A bra must fit properly to ensure comfort. If your bra does not fit correctly, it can result in breast, back, shoulder, and neck pain. Some women believe back pain is just a symptom of wearing a bra, but that is inaccurate. You should feel comfort and support with a correctly measured and fitted bra. You can take a bra fit quiz to ensure you are measuring yourself correctly. Also, understand the top signs that a bra is ill-fitting.

Woman sorting clothing

1. Underwire Pressing Into the Side of Breasts

The underwire of a bra is supposed to contribute to the overall support and comfort of the bra. The wire helps ensure the correct contour of the cups to ensure a more natural fit. Also, the design of most underwire bras brings the weight closer to the front of the chest and lifts the breast slightly upward.

While the underwire is a structural element of the bra, it should not press against your breasts. If the wire does press into the skin, it can cause pain, bruising, and other issues.

2. Gap Between Breasts and Cup

Bras should fit somewhat snuggly — not tight and not too loose. For a bra to give adequate support, the cups must do as the name implies and cup the breasts. You should not see a gap between the cup and the breasts.

To ensure a bra fits correctly, you should find bras you can try before you buy. The undergarment is too important to simply buy without getting an appropriate fit.

3. Chaffing Under Strap

While a bra should fit well, it should never feel too tight or uncomfortable. A bra that fits too tightly can cause chaffing under the bands. Chaffing can occur because of too much movement under the band, causing friction between the skin and the band, or from limited breathability.

If you are not used to sizing your bra, you may want to talk to a professional or a close friend or family member. Buying bras that do not fit correctly can cause several problems beyond chaffing.

4. Fabric Between Cups Not Sitting Flush

The fabric between the cups of a bra — the gore — should always sit flush against the skin. If it does not sit flush, the bra is likely too small. That said, not all bras require this flush section. Sports bras and some crop-style bras may not have a gore or similar section that rests against the skin at the sternum.

Still, before you purchase a bra, it is necessary to understand fit and sizing. Check out a bra size chart for more information.

5. Incorrect Underband Fit

The underband of a bra should sit flush with the skin. If you have a bra where the underband is loose and not seated against the skin, it is likely too big. Consider sizing down for a better fit.

When a bra fits well, it is comfortable and supportive. If you are unfamiliar with bra fittings and sizing, talk to a professional to learn more.