|Panache's Bra Fit Challenge campaign|
I won't babble on about the different shapes boobs 'come in' as there's really good blogs out there which have already covered this area. What I do want to do, however, is talk about my own shape, the problems I experience with fitting; how I overcome them or what I avoid.
Being 5'8" tall and an hour glass figured size 12, I'm not petite nor am I skinny, but I'm slightly built with sloping shoulders, a little back fat and a boney ribcage.
My Boob Stats
My rib cage measures 29 inches and I wear 28 bands most often, other times a 30 band. My bust is 39 inches, and I wear between GG and H cups. My boobs are very close together.
|My Close Set Bust|
If it's not bad enough that I wear irregular sizes (as in typical highstreet store sizes) I have a close-set bust to think about. I regularly struggle with centre gores and where the front of the underwires decide to finish.
Centre Gore Height
I do love to wear balcony bras but this often places me in a fit quandary. Balcony bras are generally good for structured support that keeps boobs in place and provides a lifted cleavage shelf. I have been finding that the exact place where the centre gore is situated is the deciding factor whether my boobs will sit in the cups naturally. The higher the underwires finish at the front, the more likely the bra will fit okay.
A few mms lower, yet still balcony, and the underwires can finish in the wrong place: right on top of my boob curvature and the underwires are forced to fit where they are. With movement and time, they shift; one dug into the centre and the other sitting atop my boob. An extremely uncomfortable fit.
For this reason I prefer to wear plunge bras, because then where the underwire finishes it is pretty low, generally below the curves of my boobs. As my boobs are already close I don't have unnatural roll together; they sit in a way that's normal.
|How my Masquerade Rosa plunge fits|
Centre Gore Width
The centre gore doesn't always measure the same on different bras, some are wider and more definitively set apart while others the centre is more narrow, allowing the bust to sit closer. Depending on how far apart or close your boobs are, you may get on better with one type over the other.
|This bra's cups are too far apart for comfort|
As my boobs are close together I find they don't appreciate being forced into polar directions. When they are moved into a separated position they can look odd and in turn force the inner parts of the underwires to go places they shouldn't. This can mean a simple solution, however. To bring far apart cups closer together I nip them in and sew a few stitches at the front meeting underwires to permanently reduce the width. Bras I Hate & Love often reconfigures her bras to fit perfectly because of these same problems.
Underwires - Curvature
Caroline at Curvy Wordy let me into a little secret and immediately solved my dilemma. Underwires can be a nightmare, particularly when they're big cup sizes on small bands, and I've long experienced painful pressure points at the outer edges of my bras, where the underwires curve round. I had no idea that the simple solution would just involve physically bending the wire into a 3D curved angle, like a banana. By doing this to my otherwise flat shaped bras, I've made them more mirrored to the natural curving shape of the body.
|A red sore from a pressing underwire|
Underwires - Breadth
Some brands are more notorious than others for wide shaped underwires. This is often down to softer underwires which stretch as a bra is fastened onto the body, but other times the wires are intended that way because of wide set or fuller on bottom boobs which may need more breadth. This doesn't bother me as much as other problems but it can still be irritating. In this instance I just bend the underwire back slightly so it's not disappearing into my armpits so much.
Underwires - Height
Sometimes I'll try on a bra that makes me feel swamped purely because the outer underwires decide to sit so highly into my armpits. This tends to happen when I need to size up in the cup or if it's a high balcony that remains high at the outer edge. Some bras also have plastic boning on the wings for added support. I can not wear bras like this, irrelevant of a good fit for my boobs. An underwire that finishes too high will dig in and leave you sore, so I steer clear of high wires.
|Badly fitting bra and too high boning|
So these are the immediate problems that come to my mind when I try on bras. You quickly realise that bra fitting is a lot more complicated than simply equating numbers, which is why the simple bra sizing method of 'plus zero' is the more realistic approach to the antiquated 'plus four'. Read what I had to say about it here.
What problems do you encounter when fitting for bras? Do you experience the same issues as I do or are there more scenarios which drive you away from certain styles?