Hands On Health

Dr. Maria Coffman, D.O.

Osteopathic Physician
Hands On Health · Columbia, MO

Guidelines for Finding a Better Fit

  1. Add one size up on the bra-band and one cup size down from the recommended bra-fitting guideline.

For example, if a trained bra-fitter measures you as a 38C, try starting with a 40B. This will give the ribs room to breathe while maintaining a similar cup volume.

  1. Add a bra-extender to the back of the bra. These can be found wherever seqing notions are sold for a few dollars.

*White bra-extenders can be tinted to a beige-tan shade by soaking in black coffee (liquid) overnight. Let it dry and rinse.

  1. Look for styles that offer a leotard-style back, like a scoop where the straps curve together to meet instead of being sewn onto the band at right angles.
  2. Avoid the underwire, metal or plastic! Many styles can have the casing snipped and the wire removed while retaining the fit of the bra.
  3. Warner’s style “Back to Smooth” offers all of the above characteristics and can be viewed online as a starting point.
  4. Warner’s offers more styles for those with a slight build. Bali offers several wireless styles for fuller figures.
  5. Elastic and spandex want to be their natural size all day, too. As a rule of thumb, measure your own ribcage with a full breath in the area of the bra-band. Measure the garment you are considering, and compare. Even the super-stretchy pull-over bras can cause a problem due to their “sizing.” A Medium is usually too small for even a 34 inch chest!
  6. Sports Bras – Follow the above rule of thumb. Try to balance the need for restriction versus the need for oxygen in your activity.
  7. Camisoles and tanks often have a shelf-bra built in. The elastic band is usually too small even after sizing up. Snipping the side seams and adding some bias tape or leaving it open will give the ribs their breath! Sometimes removing the elastic from the back half of the garment is needed.

Tips on hosiery and socks:

  1. As noted above, elastic and spandex will try to recoil all day, so be aware of its initial size!
  2. Wear the least hose possible. For example, avoid pantyhose if knee-highs will suffice.
  3. Avoid “control-top,” and snip the waist band vertically if necessary of pantyhose.
  4. Be sure toes have plenty of room to wiggle in hose or socks.
  5. If your socks are leaving a mark or dent in the leg, they are too tight and inhibiting the flow of circulation.