that have a larger underbust measurement and a smaller cup. This measuring technique is to be used a strong guideline only.
See Forever Yours Lingerie’s Bra Size Calculator if you need help determining your bra size from your measurements.Q: What is the most frequent mistake made by women fitting themselves?
A: Most often, women will buy a bra with the band much too big and the cup too small. The thought is, the band size must be increased to increase the cup. While it’s true that increasing the band size does increase the girth of the cup, getting into a bra with a band so loose it’s riding up your back all day long, is not the correct way to make the cup fit! Wearing a bra with the band too loose causes the back to ride up, and allows gravity to take over in the front. This leaves you to rely on your straps for support, which causes many women to wear her straps so tight that they are digging into her shoulders.Q: How do I know if I am buying the right size?
A: There are a few simple things you can check to ensure that your bra is fitting you properly:
1) The band should be snug, the back level with the front, and parallel to the floor. The band should not be riding up your back. The band should feel snug and secure, but not so tight that a fist does not fit between your back and the bra band, or so loose that the band can be pulled away from your body a considerable amount.
2) The straps should rest comfortably on your shoulder, with enough room for 2-3 fingers’ width to fit between the strap and your body.
3) The cup should encompass your entire breast, with the underwire sitting against the base of your breast, and along the full width of your breast. Make sure that you are lifting the underwire to the spot where your breast leaves your body, and not pulling the bra down so that the underwire rests on your stomach. The wire should surround your breast, not lay on top of your breast tissue.
4) The cup should be deep enough to contain the whole breast, without having the breast tissue bubble over the top of the cup, which will create a visible line underneath a shirt.
5) The underwire should rest flat against your breastbone (not on top of your breast tissue), providing separation and the best support for your breasts.
A: It is recommended that every woman should have at least 2-3 bras in her collection at all times. To get the most life out of your bra, it needs to rest for 1-2 days inbetween wears, so that the elastics can return to their original shape. Your bra should be hand washed every 2nd-3rd wear, depending on your level of perspiration. Body oils and body care products can deteriorate or discolour fabrics; since a bra is worn very close to the skin, it should be hand washed gently and frequently, to ensure lasting wear. Ultimately, the more bras you have to rotate between wearing, washing, and letting rest, the more wear you will get out of your bras, and the longer they will last you.
A: Unfortunately, no. All bras have the possibility of fitting differently, even if they are made by the same manufacturer. A woman’s bra size will often vary between different brands, styles, or cuts - and regardless of size, not every style will be right for your particular breast tissue or breast shape. Even the same style in a different colour can fit differently, as the way the fabrics are dyed can change the way the bra fits.
A: The number of hooks on the back of your bra, does not always determine how much support the bra has. That being said, many full support bras have multiple hooks in the back, especially in the larger cup sizes. This is because when more support is required, a wider band with more surface area, more evenly disperses the pressure you feel across the back. It feels much more comfortable, and secure, across the back. Ultimately, the number of hooks you have on your bra depends on the brand, style, or size.
A: Most full support bras have wide straps to add comfort and support. If you are a larger cup size, your straps will probably be a little wider, but that is a good thing! Yes, they might show when you wear a tank top, but they will contribute so much more to your comfort, support, and the overall way your breasts look in your clothing. Thin straps are more likely to cut into your skin and cause redness and/or soreness.
A: The easiest way to adjust the straps, on a bra that adjusts from the back, is either to have someone help you, or to do it yourself with the bra halfway around your body. To do this, hook the band of the bra closed, with your arms outside of the straps, and slide the band around your body gently, until you can comfortably reach and easily adjust your straps to the desired height. Then slide the band to the back again, put your arms through the straps, and adjust your breast position as needed. Above all else, your straps should feel comfortable on your shoulder. Ideally, you should be able to fit 2-3 fingers, stacked vertically, between your shoulder and the bra strap. If there is not enough room to do so, the straps may be a little too tight; however, they should not be so loose that you can pull them away from your body considerably, as they may not be providing enough support.
A: If a woman finds that her straps constantly slip off her shoulder, it is most often because she is wearing a bra that is too loose in the band. When a bra is worn in a larger band size than you actually need, the entire structure of the bra is too wide for your body, including the placement of the straps. However, there are always exceptions, especially if a woman indeed has narrow or sloped shoulders. If you have been properly fitted for a bra and are wearing the correct band size, there are a few things you can do to try to help prevent your straps from slipping off your shoulder:
1) Try a bra with straps that are further inset on the shoulder, rather than having the straps sit wide on the shoulder. Avoid balconette styles, as a characteristic of these bras, is having wide set straps.
