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  • Judy Diebolt

Telling Victoria’s Secret: The Benefits of a Bra, When it’s Properly Fitted

Ask almost any woman about the least comfortable item in her wardrobe and chances are good she will say it’s her bra.

Women complain that their bra straps dig into their shoulders or slip down. Underwires poke sensitive chest tissue. Elastic closures squeeze chests and bands ride up while the cups gape or overflow. Bad-fitting bras can lead to shoulder pain, poor posture and chronic discomfort, especially for women with large breasts.

If any of those complaints seem familiar, experts say, it’s because you’re wearing either the wrong size or the wrong style bra.

Medical experts say a woman could wear up to six different bra sizes in her lifetime due to such factors as pregnancy, weight gains or losses, and aging. So, what’s a girl to do? Get a professional bra fitting from a trained saleswoman, experts say.

Akeena Holmes and Tykelia Ryan, saleswomen and trained fitters at Busted Bra Shop in Detroit’s Riverbend Plaza, talk about the importance of a professional fitting with the zeal of evangelists.

“A professional fitting helps build confidence, self-esteem and a good silhouette,” said Holmes. “We’re more comfortable,” she adds, when wearing the correct size and style.

A fitting session at Busted goes like this: The customer goes into the dressing room and takes her shirt off and raises her arms. The fitter takes a measurement under the breasts and then has the customer hold the tape measure across the fullest part of the breast. The under the breast measurement is subtracted from the fullest measurement and that becomes the guide to the correct size. The fitter then brings in a selection of bras for the customer to try on. In picking the right bra, they employ a technique called “anchor and sweep.” Once in the bra, the customer holds the band in place with one hand (the anchor) and pulls the breast tissue forward and up with the other hand (the sweep), placing it properly into the cup.

There are common misconceptions about how a bra should fit and feel. “Sometimes they feel like the bra may fit, and think it’s a push-up bra, but actually it’s too small,” Ryan said.

She noted that most women have one breast that is bigger than the other, so they fit for the larger breast. “They’re twins but not identical,” she said.

Busted, which also has locations in Midtown Detroit, Rochester Hills and Ann Arbor, carries sizes ranging from AA to P cups.

Judy Diebolt is a veteran Detroit journalist who was an editor and reporter for The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

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