How to test if your bra fits

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The lingerie industry often reports that approximately 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. Most Bra Fitters like myself would agree the reason for this is that women don’t seem to understand how a bra should fit and why. I have put together this guide so you can learn how to test if your bra fits.

The comfort and confidence that a proper fitting bra will give you is well worth reading this guide and immediately implementing the test on your bras at home. I have broken this test in to 3 simple steps for you to follow easily.

Step 1: Checking the ribcage band

Before we dive in to ‘how to test if your bra fits around your ribcage’ I believe you should understand why this part of the bra fit is so important.

The ribcage band is actually where most of the support comes from in the bra. It’s really important that this fits firm around the ribcage. If it is loose then the bra is not able to adequately support the bust. A loose ribcage band will quickly ride up the back and result in the bust (the front) sitting low and unsupported.

proper fitting bra test

To check your bra fit around your ribcage do the following:

  1. Put the bra on backwards so the cups are at the back and the eye/hook clasp is at the front, positioned under your breast tissue, below the fold of the breast.
  2. Ensure the eye/hook clasp are done up to the loosest setting if the bra is new, if it’s been used frequently then set it to where you usually do
  3. Pull the eye/hook clasp away from your body and take not of approximately how many inches you can pull this out.
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If you are able to pull this out less than 1” from your body it means your ribcage band is probably too tight and you need to size up in order to avoid discomfort.

If you are able to pull this out 1” – 2” then the ribcage band is fitting perfectly to best support your breasts. If you pass the next two tests then you may well have a proper fitting bra!

If you are able to pull this out more than 2” then the ribcage band is fitting too loosely to be able to offer you adequate support.

Step 2: Checking the cup volume and underwire position

This step involves how to test if your bra fits in the cup.  This is the part that women seem most paranoid about as the look and feel of breasts falling out of the cup is obviously not very desirable.

To test if your bra fits in the cups do the following:

  1. Trace your finger along the underwire of the bra, pressing against the underwire firmly.

    a) Are you pressing against soft squishy breast tissue? If so then the cup is not big enough for your breast size.
    b) Are you pressing against ribcage +/or overlying fat tissue? If so, then the cup is likely the right size for you.
  2. Along the top edge of the cup is your breast tissue bulging out of the cup? Or does the cup crinkle?

    a) If the breast tissue is bulging out, it’s likely the cup is too small for your breast tissue.
    b) If the cups are crinkling, your cup is probably too large for your size breasts.
    c) If there is neither any bulging or crinkling then the cups are likely to be fitting well.
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Step 3: Checking the shoulder strap fit

Checking the shoulder strap fit is not just about determining if you need to change the strap length. It’s about assessing whether your torso height is actually matched to the design of the bra. In some cases, it’s as easy as just making an adjustment. In other cases this test may show that the model of bra you have it just not right.

To test if your bra fits in the shoulder straps do the following:

  1. Put two finger under the shoulder strap at the top of the shoulder and pull upwards.
    a) If you can pull more than 1” away with ease then you need to tighten the shoulder straps.
    b) If you can pull .5-1” away then your straps are set well.
    c) If you can’t pull out .5” and the shoulder straps feel like they are pulling down then you need to loosen the strap length.

If you have done the above on a relatively new bra and you find yourself at either the very loosest or shortest you can make the strap length then it means the bra has not been designed for your particular torso height and you may well run in to issues with the straps falling or feeling excessively tight as the bra ages. Front Closure bras that don’t have as much shoulder strap adjustment are especially important to make sure the straps are designed for your torso height.

A piece of advice from a Bra Fitter

Obviously as an experienced Bra Fitter I am always going to suggest that a in person bra fitting is the best way to go. But this guide is a great way to go if you either don’t have that service available to you or you want to test that drawer of bras you have on hand to see if any of them are worth pursuing.

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Author Profile:

Author Pat is an experienced bra fitter

Pat is a passionate and experienced Bra Fitter having spent 10+ years in the changed room. Drawn to the always popular Front Closure Bra category in lingerie retail, Pat is now a dedicated expert in this field. When she isn’t hands on bra fitting or blogging she spends her time between Yoga classes and hiking.

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