It turns out that I was one of those women – part of the 80% of women that studies estimate are walking around wearing the wrong size bra.
I’d seen the Oprah show where she admitted that she’d found out she was wearing the wrong size bra. Then I devoured the article in her magazine. Turns out that Oprah and I had something in common. No, it wasn’t the massive amounts of money in our bank accounts (unfortunately for me), but we had both fallen into the trap of assuming we still wore the size bra we’d worn when we were younger or smaller.
Apparently, Oprah and I have lots of company. But walking around in the wrong size bra isn’t only uncomfortable, it does nothing for your looks and the fit of your clothes.
When your bra is too tight
In addition to just being uncomfortable from a bra that’s digging into us, it turns out that there may be health issues resulting from prolonged wearing of a bra that is too small.
- A bra that is too tight may dig into the skin – particularly in the back where the hooks are located – causing skin lesions, rash, or bleeding.
- An ill-fitting bra puts stress on the bones and muscles in the chest ares. Specifically, pressure on the ribs and diaphragm can make it harder for a woman to breathe deeply.
- Sports bras provide support primarily by compressing the breasts. This “mashing” effect can make it more difficult to breathe if the sports bra is worn for hours on end. Apparently, the term “sports bra” means just that – a specialty bra worn for specific activities and not prolonged wearing.
- Bra straps that dig in can pinch nerves or cause back or neck pain.
- Some studies suggest that an ill-fitting bra can cause everything from digestive issues to cancer http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-182372/Is-bra-bad-you.html. As with many studies though, more research is likely needed before a definitive link can be stated as fact.
What about the bra that’s too loose?
A bra that doesn’t fit well can’t give your breasts the support they need. Over time this can lead to saggy, droopy breasts. Unfortunately, time and gravity already take enough of a toll there and most of us don’t long for saggier (or droopier).
Other health or cosmetic issues include:
- Poor posture is caused when you slump and don’t hold your shoulders back in proper alignment.
- The band of the bra rides up when it’s too loose. You end up pulling at it and you’re not getting the proper support. Your breasts are probably drooping in front which makes you look older than you are. To look your best – and youngest – your breasts should sit halfway between your shoulders and your elbow. If they’re sagging further down then they’re aging you.
- The cups may wrinkle up if they’re too big. Trust me, this doesn’t do anything for your clothes.
Your bra size changes much more throughout your life than you might think. You need to check your bra size whenever you gain or lose weight (as little as ten pounds), during pregnancy and after childbirth, and as you age since your breasts lost elasticity and firmness.
My own lingerie drawer got a major update with a shopping trip to Lane Bryant. I love the Cacique brand bras, which are generally start at size 36C. If you need a smaller bra, I hear that Victoria has a secret. Wherever you go, be sure to try on a wide variety of styles since they all fit differently. A 36C in one brand will fit differently in one style than in another.
And why not have a little fun while you’re at it? While there’s nothing wrong with basic white, there’s nothing particularly fun or appealing about it either. Pick some colors that look fabulous against your skin. And of course, no lingerie drawer is complete without a black and nude tone bra. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that a white bra won’t show up under a white shirt. Unless you’re Casper the Friendly Ghost, a white bra is NOT your nude. Hold the bra up to your skin and look for the one that “disappears” the most – THAT’S the bra that won’t pop out under light colored clothing.
So get those girls up where they belong with a bra that fits you properly. A well-fitting bra makes you look younger and helps provide the proper foundation to make your clothes fit and look their best as well. Don’t be one of the crowd – get yourself fitted for the right size bra. The girls – and your mirror – will thank you.