How to buy a bra that fits.

A few weeks ago I did a post about how we women hate our boobs and at the end I said the only way to combat these feelings is to get a good bra.  Well now my lovelies, I’m going to show you how to do it!  When I told my fellow CT Working Moms bloggers that I was taking on this task lots of  women agreed about the importance of wearing bras that fit.  Even so, 80% of women wear the wrong bra size.  That means when we recently got together for our awesome Love More, Judge Less photo shoot, approximately 4 of us were wearing the wrong size.  One blogger was confident she was wearing the right size though because she had recently gotten fitted.  She was even brave enough to show us a before and after of her “improvements”.

photo 2
A brave fellow blogger before:
(This bra was actually
two band sizes too big!)
photo 1
A brave fellow blogger after:
(See the difference?
Even her shirt fits better)


Do your boobs look all squished together like a picture in a Victoria’s Secret catalog?  Do your breasts look saggy?  Is your band on the last hooks or riding high in the back?  Do your cups runneth over?  If you answered yes to any of these question it’s time for a change.

Sadly, since I started thinking about this post I’ve acquired bra-goggles.  Everywhere I look I see women wearing the wrong bra.   It’s driving me crazy.  I wish I could hand out little pink slips on the street that say “you’re wearing the wrong bra, you’re due for a fitting”.  Actually, you should get fitted every 6 months, which is the same amount of time you should wear a bra before replacing it.  There are plenty of reasons why our breast size changes over time.  We gain or lose weight, we stop breast feeding, we go through a major hormone change.  If you’re worried about the size of your breasts you should remind yourself that they’ll look and feel better in the right bra.  I’ll even confess something to you: before I recently got new bras, it had been THREE YEARS (pre-Kitten) since the last time I had bought new ones.  Shameful.  I have no excuse, and now neither do you.

Ok, maybe one excuse that I’m going to resolve for you.  The thought of having someone else grope my boobs to find out what size I am is not my idea of a good time.  It’s a bit like going to second base with a stranger.  No thank you.  Apparently as I’ve heard from many people the ladies at Nordstrom are very good at the groping bra-fitting, so if that’s your thing, run don’t walk to Nordies and get new bras!  If you’re like me and want to figure out what size you are on your own, keep reading.

Not my idea of a good time. Why is she making eye contact!?

The infographic below is from*  Using these tips I was able to get some well-fitting bras.  I have also had good experiences with (although they have a very tedious return procedure) and  Lady Grace has stores in MA, NH, and ME if you are in that area.  Due to my big uncommon bra size I typically can’t find my size in stores but there are good places out there (like Nordstrom), just promise me you’ll stop buying cheap bras at Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s.  There are a few other tips I found helpful in my quest for the perfect over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.

Bra Measuring - Infographic
  •  Please, please, please fit yourself for a bra on a day when you feel great about yourself.  If you try to do it on a day  you’re not feeling great it will be like trying to swim upstream.
  • Likewise, be honest with yourself about your true size.  I think part of the reason it took me so long to buy new bras was because I really didn’t want to admit that my boobs were as big as they were.  Get over it.  No one else will know your bra size unless you tell them.
  • Use the guidelines above to measure yourself.  Take measurements in a bra you think fits well and without.  Next, without your bra bend at the waist so your back is parallel to the floor and with your tape measure perpendicular to the floor take your measurements again.  Full disclosure: I learned that trick on Pinterest.  Compare all three measurements and then use the LARGEST one.
  • Now that you have your measurements it’s time to go shopping.  The fun part! I prefer to shop online, but you can go to the store if you want (I give you permission).  I think at least 3 bras of varying styles is a good place to start.  Be prepared to shell out some cash.  Good quality bras will cost around $50-$75 if not more, unless you can find a good sale.
  • When shopping for bras try on similar sizes of the same bra to determine what fits best.  For example, 34C and 36B  will fit similarly in the cups, but one might work better for you so try them both on.  Your bra gives you support from the band, not the straps so be sure your bra fits snug but comfortably in the band.  If you try on the bra and the little thingy(that’s a technical term) in the front does not lie flat between your breasts go up a band size.  If you are using the last set of hooks when trying on a brand new bra go down a band size.  The second and third set of hooks are to be used as your bra stretches out with wear.  If any part of your breast is overflowing the cup go up a cup size.  If any part of the cup is puckering go down a cup size.
  • Be patient with this process.  Just like you shouldn’t measure your breasts when you don’t feel your best, don’t try on new bras on a bad day either.

Once you find bras that fit great, I promise you will feel like a new woman.  Then I won’t feel like I need to pink slip you when I see you.

Special shoot out to my brave blogger for showing off her before and after in support of better bras for all.

*I looked for a graphic about bra fitting that had the most information and won.  They didn’t endorse this post.

7 thoughts on “How to buy a bra that fits.

  1. Thanks for a great post. It too took me too long to actually get fitted for bras but it really does make such a difference. Not all store employees are created equal with fittings but when you get a good fit it makes so much difference.

  2. LOL, I am so tempted to whip out my tape measure here in my office (don’t ask me why I have a tape measure, but I swear I do!!!) but my walls are glass and I’m pretty sure I’d get some pretty funny looks. That before and after pic is amazing! What a difference!

    The freaking comments about bra goggles. OMG. Laughing uncontrollably here!

  3. Bra goggles! I’m gasping for air, that is SOOOO funny. Maybe you could get a job with Nordstrom (which sadly has gone waaaaay downhill since it was my store of choice in the 90s. Except for the bra dept., of course) to be a kind of secret shopper who walks around the store with your bra goggles on and gives out a pink slip for a free fitting and 10% off the million-dollar bras at Nordy!
    I agree that a good bra is going to be costly. Every time I try to beat the system, I end up with what I call a Weekend Bra, which means I can wear it around the house on the weekend, but that’s it. Not fit for public viewing.
    Here’s my main complaint: since I’ve been wearing bras, and we’re talking FIFTY YEARS, ladies, the manufacturers inevitably discontinue my favorite bra after I discover it. Last time, I tried to outsmart them and bought a million, but then they all wore out at the same time. Next time I will hide half of them in a lockbox (with my Social Security benefits, if anyone here is old enough to remember the 2000 elections: ) and take them out only when the first set is in tatters.
    Two questions:
    1. What is a typical amount of bras to own at one time?
    2. Does anyone know of any terrific all-cotton (or as much cotton as possible) underwire bras?

    1. In my research for this post, which really meant going to lots of bra websites, somewhere I saw that the average number of bras owned is 3. I think you can get by with three everyday bras, but probably need more than that for “special functions” like sports, strapless, boob boosting, etc. hopefully someone will answer your question about an all-cotton bra. My last all-cotton was a nursing bra.

  4. LOVE your tips!! And I never in a million years thought to bra-shop online…but I’m going to for sure now!

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