As a woman who has never been a member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee), I’ve always been just a tad obsessed about bras.
Sadly – or not, depending on your own proclivities – my daughter was born into a boobalicious family, on both sides. She’s 15, so her bra size isn’t your business. Since this is my blog, and not hers, I’ll disclose mine – currently a 38F.
Now, let’s be real. I wasn’t always a 38F. I used to be quite content with my 34Ds. In fact, I used to say a 34D was the perfect bra size – not too big, not too little, not too fragile, not too tough. I thought a 34D was the Goldilocks – or, rather, the Baby Bear’s stuff – of boobs.
But as with everything, along comes life and children and weight and what have you, and all of a sudden, wihout warning, you go from having Baby Bear’s perfect porridge to Mama Bear’s. Or something.
Anyway, here are five tips for making sure you are wearing the right bra size – or for making corrections if you’re not.
1. If your bras look like you have 2 or 4 sets of titties in them – you are wearing the wrong size.
This should be obvious, no? If you put on a t-shirt and you’ve got your own boobs and a 13 year old’s sitting in there, well, no! But something happened along the way of bra fitting. That something – the Wonderbra.
The Wonderbra got women thinking they should have half their breasts sitting outside their bra cups. In certain settings (e.g., when you’re with your man or your woman in a private, sexy moment) this can be quite appealing. In most other settings – work, the supermarket, picking your kid up from school or daycare, driving, etc. – it really is not.
2. If your boobs still sit on your waist after you hook your bra in the tightest set of hooks & tighten the straps – you are wearing the wrong size.
So many women get this wrong. Support comes mostly from the back of the bra, not the straps. If your bra does not fit…get the right size. *avoids lazy Johnnie Cochran joke*
3. If you are starting with your hooks on the innermost set- you are wearing the wrong size.
This is a tip from my Twitter bud @darthjaeda. It is so true. When you buy a bra, you buy it to fit in the outermost – not the innermost – set of hooks. The idea being, as the bra loses elasticity, you move from outer to inner and still have a bra you can wear. If the bra fits perfectly in the innermost set of hooks, it is too big across the back, and you need a smaller back size.
Now, this is what throws most of us off: sometimes, a smaller back size means a bigger cup size. If a 34F is too big across the back, you might need to try a 32G. I know. I know. Just try it on. Your boobs will be happier than your ego.
4. If you’ve gained or lost 20 lbs but are still wearing the same bras – wrong size; If your bra has the straps as tight as they will go and the back is up between your shoulder blades – wrong size.
I combined these because they are often related to the same issue. Women get very emotional about weight gain and weight loss. Not to mention, good bras and panties are expensive. The best bras on the market – Chantelle, Le Mystere, Wacoal, to name a few – range from $45-80 dollars and up in department stores. Nordstrom Rack used to carry a broad selection of high-end bras, in a variety of sizes, for $27- $30, but judging from my most recent visit to the Nordstrom Rack in Union Square in Manhattan, their selection seems more limited as of late.
No matter where you shop, if you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, spending an average of $60/bra every 20 pounds quickly adds up.
I don’t have a good solution for the “good bras cost a lot” problem, except hawking department and specialty store sales. I do know that a bra that doesn’t fit makes your clothes look terrible and makes you look bigger than you are.
5. If your bra cost less than $20, it’s probably the wrong size.
I understand financial constraints. I understand not everyone can go to Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s – not to mention BraSmyth – and buy high-end bras. Wal-Mart occasionally has good deals on decent underwear. If that’s your budget – go for it.
However, if you make enough money to afford better quality bras, but you really don’t understand what a top quality bra costs – I’m here to correct your misunderstanding.
Many women balk at paying over $30 for a bra. If I wore a 34B, I’d understand. If you wear a 34B, you should be able to find a supportive bra just about anywhere. The fit tips in this post still apply to you. Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for me, there is a wider range of options in your size, so you should be able to find a cute bra that provides good support, no matter where you shop.
Large-breasted women, though, are in trouble.
If you can only afford $15 Wal-Mart bras but you have $80 BraSmyth-sized boobs, you may have to do more with less. You may need to invest in 2 high-end bras instead of 5 low-end ones, and wash them out in the sink every night. Remember what I said about bad-fitting bras making you look bigger, though. You might need to spend more money on your undergarments than you spend on your work wardrobe. A $15 H&M top will look very different over a $80 Chantelle bra than it will over a $30 Victoria’s Secret bra that doesn’t fit well. Over the better-fitting bra, that cheap H&M top may look good enough to wear into meetings with senior fashion executives. I say this, because I do it all the time.
In sum – ladies, get fitted. Any department store lingerie department will give you a fitting; otherwise, you can go to a bra specialty store. Once you know what size you actually wear – buy it. And wear it. Your boobs will sing this to you in gratitude (thanks to @saritamoreno):