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Bras Buying Guide

Bras can be supportive, sexy, comfortable – ideally all at the same time. There are bras for many needs and occasions so be sure to research before you buy.

 

Like the women who wear them, bras come in a beautiful spectrum of shapes and sizes. Knowing what kind of bra is best for you however can be confusing. This guide helps you to easily understand the basics: how to measure for a perfect fit and what different styles of bras can offer you. Learn it all, from cup size to specialty bras to bra accessories.

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Get the Right Fit

Determining Your Bra Size

Two components make up your bra size: band size (e.g. 32, 34, 36) and cup size (e.g. A, B, C).

 

 Band Cup

 

Step 1: To determine your band size, wrap a measuring tape tightly around your rib cage. Then, add 5 inches to this measurement to get your band size. (e.g. 27" rib cage + 5" = 32" band size).

Step 2: To find your cup size, measure loosely around the fullest part of your bust. Subtract your band size from this measurement. The difference determines your cup size (e.g. 0" difference = AA cup, 1" = A cup, and so on).

 

Difference

0"

1"

2"

3"

4"

5"

6"

7"

8"

9"

Cup Size

AA

A

B

C

D

DD

F(DDD)

G

H

I


 

Body Types and Fit

Average

  • trim figure with little or no additional flesh at cleavage or underarms
  • can wear almost any type of bra from light and stretchy to fully constructed
 

Small Bust

  • petite cleavage with no extra flesh at underarms or at bustline
  • shaping is important
  • look for lightly lined bras with contouring to help define silhouette
  • underwire is also helpful
 

Firm, Full Figure

  • a well-toned bustline
  • requires more support than the average woman
  • look for bras with medium to firm support, underwire or natural cups
 

Full Figure

  • less toned bustline and some flesh at cleavage and underarms
  • look for bras with wider, more rigid straps, side boning, a firm fabric construction in cups and underband
 

Bra Support Levels

A combination of fabric and construction determines a bra's support. The amount of support you need depends on your age and toning.


Light-Support Bras
  • have the least amount of cup coverage
  • made of stretchy fabrics
  • shoulder straps and back closures are narrow and delicate

Medium-Support Bras
  • have a larger cup coverage
  • heavy stretch and non-stretch fabrics are often used
  • shoulder straps and back closures are slightly wider than on light-support bras

Firm-Support Bras
  • provide the coverage needed to hold a full bust firmly in place
  • minimum or no-stretch fabrics are used
  • straps and back closure are quite wide
  • look for padded straps to help relieve pressure
     

Bra Fit Problems

 

Band Digging In


  • choose a style with a wider band or increase band size (e.g. 34B to 36B)
 

Bustline Sagging

  • choose a style with more support
  • avoid bras in stretchy fabric
  • also try shortening the straps
 

Back Riding Up

  • adjust hook & eye closure to tighten the band
  • loosen straps
 

Cups Overflowing

  • increase cup size (e.g. 34B to 34C)
  • increase band size (e.g. 34B to 36B)
  • or increase both
 

Straps Digging In

  • choose a style with wider or padded strap
  • try loosening the straps
 

Sides Too Tight

  • choose a style with wider or spandex-blend sides
  • try increasing the band size (e.g. 34B to 36B)
 
Bra Fit Tip

For a proper fit, adjust straps so that they give a firm but comfortable lift. The clasp should be on the first hook. Your bra should stay in place when you lift your arms, reach or twist.