Technical Fit vs. Relaxed Fit

“My bra is technically perfect, but I hate it. Why? What do I do?” 

So, you’ve done your research on how should a bra fit, and finally got a bra that checks all the boxes: the band stays parallel to the floor, the cups fully encapsulate you without gapping, the wire isn’t sitting on any breast tissue, the center gore tacks, and your shoulder straps stay put.  

But the bra is not comfortable to wear. It’s tight, restrictive, and irritating. What next?

Bra fit is more art than science and can be quite tricky to get right. That’s part of the reason finding the perfect bra is so hard.

To help you out, we will be explaining the differences between a technical fit and a relaxed fit, so you can decide which one is right for you.

The bra you end up choosing may not be the one that’s technically perfect for you and that’s okay. 

Technical Fit vs. Relaxed Fit

Think about your shoes: what do you wear when you go ice skating, and when you hang out at home? 

When you get fitted for ice skates, you want them to be tight (maybe even slightly uncomfortably so), or else your feet will shift around while skating, which is not ideal, especially at high speeds. And if you are figure skating, a loose skate is definitely not suitable for jumping and spinning. 

But at home, you want to wear house slippers. They have a relaxed fit and allow your feet to breathe. You should be able to wiggle your toes freely in them.  

With bras, a technical fit is like wearing ice skates. If you have heavy breasts that tend to bounce and cause pain when not lifted and stabilized, or if you have a physical job and you’re on your feet a lot (healthcare, restaurants, etc.), this kind of fit can help hold you in and may work best for you. 

A relaxed fit is like wearing house slippers. Your slippers fit loosely and mostly just offer coverage. They do provide some support, but not enough if you need to do anything physical/high impact, or if you need the shoes to perform. 

A relaxed fit
A technical fit

Technical fit and relaxed fit are not the only two options. They are more like two ends of a spectrum, with some options in between. Going back to the shoe analogy, you have ice skates and house slippers on the two ends, and you have dress shoes, sneakers, and sandals somewhere in the middle. 

Components of Technical vs. Relaxed Fit


In a well-fitting underwire bra, the center gore sits flush against your sternum, separating your breasts. You will know it’s there, but you shouldn’t be reminded of its existence all day. It shouldn’t dig in or cause discomfort either. 

When looking in terms of technical fit and relaxed fit, notice how hard the center gore tacks.

A hard tack is usually from a technical fit and it’s when the center gore fits right against your sternum (it may even leave a red mark at the end of the day). This would be like wearing ice skates. 

If this is something you’re experiencing from your current bra and don’t like it, try a bra that’s less projected or sister size up.  

A soft tack can be from either a technical fit or relaxed fit and it’s when the center gore is barely grazing your sternum. It still tacks, but not as firmly. This would be like wearing sneakers.  

A non-tack is usually from a relaxed fit or a wireless bra (no center gore). It would be like wearing house slippers.  

A non-tack in an underwire bra is highly debated among bra fitters. Some believe that it is a big no, while others believe that if the gore isn’t poking out through the shirt and the bra feels supportive, then it is okay. 


A technical fit typically gives you more separation. Great for those who don’t like skin-on-skin contact and want to keep their breasts completely separated. In an underwire bra, a tacking center gore gives you this kind of separation. 

A relaxed fit typically gives you less separation.  

That doesn’t mean that relaxed fit = uniboob. Our Cate, which is a wireless bra/bralette hybrid has a bridge (center front panel) that keeps breasts separated. The separation just isn’t as high as from a “locked-and-loaded” bra like Anya. 


A technical fit also offers more lift. If your breasts are heavy, you may like this as the lift can relieve you of the weight of your breasts. 

A relaxed fit offers less lift. You may lean towards this if you feel like you don’t want or need that much lift (such as when your breasts are already self-supporting). 

What do others usually pick?

  • People whose underband and bust measurements differ by 10 inches or more often prefer a technical fit. With heavier breasts, a snug, technical fit is typically needed for proper support.

