51 Common Bra Questions and Answers

If you have any burning bra questions, you’ve come to the right place! Learn about what bras you should buy, how to wash your bras, how to fix bra fit problems, and more. We wish you the best of luck on your bra journey!

1. How many bras should I own?

We recommend you own at least three bras with one in black and one in nude that matches your skin tone.  

A bra lasts around 1-2 years if you take good care of it. Have at least a few bras on rotation and give your bras a day’s rest in between every two wears. 

how many bras should I own

2. What bras should I buy?

Buy bras that suit your needs and size. Ultimately, buy comfortable bras that support you.

3. Do I have to wear a bra?

You don’t have to. Do what works for you and your body. That said, if you have a larger bust, you may find that a comfortable, supportive bra makes life easier. It can relieve you of the weight of your breasts. 

4. Do I have to wear an underwire bra?

You don’t have to! Wear what works for you and your breasts. Just keep in mind that beyond a certain size range, underwire bras will be the most lifting. 

5. What bra shapes are there?

There are many types of bra shapes out there, such as balconette, demi, and plunge. Different bra shapes and styles work for different breast shapes and sizes. We talk more about different bra shapes here 

6. What kinds of bra cups are there?

Bra cups can either be molded fabric, molded foam, unpadded seamed cups, or padded seamed cups. Learn more here. 

Pro tip: seamed cup bras are more forgiving with different breast shapes compared to molded cup bras.

Types of bra cups

7. Which bra is most comfortable for daily use?

It depends on what feels most comfortable and supportive for you. If you like a certain bra enough to want to make it your everyday bra, it’s fine to do so (provided that you give it a day’s rest in between every two wears and wash it every few wears). You can have different bras of the same type on rotation. 

If you want smooth bras that you can easily wear under all types of shirts, buy T-shirt friendly bras 

If you want nipple coverage, seek out padded bras.  

8. Why do bras have wires?

Underwire exists to support (a combination of lift and stabilizing) your breasts. Underwire is great for lifting and bra cups do most of the work for stabilizing. 

9. Why do bras have padding?

Not all bras have padding, but some people prefer padding to add volume to their breasts or get nipple coverage. 

If you are too projected to wear molded cups, but still want nipple coverage, seamed padded cups are a great option. The fibers sandwiched between the fabrics are usually polyester, which is good at keeping its shape. All Understance bras in this category are made with cotton-lined cups. Here are our padded seamed cup bras. 

10. Why do bras hurt?

Your bra should not be painful to wear. If your bra hurts or feels uncomfortable, there could be many reasons why. Figure out what’s wrong using our troubleshooting guide or chat with one of our fitting specialists. 

11. What is a sister size in a bra?

A bra size is made up of two components: your band size (how wide your ribcage is) and cup size (how much volume your breasts have). When two bras are sister sizes, this means that they have the same amount of volume in the cups, but different band lengths. For example, 36C and 38B are sister sizes with 36C having a shorter band than 38B. Learn more here. 

12. What colour bra should I wear under a white shirt?

What colour bra should I wear under a white shirt

Choose a skin tone-coloured bra. If you don’t have one or when in doubt, pick a warmertoned instead of a coolertoned bra. It should be more red than yellow or blue. 

13. Should my bra’s support come from the straps?

No! Most of a bra’s support should come from its band. The straps simply keep things in place. 

14. What hook do I wear my bra on?

For the shoulder straps to be at the best position, use the center or outside hooks. As the bra stretches out over time, move inwards.

15. Do bras stretch out?

Yes, a bra stretches out over time and can last around 1 to 2 years if you give your bra rest every few wears. Try not to wear the same one every day as that will make the elastic die faster. Have different bras on rotation. 

16. Do bras cause breast cancer?

No, bras do not cause breast cancer. 

17. What are “top full”/“shallow on bottom" breasts?

Top full or shallow on bottom breasts have most of their breast tissue above the nipple. 

18. What are “bottom full”/“shallow on top" breasts?

Bottom full or shallow on top breasts have most of their breast tissue below the nipple. 

19. Do bras help with sagging or cause sagging?

Bras do not prevent or cause sagging, but wearing a bra can help lift and support non-self-supporting breasts. 

20. What bra is best for heavy and sagging breasts?

An underwire bra is best at providing lift and support to non-self-supporting breasts.

21. What is a scoop and swoop?

Every time you put on a bra, do the scoop and swoop: bend forward and scoop all your breast tissue into the cups. Scoop from your armpits, your back, and from under the bra band. This helps make sure all your breast tissue is in the cups.

