If you’re anything like me and many others, then I’m sure the only shopping spree you dread doing is the one that involves shopping for bras. It’s not only dread-ful! It can be downright traumatic, and it doesn’t just end there…. you can quite possibly end up buying a number of ill-fitting bras just cause they felt momentarily right while you’re in the store. They’re either digging into your shoulders, causing some spill over …ugh.. the worst, or even slipping off and feeling loose. By now you’ve probably heard that a huge percentage of women are walking around in the wrong bra size. So we decided to plunge right ahead and do the research to prevent you and us from ever again struggling – fingers crossed -to find the bra that perfectly and seamlessly fits.
1 || It’s all in the band.
True cups and straps are very important but it’s the bra band that is responsible for almost 90 percent of the support, that’s why strapless bras exist. Therefore when you’re shopping for bras, don’t focus your attention on the straps thinking that they’re the ones holding up your bust, their job is to shape your breast and keep the cup feeling snug with your body. The best test for a good fitting bra is that it still stays in place when you slip off the straps!
2 || Know your formula.
Though we usually recommend you get a professional bra fitting at a boutique but if that option is not available then it’s best if you follow the formula. To measure yourself at home you’ll need to take two measurements. For the band size you will need to measure around you back and under your bust. For cup size, measure around your back and over your nipples. Now subtract the difference! For example if your bust measures 35 inches and your under-bust measures 32 inches, this makes you a 32C; the difference between 35 and 32 is 3 and that number corresponds with the third letter of the alphabet which is C.
3 || Do you have one bigger breast?
As do most women! This needn’t complicate things, it only means that you should go with the size that fits the larger breast. This can be solved by getting bras with removable pads, that way you can remove the ones on the bigger side. Or you could even add a bra cutlet to the smaller breast.
4 || Do you know your “sister size”?
You sister size is the size you would usually go for when your regular size doesn’t fit well. We all know that for certain ‘difficult’ clothing items, your size might actually vary from brand to brand. That’s why it’s important for you to figure your ‘sister size’. Generally speaking, when it comes to figuring out your sister size in bras, if you need to go up a size in terms of band, then you will go down a size for the cup. So if you’re usually a 32C, you could also fit in a 30D or a 34B. Get it? Your sister sizing can benefit you if your usually size gets sold out fast.
5 || Straps digging in?
If the bra straps are digging in your shoulders this could mean a number of things! It could mean that your cup size is too small and they’re putting on some extra weight on the straps. It could also mean that the band might be looser than it should be which puts more strain on the straps. Check out your back in a mirror; if the straps are too tight that the bra band is yanked up then the band is probably too big or too stretched out and it’s past its prime time. Another indication that you’re wearing the wrong cup size is if your beasts are spilling out from the cup.
6 || How can you tell if the band fits?
It should feel snug, neither suffocating nor loose of course. The best test for band size is that if you fit your finger between your back and the bra band you can only have about one inch of stretch. You can also tell if the band is tight, good or loose, is that if the underwire is digging in your breasts. But that doesn’t mean you should for looser bras. Comfort doesn’t equal support in this case. Keep in mind that the band shouldn’t be able to ride up between your shoulder blades, if this is the case you need to go a size down in terms of band. Always wear your new bra on the farthest hook, so that as the bra starts to wear down you can adjust the tightness and use the second or third hooks for more snugness.
7 || Are you a ‘plus size’, ‘full figure’ or ‘full bust’?
These all mean different things. If you’re considered ‘full bust’ this means that you have a small band size (36 or less) and a large cup size (DD or larger). ‘Plus size’ means that your bra size is 38 or larger, whereas ‘full figure’ means that you have a size DD+ with a band size of 38 or larger. This means that all ‘full figure’ bras are also plus size, but mind you not all plus size bras are full figure. For example, a 38F is considered full figure and plus size, but a 40B is just plus size.
8 || How many bras would you need?
An ideal bra capsule should consist of the following bra styles:
– Two or more traditional bras such as t-shirt bras, one in nude and the other in black. You will wear these around 70 percent of the time.
– One or more sports bras depending on how often you work out. You may need bras with different levels of support like running versus pilates or yoga depending on your exercise routine.
– A convertible bra that can work as a strapless, halter, criss-cross, or racerback to accommodate all necklines.
– A non-wired bra or bralette that you can wear while travelling or lounging.
9 || What about fabric?
Fabric and technology are other aspects you need to consider when shopping for your next bra. You need to determine what you need the bra for, does it have to fight sweat or do you need it to feel pretty? Do you want some lace details or do you have sensitive skin and you prefer softer fabrics? You need to be able to answer these questions before your next bra shopping venture so that you won’t get too overwhelmed with the options.
10 || What about bra care?
A good bra that’s been taken care of should last you about a year! Wash your bras gently by hand (after about 3-4 uses), and never throw them in the dryer. Rotate your bras and don’t wear the same one a few days in a row so they won’t stretch out too quickly. Once the band starts creeping up your back then it’s time you replace it.