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how should a bra fit?
By Alicia Drinkwater on

How Should a Bra Fit?

  • Bra Fitting and Sizing

Finding your bra measurement is the first part of your process to finding out how should a bra fit, so if you haven't done that, head straight to the guide on How to Measure Bra Size. Whilst it might seem like a long journey, it's very much one that is worthwhile and I can't tell you how your bra should fit if you're not wearing the right size!

Before we get to how should a bra fit, it's also good to work out your boob shape, and keep this in mind. Read our guide to Types of Boobs. Your boob shape can dictate the extent to which your bra fits you (the bra type might not be compatible with your shape), so follow the guide on Types of Bras before you start to think about fit.

At this point, you're probably still full of questions, from how should a bra cup fit, to how to tell if you’re wearing the wrong bra size. All of these questions are important in ensuring that you get the optimum fit from your bra and know exactly how should a bra fit, so let's get stuck in.

How Should a Bra Cup Fit?

The bra fit can be separated into six different sections, making it much easier to narrow down where any possible problems lie. I've included some really handy photos from Marie Jo alongside my advice, taken with the Avero bra to help demonstrate what to look out for. If you're like me and are a visual learner, then it's photos like this that are going to do the trick.

Before I delve into what I would describe as the next Bible, I've summarised the five most important things to look for in some quick steps. So, if you're looking for quick answers to how should a bra fit, always remember these 5 things.

How to Tell If a Bra Fits/ How Do You Know If Your Bra Fits Properly:
  1. The band of the bra should be straight and level. It shouldn’t ride up.
  2. The straps should always stay in place without digging or falling.
  3. Your breasts should fill the cups without over-spilling.
  4. Underwire needs to surround each breast, without pinching.
  5. The centre needs to lay flat between the breasts (not lift off the chest).

Step One: Bra Band

First things first, the bra band. Having an underband that fits perfectly and comfortably is arguably the most important part of knowing how should a bra fit, as the band provides most of the support for your boobs - around 80%!

The bra band should:

  • Be firm fitting, but comfortable
  • Be the same level around your bust, without riding up or digging in

My Advice:

  • You should be able to pull the bra band out from your side by about 2 inches from the back (two fingers worth), without it feeling loose. If the band doesn't pass this test, it's not the one for you.
  • If the bra band is too tight, you'll know because of the dreaded bulge. A tight band pushes the skin and fat outwards, leaving you with back fat and a lovely new-found back bulge. If it looks like you've got back fat, try a bigger bra band.
  • Always ensure that a new bra fits on the loosest fastening, as this allows you to tighten it over time as the band begins to stretch. We recommend wearing your bra on the loosest fastening for around 3-4 months, depending on how often you wash and wear it.
how should a bra fit

Step Two: Bra Underwire

Next up on how should a bra fit is the underwire. It's a common misconception that underwire equals uncomfortable, and this is mostly because of ill-fitting bras. If your bra fits you perfectly, the underwire really shouldn't impact how comfortable it is. It's also an essential part of getting some extra support, so the bra underwire is very important. 

The underwire should:

  • Sit flat on the top of your rib cage and run comfortably along to under your armpits
  • NOT sit on your boobs or the top of your breast tissue

If the underwire is sitting on top of breast tissue, you aren’t getting the correct support and this is a huge indicator that your bra doesn't fit. This can also lead to breast damage, soreness or sagging (ouch!), so make sure that you sort it out immediately.

If there's one thing that I can't stress enough, it's that if something feels uncomfortable about your bra, it isn't the right bra for you. There are a few exceptions to this, which apply when you first 'break in' your bra. Don't panic, I've covered them below!

how should a bra fit

Step Three: Bra Centre Gore

Whilst the centre gore (the strip right in the middle) might seem like a tiny part of the bra, making sure that it fits properly is still a vital part of knowing how should a bra fit. It's a really good indicator that there's something wrong with your band, so pay close attention.

