Lockdown has turned me into some kind of Marie Kondo obsessed crazy lady, de-cluttering and reorganising every room, drawer and cupboard in my house. Now I regularly edit my own wardrobe, assessing all my clothes and creating new outfits from existing items but a part of my wardrobe that I have neglected has been my bra-drobe. I'm ashamed to say there were a lot of items that were definitely not fit for purpose anymore.
I always say to all my clients, all the best outfits start with good underwear, you've got to get the foundations right. You can have on the most beautiful clothes that potentially flatter your body in all the right places but if your underwear doesn’t fit you properly it can just ruin the whole look.
Did you know that an estimated 80% of us are wearing the wrong size bra! A good bra fitting with a professional is essential (when we are allowed again) plus it's recommended to get measured every six months. So many things can affect our size including changes in weight, hormones, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause.
So here’s my top tips on how you can assess your own bras, do your own bra-drobe edit and to make sure your future bras are a perfect fit.
The under-band of your bra should be firm but not uncomfortable. It should sit horizontally around your body and shouldn't ride up at the back or dig in. If it is riding up then the band size is too big or alternatively too small if its digging in. Also your bra should not ride up when you lift your arms up and your boobs should not be falling out the bottom , both would suggest a different back size.
The underwires of your bra should sit flat to your rib cage. All the way from between your boobs round to your armpits. It should sit under your boobs not on them and your boobs should not be poking out from underneath. They shouldn't feel uncomfortable, rub or poke into you, if it does then you need a bigger cup size.
Badly fitting cups is honestly the problem I see the most and the one that is usually the most visible under clothes. When the cup fits your boobs should be fully enclosed. There should be no gaping, bulging or overspill of the cups. There should be a smooth line where the cup ends and meets your skin. The cups shouldn't wrinkle either, this is a sign that the cup size is too large.
When trying on a bra I always advise clients to do what I call the 'jump test'. Jump up and down a few times, are your boobs still fully enclosed in the cups? I also lean forward a few times to check enclosure too and just wear the bra for a few minutes. A bra can feel perfect when you first put it on but it needs to work with your body and movement. I also always advise to try a tight top on with the bra and check it gives you the desired shape. We are all different shapes and sizes and we all have preference for shape too.
When the time comes that we can get back to the shops John Lewis do a fanstastic bra fitting service. They stock brands such as Wacoal Freya and Triumph and are impartial. For those of you who are blessed with more than a handful I highly recommend Bravissimo. They stock brands that specialise in the big boobed woman, as they call it, such as Panache, Curvy Kate and Fantasie along with their own brand. They are also offering fitting advice through their website during COVID. Eventually you will find a brand you love and probably stay loyal. My advice, until you find your perfect pairing, would be to try as many as you can.
If you do find you have a lot of ill-fitting and unwanted bras please don't throw them away. The charity Smalls for All will take your old bras and use them to help women and children living in Africa. They are not taking donations at the moment due to COVID but please do hang onto them until it's safe to donate again.