2) Try a convertible or racerback bra style. These bras allow you to cross the straps in the back, bringing them closer together in the center, and helping to keep them in place on your shoulder. You can also try the Bra Strap Solution accessory, to convert any bra you have in your collection.
3) Try a shoulder cushion. This product is made from a soft silicone that envelopes the straps, warms to your skin temperature, and effectively keeps the straps in place on your shoulder. Another advantage of this product, is it can help relieve uncomfortable pressure on the shoulder.
A: Because a nude bra is usually the closest colour to your skin, it blends with your skin tone and is usually the best option for underneath a white shirt. If you want something a little sexier than plain beige, try a light pink or red bra. Yes, you read that right - a RED bra! The secret is, because we have red undertones in our skin, a light pink or “true” RED bra will actually disappear underneath a white shirt. If you have a dark skin tone, a black or mocha coloured bra is usually your best option for underneath a white shirt. Regardless of your skin colour, a white bra will always show through a white shirt because the colour does not blend with your skin, and the bra will actually be highlighted underneath your shirt.
A: Under a black shirt you can wear almost any colour! Just because you are wearing a black shirt doesn’t mean you have to wear a black bra - try something fun like purple, or blue! However, we do not recommend wearing light coloured bras such as white or ivory, underneath black clothing, as the dyes in the fabrics can rub off on your bra.
A: Yes! Any bra can be worn under most any kind of shirt. That being said, if you are wearing a seamed or embroidered bra underneath a t-shirt or sweater, you may see some lines through the shirt. These lines do soften up with wear, and gentle washing, so they will not always be prominent.
A: Unfortunately, most lingerie manufacturers only make seamless or moulded bras up to an H cup. This is mainly due to the fact that moulded or seamless bras are not full support bras, and they often do not fit a larger breast as well as a seamed bra. Seamed, or cut and sewn bras, are designed to provide maximum support - the bottom panel lifts the breast, the side panel brings the breast forward, and the top panel contains the breast. In contrast, a seamless bra has only one preformed shape that you can try to fit your breast into. If you need a full support bra, but want the look of a seamless, try a bra with flat, inverted seams (like the Goddess Alice Underwire Bra or the Prima Donna Madison Full Cup), as these are nearly invisible underneath most clothing.
A: After any fluctuation in size, it is always best to be freshly measured, and ideally try on a few bra styles to be sure of your size. When this is not possible, you can use the sister sizes as a general rule of thumb. The sister size rule is built on the premise that changes to the band size result in similar changes to the cup size. For example, if the band size is too small but the cup is fitting well you will need to try one band size larger and decrease the cup by one size to make up for this difference. This is because as the band size increases or decreases by one size, the cup size increases or decreases by one size as well.
For example, let’s say you are wearing a 36F. The 36 band size is too small, but the F cup fits well. So, logically you would go to a 38F, right? Nope! As the band size went up to a 38, the cup also increased in size, which would make that 38F fit in the band, but it would now be too large in the cup. So, what size should I try, you ask? The answer is a 38DD or 38E (whichever comes before the F cup in the particular manufacturer’s size range). 38DD (or 38E) is the sister size to the 36F because it fits the same in the cup, but is larger in the band than the 36F.Q: I’ve lost weight and the band of my bra is too loose, but the cup is fitting fine. Which size should I buy now?
A: After any fluctuation in size, it is always best to be freshly measured, and ideally try on a few bra styles to be sure of your size. When this is not possible, you can use the sister sizes as a general rule of thumb. The sister size rule is built on the premise that changes to the band size result in similar changes to the cup size. For example, if the band size is too large but the cup is fitting well you will need to try one band size smaller and increase the cup by one size to make up for this difference. This is because as the band size increases or decreases by one size, the cup size increases or decreases by one size as well.
For example, let’s say you are wearing a 36F. The 36 band size is too large, but the F cup fits well. So, logically you would go to a 34F, right? Nope! As the band size went down to a 34, the cup also decreased in size. As the band size went down to a 34, the cup also decreased in size, which would make that 34F fit in the band, but it would now be too small in the cup. So, what size should I try, you ask? The answer is a 34FF or 34G (whichever comes after the 34F n the particular manufacturer’s size range). 34FF (or 34G) is the sister size to the 36F because it fits the same in the cup, but is smaller in the band than the 36F.Q: Why is my bra always riding up my back?
