Fashion & Style

How to find the bra fit for you

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Questions abound and styles seem endless but any woman can learn how to determine the perfect bra fit.
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Measure twice to make your bra fit nice

A high-fashion model in swirls of red silk prances along the runway. Her hair has bounce and shine. A pair of diamond earrings bounce and glitter. She struts along in an attitude of feline arrogance. But she has a pair of something else that is not bouncing—her breasts. She knows the secret—the secret to a great bra fit.


Few women wear a bra that fits. Small-busted women and women with a more ample bosom face the same problems—too tight, too loose or too uncomfortable. Straps chafe. Hooks gouge. Cups aren't filled. Or, they are overfilled. The woes are endless but few women can go braless.


What are you using your bra to accomplish?


Today, there are sturdy sport bras that hold a woman's breasts firmly in place during activities such as jogging or tennis. There are smooth-topped bras that show no seams beneath knits and tee shirts. Lavish, lacy creations are perfect for nights on the town. Nursing bras offer easy access to baby's first beverage. Why are you wearing your bra? Is it for fashion or function?


Bras can be fun. Nowadays you can even be proud to show a decorative bra strap or two in those outfits that just don't allow you to hide them . Some decorative straps are studded with rhinestones, sequins or tiny flowers. Decorative bra straps made of ribbons of clear plastic give a see-through effect. The almost-invisible straps make wearing tank tops and tube tops less worrisome. Peace of mind comes with knowing your straps aren't showing—when they're not supposed to show.


Are you correctly measuring your breasts?


An accurate bra size is a mathematical computation related to cup size and the length of the band that encases one's upper rib cage. Bras band sizes are expressed in even numbers: 36, 42, 38, etc. Cup sizes—A, B, C, etc.,—reflect the fullness of the breasts. Find your perfect bra fit by performing this exercise:


Measure your band size. Use a measuring tape to find how many inches is the circumference of your rib cage as measured beneath the bust while you are standing in a relaxed position.


Measure your bust size. Use the tape measure to find the number of inches around the fullest part of your bosom.


Subtract your band size from your bust size. Each inch of difference represents one cup size; 1" = A cup; 2" = B cup; 3" = C cup, 4" = D cup. Specialty sizes on either end of the spectrum are available, too.


An example of a correct measuring adventure might show this: Band size, 38". Bust size, 40". Subtract the band size from the bust size: 40 – 38 = 2". Those numbers indicate the correct bra fit is a 38-B.



How do you know if your bra is a bad fit?


Sometimes, it's obvious that the bra you are wearing is not the right one. But there are some easily recognized indicators that are commonly ignored by women whose bras are not quite right. These women—most women—settle for what they're used to or stick with the size they've always purchased at the local retail store. Well, ladies, times have changed. There are sizes and style choices for every body type and no need to tolerate common problems.  


• Bra straps cut grooves into shoulders

• Weight gain or loss may require new sizing

• Bra band too tightly compresses rib cage

• Bra cups overflow with excess breast tissue

• Bra's profile slopes into a downward position

• Irritation is noticed from bra's under-wires

• Under-wires or seams leave dents in the skin

• Bra hook positions leave band too lose or tight


Make some weighty decisions about your bra fit


Women must decide for themselves whether the quest for a perfect bra fit is one they will pursue. The female citizens and of ancient times had no need for brassieres. Roman and Greek women wore free-flowing robes and hand-loomed tunics that rode lightly over their unfettered breasts. How times have changed.


Civilizations evolved and influences stemming from religious beliefs, class consciousness and social whims mandated a parade of fashion dictates. Underpinnings resembling stiff-boned cages and rigid corsets and bustles were loosed upon womanhood. Fashion design related to modern brassieres finally was launched by French designers of the early 1900s.


Nevertheless, the heroine of the bra saga seems to be a lady who liked to dance—Mary Phelps Jacobs, a resident of New York. Her impulse to go dancing uninhibited by the constricting contraptions of the day led her to design out of a pair of handkerchiefs and some ribbon the world's first modern bra. A toast to New York Mary: Here's lookin' at ya!

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