FINDING the right bra can sometimes be a game of trial and error, but one woman has shared her tricks to make sure it's the right fit.
Lingerie expert Madison Alexander says an ill-fitting bra once put her in a neck brace, so she knows what a big issue this can really be.
Harvard music school graduate turned lingerie model Madison Alexandra is known on her TikTok for her renowned #BraSchool, an online community comprised of educational bra-related content concerning fit, size, and bra shopping advice.
She went viral in 2020 for her instructive and entertaining bra-fitting videos catered toward fuller-busted women.
After struggling to find the right bra fit for her growing bust, now a US size 26L, she took the opportunity to educate herself on companies that cater to the fuller-busted community and now shares her knowledge with others.
Alexandra exclusively shares with The U.S. Sun the common mistakes most women make when buying bras, easy ways to tell a bra doesn't fit correctly, and important features to look for when purchasing the right bra for your body shape.
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As a bra expert, Alexandra has experienced a great bit of trial and error in the bra fitting process and has seen it firsthand in others.
When trying repeatedly for the right fit, many women make the same mistakes when purchasing bras.
One of the first she mentions is the lack of education on the different size ranges available to fuller-busted women and the blind faith in what a specific brand says.
"Women don’t stand up for themselves when fitting because they settle for uncomfortable based on what a brand says," she said.
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"There is so much diversity. Why are we limited to one size range?" she added.
She claims that oftentimes, women are distracted by what the letter means, like D or DD, and instead should know what their cup proportions are so they can find the bra that supports and lifts their bust.
In a previous interview with The U.S. Sun, Alexandra clarified the confusion and reinforced the importance of understanding the band and cup proportion-based measurements.
Cup size is determined by the difference between your bust and the underbust, also known as the band, so it is a proportion.
Alexandra is a 26L in the US sizing herself, and what many people don't understand is that the 26 indicates her small band size, and the L is based on cup proportions.
Someone else could be proportionally the same but visually the other woman may look like she has bigger breasts due to her larger band size.
Another issue that results in women buying a bra with the wrong fit is the lack of appropriate representation when viewing ads or commercials.
"How can we really move forward towards inclusivity if we don’t understand the foundational nature of how the band should fit?" she asked rhetorically.
According to the bra expert, many of the "inclusive" visuals seen in campaigns for most bra companies seem to have major bra fitting issues on the models themselves.
"Brands don’t know how a bra should fit…period," she stated.
"I had a bra once that put me in a neck brace. My shoulders were carrying weight and I had to get laser therapy, so this is a huge issue,” Alexander said.
The digital creator goes into further detail about the proper way to try on a bra in a TikTok video.
Alexandra also shared some of her favorite fitting resources from the lingerie companies Bravissimo and Curvy Kate that are free of charge and easy to schedule.
She recommends going for regular bra fittings every four months.
When asked about important features of any bra women should pay attention to when purchasing, Alexandra had a multitude of wise words to say.
A lot of bra companies market how the back should be smooth, but the lingerie guru said that the back of the bra probably will dig into the skin when it's the right band size fit.
On the other hand, if it feels too tight and there's bust spillage, she advised going up one band and one cup.
The smooth back thing with the band throws many people off, so they think they have to get shapewear to go with a bra and reduce bulges in the back area and along the sides of the body for a streamlined silhouette.
"Rolls are not a bad thing!” she exclaimed.
Alexandra said that there are clear distinguishing factors that let a fuller-busted woman know if a bra has the right fit for a woman’s unique body shape.
The bra should be worn on the furthest hook first and then moved in every two months.
If it's worn on the tightest hook first, it reduces the longevity of the bra.
Foundationally, red marks are fine but no bleeding or chafing, thus why it is important to fit the band first.
In terms of the cup, it needs to sit immediately behind the breast tissue and give a clear distinction between the boob and the back, so it should not be sitting on the breast tissue.
The straps should be able to lift about two fingers from off the shoulders.
Above all, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable at all, and especially not cause back or neck pain problems.
There are also easy ways to tell that a bra definitely doesn't fit right.
Wires should not dig into armpits, and the cup wire is supposed to sit in the fold on the very edge of your breast without spillage.
If it's not sitting there, the cup size might be too big, even if it seems like the rest of the bra fits.
Alexandra goes into further detail about how to spot bra underwire issues in another TikTok video.
If straps are digging into the shoulders, it usually means the band is big or the woman is wearing a cup size that is too big, especially if it has to be adjusted all the way to the front.
Another dead giveaway is cup gaping, which could mean that the band size needs to be adjusted down due to it being too wide.
"Gaping in the cup is a tell-tale sign. It comes from the band being too big," she stated.
That is why it is always important to address the fit of the band first, then the cup fit, and adjust the straps once both steps have been completed.
SIGNS YOUR BRA ISN’T THE RIGHT SIZE
- The wire doesn't sit in the fold or cause spillage
- Cup gaping is a tell-tale sign
- Bra straps painfully dig into shoulders
- There is pain after short-term use
The wireless Sculpt Bra, $47, by Bravado Designs has a band size that ranges from 32 to 46 and Cup proportions that range from a B to a J in US sizing and a B to a GG in UK sizing.
In addition, the Fusion Side Support Bra, $59, by Fantasie,has a band size range of 30 to 40 and a cup range of DD to HH in UK sizing and D to L in US sizing.
Some of the bra expert's favorite styles can be found on popular lingerie retailer websites, from companies like Bare Necessities, Breakout Bras and Bravado.
In conclusion, Alexandra emphasized that it is important to remind people to be patient even when shopping for popular styles because not every bra works for every breast.
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