Sammy Nickalls
September 30, 2015 7:00 am

Bra shopping, as many of us know, can be seriously frustrating. I certainly have bought plenty of bras that weren’t fitting me the right way — too tight in the strap, too small in the cup, and vice versa. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. According to style expert Jenny Altman, nearly 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. Why? Because it’s so darn difficult to find a bra that fits you in all the right ways — and even harder to find that perfectly fitting bra that also is cute and comfortable. All we want is some good support —is that really too much to ask?

The answer: no way. Here a few bra tips can keep in mind while going bra shopping that could help you find the perfect home for your boobs (well, “home” is really that wonderful feeling you get when you take OFF your bra, but you get what I mean), as well as other facts everyone should know about bras. OK, here we go.

If you are going to be measured at department store, be prepared.

In order to *truly* be able to size you, bra fitters need you to wear a lightly lined bra and a tank top; a big, thick padded bra would throw off your measurements. If you’re not comfortable getting a bra fitting by a stranger, have no fear, because…

…You can figure out your bra size with simply a tape measure and a mirror.

No need to go to Victoria’s Secret! You can totally “DIY” this. Start by putting on the (lightly padded) bra you think fits you best, then measure around your rib cage just under your breasts, rounding up to the nearest inch. There! You’ve got your band size — write that sucker down. Then, measure around the center of your breasts across your nipples, and write that number down. Do the following equation:

Second number – band size = cup size

SOLVE FOR CUP SIZE. Except, the cup size is going to be in number form. However, the number corresponds with its letter in the alphabet. So, if you got one, then you’re an A-cup. Two, you’re a B-cup. . . you get the drift.

That said, bra sizing can be unreliable.

Knowing your size can be a major help, but don’t just grab a bra in your size at the store and buy it without trying it on. Unfortunately, just like many other areas of women’s fashion, bra sizing is not necessarily consistent across all brands, according to bra expert and author of The Bra Book, Jene Luciani. “Unfortunately, there is no consistency at all,” says Luciani. “Each brand has their own ‘fit model’. Plus, you can be a different size for several styles within the same brand.”

WHY IS LIFE SO HARD.

Let’s set the record straight: Bras are not bad for your health.

If you’re thinking about forgoing bras entirely because you’ve heard they are bad for your health, heads up: This is actually a pesky myth that has been floating around for two decades, according to Luciani. “They believed that that too-tight underwire compressing mammary glands could trap toxins,” Luciani told Marie Claire. “But there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim.”

(That said, if you don’t want to wear a bra for any other reason, by all means, let your breasts free!)

Sleeping in your bra won’t make your breasts perkier.

Please, please don’t sleep in your bra just for the sake of preventing sag. You’re making yourself uncomfortable for no reason, according to Luciani. “Wearing a supportive bra over time can help, especially when exercising and breasts are significantly stretching or bouncing up and down,” Luciani told Marie Claire. “Other than that, there aren’t many ways to really avoid it.”

Hand-wash your bras!

I know, I know — with all the other things on the to-do list, the last thing you want to do is wash your delicates in the sink. Unfortunately though, with every wash in the machine, you’re throwing money out the window. The hot water can damage your bras, with the intense movement ripping the fabric and elastic.

It’s good to bring a T-shirt with you when you go bra-shopping.

“I always suggest women bring a T-shirt with them to try on bras,” bra expert Kay-Lin Richardson told Cosmopolitan. “They might think a bra looks great, but then they put a T-shirt on over the top and realize it actually isn’t giving them the shape they want. Or they might feel so-so about a bra and then put the T-shirt on and realize it’s perfect.”

(Image via iStock)

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