Bra Fitting Problems & Solutions

Studies show that only one in four women wear the correct bra size! That means most of us are unfortunately going to run into problems. As every woman knows, our bodies are more than just a number—whether it’s age, weight, or bra size! And when it comes to finding the perfect fit, your bra size is just a piece of the puzzle. Most bra fitting problems that women encounter are actually linked to factors other than the size. These might include the bra band, cup size or bra style. To help ensure the best fit and comfort for you, here are some of the most common bra fitting problems, along with some easy solutions!

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Well Fitted Bras

Well Fitted Bras

This is what a well fitting bra should look like. Notice that the band sits parallel around the small of the back with a snug fit that’s not too tight. The underwire comes to the back of the breast tissue, creating a very smooth surface between the cup and breasts from the sides up to the front of the cup. Now that you know what a well fitting bra looks like, let’s take a look at some common bra fitting problems.

Bra Band Fitting

Bra Band Fitting Tips 

Here’s a closer look at what a properly fitting bra band should look like, creating a seamless appearance. As you might imagine, common fitting issues with the band are that they are too tight or too loose. They might also be called too large or too small.

Bra Band Is Too Large Or Loose

The Problem. More often than not, women choose 1-2 sizes too large in the band and cups too small. When the band can be stretched more than two inches from your body, the bra is not able to provide any support or lift. Your breasts’ weight will be on your shoulders and may cause discomfort. Bands that are too loose can ride up on your back and increase the weight of the breasts on the shoulders.

The Solution. This bra fitting problem can be fixed by finding the correct band fit! A perfectly fitting band positions the breasts with the center bridge level with the back of the bra, snug but not too tight. You should be able to slip one finger between the bra band and your back by approximately one inch. When it comes to the bra band, you want to make sure you’re wearing the right band size. Check out our bra size guide for more help with that.

Bra Band Is Too Tight

The Problem. Bra bands that are too tight will squeeze or pinch the soft tissue on your sides and back, sometimes leaving indentations on the skin or even constricting your breathing.

The Solution. For a tight band, you’ll want to move up one band size at a time until you find the correct fit. However, be careful not to dismiss a bra because it feels snug the first time you try it on. The right band size will feel snug, even too tight, for its first few wears. Over time, it will loosen and fit more comfortably. A great tip for this bra fitting problem is to fasten the bra on the loosest hook, and then move toward the snuggest fit after wear.

Bra Cup Fitting Guide

Here’s what a properly looking bra band and cup should look like again. Cups that are too large or too small can cause issues as well. Let’s take a look. 

Bra Cup Sags Or No Support

The Problem. This will create a droopy or saggy appearance, and the cup will fail to provide the proper support and lift.

The Solution. If your cups sag, move down one band size at a time to find the correct fit. A good-fitting band maintains a 90-degree angle on the body, making the band level with the cups. Most of the weight of the breast should be taken up in the back band and the bridge on the band—not the straps! With the right band, you’ll look thinner and get a better lift!

Cup Is Too Large Or Too Small

The Problem. Cups that are too large will not properly support and lift your breasts. The cups will gap, wrinkle or sag, creating an unappealing appearance. This puckering will show under clothing. Cups that are too small on the other hand may pinch or squeeze your breasts, causing them to spill from the top of the cup or beneath the underwire. This bulge will show under clothing.

The Solution. Perfectly fitting cups should sit comfortably in the space provided, making a seamless transition from breast to cup. The bridge for the bra is located in the front between the cups and should make direct contact with the breast bone. Keep in mind that different bra styles have different cup shapes and accompanying underwire! Find the fit that caters to your breast size and density:

– For cups that are too large, try moving down one cup size at a time to find the correct fit.

– For cups that are too small, try moving up one cup size at a time to find the correct fit.

What’s the Best Bra Style for Your Body Type?

The Problem. Are you overwhelmed by all the different bra styles or more comfortable with one style than another? Are you worried you’ll never be able to pull off a certain style or unsure what style would be best for your body type? Your bra style may be the source of your bra fitting problems.

The Solution. Read our bra style guide, and try out new styles. Try on a variety of styles to find the design that will become your new favorite everyday bra. Whether you’re looking for a bra that’s practical, fun, or sexy, choosing a shape that delivers the best support and presentation for you is what bra styling is all about.

When in doubt, you’ll want to own a variety of bras. Keep in mind that most women need at least three basic everyday bras, one black and one nude plunge, one black and nude strapless, and at least two fashion styles to round out their wardrobe. You can find all of these styles from the world’s finest lingerie brands within the bra collection at Bits of Lace!

What’s the Best Bra for Back Fat?

The Problem. As we age, our skin can become softer, even fluffier, leading to bulges or rolls. Many women think that back fat is caused by a tight bra band, but the opposite is actually true! When the band is too large, your bra will ride up on the soft tissue of your back.

The Solution. The smallest part of your back is where the rib cage narrows. That is where the band should rest. The right band size will help to smooth out back fat instead of accentuating it. If you prefer extra coverage, try a bra with wide side and back panels. A slimming camisole can also help!

Why Are My Bras Wearing Out So Quickly?