    (If you’re unsure about your underband and bust measurements, our size calculator can help you find them. Access it here)
  • People whose underband and bust measurements differ by 5 inches or less tend to prefer a relaxed fit because their breasts don’t have a lot of weight that needs supporting. 
  • People whose underband measures 44 inches or above also often choose a technical fit. With softer body types (more “squish”), a firm band is better for added security (+0 band size: their band size is the same as their band measurement).

    Some even go down a band size. For example, someone who measures 48 may wear a 46 band and someone who measures 46 may wear a 44 band.

  • In all other cases, it’s up to personal preference. The less lift and support you want, the more relaxed your bra can fit. 

“I’m wearing an old sports bra and it works fine, so why does technical fit even matter?” 

We encourage everyone to try their technical fit at least once to make sure that they aren’t missing out on a comfortable, great fit. 

We hope this blog post brings you closer to finding your unicorn bra. As always, if you have further questions on how a bra should fit, leave a comment down below or ask one of our fit specialists at a virtual fitting.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What bra size am I?

You can measure your bra size using our size calculator. Our calculator uses a different algorithm for every size range, to ensure every size range gets the perfect fit. Different from most calculators, it considers your breast fullness and prioritizes personal preference.  

Our calculator gives you two measurements, your firm fit (called “technical fit” in this article) and your relaxed fit. We give you both in case you ever want to refer to or try the other one. 

To learn more about how our size calculator works and why wearing the right size is so important, click here. 

2. How do I put on a bra correctly?

Once you get into your bra, do the scoop and swoop to ensure that all your breast tissue is in the cups (this eliminates gapping). Then, make sure the underwire is sitting on your breast roots and not on top of any breast tissue. Lastly, adjust the shoulder straps to your liking. Do these three things every time you put on a bra. 

3. Are bras supposed to be uncomfortable?

Your bra should not feel uncomfortable to wear. If you’ve put on the bra correctly (done the scoop and swoop, ensured the underwire is sitting on your breast roots and not your breast tissue, and adjusted the shoulder straps), and it still feels uncomfortable, then the bra isn’t right for you. (Check out our fit check guide for more information on how a bra should fit.)

Read our troubleshooting guide to figure out why your bra doesn’t fit. It lists top common bra problems and their solutions. If the problem you’re experiencing isn’t included in that blog post or if the issue persists, schedule a virtual fitting. Our fit specialists are here to help you out. 

Once you’ve identified the issue, use the filters on our website when looking for the next bra to try. We have sorted our products in terms of underwire width, projection depth, side wire height, coverage level, etc. Our Comparison Tool allows you to look at up to three bras side-by-side. 

4. Where can I get professionally fitted for a bra?

If you’re in Vancouver, you can get professionally fitted in-person at our flagship store on 1024 Robson Street. If you’re looking for virtual options, we also offer professional online fittings via Zoom.

5. My bra is the right size. Why doesn’t it fit?

When it comes to bras, breast shape is as important as bra size. If you’re sure that your bra is the right size, then perhaps the bra’s style doesn’t work with your breast shape.  

Book a virtual fitting with us and we’ll help you find a bra that matches your breast shape. You can also read Branatomy to learn more about different breast shapes and the bra styles that suit them best (it’s around a 5-minute read). This information will come in handy the next time you go bra shopping. 

5 thoughts on “Technical Fit vs. Relaxed Fit”

  1. Wilhelmina Boustead

    Hello, I have a drawer full of good bras, understance bras which I enjoy wearing. But. Is it OK for me to go one day braless? Like when I’m at home relaxing? Thanks again for great bras and great customer service- cheers, Wilhelmina Boustead

    1. Hi there, bras are entirely personal preference, and there is no need to wear one if you don’t want to. Some of our customers prefer to wear a bra at all times, even while sleeping. Some prefer to go braless most days. It’s entirely up to you.

    1. Hi there, we recommend styles with higher side coverage. Go to the filters, open “Wire Side Height,” and check “Tall.”

  2. I just purchased bras from Inderstance! I think it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had properly fitting bras. Thanks to your measurement techniques! And I’m 66 years old. My entire life I have hated having to wear a bra until I got these. Thank you.♥️

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