So you need a bra...and you have a lot of questions. We’ve got answers
FIRST UP: A PSA
Wear a bra only if you want to. There are pros and cons to wearing one and not wearing one, but it’s a decision only *you* should make for your body—not anyone else. You might want to wear a bra some days…and not wear one on others, and that’s fine.
You might like the way a bra makes you feel… or you might despise it. Many of us have love/ hate relationships with our bras, tbh. There are bras (and non-bras) out there for every person, and it might take some trial and error to find the style that suits you best. That’s where we come in.
1. HOW TO FIND YOUR SIZE
You’ll need a tape measure. Don’t have one? Measure using a shoelace or a piece of string first, then line it up against a ruler, says Wendy Herman, founder of BraBar. Here are her tips on finding your best fit…
Measure around your rib cage, right under your bustline. Round up to the nearest even number in inches. This is your band size.
Wrap the tape measure around your back and across the fullest part of your bust. This is your full-bust measurement. This number should be larger than the first number in step 1.
To determine your cup size, subtract your band size number from your full-bust measurement. The difference in inches equates to a letter of the alphabet. So 1 inch equals an A cup, 2 inches a B cup and so on. Let’s say your band size was 34” and your full bust was 35” (35”-34”= 1”). Your bra size would be 34A, with 34 as the band and A as the cup.
2. TRY A QUICK QUIZ
Some brands have bra fit quizzes on their sites that allow you to answer a few questions, input some measurements and get an edited selection of bras that might work well for you.
Just be sure to check out the brand’s size chart and customer reviews before buying, says Jené Luciani, author of The Bra Book and GiGi Gets a Bra. “Those can tell you a lot about how a bra really fits.”
Plus, buying online is super convenient—you’ll have access to more styles and sizes. But when stores have safely reopened, it’s a good idea to get a professional fitting—to make extra sure you’re wearing the right size.
3. SCOOP UP A BUNCH
“Four to six bras is a good number to start with, especially as you’re still growing,” notes Herman. That’ll give you enough options so you’re not wearing the same one two days in a row, which experts say will stretch out the elastic faster. Grab at least two everyday bras and one sports bra, then maybe a strapless, too.
THE BASICS. Wash your bras in a mesh laundry bag on the gentle cycle and line dry, always. Hang to dry on your towel bar.
WRITE THIS DOWN. Never ever (like ever) put your bra in the dryer. High heat can permanently ruin the elastic and cup shape.
RINSE, WEAR, REPEAT. “Don’t wash your bra after every wear, but do wash it if it’s stretched out or smelly,” says Herman.
SUDS UP. Our fave hot tip? Wash your bras in the shower with you! “Rinse your bra under the running water then, with a capful of baby shampoo, soap up the cups, underarm areas, band and straps. Rinse it out under the shower water, then gently squeeze out excess water. Hang the bra on a hanger in the shower and let it dry completely, which should take about a day,” shares Herman.
Just to be clear, even a perfectly fitted bra won’t feel invisible—you’ll likely never truly “forget” that you’re wearing a bra. But it’s also crucial to remember: A well-fitting bra should never leave deep indentations on your skin, feel too tight around your ribs or make it seem like you can’t breathe. If that’s happening to you, it’s time for a different size or style. When you’re trying on bras at home or in the store, check this list…
Figure out the feel. Are the straps digging in? Is the hook annoying? Does the front section gap away from your body? If so, something’s wrong.
Do a T-shirt try. Can you see some spillage outline over the cups or a back bulge by the band through your tee? If so, you may need a bigger size.
Get hooked. You should always start out wearing your bra on the loosest hook first, then tighten as it stretches out (due to wear/washing).
Skip the straps. With the band still fastened, slip the straps off your shoulders. Does the bra fit like a strapless bra? The band should do most of the work, not the straps.
Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this interview originally ran in our October/November 2020 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.
Top image: Instagram.com/wearlively
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