Best Bra Fitting Tips & Rules Time to Get Your Undies in Order

If your undergarments are stretched, stained, damaged or otherwise abused, throw them in the garbage . . . Now.

There is nothing more valuable to your appearance than wearing proper undergarments. Undergarments have the power to completely alter an outfit. I mean, what’s the sense of wearing a fabulous Nicole Miller dress you got for $35 from Bluefly if your backside looks like a carton of Rocky Road ice cream? Who cares if you just scored a Chloe Paddington bag for 200 bucks if your chest is as rocky as the Rocky Mountains?


TBF put together this guide to help you discover the power of proper-fitting undergarments. Whether you’ve got a ton of junk in your trunk or barely have a trunk at all, we have a bevy of tips on finding the proper fit; details on budget places to get great bras; and frank answers to your most pressing underwear questions. And, in true Budget Fashionista style, we encourage you to share your own undergarment tips.

The Budget Fashionista: Kathryn’s Own Personal Boob Saga

For most of my life, I wore the wrong bra size. Like many women, I bought
bras as an afterthought—sort of like remembering to floss after brushing.
In fact, I didn’t get a proper fitting bra until I was 22 years old—11
years after my first training bra. All that changed when my mother and grandmother
camed to visit me during my first year of graduate school. Appalled by the sad
state of my breasts (I wore sports bras that made it look like I had a uni-boob),
my mother and grandmother marched me straight to Saks Fifth Avenue and got me
fitted by a wonderful woman named Antonia. My breasts have never been the same
since.

So profound was this interaction with Antonia that I started a crusade to make
sure all my friends (including you) learn the importance of properly fitting
undergarments. I learned that I was wearing a band two sizes too big and a cup
two sizes too small. She taught me tips like the middle section of the bra should
lie flat against your breastbone, and if you’re over a C-cup, underwire
is your best friend. I believe —it’s like giving birth somehow increases
their attachment to undergarments) of my friends to enlist their help in ensuring
that their loved ones have adequate support.

The Bra Fitting Tips & Rules

Our bodies change for all sorts of reasons over the course of our lives (age, weight variations, pregnancy, and use of the contraceptive pill). So, if you want to look and feel as good as you deserve to, follow these rules.

Do . . .

  • Get measured for a bra at least twice per year by a professional bra fitter
  • Wash your bras in lukewarm water, using a gentle soap like baby detergent, Ivory Snow, or even baby shampoo
  • Never, ever, ever place your bras in the dryer
  • If you’ve got love handles, always buy briefs (not bikinis) with light stomach support
  • For health reasons, make sure your underwear has a cotton crotch
  • Wait at least 1 week after your period before trying and purchasing new bras
  • Always try on bras before purchasing them—you will not wear the same-sized bra in every bra
  • Wash unpacked panties before wearing them (people DO try on the undergarments before purchasing)
  • Rotate your bras every day to extend the life of the bra
  • Focus on fit rather than fashion when looking for everyday bras

Don’t . . .

  • White pants with bright-colored panties (you know better!)
  • Too-tight panties (horror humps)
  • Too-tight bra (boob spillage/back bulk)
  • Visible panty-line (I see London, I see France…)
  • Thongs peeking from the top of jeans (even Britney stopped doing it!)
  • Showing more rolls (of flesh) than a Thanksgiving dinner (try a body-shaper)
  • Form-fitting top with heavily detailed bra (you can see bra imprint through top)
  • Slip longer than dress or skirt (“the Chicken Little,” a.k.a. the slip is falling! The slip is falling!)
  • Tube top with no bra (and you need one)
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Comments

  1. The Budget Fashionista says

    >

    Hey Rose-

    Most major department stores have professional fitters on staff (Saks, Bloomingdales, JC Penney’s, Sears, etc). Some stores like Victoria Secret’s also have fitters, but in my experience they are horrible. You can also go to local boutique shops that specialize in bras and undergarments. These are actually my favorite places to go next to Saks. Now, some fitters are more trained that others which is why I encourage you to read this guide and this article about a survey conducted in the UK http://www.tiscali.co.uk/shopping/which_reports/which_bras.html.
    Whenyou get to the store seek out the most experienced bra fitter there and them measure you. If they tell you that you are a “definite” size, run like the wind. You will never be one size in every brand of bra and if a fitter tells you this then this is a sign of an inexperienced fitter. You will need to try on several bras, in many different sizes, until you find the right one that gives you support AND is comfortable. Your breast should fit completely into the cup, no spillage, no wire digging into your sides, and the band should fit snug, but not too tight on the first set of hooks. You should be able to sweep your hands from you collar bone across the bra without feeling any flesh bumps. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and walk out if they aren’t knowledgable enough to give you answers or blame you (it happens) for their own inability to find you a proper fitting bra.

