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Five Signs You’re Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

When To Know When It’s Time To Toss A Bad Bra, According to Our Bra Expert

We’ve all heard that most women are wearing the wrong size bra. Well, it’s true.

Especially in post-pandemic life, we are re-evaluating the bras we once grabbed at first glance. You may find it feels or fits differently - perhaps changes in one’s body but perhaps because it is too old and has lost shape or has accidentally shrunk. Both your band and cup can fluctuate with your weight and be affected by things like hormones and exercise.

It’s estimated 80% of women in the US wear the wrong-sized bra; I personally have six different band and cup combinations in my lingerie drawer. Sometimes it’s clear when a bra doesn’t fit – the straps dig in painfully or you get that bulging ‘double boob’ overspill effect, for example. But it’s not always obvious. Below are five signs you might be wearing the wrong bra.

1. Your Neck and Shoulders Ache

Experts agree that bra fit can cause neck and shoulder pain (Source). Some say it’s not related, but scientific journals report that people with large breasts are more likely to wear a bra that doesn’t provide enough support. This may lead to posture problems and a literal pain in your neck!

The way the straps are designed, that criss-cross or racerback style puts more pressure on a woman’s neck and shoulders. Those with larger breasts or a wider shoulder frame may want to avoid this style.

2. The Straps Are Digging Into Your Shoulders

You might think shoulder indentions are par for the course when it comes to wearing a bra, but that's just isn't true. If your shoulders hurt, or you have lines long after taking off your bra, it's a sign you're relying on the straps for support, when you really want to get that from the band.

3. You Are Constantly Readjusting Your Bra

If you pull and tug and readjust your bra throughout the day, our master bra designer Heidi Lehmann says there could be one of three problems going on. "A, the style could be wrong, B, the cups might be too small or too big, or C, the band is too big," she says. A proper bra fitting - virtual, on the app, or in person, will address all three issues.

4. You’re Overflowing the Cups

Do you feel like you have more of your breasts outside of your bra than inside your bra? If you notice your cup runneth over, “try moving up a cup size,” says Lehmann. “Or choose a full-coverage bra that gives more coverage rather than a demi shape.” Both of these solutions will offer more support, less movement, and a smoother look under your clothes.

5. The Back Band is Riding High

It’s usually clear when your bra is riding up your back… and it’s not cute. If your bra strap is squeezing the life out of your back, "you are wearing your straps are too tight," Lehmann says. “Remember, the band is where the actual support comes from, so it's important to choose the right size.” And tighter straps don’t always mean better. If your bra is squeezing your back, you might need to find a more supportive bra, especially one with a thicker band and/or straps.

In all things, a bra should help you, not hinder you. Empower your movement, not restrict it.

Choose bras that give a wide range of motion, in high-quality fabrics and with healthful and thoughtful design for a woman’s body. Get a proper fitting prior to purchase, such as a virtual fitting or use a fit quiz.

Once you’ve found your perfect bra, keep it in great condition remembering a few easy takeaways. To keep it in its best shape and give it its longest life, always wash your bra in a cool wash so that it doesn’t shrink. Also, placing your bra in a bra bag or a pillowcase when washing can help the bra from getting damaged in the wash. And finally, no dryers - ever, ever, ever.