How To Find The Perfect Bra

Shopping for the right bra is almost as bad as shopping for jeans – to put it lightly, no one likes to do it. To take the pain out of the process, three experts share their answers to everything you’ve wanted to know about finding the perfect size that fits, in a style that suits.

Getting a bra fitting is as essential as regular dental check-ups, yet it is an appointment many of us neglect. An estimated 80% of women wear the wrong size, so to help you find the right style for your shape, SL has enlisted the help of bra experts from John Lewis & Partners and Victoria’s Secret, who share their advice on what you should be looking for from your next fitting… 

Do I Really Need A Professional Bra Fitting?

In a nutshell: yes. According to John Lewis Assistant Lingerie Buyer Lizzie Amboule, most women are wearing the wrong bra size: “At best this will give your bust a strange shape, at worst it can damage delicate breast tissue, causing permanent scarring and discomfort,” she says. The experts at Victoria’s Secret agree: “A professional fitter can find your correct size to avoid this, and offer advice on finding the perfect bra so you can walk away feeling uplifted!”

What Should I wear To A Fitting? Will I have To Take My Top Off?

“You don’t have to take off your top if you feel uncomfortable,” say the experts at VS. “But removing your bra underneath a top is preferable to ensure you receive the most accurate fitting.” Lizzie also recommends going to your appointment wearing your favourite bra, as “this allows the fitter to understand the lingerie styles you like.” 

How Often Should You Get A Bra Fitting?

While you might still be wearing the same bra size as you were five years ago, it’s recommended to get a bra fitting every six months, says Lizzie. “Your bust changes with age and can even be affected by slight changes in hormones. If you’re going through a significant life change such as gaining/losing weight, pregnancy and menopause, you may like to visit a bra fitter more frequently,” she advises. 

How Do You Know That A Bra Fits Correctly?

“The majority of bust support comes from the underband, not the straps, so it’s important that this part sits firmly,” says Lizzie. “Always fit a new bra on the last hook an eye, and move to a tighter fit as the underband stretches with wear. If wearing an underwire, the wire should encase the whole breast tissue, and the centre front should sit flat against the chest without digging in. The same goes for the cup,” she adds, “which should sit comfortably across your chest to avoid the ‘double bust’ effect.”

While different styles suit different shapes, the Victoria’s Secret experts says there’s no particular style that offers the best support: “This depends on your size and what suits your bust shape the best – a good bra fitting will help you decide.”

What Happens If Your Breasts Are Two Different Cup Sizes? 

“This is completely normal and very common,” say Victoria’s Secret, while Lizzie recommends that your bra should always be fitted to the larger breast if this is the case. “This helps to avoid damaging breast tissue with ill-fitting wires,” she says. “If you feel self-conscious about a significant difference in size between one side and the other, cleavage boosters are available to create better symmetry.”

How Important Is Underwiring And Adjustable Straps?

While Lizzie says that adjustable straps are essential (each body frame is different and adjusting straps correctly stops them slipping off your shoulders or digging in uncomfortably), underwiring is completely down to personal preference. “Wires are useful for supporting and shaping larger cup sizes, offering a more uplifted effect,” she says, “but if you prefer a more natural look, you can still get great support from non-wired styles.”

What Styles Offer The Best Support For Larger Breasts? 

“No style is off limits and this depends on your preference,” says Lizzie. “If you prefer uplifting support with forward facing projection, opt for an underwired bra with side support. Or if you’re after a more natural look that still offers subtle shaping, try a wired spacer bra instead.”

I’m A Completely Different Size In One Brand Than In Another – Is This Normal? 

“Yes,” says Lizzie. “Each brand is different, and sizing can even vary in the same brand across different styles.” the Victoria's Secret experts agree: “Our sizing follows US measurements, so to ensure you don’t end up in a poor fitting style, make sure to always try before you buy.”

Can You Wash Bras In The Washing Machine? 

To keep your bras in tip top condition, both experts advise washing your bras by hand. If you really must chuck them in the washing machine, use a lingerie bag to protect them and wash on a short, gentle cycle. 

How Often Should You Replace Bras?

“This depends on how often you wear your bras, how you care for them and whether or not your bust size is changing," says Lizzie. “As a general rule of thumb, if you’re wearing the bra on the tightest hook and eye and the back feels loose, it’s probably time to treat yourself to something new.”

Shop Now For The Best Bras For Every Budget… 

Under £50

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