The Problem. Are your bras wearing out quickly? This may be because you have that one go-to bra that you wear every day. The problem is, wearing a bra so often can lead to accelerated wear and tear. The elastics and other materials may weaken, the color may fade, or the bra may soak up body oils causing damage over time.

The Solution. Bra rotation is key. Keeping 5-7 well-fitted bras in your wardrobe and rotating through each regularly will allow you much longer wear out of each! A bonus is that you’ll have a full range of bras to keep your look fresh and exciting!

Common Bra Fit Problems – Q & A

Finding the right bra can be tough. Even worse, finding a bra that doesn’t fit quite right can result in all-day annoyance and frustration, not to mention wasted shopping dollars. Surely there has to be a better way to buy a bra, right? To help out, we’ve compiled a guide to common bra fitting problems. This Q&A is the ticket to finding that better fitting bra you’ve been dreaming of.

How do you know if your bra fits?

It might sound simple, but knowing what a good fit means exactly can go a long way to solving your bra woes. The cups of the bra should fit smoothly, while the center panel (the fabric connecting the cups) should lay flat against your skin.

Ideally, the bra band should be parallel with the floor when standing—and any shoulder straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders. Another fit check: you should be able to run just one finger under your front band. And above all, you should be able to move freely!

How tight should the band of a bra be?

A properly fitting bra band can help “smooth out” potential problem areas. Unfortunately for many the band is one of the most common bra fit problem areas. But it doesn’t have to be! While the perfect tightness of the band might seem impossible to describe, you can test it at home yourself! Here’s a simple tip on how tight your bra band should be: you should be able to slide one finger underneath the front band of your bra. If you aren’t able to, the bra is likely too tight. If there is room for more fingers, you may be the victim of a loose fitting bra.

Ideally, the bra band should be parallel with the floor when standing—and any shoulder straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders. Another fit check: you should be able to run just one finger under your front band. And above all, you should be able to move freely!

How do I know my bra cup size?

Part of the struggle in finding the perfect fitting bra is that many women are unware of their true cup size or how to measure it. Luckily, a proper cup measurement is easily obtainable.

While braless or wearing a non-padded bra, use a tap measure to measure over the band of your bra. Then, measure around the fullest part of your bust, taking care not to pull the measuring tape too tightly. Finally, subtract the bust measurement from the band measurement and compare this number to this cup conversion chart. A difference of 0 is equivalent to an A cup size, 1 is AA, 2 is B, etc.

Which bra shape is best for me?

One of the best things about bra shopping can also be the most intimidating: variety in shapes. In general, you’ll want to seek out a bra shape that functions well with clothes you plan to wear and complements the natural shape of your breasts.

Those with supported or semi-supported busts will need an especially comfortable bra. Women with C cup or smaller busts are often best served with padded bras that comfortably lift. Conical, splayed, and settled busts often demand shapes that feature more structure. Of course, the best bra shape is the shape that fits correctly.

Where should the underwire in a bra be?

The dreaded underwire. On an ill-fitting bra, the underwire can be a source of poking discomfort. One of the best parts of a properly fitted bra, however, is that you shouldn’t even notice the underwire.

So where should the underwire in a bra be? The underwire should sit far away from any actual breast tissue. It should also lie flat (i.e. not poking you) against the ribcage and follow the natural shape of your bust under your armpit, without any uncomfortable rubbing.

How do I make my bra more comfortable?

Aside from buying bras that fit correctly, some of the best ways to make a bra more comfortable are surprisingly easy. Washing a bra several times before you wear it can soften the material, making it more flexible. For underwire bras in particular, this added flexibility can help to mold the bra around your specific bust shape. You might also want to consider getting an updated bra fitting, as bust sizes can fluctuate over time.

Why does my bra ride up?

A classic sign of an ill-fitting bra is that the back band always seems to find its way up. This is uncomfortable, leading to pinched areas and creating problems with clothing fit. Even worse, the band may get tighter as it rides up, leading you to think your bra is too tight!

In most cases, the “mobile-band” is simply a result of a bra that is actually too loose. Your bra’s band should lay flat and be parallel with the floor as it crosses your back.

Why is my bra digging into my side?

Another common bra fitting problem is that painful side poking. This is often the result of an underwire that is too tight along your natural bust into your armpit. If the cups of your bra also dig into your sides, it is likely that you need to go up a cup size. This may also be the result of a bra shape that doesn’t match the shape of your bust or torso. In any case, a bra that pokes your side is a bra that is too small!

Why does my bra not lay flat?

One of the most common bra fit problems is a bra that won’t lie flat around your body. Cups that are too small will pull the underwire away from your body, while otherwise loose fitting bras won’t contour around your torso’s natural curves. If the center fabric of your bra, referred to as the “gore,” doesn’t lie flat, it could be that your bra is simply too big.

Where can I find the world's best bras?

Finding the world’s best bras can be a challenge. But, at Bits of Lace, it’s easy. With an expert staff and one of the most varied collections of bras available from the world’s leading lingerie brands, Bits of Lace is the perfect place to find your next bra.

Shop our expansive high end bra collection today!