Whether you’re an expecting mum, a new mum, or even a seasoned superhero mum, there is no denying that along with the joy that comes with motherhood, also comes a massive change in the shape and size of your body — your breasts in particular. No matter which stage of motherhood you find yourself in, you can expect your breasts to go through the most dramatic amount of changes in your life, and in such a short amount of time, relatively speaking. With this in mind, taking care of your breasts by ensuring that you always have a well-fitted bra every step along the way is crucial to not just feeling your best, but also ensuring that you successfully avoid a myriad of issues including sagging, back pains, skin abrasions and more.
So, what can a mum do when none of her undergarments flatter or fit her anymore? Well, the first step is to book yourself in for your first bra fitting. However, with so many responsibilities and chores to attend to on a daily basis, we completely understand that sometimes time is not on your side. If you find yourself in this predicament, fret not. Today, we share everything you need to know about finding the perfect bra fit, no matter which stage of life you’re in. Read on to find out more!
Understand The Signs Of An Ill-Fitting Bra
Before we get into how you can find the perfect bra fit, it’s important to recognise the signs of an ill-fitting bra. Generally, the main signs of a bra that is past its heyday include:
- A loose underband;
- Underwires digging into your skin;
- You suffer from chafing;
- Your breasts are popping out of your cups;
- The top edge of your bra’s cups is cutting into your breast tissue;
- Major sideboob;
- The gore not laying flat; and
- Your breasts are not filling the entire cup.
If one (or more) of these points are your current reality, it’s definitely time to head to your favourite lingerie store to get your hands on a new collection of well-fitting bras.
Understand Cup & Band Size
Now that you’ve decided it’s time to give your underwear drawer a makeover, let’s learn more about how you can easily measure your bra size in the comfort of your own home. Generally most women have a good grasp on the fact that the letter part of the bra size relates to the cup size (eg A, B, C) and the number part of the bra size (eg 12, 14, 16) relates to the band size. However, one thing that most women don’t know is that your cup size is relative to your band size. So as the band size changes, so will the cup volume. The number or the ‘band size’ is a representation of your ribcage girth. So, if you measure around your rib cage and find that it is 34 inches, this is your band size. If the number is an odd number, you might need to try the band size above or below to see which fits you best.
Your cup size, on the other hand, refers to the size of your breasts in relation to the size of your rib cage. To measure your cup size, use a measuring tape to measure around the fullest part of your bust. You’ll then need to subtract your band measurement from this number. For example, if your bust measurement is 39” and your band measurement is 32”, you will be left with a sum of ‘’. With this in mind, you can then use the table below to discover your cup size.
Difference (inches) Cup Size
Less than 1″ AA
Your Breast Shape Matters
Equally as important as your measurements when choosing the perfect bra is the shape of your breasts. As we all know, breasts come in numerous shapes depending on a variety of factors including genetics, breastfeeding and hormone levels. According to experts, there are generally nine common breast shapes including:
- Relaxed Shaped: Breasts with softer appearance that tend to hang a little more;
- Athletic: Breasts which are smaller and more muscular, requiring less support;
- Slender: Breasts which get narrower towards the bottom;
- Bell Shaped: Breasts which are fuller at the bottom;
- Round: Breasts that are round and may require fuller coverage;
- Teardrop: Breasts which are fuller below the nipple;
- Asymmetrical: Breasts that may differ in size, where one breast is noticeably bigger than the other;
- Side-set: Breasts which sit to the sides of the chest; and
- East-west: Breasts with nipples pointing in opposite directions.
Once you have ascertained your personal breast shape, you will have a better idea of the type of bra that most suits you. For example, if you have athletic breasts, a t-shirt style bra may be the best option for you. If you have teardrop shaped breasts, a balconette bra is a great option. Find out more about the best bra styles for your breast shape here.
Understand That Not All Sizes Are Created Equal
Have you ever found yourself struggling to buy the perfect pair of jeans due to inconsistent sizing? This is mainly because clothing sizes vary by country, brand, clothing item, and also evolve over time because there is no “standard” human body size or “standard” way to measure. However, did you know that the same concept applies to bras too? What one brand defines as a size 12C could be completely different to another brand’s definition of a size 12C. This is because there is no real standardisation when it comes to cup volume or general bra sizing. Add to this the wide variety of designs, materials and design features that have entered the lingerie market over the past few decades and it’s no wonder why so many women struggle with navigating sizing.
For this reason alone, knowing how to identify a properly fitted bra can make all the difference when you’re on a mission to revamp your underwear drawer, more of which we will discuss in the next point.
Fit Matters More Than Measurements
Last but not least, it’s always wise to remember that fit matters more than measurements. Sure, your measurements are a great starting point, but due to inconsistent sizing that we mentioned in the point above, learning how to recognise the signs of a well-fitting bra will make all the difference — regardless of what the tape measure says.
- Your underband sits parallel to the floor, without being too loose or too tight;
- Your underwire sits comfortably on your skin, without digging in to it;
- Your bra straps stay put during movement and do not dig into your skin;
- Your bra cup fabric is stable and free from wrinkling;
- Your bra cups contain the whole breast without any gaps, or bulging at the top, bottom or sides;
- Your breasts face forward and sit centred on your chest in an upright motion; and
- You feel comfortable, even when seated or when you lift your arms — straps don’t fall off and the band doesn’t start riding up.
If your new bra ticks all these boxes, congratulations — you’ve found your perfect fit.
And there you have it — a shopping and buying guide for mums who are looking for the perfect bra. Figuring out how to measure bra size and choose the best bra for you may seem like a bit of a minefield, but hopefully, you’ve learned some new tips and tricks today that will allow you to navigate the confusing world of bra-fitting.
Photo by Nati Melnychuk on Unsplash