A: Most likely, you are wearing a bra with a band size that is too loose for you, and tightening the straps too much to compensate the loss of support. This is the most common mistake that women make when buying a bra. Make sure to buy your bra snug enough so that the back stays level with the front. There should enough room to fit a fist in between the band and your back, but not so much room that you can the bra away from your body considerably. Especially if you only have a couple of bras to rotate between wearing, your bra should be snug so that it doesn’t stretch out too quickly, resulting in the band riding up.Q: When would I ever wear a fancy lace bra?
A: You can wear a lacy bra anytime, and underneath most articles of clothing. Often the bras that offer the best fit, and full support, are lace bras! This is because lace stretches to conform to your breast shape, rather than trying to have your breast conform to rigid fabric. If you are concerned about the lace showing underneath clothing, don’t be! Lace is flat and usually doesn’t show underneath clothing - it’s raised embroidery that you want to avoid if you prefer a smooth look. Even if you are the only one who is going to see it, why not wear a pretty lace bra? What woman would not feel great about herself when she’s wearing a sexy bra and panty set!Q: If my shirt has a scoop or v-neckline, what style of bra should I wear?
A: If you are concerned about your bra showing under a low cut shirt, you can try a plunge or balconette bra. These styles have a lower front and are unlikely to show underneath low cut clothing. For shirts with a v-neckline or low center, try a plunge bra, like the Freya Deco Plunge Bra or Prima Donna Plunge Bra. For shirts with an open, square cut, or boat neckline, try a balconette bra.Q: What type of bra can I wear if the straps on my shirt are thin straps?
A: If you are concerned about your bra straps showing underneath clothing with thin straps, try wearing a strapless bra, or putting clear straps on a bra with removable straps. Alternatively, you can buy a bra with a pretty strap (like the Marie Jo Avero or Secret D’Eva Lys de Royal) that you actually want to be seen!Q: Is it really better to wear an underwire bra?
A: As long as the bra is comfortable and fitting you properly, it does not matter if you are in a non-wire or underwire bra. If you choose an underwire bra, your breasts will have more lift and separation, and often a more desirable shape; however, you can achieve good support with either option. For non-wire bras that provide a beautiful shape, and comparable support to an underwire bra, see the Goddess Rose Softcup or Elomi Caitlyn Softcup!Q: I have a latex allergy, is there anything I can do?
A: Our suggestion would be to try a bra that is made primarily of a natural fibre, such as cotton. We also offer a natural bamboo product called Wick ‘em, which rests under the band of your bra, helping to wick moisture away from your body and create a barrier between you and your bra.Q: Why does it seem like all my favorite bra styles always get discontinued?
A: Bra manufacturers make a number of styles that are a part of their basic collection, but seasonal collections are made for a limited time only, to keep their offering new and exciting! Manufacturers make every effort to continue producing their clients’ favourite styles; however, it is not always possible to do so. Styles are discontinued by the manufacturer when they are unable to source the same fabrics or lace, the style has high return rates, or the style does not sell as well as other favourites. Often the manufacturer will try to produce something similar, to replace the discontinued style.Q: Why is it important to buy a more expensive, quality bra?
A: Forever Yours Lingerie makes every effort to ensure the product range we bring to our customers, offers both quality and affordability. Our bras typically start around $49.99. So why should you invest more than $49.99 in one bra - quality, comfort, and fit! Like a good pair of shoes, a good bra is an investment. It should be both comfortable and supportive; after all, you are wearing it all day! The two main reasons that some products are more expensive, are:
1) The materials used and construction of the garment, are of a high standard of quality.
2) The garment has been manufactured using skilled craftsmanship, and has undergone rigorous quality control testing. These garments are designed in a developed country, and often many components, or the whole piece, is made in developed countries as well. Some luxury brands, such as Prima Donna, can require up to 50 pieces to make one bra!
Both of these components ensure that the you are receiving a product that is both comfortable and beautiful, and will last a long time with proper care. So the next time you are in a fitting room and are hesitant to try that bra that’s marked at $100... compare it to the bra that’s marked at $49.99. Look at the details on the more expensive bra - the finishing, the quality of the lace, the feel of the fabrics. Consider the thought that went into giving you the best comfort and fit possible - the anatomically shaped band, the cushioned underwire, the gently tapering straps... Try it on and notice how much better it feels, and ask yourself this... aren’t I worth having a beautiful and practical garment that fits me well, gives me the support that I need, and is comfortable all day long?Q: The underwire in my bra is always digging into the side of my breast, why?
