Chances are, unless you've been fitted for one in the past year or two, you're wearing the wrong bra.

Trust me on this: gravity is not your friend. Think about your favorite bra, the one you wear most frequently. Do you ever have to hitch up the straps? Does the underwire poke you? Your bra size is one of those numbers you file away and keep re-using, regardless of age and weight fluctuations. But it shouldn't be this way.

How a Bra Should Fit

  • It should be snug across the band. It shouldn't ride up or be that easy to put on (unless you have a front closure).
  • The front center of the bra should lie flat on your chest and not gape open or press into your skin uncomfortably.
  • The cups should be full but not spilling over—you know exactly what I mean.
  • The band should not create unsightly bulges above or below along the back. 

bra strap

How to Find the Perfect Bra

Sure, you can guess your own size pretty easily at home, but the best way to get the ideal foundation garments for your frame is to get a professional fitting. If you head to your local high-end department store—I went to Nordstrom—the staff in the lingerie section should be trained on how to get your measurements.

I recently went with a couple of friends to get this done, and the process was positively painless. You enter the dressing room with your fitter and disrobe on top to just your bra. I don't know why, but I wore a sports bra, thinking it would be less embarassing. You will then be measured at the top of your rib cage with a tape measure for your proper band size, and cup size will be estimated by sight. That's it! 

tape measure

Long story short, my band size was the same, but my cup size most certainly was not. In my defense, I think women get attached to their bra sizes. You were a 36C in college, you're going to squeeze into a 36C as if your life depends on it. You're not doing your figure or your back any favors with this mindset, however.

How to Buy the Perfect Bra

Okay, back to the high-end department store. Yes, it will be expensive, but you should buy at least one of the bras they find for you, to act as your best-fitting bra to use as a standard. When you get home, search for cheaper options in your proper size and try them on when you can. Target and more accessible department stores like Macy's have pretty good selections of affordable foundation garments. Get one for the gym/exercising in a breathable fabric and another one for casual wear when you don't need as much support.

Take care of your new purchases by washing your bras by hand in warm water and lay them flat to dry. Store them flat too, and don't fold them cup-into-cup because it can ruin the shape.

lingerie drawer

Courtesy of Parfait Lingerie

**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Unsplash unless credited otherwise.

Take these tips, and go out and find your perfect bra. Everyone needs a good support system!

When was the last time you had a bra fitting? Do you have any tips on how to make expensive foundation garments last longer? Let us know in the comments!