How well do you know your breasts?

Wednesday March 18 2020

As bras age and shape themselves around your breasts, the tightness of the band will tell you it is time to move to the next hook, then the last one. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


How friendly is the relationship between you and your bra? A love-hate one? By now, it is a much-known fact that 60 to 80 per cent of women worldwide walk around wearing the wrong bra.

This confusion starts in the stores. When you walk in with your usual day-to-day lived-in bra, your measurements will be taken while you are already wearing an ill-fitted bra. You will go home with yet another ill-fitting bra.

You must never hand yourself to someone you think knows your body better than you do. Here is what you need to know before buying a bra.

The best way to measure your bra size is when you are topless. Get a tape measure, lock yourself in a room, and strip down.

Start by measuring the narrowest part of your chest, the area just underneath your breasts and where your rib cage starts. Write that number down. It is the size of the band — the part of the bra that goes around your back.

Then measure the fullest part of your breasts, exactly where your nipples are. Write that number down.

Deduct number two from number one. The difference is your cup size ranging alphabetically from AA, A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, E, F, G, H or the latest addition to the bra family, I. Js can be found in the US. Bras get bigger as you go down the alphabet.

Let’s say your breasts are 34, your band 32. The difference is two, which is cup size A and so on.

Kenyan measurements will likely come in inches. Centimetres are a headache considering our metric system.

When measuring your cup size, lean forward. Take note of that measurement. It scoops all the breast tissue inside the cup you are about to buy.

Why would you do this? Simple. . To confirm your true cup and band sizes.


If you do not do this, the bra will divide your bust, making it look like you have two sets of breasts. Keep in mind you are measuring your natural breasts
Listen carefully. It is not the cup size or the shoulder straps that hold up your girls.

That is entirely the work of the band. Shoulder straps must lie flat against your back, adjusted evenly and taut.

Use your knowledge of numbers one through three when shopping.

If your number is odd, go up an inch. Thirty five becomes 36 because bras do not come in odd numbers.

If you can reach your back, fit two fingers. If three fit, and you can pull at the band away from your body, the band is too big. Instead, get a smaller band.

If you have a bra whose straps have been leveraged to the hilt, rides up your back and is finally collapsing into the innermost hook, get rid of it. Try all your other bras against these measurements.


Chances are most of your bras are ill-fitting at this point. Buy new ones.

Your bra sizes will be different depending on which country they come from — United Kingdom, Turkey, China or the US.

If you look down your bra and can see through to a sliver of your belly, or you lift your hands and things move, or your cups gape, you are in trouble. A bra needs to fit inside that dip between your breasts called a gore, hugging both girls closer and cosier but not tighter.

Anytime you fit a bra when shopping, always use the first hook — the one outside.

As bras age and shape themselves around your breasts, the tightness of the band will tell you it is time to move to the next hook, then the last one.
The bra is a goner by hook number three.

Don’t pull up your straps till it pinches your shoulders, leaving ridges. The band is supposed to lie flat against your rib cage and upper back, parallel to each other symmetrically. A high-riding band is proof that your bra has lost its support and that you are focusing more on the cup size and how the front looks and fits without examining the entire bra.

Think of a bra like an outfit that has three critical parts — the cup that must not run over, the strap which is always adjustable, and the band that holds it all together.

The internet is filled with bra hacks to stretch their life. Don’t bother revamping a bra. By then, you need either a budget or a brand new one.
Never fit a bra over your outfit. It will not fit at the gore.


If you get home and the second thing you do after kicking off your shoes is take off the bra with a sigh of relief, you have outgrown an ill-fitting bra. Buy new bras.

You will know you have found the right bra when it feels comfortable. Jump up and down and test just how supported you are. Your breasts should not bounce. Maybe a little jiggle at the top, but not individual or collective bouncing.

Should a store attendant ever ask for the size of bra and you hem and haw, you are most certainly wearing the wrong bra
Once you measure yourself, shop with your eyes wide open.

There are as many as 30 different kinds of bras. To get the right one either via Amazon or Jumia, you need a universal size chat. Size is not a tattoo on your torso. Different kinds of bras will fit your body differently be it a push-up, strapless, bandeau, demicup, sports bra, the minimiser, padded, a T-shirt bra, multiway, plunge, wireless, maternity, seamless, silicone, stick on; it is quite the list.

A well-fitting bra has the audacity of shapewear. It divides the waist from the bust, conquers the twins evenly, makes you look younger, slimmer and even creates the illusion of good posture.

There is a lot more to say on bras seeing how fascinating they generally are. Think of this as a beginner cum intermediate class. Go try these out and let me know how the experience was.