How to find your perfect bra

Bra that is fitting

Upclose with Beauty & Fashion Editor Colleen Sullivan

Bra that is fitting you perfectly

Come on, admit it: You've been wearing the same ill-fitting bras for years.

Why? Because you didn't know any better.

Best size for your bra

Neither did I. In fact, three out of five women say their bra doesn't fit quite right. In my case, the straps slide off my shoulders and the cups don't conform to my breasts. I knew it was time to finally get a professional fitting, so I enlisted the help of Eyvette Marigault, a sales clerk at a New York boutique called Town Shop.

She took one look at my bra and muttered, 'Terrible, really ter-rible.' Her well-trained eye pegged me as a 32B, not the 34B I've been wearing for years. (She didn't even take out a tape measure, insisting it's not so much the size, but the fit that counts.)

How bra should fit

'Most women feel that a smaller, tighter bra is uncomfortable. In fact, that's exactly what you need for a good fit,' Marigault explains.

Amazingly, the first bra she brought out was a perfect fit (that's what 36 years as a bra salesperson will do). I left the boutique with my first ever 32B, a nude Cosabella Infinity Push-Up bra ($76), with lined cups and thin straps. It's more comfortable than any bra I've ever owned. My only regret is that it took me so long to get it right.

The bottom line: Go to a pro. It's worth the time, and it's free. Specialty stores, most department stores, and even Victoria's Secret all have bra fitters to assist you.

Perfect fitting bra-buying basics

Tips for a perfect bra

  • Don't assume that you're an A cup because you're flat, or a D if you're busty. Other things affect your size, such as the width of your chest and where your breasts sit on your chest.
  • There's a correct way to put on a bra. Begin by slipping on the straps and hooking the back. Then pull each strap slightly away from your body, lean forward, and lift your breasts into each cup with your hand; this will ensure the best look and fit. The band around your back should rest parallel to the area right under your breasts.
  • Don't forget to stretch. When you try on a bra, raise your arms above your head, reach them forward, and walk around to gauge the fit and comfort.
  • Bra cups should contain your breasts completely. Experts note that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong cup size. If they aren't filled out, try a smaller size. If your breasts are flowing over the top or sides, try a larger one.
  • One breast is often bigger than the other. If the difference is significant, fit the cup size to the larger breast, and then adjust the strap so the smaller breast is tighter than the bigger one.

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