Bra basics

The majority of women wear a bra most of the time, so you would think we should somehow instinctively know what to do, yet so many of us are in the dark about the most valuable piece of clothing available to womankind. Let us turn the light on to some of the basics of the bra.

Bra components

Underwired bras consist of a band with a multi-fitting clasp, adjustable straps, and two cups with two moulded metal bust supports underneath. A non-underwired bra has the same make up without the metal supports. Padded bras will offer the same as the underwired version, but with the addition of soft inserts in the cups. Multi-way bras will be formed the same as the underwired one, but the straps will be moveable, and a strapless bra might have silicone tape around the top of the bra to prevent slippage.

How the bra works

Most people assume that the cups are the important part to hold up your breasts, but in fact 80% of the support in a bra comes from the back band. By getting a firm grip on your body (without squeezing the life out of you!), the back band enables the cups and straps to hold your boobs nicely in place. But as soon as the band moves, you’ve lost almost all support. The different cup shapes simply contain the breasts in a variety of styles and forms.

How to put the bra on

Lengthen the bra straps to give yourself maximum wriggle room. Put your arms through first and lean slightly forward so that your breasts naturally fall into the cups. Fasten the bra at the back on the loosest option and stand up. Now, use your hands to gently scoop each boob fully into the centre so that all breast tissue sits in the cup. Tighten the back band if you can pull it away from your body and get more than two fingers in between. Finally, slip the straps off to adjust them so that they sit neatly on your shoulder without digging in.

Sizing up

You wouldn’t wear a skirt that was so big it kept falling down, or a top so tight you couldn’t breathe, so don’t compromise on your bra size for the sake of vanity. Make sure you get properly measured and don’t fall into any of the traps of a poorly fitted bra.

Suits you

There is a wealth of bra styles to choose from – some do what they say on the tin, such as Sports Bra or Push Up bra, but others can be a little confusing, such as the balconette or moulded cup. Check out our bra finder article to choose a style to suit your shape.

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