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How a Bra Should Fit

Different parts of a bra.

You'd think this would be self-explanatory, but we've worn ill-fitting bras for so long many of us need a refresher.

  • The band is responsible for 80% to 90% of the support of the bra. It should fit comfortably around your torso, parallel to the floor. The band should be snug but you should be able to slide two fingers between the band and your skin. The band should never ride up toward your shoulders.
  • Straps are responsible for only 10% to 20% of the bra support, their primary function is to even or level the bra. They should stay in place without digging into your shoulders.
  • Whether you're wearing a full cup or a demi cup, your breasts should fit inside the cup with no spillage over the top, under the cup or around your underarms. If you're spilling out of the cup, you need a larger cup size. If there are wrinkles in the fabric of the cup, you need a smaller cup size.
  • The gore, the portion of the band between the cups, should fit flat against your chest wall between your breasts. If the gore is not flat against your sternum, your cups are too small.
  • Underwires should completely surround your breasts and lay against your chest wall. The underwires should never dig into your breasts, your chest or underarms.
  • In a properly fitted bra your nipples should be halfway between your shoulders and elbows, facing forward. Adjust your straps so your breasts are in this position.
  • The bra should fit on the loosest hook, this allows you to tighten the bra as the elastic relaxes over time.
  • Your bra should stay in place when you lift your arms or bend over.

Next: An Expert's Three-Point Fit Guide


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