Is it normal to have red marks from bra at the end of the day?

Any Bra Fitter will tell you that this question is a common one from eager to learn ladies in Bra Fittings. It’s understandable, as those sometimes unsightly and (hopefully not) painful red marks from bras look a little alien like when you catch yourself in the mirror.

I can also tell you that any experienced, well trained Bra Fitter will share my opinion on this matter. A matter I recently discussed with a group of passionate Bra Fitter’s from around the globe at the Salon De International Lingerie event in Paris. 

red marks from bra

So here goes… (and I have to draw a big breathe in here)… 

Yes, it is normal for bras to leave red marks on our skin at the end of a day or a long period of wear.

But, in order to believe this statement you need to take more than my word for it. You need to *truly* understand WHY they should do this, to at least some extent. 

What are the red marks from a bra on your skin?

In the industry, we call them “sock marks”. They are essentially an indentation of the skin from repeated micro pressure throughout the day. Micro pressure is not a lot of pressure, it’s the “long periods of wear” thats the thing to focus on there. 

We call them sock marks because they are just like the marks that your sock leaves on you. If you want your socks to stay up high, they need to be fitted firmly with elastic in order to keep them high throughout the day. If you want to avoid these sock marks the only way around it is to have a sock that fits too loosely and is unlikely to actually stay in place throughout the day as you desire. 

red marks from bras
Image by Exposed Paris @expo_sed_paris

Why YOU SHOULD have your bra leave red marks on your skin?

To continue on the sock analogy directly above (it’s a good one, re-read that if you scanned past that). For a bra to support us it needs to sit firmly around our ribcage. It actually *HAS* to grab on to our ribcage in order to work. The band that runs around our ribcage must fit snug enough to stay there and not ride up and down in order to stabilise your bust as you move throughout the day. This is how bra’s work. It’s not opinion, it is fact. 

So for a bra to fit firmly around the ribcage it is likely that you’ll be left with some red marks around the ribcage band at the end of the day. For most this will also extend to the underwire. 

To re-iterate above, for a bra to support you it kind of needs to be suctioned on to you in order for it to work. This will result in those red marks around where an underwire is.  Just like taking off a pair of firm denim jeans at the end of the day. 

When I take my bra off at the end of the day, I can see exactly where my underwire has been. It is not painful, I can simply see mild red marks that show the shape of an underwire.

It’s actually a tool I use in the fitting rooms to assess someones existing bra fit, or to explain to them why their bra isn’t working for them (if the red marks are in the wrong places). 

When red marks from your bras are BAD

supportive bra tips
→ READ: My favourite Support Bras

Why do some people say you shouldn't have these marks on your skin?

Because that is the easiest answer. It makes sense to the vast majority whom aren’t educated about bras and bra fitting. 

Also because many women associate these red marks with pain, even though that shouldn’t be the case in a well fitted bra. Because of this they associate the red marks with a bad thing. When really the only bad thing is that their bra doesn’t actually fit. They blame the red marks instead of the overarching issue. Again, this is easy to talk yourself in to. And this theory spreads like wildfire. 

How to stop red marks on your skin from your bra?

If you want to ensure the red marks that you have on your bra are in fact an appropriate amount and in the right place to not cause damage, then getting a bra fitting with an experienced reputable Bra Fitter is a good way to go. 

If you don’t feel like you can put up with any firmness around your ribcage which could result in red sock marks then going for a looser fitting bra (which simply cannot offer optimum support) and/or a bra with soft stretchy fabric will do the trick. Bras that are wireless with a full back design could be a big win for you.  Here are some styles for you to consider: 

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