You know that I am an avid protestor against the Plus Four Method (adding four or five inches to your ribcage measurement to find your band size) because it is one of the biggest reasons women are uncomfortable in their bras.
The Plus Four Method was introduced in the 1930s when fabrics were far less forgiving and adding the inches allowed for breathing. In the last 80 years we have seen the birth of sophisticated elastics that have literally changed the way bras fit.
Comfortable but supportive elastics mean that you can wear a band size that is exactly the same as your ribcage measurement or at most a couple of inches bigger.
Lots of women even wear band sizes smaller than their ribcage because the elastics are so comfortable. Besides the evolution in elastics there has been a revolution in the fabrics used for cups and wings; in today’s blog we have a look at what difference fabric makes to how comfortably your bra fits.
1. Microfiber – this refers to a whole group of man-made materials that are very thin and have the properties of being very soft, fast drying and moisture wicking. Microfibers include Polymide and Nylon. If a bra is made of over 60% of these materials you know it is going to be soft and moisture wicking.
Moisture wicking is very important for women who perspire a lot as the material keeps moisture away from your skin preventing skin irritations. You want a high microfiber content in your sports bras to keep you cool when working out.
2. Spandex/Elastane/Lycra – This trinity is actually all the same thing; it just has different names in different countries. I love than Spandex is actually an anagram of expands because, well, that’s what Spandex does. Spandex makes up the large proportion of straps and bands and wing supports but it can also be mixed with cotton, lace and microfibers to create cups that stretch to accommodate any shape.
Bras with a spandex mix fabric are great for women with one breast bigger than the other because the cups stretch to fit each breast.
3. Cotton – This magical fabric has been around for 7000 years and still can’t be beaten when it comes to breathable and durable qualities. It’s the breathable part that is important for bras. If you have sensitive skin or overheat easily then you need a breathable material that won’t irritate your skin. Trapped moisture can cause rashes, sores and chafing. Cotton allows your skin to breathe reducing the risk of irritation.
Cotton content is very important in nursing bras because your temperature rises when you’re pregnant and your skin can become more sensitive so using natural fibers next to your skin is important.
I hope this crash course in bra materials helps you understand what’s best for your skin and lifestyle. If you have questions just write them below and I’ll be happy to answer them.