A: Most likely, the cup is too small for your breast. The underwire in your bra should be large enough to encompass the entire breast; this means that the end of the wire should be sitting somewhere close to your underarm. If your wire is digging into the side of your breast, it is probably because the underwire is resting on your breast tissue instead of against the side of your body. Use this rule with caution, because if the wire is too far back, this can also be uncomfortable. Even if you are wearing the correct size, some brands have a very high wire under the arm that can be uncomfortable on the wrong body type. If you have a short torso, avoid brands such as Panache or Elomi, which have a very high underwire.Q: Should the underwire in the front, between my breasts, be sitting flat on my breastbone?
A: This is one of the most important bra fitting rules. To achieve breast separation and the best support, the wire of your bra should be sitting right up under the base of your breast and flat against your chest - not on top of your breast. If the underwire does not sit flat against your chest, the wires can twist from the pressure, and there is an increased likelihood of the underwire poking through the material. Some women with very full, or close set breasts, can have a hard time getting the underwire to sit flat against her chest. In this case, try to get the underwire as close to the correct position as possible, by either trying a style with a very strong underwire (like Elomi, Goddess, Panache, or Cleo by Panache), or by trying a style with a low center gore (like the Elomi Betty or Panache Tango Plunge).Q: My bras often leave redness or bruising on my body. Why?
A: When you are wearing an ill fitting bra, it can rub and pinch your skin, which can be very uncomfortable, and leave marks on your skin. The best way to prevent this is to wear a properly fitting bra. If your properly fitted bra is uncomfortable, which sometimes happens, you should consider trying a different style. Not every bra style is going to be right for everyone’s body shape. Your bra should never make you uncomfortable, but please do keep in mind that anything worn against your skin for a long period of time will leave a red mark (ie. pant waistband, panties, etc.)Q: What is the correct way to put on a bra?
A: The best way to put on a bra, to make sure that your breasts are positioned correctly, is as follows:
1) Place your arms through the straps, positioning the strap at a comfortable spot on your shoulder.
2) Gently place the underwire (or underbust band if it is a softcup) under the base of your breast. Reach back and hook the bra band closed, gently pulling it down until it is level with the front of the bra.
3) Reach into the cup with your opposite hand, lifting your breast on an angle, up and towards the center of the bra. Repeat on the other side. This is an important step to positioning your breast correctly, and should be done every time you put a bra on.
4) Gently smooth your breast away from the center panel with a finger.
If you find it difficult to reach behind you to do up the hooks, use the following method:
1) Spin the bra around so that the hooks on the band are in the front
2) Do up the hooks on the band and gently move the bra around your body, until the hooks are at the back.
3) Make sure that the underwire rests at the base of your breast, where the breast leaves your body. The back band should be level with the front of the bra.
4) Reach into the cup with your opposite hand, lifting your breast on an angle, up and towards the center of the bra. Repeat on the other side. This is an important step to positioning your breast correctly, and should be done every time you put a bra on.
5) Gently smooth your breast away from the center panel with a finger.
MATERNITY & NURSING BRAS
A: Yes! You can continue to wear your bra until your breasts start to grow, or you no longer feel comfortable in your old bra. If you are at the point where you feel like you need a new bra for the remainder of your pregnancy, you should try to find a transition bra - something in a lower price range, with lots of stretch to accommodate your comfort during growth. There is no need to try to find a bra that is specifically labeled as “maternity”.
A: You may not need a specific bra for pregnancy, so don’t invest in one unless you need one. Some women find that they need a transition bra if they grow a lot during their pregnancy, or are finding their old bra uncomfortable. If you are looking for something to get you through until you have your baby, look for something that is comfortable and stretchy, but still gives adequate support. Many women choose to wear a comfort nursing style for the last 2-3 weeks of their pregnancy, and about 1-2 weeks after baby is born, until their milk is regulated. Comfort styles, such as the Original Bravado Nursing Bra, are designed to provide comfort and moderate support, while stretching to accommodate your changing shape.
A: Most likely, yes. Many women find that their breasts increase in size during and after pregnancy, and they may also become firmer as your breasts starts to produce milk. Unfortunately, no one can say how much your breasts will change size, as this is something very individual. Try to think of how your breasts changed during and after your last pregnancy - or, if this is your first, ask your mother how much her breasts changed.
