Pregnancy, breast feeding and weight changes – as women our road is a rocky one.
Women's bodies are constantly in flux, which means that even if your favourite bra fitted perfectly when you bought it, it may no longer be the right size.
The three parts of a bra you need to pay attention to are the band, the cups and the straps. All three of these need to fit well to provide correct, balanced support and create the perfect silhouette under your clothes.
If you're using this guide to suss-out whether a new bra fits correctly always try it on with the loosest hook fastening, as bras tend to stretch with wear and you'll need the tighter hook settings as time goes on.
If there is a bra fitting service available at the time of purchase this is always the best option. If left to fend for yourself, look out for these 8 simple warning signs that you're wearing the wrong bra size.
1. Red marks around your chest
Have you got red marks around your chest, where the bra brand is cutting into the skin? This means that you are wearing a band size too small - if the band is already fastened on the loosest hook you need to go up a band size or two.
2. Red marks on your shoulders
An obvious sign that your straps are too tight is when the bra straps are cutting into your shoulders and causing red marks.
If your bra band is too loose, your bra straps will have to work harder to be the source of support, which can cause discomfort as the bra straps feel tight and dig into the skin. If you lose the majority of support when you loosen your straps you need to wear a smaller band size.
3. tight or loose back bands
If you can't pull it the back of the bra band two inches away from the skin the band size is too small. Anything more that 2 inches and your bra band is too loose – it's a fine line ladies.
4. Flesh is spilling over the BRA cups
This means the cup size you're wearing is too small. The wonder bra push-up look was fashionable a while back, but unless you're going for the Jordan look, too much flesh hanging over your bra cups looks unsightly and tacky.
Another obvious sign that the cup size of your bra is too small is when the underwires rest on your breast tissue. The under-wiring of your bra cups should rest flatly against your ribcage and enclose all of the breast tissue comfortably.
5. The underwires poke
If you experience painful prodding under your armpits or soreness around this area then the cup size is too small.
6. Wrinkly cups
If you're wearing a non-moulded bra and the cups are wrinkling or folding at the top this is an obvious sign that the cup size is too large for you.
7. The straps keep falling off
Straps falling off your shoulders is never a good look. You can be sure that your bra straps fit perfectly when you can fit two fingers comfortably underneath the strap and the tops of your shoulders. If you can't fit two fingers comfortably or can easily fit more, this means you need to loosen or tighten your straps accordingly.
8. The band is LOOSE OR BAGGY
The back of the bra band should lie parallel and rest flat and snug against your back. If the band is curved, riding up or is baggy at the back you're wearing the wrong size. As the back band provides most of the support, you may start to suffer from back pain if its not doing its job in supporting the front.