It took me many more years than it should’ve to care about my bras. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve always worn them; but they were a thing of pure function. I didn’t want to take the time and search out the perfect fit or ideal brand. It has always just been a numbers game–I find what I think is my bust or cup size and stick to it. In the past year or so, though, I’ve shifted my lingerie mindset. There’s a spectrum for bras: some are better than others. Body type matters; change of seasons or even eating habits can affect the fit; most importantly, one size does not fit all. There isn’t some singular formula to zone in on that heavenly addition to your lingerie, but there are a few steps I’ve learned along the way to guide you. And, as the photos show, once I honed in on this Calvin Klein bra, I bought it in every color under the sun.
1. Measure yourself. Using a cloth measuring tape, take the measurements in two areas: around your rib cage and around the fullest part of your bust. The first becomes your band size and the second your cup size. Every inch above the band size equals one cup. For instance, if your band measures 32 inches and your best 35, you’re a 32C (1, 2, 3 = A, B, C). Having a lingerie salesperson do this in the store is also a great option; but I find it’s nice to have an initial reference before you go.
2. Shop for your new bra wearing a light tee. This allows you to see what the bra looks like even wearing your thinnest clothing.
3. Try it on properly. (This one is new to me, too. I just recently learned about the right way to try on a bra.) Lean about halfway forward, swoop and scoop your bust into the cups, then fasten the back. Adjust the straps accordingly.
4. Check the fit in key areas: no spilling over the cups (a sign it’s too small); no gaps between the bust and cup (a sign it’s too big); straps shouldn’t be sliding down your shoulders or digging into the skin; finally, any type of pinching from the band in back or on the sides is not good. Also, if you can only notch on the final hook in back, it’s too small–go up in band size.
5. Whenever you’ve found the perfect fit, don’t let it slip away! Invest in the style you’ve chosen by purchasing a range of colors. The average bra lasts from 6 months to a year before needing to be replaced. Getting multiple options of the same style ensures you have comfort and choices for the year ahead.