Fashion News

Everything you need to know about bras

A good bra is the foundation of a good outfit, and an essential item for everyday comfort. Yet 8 out of 10 women wear bras that don’t fit, leading to ill posture, back problems and muscle tension. Here we have a complete guide on finding the perfect bra.

The right size

A well fitting bra lends support, shape and comfort. once you’ve felt (and seen) the difference between a bra that fits and one that doesn’t, it will be much easier to pick the right size. However, for those who are unsure or new, here are some tips on getting it right:

  • Be aware of both the chest and cup measurements. Chest sizing usually range from 8-16, similar to clothing size. However the two may be different, so being a size 12 in clothing this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be in bras. Cup sizes are shown as letters, usually ranging from AA to DD. If your size is larger or smaller, it may pay to visit a store specialising in lingerie, as they usually have more variety in sizes.

  • The best way to find your size is to use a tape measure. Run it across your chest, with the tape sitting between your breasts and your underarms. Make sure the measure is flat on your skin and lie straight across your back – not tight enough to dig, not loose enough to sag. Alternatively, most stores have a trained assistant who can measure your size for you, as well as provide some tips on how to get the most wear out of your bra

  • Signs of the wrong size: the most common signs of an ill fitting bra include a bra that is too tight around the chest, a bra that is loose and rides up, cups that force the breast to bulge out the sides and top (think double boobs), or a wrinkled and puckered cup.

In the changing room

once you have an idea of what size you should be wearing, bring some options into the changing room and test these out.

  • Different brands and styles of bras will fit differently, so bring a selection of soft cup, strapless, padded and unpadded bras depending on what you are looking for. Experiment with the straps of the bra, and adjust these according to what feels most comfortable and supportive. As a general rule, there should be enough space to fit a finger underneath the strap. oost bras have adjustable hooks at the back. Experiment with these as well to find the perfect combination. The bottom band of a properly fitted bra should run across the middle of your back without riding up. Your breasts should not be bulging, nor should there be a gap between your breast and the cup.

  • Test your fit a few times by lifting your arms and dropping them. The bra should not move too much, and the straps should stay firm. If you are shopping for a sports bra, jump up and down in the changing room a few times to test the bra’s control. It might feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself later.

  • Try on a variety of brands, materials and cuts. Unpadded cotton bras provide the most comfort, whilst synthetics and bras with underwire give more support and shape.

  • Do not forget, bras must go underneath clothes! That patterned, embossed number may look good alone, but does it create strange bumps underneath your top? Be conscious that bras are for living in, whilst exercising your creative flair.

Bra styles

Being aware of the different styles on offer goes a long way to ensuring you pick the right one. Some common types are listed below.

  • T-Shirt: These feature smooth cups, which give good shape and support. The perfect everyday bra, t-shirt bras are for close-fitting tops.

  • Demi: a demi-cup bra doesn’t cover the entire breast. It usually contains underwire to lift the bust and features a half cup, which leaves the upper part of the breast exposed. These bras are usually worn under more revealing tops, and are often lacy or embellished.

  • Push-up and padded: great for adding cleavage and enhancing your bust, push-up bras have come a long way. A good push-up bra should look natural, and feel like a second skin. oany come with removable padding, as well as being convertible.

  • Strapless: a must for any wardrobe, strapless bras are for tops and dresses with spaghetti straps, or no straps at all. If you do not feel supported enough, opt for clear straps which can be attached to a convertible bra.

  • Sports: made especially for exercise, sports bras can be worn alone or underneath garments. They should be made from a light, breathable material such as spandex, dri-fit or mesh lining which ‘wicks’ moisture away from your skin and prevents chafing.

Everyday wear

Now that you have the perfect fitting bra, here are some examples of shirts and dresses which require specific kinds of underwear:

  • If you’re wearing a sheer white top, it’s best to wear a camisole with support underneath. These extend to the waist, made from material such as lace or satin. An alternative is a flesh-coloured bra; however this should be a solid, full coverage bra that is not lacy or sheer.

  • A low cut top requires a low cut bra. Bras with plunging necklines give the support and boost needed, whilst remaining invisible. Make sure the bra is smooth with a good shape that will give the molded look desired.

  • Square-neck tops look good with demi-cup bras, especially has their straps often sit close to the shoulder. Tops which expose your neck and upper chest would also benefit from demi-cup bras. 

Related stories

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.