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Women who wear the wrong kind of bra could be damaging their breasts, researchers have warned.

The breast biomechanics team at the University of Portsmouth has tested about 50 bra designs on hundreds of women during the past three years and warned that the wrong kind of bra could be damaging their breasts.
They realized that breasts move up to 21cm (8.26inches), up and down, in and out and side to side during exercise but that most bras just limit vertical movement. Poor support has been found to lead to fragile ligaments in the breast being stretched.

The researchers warned that the crop-top sports bras did not give enough support.

Many women seem to have strong preferences for certain styles of bra and won't buy anything else but they should as many sports bras do up at the back in the same way as a traditional bra and do a very good job of supporting women.

Women also make the wrong choices when buying bras for everyday wear, the choices that are potentially causing breast pain or discomfort.
"There's a social stigma about certain sizes as women don't want to be seen as too small or too big and this is why they buy bras that don't fit well in order to be what they consider to be a normal size.

Other, on the other hand, don't realize that they are wearing a badly-fitting bra or unknowingly wear the wrong bra size because they are routinely being sold ill-fitting bras.

They simply forget or are not aware that their shape and size change and that they might have to go through several changes in bra size over their lifetime, especially after breastfeeding and the menopause.

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Amen. I wore the wrong size bra until a lovely British lady who actually knew something about underthings informed me there was no way I should be wearing a 36C. She put me in a 32D, and the difference was amazing.

I now have to buy bras through specialty shops, but that's not exactly a bad thing; the people there know their products and make sure you're wearing the right size and style for your body and life. I've changed sizes several times since then (what with getting older and being on various drugs that shifted my shape), and they've always helped me find what I needed.

They also show you how to put on a bra right. Yes, there is a right way to do it. lingerielibrary.com/2008/02/26/how-to-put-on-a-bra/ gets most of it, but DO NOT SCOOP yourself into your bra! Bend over at the waist, with your torso parallel to the floor (or close to it). Grip the bra at the points where the side panels meet the cups (where the underwire is on underwire bras), so your elbows are pointing outward. Then jiggle a bit. Yes, jiggle. ;-) Shimmy your torso gently as if you're a washing-machine agitator on slo-mo. Gravity will settle you naturally into the cups, for the best support. Scooping yourself into a bra distributes breast weight erratically. It doesn't feel as comfortable, and it frankly doesn't look as good as you could either. It's also tougher on the bra.

If you live in the Austin, TX, area, I highly recommend Petticoat Fair (petticoatfair.com). No, these bras aren't cheap (lowest are about $40), but they do last, they're attractive, and they give you proper daily support. I haven't been to a department store for bras for years now.

bra.and.bras.googlepages.com/bra_size_calculator.html will give you a good, basic idea of your size, but talking to a fitter in the store is invaluable. herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,901,30.html also has some good information. But it's still just guidelines. Find a fitter!
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