I remember the first time I wore a bra, I was in high school. Back then, there was a stigma around hitting puberty when your age wasn’t right, and getting your periods, or wearing a bra while still in primary school was one of them.
That wasn’t my case, though. I was a normal immature girl and my physical changes followed every late bloomer’s calendar to a T. You could say I was ‘fortunate’ like that. I am not complaining. What bugs me is that while every misconception and societal conditioning was being passed down like a rite of passage no one cared to make it known that bras weren’t the usual cup of tea.
It is thanks to the internet and being confused by the measurement charts on online lingerie shops, that I came to understand it took more than what I believed a cup size D looked like, or whatever I thought sizes S, M, L, or XL were, to get a fitting bra.
Through experience, I did learn. But then I also discovered that there are subtle and other common bra mistakes that you can make, if you were not conscious of them when bra shopping.
- Not knowing your size
The most common mistake you can make when buying a bra, is doing so without knowing your size. Breasts are not standard and bras are not made in a standard way. This makes it easy to get a fitting bra, but also difficult to find one in a pool of many. Because, even though the lack of standardization helps different women to find bras that fit their unique style and shapes, it can also accelerate the issue of wearing ill-fitting bras.
For this reason, it is important that you hedge your bets on your size than on how a bra looks or what you believe should be your size.
The good thing is that once you determine your size it can get easier to find a good fitting bra. Since the internet is at your disposal, you are not limited to your local market only. Nowadays, in the bid to outpace the hypersexualized world of women’s lingerie, more lingerie lines like SavageXFenty are coming out with gender and size-inclusive bras. This is where you can shop for items that fit you instead of conforming to what’s available. That said, explore beyond the labels.
- Not fitting the Bra
Getting the right measurement doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try the bra before buying. In fact, you want to make sure that aside from it being the right size, it is comfortable. The right bra should have a band size that is firm, strong and capable of guaranteeing support with no fail. So should the straps.
As for the cup size, the right fit should cover your bust accordingly without leaving bulges, over, underneath or on the sides of your breasts.
In case your straps are slipping either your cup is too big or you haven’t adjusted the straps accordingly. If your straps are digging into your shoulders, the band may be too lost or the straps may be adjusted too tight. Check out more tips to find the right fitting bra
- Buying contour-styled bras only
A Contour style bra is usually sculpted to a particular breast shape and it has a fully padded cup. Normally it retains its symmetrical shape even when not worn, just like a push-up bra. It is no mistake to buy such a bra.
But the problem is that it’s not as malleable as a bra with no cups. Although a contour styled bra makes your bust look round it tends to leave gaps in the cups – well not unless you have a smaller bust, or your breasts sit high up on their own like it is on the models who advertise such bras.
Hence, if a contour bra is not for you, opt for a bra with no padding since it can conform to the shape of your breasts.
- Buying bras with no adjustments
It is inevitable that your bra will lose the elasticity it once had after a good period of time. After all, the first part to lose volume is your bust and yet it is the part to gain volume when hormones change. This is why it’s important to choose a bra with adjustable straps. Especially when it comes to sports bras.
Look at the fasteners. Conventional bras have three to four columns of hooks. When fitting such a bra hooks it on the outermost/loosest hook instead of the tightest setting. Even with two fingers underneath, the bra should fit you comfortably. When factors such as menstruation, and weight fluctuation come into play, you will have enough room to tighten or loosen the bra for comfort.
- Thin straps for fuller breasts
If you have fuller breasts, always choose a bra with thick straps, for support and comfort. Usually, bras with thick straps are made with a matching band for complementary purposes. With such a bra, you can always detach or play around with the straps, placing them in different ways to achieve a look that suits your mood or outfit.
- An underwire that’s too tight
Against popular belief, the underwire should not cause you any harm, that is if you are wearing the right fit. This is why you should never be afraid to go up a cup size or down a band size for the needed comfort.
That said, note that the underwire of your bra should lay flat and it should be on the same line with the band at the back. Not too high or too low, just levelled.
- Forgoing Practicality
Always factor the physical activity you do when choosing your bra or sports bra. A good performance bra will give you support, absorb sweat and feel comfortable instead of cutting into your skin, cause tenderness or subject you to harm.
For practical reasons also, if you have a fuller bust opt for full coverage bra instead of low coverage bras. A full-coverage bra will not only give you the right support and structure your body but it is your best bet when wearing tight clothes as it guarantees good posture.
On the flip side, if you have a smaller bust, low coverage bras including bralettes, plunge bras and push up bras (when you want volume), are a good way to go.
If you have an average bra size (34DD) you can opt for front closure bras and other half coverage bras, which are inevitably flattering for your size.
- Not considering the outfit
There are many types of bra which is why you should always explore in order to get a bra that works with your outfit. For instance, a seamless full coverage bra is suitable when wearing tight outfits. Since it has no seams and stitches it would never leave an impression under your clothes.
Racerback bras and halter bras are ideal for tank tops as strapless bras are for strapless outfits. Depending on the attire you wear be assured that there’s a suitable and more flattering bra for it. All you need is to look.
- Waiting for a certain age to wear a bra
There’s a common misconception that bras should be worn by people who are of a certain age or stage in life. The truth is you should start wearing a bra if your size allows it. Doing so will give you the support you cannot get in a boob top and prevent your breast tissue and skin from stretching, which could lead to sagging, overtime.
- Forgoing the basics
If you’d like your bras to match with almost any of your outfits, buy them in three basic colours. Black, nude/skin and white. You are not limited to these three colours, but they sure are a good fit for a seamless and elegant look. Check out 5 things to consider when buying lingerie
- Wearing one bra
Don’t we all love the black bra? Well, wearing one bra does not only lead to the loss of bra elasticity much faster, but it is not healthy.
To maximize the average time you will get to wear your bras (while keeping them in good condition), avoid wearing one bra twice. Owning six to seven bras will allow you to interchange them, giving each one ample time to stretch back and thus enhancing the durability of your bras. Don’t fail to check out the 5 types of lingerie every woman should own
Check out this very hilarious bra story – Sorry, Mum, That Bra Is My Girlfriend’s Valentine’s Day Gift!