How NOT to be one of the 80% of woman wearing the wrong bra

04 November 2016 - 12:47 By Staff reporter

"It’s estimated that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra," states the Breast Health Foundation's website.

Besides causing lumps and bumps that mean your outfit doesn't look as good as it should, wearing the wrong bra can have repercussions for your health.

According to the Breast Health Foundation this may include neck, shoulder and back pain and breathing problems.

To help you get the perfect fit, Penny and Dimitri Parolis, owners of Inner Secrets Lingerie in Cape Town, share five tips that'll help you determine your correct bra size.


For an accurate measurement, it is crucial that you have a flesh to rib cage measurement. To do this correctly, bend over slightly and locate where your breasts naturally fall away from your chest wall. Snugly wrap the tape measure around this part of your chest. This is your rib cage measurement, which will correlate to your band size.

If you measured an odd number we suggest you round up to an even number ie: 31 = 32.



Put on your best-fitting, most supportive bra. Stand with your elbows slightly out and wrap the tape measure across the fullest part of your breasts. This is your bust measurement.

Subtract your rib cage measurement from your bust measurement. The difference between the two measurements determines your cup size.



Always start with the back band on the loosest hook. You can tighten it in the months that follow after your bra has been subjected to wash and wear. 

If you can pull it away from your back and the back band sits in an upturned “U”, it’s too big. It needs to be firm to give your breasts uplifting support!


Tighten your straps so that two fingers fit comfortably underneath. Only 20% of the support should come from the straps.  Make sure you’re not holding the weight of the world on your shoulders — the back band needs to do most of the work.

If you’re left with red marks from your straps at the end of the day, you need more support from the back band. Give your shoulders a break and try a smaller back size.


When trying on a bra remember to lift any breast tissue out and up from the underwire to make sure everything is in the right place. Then check that from your underarm, all the way around and in between your breasts, the underwire is sitting flat.  If you’re breasts are escaping from the sides, or top of your cups and your breasts are pushing the wires out it could mean the cup is too small.

It's always advisable to visit a trained corsetiere who can assist with measurement, fitting and advice on the correct bra style to suit your bust.