Get the girls back where they belong!
By Andrea Blake Hubbard
Believe it or not, at least 85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. My message to all women is: Get the girls back where they belong! I say this not just because it looks better, but because it's healthier.
It doesn't matter what kind of shape your body is in, you need proper support when it comes to your bra. Women who are in the best shape possible still struggle with ill-fitting bras that give them back fat or "quadraboob" and all sorts of other bra related issues. I want to share with you a few things I've learned about bras and breast health.
It's important to wear the right bra A bra that's too loose will allow for bounce. Bounce might not bother you all that much in the short term, but down the road the ligaments supporting your breast tissue will begin to stretch, causing serious saggage. Lots of bouncing can expedite this process. A little give is a good thing because it allows your ligaments to maintain a certain level of elasticity. But if you're ta-tas have ever hit you in the chin while you're working out, you're experiencing some sag producing bounce...and that's never good.
On the other hand Wearing bras that are too tight can be harmful because they restrict the lymph flow in your breasts. Lymph fluid washes out waste materials and other toxins away from the breasts. But tight bras inhibit this action. Toxins start to accumulate in the breast, and that can help dangerous cells to develop. Tight bras can also be irritating to the skin causing rashes and other irritating effects.
What purpose does your bra serve? You can ensure that your bra fits properly and looks great, but there are some factors to consider. For starters, what purpose will the bra you are about to buy serve for you? Are you buying an athletic bra? An every-day bra? Are you nursing? How about something strictly for your husband? The answer to this question will make a big difference when it comes to shopping. For practicality sake, I'll focus on the two most commonly complained about bras: the every-day bra and the sports bra.
The every-day bra The fit of your every-day bra is of vital importance. A good fit will make a difference in everything from your posture to the way you wear your clothes. The proper every day-bra will leave you will minimal back fat, a fluid and youthful shape, good support, and comfort.
The band around your rib cage should be firm but comfortable. When you stand side-on in front of a mirror, the band should be horizontal and parallel to the floor. It should not ride up at the back at all. To ensure that you're buying the right band size, measure your rib cage with a measuring tape (this is more accurate if you can have someone measure it for you). Using the number you get in inches will determine your band size. If your number is an odd number, you should round up to the next band size. The beauty in band size is that most bras have two or three settings to provide optimum fit.
Once you've measured your band size, you move on to cups. This is where it gets tricky for some women. Measure your bust at its fullest point around your 'nippy' line. You should perform this measurement braless, but if you're breast flatten significantly when you remove your bra, its okay to measure in a soft cup. Let's say you get 42. You'll next want to subtract your chest circumference from that number. Let's use this for example: 42-38 = 4. This would make you a D cup.
One inch translates to an A cup, 2 inches to a B cup and so on. When you get up to 5 inches, some brands call it a DD and some call it E. Your size will depend on the brand you're buying. Some brands offer half sizes as well.
The sports bra Assuming you're looking for 'no bounce' support, the A and B cup gals will find that the pullover compression style sports bras work well. The important thing to remember is that you buy a bra that is going to be tight enough to hold you in place without cutting off circulation. Sometimes a standard Small, Medium, or Large will not suffice. If you're between these sizes, shop at a specialty athletic store. Try on as many as you can until you find one that does the job.
If you're sporting a C cup or larger, you will likely need an encapsulation style sports bra. This is the style that deals with each breast by itself - there are two separated cups with specific weaving to ensure your girls don't go bouncing out of control. Bear in mind that, even with a larger chest, a pullover style will work okay if the activity you're engaged in is very low impact, such as yoga or Pilates.
Your activity will be the biggest determining factor in the bra you choose. I prefer if my chest is well confined in any activity so I always choose a bra labeled for high impact activity. Once you know what size and style you are in general circumstances, the search will become fairly easy.
Most importantly, choose comfort No matter what the size or shape of a woman's breasts the most important thing to remember in choosing a bra is comfort. Try on a variety of bras to find the one that's right for you. Some ladies prefer the comfort of cotton, others like the support of synthetics or underwires. There are minimizer bras for ladies who'd like their breasts to look smaller or padded bras for ladies who'd like a little extra shape. No one bra is better than another, it all depends on which style works best for you.
It's very important to try on your bra This is especially so when switching brands. The general rules of thumb are:
- Underwires should lay flat against your chest. No sticking out or poking under the arms or in the sides of your chest. If this happens you need to adjust your size.
- Straps should not dig into your shoulders. If they do you have one of two problems: the band around your torso is too large allowing the weight of your chest to pull on your shoulders or your straps are simply too short. (Large busted women may find wide or padded straps more comfortable).
- Cups should not be wrinkled (indicating the cup size may be too large), nor should you be sticking out all around. If you have too much boob and too little cup, get a bigger cup size.
- Test to see if the bra band is too loose by lifting your arms in the air and putting them back down by your sides a couple of times. If the bra rides up across your breasts, the band is too loose.
Bras and breast health It is true that bras do not cause breast cancer, however bad-fitting, too tight bras can help issues grow since they can prevent your body from voiding cancer-causing chemicals. The main reason why tight bras are bad for breast health is because they restrict the lymph flow in your breasts. There are numerous lymph pathways and lymph nodes in the armpits, under the breasts, and in between the breasts. Normally the lymph fluid washes out waste materials and other toxins away from the breasts, but bras (and especially push-up bras) inhibit this action, so toxins can start to accumulate in the breast, and that can help cancer to develop. In other words, bras very well may inhibit the way our bodies normally cleanse themselves and get rid of cancer cells and toxins like PCBs, DDT, dioxin, benzene and other carcinogenic chemicals that cling to the body's fatty tissues like that found in the breast.
Things you can do The next time you take your bra off, look at yourself in the mirror. If you see red lines on the sides, underneath your breasts or marks on your shoulders from the straps your lymph flow might have been cut off. Take it off and find a new one. Push-up bras and those with underwire or high side panels might hide the back fat but may have even more constricting effect on the lymphatic vessels. Try giving your breasts free time from bras every day; if possible at least 12 hours.
Andrea Blake Hubbard has long been regarded as the "Bra Lady of the NW". As a bra fitting specialist for Essential Bodywear, her witty, vivacious and warm personality makes for a comfortable encounter for an otherwise annoying shopping experience: finding the right bra. Andrea is a resident of Spokane, Washington and has been an active business owner in the community for several years. Among dozens of events, she has emceed Unity in the Community and hosted the NW Woman Power hour radio show along with many years experience in voice-over, commercial and film acting. For more information or a private fitting, email Andrea Blake Hubbard or call 509-217-6670.