Watch a video demonstration below.

22. Do bralettes work as bras?

A bralette can work as a bra, but it’s important to note that it wouldn’t provide the same lift or support as a traditional bra. 

23. What type of bra gives the most support?

The most supportive bra for someone may not be the most supportive bra for you. It all depends on what you want and need out of your bra. To find the most supportive fit, familiarize yourself with your breast shape and see which styles suit your shape best. You can also ask one of our fit specialists. 

In general, underwire bras offer more support than wireless bras. The underwire gives the bra more strength and structure to hold up your breasts. At Understance, we use comfortable FlexWire that is softer and more bendy compared to traditional underwire. You can move freely and still feel supported. Here are our FlexWire bras. 

24. How often should you go bra shopping?

Depending on how well you take care of your bras, you may need to go bra shopping every 6-12 months. 

A bra lasts around 1-2 years. Ideally, you should not be wearing the same one every day and you should be hand washing, air drying, and storing your bras in a cool, dry place.  

We recommend remeasuring every 6 months. 

25. How long should my bras last?

A bra should last around 1 to 2 years if you take good care of it: not wearing it every day (have different bras on rotation), hand washing and air drying it, and storing it in a cool, dry place.  

26. How can I make my bra last longer?

Check out these tips to extend the life of your bra. 

You could also buy a band size smaller and attach a bra extender. That way, you get 6 hooks instead of 3 and you can wear your bra for longer as the band stretches out over time. 

27. Is it okay to wear the same bra every day?

No, you shouldn’t wear the same bra every day. If you don’t give the bra time to rest, it will wear out faster. We recommend giving your bra a day’s rest between every two wears and having different bras on rotation. You should also be washing your bras every 23 wears. 

28. How many times can I wear a bra before washing it?

You can wear your bra 2-3 times before washing it. 

29. How do I wash my bra?

How do I wash my bra

Hand wash and line dry for longest bra life. If you machine wash, hook the bras, wash on delicate, and dry on low heat. Use a lingerie bag to protect underwires. 

30. Should bras be washed before wearing?

Treat your new bras as you would any new clothes. When you first buy them, they come from manufacturing, so to stay hygienic, wash them before you wear them. Hand washing and air drying your bras will help them last longer. 

31. Can you wash bras in the washing machine?

Hand washing and air drying your bra will make it last the longest. But if you don’t have time for that, you can machine wash on a delicate cycle and tumble dry on low heat. Make sure to hook the bra to avoid snagging, especially if it’s a lace bra, and put it in a lingerie bag to protect the underwire. 

32. Can I put my bra in the dryer?

It’s best to air dry your bra, but if you must put it in the dryer, use low heat. Heat kills elastane (sometimes called spandex or Lycra), the component that makes fabric stretchy. 

33. How should I store my bras?

Keep your bras in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight. Molded cup bras (made from one piece of molded foam with no seams on the cups) can crease and lose their shape if they are crushed. You can simply prop up the cups by putting socks or scarves under them. For underwire bras, make sure the underwire is not twisted or bent. 

34. What bra size do I need?

Use our Size Calculator to find your bra size. It’ll ask you for your measurements, breast fullness, and fit preference. 

35. How do I check if my bra fits?

Read our fit guide and follow the instructions. 

How do I check if my bra fits

36. Is it bad to wear the wrong bra size?

The wrong bra size can be the reason for bra discomfort.  

If you need help finding your correct size, use our Size Calculator. 

37. Can wearing a tight bra cause problems?

A bra that’s tight and constricts your organs may feel suffocating and restrictive. If your bra is tight, but feels comfortable to you, then it’s fine to continue wearing it. 

If you deal with fluid build-up in your lungs or sensory issues, a tight bra may not work for you. 

38. Why does my bra band ride up my back?

Your bra band is probably too loose. Fix the issue by wearing your “Firm Fit” size from our Size Calculator. If that doesn’t work, try a smaller band and larger cup.

Your bra band should be parallel to the ground (like shown in the photo here).

Why does my bra band ride up my back

39. How tight should my shoulder straps be?

Your bra straps should be tight enough that they do not slip off your shoulders. When you bend to the side, they should stay put, but not cut into your armpit or dig into your shoulders either. 

A bra should last around 1 to 2 years if you take good care of it: not wearing it every day (have different bras on rotation), hand washing and air drying it, and storing it in a cool, dry place.  

