Finding the perfect bra size is crucial for both comfort and support. However, many women often neglect to update their bra measurements regularly, leading to discomfort, improper fit, and potential health issues.
It’s important to get fitted for a bra to avoid these issues. Here I will share some guidelines on how often women should seek professional fittings. Whether you’re a teenager experiencing changes in your body, pregnant/nursing, shopping post-surgery, or a mature woman transitioning through different stages of life — understanding the right time to get fitted will ensure you always have the ideal bra size!
The Importance of a Properly Fitted Bra
When it comes to bras, finding the perfect fit is essential. A properly fitted bra provides the necessary support, enhances your natural breast shape, and ensures lasting comfort throughout the day. On the other hand, a poorly-fitting bra can lead to discomfort, back pain, poor posture, and even skin issues.
Wearing the wrong bra size can also impact the appearance of your clothing. A bra that is too small may cause bulges and spillage, while a bra that is too large may create gaps and offer minimal support. Additionally, an ill-fitting bra may lead to the underwire digging into the skin, causing irritation and redness.
To ensure you’re reaping all the benefits of a well-fitted bra, it’s important to understand the factors that can influence changes in bra size and the appropriate timing for a fitting.
Factors That May Change Your Bra Size
Several factors can contribute to changes in a bra size over time. Understanding these factors will help you determine when it’s necessary to get refitted. Here are some common influencers:
Gaining or losing weight can significantly affect your bra size. When you gain weight, the breasts may become fuller, requiring a larger cup size. Conversely, weight loss can cause a decrease in breast volume, necessitating a smaller size.
Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can impact breast size. During puberty, hormonal changes can lead to breast development and subsequent changes in bra size. Pregnancy and breastfeeding also cause significant changes as the breasts prepare for milk production and then return to their pre-pregnancy state afterward. Similarly, menopause brings hormonal shifts that may alter breast size and shape.
Aging and Gravity
As we age, our skin loses elasticity, and the ligaments supporting the breasts weaken. This can cause a gradual loss of fullness and a decrease in breast volume, resulting in a need for a different bra size.
Exercise and Muscle Development
Engaging in regular exercise or specific activities that target the chest muscles, such as weightlifting or certain sports, can impact breast size and shape. Building chest muscles may increase breast volume, while intense physical activity can cause the breasts to become more compact.
Breast augmentation, reduction, or reconstruction surgeries will inevitably alter your bra size. If you’ve undergone any breast-related surgeries, it’s crucial to consult with a professional fitter to determine your new size.
By recognizing these factors, you can assess whether any recent changes in your body necessitate a bra fitting. Let’s delve into when it’s advisable to seek professional fitting assistance.
When to Get Professionally Fitted
Getting professionally fitted for a bra is an important step in finding the right size. Although there are general guidelines and online bra size calculators like ours, every woman’s body is unique, and professional fittings ensure a personalized approach. Here are some instances when you should consider getting fitted:
Puberty and First Bras
As young girls transition into adolescence and experience breast development, it’s essential to introduce them to the concept of properly fitted bras. Scheduling a professional fitting can help young girls understand their changing bodies and provide them with the support they need.
Pre-Wedding or Special Events
If you have an upcoming wedding, special occasion, or formal event, it’s wise to get fitted for a bra that complements your chosen attire. A professional fitting will help you achieve a flawless look and ensure you feel confident and comfortable on your special day.
Significant Weight Changes
If you’ve recently experienced substantial weight loss or gain, it’s crucial to get refitted. Weight fluctuations can alter your bra size, and wearing an ill-fitting bra can be uncomfortable and unsupportive.
Pregnancy and Postpartum
Throughout pregnancy and after childbirth, your breasts undergo significant changes. To ensure optimal comfort and support during this period, consider getting fitted for a maternity or nursing bra. These specialized bras accommodate your changing breast size and offer features like adjustable straps and convenient access for breastfeeding.
Menopause and Hormonal Changes
Menopause brings about hormonal shifts that can affect breast size and shape. If you’re going through menopause or experiencing noticeable changes in your breasts, getting fitted can help you find a bra that offers the right support and comfort.
