Ever since the 7th grade, I have always worn a 36C bra. Little did I know, I was supposed to be wearing a 34 DD. I was shocked that for the past three years, I had been uneducated about bra size and fit. Thankfully, I am not alone. In fact, about 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. In this case, I decided to compile the health effects and symptoms of wearing an ill-fitting bra.
A too-tight bra can cause skin abrasions around the breast area. The wire can poke your skin, and as a result of the friction, abrasions can occur. If the abrasions continue, they can transform into scars.
Furthermore, when your bra does not give you enough support, the ligaments and breast tissue are strained. Over-straining can lead to sagging and stretch marks. A bra’s main purpose is to support your breasts. However, a bra should also keep your vertebrae upright. By wearing the wrong size can lead to slouching while standing or sitting. The effects do not only stop at bad posture, either. As a result of slouching, you can also experience back and neck pain.
Symptoms of wearing the wrong bra include wrinkles in the cups, tight straps, your band riding up, spillage from the cups, and the wire not touching your skin. If you experience wrinkles in the cups of your bra, you may be wearing a larger cup than necessary.
If your band is riding up, and your straps are too tight, then you should go down a band size or throw out your bra completely. Your band is what supports your breast; not the straps. If your straps are too tight then your band may be too loose. Now, if your band is riding up then your bra may be worn out or too small. You want the band to be as low on your back as possible, that way you can get the most lift.
Also, when you buy your new bra, wear it on the loosest clasp. It may seem silly, since you want your bra to be tight and supportive. However, when you wear a bra it naturally stretches out thus you want to wear it on the loosest clasp and tighten it as the bra naturally expands.
I had the opportunity to speak with my cousin, Kate Vasquez, who also happens to be a Victoria’s Secret sales associate.
Priscilla Vasquez: What is the most common mistake women make when purchasing a bra?
Kate Vasquez: Well from what I’ve seen, women tend to buy the wrong size. Women tend to buy a band that is too large and a cup that is too small. When I measure customers, they are surprised to find that their cup and band size are completely different than what they thought.
PV: How do you know you are wearing a bra that fits?
KV : Well there are a few techniques I’ve learned while working at VS. One is the wire check. What you do is press against your wire while wearing your bra. When you press down on the wire, all you should feel is bone. However, if it feels fluffy then your cup is too small. Your bra is not holding all the breast tissue and that is obviously not something you want.
PV: What is the one thing women should consider when purchasing a bra?
KV: Not all manufacturers make their products the same. You may be one size in one company’s bra, yet another in a different company’s bra. I recommend that women always be measured when shopping. Also, never be afraid to ask for assistance. With all the different styles these days, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Never settle for something that fits “okay”. You want the most support and best fit, so do not get discouraged.
Remember if you have not been measured in a few months (or even years), go get measured! The right bra does not only affect how your garments wear but also your physical health.
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