What Every Woman Should Know About Bra Shopping

© 2007 Intimate Guide

Every day we wake up and get dressed. For many of us, that’s the extent of the thought we put into our garments as we focus on the daily stresses that await. A few among us have learned a sexy secret to sanity and savvy that works better than a shot of espresso. Lingerie!

A woman’s sexy lingerie is her private equivalent to a man’s power tie, but with the added benefit of feminine frilly French lace, dangerous leopard print, or sophisticated black silk. When the first thing that touches your body and mind in the morning is a special treat just for your pleasure, you’re sure to have a beautiful day! Not to mention, your evening…

Since high school health class doesn’t discuss undergarments, most of us got our breasts without a clue as to how to properly adorn them. Unless you could (gasp!) talk to your mom, you were left rummaging through department store racks or asking saleswomen with little more than your own knowledge. The first lesson we should be taught about our bodies when we become women should be how to find a great bra, not how to find a bad boy!

We all need to know

1. How to measure ourselves to attain the proper size bra

2. Which bras are appropriate under which outfits

3. How to carefully maintain precious pieces with proper care

Bra fitting has become a mysterious, agonizing task. But when you take the time to measure properly, you’ll most likely find that you have a different bra size that you thought. Nearly 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Wouldn’t it be great to walk into a pretty boutique and learn you’re a 34D, not a 38B?

Oddly, fit is not the only reason to have a proper bra measurement. When you wear the right bra size for your body, your figure is transformed. You may well turn your frumpy lumps into succulent melons and look as if you’ve lost ten pounds and had breast augmentation. The right bra is the pinnacle of your wardrobe, your stature and your comfort. A proper measurement will allow for a good fit which feels comfortable. No more wires digging into your ribs, bands riding up in back or straps that slip off your shoulders.

It’s an easy and enlightening process to measure and discover your true band and cup size. You could even have a ‘girls night in’ with your friends, sip a cocktail and take turns measuring each others’ flirty fronts. Or better yet, invite your man to do it and don’t ‘give him any’ until he takes you shopping for a new, sexy lingerie wardrobe. If someone helps you measure, your arms will be down and the numbers will be more accurate. When measuring, have a tape measure on hand, remove your shirt and wear your most comfortable bra. If that is an oxymoron for you, just wear the one that is least likely to cause homicidal tendencies.

A bra size has a number and a letter

The number is equivalent to the band size – around your torso. The letter is your cup size, which holds your breasts. Measure for band size first, around your ribs just under your breasts. Check in a mirror to make sure your tape measure is making a straight horizontal line all the way around your body. The band of your bra should hug you snugly, but not choke you tightly. Round up or down to the nearest inch if your measurement is not a whole number. If the number is even, add four; and add five if your measurement is odd. Write this number down.


Next, measure for cup size by wrapping the tape measure around your body at the fullest part of your breasts, again making sure that the tape measure is even in front and back, parallel to the floor. Round the number up or down to a whole inch. Write the number on your pretty paper.

Now, simply subtract the second (larger) number from the first number and note the difference. The difference between the two numbers is your cup size.

If the difference is 0- ½ inch, you’re cup size is an AA; ½-1” is an A; 2” is a B cup; 3” a C cup; 4” a D; 5 a DD or E; 6” is a DDD or F; 7” a G; and so on up to 10”, or the Dolly Parton. Keep in mind that a D is not the same size cup on a 34” band as a 40” band. The larger the band of the bra, the wider the U of the cup. Band size is constant, and cup size is relative to it.

With that in mind, women easily fluctuate in weight and shape from month to month, year to year, during and after pregnancy and when breast feeding. Measure yourself whenever you feel uncomfortable in your bras. Chances are your body has changed and your bras should too. You might event want to measure yourself twice in the same month, at 2 different times in your cycle, if you find your breasts seem larger one week a month. A well fitting bra should support your nipple half way between the top of your shoulder where the strap sits, and your waistline. The straps and band should be snug but not tight, and the band should be parallel to the floor.

Once you’ve learned your size, it’s time to try on some bras!

Start by fastening a bra of the correct size on the loosest hook and work your way in if you need it a bit tighter. Your band is too big if you’re spilling out under your cups, or if it’s riding up in back.

Think your back is fat?

You may just need to change your bra size! A band that is too small gives you the unnecessary appearance of back fat. If you get wrinkles in your cups, it’s too big. Try another band size or a different style of bra before trying a different cup size. You should also sit down when trying on a bra to make sure it isn’t pulling away from your body. The cups should lie against the breasts all the way around with the center gore (and underwire) flush against your chest.

When shopping for a bra you also need to know what types of bras you need for the types of clothes you wear. Each bra serves a specific function that can enhance your figure under the right outfit. It makes all the difference between your clothes wearing you – or you wearing your clothes. Try matching light colored bras to light colored clothes, and darks to darks. This will keep your dark clothes from staining your pretty white underthings, and color coordination is just a good idea in general.

You can always benefit from a few cute t-shirt bras. They are supportive with a smooth, great shape. T-shirt bras have no seams or lace to show through your shirt, and many are lightly padded to conceal and smooth perky nipples that you may want to keep private until later in the day.

Buy at least one really good sports bra, more if you’re active or an athlete. These bras offer wonderful support and protect our boobies from bouncing, which can stress delicate tissue and add to sagging. Protect yourself before your wreck yourself! Good sports bras can make you look like you’ve already lost ten pounds, so it’s like a free month at the gym that you didn’t even have to show up for!

Once you have those basics covered, have fun with bras that reveal and enhance, like demi cups, balcony bras, pushup bras and strapless bras. These bras are super sexy and great for plunging necklines, halter tops and racer back tops because many of them come with removable straps that can be reconfigured to suit your dress. Pick up at least one pair of clear straps to use with these bras, as an alternative to colorful bra straps showing under tank tops. Clear straps offer nearly invisible support for a barely-there top. They come with different colored hooks to match your bra artillery.

Find your own bra style

Are you fem and frilly in lace or wild and sexy in leopard print? Play around with a variety of styles and colors, and remember that a sexy bra can turn your frown upside down, and give your shape a lift; maybe even land you a much needed date! Think of bras and lingerie as an ever-evolving part of your sexy spirit.

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