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January 11, 2021

Many women are wearing uncomfortable bras that dig into their skin, slip off their shoulders, and create awkward spillage situations—and then rip them off their bodies the minute they get home. A lot of this can be traced back to the lingerie store: If you don’t know how to find the right bra (or even the right bra size!), you’re not going to get one that’s best for you. Put simply, women aren’t getting the support they need to get the support they need.

At Irotica, we would like to show you how to select the right bra to make sure you feel both comfortable and beautiful.

1. Most of the support comes from the band

Cups hold the breasts in place, but the band is responsible for about 90 % of the actual support. So, while the straps may seem like they’re there to hold up your bust, they are really there to help keep your cup flush with your body and to shape your breast. In fact, if your band and cup both fit well, you should be able to slip off your straps and take a few steps while your bra stays in place.

2. Do you know your right size?

Just like with other notoriously difficult-to-shop-for items, like jeans, there’s a wide variation in how bras of the same size will fit from brand to brand, even from one style to another. That’s why experts say women should know both their true size and their sister sizes. If a bra doesn’t fit in your regular size, it might work in your sister size.

The rule of thumb is as follows: If you go up in the band, go down in the cup and vice versa. For example, a 32C could possibly fit a 30D or a 34B. If you’re a 34C, you might find bras that fit better in a 36B or a 32D.

Knowing your sister size is useful to accommodate for size differences between brands. It is also a good resource if your “real size” is hard to shop for. People with smaller bands and large cup sizes, or larger bands and smaller cup sizes, will benefit most from sister sizing.

3. If your breasts are two different sizes, round up

It’s totally normal and really common to have one breast that is bigger than the other. If the difference is significant enough that it makes bra shopping even more complicated than it already is, I suggest fitting to the larger breast. If you want, you can even out the appearance by adding a bra cutlet to the smaller breast or getting a bra with removable pads and taking them out on the big side.

If bras straps are digging into your shoulders, it could mean your cups are too small...

If your breasts are spilling out around the edges of the cup, they might be putting a lot of extra weight on the straps—and you may find yourself pulling the straps taut to hold them in check. Either way, your shoulders would probably benefit from larger cups.

4. ... or your band is too big

Your straps could also be digging into your shoulders if your band is too loose, making it so your straps are doing all the work. Take a look behind you in the mirror: If your straps are pulled so tight that they're yanking your strap up, it's probably too big or is too stretched out to do its job.

5. The band should be snug, not suffocating or loose

When you’ve got the right band size, you should be able to fit your finger between your back and the strap with only about an inch of stretch. Your band is too small if the underwire is squeezing or digging in your breast tissue. But looser is not better when it comes to support. Remember that the band is what accomplishes most of the holding-up of the breasts, so a loose band that rides up between your shoulder blades will not provide the support you need and leave you less comfortable in the long run.

To keep your band fitting as well as possible for as long as possible, I advise you start off by wearing your bra on the loosest hook, so when you bra starts to feel worn out, you can use the second and then third hook for more grip.

6. Different bra styles and materials serve different purposes

Ideally, your bra options should complement your wardrobe. You want styles that are versatile, but comfortable enough to take you from day to night. You also want multiple bras so that you don’t stretch a bra out too fast. The experts I spoke to agreed that everyone should have at least:

-2-3 traditional-style bras, like a smooth T-shirt bra in your skin tone, or in black, which would cover about 70 to 80% of your wardrobe.

-1-2 sports bra that minimizes bounce during physical activities but doesn’t impede your performance. You might want different bras with different levels of support for high impact activities like running versus yoga or Pilates. 

-1 convertible bra that can be strapless, racerback, halter, or crisscross for tops with “unusual” necklines and for formal occasions.

-1 non-underwire bra or bralette you can wear traveling or lounging. Just make sure you can adjust the straps to get the best fit.

The fabric and technology of a bra is also important to take into consideration, that’s why it’s important to ask yourself a few questions when picking a fabric: What do you need that bra to do for you? Does it wick away sweat? Do you want a lace detail? Or do you have sensitive skin and need a softer fabric?

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