Finding a perfect fitting bra is a rare occurrence for most women, but it doesn’t have to be. The problem is that most women don’t know how to shop for a bra. It isn’t as simple as walking into your favorite store or browsing your favorite online shop and picking out the prettiest bra that closely matches your size. There is a lot more to it than that. By following these simple tips, you can find the best fitting bra possible every time you go bra shopping.
The Importance of the Perfect Fit
When your bra fits well your breasts won’t just look good, you’ll feel good, too. If your bra doesn’t fit right it can cause back pain, skin irritation, and make you feel generally uncomfortable the whole time you have it on. However, a perfect fitting bra can support your breasts properly helping decrease or eliminate back pain while also minimizing skin irritation since the bra won’t cause chaffing.
Start with the Right Store
While you might want to go to a trendy store, it’s important to go somewhere where they have a wide range of sizes and styles as well as staff who are properly trained in sizing and fitting bras. Well-known department stores tend to have a good selection of bras as well as trained bra fitters.
While you should measure yourself beforehand, if you’re unsure of your size or are looking for a particular style where you might benefit from a size up or down (like when shopping for strapless bras), you’ll want to make sure that there is someone there to help you.
Bring a Shopping List
While shopping, be sure to have a plan when it comes to what you’re looking for. If you need a physical list of items, bring one with you. If not, keep in mind exactly what you’re looking for.
For example, if you’re shopping for a lot of different bras your list might consist of one nude bra, one black bra, a white bra, a sports bra, a strapless or convertible bra, and a soft cup, wire-free bra. Or you might just be on a mission for one particular bra for a special occasion.
Similarly, you should look for something for your particular body shape. For example, if you’re more top-heavy, you might be looking for something with full-coverage instead of a demi cup. You may look for something to smooth out your back and sides. In that case, you’ll want something with a thicker band.
No matter what you’re looking for, always go shopping with a good idea of what you’re looking for. This will help you stay on task and limit the chance of temptation or upselling from an eager salesperson.
Know Your Size Beforehand
Before you go to the store or begin shopping, measure yourself even if you think you know your size. Breast tissue can change from one year to the next thanks to hormone fluctuations and natural aging. For example, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or going through menopause, your breasts can actually change dramatically in terms of their size.
Using a cloth measuring tape, measure the area right below your breasts to get your band size. Then measure your breasts by measuring around the fullest part of your chest to get your cup size. If you’re really unsure about your size and don’t feel confident in your abilities to measure yourself, go to a professional fitter.
Tips for Measuring Your Breasts
Since measuring your bust size can be a little tricky, here are a few tips for when you’re measuring your bust size:
- Stand straight with your shoulders relaxed
- Don’t inhale as it will expand your ribcage and skew the size
- Add four to your band measurement if you measure an even number
- Add five to your band measurement if you measure an odd number
- Wear a bra when measuring your cup size and don’t pull the tape tight
- Make sure the measuring tape doesn’t fall down your back too low when measuring cup size
- Subtract your cup measurement from your band measurement for your cup letter
After you subtract your cup size from your band size, you’ll get your cup size (example: 40 - 36 = 4). This difference can then be equated to a letter cup. Here is a quick guide for this:
You can then take your band measurement and your cup letter to get your bra size. If you’d like to check yourself, go to a fitter and see if you’re right or a little off.
Don’t take this measurement to heart if you’re surprised or even upset about your size; it’s just a number. Your comfort and the support of the perfect fitting bra is what’s important here.
Note, if you find a great bra that fits your personal style perfectly but it isn’t available in your size you can usually go up a band size and down a cup size or down a band size and up a cup size and still have a near-perfect fit.
Bring Clothes with You
While it might sound weird to bring clothing with you to try on a bra, you should bring one or two items along with you to see how the bra looks under different types of clothing. For example, bring your thinnest shirt so see how the bra would look under something that it could be seen through. Similarly, if you’re buying a bra specifically for a certain top or dress, bring that piece along to see if the bra is right for its intended purpose.
Try on a Bra Properly
Trying on a bra isn’t as easy as slipping it on and clasping it in place. When you try on a new bra (or when you put any bra on) slip it over your shoulders then lean forward slightly and scoop your breast tissue fully into the cups making sure to get the tissue that might spread under your armpits. Then fasten the bra. Stand up straight again and adjust the bra straps. You should also adjust your breasts if your nipples aren’t in the center of the cup.
Here are a few things to check when putting on your bra:
- The center of the bra should be flat against your breastbone without a gap
- Check for wrinkles in the cups, it should be smooth (a sign of an improper fit)
- Turn to the side in a mirror to see if the back is hiking up (a sign of an improper fit)
- The back should lie against the middle of your back without rolling or moving up or down
- The band should fit snug on the loosest hook (if you can reach the other hooks, it’s too big)
- Make sure no breast tissue pours out of the cups (a sign that the cup size is too small)
- Ensure there is no gaping in the cups (a sign the cup size is too big)
- Straps shouldn’t dig into your shoulders or slide down
- There should be no pinching or skin bulging around the bang
You might go shopping just thinking that one bra is all you need at the moment. This might be the case but if you find a perfectly fitting bra, consider buying more than one if your budget can handle it. Buy the same bra in different colors or patterns or pick up a few different bras in different styles.
Remember, the average bra worn at a normal frequency will last about six months or a year before it gets worn and stretched out. This means it will no longer fit properly. If you buy a few of the same style and size, you can rotate them better and extend the life of each of them.
Consider Bra Accessories
While you’re at it, think about picking up some fun and useful accessories. Breast petals to cover your nipples and double-sided tape to keep everything in place are always great tools to have on hand especially if you’re wearing something revealing that may result in an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction during a night out.
Care for Your Bra Properly
After you find the perfect bra that fits you to a T it’s important to take care of your bras properly. Always opt to hand wash your bra. If you MUST put it in the washing machine, use a garment bag and make sure the bra is clasped closed. Never put your bra in the dryer as it will eat away at the elastic and spandex aging the bra faster. Instead, lie it on a clean, dry towel and allow it to air dry.
By following these simple tips and tricks you can find the best fitting bra that will make your breasts look and feel great. Remember, go see a professional fitter at your local department store or specialty lingerie store if you’re unsure about your size or need help looking for a specific bra.