What causes bra cups to pucker?

Does your cup not runneth over? In other words, does your bra gap, pucker, or wrinkle? You’re not the only one.

According to the bra experts at ThirdLove, cup gaping is a pretty common issue, especially for women with asymmetric, bell, east-west, or slender breast shapes. (Here are some cute drawings to see if that’s you.) All that really means is that your breasts are likely resting at the bottom of the cups, which leaves some extra space at the top.

It's no biggie. Here are some easy fixes for cup gaping.

Tighten the straps

Put your bra on, slide your thumbs under the straps, and pull up. Do the cups suddenly fit better? If so, then it’s time to adjust your straps. This simple tightening tweak may be all it takes.

Go down a cup size

According to Victoria’s Secret, 80 percent of women (their own models included) are wearing the wrong bra size. Maybe your cup is a little too big. Try going down one cup size (for example, from a C to a B) while keeping the same band size. Changing your cup size provides a fine-tuning adjustment of about 1 inch.

Try an entirely different style

If you think you’re somewhere in between sizes, you could try a brand that offers half-cup sizes. Another option is to switch up your style. Could be fun, right?

The bra fitters at HerRoom suggest going with a bra that features stretchy fabric throughout the entire cup or at least at the upper edge. This will give you a more custom cup fit at the top. Plunge or push-up bras (yes, ma'am) are also good choices because the cups are smaller and angled to reduce gaping.

How do you know if it fits?

You could put your breasts in the talented hands of a certified bra fitter at stores like Nordstrom and Rigby & Peller, but there are plenty of online fit quizzes and try-on-at-home options too. If you’re going that route, here’s what the right-size bra feels like:

  • The straps stay put but don’t dig in.
  • The band sits snugly against your back (you can slide one or two fingers underneath), ideally on the loosest hook.
  • The cups smoothly cover your breasts (no gaps or spillage).
  • The center section lies flat.
  • The underwire sits comfortably underneath (not on) your breasts.

It’s the bra you reach for

How elusive is the perfectly fitting bra? Put it this way: The average woman owns nine bras, but 82 percent of us regularly reach for the same one or two each week. Guilty as charged.

You know what? It's only natural that the style or size that used to fit is no longer your favorite. The slightest or biggest changes to your body over time (new workout habits, hormones, babies) can do it, or it could be that your "I bought this in college" bra is stretched way past its prime.

Many bra experts say you can get about 130 good wears out of a bra, which means you have an excuse to treat yourself to a new, better-fitting bra every six to nine months—no gaps!