The ABC's of Bras: How to Choose the Right Supportby ModernMom Staff
Are you wearing a bra? Guess what - it probably doesn't fit!
For years, industry experts have claimed that somewhere around 85% of women are either not getting enough support from their undergarments as a result of wearing bras several sizes to big or hurting their breasts by smushing them into containers that are too small.
Although we weren't able to find any hard research to back up this stat, it's a pretty widely held perception that women are commonly mistaken about their bra size.
So before you strap on your lingerie, take a minute to find out if you're wearing the right size, style and fit. Your boobs will thank you!
Choosing the Right Size
The first step in buying the right bra is figuring out what size you wear. Here's how to make sure you have the proper measurement:
- To find your band size, use a soft tape measure and wrap it around your torso, directly underneath your breasts. Then add five to that number for your band width (if it's not a full number, round up). For example, if you measure in at 28.5 + 5 = 34.
- For cup size, while wearing an unpadded bra, measure across the fullest part of your bust. For a most accurate reading, don't pull the tape measure too tightly.
- Subtract that number from your band size to figure out your cup size. Typically, each one inch is equal to one cup size. Start with 00 = AA, 1 =A, and so on.
Different Bra Styles
Once you know your size, it's time to figure out what style works best for you! Here's a breakdown on all the different types of support you can buy:
The T-Shirt Bra: It's designed to provide a smooth look under, well, t-shirts.
The Strapless: This bra allows you to wear any strapless/revealing tops without losing all the support of a bra with a strap, but more support than a bandeau. However, if active, this type of bra may be inclined to slip. Beware of any potential wardrobe malfunctions.
The Backless: This bra is perfect for any backless or low back tops/dresses. They tend to be adhesive in order to avoid having a band. Unfortunately, the adhesive may wear off after several wears.
The Racerback: Designed with a T-strap in the back allows you to wear any racerback top or is perfect if you'd just prefer more movement in your back and shoulders without bra strap slippage. However, since there's more pressure on your shoulders, neck pain and shoulder pain aren't infrequent.
The Sports Bra: Made to give your bust support while exercising without being uncomfortable. They vary in support levels so you can find the best fit for whatever activity. One con, they can be difficult to remove. This is definitely a great example of finding the perfect fit so you don't have to wrestle with your bra.
The Push-Up: This bra helps to improve the look of your cleavage by having pads inserted into strategic areas of the cup. They come in various degrees of padding so you can achieve an extreme amount of push-up or a natural looking cleavage. As an added plus, most padding can also be removed if you'd like a less extreme looking during the day and then reinserted for evening.
The Nursing Bra: Made to give you as much support as possible during your pregnancy. Throughout the different stages of the pregnancy you may find that you will need varying cup sizes so be prepared to buy more than one.
The Full Cup: This bra is designed to cover the entire breast for lots of support. The great thing about this bra is that it makes your chest seem fuller without having to worry about any sagging. It's ideal for larger breasted women experiencing back pain because it's able to relieve some pressure off your back if properly fitted.