This Is What Wearing The Wrong Bra Size Really Does To Your Body

When was the last time you actually got your boobs measured?
Meet Melanie, here to show us what an ill-fitting bra really looks like.
Pour Moi
Meet Melanie, here to show us what an ill-fitting bra really looks like.

Be honest with yourself. When was the last time you went for a bra fitting? Lots of us are walking around wearing the wrong size bra – this much we know – but is it any wonder when so many of us first (and last) got fitted in our teens. Probably with our mums. In an M&S changing room with a nice lady called Valerie or Bev.

According to a new survey by Pour Moi lingerie, one in five UK women admit their last bra fitting was between six to 10 years ago, one in 12 say it’s been more than 21 years, while over a staggering quarter (27%) of the 1,000 women surveyed have never had a professional fitting at all.

That’s despite the fact that lingerie experts recommend you get fitted twice a year – genuinely, who knew? But only a third of survey respondents said they’ve had one in the past six months.

This all leaves us guessing at the real size of our boobs, and wriggling, tweaking and pulling about our bra straps in the meantime, hoping for the best.

While we’re here, we’re also bad at replacing our undies, apparently. Over a third of women say they wear a bra that is 4.5 years old and almost one in 10 wear the same one for eight years. But the average bra starts to lose its wear after 180 wears, say the undies experts – or six months if you wear it every day.

Of course, a lingerie brand is going to want us to buy more lingerie, duh, but there’s a more serious issue at play here. There are long-term impacts on your body of wearing the wrong bra size for years, with 92% of those surveyed suffering from negative physical effects.

Over a third of respondents said they experience rubbing or chafing, leading to sore or irritated and skin. More than a quarter find indentations on their shoulders from straps digging in, and 17% said they get shoulder pain.

10 most common issues from poorly fitted bras

  1. Rubbing or chafing - 37%
  2. Marks on shoulders - 33%
  3. Indentations on shoulders - 26%
  4. Marks on chest - 20%
  5. Shoulder pain - 19%
  6. Back pain - 18%
  7. Tight shoulders - 17%
  8. Skin abrasions - 13%
  9. Cuts on chest - 10%
  10. Chest pain - 9%

And to illustrate this impact, Pour Moi has created Melanie, a 3D model who brings to light some of the issues many women face when wearing the wrong bra size to your shoulders, back, skin, posture – and, of course, your boobs!

Feel at all familiar?

Woman wearing the wrong bra size
Pour Moi
Woman wearing the wrong bra size

As GP Dr Hana Patel explains, “a poorly fitted bra means that the weight of the breast can cause stress and pressure to the shoulders, which can radiate up to the neck and head.”

“It’s important to remember that whilst Melanie represents the extreme side effects reported by not wearing the right bra, over time these can develop into some concerning issues,” her creators say. “Preventing these issues is better than trying to treat them.”

And prevention means, yep, you guessed it, going for a fresh bra fitting. Over half of respondents agreed that they feel more supported and secure whilst wearing a good-fitting bra, which is key to helping keep some of the common issues at bay – including sagging boobs and bad posture.

Michael Thomson, CEO and founder of Pour Moi, says: “Ensuring you get regularly measured by an expert is key for long term health, as bodies experience a number of changes over the years. Wearing a properly fitting bra not only means you will be supported and comfortable all day but comfortable too.”

But don’t take a man’s word for it! Marks and Sparks, here we come...