As it turns out, ladies, it’s not how you fit the bra, but how the bra fits you.
According to bra-fitting experts in Toronto, 80 to 92 per cent of women are not wearing the correct bra for their breast size, shape and their lifestyle. Shana Tilbrook, owner of Tryst Lingerie located at 465 Eglinton Avenue West, believes getting a proper fitting is the key to overcoming this statistic.
“Breasts, to me, are like fingerprints,” she said. “Most women don’t know what size they are. As far as concerns go, a lot of women are afraid of the sizing.”
Tilbrook says this is because women often have misconceptions about bra sizes.
According to Tilbrook, the letter doesn’t represent how big the breasts are. The letter is really a ratio to the back. As the number changes, the size of the cup will change even though the letter will remain the same. For example, 38B is actually a larger cup size than a 32C.
Liliana Mann, owner of Linea Intima located at 1925 Avenue Road, expert bra fitter and frequent lingerie consultant on CBC’s television show Steve and Chris, believes that women’s general lack of knowledge on the topic of bras and proper fit is the main reason they aren’t wearing the correct size. However, there is always one thing they do know.
“Women know (they’re wearing the wrong size) when they can’t wait to come home and take their bra off. Usually that means it doesn’t fit right,” she said.
Some issues Mann looks for when sizing a woman is whether the back of the bra is being pulled up, if the straps are slipping down and if the woman has the infamous “double boob”, which occurs when the breast spills out of the bra creating the appearance of having an extra set of breasts. She believes women often settle for these bra problems because there is something else they are more concerned about.
“They want the bra to look good; they want it to be sexy,” she said. “They are always concerned with the esthetic of it, more than they’re concerned to ask, does it fit me? Does it support me? Does it lift me? How long will it last? How do I wash it? These are issues we bring up that women really don’t.”
It’s also important to note that once a woman has been fitted for a bra, caring for it is just as important to ensure the bra doesn’t get warped or damaged to maintain the fit. Susan Goldman who works alongside Mann at Linea Intima, suggests that contrary to popular belief, bra should be washed frequently.
“Washing your bra about every other day helps them to live longer and you want to wash them gently by hand,” she said. “When you think about it they (bras) don’t really get that dirty. You’re mostly washing off natural body oils and perspiration, which over time break down the fibres in the material.”
Aside from finding the right size and making sure you care for your bra, Tilbrook says the bra experience is not just about the fit.
“I can tell a customer how something fits, but I can’t tell her how it feels. Only she knows that,” she said. “For example, I know from experience a bra should be good for a certain customer because it was good for another customer who had a similar shape, but if she’s not comfortable in the bra, that’s what becomes important.”
Feeling good in a bra is essential to the experience regardless of the woman’s breast size. Mann says today it’s simply a lie that larger-breasted women shouldn’t be able to find a bra that’s lacy and sexy.
“When I was 16 years-old my mom took me to be bra fitted. At the time I was a 36DD, which was considered big then,” she said. “The bra that she bought me, although it was very expensive, was very ugly. I didn’t have a lot of choices.”
Tilbrook says with the bra technology available today, bras are not only fitting women better, but come in many colours, fabrics, shapes and style in all sizes.