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Selecting the Right Bra

November 14, 2012

by Betsy Chaplin

Finding the right bra can be challenging and frustrating. Because sizes can vary somewhat depending on the brand, most women don’t know their true size and walk around in either the wrong size or an ill fitting style. Look out for the following signs of a poorly fitting bra:
  • Your breasts spill out of the top, sides or bottom of your bra cups.
  • Your bra cups extend out away from your body.
  • You can fit more than two fingers between your body and your bra band.
  • The center wires of your bra don't lie flat against your sternum.
  • Your bra straps ride up your back or are constantly falling off your shoulders.
Ladies, it’s time to get a better fitting bra.

The first step in finding the right bra is getting measured. A number of lingerie and department stores offer complimentary bra fittings. It is a good idea to get a professional fitting, but you can also measure yourself if necessary. When measuring yourself or getting measured, make sure you stand up straight, keeping your back and shoulders comfortably straight. Don’t hold your breath or push your chest out.

After a professional or self fitting, make sure you try on bras. Different brands fit differently. In order to find the best fit, you should try on 10 to 15 bras in varying sizes and styles. Always looks or proper fit in three places: cup, band, and strap.

Cup Size

The cup measurement is taken at the fullest part of your breast, usually across the nipples. A cup that is too big will have space between the cup and your breast. A cup that is too small will constrict your breast, causing the breast bulge to spill out over the top or the sides. The cup should also rise to cover the entire nipple area.

Band Fit

The support of the bra comes from the band. With each increase in band measure, the cup size gets an inch deeper. To get the band measurement, wrap measuring tape snuggly around your rib cage, right under your bust.

The band of a bra will stretch out overtime, so when shopping for a new bra don’t compare the band fit with your older bras - a new bra should fit snuggly on the loosest hook. If you can pull the band away from your body more than 2 inches, then your band size is too big.

The band should be level all the way around your rib cage. You should not feel the underwire at all; the underwire and centerpiece will lie flat against your rib cage. If the band is too big, then your straps will fall and bra will ride up and grab your skin.


If straps are digging into your shoulders and leaving marks, try a smaller band size and a deeper cup. If the straps are falling off your shoulders, then the band might be too large. Women with sloped shoulders should try a racerback style.

When adjusting your straps, remember that your bust line should sit midway between your shoulders and your elbow. You can use the strap length to create this appearance. Most women have some degree of breast asymmetry, so one strap may end up shorter than the other when creating an even visual.

Now that you are confident in your bra fit, you need to fill up your underwear drawer. Make sure that your shopping list includes:
  • an everyday bra in a neutral tone that you can wear everywhere.
  • a nude bra for wearing under white or sheer fabrics.
  • a convertible or strapless bra.
  • a sexy push-up bra.
  • a wild print bra, because, why not?
If you're still not happy with the look of your breasts even after you find the right bra, you should consider breast implants. Read more to learn if you're a good candidate for breast augmentation.



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