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The Breast Chronicles

The Importance of the Right Bra

Extra Extra - women are growing! Statistics show that bra sizes are increasing, but an estimated 60-80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. Many more younger women are now larger breasted than ever before and yet have little information about the importance of getting good support for better long term breast health, or the need to balance fashion and function.

Don't be dismissive of the importance of wearing the right bra. A preliminary study was undertaken by two hospitals and a BUPA consultant surgeon and it showed that 76% of women referred to the consultant with breast pain found that proper fitting alleviated their symptoms! No surgical intervention or other treatment was required. An unrelated study found evidence to suggest (though it is inconclusive) that an ill fitting bra can restrict the lymphatic flow within the breast, possibly leading to an increased risk of breast cancer.

But why do people buy the wrong size bra? A host of reasons, but two which stand out as the main ones: Firstly, many women have been wearing the same size bra their entire life and don't think to change. Secondly, a sad fact is that the limited availability of larger cup sizes means that many girls are persuaded that anything above a C-cup is abnormal. None of the popular, teen-oriented high street shops offer bras larger than a C-cup. This is detrimental to girls' self-image and breast health. Girls who should be wearing 34D bras squeeze their breasts into ill-fitting 36C underwear, both because they are embarrassed at being a D+ and because they can't buy their size in a trendy shop - if they want to buy a D-cup or beyond they have to visit a department store.

Most women don't realise that getting a well fitting bra, regardless of the size, will give them a better shape that will actually make them look slimmer. After all, we all know that there's nothing slimming about buying clothes a size too small - it makes one look fatter if anything - and it's the same with bras. Bulging over the top of your balconette just draws attention to the size of your breasts. It's all about having the confidence to buy the size you really need, as opposed to the size you think you ought to be!

So how do you find out what size you should be wearing? There are numerous guides available on the internet on measuring yourself, but don't neccessarily trust their assessment. For example, Using my actual measurements I tend to come out as a 34C (even more ridiculous, before I lost a bit of weight and my underbust measurement reduced, I was told I should be wearing a 36A/B!). So quite frankly, You try on bras. Getting the help of a qualified fitter is probably a good idea. Your bra band should be reasonably tight around you (though not so tight as to be restrictive). When you buy a new bra is is usually best to have the band on the loosest fitting, to allow for stretching over time. Having established your band size, you need the right size cup, too. The best way of finding out your cup size is simply to try on 'all the bras of the alphabet' (or at least a small range of sizes).

Luckily, with more and more lingerie manufacturers bringing out pretty and feminine 'plus size' ranges, it is likely that larger cup-sizes will lose some of the stigma that has always been attached. Speaking from personal experience, I was unwilling to grow out of a C-cup, largely because of the the availability issues, and now, as a E, I rely on Fantasie, Panache, Triumph Flaunt and Berlei (among others) to provide me with beautiful bras that fit.