By Marcy Montgomery Jones
Statistics say that your breasts will likely change in size and shape six times over the course of your lifetime. Since your bra size will change six times too, it’s important to be familiar with the 14 signs that indicate that the bra you’re wearing may not fit you correctly. After all, you want to make sure that you don’t suffer any ill effects from a poorly-fitting one. But what causes those changes in size and shape? Let’s looks at five of the more common reasons.
1. Weight loss or gain can occur at any point in a woman’s life and, depending upon how the body stores fat, there may be resulting fluctuations in bra band and/or cup size. If you notice that you’ve lost or gained weight in your breasts, purchasing a shaping camisole can be a great option to help you adapt to the change. Shaping camis without underwires are typically sized according to the bust’s band measurement (34, 36, 38, etc.). So even when your cup size grows or shrinks, the garment will continue to fit you comfortably.
2. Breast augmentation and reduction surgeries, along with mastectomies, also obviously alter cup size and breast shape. Undergoing changes as large as these makes it difficult to salvage any upper-body shapers you may already own since these are sized according to both band and cup measurements. For such situations, a great option to turn to is the newest silhouette in shapewear – the torsette. The torsette is designed with a deep, U-shaped front that allows the bust to be supported and shaped by a separate bra. It will allow you to wear a new bra that perfectly fits your post-surgery body, and still gain the torso shaping you used to receive from your old bodybriefer or underwire cami.
3. Increases or decreases in exercise produce growth or atrophy, respectively, in various muscle groups. The size of the lats, located on the back, and that of the pecs, located underneath the breasts, directly contribute to band size and breast shape. Therefore, changes to your exercise regimen involving these groups can change your bra and upper-body-shapewear sizing needs.
4. The use of birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy, can cause water retention resulting in a change in breast size. As this type of size change can be somewhat variable, a good intimates-adaptation strategy is to look for bra and shapewear cups designed to provide a lot of adjustability. Such flexibility is available with seamed and soft cups; molded cups are rigid and won’t be able to adjust. The good news is that new bras are available with cup seams fastened using adhesives, not stitches, and these provide great support, adjustability, and very smooth appearances.
5. Of course pregnancy and nursing drastically change a woman’s breast size. But keep in mind that, in addition to the obvious changes in cup size, changes in band size can occur as well if a large amount of weight is gained concurrently.
Regardless of one’s success in maintaining a constant weight or exercise regimen, or one’s medical needs, basic biological transitions, connected to puberty, childbirth, and menopause, invariably influence the size and shape of the breasts. So you can be sure that you’ll need to change the size of your favorite bras, bodybriefers, and underwire shaping camis at least a few times during your life. Remember that, when the need arises, you can always get help measuring your bustline, and evaluating your bra or bodybriefer sizing needs, by visiting your favorite lingerie shop or intimates section of your local, full-service department store. Most have trained fit specialists who will help you find the styles and sizes that will accommodate your particular needs.