When was the last time you went for a bra fitting? If the answer is more than six months ago, there's a good chance you could do with booking in another appointment with someone who can help guide you.
Fact is, most of us just don't pay enough attention to our underwear drawers.
But, really, why does it matter?
"A correctly-fitting bra reduces breast, upper back and shoulder pain, reduces breast ligament from stretching and breast from dropping, and will stop the underwire from digging into your breast tissue," Suzanne explained.
So yeah, probably gonna want to make sure you get that right.
According to Suzanne, here's what you should be looking for as a bare minimum when it comes to trying on a bra:
· Straps sitting comfortably on the shoulders
· Brand fitted and sitting correctly under the bust (Band fits firm but comfortable)
· Breasts look and feel supported
· No overspill in the cup
· Underwire sits flat against your chest wall and behind breast tissue
· Underband sits parallel all around the body
As someone that spent five years working for a department store as a bra fitter, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about bras, and the boobs that fill them. I fitted hundreds - probably thousands - of women, and although they were all different (hence why everyone needs to be fitted individually), I saw many common themes from the customers I worked with.
Here's everything I wish every person with boobs knew about finding the right bra:
It's just as important to get the right back size
The underband is what will give you most of your support. Too loose, and it'll just ride up and stop you from getting the lift you need. Too tight, and it'll be painful.
Of course, there are exceptions, but the one thing I found time and time again when I was doing fittings is that women tend to wear a bigger band size than they need to... whether that's for comfort, to avoid 'back roll' or simply because they just don't know what the right size should feel like.
I'd meet women who insisted they were a 40DD, only to find out that they're more like a 38F. And petite, size 6 women would regularly come to me thinking they should be wearing a 36 band. Uh uh honey.
If you really can't be doing with a tight underband, why not try a bralette instead? Lingerie brands have clocked on to the fact that comfort is key for many of us, and they're now available in a range of sizes with actual, proper support.
Finding the style that suits you is almost as important as finding the right size
Look, just like a good pair of jeans, you can't just whack on any old bra and expect it to give you a great shape. Some people spend years convinced they need padding, only to try a cotton-cup bra and feel like a new woman. Others might think they look best in a t-shirt bra, but be amazed once they see the lift they can get from a push-up version.
My advice? Try 'em all.
Your cup size will vary depending on the style of bra
Sorry, but there's no one-size-fits-all option for bras. Take a padded design, for example; you're probably going to need to size up in the cup, and same goes for a plunge style (if you want to avoid the four-boob look). But if you want a fuller, balcony-style bra, you might even get away with a smaller cup size.
Honestly, it's a minefield. Make friends with the store's bra fitter - you're going to need them.
You should always try before you buy
Considering the above tip ^^, it makes total sense to try a bra before you take it home. Sure, it can be a pain to strip off in a badly-lit changing room, but it's better than trawling your purchase all the way home, only to find it gapes or bulges. If you only try one thing before you buy, make it your bra.
And be prepared to spend time on it
I've spent hours in the fitting room with one woman before now. Sure, some people are easy - they get measured, and the first style they try on fits. But others need to work on it.
Don't go for a fitting when you're in a rush, as it's very likely to be a frustrating process with no helpful conclusion.
There is a right way to wear a bra
People tend to gravitate towards fastening their bra on the middle hook, but when it's new you should actually fasten it on the loosest. This is because it will inevitably stretch as you wash it, so then you can get tighter and get plenty of wear out of your purchase.
Your straps are also v. v. important. They should be adjusted regularly; the right fit will have enough room for you to slip two fingers underneath, but not so loose that they fall off your shoulders.
When you first put your bra on, scoop your boobs into the cups and let them settle. When you lean forward, they shouldn't be falling out.
Your bra shouldn't hurt
It's amazing how many people think a properly-fitting bra should be uncomfortable. In fact, it should be the opposite.
While you'll definitely notice it's there by the end of the day, there's no way a bra should leave deep indentations, dig into your ribs or restrict your breathing. If this happens, you need a different size or style.
See you in six months.