Bra-fitting basics

By: Tudor Robins and Jessica Ungerman

Author: Canadian Living


Bra-fitting basics

By: Tudor Robins and Jessica Ungerman

Are you wearing the proper bra size? According to Monika Sheldrake, spokesperson for La Senza Lingerie, 75 per cent of women regularly wear the wrong bra size. The best way to avoid falling into the ill-fitted bra category is to be fitted annually by a trained expert to make sure your bra size is up to date.

Many of us have never been for a bra fitting, even though a wide range of retail establishments across the country offer the complimentary service with no appointment needed. So why the hesitation? "Most people are very nervous," Sheldrake says.

If the fear of showing your tatty old bra or -- worse yet -- your breasts to a stranger is keeping you from having a bra fitting, there's no need to worry. The first thing to know is that your bra fitter is trained for the job. Sheldrake says sales consultants are taught not only how bras are made and should fit, but also how to help women feel comfortable during a fitting.

Here's what to expect during a fitting:

1. Measurements
Your fitter will take two measurements: your back or band measurement, which is taken around the ribs under the breasts to determine how wide your body is; and your cup measurement, taken across the breasts at the fullest point without pulling the tape measure too tight.

There is no need to undress. Sheldrake says a camisole-weight T-shirt is the perfect garment to wear to a fitting. An experienced fitter will be able to take measurements over your T-shirt and determine how your bra fits underneath it.

2. Recommendations
The person fitting you will use your measurements in a formula to determine a recommended bra size. This is not an exact science so you may end up trying more than one size to see which fits you best.

3. Finessing
Expect lots of questions at this stage. Is the bra comfortable? Does it ride up in the back? Do your breasts fit in the cups? While it's helpful for the fitter to be able to see the bra on you, and to be able to make any necessary adjustments, Sheldrake stresses it's not required. "We know the questions to ask through the door so the customer can look for herself in the mirror."

4. Final decision
The last step is to put your T-shirt back on and see how the new bra works for you. Do you like the lines? Is there lace or detailing that shows through? Is it right for the necklines you wear? In addition to getting help determining your size, you can also get advice on different styles and have the right size and colour brought right to your fitting room.

Not only can a professional fitting lead you to the bra that fits well and suits your style, it can also take the stress out of bra shopping without taking you outside your comfort zone. As Sheldrake says: "The right bra, with the right fit underneath your garments, makes a world of difference."

Liliana Mann from Linea Intima's tips for buying a strapless bra:

1. Your strapless bra should look just like your regular bra
when it's on. It should not create a line at the top of the bust.

2. You can't go by the size of your regular bra. Select a smaller back or band size. This gives more lift and support. Also select a larger cup than usual to accommodate the breast's fullness, which alleviates the 'sausage' appearance.

3. Always try on a strapless bra. It's worth the time it takes.

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Bra-fitting basics