Remy Delima says shopping for a bra has always been a difficult process.
In fact, she dreads it.
“It’s always been frustrating trying on bras, never knowing your size and keeping up with your body’s constant changes,” she told Global News. “It always feels like a purchase I need to make versus one that I want to be making.”
The 27-year-old senior account manager, who is based in Toronto, adds that she never properly learned how to find a fitted bra.
“It changes from brand to brand so it’s hard to keep up,” she said. “Bras can provide support not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.”
Delima isn’t alone. Experts argue hundreds of Canadians don’t know how to find the right bra, and a majority of women — some say even eight out of 10 — are currently wearing the wrong bra size.
Sophie Rozon, bra expert and product strategy and merchandising manager at La Vie en Rose, says many people won’t even reach out for help.
“The first step would be to ask for help from the salespeople in-store. They are there to guide you,” she told Global News, adding that finding a bra is like finding a good pair of jeans: not only do you have to try it on, but every store will carry a different size and feel.
“People are shy to get their breasts measured, but getting your measurements is a true experience, and every woman deserves to do it.”
Wearing the wrong size
Sometimes, people may not even know the bra they are wearing is the wrong size. Bras vary across brands from cup sizes to band lengths, and most big-box stores like La Senza or Victoria’s Secret often don’t carry sizes for all breasts.
Rozen said wearing the wrong bra size can lead to general discomfort, and a wrong fit often looks awkward in clothes. Some women even experience pain.
After being measured, Delima finally got a bra that fit.
“It really affects your everyday life. You feel better about the clothes you’re wearing because they fit you better, and it really helps with your posture, which all contribute to feeling confident overall,” she said.
Wearing the right size can also be an accessibility issue. Bras are often expensive to begin with, and they get more expensive the larger they get.
You have to shop around
Michelle Cinapri, founder of Lift: The Bra Project, says some people end up buying bras for style versus fit. Her project collects bras locally in Toronto and donates them to shelters.
“When I was young, I danced between squeezing into a bra that looks amazing but doesn’t quite fit and having a great-fitting bra that is plain to look at,” she said. “But bras have really become exceptionally gorgeous at every size.”
Bras have also changed tremendously — you can buy everything from no-wire bras to full lace ones to bras made for breasts bigger than an E or F.
“Being able to recognize what does and doesn’t work for my body (and boob) shape has been a game-changer,” she said. “It avoids all the fitting room drama I feel when my body doesn’t look the way I want it to.”
And with the experience of shopping around, Cinapri knows which stores to avoid.
“I walk right by the stores that I know won’t have size and style selection I need for my body and go to local, awesome shops that really cater to all boob shapes and sizes.”
Tips to remember
Rozen says there is no one “right” way to find the right bra — this will all depend on your body shape, breast size and budget.
“The perfect bra can be different for everyone, and it depends on the body, the preferences and even on the clothes,” she said. “However, one thing is sure: we think everyone needs a good lightly lined bra.”
She adds that wearing the right bra starts with getting rid of ones that no longer work.
In addition, never put a bra in the dryer, don’t fold them and don’t flip the cups inside out.
“Even if it seems the same, bust size changes over time. It is recommended to take your measurement on a regular basis.”