How to tell you’re wearing your bra band too tight

Straining Bra Hooks and Eyes
In an (internet, lingerie blog) world of online calculators and a cacophony of forums dictating how you bra should or shouldn’t fit, I do get the odd email from you guys saying that despite following all of the bra fitting advice on the interweb and you’re still not satisfied with how your bras fit.

No bra calculator or fitting method will work for everyone, and when I’ve had emails from readers who ask about how they get painful red marks from their new snug-fitting bands or find their bras are now far too tight to be comfortable, I need to remind them of this simple fact: you can read all the fitting guides in the world but at the end of the day you need to listen to your body – it will tell you if something’s not right.

Only you can tell if you’re comfortable, a blogger, bra fitter or well-wishing forum user can only offer advice.

So, if you’ve read up on fitting yourself from home and have found yourself in this situation, you need to remember that there are so so many body shape factors that affect bra fit, including: ribcage size and shape, breast size and shape, breast tissue firmness, your own personal fitting preferences, bra shape, wire placement, gore placement, I could go on.

It’s also an absolute minefield when so many bras and brands fit differently, and we have to guess the best size when ordering online. It’s a nightmare but you need to know when ‘snug’ becomes far too tight.

So, how do you tell if your bra band is too tight? Read on…

Cup folding

Straining hooks and eyes

Distorted cup shape

A band that digs in painfully

Painful red marks/grooves in the skin

Remember, whether you’re using the +4 method, using an online calculator like those offered by A Sophisticated Pair or Butterfly Collection, or simply following my ‘How to Measure Your Bra Size Yourself’ guide; your body will tell you when a bra doesn’t fit right. And remember – no bra will ever fit the same – brands, styles, even colours can affect bra fit (yes really – the dye can affect fabric tension!), so never assume that all bra sizes are created equal.

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4 Replies to “How to tell you’re wearing your bra band too tight”

  1. Great post! I have added this to my file of fitting posts to use as reference in blog posts future. The band issue is such a tough one; for me, anything even slightly loose causes massive back pain within ah hour of putting it on, but where the line between snug enough not to make me die of back pain and too snug to be comfortable in the other direction is so hard to suss out sometimes. Thanks for posting this!

  2. I just want to also point out that, in addition to bras leaving red marks since they have elastic and it is unavoidable, when you’re getting them high up on the center of your chest like that from the ends of the wires, sometimes it’s because of your frame. I notice this with myself since I’m quite tapered, the tops of the underwires will always press in when I’m wearing a bra with a taller gore, but everything else about the bra with fit perfectly. My chest wall really flares out and since wires are flat it leaves me with pain, red marks and sometimes even bruising if I’ve been wearing the bra all day and running around. Damn hourglass shape…!

    I get the cup folding when I wear bras that aren’t deep enough at the bottom. The Deco is a big culprit for this since it acts like a push-up without the padding, the bottom of the cup is relatively flat so the weight from the top of my breast tissue pushes down on the apex of the cup and then it folds/dents in. But this happens next to the gore. In demis/half-cups it happens all along the bottom because they’re always too wide and shallow. I still have the band sliding up though.

    Btw, what’s the bra in the 4th picture? “Snug yet comfortable fit”? That back closure detail looks awesome!

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