  2. says

    >

    That’s nice, but what do you do if you know your size but it’s not available? My mother ranges from a (natural) 34D to 32D and most stores -never- carry that or rarely have only one in stock.

  3. The Budget Fashionista says

    >

    Shopping online is your best bet for hard to find sizes (which is any size over a 36C). Sites like Figleaves.com have a HUGE selection of bras in sizes up to 48G. Also try barenecessities.com. Head to our Online Coupon page for coupons to these sites.

  4. Suzanne says

    >

    I wear a 36D or DD (depending on the bra). I am looking for a padded bra since I have quite prominent “headlights”. My breasts are big enough without the added benefit of sharing my nipples with the world. However, I have only found one bra in a large size with padding. Any suggestions?

  5. Deana says

    >

    Lane Bryant (lanebryant.com) – They are a life saver for anyone who wears a bra size 38C+.  The prices range from $25.00 to $50.00 but they will last for a long, long time.  Please give them a try. No $9.99 bras for us!!!  I wear a 40D and I have not had a problem finding a pretty, comfortable, sexy, and durable bra from lanebryant.

  6. aurelie says

    >

    Shopping online is definitely the way to go if you’re looking for sizes outside of the 34A-D. Most of the sites (figleaves, herroom.com, barenecessities, etc) allow you to search by size, style, color, and brand, so it’s easy to find what one is looking for (such as padded 36DD bras for example—a search on figleaves came up with 28 styles)

  7. Jennie says

    >

    I’m a 34AA and prefer to wear padded bras but I find underwiring very uncomfortable – they dig into my chest. I havn’t found any bras that are petty and non-wired. Suggestions please!!

  8. Hilary says

    >

    Um hi…
    I’m 15 and i have 32B breasts but i only have one bra so sometimes i go braless. this is especially embarrassing on pe days when we have to change in the same room as other girls and even guys and everyone sees that i’m wearing NO BRA. sometimes when we’re doing laps, my boobs flop around everywhere. i want a bra but i’m too embarrassed to ask my mum. do u have any tips on supporting ur breasts without bras?

  9. kate says

    >

    i always hear about how hard it is for big-chested girls to find bras.  what about little girls?  i wear a 34A, which is really hard to find b/c most A cups are about a 32—extremely tiny!  help me!!

  10. Shelly says

    >

    Regarding that desire to not share headlights with the world, try a “t-shirt” bra in your size.  They are made of a thick, neoprene/scuba type material, so nothing(!) shows through your clothing…!  Most brands make them.

  11. Julie says

    >

    Hey Suzanne, Try a DIMR. DIMR’s are silicone nipple covers that are invisible under any type of clothing. You can find them online or at a high end lingerie store.

  12. Heather says

    >

    Looking for sexy bra’s im 48G. this is not to eay to find. i have found some at verious stores but the bras arent very nice. someone help please

  13. CClio333 says

    I go to a store called Intimacy for bra fitting. Like the author of this article, I had gone for years wearing too small of a cup and too large of a band. This was because my actual size turned out to be 32D, and most stores don’t stock that, so I had been confusing the best I could find with a bra that actually fit. I had been sized at other stores before – some unscrupulous stores will not tell you that they don’t carry your size, and will try to convince you that your size is actually one that they carry!

    I’ve bought a few bras at Intimacy, but they are expensive. To me, $80-$150 for a bra is a lot. But bras and shoes are the few areas where I am willing to splurge for comfort and support. Like jewelry appraisals, if it is an honest store you should be able to get an estimate without actually purchasing anything. Intimacy lists lots of quality brands on their site. Once you get properly sized, you can shop online or at outlet stores for cheaper bras.

  14. Sophia says

    Im 15 and i wear a 30 DD which is impossible to find! Unless you are willing to spend 80 dollars for a bra at nordstrom. Does anybody know of a place i can get bras my size without having to spend so much? Thanks!

    • TBF says

      try barenecessities.com and figleaves.com USING A COUPON (head to retailmenot.com for the best coupons for these stores). Strangely enough- Lane Bryant might also have your size as well as VictoriaSecret.com online

  15. says

    I agree with you about washing everything before you let it touch your skin. Clothing goes through a lot in the store before you get to it and why take the risk of catching some nasty bug because the person who tried on panties before you did not keep her underwear on!!!

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