Every 1-2 Years
Regardless of any specific life events or body changes, it’s generally recommended to get fitted every 1-2 years. This regular maintenance ensures that you are consistently wearing the correct bra size and enjoying the benefits of proper support.
While professional bra fittings are highly recommended, there are also self-fitting techniques you can use to assess whether your current bras are still the right size. These methods can serve as interim solutions or help you determine if it’s time for a professional fitting. Here are a few self-fitting techniques:
Start by examining the band of your bra. The band should fit snugly around your torso, parallel to the floor. If the band rides up at the back or feels loose, it may be too big. Conversely, if the band feels excessively tight and leaves indentations on your skin, it may be too small.
Check the cups of your bra for proper coverage. Your breasts should fill the cups without any spillage or gaps. If your breasts are overflowing or the cups appear wrinkled or empty, it’s likely that you need a different cup size.
Adjust the bra straps to ensure they provide the right amount of support without digging into your shoulders. If the straps constantly slip off or leave marks on your skin, they may need adjustment or your bra size may be incorrect.
Pay attention to how comfortable you feel in your bra throughout the day. If you experience discomfort, pain, or constant readjustment, it’s a sign that your bra may not be the right size.
Remember that self-fitting techniques are not substitutes for professional fittings, especially if you’ve recently experienced significant changes in weight, hormonal shifts, or pregnancy. Self-fitting techniques can provide temporary solutions but are best used in conjunction with periodic professional fittings.
Tips for Choosing the Right Bra
Apart from getting fitted regularly, selecting the right bra style and features is equally important. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a bra:
Understand Your Breast Shape
Different bra styles are designed to accommodate various breast shapes. Whether you have fuller breasts, shallow breasts, or a different shape altogether, understanding your breast shape will help you choose bras that provide the right support and flatter your figure.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Your bra needs may vary depending on your daily activities. If you lead an active lifestyle, opt for sports bras that offer maximum support. If you spend long hours sitting at a desk, look for bras with comfortable underwire or wireless options for optimal comfort.
Invest in Quality
High-quality bras tend to provide better support and durability. While they may be more expensive, they are a worthwhile investment in your comfort and long-term satisfaction. Look for bras made from quality materials and with excellent construction.
Try Different Styles
Experiment with different bra styles to find what works best for you. From T-shirt bras to balconettes, push-ups to bralettes, there are numerous options available. Don’t be afraid to try new styles and see how they enhance your comfort and confidence.
Check the Care Instructions
Proper care can prolong the life of your bras. Before purchasing, check the care instructions to ensure that the bra is easy to maintain and fits your lifestyle.
By considering these tips, you can make informed decisions when selecting bras that meet your specific needs and preferences.
The Impact of Pregnancy and Nursing on Bra Size
Pregnancy and nursing are unique periods in a woman’s life that bring significant changes to the breasts. Understanding how these changes can impact bra size is essential for comfort and support during this time.
During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations and increased blood flow to the breasts cause them to grow in size. It’s common for women to go up several cup sizes during pregnancy. As the breasts become fuller and heavier, it’s crucial to wear bras that provide adequate support to minimize discomfort and strain on the back and shoulders.
Maternity bras are specifically designed to accommodate the changing breast size and provide additional support. They often feature wider straps, extra hooks, and soft, stretchable fabrics to adapt to the fluctuating size and provide comfort. It’s recommended to get fitted for a maternity bra around the second trimester when the breasts have started to grow but may continue to change throughout the pregnancy.
After childbirth, the breasts go through another set of changes during the nursing phase. The milk production and engorgement can cause the breasts to become even larger and more sensitive. Nursing bras are designed to offer easy access for breastfeeding while providing support and comfort. These bras typically have drop-down cups or front clasps for convenient nursing.
It’s important to note that a well-fitted nursing bra is crucial for both the mother and the baby. A poorly fitting bra can lead to issues like clogged milk ducts, mastitis, or discomfort during feeding. It’s recommended to get fitted for a nursing bra during the last few weeks of pregnancy or once the milk has come in to ensure optimal support and functionality.
