3 Steps for Choosing the Perfect Bra
Many women are wearing the wrong-sized bra—and that's no surprise! No two pairs of breasts are the same, and there are many different styles and bra sizes. While choosing the right bra can be complicated, there are three factors to consider that will help you get the right fit.
Want to start building your perfect bra wardrobe? Here's the step-by-step.
Step One: Measure your bra size
Measuring your chest is the first step to finding the correct bra size. There are a few different ways to get fitted and find a good starting point. Check out our website for a go-to fit guide. Follow the instructions to find your band and bust measurements using a flexible measuring tape. Then, type your numbers into the calculator to find your recommended size.
Many women also opt to get measured at a lingerie shop or department store. Fitters tend to be trained in measuring bra sizes; this is a great way to go if you're unsure about measuring yourself. They'll often refer you to styles to try on in-store for an idea of how your new bra size will fit you or to find out if something needs changing.
Once you've been measured, try on a bra and compare it to the most comfortable bra you own. Does the band feel too loose or tight? What about the cup size? How do those fit—is there gapping or spilling? Asking yourself these questions while trying on new bras can give you an idea of whether you need to alter the cup or band size of your initial measurements.
Step Two: Find the Right Style for Your Body Shape
The first step to finding the right bra style is determining your breast shape. While women all have unique breast shapes, finding a category that best fits your body is a great way to start figuring out suitable bra styles. Let's explore them!
Round breasts have equal fullness at the top and bottom. People with round breasts can generally wear most bras; a wireless bra with a bit of support is a great choice for everyday wear. A balconette can offer extra support and shape if you want more lift.
Shallow breasts are spread over the chest with little horizontal volume. A balconette or demi bra with an underwire is great for shallow breasts due to its highly supportive bra band. This support will have a push-up effect and give the bust a fuller shape with more volume.
East/West breasts point toward either side of the body with a wider gap in between the breasts. Try a plunge bra to push the breasts closer together. For more relaxed days, consider a triangle bra for a little less lift and more comfort. A full-coverage bra is also a great fit if you want to minimize cleavage.
Pendulous breasts are fuller on the bottom than on the top. This is super common for women with larger bust sizes. For shaping, a balconette bra lifts the breasts up so that the volume is distributed closer to the top. For everyday wear, a comfortable t-shirt bra with a bit of padding. It works well to give pendulous breasts a lift.
Many women have asymmetrical breasts with slightly different shapes or sizes. To give both breasts a similar shape, a demi bra with banded support at the bottom provides just the right amount of lift to appear more similar. A padded t-shirt bra is a great everyday choice with slightly less lift, while a plunge style with padding evens your shape while letting your cleavage loose.
Step Three: Considering the Occasion
The type of bra you need changes depending on different life stages, outfits, or activities. Bodies are constantly changing, and the type of support you need can change, too. Let's take a look at how to occasion-proof your lingerie drawer and give you a heads up for where to look when things start fitting a little differently.
Hormones play a huge role in breast shape; over time, this might make your search for a different bra. Two events often result in a changed breast shape: pregnancy and menopause. With both of these life stages, the body goes through huge changes, so your breasts are expected to follow suit. In a post-pregnancy body, a t-shirt bra with padding is a great way to give less full or round breasts extra shape without sacrificing comfort. When the body goes through menopause, the decreased estrogen can change the bust size, making the breasts less elastic and more tender. A soft, mesh bra with less padding (or even a non padded bra) can ease the strain on post-menopausal breasts.
In addition to body changes, styles are constantly in flux. Plunging necklines and edgy racerback tanks are current trendy styles with unique bra needs. For lower-cut tops or sexy night-out dresses, a plunge bra can amp up the cleavage by pushing the breasts together. For trendy tanks, try out a racerback bra. The unique back means you won't need to spend all day dealing with slipping straps under your top.
For daily wear, two popular options will keep your breasts healthy. For more supportive underwire styles, a balconette or demi bra's wider band distributes the lift across your chest and back. This reduces strain on your bust. For ultra-comfy days, a wireless bra or bralette is a great choice. This puts even less strain on the body. A bralette is an excellent choice for smaller busts. On the other hand, a wireless bra with padding offers larger busts the same comfort with added support.
There will always be special circumstances that require specific bras. Unique or strapless occasion wear means your outfit needs something other than an everyday bra for style and support. A strapless bra and convertible bra are two styles that have you covered. Beyond occasion wear, your workout gear should include a supportive sports bra. A little bit of compression protects your breasts and supports your back.
Once you've found the right bra size, figured out your breast shape, and considered the occasion, you should have all the tools you need to choose the right bra. Still feeling a little overwhelmed? UCA Lingerie's fit stylists are here to help guide you along your journey and connect you with the right bra.