Growing up, I never stressed about fashion, never worried much about what I was going to wear—with the exception of one area: my bras. I’ve owned countless bras, but never one that actually fit. I’ve always had a smaller chest, and I thought a bra fitting was unnecessary. How big of a difference could it make, really? Well, after I set out on a journey to actually find a perfectly fitted bra, I learned that I was so, so wrong.
My first stop was Eveden, a multi-brand company that carries Freya, Fantasie, Huit, Elomi and Goddess. I met with Freddy Zappe, Eveden's national fit specialist, and after a quick glance, she knew my bra size was incorrect. “I’m seeing your bra is a little bit loose in the back, which is actually very common,” she tells me. “About 80 percent of women are walking around like this.”
At Negative Underwear, I met with founders Marissa Vosper and Lauren Schwab, and it’s there I learned that the problem with wearing a band too big is that it will rise up over time. To compensate, women tend to make their straps tighter. The straps of your bra actually aren’t responsible for any of the support, the band is.
Next was Journelle, a multi-brand lingerie company that takes a European perspective on bras, with less padding and mold. “A bra that fits well is the first step to feeling polished and confident in an outfit,” says Claire Chambers, CEO of Journelle.
At La Perla, a luxury Italian-based company, I learned how every lingerie company is essentially a fashion brand—each with different cuts, styles, and fabrics. Also, many women don’t take into consideration the changes in their bodies, which can be one of the biggest reasons for an uncomfortable bra, so it is important to get fitted often.
A journey about bras isn’t one without a stop at Victoria’s Secret. Having worn the brand for as long as I can remember, I realized I actually had never gone there for a proper fitting. I started with a few pieces from the new Body by Victoria collection, which by the way, were extremely comfortable.
And finally, for my last stop I paid a visit to L’Agent, Agent Provocateur's “little sister” company. The first bra I tried on was the Dani non-pad balcony bra, and I didn’t want to take it off—it was both so beautiful and so comfortable.
After fittings with six different companies, I took everything I learned and turned it into nine easy-to-remember lessons. After so many years, I’ve finally cracked the lingerie code, and now you can, too.
1. Make sure the band is snug and anchored low in the back, parallel to the floor.
2. Is the wire actually going around your breast tissue? The wire should go fully around the breast and sit near your underarm.
3. The center front of the bra, called the gore, needs to be up against the chest wall to provide support. If there is a gap between the gore and your body, this means the bra is lifted off your chest and your breasts aren’t sitting in the cups.
4. You should be wearing your band on the last hook-and-eye. Over time, the elastic will stretch, so you want to make sure you have the option to tighten the band.
5. Tug on the back of your band to determine whether it’s too tight or too lose.
6. Adjust your straps properly, but don’t overdo it. Adjusting your straps too much and trying to overcompensate for a bra that doesn’t fit properly is the wrong idea.
7. Always adjust yourself into the bra after putting it on.
8. Are you a 34B? If so, you might have the wrong bra size. It’s the most common bra size that women say they have—in reality, once properly fitted, they’re a 36A or 32C.