1. Putting everyone and everything else firstThere are many times throughout a woman's life when her bust size will increase, decrease, increase again. Think about weight gain/loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause - all of these momentous occasions in your life will affect your bra size. Many women find the idea of bra shopping unappealing, so they procrastinate, and put up with uncomfortable bras that dig in, slip off the shoulder or lack support. If you're wearing the same size bra that you were fitted in more than 12 months ago, then it's time you had another fitting. Bra fitting experts recommend that you get fitted every six months.
2. Thinking that your sister/friend/Mum's favourite bra will work for youThere is no such thing as one bra that suits all body types. Some women have figures that look best and feel the most comfortable in full cup bras, others not. Some will only ever wear moulded bras, and others can't stand them. What works perfectly for your friend/sister/neighbor/mum/colleague may be completely wrong for you. So don't just choose a bra based on what you've heard... spend a little time with a professional bra fitter and let them help you find the style that's perfect for you.
3. Who's got your back?The back band of your bra should fit snugly against your skin, so it doesn't ride up your back. This part of your bra provides about 90% of the support. When you've got the perfect fit, the band should be in a horizontal position around your body. When trying on a bra, and when first wearing it at home, you should wear it on the loosest hook. If you lift your arms above your head, your bra band should stay still... if it moves, it's too big and you need to go down a size. But remember, the cup size reduces with the band so you will need to increase the cup size by at least one cup (i.e. 14D to 12DD).
4. Cup half-full or half-empty?Wearing the wrong size cup is a common mistake, as many women squeeze themselves in to the limited cup sizes available at department stores. A common bra fit problem we see is women wearing bras that are three whole cup sizes too small for them! Forget how high up in the alphabet your true cup size is heading, getting the right fit will change how you look and feel. You can tell if your cup size is correct because your breasts are fully encased by the wire of the bra. There should be no bulging or spillage from the top of the cups or under your arms, nor should there be wrinkled fabric on the cups. The wire should sit flat behind your bust.
5. Self-serviceSimilar to your favourite pair of jeans, if you've been sticking with the same style of bra for years you may also be more comfortable in a new style. Our bodies are constantly changing, and it's important to try new bra styles and fabrics as we journey through life. You may love wearing moulded or t-shirt bras, but find that lace can be just as (or sometimes more) supportive, and nowadays they're often made to appear seamless under clothes.
You should never sacrifice fit for fashion. And likewise, you should never miss out on style and comfort because you're embarrassed to ask for help when buying a bra. Go ahead, ask questions! You'll be much happier (and more comfortable) in the long run. If you feel embarrassed about getting a bra fitting, remember bra fitters don't even look at your breasts, they only look at the fit of the bra and frankly if they don't help you to feel at ease then find one who does.
Brava has recently launched product reviews to help women make more informed choices about bra styles and fit while shopping. Any review that you place automatically enters you into a monthly prize draw to win a $50 Brava Gift Voucher to use online or in-store.
Have you got anything to add to our list? Tell us about your bra shopping experience by commenting below.