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Ladies, when it comes to buying a bra, wearing the right bra size is just as important as choosing the right bra style. How long has it been since you’ve checked your bra size?

According to Susan Nethero, the “Bra Whisperer” and founder of {Intimacy} bra shops, and Karen Bromley, spokeswoman for the Intimate Apparel Council, the right bra doesn’t have to be so elusive. Follow these  10 rules of bra shopping to end your hunt for the perfect fit once and for all.

Rule #1: Know your measurements.

According to both Bromley and Nethero, the first thing a woman should do before buying a bra is get fitted, which entails getting measured directly under the bust and across the fullest part of the bust. Nethero says 85 percent of women are actually wearing the wrong size. “The biggest mistake is that most women don’t get fitted,” Bromley adds. “You buy a pair of shoes, you want them to fit comfortably—your bra fit is just as important.” And getting fitted once isn’t going to cut it—as your body weight changes, your bra size will too. Nethero recommends a “bra checkup” whenever a woman’s weight fluctuates by 10 percent, which often happens as a result of pregnancy, nursing, exercise, dietary changes, hormones, menopause, puberty and weight gain.

Rule #2: Your cups should be front and center.

Once you find out your real bra size (which can be shocking for some women) it’s important to find an undergarment that not only provides enough support, but also correctly positions your breasts. Nethero says, “When you are looking in the mirror, your bra should lift and center your bust midway between your shoulders and elbows, and your breasts should stay within your body’s frame. You don’t want to carry low and wide.” She says there should also be one inch of definition between your breasts.

Rule #3: The bra should fit firmly around your frame.

Women often associate looseness with comfort, but bras should always have a snug fit. A brassiere gets 90 percent of its stability from the band being firm and level around the body. If your bra is too loose, it will shift up the back and cause every component that’s supposed to provide support to be unstable. Nethero’s advice: “The bra should be tight enough that you can fit only two fingers under the band. The back of the bra should be level with or lower than the front. You want it to be stable as you move throughout the day.”

Rule #4: Account for stretching.

Most bras are made of flexible materials, like Lycra and spandex. Over time, with normal wear, they will eventually stretch out. Nethero recommends buying a bra that fits best when it’s latched at the widest possible position, to account for the inevitable give in the fabric. “It should be on the last hook, so as the bra stretches, you can tighten it,” she says.


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