Q: I’m having a hard time shopping for bras. I really can’t figure out the right size for me. What should I do? Help!
A: Studies show that at 70% of women are still wearing the wrong bra size, so you’re not alone. I spent an afternoon with Julia Mercer, Marks & Spencer’s Global Technical Manager for Lingerie, and she shared three common misconceptions when choosing a bra:
- Wear the underband loose for more comfort.
- You can wear every shape you want.
- Rely on the straps for support.
If you’re guilty of the statements above, you’re definitely on the wrong track. To lead you to the right way, follow these four simple checks:
1. THE UNDERBAND. It should fit snugly around the rib cage, with space for only two fingers to get under it.
Julia demonstrates that if you can pull the band too far, you're wearing a size too big.
To determine your underband size, place a tape measure around your rib cage underneath your breasts to find out your exact measurement (make sure it’s snug and tight!) and then add three inches.
For example, if your measurement is 33, add 3, so your band size is 36. To make sure you got it right, lift your arms up and ensure your bra stays in place, and lean forward to see if your breasts stay put and not moving around.
2. THE CUP. The best way to to determine if you're an A, B, C, or D cup is to check if the cup fully encases the breasts without double busting at the front or spillage at the underarm area.
Don't know the right cup to choose? Here's a quick guide:
3. THE WIRE. It must always fit flat against the sternum between your breasts and the sides should sit against the rib cage and never on the breast tissue.
4. THE STRAPS. It should be adjusted individually with space to fit two fingers under each strap.
Additional points to remember:
- We don’t stay with the same bra size forever. Women go through a lot of body changes through the years so best to get fitted regularly.
- Increasing your cup size doesn’t mean you will look bigger; the right size can actually make you look smaller without all the unsightly lumps and bumps.
- Anytime your bra rises up at the back, the underband is too big and the cup is probably too small.
If you think you’re wearing the wrong bra size, go visit Marks & Spencer now! Julia trained the staff herself (she's been doing this for 30 years!) so you’re sure to get the same professional fitting service just like how they do it in the UK.
Marks & Spencer's latest lingerie collection
The fitting service is free so don’t be shy to ask for help. And oh, Marks & Spencer is currently having their end of season sale so best to visit their stores now!