Bra Fitting Troubleshooting

5 Common Bra-Fitting Problems and 5 Easy Solutions

As the experts in D cup and up lingerie, we love to find solutions to every bra-fitting problem. Below we offer general advice for the most common fit conundrums, but we realise that the solutions may not specifically work for you. If you recognise your issue below and still need help finding answers then call us on 1300 4 BRAVA, consult one of our Virtual Fit services or visit one of our five lingerie stores in Sydney and across Victoria for advice.

1. Why do my bra straps dig in?

Reason

Bra straps can dig when the shoulder straps bear too much of the weight of your bust. Digging straps can lead to permanent shoulder indentations. The back band should provide 90% of the support, while the shoulder straps are designed mainly for balance. Shoulder straps also dig in when they are adjusted too tightly.

Solution

Loosen your shoulder straps first. If this doesn’t help, then try this test: drop your shoulder straps. If your back band moves it’s not anchored well enough, which means your shoulder straps are carrying the whole weight of your bust. If this is the case, you can solve the problem by choosing a bra with a smaller back band. But remember, for every back size that you size down, you must go up one cup size at the same time (e.g. 12D to a 10DD or a 16E to a 14F).

Bra Fitter's Tip

Do you have sloping shoulders where your shoulder straps fall off? Steer away from balconette bras as the straps are generally set wide apart. Try a full cup bra or a bra with stretchy straps because they grip better than non-stretch fabric.

2. Why does the back of my bra ride up?

Reason

Bra bands ride up in the back when the back band does not fit firmly enough. It can also be the case of an inferior-quality bra that stretches too much. When the shoulder straps are too tight it can force the back band up. If your bra cups are too small, the same can happen.

Solution

Try going down one or two back size. But remember that for each back band size that you go down, you must increase the cup by one size. For example, if you wear a 14DD and the cups fit correctly but the back band is too loose then try a 12E—or if the back is really loose then try a 10F. Once you have the back-band size right, then you can focus on getting the correct cup size.

Bra Fitter's Tip

Lift your arms in the air and wave them like you just don’t care. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!) If the band lifts up and your breasts peek out from under the bottom then you need a firmer band. This is one of the most common bra problems.

3. Why do my bra cups bulge?

Reason

Either the cup is too small or the bra style doesn’t suit you. If you are high busted and the trim of a full-cup bra cuts into your breast, a balconette bra could work better with your shape.

Solution

If the back band is firm enough, try on a cup size larger than what you're currently wearing. For example, if you are wearing a 12E then size up to a 12F. In most cases customers who visit us need a smaller back band. Customers wearing a 12E are more likely to be a 10FF or an 8G.

Bra Fitter's Tip

It's very common for women to have one breast bigger than the other. It's important to fit to the bigger breast and slightly tighten the opposite strap to avoid the smaller cup sagging.

4. Why does my bra cause back fat?

Reason

What our customers refer to as ‘back fat’ is sometimes caused by back bands that are too tight and cut into the skin. This often happens with cheaply made bras that have too much stretch. Alternatively, this also happens when back bands are too loose: when a too-loose back band rises up to sit high on the back it tends to pinch at your soft bits.

Solution

The appearance of what our customers refer to as ‘back fat’ can be reduced or eliminated by a correct-fitting bra. Try a wider back band with at least three hooks. This will make the back band sit flatter against your skin without cutting into your soft bits. Ensure your back band is firm and sits parallel to the floor—a bigger back band is usually NOT the solution.

Bra Fitter's Tip

It's more important to have a firm back band than to worry about so-called ‘back fat’. A looser band means less support and lift—and more shoulder-strap dig—so choose a high-quality bra with a firm back band and at least three hooks in the back to smooth and flatter your figure.

5. Why does my underwire dig in?

Reason

Underwires can dig into your upper- or side-breast tissue if the cup size is too small. Alternatively, if the back band is too big then the wires will sit in the wrong spot, causing discomfort. Underwires can cause painful conditions such as mastitis in pregnant and nursing women.

Solution

The easiest solution is to go down one back size and up two or three cup sizes. A bigger cup size will allow the wires to encapsulate the breast rather than putting pressure on the breast tissue. Pregnant or nursing women should consider wirefree bra options. Browse through our Bra Fitting Guides to find the best solution for you.

Bra Fitter's Tip

Many mainstream stores carry limited sizes. Unless you visit a store that specialises in fuller-cup sizes, you might meet less-than-helpful bra fitters who fit you with a bra that’s too big in the back in a mistaken attempt to get the cup size to fit. This sales-oriented method is unacceptable, because a bra that’s too big in the back won’t provide the support that fuller-busted women need.

Your bra-band size is usually the same size or smaller than your dress size. So if you usually wear a size 12 dress, then your bra band size is most likely to be a 10 or 12. Remember that for every bra-band size that you size down, you will need to go up one size in the cups (e.g. from a 18DD to a 16E).


Do you need help finding the right bra size or style? Call us on 1300 4 BRAVA, consult one of our Virtual Fitters or visit one of our stores for advice.

Go back to basics with our bra fitting fundamentals here or go discover the Bra Fitting Room.

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