Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bosom buddy

A well-fitted, supportive bra is the breast defence against discomfort

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Have you ever worn a bra that just doesn't fit properly?

You probably have -- there's the one that lets your breasts pop out of the sides of the cups, or the one where the underwire sits a little high off your ribcage.

It appears that most women are in the same boat -- in fact,

most women are wearing a bra that doesn't fit right at this very moment

and they aren't even aware of it.

According to a professional brassiere fitter -- yes, there is such a thing --

most women are guilty of purchasing bras with a cup size that's too small

to fit their breasts properly.

Most women, if asked, will say they're a B-cup,

but in fact the average cup size is a D.

This seems really large to me,

which makes me realize

I have a big-boob phobia --

and I'm not alone.

"We have times when women cry and say, 'I can't be that size,' and they get up and leave," says BraBar and Panterie owner Sharon Phillips-Nairn.

In the bra-fitting biz for nearly 10 years, Phillips-Nairn says she's seen her fair share of ill-fitting bras on the women who walk through the doors of her St. Boniface shop.

Not only do the bras look and feel uncomfortable on the women she helps, but they may also be causing some physical damage. Shoulder aches and damaged breast tissue are two of the most common problems associated with ill-fitting bras (and in extreme cases, even nerve damage is possible) and they are really easy to rectify.

When selecting a bra there are three things you should look for.

1. If the bra does not lie flat against your body in the centre between your breasts, it is too small. There should be no gaps or spaces between your flesh and the bra.

2. If the underwire is resting above or on your breast tissue, or sticking out, it's time to get a new bra. A properly fitted underwire bra is supposed to go around the bottom of the breast. If it pulls up and ends up resting on top of the breast you could be causing damage to the tissue, which may end up resulting in cysts.

3. If the band is lower in the front than it is in the back, the bra width is too big for you. The band should rest around your body uniformly. Also, if you are able to pull the band out two inches on either side then it's another tell-tale sign you've got the wrong bra size.

But with all these "technical" things to look for, are we going to end up with a collection of bras that are more functional than fashionable? Phillips-Nairn assures me this is not the case. She says there are many feminine and stylish bras that come in a variety of different styles for all shapes and sizes of breasts.

The key is to try several different bras on to see which fits best. You can't just go into a department store and pick out a brassiere according to a chart on the back of the package; you won't know if it fits correctly until you try it on. You wouldn't buy shoes according to a universal sizing chart, so why would you buy a bra that way?

connietamotofashion@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 4, 2006 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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