Wardrobe meltdowns are common in our private spaces – where nothing (on that particular day, depending on the mood), never really seems to be the right fit, or straight up flattering. For most women, shopping for a bra tends to feel a little like another episode of a wardrobe meltdown. It can be quite a frustrating and emotional experience factoring how we as women tend to complain in our circles about how uncomfortable bras can be.

So how exactly should women shop for the perfect fit? We reached out to Lothando ‘Lotti’ Makhubalo, Bra Fitting Specialist and Owner of BUSTIBRAS.

“A bra is the foundation of your overall look. It also serves as a confidence booster. “I have found that 95% of the time, women who have consulted with me for bra fittings, previously wore the incorrect size. Women tend to wear a bra just for coverage. The purpose of a bra should be much bigger than this. You need a bra that will lift, support, and enhance your beautiful body shape”, says Lotti.

She also highlights that our bodies change as we grow. “As women, we experience hormonal changes, our weight fluctuates time and again according to different phases of our lives such as having a baby or going through menopause. Most times, even before or during a menstrual cycle, breasts tend to get fuller. These normal life events do affect the cup size”.

Lotti indicates that a good bra is the foundation of every outfit and highlights the following benefits:

Benefits Of Wearing A Good Fitting Bra
  • A good-fitting bra is an instant confidence booster.
  • Helps with posture.
  • Reduces premature sagging.
  • Showcases your silhouette.
  • Reduces the heavy weight of your breasts.

What To Consider When Shopping

According to Lotti, women should consult a professional bra fitting specialist, at least once or twice a year. She shares the following considerations when shopping for a good-fitting bra.

  • Don’t Grab and Go. Shop according to your body shape and for the design that will flatter you. You want a bra that will ensure that your breast shape is lifted and comfortable.
  • Always fit before you purchase. Just because a bra is your size, it doesn’t mean it will work on you. Fit different shapes and styles first.
  • Comfort should take priority. It may be beautiful but may not be for you. You should opt for comfort first. A bra should feel like a second skin.
  • Not every bra will flatter your body. Know your body. When you fit, check if it is going to work for you.
  • You should wear a figure-hugging T-shirt when you go for a fitting. The bra specialist can measure accurately and see how the shape sits on you.

“Your breasts are never the problem – no matter the size. The problem is generally the size. Once you wear a correctly fitting bra – all the potential bra problems you may be experiencing can be eliminated”, she says and proceeds to share the following steps to better bra fitting;

Four Steps To Better Bra Fitting

1.  Get accurate measuring. This is only the starting point of getting the perfect fit. A professional bra specialist can assist with this. The professional will calculate the under-bust and fuller bust measurements to determine your cup and upper waist size. Just because the tape measure says you’re an F cup, it doesn’t mean any bra design-sized F will fit. Designs and cup sizes can differ based on the manufacturer, style, and design of the bra.

2.  Find your band size. Think of band size like a seesaw. If the band is placed too high up, the bra will ride low and if the bra rides high, the band will settle too low. This is not what you want. A good balance is when you go through the day without feeling any bra discomfort. The back part, where the hooks are, should always be low.

3. Check the straps. Support does not come from straps. Bra straps should not be too tight. You can check this by inserting two fingers to check if your straps are in place. You can also check by lifting your arms. If the bra lifts, that’s an indication that the fit is not right. Pulling straps too tight to compensate for the incorrect size is not a solution.

4. Make sure the underwire cup seam is in place. How the wires cross is crucial to determine comfort. If there is spillage, on top of the cup, then this means your bra is not the right fit.

Common Bra Struggles Women Have:

A few ladies shared their bra struggles:

Bra Struggle #1: “I was a 34F, which was impossible to find. I have since lost 10kgs since January and down to a 34DD…so I just wear sports bras because…lockdown life” 

Lotti’s advice: I would suggest that she gets a professional fitting. Losing weight also contributes to size. I always encourage women on a weight loss programme to go for resizing and measurement once they’ve reached their desired weight. Not only would you have lost the cup size but band size as well. When the restrictions relax a little, she should trade that sports bra for a bra that will make her feel sexy, confident, and of course, comfortable.

Bra Struggle #2: “A 34 Double D is difficult to find just anywhere unless you go to expensive retail stores. You also can’t find pretty bras for DD’s. They always look like extra material the factory put together and added a wire that digs into you. My struggles continue” 

Lotti’s advice: Unfortunately. This is a struggle for women who have a bigger bust. Most women find it difficult to find the correct bigger cup size at retail stores, mainly because most of these stores do not cater to bigger-breasted women. The biggest cup size a retailer may have is a DD. You can only get up to a G cup (if you’re lucky). So I would suggest that you change where you shop. Small boutique stores that specialise in stocking up a bigger cup size range will not only cater for the size you are looking for but a good variety of sexy designs and styles. A boutique like ours caters from a D size to an O size

With regards to price, this is still a struggle for the industry itself. There aren’t a lot of South African manufactures that design for bigger cup sizes, hence you won’t find many options in retail stores themselves. Secondly, the process of designing a good quality bra requires high skill to manufacture. Most bras are imported. For example, in our store, we import our bras from Europe – they are handmade and the cost of getting them to the country is quite high and that’s why you’ll find that it gets quite pricey.

Bra Struggle #3: “I just find that women can never really seem to get the measurements done accurately”

Yes, we do not know how to measure but with access to information nowadays, we can learn this. However, I do emphasise that you get measured by a professional. There are a lot of myths out there, for example, the myth that your waist size equals your bra size or that your fist size is the same as your cup size. What is important when it comes to getting measured, is to take those two measurements we mentioned earlier, (under and fuller bust)- to determine your size. If you want to try measuring at home, you need to get someone to help you – you cannot measure yourself.

Bra Struggle #4: I have a big bust. I’m a size 36E (sometimes F), the last time I checked – but I find that bras that are my style of choice (that don’t look like bulletproof vests), are just really expensive.

Lotti’s Advice: A bra is a working garment. You wear it quite often. You get for what you pay for. If you pay less, you get a lower quality. Think about how long it will last. Cheaper bras don’t generally last too long. A good bra is an investment.

A wise woman once said, wear fabulous underwear, even if you are the only person who is going to see it.

  • BUSTIBRAS caters for women with a cup size ranging from D – O.

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