By Cindy Prosser
Many, many women suffer from poorly fitting bras – and they don’t even know it. What’s worse is the damage this does to their bodies as well as their appearance and self-esteem. But don’t worry, ladies. We’re here to help. We’ve put together a checklist that shows you how to find a bra that’s just the right size, so you can be comfortable and confident everywhere you go.
Finding the Right Bra For You
When planning your bra-shopping trip, make sure you have plenty of time (spend an entire morning or afternoon) so you don’t feel rushed and can pay attention to how each one fits and feels. Bra shopping can take up to 3-4 hours to find the perfect look and feel.
It’s always best to go to a specialty store or the lingerie section of a department store. You will get the level of service to find your best fit. Even though you’ll likely pay more for a bra here, it will last much longer. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping:
10 Ways to Get the Perfect Measurement
- Let someone else measure you – Even though it’s possible to measure yourself, you’ll get a much more accurate measurement if you let someone else do it for you. Specialty and large department stores usually have someone on staff who will do this for you.
- When shopping, wear a bra without padding – If you’re one that usually wears a bra with a lot of padding or maybe even (gasp!) stuffs your bra, you won’t get an accurate measurement. When shopping, make sure to wear a bra that doesn’t have any added padding.
- Wear a light t-shirt – If you’d rather get measured while wearing clothing, make sure it’s a light t-shirt rather than a heavy sweater or sweatshirt.
- Measure your band size – There are two ways to do this, and it’s recommended you try both so you get an accurate measurement:
- Wrap the measuring tape around the middle of your chest – Keep the tape under your arms and wrap it across the middle of your chest. If the measurement is an odd number, round up to the next even number.
- Measure across the bottom of the band – Wrap the measuring tape under your bust and across your ribcage, while keeping it straight around the back. As above, if you get an odd number, round to the next even number.
- Measure cup size – To get the perfect cup size:
- Measure around the fullest part of your bust – Wrap the tape around the largest part of your chest while keeping it straight across your back.
- Subtract your band measurement from the bust measurement – The difference will be your bra size. For example, if your band measure was 36 inches and your cup measurement was 38 inches, the difference of two inches indicates a B cup size.
- Check your fit twice per year – You should measure your fit at least twice per year since your body changes over time. This, combined with repeated washing can cause the bra to stretch and lose its original shape.
7 Dressing Room Guidelines To Follow For the Perfect Fit
After you have your measurements, it’s time to start trying on bras. Regardless of what type you’re looking for – special occasion, every day wear, or something in between, there are a few tried-and-true methods for ensuring you get the proper fit:
- Use the middle hook – Using the middle hook when trying on will help you know how the bra will feel over time, after losing some elasticity. As the bra starts to age and gets loser, you can start using the first hook instead.
- Do “the finger” test – When trying on, the band should be secure, but you should be able to comfortably fit one finger in the front center and two fingers beneath the band in back. If you can’t, consider loosening the band or going up one size.
- Keep the straps loose – Many women let the straps of their bra do all the supporting, and this simply shouldn’t happen. Adjust the straps so they fit comfortably but aren’t doing all the work. This will give you a real idea of how well the bra can support you.
- Look in the mirror – Your bra band should be at the same level the whole way around your body. If it’s riding up anywhere, that may be an indication that it’s too big – try sizing down in the band.
- Lean over and pull ‘em in – This sounds silly, but it holds a lot of truth. Face down (so your breasts are pointing at the floor), and pull them into the cups. After standing up, if you notice there is flesh hanging over the top of the cup, you may want to choose a different style or trade up for a bigger size.
- Do the “jiggle test” – After putting the bra on, jump up and down. Do your breasts stay in place? If you notice flesh wiggling at the top, try going up a cup size. If your breasts bounce a lot, your band size may be too large.
- Try on all choices – Try on all styles you’ve chosen and notice the difference between each – how much lift each gives you, how snug the band is, how flat the area between the cups lies, etc. Compare this to your regular bra – and using a bit of trial and error, you should be able to determine which fit the best.
6 Signs You’ve Found a Great Bra
- You’ll look great in a t-shirt. Even if a bra fits nicely on your body, you should always slip a t-shirt on over it to make sure you like the silhouette.
- You’ll be comfortable. A bra that fits right will be comfortable, even after you wear it all day. Make sure the bra supports you without pinching you or causing discomfort.
- You don’t see extra fabric. If you see extra fabric or baggy, wrinkly cups, it’s likely you’ve chosen a cup size that’s too big.
- There won’t be spillover. Having spillover when wearing a bra is annoying at best. The right fit shouldn’t cause you to spill out on the sides or at the top. If you do, it’s likely your cup size is too small.
- The underwire will lie against you. The bra’s underwire should lie flat against your chest without any gaping, and core will rest flat too.
- It will lie flat against you. Look between the cups. The ideal bra should lay flat against your chest any gaps. If you do see a large gap, this is an indication you should go up one size.
And there you have it. These tips should ensure a proper-fitting bra so you’ll be comfortable and confident wherever you go – so be sure to take this checklist with you on your next lingerie-shopping trip.
About the Author:
Cindy Prosser is an underwear model, a freelance writer and a mom. Not necessarily in that order though She believes that good fitting Bras can change the world – well, your world at least. She’s working to spread the “good-fit = happiness gospel” for Bare Necessities.