Clothes · Daily Life · Lingerie

New Year, New Shape (AKA Bra Fit Hints and Tips)

Hello readers, and happy new year!  I hope you’ve all had a wonderful break however you spent it, and that you’re feeling refreshed and ready to face the world again!  Those of you who work in retail, thank you for dealing with all the pre-christmas shoppers, as well as the sale shoppers too – I know some of them can be a little crazy.

If you’re an office worker and have been able to have a full week or two off over the holiday period, you’ll be about ready to have another week or two off, and really get into the whole idea of relaxing, or tidying, or both.  Sadly, life won’t allow us such luxuries, and I’m sure most of us will be returning to the grindstone today.

I don’t know about any of you, but I have no self-control around food so have definitely pigged out over the last couple of weeks, add that to the fact I haven’t been consistently practicing yoga since about mid-November for a variety of reasons, it all means that I’ve been reaching for my shapewear because I feel the need to, rather than because I want to, or an item of shapewear will likely work better with my outfit (yes – I don’t ‘need’ shapewear but I enjoy wearing it nonetheless).

So I thought now would be as good a time as any to discuss the merits and downfalls of various pieces of shapewear, what type of outfit you might choose to wear one with over another, how they should and should not fit, and so forth.  I don’t and never have worked with shapewear or lingerie, so have never had any formal training, but I do enjoy wearing shapewear and have done a lot of reading over the years about bras, corsets, and other such ‘intimate garments’, so I thought I’d share what I know with all of you, and I’d love for you to share your knowledge of relevant items with me.

I thought it would be prudent to start with the very basics of bras & panties, although I know that not every woman chooses to wear them (which is just as fine as always wearing them – it’s personal choice after all), but for those who do wear them, part of the key to getting & having a good relationship with your shapewear is getting the base right.

Having said that, the way to choose your lingerie and your shapewear is first to consider the outfit you’ll be wearing.  A balconette bra isn’t going to look so great if you’re wearing a plunging neckline, likewise a plunge push-up bra might help you to be your best self under a higher neckline, add to that, the vintage-loving gal also might consider bullet or cone bras for some styles of top or dress.

Here is a brief guide to some of the more popular, modern, bra shapes available


More importantly than picking the right style bra, however, is ensuring the bra you’ll be wearing is the right size for you, and fits you correctly.  A number of years ago, I had breast augmentation surgery, so correctly fitting bras is a huge thing for me – not least of all because I had to learn from scratch myself; some years later and I’m still noting what people on TV & in the street should be doing to improve the fit of their bra.

As briefly discussed here, there are actually two different methods for measuring bra sizes, one is the ‘+4 method’, where you add four inches to the measurement taken around your ribcage, and the other is the ‘+0 method’, where you take your under-bust measurement and don’t add anything to it.  You must also remember that sizes will vary between brands and styles, and vanity sizing may also play a part, so every time you buy new lingerie you need to at least try it on to ensure you have the right fit; if you’re in a specialist or even a department store it may also be prudent to get measured, but of course not everyone has these options.

This article (and video) from The Lingerie Addict covers the important points of ensuring your bra fits you correctly; this article from Boosaurus has some more pointers, along with some “right and wrong” photos – which is great if you’re more of a visual learner; Her Room have some good “tests“, which may help to determine if your bra fits you correctly.

Remember that the majority of the support from your bra should be coming from the band not the straps, and that if the cups are too big or too small, your bra will not only not support you as much as it should, it will affect the way you feel, and the way you wear your clothes, and not in the way you want it to either!

Your bra size, like your clothes size, is simply a number & a letter designed to help you know where to start when shopping for lingerie in any given shop – it doesn’t make you a good or a bad person, or any prettier, nor ugly.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to do something about the numbers society uses to represent you, but don’t let them be the be all & end all – you’re more than some numbers & letters.

I don’t have any bra-fit tales of terror to tell you as I went armed with knowledge after my surgery, although I have some tales of “I love it, but it’s the wrong size/shape/fit so I can’t have it”, and one tale of a sale assistant who insisted I should be in a smaller band, even after I told her I couldn’t breathe with the bra fastened!  What about you, what bra fit tales of terror – or tales of joy – do you have to share?


7 thoughts on “New Year, New Shape (AKA Bra Fit Hints and Tips)

  1. Excellent advice across the board. I’m one of those folks that has no always had a lot of luck with bras. The fact that my breasts aren’t terribly full and, like many women, are slightly uneven sized doesn’t help a lick. I’ve actually had the most luck with vintage and modern long lined bras, which -have the added bonus of helping to create a very mid-century approved silhouette under clothing. I wear long line styles at least 95% of the time and doubt that will ever change. Even if I was only wear modern styles (an unfathomable thought! :D), I’d still sport them that often because they seem to work best for me.

    Big hugs & many thanks for your great comment on today’s new post,
    ♥ Jessica


    1. Bras are one of those funny items of clothing – like shoes & hosiery – that you either fit them or you don’t, and there’s not really a lot that can be done if you don’t. I’ve seen comments that as at-home 3D printers come down in price and become more common, we’ll be able to “manufacture” things like bras that will fit us perfectly…we can hope, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

      I’m yet to try a true vintage bra, but I’m a huge stickler for matching sets so I’ve not really been looking; however, like you I do like a long line bra, although ‘fashion’ seems to be making many long lines into about a half inch longer band than normal, which makes me shake my head a little.


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