Protect your back from all that weight

Stefanie Buhrman

Either the straps dig in or they fall off. Skin either bulges out the side or out the cups. Wires poke from the left and the right. Nothing lies flat, hooks come undone and friction gives a heavy burn.

If you suffer from any of these problems, LouAnnJo Ratashak, associate of the intimates department at J.C. Penney, 2901 N. Grand Ave., says you could be one of the eight out of 10 women who are wearing the wrong-size bra. You might suffer from more than just a few cosmetic issues.

“If you are not wearing the right-size bra, it can really be uncomfortable,” Ratashak said.

Besides being uncomfortable, wearing an incorrectly sized bra can cause some health problems.

“If you wear the wrong size you can suffer from back problems and discomfort in your shoulders,” said Heidi Kooima, manager of Victoria’s Secret, 2801 N. Grand Ave. “Wearing the right size can even help your posture.”

Kooima said wearing a supportive bra can prevent stretching of ligaments in the breasts and help prevent sagging.

“The problem with the fit is mainly in the band size,” Kooima said. “You can tell when someone’s bra doesn’t fit because the back fat hangs over and you can see that it’s not smooth. If someone is not wearing the right cup size, they will fall out.

“If it is too big, it’s uncomfortable and it will slip. You should get fitted [for a new bra] if you have lost or gained weight.”

Even if you have not lost or gained any weight, it is recommended that you go in for a fitting regularly as well.

“A girl should get fitted every six months,” Kooima said. “We fit all the time over clothes. They shouldn’t be nervous. They do not have to get naked in the fitting room and it only takes 30 seconds and we really recommend it.”

Having never been fitted before, two students took a trip to test their sizing knowledge.

“I was a whole cup size off,” said Shaine DeVoe, freshman in animal science. “I thought my bra fit, so I was surprised to hear how I was off.”

Before DeVoe went for a first-time fitting, she was still experiencing a common problem.

“My straps fell off and it really bothered me,” DeVoe said.

Before she received her first fitting, DeVoe determined on her own what size bra she should wear.

“I just did trial and error,” DeVoe said. “I tried them on. I made a couple of changes in my size on my own, usually when they weren’t comfortable.”

DeVoe’s roommate came along for the sizing adventure.

“In the bras I used to wear, the wires would poke me in the chest,” said Heather Brown, freshman in pre-journalism and mass communication. “It hurt and I would have to take it off while I was driving home.”

Going in for her first fitting, Brown received some pleasant news.

“My bra size was right on,” Brown said. “I just went by what felt right and apparently I have a good sense of what is right.”

Even though Brown had a knack for her size, she still plans on getting fitted in the future if her body makes any changes.

“I would get fitted again if my weight changed,” Brown said. “I used to not even be an A cup, but I have gained weight since I have been here.”

Sarah Linahon, freshman in liberal arts and sciences-open option, received her first fitting during her junior year of high school.

She was told she was a cup size smaller than the size she was wearing, but she continued to wear the size.

“I did not wear the one they told me to because when I wore a smaller bra it squished my boobs together and it was uncomfortable,” Linahon said.

“I just think that the bigger one was more comfortable and I got more support that way.”

After almost two years, she went to get another fitting. She again was told that she needed to wear a smaller cup size and she continues to wear the same size.

“I think I will stay the same size. I do not think I will get any smaller or bigger,” Linahon said. “I don’t know. [The experience] is not that bad. They do it right over your clothes and just ask you about the bra you are wearing.”