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Exploding the 6 Most Common Bra Myths

When it comes to clothing, nothing sparks more debate, discussion, and occasional controversy than the humble bra. And because bras remain slightly taboo in some circles, misinformation and urban legends have taken root in our collective thinking about underwear. In fact, there’s a staggering number of bra myths which persist today! Now that Tommy John has our own game-changing bra to offer, we’re taking the opportunity to blow up some of these myths, once and for all.

Myth: The bra is a recent invention

Most people believe the brassiere as we know it today was introduced in France in 1930 as a more practical and lighter alternative to the bodice. But many patents for similar garments were given in the 19th and 20th century. In 2008, reconstruction on an Austrian castle unveiled a 500-year-old pile of trash hidden under one of the floors. Archaeologists were surprised to find four bras from the medieval age with shoulder straps and distinct cups like the ones worn today. 

Myth: A great bra can be used daily

Because bra shopping seems daunting, it’s tempting to find one you like and wear it over and over. But when bra straps don’t have a chance to relax, the elastic loses its strength. Your everyday bra might lead to everyday hunched shoulders and back pain.

That’s why it’s important to have a good collection of bras that you rotate through - and to replace your tired favorites when they aren’t doing the trick. Owning a variety also means you can find the perfect one for any outfit, so it’s a win-win. The more, the merrier!

Myth: The average breast size is a 36C

Sure, you can look at what retailers are selling the most - but the truth is much more complex. Sizing varies a lot by brand, and people with larger bra sizes tend to buy more. Plus, breast size in any one person can change from week to week and year to year. It also changes for our country as a whole, given nationwide fluctuations in body shape and other factors. 

The truth is that no one really knows the “average” - and who cares, anyway? The important thing is that you have bras you love and that fit you well.

Myth: There’s no wrong way to put on a bra

As long as your bra fits and you’re wearing it, your work is done... right? Actually, the way you put on a bra can noticeably affect the fit, in some cases. Here’s a great description from Popsugar of a technique called the “scoop and swoop”:

Put your arms through the straps of your bra, then lean forward and let your breasts fall into the cups. Lift the underwires so they sit right under the bust, flat against your body, and fasten the bra at the back (on the loosest hook to start with, as the elastic loosens over time you can use the tighter hooks). Once fastened, gently pull the bra away from your body at the side, and use your hands to gently scoop all of the breast tissue into the cup, pulling from the bottom and the sides, under the armpits.

Going with the scoop and swoop method means that your bra does more than cover - it full supports all of your breast tissue. That can make a huge difference in performance.

Myth: Bra straps cause back pain

While it’s true that over-tightening your straps can cause back and shoulder pain, a properly adjusted bra can actually do the opposite! By redistributing the weight of your breasts, your core muscles are better able to carry the load and remove stress from your shoulders. Bras also lift the breasts off the ribcage, which can help with breathing. 

Myth: Bras cause sagging

A French doctor made headlines in 2013 when he claimed bras are more likely to cause sagging then prevent it. Most experts don’t support his claims. The consensus is that bras don’t cause sagging - and regular use can prevent damage to the connective tissues from excessive bouncing. This is especially true during vigorous exercise.