Shopping for bras is often challenging, especially following breast cancer surgery or breast reconstruction. Your body has changed, and you have to find what fits you now. Instead of dreading the process, make it personal. Plan to find the best size, style, and fit possible for the needs of your unique body shape. Think about comfort in addition to function.
Bras are not just harnesses but a way to provide needed support and comfort for your breasts or breast prostheses. Gone are the days when you must accept department store discomfort as a way of life. Today you have options. The key, however, is to find the size that fits your particular body and its needs.
So, how can you find the perfect fit? Focus on how one fits you personally, regardless of what is listed on the tag or what a bra size calculator reveals. Follow these tips for finding your bra.
Evaluate the Band
One of the measurements you need is the circumference of your torso. This is to match the band size of a bra. With this number in hand, seek out several different brands in that size. Now, try them all on.
The band needs to sit level on the rib cage for a proper fit and not ride up in the front or back. As you try one on, move around and make movements you normally make every day. Exaggerate these if you can and see if the band stays in place.
Also, place your fingers under the band and pull slightly away from your skin. It should only move a little and not more than two inches. While this band needs to fit snug, it shouldn’t cause pain or restrict you in any way. Also, check to make sure you aren’t closing it with the loosest hook.
Rethink Cup Size
There is no consensus among companies on bra sizing, so one’s B cup may differ from another’s B size on a bra size chart. This alone should alert you that you’re likely to fit into more than just one cup size.
Assumptions abound on what the different cup sizes mean, such as an A-cup is small while a C-cup is a bit larger than average; this is untrue. In essence, your cup size is the difference between your torso measurement (for the band) and the tape measure circumference, which includes the tops of your breasts.
Cup sizes in the bras you normally buy are based on a 1-inch, 2-inch, 3-inch, between these two measurements. What if you’re 1½ inches? Do you go up or down a cup size? That will depend on what fits the shape and size of your particular breasts and the level of comfort it offers.
Try several on and make sure your breast tissue isn’t spilling out of the sides. If they are, go up a cup to determine if it’s a better fit. If the cup material isn’t flush against your breasts and gaps at the top, it may be too big. For those wearing pocketed mastectomy bras, work with your prostheses to find the right fit or consult with a certified fitter.
Notice the Center
In the middle of the bra in the front, between the two cups, is an area called the gore. Make sure this part sits flat against your chest. If it does, try on the next cup size and see if that works better.
Go for Adjustable Straps
Adjustable bra straps are essential so that you can create the right level of support for your particular breasts. Avoid tightened straps that dig into the skin on your shoulders. If the straps are falling down on your arm, try adjusting them to fit more snugly.
It’s common to have asymmetrical breasts, either naturally or following your breast cancer surgery. This is where adjustable straps help you adjust each side differently based on your needs.
Experiment With Your Sister Size
Another way to find your personal fit is to consider your sister size. A sister size offers the same cup volume but with a different band length. In other words, if you go up a band size, you’ll go down a cup size. If you need to go up a cup size, then you will go down a band size. For instance, if your measurements put you at a 34B, you may want to try on a 32C and a 36A.
A Note About Sports Bras
Selection of a sports bra brings with it unique challenges. Most of these fall within a set size category, such as small, medium, and large. Each one is also constructed for different levels of activity, from low to high-impact activities. You’ll need to try on several sizes and brands to determine the best fit for your body and chosen activities.
Without the right sports bra, exercise is often avoided, especially among those just starting or getting back in shape following breast cancer surgery. Breasts often are obstacles to exercise due to many reasons, including pain and socially embarrassing movement.
Quick Tips For Choosing Your Best Fit
- Measure your bra size or get measured by a certified fitter, and use this measurement as your starting point.
- Try on several different sizes, styles, and versions.
- Peruse reviews to find out what others are saying about different styles and sizings.
- Consider your breast shape and look for bras that cater to your curves.
- Don’t forget your sister size, which may fit perfectly.
Now you can sit, stand, walk, or exercise in more comfort. But why stop there? Now that you’ve found your perfect size, why not go bra shopping for a few in different bra styles, colors, and designs to make it more fun?
Contact A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe to Arrange Your Fitting
Start your search for the perfect fitting bra for you personally by visiting A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe. Our certified fitters will work with you to find your size and recommend various bras to try on. Give us a call today at (954) 978-8287 to book your in-person or virtual fitting.