Earlier this year, a study by Debenhams found that women keep their bras for, on average, five years, with nearly a third of those surveyed saying they’ve never been for a proper bra fitting. Given that our busts change over time – for hormonal reasons as well as weight gain or loss – chances are high that your bra size has fluctuated, too.
“Millions of women are wearing the wrong size bra and, as market leader, it’s our mission to help them find one that fits perfectly, whether it’s a first bra, a post-surgery bra, or a pregnancy bra,” says Julia Mercer, head of bra fit at Marks & Spencer. But how do you know if you’re wearing the wrong size? Your bra might feel comfortable, but Mercer says there are five ways to tell, by looking at how it sits and fits on your body. Follow these pointers to find out whether you need to think about swapping to another size.
“The underband is most important area to get right – it’s the foundation of best bra fit,” says Mercer. “You should only be able to pull the bra four or five centimeters away from the back.” If your bra stretches further, the band size may be too big or the bra might have lost elasticity, in which case it’s time to invest in a new one.
“Wires at center front should always sit back completely,” Mercer says, so if there’s a gap, you’re wearing the wrong size.
“Wires at side should sit on the rib cage, not breast tissue,” advises Mercer. If your bra rides up, it could be due either to the band or cup size, so you need to make sure both are right for you.
Suffering from the dreaded ‘double boob’ effect, where your bust is squeezed upwards? Chances are your bra cups aren’t big enough. “Cups should fully encase the breast without spillage,” says Mercer.
“You should always adjust the straps with your bra on,” Mercer says. “And you should only be able to fit two fingers under the strap and your shoulder.” That’s why having a professional bra fitting can help – the assistant can adjust the straps to the perfect length for you.