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7 signs your bra just isn't working for you

Suspicious your bra isn’t serving you as well as it could be? 

So many women suffer with bras that fit them poorly, cause pain or discomfort, or create perpetual annoyances like slipping straps, moving bands, or itchy tags. Not to mention issues with functionality and appearance like inadequate support, strange shaping, lumpiness, etc. 

The truth is that a good bra should basically disappear once you’re wearing it under clothes - to you and to everyone else. The more your bra calls attention to itself, the more likely it’s not doing its job the way it should be. 

A great bra should keep you feeling well supported, comfortable, and confident in your appearance, so you can direct your attention to everything else going on in your world. 

Here are the seven big warning signs your bra just isn’t working for you. 

1. Your band rides up in back

This is an incredibly common bra problem! In fact, it’s so common, many women don’t even know it’s an issue - they don’t have any idea where the band should lie across their back.

In the front, proper band location is obvious: it should lie flat just below your breasts. When you turn around, though, the band should continue to appear straight and horizontal on your body, not curve upward between your shoulder blades.

The band should provide most of the bust support you get from your bra. For this reason, it’s important it fits correctly. An oversized band, or one that has stretched out over time, will ride up in the back, abandoning its crucial role in supporting your breasts and leaving more of the work to your straps. This often leads to digging, pinching and pain in your shoulders.

If your band is riding up, try using an inner band clasp to tighten up the fit. If that doesn’t solve it, then either your bra is stretched out and it’s time for replacement, or you need to consider a smaller band size. 

2. Cup gaps

When you stand up straight with relaxed shoulders, the tops of your bra cups should sit flush with your skin. If you have to pull your shoulders back or up to close the gap, then this is a sign that your cups are too big. 

3. Feeling sweaty or hot

Unless you work outdoors in the summer, your bra shouldn’t make you feel overheated, stifled or sweaty. If you experience this, it could be caused by a few problems: a too-tight fit is one possibility; poor-quality fabric and construction is another. 

First, take measurements to ensure you’re wearing the right cup and band size. If that checks out, consider upgrading to a bra from Tommy John’s Cool Cotton collection. Both the Cool Cotton Lightly Lined Wireless Bra and the Cool Cotton Scoop Bralette feature quick-dry fabric that keeps you 2-3 times cooler than typical cotton, and the innovative perforated cup lining in the Lightly Lined Wireless enhances airflow for maximum breathability.

4. Quadboob

Unless you’re a character in a hot intergalactic romance novel, you probably aren’t going for a four-breasted look. Unfortunately, that’s a common symptom of wearing a too-small bra: quadboob. 

Quadboob happens when breast tissue spills over the tops of the bra cups, dividing each breast into two - likely uncomfortable - sections. This is often accompanied by another problem: the center of the bra floating above your skin, rather than lying flat against it.  

Both of these issues are signs of breast tissue looking for an escape hatch from too-small cups. In each case, part of your bra is desperately trying to capture the escaping boob, causing often painful and usually unflattering squishing and lumpiness. 

If your girls are multiplying, it’s likely time to look for a larger cup size. A properly fitted cup should encase and cradle the breast without causing bulging (or magical multiplication).

5. Uniboob

Uniboob is the next-most-common phenomenon after quadboob when it comes to boob geometry problems. If your bra makes you look like you have a watermelon strapped to your chest, then you are a definite victim of uniboob. This condition is most associated with sports bra styles that compress the breasts in a single “shelf” space where they lose their individual definition. While this is less of a problem at the gym than at the office, the uniboob phenomenon is sadly spreading with the current popularity of bralette styles. 

Many scoop-style bralettes don’t provide adequate cup definition or individual breast support to prevent this unflattering silhouette, especially for women with larger chests. Fortunately, Tommy John has solved this problem, allowing women of all cup sizes to enjoy the ease and comfort of bralette styles without risking a uniboob appearance: both our Cool Cotton and Second Skin Scoop Bralettes feature a hidden power mesh sling that lifts, supports, and separates. 

6. Slipping straps

Many women complain of frequently slipping bra straps. This can be incredibly annoying if it means you’re constantly having to fish around in your shirt for your straps, or worrying about them falling down and becoming visible under short-sleeved tops. 

Chronically slipping straps are a sign either that your bra is aging - it has stretched out over time, causing the straps to loosen - or of a general fit issue, such as a too-big band or cups, leading to insufficient tension to hold the straps in place. If tightening the straps doesn’t seem to be working to prevent them from falling, one of these other fit problems is likely the culprit. 

Some styles of bra may also be a poor match for your body shape. If you have this problem often and you’ve ruled out sizing problems, consider seeking out bra styles with straps set closer in on the shoulders. 

If your bra straps are hard, narrow, or otherwise uncomfortable, you may be tempted to wear them too loose to avoid pain and discomfort. Wider, softer straps (featured in all of Tommy John’s bra styles) that distribute pressure across more fabric are the most comfortable and easiest to wear at the correctly fitted length. 

7. Pain!

Pinching, digging, irritation, pressure: pain can be a sign of many different bra problems, ranging from fit to fabric quality to design issues. Too many women believe pain is built-in to the experience of wearing a bra, and have given up hope for anything better. However, let’s be clear: any kind of pain is a definite sign that it’s time to break up with your bra. You do deserve better - a well-designed, well-fit, high-quality bra will never make you suffer. 

This is why all of Tommy John’s bras are designed with comfort as a top priority, not an afterthought or a bonus feature for some styles only. You’ll find proof in the ease of our Lightly Lined Wireless Bras and Bralettes or the no-metal, flexible wire that adapts to your body’s unique shape in our Lightly Lined Demi. You’ll notice it in the wider, softer straps of all of our bras, the luxe softness of our Second Skin fabric collection and the breathability of our Cool Cotton offerings - and the incredible attention to design and quality in every Tommy John bra. 

That’s why we can confidently call Tommy John bras The Most Comfortable Bras on the Planet

The bottom line

Whether it’s pain, discomfort, unflattering lumpiness and bulging, or migrating straps and bands, all of the above issues are likely to result in distractions from your busy day. Here’s a simple test: if you are finding yourself frequently adjusting your bra, it’s definitely not working for you. 

Tommy John went into business because we believe that no adjustments should be needed when it comes to your underwear. First we solved men’s underwear design. Then we conquered women’s bras. Let us show you how supportive, comfortable, and stylish a great bra can be.