3 Complaints About Bras

Ladies, either as a Certified Mastectomy Fitter or Luxury Lingerie Stylist, I know most everyone has a pet peeve about their bra! And, as a Fitter, I heard them all the time. Let’s start with “UGH! I HAVE BACK FAT.”  Those of us who have a few years behind us and a few extra pounds on us cannot imagine a petite woman, who wears a 30B bra saying they hate their back fat…but I have heard that countless times. My point is that if you think you have back fat, or really do have back fat, there are some tips for obliterating the bulge.

No. 1 Tip: You probably have on a bra that is the wrong size. Most women do. Bras loosen during the day, with activity and wear. If your bra band is too large, this can accentuate the softer flesh as the band rides up during the day. I know everyone wants to be comfy in their bra, but the wrong size bra can create this problem. If you look in the mirror and your bra is riding up your back, your bra is not doing its job. Get refit and remember every manufacturer’s bras fit differently (like jeans and shoes). If you are wearing a 36C, try a sister size. That would be a band size smaller and a cup size larger. For every band size you go down, you must go up an additional cup. This could be a simple cure. Most women need to go down in band size and up more than one cup size.  

No. 2 Tip: You may need a bra with more coverage. You need wider side panels called “wings”, which means you may need a bra with a different cup design. For back fat issues, try a bra on that contains your breasts in each cup. No uni-boob, no third boob, no spillage (breasts coming out of your bra cups). None of that looks good…with or without clothes on. Sit on a bench in the mall and look at the women passing by. It’s an eyeful for sure! If you have a bra that is the right fit, it can create a smoothing effect.  

No. 3 Tip:  Give a “tug up” on your side panels. Side panels are elastic. This simple tug will often cover a slight bulge and give you a smoothing effect. Of course, this cannot be a solution for most of you because you have more tissue than this tip can help. And this only works if you have on a bra in good condition that isn’t stretched out. I have seen women come into my fitting room with shredded bras.

Seriously, this bra will do no good. They may wear the same bra every single day. Bras need a rest after a hard day’s work…just like you. Please buy a few good fitting bras and rotate them. They can last you years, if properly taken care of.  

No. 4 Tip:  Wear a smoothing camisole. Sometimes even the best fitting bra needs a little “help from a friend”. A smoothing cami can seriously work miracles. Try them on with your blouse to see any minimizing effect.  

No. 5 Tip: Your tight-fitting top may be a bit too small. Size up. I used to be a Medium in everything. Now I find myself buying X-Large. I blame this on all the off-shore manufacturing…certainly not my weight!  

The second biggest complaint I hear is MY STRAPS KEEPING SLIPPING OFF MY SHOULDERS. Every fitting I do starts with adjusting the straps of the bra my customer is wearing. Almost 100% of the time they are too loose. It makes me look like a genius! So…  

No. 1 Tip:  It may be as simple as adjusting your bra straps. It is hard to believe, but I think most women never think to do this. The adjustment is usually in the back, so it never gets done! Your bra band should be parallel to the floor…not riding up your back. You could need to elongate your straps, so your bra is fitting correctly on your torso. But if your bra is riding up your back, you have on the wrong bra size.  All the adjusting in the world will not help.

No. 2 Tip: Here is an easy fix…buy a set or two or three of the Strap Cushions. This nifty accessory can take away the misery of strap slippage. My customers fall in love with this product!

No. 3 Tip: Your bra size may be too big. As bra sizes increase, the width, between the straps, increases, too. The right size bra can cure a lot of problems! Your band should be comfortably snug. If it’s too loose, your bra straps may be slipping because of a bad fit.  You probably need a smaller band and larger cup size. Most women are wearing a band too big and cups that are too small!

No. 4 Tip: You need to explore a different style bra. A style with straps that are closer together.  A bra with a leotard back design, like many Anita bras, can help with strap slippage. 

No. 5 Tip:  Buy a convertible bra with a J Hook design. The J Hook design creates a racer back bra. 

No. 6 Tip: Buy a bra with non-elastic straps. Non-elastic straps do not stretch out as quickly. Your elastic straps may be worn out. If that is the case, then probably the entire bra is ready for retirement.  

The third common complaint I hear is “THE CENTER FRONT (ALSO CALLED BRIDGE or GORE) OF MY BRA IS TOO HIGH. THIS IS TOO MUCH BRA FOR ME.” If a professional Fitter is suggesting “more” bra then you probably are wearing a bra that does not give you enough support or is not the right bra to accommodate a breast form or both. Mastectomy bras typically are “more bra” than some women (small or large breasted) are used to wearing. The design features of a mastectomy bra require the cups to accommodate a breast prosthesis, hence, the increase in coverage.

No. 1 Tip: If you have a smooth chest wall or even with a bit of excess tissue, try an Amoena Contact Breast form. Mastectomy bras, by design, have a higher center front. This is necessary to accommodate a breast prosthesis. A Contact breast form is a great addition to your wardrobe of breast forms. Contact Breast forms are meant to be worn with a bra, but you may have more options for bra styles.

No. 2 Tip: Wear a Camisole Bra. Make a fashion statement with a little bit of that camisole bra peeking out of your blouse. Then you won’t feel like you are wearing “too much bra”.

No. 3 Tip: The Petite 110 Bra by American Breast Care is the deepest plunge bra available. It is perfect for the petite woman. 

No. 4 Tip: Take your favorite bra to a seamstress and have her put a pocket(s) into your bra. It just might work with your breast form or you may need to try a different breast form shape (see Tip No. 5). 

This helpful video can show you how a pocket is added to a bathing suit.

No. 5 Tip: Try a heart shaped breast form like the Silk 477 by Trulife. Turn the top of the heart toward the center front of your pocket. Often, the small dip in the breast form helps with fitting into a bra that has a shorter center front. 

Because of insurance criteria, most breast cancer patients live with only 1 shape silicone breast form. You need a wardrobe of breast forms and a wardrobe of bras to wear with different clothing. There is probably a dress or blouse in your closet that you wish you could wear but you no longer can. The fix may be a different breast form and/or bra.  

Fitters strive for perfection, but sometimes that cannot be achieved. So, near perfection will do. I think it is just fine to wear something that may not be the most perfect fit (like that strapless bra) but allows you to wear something that makes you feel great! Like your LBD for a special occasion. My main goal is always that you look and feel great in your clothes and sometimes that means giving you what YOU want and not what I want!