10 Things to Look for When Choosing the Right Bra

Perhaps it’s horribly obvious that your bra no longer fits, or maybe you are experiencing some less obvious symptoms of an ill-fitting bra. Comfort shouldn’t be your only concern, since the most comfortable bras may not give you the best support or properly accentuate your shape. Here are 10 things to look for when choosing the right bra that will make your next bra purchase a rousing success.

Choosing a Bra

  1. Cups with a smooth fit: The cup should lie flat and blend into your chest. No gaps. Filling out the cups is a must. If you don’t fill them out, pick up a smaller size. If you “overflow,” pick up a larger cup size or perhaps a different style that is designed with a fuller cup.
  2. Center should lay flat on the breast bone: If the center panel doesn’t lay flat, your cup size may be too small or perhaps the panel isn’t large enough. The only exception is a minimizer, which may not rest on the breastbone.
  3. In the front and back, the bottom of the bra is parallel to the floor: In the back, the lowest edge of the bra band should rest below your shoulder blades. The lower it rests in the back, the more support you will have in the front.
  4. Straps don’t drift or dig into shoulders: If your straps fall, you should look for a bra with straps that are designed closer together. Also, to reduce the strain of the straps on your shoulders, you can choose a smaller band size.
  5. Stable cup fabric: The fabric of the cup should provide shape as well as support.
  6. Underwire that encircles the breast: Underwire should never pinch, poke or stick out.
  7. Lifting of the breast: To provide the best aesthetic proportions, the apex of the breasts should be the middle line between the shoulders and elbows. Breasts with some lift have a more youthful appearance and make you look slimmer.
  8. Breasts should face forward, with no sagging or falling to either side: You should be able to swing your arms freely with the breasts facing forward.
  9. Run your finger under the front band: The bra should feel snug but not tight. If you can run your finger under the band in front with some tension, you have chosen the right size. If it’s too tight, try loosening the hook one notch, or pick up a larger band size.
  10. Comfortable when you sit: Your rib cage expands when you are seated. Test your band size by sitting down and breathing normally.

Cups and Bands

One more note when you are trying on different bra sizes: changing your band size causes a more drastic shift than cup size. Trying different cup sizes will provide you with the same band size while the bust line changes by 1 inch larger or smaller. If you try on a different band size, you will be changing the band size AND the cup size by 2 inches. It is best to decide on a band size, and then fine tune the cup size from there.


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