A professional bra fitting, much like a bikini wax, is a right of passage for women. Scratch that, a professional bra fitting is a necessity for women. It also isn’t painful at all. In fact, when you walk around in a bra that fits your properly, it is a fabulous feeling. Women need support, in more ways than one, and a properly fitted bra will make you feel more confident in your clothes, help you stand taller and even make you look slimmer. I spoke with Wacoal’s Fit Consultant, Maggie Hess to learn more and was fitted at the same time:
Where Does Bra Support Come From?
According to Hess, most of the support comes from the band. Most women assume that it comes from the straps or cups, but it is the band. If you are have a bountiful bosom (AKA are full busted), a wider band can better distribute the weight of your breasts. If the band is too loose, then the support will decrease and that is when you will sag. An underwire will give you the most support, although firm support wireless bras work well too. The band should be parallel to the ground if it fits you properly, it should not ride up in the back.
Professional Tip – If the cup is too loose and the band is too small, you will not have any support.
What is the Role of a Professional Bra Fitter/Fit Consultant?
Hess, only half-jokingly, calls herself a bra psychologist. Their role is, simply put, to measure you for a bra and then find the styles that will work for you. Sounds easy, but it is not. No two women are shaped the same, even if they share the same bra size. They can range from East-West (I thought Hess was joking, but it really is a shape), round and side set. Some websites say that there are 12 different breast shapes. Some stop at 9. Regardless of how many there are, the fit consultant will find what works for you. A good fit consultant will only show you bras that will work for you, but you still need to try them on.
Professional Tip – See if you can slip two fingers under the strap – that is an indication that your bra fits and is properly adjusted.
How Long Will the Bra Fitting Take?
A good rule of thumb is to set aside 30 minutes for a bra fitting. If you are easy to fit and decisive, it can take as little as 20 minutes. If you are harder to fit, it will take 30 minutes. It will take longer if you are not the decisive type (you know who you are).
Professional Tip – Even if you don’t like the style, try on the bras that the fit consultant brings. You may be surprised at how much you like the bra once you try it on and see the shape that it gives you.
How Often Should I Have a Bra Fitting?
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that you are measured once a year or when you gain or lose 8-10 pounds. When you lose or gain weight, you may go up or down a cup size or band size.
Professional Tip – Age, children, medication, menopause and pregnancy can change the shape and size of your breasts. As you age, your skin becomes looser and that can impact your bra size as well.
What is the Best Bra if You Have a Large Bust?
A wire gives support so consider an underwire. You should always wear what fits, don’t worry about what the size on the label says. Worry about how you look and feel in the bra. If you have a large bust, the goal is lift. If you have a fuller shape, you may want to consider a minimizer. A push up bra will not work if you have large breasts. It will add to your volume and you will spill over.
Professional Tip – Don’t get your heart set on a bra just because you like the style. The fit is what is most important. You can find a beautiful bra that will suit you. It just may not be the same style that you were originally looking at.
What is the Best Sports Bra for Larger Busts?
A bra with the underwire on the outside of the bra eliminates chafing. The best bra, hands down, that I have ever tried is the Wacoal Sport Underwire Bra. It was snug and held me firmly in place, yet it was comfortable. The difference in the feeling was immediate. As soon as Maggie brought the bra and I tried it on, I felt more secure. I never thought that I would have a comfortable sports bra.
Professional Tip – No matter what your size is, always wear a sports bra when you work out. They have moisture wicking to keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
What is the Best Bra if You Have a Small Bust?
A push-up bra or padded bra will give you more volume. You can also wear wire free bras.
Professional Tip – Don’t forget that you still need support, even if you have a small bust. Even a small amount of breast tissue will sag over time.
What is the Best Bra if You Are Uneven or Had a Mastectomy/Lumpectomy?
This is where a bra fitting with a fit consultant is essential. They will pick the right bra for your needs. Wire free bras tend to work best for women who have uneven breast tissue or who have had a mastectomy or a lumpectomy because they have the proper amount of give.
Professional Tip – It is important to fit the larger breast. You can buy removable inserts to give the illusion of even breasts.
Maggie was a wealth of information. There is truly a bra for everyone. Wacoal even has smoothing bras to help with “back fat” if that is a concern of yours. Her other tips were to bring a camisole to the fitting. That way, you can see what the bra looks like under clothing. A t-shirt bra will make your clothing look more smooth which is helpful for summer’s lighter, thinner fashions. A bra should be replaced after approximately 90 wearings. Last, but not least, don’t be embarrassed at a bra fitting. The consultants are professionals. They do need to see how the bra looks in order to help you find your perfect fit. You can find Wacoal at Hudson’s Bay and Saks Fifth Avenue.