Ill fitting bra
Good and Ill-Fitting Bras

As seen in magazine's guide to Bra Fitting, September '04

Here's a quick reminder of the key points to remember when buying a bra:

1, Bra needs to feel fairly tight and firm on the loosest hook when it is new, as bras stretch up to 4" in the back with wear

2, Centre section between the cups must be flat on the body

3, Breasts should not spill out or bulge from the cups on any bra, even soft cup ones.

4, After prolonged wear the bra should not leave any deep marks or lines on the body

5, Most important of all, on an underwired bra, the wire should rest on your rib cage and not on the breast tissue, even at the sides. This is so the area directly under the wire is hard bone and not soft breast tissue.

Troubleshooting Tips

Back band rides up / Bra rides up when you lift your armsBack band is too loose. The band should be tight enough not to move around your body, but loose enough to be able to insert two fingers under the hooks.

Shoulder straps dig in
Either the back band is too loose (meaning the straps are taking too much weight) or the straps are not long enough

Straps slip off your shoulder
Straps may need adjusting (both shoulders can sometimes need slightly different settings). Some styles of bra (e.g. balconette) have the straps positioned further apart towards the shoulders, so if this is a problem you often have, opt for styles which have the straps positioned closer together (e.g. full cup bras).

Breasts bulge out at the top or side of the cups
Cup size is probably too small. Also, the cut of the bra may be too skimpy for you, in which case you may need to try a different style.

Cups are baggy
Cup size is probably too big. You may find that going down a cup size and up a band size will give the best fit (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 38B may be better).

Cup creases at the front
If the cup creases around the nipple area, then the band size is probably too loose, as it doesn't have enough tension to pull the cup tight.

Underwire digs in to side of breast
Band may be too loose - try tightening if possible. Also, if the bra has very narrow sides, you may get a better fit with a style that has deeper sides and band, as this will give better tension on the underwire. The underwire should come up high enough to enclose the whole breast at the side without bulging - depending on your shape, this may mean that its correct position can be almost under your arm.

Underwire doesn't sit flat at the front
Cup size is probably too small. Try a larger cup size with smaller band (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 34D may be better). The wire at the front should sit flat on the breastbone, with the front of the band being just loose enough to insert one finger underneath.

Breasts poke out underneath the wire Band size is too big and cup is too small (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 34D may be better). The underwire should sit snugly underneath the base of the breast - this will ensure that the bra not only gives proper support but is comfortable to wear. 
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