If your bra is uncomfortable, it's the wrong one for your body. If you don't look better with it than without it, it's the wrong one for your body.
It really is that simple. But here are some more specific clues that you need to go back to the lingerie department:
- The straps are either falling off or digging into your shoulders
- The band either pinches your rib cage or rides up in back.
- The cups gape or your breasts are oozing out of them (sometimes causing a "dented" look under clothes).
- The underwire either digs into your rib cage or catches your arms when you swing them forward.
Any of these problems can indicate you're wearing the wrong size, the wrong style, and/or the wrong brand. Step one is to find out if you're the bra size you think you are, so grab a tape measure, stand up straight, and:
- Place the tape measure just under your bust, all the way around your torso. Make sure it's level, parallel to the floor, in the front and back. Round to the nearest whole number. If the measurement is an even number, add 4 to it to get your band measurement; if it's an odd number, add 5.
- Now move the tape measure up, and measure around the fullest part of your bust, still keeping the tape measure level all the way around. Round to the nearest whole number.
- Subtract the band measurement (after adding the 4 or 5) from the bust measurement. For each whole-number difference, you go up a cup size. So, if the bust measurement is 37 inches, and the band measurement is 36 inches, the bra size is a 36A. If the bust measurement is 38 and the band is 36, it's a 36B.
Measuring for a bra is not an exact science; it can sometimes help to be fitted by a professional at an intimates shop. This is especially true if you measure above a D cup, since larger sizes are a trickier fit.
Now, when you head into the dressing room with an armful of new undergarments in the correct size, you're in the home stretch. But you're not done. You're looking for one with the right fit, too.