40. Why are my bra straps so tight?

If your straps feel too tight no matter how much you loosen them, that means the straps are doing most of the support work, which shouldn’t be the case! Most of the support should come from your band. Try a bra with a more supportive band (wider band or smaller band size). 

41. My bra band is too big. What should I do?

We recommend remeasuring to get the right band size.  

If you don’t want to get a new bra at all, you can use a Rixie clip to make your bra band smaller. 

42. Why does my bra not fit me?

There could be many reasons as to why your bra doesn’t properly fit. Our troubleshooting guide explains 12 common bra-blems related to the underwire, cups, band, and straps, and offers solutions. 

43. Are all underwire bras painful?

When wearing the right size and shape for you, underwire shouldn’t be painful.  

If you find that traditional underwire is too rigid, try Understance’s FlexWire instead. Our FlexWire is bendy and soft, moving with your body and not against it. Here are our comfortable FlexWire bras. 

Are all underwire bras painful?

44. Why does my bra underwire hurt?

There could be many reasons why your underwire hurts, from it being too high in the center, coming too high up on the sides, to sitting on your breast tissue. Consult our troubleshooting guide. If the issue persists, chat with one of our fit specialists. 

45. Is my underwire supposed to sit on my breast tissue?

No! That’s very painful. Your underwire is supposed to sit on your roots, where your breasts are attached to the rest of your body. To find your roots, lift your breasts with your hands and look for the curved line at the base of your breasts. 

46. Why does my underwire dig into my back?

If the bra otherwise fits well, but the underwire hurts because it’s reaching all the way to your back, the underwire is too wide. Switch to a bra with a narrow underwire. Check out our selection of bras with narrow to regular underwires.   

47. Why does my underwire dig into my armpit?

If the bra otherwise fits well, but the underwire pokes your armpit, the underwire is too tall on the sides. This tends to happen to people under 5’2 or people with shorter torsos. Switching to a bra with a wire that comes up shorter on the sides will fix the problem. Check out our bras with shorter underwires.   

48. Why am I spilling out of my bra?

If you’re overflowing from the top of your bra cups, the cups may be too small. Opt for a larger cup size. 

Perhaps you have full-on-top breasts (which means that when you lift your breasts up with your hands, most of the breast tissue is above the nipple). In that case, get a bra that’s FOT-friendly. 

49. How do I fix gapping in my bra?

Tighten your shoulder straps and do the scoop and swoop. If that doesn’t fix the issue, then the cups are either too tall or big for you. If they’re too tall, try a balconette or demi bra. If they’re too big, go one cup size down.  

50. Should bras leave marks?

If your bra leaves some marks, but you feel comfortable wearing it, that is okay. Your comfort should be the number one priority. However, any excessive irritation is a sign that you need a different bra. 

If your bra feels uncomfortable and you’re not sure why, chat with one of our fit specialists. 

51. I don’t know what’s wrong with my bra. What do I do?

Check out our troubleshooting guide or book a virtual fitting for free. 

Still confused about something bra-related? Drop a question down below! 

7 thoughts on “51 Common Bra Questions and Answers”

  1. I love your bras however no matter what I do – change sizes, use the fit calculator, go to a smaller band/larger cup, or smaller cup/larger band or change bra styles, the bra straps still slide off my shoulders. Drives me crazy. How do you resolve that? Its never in the FAQs.

    1. Hi there, we recommend booking a virtual fitting so we can try and figure out what style would suit you best. Alternatively, you can use a J-hook to essentially make the bra racerback.

  2. I don’t use the computer much. Couldn’t find the Chat Box when I entered it in the search.
    I wear your Harper bra in a 32 G. I’m looking at trying the Parker. I have never found a front hook bra that’s works. When I did the comparison (great aid, thank you) everything seemed to line up except for projection. ON the Harper it’s marked medium. On the Parker projection is marked projected. Not sure if this makes a big difference??? Could you please offer me your input if the Parker would fit me well? Thank you.

    1. Hi there, there isn’t a huge difference between two neighboring projection levels. We wouldn’t recommend you skip 2 projection levels (like medium and very projected), but 1 level is usually ok. It might fit a little differently but usually will still work. Hope this helps!

  3. Wow, you ladies at Understance are amazing and think of everything a woman needs in a bra, you are inclusive , welcoming and inspiring in your advertising, customer service and company ideals. Keep rocking!!!!

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