Many women choose their bra through the test-and-feel method they learned from their mommas. However, for all women, including those who know their correct bra sizes, shopping for bras is a tricky affair. Buying online is a matter of trusting the authenticity of what the merchant says about the bra’s features (band size, cup size, color, stretchability, comfort, and so on). Buying at a clothing store might be more convenient- you can tell the color and get a feel of the size and stretchability- but you simply can’t unwrap the bra to ascertain that it’ll fit you perfectly before buying.
Coupled with the fact that bras from different brands may have different band and cup sizes even though they’ve been labeled the same size, one can understand why a whopping 80% of women or more around the world are wearing the wrong size of bra.
How Do I Know if My Bra is Too Big?
If your bra is too big, here are effective solutions to common bra fit issues.
1. Sliding Bra Straps
Bra straps can slip on your shoulders because you bought a large bra size, you haven’t adjusted them properly, or they have become loose after wearing and washing them for some time.
How to Keep Bra Straps from Slipping off Shoulders
You will be lucky if the straps are adjustable because you only need to tighten the straps afresh. It’s recommendable to tighten your bra straps to a better fit after 3 rounds of washing and wearing or after a month if you’re wearing the same brassiere frequently.
If the bra’s straps are not adjustable but the band and the cups are still fitting you perfectly, the options you have include:
i.) Using a clip at the back to create a racerback strap design. Pulling the straps together at the back will tighten them a little bit or more.
ii.) Pining the excess length of the straps against the bra band using a safety pin. This is a temporary solution though.
iii.) Cutting the excess length of the bra straps and re-sewing the shortened straps.
iv.) Turning the regular bra into a strapless one by cutting the straps at the band or crisscrossing the straps before you wear the bra and then tucking them into the side panels.
v.) The last option is to buy a new bra with shorter straps and preferably adjustable ones so that you can wear it for longer.
2. Straps Digging into Your Shoulders
Experts advise that for you to be comfortable in a bra, the band should be form-fitting to bear most of the breast weight, just like how the waist belt straps help to distribute the weight of a backpack. This will involve the band staying put at the middle of your back and the breasts getting the lift sufficient to reduce tension in the shoulder straps.
Why does my bra ride up in the back?
If the bra band is loose, it will ride up your back, the breasts will sag and exert more pressure on the straps causing them to dig into your shoulders.
So right off the bat, if the band is riding up your back and it has a back closure, you need to shift the closure to the next set of tighter hooks and eyes. If it’s still loose at the first row of hooks, or its closure is not adjustable, you just have to replace the bra with a bra whose band is one size lower.
If you go down a band size do you go up a cup size?
If the bra is new and the band doesn’t fit you, then you need to go a cup size up if you need to get a smaller band and a cup size down if you have to buy a larger band size. Looking at the bra size chart below, you’ll see that the band size is the independent variable and the cup size is the dependent variable, so you always go horizontally. If your bra is 36D and you need to go one band size lower, then you also need to go up one cup size and take 34E.
List of US bra sizes
You should also try adjusting the bra straps regularly because seasonal changes in your body can make the bra either tighter or looser. If nothing works, then it’s time to replace the bra.
3. Your Breasts Fall Out from Underneath the Underwire
The reason why many women claim that you can never be comfortable in an underwire bra is that they all get it wrong with the bra size.
Where should the underwire of a bra sit?
In a correctly fitting bra, the underwire should lie flat under the breast and against the breast’s outer side without shifting, cinching, or poking.
If your breasts’ tissue comes out underneath the underwire when you lift your arms or when your breasts bounce up and down as you run or work out, then the band is a little bit or too loose. If you can squeeze a bunch of more than two fingers between the band and your skin, then the band is too big out of aging or buying the wrong size. Try adjusting to the tighter sets of hooks and eyes, or else replace the bra if it’s still loose at the tightest row of hooks.
4. Gapping at the Top of Your Cups – How to Fix a Bra Cup that’s Too Big
If there are gaps or wrinkling at the top of your breast cups, the two common possibilities are that the bra cups are too large or the bra has become worn out and looser. Try adjusting the straps to tighten them. If this doesn’t work, the bra cups are too big and it’s time to replace the bra with a full or half size down in the cups. A half-cup size down means that if you’re size 34D, and you’re not confident that a full size down will fit you, then you should take size 34C½.
Another less common cause of wrinkling at the top of your bra cups is your breasts having a teardrop shape, where the bottom tissue is fuller than the top. You can make up for this by avoiding full coverage cups and opting for low-cut bras such as balconette bras, demi bras, or plunge bras.
5. Breast Spillage
It’s all too common for breast tissue to spill out from the sides or the top of the cups creating “double boobs”. Breast spillage problem is common among busty women and here are some of the causes and their solutions:
i.) The bra cups are too small pushing the breast tissue out from all sides. You need to size up in the cups.
ii.) The band is too tight, causing the cups to excessively push the breasts against your chest. You simply need a looser band.
iii.) It could be that your breasts are side-set or further apart, inevitably leading to side bulging in regular bras. Choose bras with molded cups and side support panels. These push the boobs to take a rounder and centered shape, preventing the bulging of side fat (learn more here https://sweetskinliners.com/bras/best-bra-for-side-fat/).
6. Unsymmetrical Breasts
Breasts in non-identical shapes or sizes are a more common phenomenon than breast symmetry. If you buy a bra that fits you nicely in the larger breast, there will be gapping in the smaller breast whereas if you have a bra that fits you perfectly in the smaller breast, there will be overflow and discomfort in the larger breast.
Kate Taylor, a UK-based award-winning researcher of bras that can fit asymmetrical breasts, recommends that you size your bra for the larger breast, then use removable bra inserts to fill up for the smaller breast. To know the size difference between the larger and smaller bra cups, here is how to measure bra size for uneven breasts.
How to Make a Bra Cup Smaller
No two breast asymmetries are identical, so it’s not possible to have a one-size-fits-all bra for women who have uneven breasts. However, if you’re not comfortable with adding padding to your smaller breast, Upbra has patented a bra with a cleavage control strap, which allows you to adjust the fit of the right and left bra cups independently.
7. Proper Bra Care
Even the best bra won’t last for more than a couple of months if you don’t give it proper care. Bra and garment experts recommend hand washing and air drying to maintain a brassiere in good shape and fabric. Machine washing, toxic detergents, and the heat of a tumble dryer will all damage the fabric and elastic bands, causing the bra to lose shape and support.
That being said, no bra will ever last forever and it’s recommendable to replace your bra after 6 to 9 months. However, this can be prolonged by having a good collection of bras for rotation, proper washing and storage, and maintaining a relatively constant body size and weight.
There are many reasons why your bra may end up feeling too big for you. You might have bought the wrong size, just like 80% of women around the world or the bra might have lost shape and enlarged due to improper care, or just natural aging. You can try playing around with the available band and straps adjustments, converting or shortening the straps, or using removable pads or cleavage control straps if one of your breasts is smaller. If nothing works, then it’s time to buy a new bra. After all, even the best bra won’t last a lifetime and you need to consider replacing your bra after 6 to 9 months of frequent use.