The Case of the Ill-Fitting Bra

If Nancy Drew had ever solved The Case of the Ill-Fitting Bra, then I bet more women would strive to avoid such notorious things.  As it were, however, 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size.

Why am I talking about bras?

Well, first of all, it’s October which means it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And since it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I feel permitted to talk about bras all I want.

Second of all, I just recently learned that I was wearing the wrong bra size, so naturally I feel the urge to spread the gospel of proper-fitting bras.

Before getting properly measured, I thought I was a 38DD because this was the only size that would fit me in department stores.  So when I visited Bra-Te-Da, a local specialty bra shop, I was surprised to discover that I was really a 34G, a size I didn’t even know existed.

I was even more surprised to see so many pretty options in my size.  Wow, something besides tan and black.  How refreshing!

Until my visit to Bra-Te-Da, bra shopping was always an exhausting and frustrating process that would end in me settling for whatever (sort of) fit me the best.  And forget about asking for help.  Most of the sales people at Dillard’s and Victoria’s Secret would just stare at me like a deer in headlights (no pun intended) and direct me to whatever was their largest size.

If your experience has been similar, then I encourage you to visit a specialty bra shop.  Not only will you get properly fitted, you will receive expert service.  Vivi, the attending bra expert, was super helpful in adjusting my straps and fetching different colors and brands for me.  (To anyone who has shopped for lingerie, you know how frustrating it is to constantly undress and then dress each time you need to run out of the dressing room in search of another size or color.)

On top of all this, I was offered a beverage and some light refreshments!

While I sipped my ginger ale, Vivi gave me the following tips:

#1. Which Clasp to Use

A bra band will stretch out with use so in order to extend the life of your bra, use the set of clasps closest to the edge first.  This way, as the band loosens over time, you can move up to the next set of clasps to tighten the fit.  (Seems obvious, but this seriously never occurred to me.)

If using the very last set of clasps on a new bra is the only way to get the band to fit snuggly, you are wearing the wrong size.

#2. Where the REAL Support Comes From

The straps on a bra are NOT the main source of support.  It is the shelf, the part of the bra that rests against the ribs, that holds everything up.  On a properly fitted bra, the middle of the shelf should rest firmly against your breastbone.  If it gapes or hovers over the skin, the bra is most likely the wrong size.

#3. Cup Fit

The cups should fully encapsulate the breast.  This means nothing should be spilling over the top or out of the sides.  Also, the wire on the side of the cup should rest directly behind the breast tissue.

#4. To Minimize or Not to Minimize

I am always on the hunt for a good minimizer bra because, after all, I want to appear smaller.  When I asked Vivi if she could bring me a minimizer, she told me told me this:

“If you are wearing the correct size, you won’t need a minimizer.”

Point taken.

#5. Bra Care

I know never to place a bra in the dryer, but the washing machine can be just as damaging.  (Even in a lingerie bag, my bras get all twisted up.)  The best way to preserve your investment is to soak it for at least 30 minutes in warm (not hot) water with a small amount of Woolite or other gentle detergent.  Rinse with lukewarm to cold water and hang dry.


By the end of the hour, I had tried on a multitude of bras, but instead of feeling exhausted, I felt refreshed and encouraged…and I wish the same for you.

Whether you are a triple K or a double A (Bra-Te-Da carries these sizes and everything in between) you deserve to wear a bra that fits.  And it’s more than just aesthetics–a good bra can reduce back and shoulder strain and reduce tissue tearing/stretching.

Boobs are a pain in the neck.  Support them well!

A special thanks to Vivi for helping me solve the case of the ill-fitting bra!

If you are in the Abilene area, visit Bra-Te-Da at 3238 South 27th Street or give them a call at (325) 695-2727.


14 thoughts on “The Case of the Ill-Fitting Bra

  1. I have always tried to wear a good bra, from Victoria’s Secrets and Pennyrich but had been given the wrong size cause they did not have mine so put me in one that kinda fit and i always had trouble with it until I went to Bra-te-da also. LOVE that place.. the bras are better and cheaper!!!!

  2. Good post- I agree it’s super important to take good care of your girls! I always say, regarding under-garments, “If the foundation is good, everything you layer over it will look good too!”

  3. I must say to Vivi, that Bra-de-da is an awesome name! I have never found a comfortable bra with underwire. I have a couple but continue to wear cotton sports bra for every day. I’m not overly endowed, so support has never been a huge issue. Great topic for a post, and what pretty bra’s they sell there. I really fancy the aqua one!

  4. I just recently went and tried to get fitted. The lady, however, did not know anything about bras and just tried to persuade me to increase the underband size – I was fitted a couple of years ago when I used to wear something like a 42F and when properly fitted, it turned out my actual size was 38I. Now I wanted to get fitted again, but was unsuccessful (after having visited several stores). Now I need to find that store you’re talking about.


  5. Great article. Believe it or not, I used to wear a 38FF in a custom fitted bra. I sold for a lingerie company for awhile and learned alot. Your clothes look better, your back feels better. You can take 10 lbs off just by wearing a good fitting bra and remember 10lbs gained/10lbs lost the bra needs to be re-fitted. Ugh. 😦 It’s better to spend more on 3 good ones (wash/wear and spare) than to have a drawer full of frustration (which I currently own). I am TRYING to get myself to the BraTeDa store sometime soon myself!

    • Thanks for letting me know! I need to add that weight tidbit to the post. Dang. Guess this means I will need to buy a new bra if’n when I lose that 20 pounds! 🙂

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