Sports bra shopping is probably up there with buying new jeans! But with a few expert tips, you can find the right sports bra that's both comfortable & supportive.
8 Tips for Finding the Right Bra Size and Fit.
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1. Most of the support comes from the band.
Cups hold the breasts in place, but the band is responsible for about 90 percent of the actual support. So while the straps may seem like they’re there to hold up your bust, they are really there to help keep your cup flush with your body and to shape your breast. In fact, if your band and cup both fit well, you should be able to slip off your straps and take a few steps while your bra stays in place.
2. You need to know your size and your “sister size.”
Just like with other notoriously difficult-to-shop-for items, like jeans, there’s a wide variation in how bras of the same size will fit from brand to brand, even from one style to another. That’s why it's handy if you know both your "true" size and sister sizes. If a bra doesn’t fit in your regular size, it might work in your sister size.
The rule of thumb is as follows: If you go up in the band, go down in the cup and vice versa. For example, a 38F could possibly fit a 36G or a 40E.
You can read more about sister sizes HERE >>
3. If your breasts are two different sizes, round up.
It’s totally normal and really common to have one breast that is bigger than the other. If the difference is significant enough that it makes bra shopping even more complicated than it already is, then we suggest fitting to the larger breast. If you want, you can even out the appearance by adding a bra cutlet to the smaller breast, or getting a bra with removable pads and taking them out on the big side.
4. If bras straps are digging into your shoulders, it could mean your cups are too small...
If your breasts are spilling out around the edges of the cup, they might be putting a lot of extra weight on the straps — and you may find yourself pulling the straps taut to hold them in check. Either way, your shoulders would probably benefit from larger cups.
5. ...or your band is too big.
Your straps could also be digging into your shoulders if your band is too loose, making it so your straps are doing all the work. Take a look behind you in the mirror: If your straps are pulled so tight that they're yanking your strap up, it's probably too big or is too stretched out to do its job.
6. If your straps are slipping, it could be one of a few signs that your cups are too big.
Another tell is if the center gore, or the center panel on the front your bra between the cups, is floating away. It should lay flat against the middle of your chest. And obviously, if the cups are gapping because your breasts are not filling them all the way, you may want to go down a cup size.
7. The band should be snug, not suffocating or loose.
When you’ve got the right band size, you should be able to fit your finger between your back and the strap with only about an inch of stretch. Your band is too small if the underwire is squeezing or digging in your breast tissue. But looser is not better when it comes to support. Most people think loose means more comfort but that doesn’t work for bras. Remember that the band is what accomplishes most of the holding-up of the breasts, so a loose band that rides up between your shoulder blades will not provide the support you need and leave you less comfortable in the long run.
To keep your band fitting as well as possible for as long as possible, you should start off by wearing your bra on the loosest hook, so when you bra starts to feel worn out, you can use the second and then third hook for more grip.
8. Bras don’t last forever — even your favorite one has to be replaced when it no longer gives you the support it used to.
Depending on your size, how well you take care of your bras (never throw them in dryer!), and how many you have on rotation, a good, sports bra should last about 6 - 12 months. Washing them gently by hand and rotating your bras (that is, not wearing the same one multiple days in a row) will also help keep the bands from stretching out too quickly. But no matter what you do, you’ll have to say goodbye at some point, so keep a lookout for signs, like the band creeping up your back, or you're not getting the same support then it’s time to go sports bra shopping.
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