Did you know that 80 percent of American women are wearing the wrong bra size? Besides looking less perky than you'd like, an ill-fitting bra can lead to pain in the back, neck and shoulders. Use the guide below to get a great fit every time.
Get the right fit:
1. Find your band size: Wearing a non-padded bra, measure around your chest right under arms, both above and below breasts. Round up the result to the next even number.
2. Find your cup size: Measure around chest at fullest part of breasts. Subtract band measurement. Every inch of the difference is a cup size. For example, if your band measures 36 inches and your cup measures 38, the 2-inch difference indicates a B cup.
Cup size guide:
1-inch = A
2-inch = B
3-inch = C
4-inch = D
5-inch = DD or E
6-inch = DDD or E or F
7-inch = F or G
Note: Sizes will vary depending on the manufacturer.
If you want a professional fitting, visit a department store or other retailer that offers a variety of brands. Single-brand or smaller stores might try to sell you whatever's in stock—which might not be your best option.
When you're trying on a new bra, pay particular attention to these four key areas:
1. Straps should sit comfortably on your shoulders and not bear the weight of your breasts.
2. The bottom of the cup should rest on the rib cage, not on breast tissue.
3. The front center should be flat against the breastbone.
4. The band should fit snugly around your rib cage. It should not hike up in the back or pinch tightly.
Make sure you wear your bra well:
• Wrap the bra around your torso and hook it in front. Use the largest or middle setting when it's new. You want to save the smallest setting for a few months down the line, when the bra has stretched.
• Rotate the bra into position, then slip your arms through the straps; avoid pulling the bra up by the straps, as that leads to stretching.
• Position your breasts just right. Lean slightly forward, reach into the bra and lift the breasts into each cup, then stand upright.
Care for your bras:
To make your bras last longer, hand-wash them in cold water using a gentle detergent and leave them to air-dry. If you machine-wash your bras, use a lingerie bag and the delicate cycle.