Going bra shopping is challenging at the best of times, but following breast cancer surgery, many women find that changes in their bodies make it impossible to choose a bra that perfectly fits them. Ill-fitting bras can have serious adverse effects, from neck and back pain to abnormal spinal curvature because of bad posture. The right bra offers ample support to let you do the things you love and live your best life.
Unfortunately, most women wear the wrong size bra, but you don’t have to be one of them. To ensure a perfect fit, it may be time to seek a certified bra and breast form specialist. Here are some helpful tips to remember when getting a bra fitting to make the most of your session with a professional fitter.
Bust Measure for True Bra Size and Sister Size
Your fitting typically happens after a mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery, so you may not be clear on exactly what your size is now. Your bra fit expert measures your bust and underbust to find your band and cup size. You’ll then have the opportunity to try on several different brands and styles to ensure a comfortable, supportive fit.
Using a measuring tape, your fitter takes two crucial measurements. The first starts at the top of your rib cage and works its way around your back, then joins up under your breasts. This determines the band size.
The second measurement is around your back to the centerline of your breasts. If you‘ve had either a full or partial mastectomy and choose to wear breast forms, your certified fitter takes this into account when selecting bras for you to try.
Variations in bra styles and brands mean not all bras fit you the same way, and your end measurements may not match up with each one. For this reason, besides your true size, you need to consider your sister size.
A bra sister size offers the same cup volume with a different band length. If you need to go up in band size, then you go down in cup size. If you need a bigger cup, go down in band size. For example, if your fitter measures you as a 34B, you may fit into a 32C or a 36A.
This method is useful for women needing larger bands but smaller cup sizes, and vice versa. It is also useful when a particular size is difficult to shop for.
The Band Provides Most of the Support
Each part of a bra helps to support your breasts or breast forms, but most of this support comes from the band. During your bra fitting, try bras with a snug but not overly tight band.
How can you determine if you have the right band support? If it creeps up your back as you stand or walk, it is too big. Bands that dig into the skin on your back and strain the closure are too small. The band should sit horizontally on your back, with the bottom edge anchored under your shoulder blades, even when moving your arms.
Be Aware of the Role Straps Play
Bra straps tell you a lot about the fit. If one or both of the straps slip down your shoulders, this is a warning sign that the cup size may be too big. If the straps dig into your shoulders, which often happens with a full bust, you may need to try a bigger cup size or a tighter band.
Mastectomy bra straps should be adjustable to support different breast shapes. You should also look for straps that are wide and slightly padded as this can ease the strain on your shoulders by evenly distributing the weight of your breast tissue and breast forms.
Account for Different Sized Breasts
While it may be common for women to have two different size breasts, those who’ve undergone any type of breast cancer surgery, with different levels of breast tissue removed, may experience this more often. Of course, this will depend on the extent of the surgery or whether you wear one or two breast forms.
A certified fitter understands this and your anxiety surrounding unevenness. There are solutions, including choosing a larger bra and adding a pad or shaper to the smaller breast cup to look more natural with a shirt bra. Discuss your options with the fitter as you are both there to find the perfect fit for your new body.
Schedule a Fitting With Our Certified Bra Fitters
Avoid the stress of department store fitting rooms and get a discreet personalized bra fitting with our BOC-certified fitters at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe. With a quick call to (954) 978-8287, you’ll soon be on your way to better-fitting bras.