Bra experts have revealed exactly how to choose the best fitting bra, and when to throw your old ones out to avoid damage to your breasts.
Red flags of an ill-fitting bra include spilling out the sides, having gaping cups and feeling pain during the day.
Speaking with FEMAIL, the team from Bendon revealed the things most women are doing wrong when it comes to the piece of lingerie.
Bra experts have revealed exactly how to choose the best fitting bra, and when to throw your old ones out to avoid damage to your breasts
The team at Bendon says it’s best to go for a fitting in-store, but if that’s not something you are comfortable with you can check some of the most important things yourself.
The first is to make sure you are only using the last hooks when shopping for a new bra.
‘This allows you to get the most wear out of your bra as the elastic starts to give overtime,’ the team said.
The next thing most people forget to do is to check the cups are sitting flush against the breast.
‘There shouldn’t be any gaping or spillage over the cup. This can be tricky, especially because most women have two different sized breasts, one could appear to sit perfectly while the other is being crushed.’
A properly fitting bra should be tight around the straps but not restrictive, so two fingers should be able to slip between them and the skin.
Lace bras should be avoided if you think you might work up a sweat – as it is damaging to finer materials
Top five things to look for when fitting a new bra:
1 – New bras should always be fitted on the widest hook – this allows you to get the most wear out of your bra as the elastic starts to give overtime.
2 – Check that the cups are sitting flush against your breasts – no gaping or spillage over the cup
3 – After putting your bra on, adjust the straps so that they are firm – test the firmness by sliding 2 fingers around your shoulder under the bra strap and the straps should not cut into your fingers
4 – Check that there is no spillage around the outer edge of the bra cup to your underarm
5 – Check that the bra bank across your back is sitting straight and parallel to the ground – it should not be riding upwards
Bonus: Sister sizing
Sister sizes are groups of bra-size equivalents that are related by cup volume. Choosing your sister size allows you to make minor adjustments to how your bra fits, like a wider band without compromising on a cup that’s already a good fit (and vice versa).
For example, if you’re wearing a 12C and the cups fit, but the band is small, you might think ‘I’ll just go up a band size and try a 14C.’ However, sizing up that way will likely result in cups that are too big because a 14C’s sister size is a 12D. The next sister size to a 12C is a 14B, which is the new size to try instead. The cups will still be the same size, but the band will be roomier.
There should also be no spillage around the bra under your arm or back, they explained.
And finally the strap across your back should be parallel to the ground and not bending upwards.
The team revealed while picking the right sized bra is important it is also helpful to know when it is no longer serving you.
This could be due to wear and tear, your body changing or even your updated tastes, they explained.
But wear and tear is a big one, that many people appear to neglect.
‘Bras are made out of stretchy materials to cushion your breasts and flex and move with your body. These materials will naturally stretch over time through wear and washes,’ they explained.
Three ways you are damaging your bra unknowingly:
1 – Wearing finer fabrics when sweating – this is not good for bras made from more delicate materials like lace
2 – Packing them tightly in cupboards – this can damage the cups, especially in moulded bras
3 – Washing them wrong – bras should be washed every two to three wears, unless you have been sweating then it should be washed after the first wear. They should also always be washed in a bag, with plenty of room.
‘Elastic can lose their resilience and cups can lose their shape, when these things happen your bra ceases to support you in the way it should.’
Correctly caring for your lingerie will enable it to stay true to its original form for longer. The better you care for your lingerie, the longer it will serve you.
‘Keep your lingerie fresh and clean – most bras should be washed every 2-3 wears, but sports bvras will need to be washed after every wear – no one wants to wear a sweaty bra,’ they said.
A good rule-of-thumb is that if your tastes have changed it is probably time for a new bra too
And it appears sweat can actually be the enemy, damaging bras made from finer materials.
What are the signs it is time to throw out my old bra?
1 – The back of the bra has stretched out
2 – Bra straps are loose or bothering you
3 – The underwire has bent out of shape or is poking out,
4 – The bra cups are too small
5 – The fabric has started to breakdown
6 – Colours have started to fade or look dirty
7 – Your body and breasts have changed
8 – Your tastes have changed
It is a good idea not to wear beautiful, lace bras on days you know you are going to work up a sweat – whether it be the middle of a heat wave or you plan to walk to work.
‘To be more specific, it’s the bacteria developed from perspiration that weaken and discolour the materials in a bra,’ they explained.
This means it is also important to wash them promptly, as the sweat will continue to cause damage the longer your bra sits in the laundry basket.
But wearing a cute bra on a hot day – or doing light exercise is just one mistake many women are making.
Shoving bras, especially ones with moulded or foam cups, into a tightly packed drawer can damage the integrity of the cup material too.
‘Stack bras in your drawer one sitting behind the other, this will help moulded cups keep their rounded shape. Never fold a moulded bra cup the opposite way to its regular shape, this will damage the moulded cup,’ they said.
And of course, the experts continue to recommend using a wash bag.
‘They protect your lingerie during the machine wash as the mesh holes allow for the water to flow freely through the bag and prevent other clothing in the cycle to rub against the lace and fine fabrics often used for intimates. Do not over pack the wash bag so that the lingerie has room to move,’ they said.
Bendon have been making bras for over 70 years and have a wide range to cater for sizes between A and G cups.