If you haven’t gone for a fitting in a long time, these tips will be invaluable the next time you’re shopping for a good bra
Many of us are guilty of not giving enough time to finding a bra that fits us properly. We take a guess at what we think our measurements are and, after a quick try-on, decide that with a bit of strap-tweaking, it’ll do the job.
Sandra Power, owner of The Lady’s Slip lingerie store in Tramore, Co Waterford, disagrees and is passionate about showing women how much better they can look and feel with the correct underwear.
We spoke to her about what we should be looking for when bra-shopping and what advice she has for women who are self-conscious about their bust size:
What is your bra supposed to look and feel like?
“Your bra should give uplift and shape – it’s a personal choice what shape you prefer, some people prefer more side support so that there is more projection, others prefer a more rounded look. The centre gore (where the cups meet in the middle) should sit flat against your breast bone, and the underwire should go under and to the back of the breast tissue.
“All of your breast tissue should be contained in your cup without spillage or gaping. Your bra should feel snug, it shouldn’t be moving around throughout the day and your band should not pull out more than 1.5 inches from your back. Also, your straps should not be digging into your shoulders.”
What do you wish every woman knew about bra fittings?
“Every single person, regardless of size, has ‘back-fat’ (I hate that phrase) – it is not possible to eliminate it! By nature flesh will go over the top of tight material (picture an elastic band around your wrist). A good fitting bra and a ‘swoop and scoop’ will certainly help to reduce it, but it will never not exist.
“Going up in the band size will only mean that your breasts are not getting supported enough and you will have a see-saw effect where the band is moving up the back and down at the front.
“You can’t build a house on a bad foundation, a proper fitting bra is the foundation of your outfit – it will improve how your clothes fit and how they hang. Not every bra will suit but there are so many different styles available. It’s worth trying on a few, to see what style you prefer, and indeed what works with your shape. A proper fitting bra will give a slimmer silhouette – I have had many customers come to me after seeing a huge difference in their shapes after getting fitted.”
Sandra emphasises that a DD is not a big size as many bra brands will go up to a K-cup. She also says that a proper sports bra is ‘an absolute must’ for anyone who does any type of exercise – particularly, high impact sports.
What are the most common mistakes we make when bra-shopping?
- Buying too big on the back (band size) and too small in the cup
- Always thinking that you need ‘t-shirt’ bras – seams are not your enemy
- Thinking that a larger band means more comfort (it means less support, and usually more movement)
- Picking a size and sticking with it – knowing how a bra should actually fit will help you find your true size
What are the bra staples every woman should own?
The lingerie expert says it very much depends on your wardrobe but that her personal ‘must-haves’ are:
- A full cup bra that sits well under t-shirts, sweaters or other high-neck tops
- A plunge bra for under wrap dresses/V-necks/blouses
- A proper sports bra
Sandra shares lots of information about size, fitting and shopping for bras on the shop’s Instagram page. She advises that a good bra will usually cost between €45 – €60 but that it is a worthwhile investment.
“If you look after your bra, you will get much longer out of it,” she explains. “Once you have a bra that fits perfectly you will see how invaluable it is!”