Previous ArticleNext Article

Reader Q&A: Finding the Perfect Bra with Ali Cudby, Bra Fit Coach

Comments
Chanel Iman Victorias Secret Valentines
You asked and we answered all your bra worries and woes. Here's what Bra Fit Coach Ali Cudby had to say to our Facebook fans:

MARCY D.: I have problems finding a bra that fits in the front but doesn't cut off my circulation in the back, when I go up a size the cups are too big.

ALI CUDBY: Marcy - good news, this is an easy fix.  One of the crucial lesser known facts about bras is that band and cup sizes are actually interrelated.  So when your change your band size, the cup size differs as well.  Each change in band size is equivalent to a one-letter difference in cup size.  When you went up a band size, you probably kept the cup letter the same, when you should have adjusted.  In other words, if you were wearing a 36C and decided you were really a 38 band, then you should have gone to a 38B to get the same size cup.  

TAKEA M.: Why do I get underarm bulge?

What you are calling fat may actually be breast tissue!  Most American women wear a cup that's too small, and that can be a lot like trying to pour ten pounds of sugar into a two pound sack -- it just doesn't fit.  When you have breast tissue that won't squeeze into the cup, it has to find somewhere to go, and sometimes that means an unsightly bulge under your arm, so try going up a cup size.  The other thing you might want to consider is that you're actually not putting your bra on properly.  I know it sounds nuts, but most of us are never taught how to put on a bra -- we figure it out for ourselves.  There are actually some things to check for -- it's all outlined in the book -- and one of those is making sure that you're "all in" -- which may also eliminate the battle of the bulge.

CONNIE K.: Does wearing the wrong sized bra cause the "dents" in the shoulder?

ALI CUDBY: Yes, Connie, you can get dents in your shoulders from wearing the wrong size bra.  In fact, some women suffer from chronic headaches, back aches and others even get humps in their backs.  These are all due to carrying the weight of your breasts in the straps, instead of having the band do the work of supporting your girls.  On the bright side, once you start wearing a bra that fits, some of the indentation can eventually be reversed.

JANIECE P.: I want to know how to get a good fit without spending an arm AND a leg?!

ALI CUDBY: Price is subjective, and one woman's splurge is another's bargain.  But rather than talk about price, consider thinking about bras in terms of value.  All bras stretch over time, but a lower quality bra will start to lose its shape almost immediately.  When you invest in a higher quality garment, it will keep its shape and last longer.  The benefits to you are both physical and emotional -- you won't need to replace your bra as often, you'll look better in your clothes AND you'll feel better in your skin.  Plus, when your bras last longer, they end up costing less per wear.  For example, let's say you're deciding between a bra that costs $70 and one that costs $40.  The $70 bra may end up costing you less money in the long term -- how?  If the $40 bra falls apart after 100 wearings, it will have cost you an average of 40 cents each time you wore it.  If the $70 bra lasts twice as long, it costs you less in the long term - only 35 cents/wearing AND you don't have to spend time and money going to the store to shop for a replacement bra, like you would with the "less expensive" one.  That doesn't mean you have to spend $70 to get a good bra -- you can find quality at a number of price points.  Ultimately, a focus on value instead of price can help you find something that will work better for your body.

SHARON J.: Why are fuller bra cups wide but not deep? I want the support of cups deep enough to hold me and not just smash my breast against my chest.

ALI CUDBY: Sharon, you're absolutely on the right track and you might want to look at some different brands to achieve the cup depth you need. Every brand has a different shape, and designs even differ from style to style within brands.  Some cups are wider, others deeper -- and when you get above a D-cup, brands don't even have the same cup progression.  Some brands go from D to DD to DDD, while others go D-DD-E and still others have a D-E-F cup progression.  No wonder why the vast majority of women are wearing bras that don't fit!  This is exactly why women should focus on what fits their unique bodies, rather than getting hung up on having a single bra size.  You mention that you wear a full cup.  There are brands that design exclusively for the full-busted woman, Panache and Freya are just two brands that cater to your body type.  Try a lingerie boutique that stocks a wide range of sizes where you can try on a variety of brands to see what works best for you.  If there's nothing nearby, e-tailers like Bare Necessities have a wide range of options.  There's a guide to help you shop online in Busted!

CARLA C.: Why does the wire come out?

ALI CUDBY:  Don't you hate it when that happens?  Especially when you have to walk around all day, pretending like you're not being poked in such a delicate area!   Generally speaking, a wire breaking free is due to one of two issues:  1)  You may need to give your bras a little more TLC.  If you put your bras through the dryer, the combination of heat and agitation can cause an underwire to rip through the bra fabric.  Ideally, you should handwash your bras or, if nothing else, wash them on the delicate cycle, with the bras hooked and stowed in a lingerie bag.  Never put your bras through the dryer - heat is the number one killer of lingerie.  2)  A loose underwire may also be a fit factor.  If your band is too big, it will wiggle around on your body, causing the fibers in the fabric to weaken.  The wire can ultimately break through when it rubs against the fabric day in and day out.

 V.I: Is it possible to have one boob bigger than the other and if so how do I get a bra that works?

ALI CUDBY: Not only is it possible - it's totally normal.  In fact, almost all women are asymmetrical to some degree.  25% of women are at least one cup size different and 10% of women are two or more cup sizes apart from righty to lefty.  So the first thing to do is stop worrying about it.  When it comes to your bras, always fit the larger breast and then use cookies, cutlets or other pads to make up the difference -- or celebrate your body as-is. 
Filed Under: Expert Advice
« Previous Entry
Trend Watch: Spring's Hottest Finds
Next Entry »
Find Your Perfect Bra!