Many of us will have experienced problems with finding the perfect bra and getting a great fit, but the Research Group in Breast Health at The Department of Sport and Science at the University of Portsmouth have been taking a look at the science behind the dilemma.
In 2011, they conducted a study to investigate professional Bra-fitting criteria, in order to create the best fit in an underwired bra sold in the UK. The study suggested that 70-100% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra, and as a correctly fitting bra is essential to good health, they randomly selected 45 women from the universities staff and student population and invited them to a single fitting session. They asked them to arrive wearing one of their everyday bras. Participants also completed a questionnaire, where they reported their age, current bra size and how often they were professionally fitted.
Out of the 45 participants 69% (31) had either never or rarely been professionally fitted, and for 74% (34) of participants their best-fit bra size, (as re-measured) was smaller than that of their original bra.
It was decided that this was because it can be difficult to measure as accuracy is affected by several factors, such as: breathing, posture and personal characteristics. Also, many women are likely to be fitted in a shop wearing their own bra, and regardless of how good the design is, if the size is wrong, then it will not provide effective support. Therefore international standards suggest that when being fitted, measuring should take place over a well-fitted, unpadded and thin bra, with minimal accessories and support, in order to measure the correct size. It is especially important for larger breasted women (D cup or above) to wear a well-fitted and supportive bra, yet they are more likely to have ill-fitting bras due to measurements taken at home, and not by professionals.
Statistics suggest that you should be refitted roughly every six to twelve months, but don’t forget that many factors can affect your bra size such as; weight gain or loss, and your hormones to name just a few. If you’re experiencing any of these problems then it could be time to book a fitting.
If you want to know more about the research team, you can find their latest news here.