Better Bra Fittings Equal Better Breast Health

Better Bra Fittings Equal Better Breast Health

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101011HEALTHnew.jpgEight out of ten American women wear the wrong size bra, according to a 2004 Wacoal America study. About six years ago, Oprah wanted to start a bra revolution to change this trend. Even so, many women who walk through the doors of Knickers of Hyde Park are still wearing the wrong size, says store president and founder Jenalyn Schneider.


A primary reason she has seen for this disconnect between a woman’s actual bra size and what she’s wearing is due to differences between brands. "Originally, you could use the classical measuring tape philosophy," Schneider says. "We started with measuring, then we found that brands varied. I think that has to do with the European influx of products."


Additionally, women who come into the store don’t always understand which part of the bra should be providing the most support, Schneider says. Common knowledge often dictates that the straps provide a lift, but this is a definite misconception. "When the band of the bra is too big, it rides up your back, and the weight goes on the straps," she says. This in turn causes soreness in the shoulders and back pain.Elizabeth-InStory.gif


Britt Cruikshank, the owner of La Silhouette Lingerie, says she sees a lot of women in her boutique with incorrectly sized bras, too. Because the right size bra improves posture, confidence and breast health, it is extremely important to get fitted by someone who has been trained, she says. "You should be a certified fitter. You just can’t wing this," Cruikshank says.


Part of the problem is also psychological, Schneider says. Women sometimes don’t believe they should be wearing a certain cup size, because it might seem big or disproportionate to the band size. "We sell a lot of 32 Ds here," she says. "I think women need to get over the size. I’m in the right bra, so I don’t look that big." Generally, women have bras with bands that are too big and cup sizes too small, she says.


Besides just looking for a bra in the right size, it also helps to know which brands work with which body types, Schneider says. For example, there are a few mainstream brands that notably are sized in certain ways. "For example, we carry Elle MacPherson, which is great for a more athletic body type. Her bras run smaller in the band. We carry Wacoal, which carries good, average-fitting bras," she says.101011HEALTH2.jpg


Once women obtain bras in the right sizes and appropriate brands, the next important step is caring for bras correctly, Cruikshank says. "A lot of women are not taking care of their bras, because they’ve never been told they should," she says. "Some don’t care, but it is important. When you spend $100 or $80 for a good bra, I want you to come back in a year and say that the bra looks just as pretty as the day you bought it." This care and maintenance for bras includes washing them in low settings in mesh bags and then usually air-drying them.


Both Schneider and Cruikshank emphasize that their stores provide a small and personalized environment to help women find the correct bras – even if those are in surprising sizes to the women themselves. Neither location is like a big department store, so a degree of privacy is provided. "We really take a personal approach to fitting each woman individually," Schneider says. "I think a lot of women are really comfortable with that method for a lot of reason: It takes a lot of courage to do a fitting. It’s a really personal thing."