If you have undergone breast-related surgeries such as breast augmentation, reduction, or reconstruction, getting fitted for a bra is crucial during your recovery and beyond. These surgeries can significantly alter your breast size and shape, requiring a different bra size.
After breast augmentation, it’s important to wear a supportive bra that helps with healing and maintains the shape and position of the implants. Your surgeon may provide specific guidelines on the type of bra and the duration of wearing it.
For breast reduction or reconstruction, a well-fitted bra plays a vital role in providing support to the breasts during the healing process. The bra should help minimize swelling, provide gentle compression, and ensure proper alignment.
In these cases, it’s best to consult with your surgeon or a professional fitter who has experience working with post-surgical bras. They can guide you in finding the right bras that support your healing process and provide the necessary comfort and fit.
How to Maintain the Longevity of Your Bras
Proper care and maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your bras. Here are some tips to help you keep your bras in good condition:
Hand Wash or Use Gentle Cycle
Bras are delicate garments that require gentle cleaning. Hand washing is the preferred method, using a mild detergent and lukewarm water. If you choose to use a washing machine, opt for the delicate or lingerie cycle and place the bras in a lingerie bag to protect them.
Avoid using a dryer as the heat can damage the elastic and shape of the bras. Instead, lay your bras flat or hang them to air dry. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent color fading.
Rotate Your Bras
Having multiple bras and rotating them regularly allows each bra to rest and regain its shape between wearings. This helps maintain elasticity and prolongs the lifespan of your bras.
Avoid folding your bras in half or stuffing them in a drawer. Instead, stack them neatly or use a bra storage organizer to maintain their shape and prevent damage.
Handle with Care
When putting on or taking off your bras, handle them gently to avoid stretching or damaging the fabric, straps, or hooks. Avoid yanking or pulling on the bra, especially if it has delicate lace or embellishments.
Avoid Excessive Washing
Washing bras too frequently can cause wear and tear. Unless they are visibly soiled or sweaty, bras can typically be worn a few times before needing to be washed. This helps preserve their shape and elasticity.
Replace When Necessary
Even with proper care, bras will eventually wear out. Pay attention to signs of wear such as stretched-out bands, loose straps, underwire poking through, or fabric that no longer provides adequate support. When you notice these signs, it’s time to replace your bras.
By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your bras remain in good condition, providing the support and comfort you need.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To further assist you in your bra-fitting journey, here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Guessing Your Size
Relying solely on guesswork or assuming your bra size can lead to incorrect measurements and an ill-fitting bra. It’s important to get professionally fitted to obtain accurate measurements.
Ignoring Changes in Your Body
Your body goes through natural changes over time. Ignoring these changes and sticking to the same bra size for years can result in discomfort and inadequate support.
Neglecting Professional Fittings
While self-fitting techniques can provide temporary solutions, professional fittings offer a more accurate and personalized assessment of your bra size. Neglecting professional fittings can lead to prolonged discomfort and incorrect sizing.
Wearing the Wrong Style
Different outfits and activities may require different bra styles. Wearing the wrong style for a particular occasion can affect the overall fit, support, and comfort.
Sacrificing Comfort for Fashion
It’s important to strike a balance between style and comfort when choosing bras. Prioritize comfort and support while considering fashionable designs.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a better bra-fitting experience and enjoy the benefits of a well-fitted bra.
Regularly getting fitted for a bra is crucial for every woman. Your body goes through changes, and wearing the correct bra size ensures optimal comfort, support, and confidence. From puberty to pregnancy, weight fluctuations to surgical interventions, understanding when to seek professional fittings is essential.
Remember to pay attention to your body’s signals, such as changes in weight, hormonal shifts, or discomfort in your current bras. Incorporate self-fitting techniques for interim solutions but always prioritize professional fittings for accurate measurements.
Choose bras that cater to your specific needs, lifestyle, and breast shape. Take care of your bras by following proper maintenance and storage practices. And finally, avoid common mistakes that can lead to ill-fitting bras and discomfort.
Investing in the right bras and taking the time to get fitted ensures that you have the support you need, enhancing your overall well-being and confidence. Embrace the journey of finding the perfect fit, and enjoy the comfort and benefits of well-fitted bras.