There are a few things I have learned over the years about undergarments:
1. Don't be cheap. I good supportive bra is going to cost you. I buy two. That way I can wear one, and give the other a day of rest.
2. Take proper care of your bras. If you are going to spend $40+ on a bra, you want it to last. Hand washing is best, but if that's not practical, wash it in a mesh bag on delicate setting. And NEVER put it in the dryer!
A few years ago, while watching Oprah, she had the best episode call the Bra Intervention with Susan Nethero and Nordstrom's top bra fitter Sandra Saffle. If you would like to read the whole article, go to Oprah's Bra Intervention. Here are the basics according to the experts.
QUICK BRA FITTING TIPS
· If your cups runneth over, it's time to go up a cup size.
· If your cups dimple, it's time to go down a cup size.
· If you have the dreaded back fat, you probably think your bra is too tight, but you're wrong—your bra is too big. Wearing the bra lower on your back with a smaller band size will completely eliminate the back fat.
· If your strap falls down, that means your bra band is riding up and you probably need to go down a band size.
· The perfect position for your breasts is midway between your shoulders and your elbows.
· Your bra should be level front to back. Susan Nethero, from Intimacy stores, says most women wear their bra bands too high on their torsos and throw their measurements off. "Most women," Susan says, "keep going up in the back [increasing their band size] instead of getting a deeper cup. We want to keep the back lean and small so we can lift the bust. [The bra band is] like a bridge, if it's properly planted at the base, it can lift."
All women lose firmness as they get older—so do their bras. "When you buy a bra," Susan says, "make sure it fits you in the loosest hook. That way you can tighten the bra to the second and third hook as the bra ages and retain the firmness and the lift."
MORE BRA FITTING TIPS:
When measuring your chest to find the best band size, Nordstrom's top bra fitter Sandra Saffle says to make sure the measuring tape is secured low and snug on the back. Most women secure their bra band too high on the back, causing the band to ride up and the cup to fall forward. Also, make sure to lift the breast tissue up when measuring—that way the tape is snug on the rib cage. If your bra band lies across your shoulder blades, you've got it all wrong, Sandra says. The band should fit around the smallest part of your back.
What should big-busted women watch out for?
Sandra suggests that big-busted women lift their arms up after securing the bra band to make sure they are not dropping out of the bottom of the cup. If you have spillage, then your cup size is too small!
What's the deal with underwire?
Wire circumference is crucial, Sandra says. Your underwire should surround and support your breast—not poke into it! If the wire pulls away from the body in the center, then the cup size is too small. To test your underwire, Sandra says you should sit down when trying on a bra. That's a great way to make sure your bra isn't pulling away from your body. The cups should be secure against the breasts with the center of the underwire flush against the cleavage area.
Are you in cup denial?
Ladies, admit it. You're probably in cup denial. Sandra says most women don't like to accept their true size. But, remember, your bra size is like your shoe size…if the shoe fits, nobody else needs to know the size! You'll feel more comfortable and attractive in the correct cup size, whether it's an A or E, Sandra says. Like a new shoe, a new bra should also be a little snug at first. As the Lycra relaxes, your bra will become looser on the body.
What bras should petite women wear?
Women with a petite figure and a smaller bust should look for bras with defined cups. Although petites may not need heavy-duty support, Sandra says a structured cup helps accentuate the body's silhouette under clothing.
How does weight affect your bra's fit?
If your weight goes up or down by as little as five pounds, Sandra says it's time to refit your bra. When your clothing size changes, so does your cup size!
Bend deeply at the waist before fastening your bra—this automatically centers it and distributes the volume evenly. Straps should neither fall down nor dig into your shoulders (they ought to provide only 10 percent of your support—the rest comes from the band).
Try a Smaller Band
Most women wear their bras too big—they think "comfortable" means "loose." What they actually need is a firmer band to keep the bra level across the front and back.
(Susan Nethero helps women find the right bra size at her Intimacy stores in New York City, Chicago and Atlanta. Visit their website to find out what size bra you should be wearing and find a fitting location near you. 877-A2HHCUP (877-224-4287) www.myintimacy.com)