Top tips for a good bra fit for older women
WOMEN are told that ageing well involves getting physically active, but do they know how to make the right clothing choices when doing recreation and competition activities?
We asked Berlei's head designer innovation, Adele Kershaw, to share her tips for choosing the right bra whether we are striding the streets or hitting a competition field.
What type of active bra best suits women 60 and over?
As we age, our tissue becomes softer and our skin less firm. It's natural for the Cooper's ligaments that support the breast to stretch out over time, becoming less effective. The skin also becomes more sensitive and prone to irritation, making close-to-skin comfort of active bras even more important to ensure the skin is not damaged from chaffing or ill-fitting support.
For these reasons it's particularly important for this demographic to ensure they are wearing the correct size and support level for their activity.
Should we get fitted for a bra?
The bra will only provide the level of support advertised if you are wearing the correct size and so it's crucial that you get fitted and understand your breast size and shape.
It's important to get professionally fitted every six months because women's breast sizes change over the course of their lives:
- Our bodies change all the time as we gain and lose weight, and as we lose muscle tone.
- There are many health risks in not wearing the correct size bra. Scarring under the breast is a common problem if the bra is far too tight, which causes it to dig into and rub on flesh.
- Lack of support in the bra frame adds extra pressure on the shoulders and chest, which can cause complaints in the back, shoulder and neck, especially in women with large breasts.
- Breast pain due to tight-fitting bras that are uncomfortable with underwire poking out can also lead to blisters on the skin due to rubbing.
- Breast sagging can result from wearing a loose bra that fails to support the breasts and help keep them in shape.
Bra shopping can be one of the most frustrating experiences and one of the hardest things to buy. So, be aware of your body type so you understand what works best for you such as fuller coverage verses demi styles.
We recommend being open-minded about your size. It's just a number and the proper fit of a bra is the most important part.
How important is breast bounce?
Breast support is important for all women when active. Women with softer tissue are particularly prone to pain and damage when active.
Our breast tissue becomes softer and less supported by skin and muscle structure as we age but may also be negatively impacted by pregnancy, breast feeding, and dramatic weight fluctuation or by an individual's genetics. It's not possible to cure the damage to breasts once they have been impacted and so the solution is really in support for prevention.
What to look for in selecting a bra?
The right bra can give you a confidence boost. Knowing you're being properly supported gives you the self-assurance to do your thing whether that means playing sport, working out or going about your daily activities.
Consider the type of activity you will be using the bra for and therefore what support factor you will need:
Consider your everyday bra preferences:
- In a sports garment a contour cup will provide more shaping and modesty.
- Underwire helps separate the breasts and anchor the bra to the body, while a wire-free garment offers more relaxed comfort and freedom to move.
- Wider straps help distribute the weight of a heavy bust and relieve any pressure you feel through the shoulder.
- Material should have a strong stretch and feel. When you stretch it in your hand, you should see it return.
And as always - fit, fit, fit!
Will one bra do?
Women are aware of the need for different equipment such as footwear and clothing for different sports, but they need to be aware of the importance of wearing the right sports bra for different sports to prevent this damage.
Our research shows that breasts move differently depending on the sport or activity women are doing, however an astounding 76 per cent of women admit to wearing the exact same sports bra no matter what the activity is.
It's important to wear the best sports bra for your chosen sport. For example, a sports bra for yoga will not be the same sports bra for running.
Most women are conscious of how their breasts feel during exercise because they can bounce around, feel uncomfortable and painful, however they are often unaware of the damage that can happen below the surface to the soft tissue and delicate Cooper's ligaments inside their breasts if they don't have the correct support.
We want women to know how it is important to wear the correct sports bra during different exercise activities and we encourage women to prioritise their breasts by choosing the correct support when it comes to sport.