Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are You Your Own Worst Bra Enemy?

I see a lot of women who are obviously in the wrong bra. May of them don't know that they can have a better fit and feel better in their boobs. There are lots of common Bra Myths that women tell themselves that keep them in the wrong bras. Here are the most common things I hear about bras that keep women from looking and feeling great in their bras.

1)    “I find a loose bra is more comfortable.”
Myth Buster: A bra with a band size that is too big for you is the most common mistake when buying bras. Sure, you can't feel your band but it's causing you all sorts of other problems. A loose band causes it to ride up your back, it forces your straps to slip off your shoulders, it causes your straps to dig into your shoulders, it causes back rolls and it causes your breasts to sag at the front.

Your band needs to support 80% of your bust’s weight so it needs to be snug but not cutting into you. You should be able to run two fingers underneath your band comfortably. Bra straps should only be used to level out your boobs (most girls have one higher than the other) and offer 20% support. 

2)    “I always have my bra on the tightest hook.”
Myth Buster: There are usually 3 rows of hooks on your bra and you should think of them as a timeline. A new bra should fit you comfortably on the hooks nearest the end of your band. As it starts to give over time (as all bras do) you will graduate to using the middle hook then when you’re on the tightest hook you know you’ve got about 1-3 months of wear left in it then it’s time to get a new bra. Handy really – it’s like when peas rise to the top of the water they’re cooked – when you’re on the tightest hook you’re ready for a new bra!

3)    “I have a big bust so I only ever wear a minimizer bra so I look smaller.”
Myth Buster: Minimizer bras make me want to cry. Not only are they bad for your circulation and skin, they give you an undefined, spread-out look which is anything but attractive. A proper-fitting, full cup bra will give you support and a great silhouette. Your curves make you look slimmer not bigger.

4)    “I never wear a strapless bra, I’m too busty.”
Myth Buster: Bra manufacturers are catching on that big busted women aren’t mythical creatures and may actually want to wear strapless tops and dresses! When you understand that most of your support comes from your band size it’s not so crazy to think about wearing a strapless bra. There are still very few strapless options in HH, J, JJ, K and KK cups but the market is getting much better. 

5) “I can’t afford to buy my actual size so I just buy a big D cup.”
Myth Buster: This to me is as crazy as saying “I wear children’s shoes because they’re cheaper”. You don’t do that because you know your feet would be wrecked and you’d be in pain. Why wouldn’t you give your boobs the same courtesy? The wrong bra may be passable for a week but then it’s dead and you’ll have to buy another ill-fitting bra sooner rather than later. If you know how to look after your bras properly they can last you a long time and the financial investment will be worth it for your health, style, self confidence and happiness! We’re lobbying the manufacturers to bring the price down for big cup bras as there are lots of busty girls in Canada and the US.

If you find yourself guilty of any of these Bra Buying Mistakes then get yourself bra-educated and give them a new lease of life in a properly fitting bra. Our bra size calculator is a good place to start narrowing down your bra size range. Wearing the right bra makes you more comfortable, healthy, polished and most importantly, more confident. xx


  1. I didn't about the purpose of the three hooks until a few months ago (I used to buy bras too big for my ribcage and wear them starting on the third hook, they quickly lost shape and became too big for me). I recently bought a couple of bras so they fit starting on the first hook, and now that they are wearing in, I'm switching to the second hook. Why didn't I realize this before, I don't know!

  2. If minimizers are damaging, are compression bras like the Wacoal Sport damaging as well? What are the facts about the damage? I've seen vague statements about compression being "bad for you" in various places online, but that's not very convincing...

    1. That's a really good question. Larger breasts have more breast tissue cells stacked on top of each other which when put under pressure can collapse. Smaller breasts don't need a lot of compression to stop them moving around so the pressure and potential damage is less. Larger breasts need more compression to give the same immobility and the risk of damage is higher.

      A sports bra is only worn for a finite period of time while you work out (an hour or so) then replaced with a non-compression bra so the risk of damage is less. A minimizer bra (especially if worn every day) constantly compresses your breast against your body (and usually around your body towards your armpits) which over time causes the breast tissue to move or collapse.

      Encapsulation sports bras (where each breast is individually housed) are ideal for larger breasts but a compression sports bra can be worn as long as it is for a finite period of time.

      I hope all that helps. Breast tissue is very resilient really but we can keep our breasts in good condition by supporting them correctly for different activities. xx

    2. Thanks for the detailed answer! Does this also mean that we should stop wearing the loose crop-top-style compression/sport bras so many of us are kicking around the house in, or wearing to bed? If so, does Butterfly sell any bras you would recommend for sleeping/lounging? I wear underwires for support and hate the feeling of being braless, but I need something more comfortable by the end of the day.

    3. On the contrary, a loose fitting bra (or being braless completely) is good for your breasts. It's important to let you breast tissue 'roam free' for part of every day. Your loose fitting bra is good for lounging or sleeping. Just be careful wearing a wire to bed, ideally you want to avoid wires during the night as it can cause too much pressure on nerves, veins and blood vessels. It will be another year before we bring in a lounge bra range so it's worth keeping an eye on our site or signing up for the newsletter on our homepage xx

  3. I think I've given up on 4. Prepregnancy I could get into a strapless bra (well, that is I altered one down) but I just can't get over the level that my bust sits at in it. Even though the straps are only taking on 20% of the weight that 20% makes a large difference when you're in the J+ cup range! I think bra manufacturers have to rethink strapless bras in the higher cup sizes and start making longline strapless bras (although there aren't any longlines in higher cup sizes either, so, ugh!).

    1. I couldn't agree more! Longline strapless bras in small backs and larger cup sizes is the logical progression. I'm not sure what the delay is but it surely can't be that complicated! xx