We’re Not Surprised Your Bra Doesn’t Fit. This is How to Fit a Bra Correctly

How to Fit a Bra Correctly

We’re Not Surprised Your Bra Doesn’t Fit. This is How to Fit a Bra Correctly

How should a bra fit correctly? Read our bra fitting guide to find out.

How to fit a Bra Properly

Wearing a properly fitting bra is important not only for your health but also confidence. A bra that fits you correctly will be comfortable and accentuate your figure. The bra will not only lift the sister up but also take the weight off your shoulders.

But how can you know whether your bra fits right? Also, what can you do to fix an incorrectly fitting bra?

Read on to find out.

According to a study published in 2008, about 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. However, the percentage has been contested by some of the leading authorities in lingerie fit.

Still, there is no denying that most of us are not wearing our ideal size bra.

From the interactions we’ve had with our readers, the most common issue is wearing a bra that has an oversized band and a smaller cup. Wearing such a bra can make the breasts look saggier than they really are and also leave you with back pain. This is especially the case for full figured women.

In this guide, you will learn how to fit a bra correctly.

How Should a Bra Fit Correctly?

Before buying a bra, there are three important things you should check: the straps, band, and cups.

How Should Bra Straps Fit?

For a well-fitting bra, the majority of the support comes from the band. However, the straps also play an important role in your overall comfort. In particular, they hold the cups in place so that they don’t flow over.

NOTE: The work of the straps is NOT to lift the breasts up.

The bra straps should not dig into your shoulders. If you find them digging, this means they are supporting too much weight, which is usually an indication that the band does not fit you well enough to do its job. Straps that dig into the shoulders are uncomfortable and can leave you with shoulder aches.

image of woman bust showing bra straps

Still on the straps, they should not be slipping off your shoulders. Slipping straps are usually as a result of poorly-fitting bands. If the band is too loose, it will not hold the straps in place, leaving them to move around.

However, before you blame the poorly fitting bra on the band, keep in mind that you can adjust the straps. Sometimes, all you need to do is to shorten or lengthen the traps. Over time, the straps lose their elasticity and will have to be re-adjusted to ensure the bra fits properly.

How Should the Band Fit?

A bra comprises two cups, straps and a band. The band can be the continuous section that runs all around the rib cage. In some bras, the band is made of two ‘wings’ at the sides and a piece of fabric between the cups.

image of woman bust showing the bra band

How Should a Bra Fit in the Front?

The area between the cups, where there is a fabric, is known as the gore. Check that the gore lies flat on your skin on an underwire bra.

What if the bra does not lie flat?

If there is a gap between the gore and your sternum, this means that the cups are too small. The bra does not have enough cup fabric to wrap around your breasts. This results in the gore being suspended a little bit from your skin.

To solve this problem, simply get a larger cup size that can fully cover your breasts.

NOTE: This fix only applies to wired bra. The breast tissues push the cup upwards and when there is no underwire to get the cup in a specific position, the gore may not lie flat against your sternum.

How Should a Bra Fit in the Back?

In a fitting bra, the band should lie horizontally across your back. If the band is too large, it will arch at the center-back. On the other hand, if the band is being pulled up because of the weight of your breasts pulling down on the front, then it means it is too loose to stay in place. With a loose band, you won’t get as much breast lift as you may have wanted.

Check that the band is not too tight. If you feel like the underwires are digging in you or the bra is too tight, get a large size.

How Should Bra Cups Fit?

image of woman bust showing bra cups

When you wear a fitting bra, the cups will fully encapsulate your breast tissue and leave no excess space. When you look at the top edge of the cup, it will neither be gapping nor digging.

If you are wearing an unlined bra with an oversized cup, you will see some wrinkles on the top of the cup (instead of gapes). The wrinkle is due to your breast tissue not filling out the cup completely.

Check that the bra underwires are lying in the fold where your breast joins the torso. The underwires should be at this position from the center-front through to the underarm. If the underwire is higher or lower on top of the breast tissue, this means that the bra does not fit properly.

Before checking whether the cup fits you properly, lean forward and lift the breast tissue upwards into the cup. This is important to ensure that all of your breast tissue is inside the cups before you can check whether the bra really fits.

How Should a Sports Bra Fit?

image of woman bust in fitting sports bra

When it comes to sports bras, follow the same rules we’ve talked about above. You want a bra whose cups are the perfect size for your breasts, the band fits firmly, and the traps do not slip off or dig.


If the cups are too small, they can cause overspill. However, you also don’t want cups that are too big as these would make the breasts bounce inside them. You want cups that hold the sisters firmly in place.


The bra should have a tight band that provides maximums support, in turn reducing uncomfortable breast bounce. The band should also be just right so that it does not rub on your skin. If the band is too loose or too tight, you may experience chaffing when working out.


Most sports bras have racerback style straps, i.e., they are joined via a hook at the back to form an X shape. The hook pulls the straps towards the spine, ensuring that they won’t fall as you engage in physical exercises.

How Should a Strapless Bra Fit?

image of woman bust in strapless bra

A strapless bra should fit just the same as one with straps. Like we have mentioned before, the band offers the majority of the support required to ensure you are comfortable. The work of the straps is only to hold the cups in position. Therefore, when determining which bra to buy, check that the band fits properly.

Avoid wearing a strapless bra that has a too-large band size. With a regular bra, if the band is too loose, the weight of your breasts is passed over to the shoulders. This can leave you with shoulder and neck aches. However, the bra won’t fall down.

On the other hand, if a strapless bra band is loose enough, it can start slipping down and the bra can fall off!

On the same note, even if the bra does not fall off but just slightly slips, you will have less left. The bra will be see-sawing, making your breasts to move downwards with gravity. To avoid this, make sure the strapless bra you wear has a tight band that will not ride up the back.

How to Know Whether You Have Found a Properly Fitting Bra

Here’s how to tell whether a bra fits correctly:

Band Fit

  • Not so tight that you struggle to take a deep breath or are uncomfortable
  • Runs horizontally across your back

Cup Fit

  • The underwires lie flat against your sternum at the center-front
  • The cups do not look baggy or wrinkled
  • There is no gap between the cup edge and your skill
  • No ‘overspill’ along the edge of the cup (this is usually seen as a bump from the side, especially when you are wearing a fitting shirt)

Strap Fit

  • The straps don’t fall down onto your arms
  • The straps don’t cut in or cause pain

So, How Should a Bra Fit Correctly?

If all the above points apply to a bra you want to buy, then you have gotten a fitting bra.

We have a handy accurate online bra size calculator that you can use to determine your bra size. However, if you still are not sure, you can get a professional bra fitter to help you find the right size.

Love a good book and a good laugh. I'm the founder and strategist at Brabbly. My ultimate goal is to help women of all body types find fitting bras and underthings.

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