A well-fitting bra lifts and supports. But in order to find one, first you have to know your real size


Heat-activated, anti-wrinkle, iPod-charging … today's bras are about as high-tech as computers. They have complex support systems and multiple operating modes. They're priced just a bit shy of a PC.

The quest for the perfect bra can lead women to extremes of shopping, trying on and spending without ever finding the One. And there's a reason for that: There is no perfect bra. High-tech bells and whistles and the brand new, ultimate design are just the side show. The main event is much simpler. It's the fit.

A well-fitting bra does two things: It supports and it enhances. Holds 'em and shapes 'em. End of story.

Except that it's not. It's stunningly difficult to find a bra that does what it's supposed to. And that's not because today's bras, high-tech or not, aren't perfectly wonderful and well-designed. It's because eight out of 10 women are wearing the wrong one [source: Oprah].

The right bra makes a woman feel more comfortable and look younger and thinner. The wrong bra makes a woman look older and dumpier. She may even want to rip the thing off and give up. It's easy enough to tell the two apart in a general way; it's harder to pick out the specifics that are causing the problem.

In this article, we'll do just that. We'll go through the steps involved in calculating an accurate bra size, find out how a bra is supposed to fit and see how to tell if it doesn't.

While finding the right bra can sometimes be an epic journey, it's easy enough to figure out if the one you're wearing is wrong.