Is bra shopping the bane of your existence? Understandable. Finding a reasonably priced undergarment that perfectly cups both of the “girls” without any uncomfy protruding wires or hooks is no easy feat. And, it turns out there’s actually right and wrong ways to shop for bras, so you could be making a big bra hunting no-no without even realizing. We chatted with bra fitting expert Kimmay Caldwell of Hurray Kimmay on the 7 most common bra-shopping mistakes she sees women make. Don’t fall victim to these easily avoidable pitfalls!
- Wearing a band size that’s too big. Kimmay says this is the #1 bra shopping mistake she comes across. The bra’s band actually provides most of the support, so it’s essential to find the perfect fit for this piece, and not just for the cups. “A loose band can’t hug your body and anchor in place,” she says.
- Going a cup size (or more) too small. “It’s so important to make sure that your underwire can go all the way around your bust, anchor on your body, and tack between your breasts,” says Kimmay. If your boobs spill out of the cup when you try on a bra, even if you’ve adjusted the band, then you know it’s too small.
- Thinking you’re the same size in every bra. Unfortunately, Kimmay says it’s super common to wear different sizes in various bras, so don’t assume that the size of your go-to bra universally works for every other one you buy. Because bra shopping would just be too easy if the sizes were consistent. “This is because different brands use different patterns or materials, different countries use different size labeling systems, or the style and coverage is different,” she explains. Even within the same brand, different bras can have sizing variations. The most important thing is to focus on the bra’s fit, not the number on the tag.
- Not having a general idea of your bra size. Even though sizes vary, you should absolutely never go into bra shopping completely blind. Come with at least some idea of your bust size. This makes it easier for fitters to help you. “It’s important for you to know your starting points so you can make an informed, loving decision when choosing your bras,” says Kimmay.
- Not trying new styles. Nothing’s wrong with sticking with what you know, but take a walk on the wild side with your bras every once in a while. If you’ve worn the same bra style for years, Kimmay advises trying something completely different the next time you bra shop just to see how it goes. “Our bodies change, our style changes, and the lingerie industry changes!” she says.
- Shopping for white bras to wear under a white top. “If that’s the fashion statement you want to make, hurray,” says Kimmay. “But if you’re intending for that bra to be more invisible, then stick to one that’s close to your skin tone.” One of your best bets is Warner’s No Side Effects Bra, which comes in a wide range of skin-colored shades.
- Forgetting that changing the band size affects the cup size. Known as “sister sizing,” changing the band size of your bra means that you also need to change the cup size to maintain the same fit. For example, Kimmay explains, if you have a 34C bra that’s too loose, you need to go down to a 32 band size. BUT, to keep the same cup volume, you actually need to go up a cup size to a 32D. “The 32D bra and 34C bra have the same cup size volume,” says Kimmay. “A 36B and 34C have the same cup size volume, and so on.”