A: To measure yourself for a bra when pregnant, first follow the same steps for fitting yourself for a bra. To accommodate for growth during your pregnancy, add two inches onto your ribcage measurement. Wear your pregnancy bra on the tightest setting, so that as your ribs expand throughout your pregnancy, you will be able to loosen the band as needed. The cup should have some room in it to allow for growth, but not so much that the bra is visibly too large underneath a shirt. If you need assistance to determine your bra size, check out our online Bra Calculator, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-855-432-1933.
A: Whatever you feel more comfortable in! As long as the bra is fitting you properly, you can wear either style. If you choose to go with an underwire style, make sure that the cup is not too small, or is just fitting you. If the cup is too small, or will become too small quickly, it may start to dig and pinch the side of your breast, at the underarm. When pregnant, it is always best to make sure your bra has a little bit of room for growth.
A: We recommend wearing a comfort or sleep nursing bra, like the Original Bravado Nursing Bra, about a month before you are due. This bra will see you through your delivery and the first 1-2 weeks after giving birth, as it has lots of stretch to accommodate your changing shape. It is common for the size of your breasts to increase dramatically after your birth, and you are going to need something to bridge the gap until your milk supply is regulated enough to invest in a supportive nursing bra.
A: Measure yourself the same that you would a regular bra, as per our Bra Fitting Guide. Remember to take into consideration whether or not you are full, or have nursed recently, and adjust your size accordingly. If you have just nursed and are not full, leave a little bit of room in the cup, to grow.
A: It is recommended to have at least 2-3 bras in your collection. To get the most life out of your bra, it needs to rest for 1-2 days inbetween wears, so that the elastics can return to their original shape. Your bra should be hand washed every 2nd-3rd wear, depending on your level of perspiration. Body oils and body care products can deteriorate or discolour fabrics; since a bra is worn very close to the skin, it should be hand washed gently and frequently, to ensure lasting wear. Ultimately, the more bras you have to rotate between wearing, washing, and letting rest, the more wear you will get out of your bras, and the longer they will last you.
A: Putting on a piece of shapewear that has a little bit of a leg, is very similar to putting on a pair of pantyhose! First, prepare the garment by scrunching up the leg, so it is easier to step into. Once your legs are in the panty, slide them up the rest of the way, until the waistband sits at a comfortable position. Be careful not to put a finger through the material, as this can make a run or hole. Usually the best way to put on other types of shapewear (slips, slim fit dresses, tanks, and panties), is to step into the garment, gently shimmying it up your body until it rests in the correct position.
A: Trying a smaller size will only cause problems with the fit of the garment, and the level of control will not change. If you are not getting enough support from the shaper that you are wearing, try a different style or go up a control level rather than down a size.
A: Unfortunately, there is not much you can do, as shapewear needs to be snug and fit close to the body, to provide maximum control. You can try a thinner or more breathable material (such as the Spanx Slimplicity line, or the Spanx Thin-Stincts line); however, this can sacrifice the level of control.
A: There are a few things you can do to try to prevent your shapewear from rolling down:
1) Try tucking the band of your shaper up under your bra band. This is a great option if your bra band is fitting you properly; however, if your bra band is too loose, the shapewear will continue to slide down.
2) Try a different style. Some women find that Spanx products roll down on them, whereas the Bodywrap brand does not. Sometimes it is simply a matter of trial and error. What works for some women, may not work for others.
3) Try a shaper that has straps (such as the Spanx Slimplicity Underbust Bodysuit)
A: If your control tank is rolling up, it usually means that the garment is too small. Try going up to the next size and see how it feels. Remember, if it does not feel as strong as you would like, go up to a higher control level instead of trying a smaller size.
SPORTS BRASQ: What makes a sports bra different from an everyday bra?
A: In comparison to an everyday bra, an athletic sports bra has a much higher level of support, structure, and bounce control. Usually, sports bras are also made with technology fabrics, designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria, and wick moisture away from the skin, keeping you cool and dry during exercise. Excess breast bounce causes irreversible damage to the ligaments in your breast, causing your breasts to lose their firmness. The level of support one needs in a sports bra, is dependant on the activity: Light support, moderate support, and high support.Q: Why is it essential that I wear a sports bra when exercising?
A: Your breasts are supported by ligaments and skin. Ligaments and skin will stretch over time, and with excess impact and stretching. The best way to help prevent this, is to always wear a proper fitting bra, and reduce the bouncing caused when exercising, with a structured athletic bra. Wearing a sports bra will also eliminate the breast discomfort or pain most women feel when they exercise.Q: How do I determine how much support I will need from a sports bra?