Bra Buying Guide
It could be said that buying bras and wearing them both fall somewhere on the emotional spectrum between being utterly depressing and completely traumatic for many people. Many women are sporting uncomfortable bras that irritate their skin, slide off their shoulders, and cause awkward spills—then rip them off as soon as they get home.
A lot of this can be attributed to the lingerie aisle: If you don’t know how to choose the best bra buying guide for you (or even the right bra size! ), you won’t be able to find one. Simply put, women aren’t receiving the support they require to obtain that support.
I consulted three stylists and experts in bra fitting to make sure you got the most out of this experience, and they provided a thorough breakdown of the factors you should take into account when purchasing a bra.
Women of all ages and sizes can benefit from their advice, which ranges from breaking down bra components to identifying warning signs when your bra is too big or small. Here are 11 things that everyone who wears a bra should be aware of.
1. Most of the support comes from the band.
Although cups keep the breasts in place, the band provides about 90% of the actual support (strapless bras exist for a reason). Therefore, despite the fact that it may appear that the straps are there to support your bust, their true purpose is to help keep your cup flush with your body and to shape your breast.
In fact, according to Hurray Kimmay’s Kimmay Caldwell, a bra expert, if your band and cup are both well-fitting, you should be able to take a few steps with your bra still in place.
2. You need to know your size and your “sister’s size.”
There is a lot of variation in how bras of the same size will fit from brand to brand, even from one style to another, just like with other notoriously difficult-to-shop-for items like jeans. Because of this, experts advise that women be aware of both their actual size and their sister sizes. If a bra is too small for you, it might fit in your sister’s size.
As a general rule, if you move up in the band, move down in the cup, and vice versa. A 32C, for instance, might fit a 30D or a 34B. You might find bras that fit you better if you are a 34C in a 36B or 32D.
It helps to know your sister’s size to account for size variations between brands. If finding clothing in your “real size” is difficult, it is also a useful resource.
Sister sizing will work best for people who have smaller bands and large cup sizes, or larger bands and smaller cup sizes.
3. There’s an equation for figuring out your band and cup size.
Your cup size (represented by the letters AA-M) and band size are combined to determine your bra size (numbered 28-44). Any woman would be wise to visit a boutique for a professional bra fitting. You never know what a bra specialist will reveal, like the fact that you’ve been wearing the wrong size your entire adult life. Using some tape, you can also measure yourself at home.
You’ll need two measurements to take at home: one around your back and under your bust for your band size, and the other over your nipples. After that, you’ll take the difference out.
As an illustration, if your bust is 35 inches and your underbust (or rib cage) is 32 inches, you will be a 32C because 35 minus 32 equals 3, and the letter “C” in the alphabet is represented by the number 3.
4. If your breasts are two different sizes, round up.
To have one breast larger than the other is completely normal and common. Cora Harrington, lingerie expert and author of the forthcoming book In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie, advises fitting to the larger breast if the difference is great enough to make bra shopping even more difficult than it already is.
You can, if you’d like, even out the appearance by wearing a bra cutlet on the smaller breast or by purchasing a bra with detachable cups and pulling the larger ones out.
5. If bras straps are digging into your shoulders, it could mean your cups are too small.
You might need to pull the straps taut to keep your breasts in check if they are protruding past the cup’s edges and adding a lot of extra weight to them. In either case, bigger cups would likely help your shoulders.
6. If your band is too big.
If your band is too loose, your straps may be digging into your shoulders because they are carrying all the weight. Look behind you in the mirror to see if your straps are pulling it up because it is either too big or too stretched out to function properly.
Another indication is if the centre gore, or the panel in the middle of your bra’s front between the cups, is floating off. The centre of your chest should be where it lies flat.
Of course, you should size down if the cups are gaping because your breasts aren’t completely filling them.
The band should be snug, not suffocating or loose.
When the band is the proper size, you should only have about an inch of a stretch when sticking your finger between your back and the strap. If the underwire is pressing against or digging into your breast tissue, your band is too small.
But when it comes to supporting, looser is not always better. According to Caldwell, most people believe that being loose means being more comfortable (consider caftans or sweatpants), but this is untrue when it comes to bras.
A loose band that rides up between your shoulder blades won’t give you the support you need and will ultimately make you less comfortable because the band is what does the majority of the holding-up of the breasts.
Caldwell suggests starting by wearing your bra on the loosest hook so that when it starts to feel worn out, you can use the second and then third hook for more grip. This will help keep your band fitting as well as possible for as long as possible.
“Full bust,” “full figure,” and “plus size” mean different things.
The most popular sizes for women nationwide are between 32DDD and 34G (32E and 34F in UK bra sizing), according to a 2022 survey of 2,000 consumers by lingerie retailer Rigby & Peller.
Larger sizing bras from more brands are available; these are sometimes referred to as plus size, full bust, or full-figure bras. All of them have slightly different meanings:
Full-bust women are those with a small band and a large cup size. This includes band sizes of 36 or less and cup sizes of DD or larger. Full bust sizes come in sizes 28G, 30F, 32E, and 34H, among others.
-Bras in the plus size category have a band size of 38 or greater.
-Full figure includes sizes DD+ with a band of 38 or bigger. All plus-size bras are full-figure, but not all full-figure plus-size bras are plus size. A 40B would be just plus size, whereas a 38F would be full figure and plus size.
7. Different bra styles and materials serve different purposes.
Your bra selections should ideally match your clothing. You need clothing that can take you from day to night while still being versatile. Additionally, having several bras will prevent you from wearing one too quickly. The experts I spoke with all agreed that everyone ought to possess at the very least:
-Two conventional bras, such as a smooth T-shirt bra in your skin tone or in black, which would cover roughly 70 to 80 percent of your wardrobe.
-A sports bra that doesn’t hinder your performance while reducing bounce during physical activity. For high-impact activities like running versus yoga or Pilates, you might want different bras with different levels of support. (Plus, if you exercise frequently, you’ll need several so you won’t have to wash them every time.)
-For tops with “unusual” necklines and formal occasions, a convertible bra that can be strapless, racerback, halter, or crisscross is recommended.
-A bralette or non-underwire bra you can wear while travelling or relaxing To get the best fit, just make sure the straps are adjustable.
According to Jenny Altman, fashion stylist and lingerie expert from the blog I Love a Good, a bra’s fabric and technology should also be taken into account.
“For this reason, it’s crucial to consider a few factors before choosing a fabric: What does that bra need to do for you, exactly? Does it absorb sweat? Do you desire lace trimming? Or do you require a softer fabric because your skin is sensitive?
We have covered all the essential points, hoping this Bra Buying Guide will help you to select the perfect bra for you that will be suitable for your skin too.
How do I know my bra cup size?
The most typical method for determining your cup size is to divide your bust size by your band size, and then use the result to determine your cup size using a bra size chart.
What is bra size 34B equal to?
The cup of 34B is the same as 32C or 36A.
Which type of bra is best for daily use?
For everyday wear, we advise cotton bras, T-shirt bras, and non-padded bras because they are made to provide hours upon hours of comfort.
Which type of bra is most effective?
If support is what you’re looking for, underwire bras may be your best option because they are known for offering the best support. Larger, fuller breasts are ideal. Underwires can be uncomfortable for some people, so if you don’t require the added support, you might want to forego it.
Which is bigger cup size B or C?
Your cup size is represented by that number. You are an AA cup for less than an inch, an A cup for an inch, a B cup for two inches, a C cup for three inches, a D cup for four inches, and a DD cup for five inches.