Following on from my last blog and the issues ive been experiencing with my back, I was asked by my physiotherapist if I’d had my bra size checked recently. Recently? Not ever that I remember was my answer. I really don’t know how I came to wear a 34B bra, but I wore that size for many years until I lost some weight a few years ago. When I lost weight, my bras became too big so I just bought a smaller cup size and have worn a 34A since. That’s how it works right? Well it appears not, as I was soon to find out.
Willing to try anything to help with my problems, I took myself off to a specialist bra shop (see below for link) to get myself measured. I really expected my size to be correct or possibly to go down a bit. The first measurement taken is the band size. I’ve worn 34 for as long as I can remember, so I was amazed when I measured just 28” around the band!! The correct band size I should be wearing is 30”. So I’d literally been getting no support for all those years. Now for the cup – wait for this because I couldn’t believe it – the lady reckoned I would be a DD!! I started to laugh, there was no way I could be a DD. She handed me a bra to try on and I was very dubious, surely there was no way this was going to fit. I put it on and, yes you’ve guessed, of course it fit. Oh but I must mention here that you have to ‘scoop and sweep’ your boobs into the bra once it’s on. Yes it gets better, I didn’t even know how to put a bra on!! My eyes were well and truly opened in those few minutes in that shop.
Does it really matter though if you are wearing a bra that’s the wrong size? If it’s comfortable and looks nice then why worry. I did a little looking around on the internet and found these interesting but worrying facts…
Experts estimate that around 80 per cent of women are wearing the wrong-sized bra and that badly fitting bras can lead to back problems and bad posture. The most common issues are cups that are too small and bands that are loose around the back causing the shoulders to carry the weight of the breasts, instead of the back. A bra must be firm (not tight) around the back and support the weight of the breasts in the mid to lower back. The back band should be level with the underwire.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) warned that wearing the wrong bra size can lead to a number of problems, including back pain, restricted breathing, abrasions, breast pain and poor posture. The problems are even more acute in large-breasted women.
Jon-Morton Bell, an osteopath, agrees that properly fitting bras are key to back health. “Ladies have to do a balancing act with gravity,” he says. “Proper support for the breasts has a huge impact on back health. The best place to support the breasts is through the lumbar (lower back), but often, women take the strain through the thoracic (around the ribcage), which can cause a curved back. If a woman is bending forward because of insufficient breast support, the trapezius overstretches and causes headaches. All nerve roots come from the back; stomach upsets and fatigue are common by-products of bad back health. If ladies have a proper bra-fitting, back problems are often resolved.”
So what are the signs that your bra is the wrong size?
- If you bra is on the tightest hook and you can still pull it an inch or more away from your back, it’s too big.
- If the shoulder straps are digging in is a sign that the band is too big and the straps are taking the weight, the band should offer 80% of the support.
- The fabric at the middle of the front of the bra should sit flatly against your skin, if not the cups are too small.
- There should be no bulges at the side or front.
I’m no expert (evidently) but these are some signs to look for. Either way if you are unsure I would recommend going to get measured anyway and pick up a few ‘scoop and sweep’ type tips along the way.
I visited The Little Bra Shop in Yarm for my fitting.