The centre of the bra should:

  • Lie flat against your chest without digging in, rubbing or poking out

My Advice:

  • If the centre gore is digging in or rubbing against your skin, this is a sign that your band size is too small.
  • Alternatively, if you find that it’s poking out or sitting loosely, then your band size is too big. 
how should a bra fit

Step Four: The Cups

One of the most commonly asked questions around fitting is how should a bra cup fit. Well, fear not, because I have all the answers!

The bra cups should:

  • Fully enclose both boobs, without any bulging or over-spill (no one likes a quad boob!)
  • Lie flat, with the top of the cup sitting comfortably around your breast without digging in 
  • NOT wrinkle or feel loose on the top cup - this means that the cup is too big

My Advice:

  • If the top of the cup is digging in or creating a bulge, then the cup doesn’t fit properly and is most likely too small.
  • If a non-padded cup is wrinkling on the edges or not sitting flush on your boob, your bra cup is too big. This will look like gaping at the top of the cup if it's a padded bra.
how should a bra fit

Step Five: The Straps

Straps are another part of the bra that comes with a big misconception. Most people think that the straps are responsible for most of the bra's support when in reality, they only account for 10% of the total support.

Regardless of this, straps, just like the rest of the bra's components, can feel like an absolute nightmare when they don't fit properly, so it's still super important to make sure that you've got them adjusted to how they should be worn, ensuring that you know exactly how should a bra fit.

The straps should:

  • Sit comfortably at the centre of your shoulder, without digging in or feeling like they’re pulling
  • NOT slip down or be loose fitting

My Advice:

If your straps are falling down or digging in, it might be because you're wearing the wrong bra type. Check out the guide to Types of Bras, which will walk you through each style of bra and what boob shapes they're most compatible with. You'll be wearing the perfect bra in no time, promise!

how should a bra fit

Step Six: The Feeling

The part most often overlooked when asking how should a bra fit is how it makes you feel. Whilst the first five steps are important, they're also no good if you don't feel confident in what you're wearing.

Does this bra make you look and feel incredible? Do your boobs feel supported? Comfortable? If your answers aren't yes, yes and yes, then it's not the bra for you.

(I would also like to point out that not having *the feeling* is completely normal. Just because a bra fits you doesn't mean that you have to wear it, just as you wouldn't with a pair of jeans that you didn't feel confident in. Don't be disheartened, the perfect bra is out there).

how should a bra fit

    Why Is My Bra Uncomfortable?

    So, I think we've established by now, that if your bra is uncomfortable, it almost definitely doesn't fit you (it's the exact opposite of how should a bra fit). However, you do also need to be aware of 'breaking' in your bra.

    The easiest way to explain this process is that when you go from wearing an ill-fitting, poor quality, completely unsupportive bra your entire life, to suddenly wearing a real bra that has everything your boobs need, it's bound to feel weird at first.

    I'd compare this to breaking in some Birkenstocks (most would go for trainers, but Birkenstocks have my heart and soul). You put them on and they feel horrific - there's no nice way to put it. But, once you've worn them and they've moulded to your feet like they're supposed to, you're left with the comfiest pair of sandals you'll ever own and you're safe to wear and love them.

    Anyway, it's the same with a new bra (one that fits properly of course). You might have a fuller bust and have had no real support for a very long time, so when you first go for a Full Cup Side Support Bra with every other supportive feature you could ever need, it's completely normal for it not to feel like the comfiest thing in the world. You need time to get used to wearing it and break it in, so if your bra is meeting all of the fit checks, stick with it.

    Bra Fitting

    So, now you know everything there is to know about how should a bra fit. You're almost good to go, but there are a few extra things I want you to think about.

    • Our bodies are forever changing, so we recommend that you get a bra fitting every six months. If you're going through a big bodily change (such as pregnancy), you might want to check more often.
    • Always try on bras once you think you’ve found your size: if you’re not comfortable and it doesn't pass the fit check, then it doesn’t fit properly.

    There's a lot to get to grips with and it might seem a bit overwhelming, which is why we've got a complete set of bra fitting guides to follow to help get the perfect fit. You can follow each guide to take you through the individual fitting steps, or you can head straight to whichever one you need now.


    Any questions or want to chat? Contact us.


    Back to Bra Fitting and Guides

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