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In BLOG SERIES/ Secret's Of A Fashion Therapist

How To Figure Out If You’re Wearing The Right Bra Size.

“A huge percentage of women are actually walking around in the wrong size bra–and every time they go shopping for years on end, they just keep right on buying that same wrong size. To see if you fall into this group, try this simple measuring test.” — Betty Halbreich, Secrets Of A Fashion Therapist.

Countless times women step out of my dressing room, and immediately apologize on behalf of an outworn, ill-fitted bra, or camisole. I get the frustration that comes with finding a bra that fits, and so women just get stuck in a rut of wearing the same old undergarments. I remember getting fitted for a 36C at Victoria’s Secret a long time ago. I was buying bras in my size, but they never stayed in place. They would gap in the cup, the straps would fall down, and I’d be constantly adjusting my bra. Then, I discovered Intimacy (the lingerie boutique that is now Rigby and Peller). The saleswoman took one look at me, and said you’re a 32E. I looked at her in amazement, like how do you know that? I tried on the bras she brought me in that size, and they fit like a glove. It changed my whole outlook on bra shopping. I stopped buying bras that didn’t fit, and found ones that did like Simone Perel, Chantelle, and Natori from online stores like Bare Necessities. Knowing your bra size, and eventually your favorite bra brands, just makes shopping easier. It makes getting dressed easier. And it takes the frustration out of clothes shopping because you have bras at home that will work under anything you buy.

Why should I wear pretty bras and underwear, anyway?

Betty Halbreich says, “how you feel in your bra and underwear sets the tone for your entire day.” I completely agree. Your undergarments are important. They delicately dress the most intimate parts of your body. They can make you feel pretty like a woman when you’re all boss mode all day at work. You don’t have to compromise pretty for functional. Thirdlove says, “the best bra is the one you never think about.” Thirdlove makes functional look pretty, and they have an online fit finder. The best bra is one you love, that fits well, does it’s job, and boosts your confidence because it looks pretty under your clothes. Betty says, “you never know when you might be glad it’s there”. This is so true. One time I was getting ready for work in the locker room after a SoulCycle class, drying my hair in a pretty black bra and pants. I happened to strike up a conversation with the woman next to me, who turned out to be a Refinery29 editor in my industry. You never know who you’re going to meet when you’re half dressed.

Betty Halbreich’s 3-Step Formula To Finding Your True Bra Size.

In the book, Secrets Of A Fashion Therapist by Betty Halbreich she wrote out an easy, at-home 3-step formula to finding your true bra size. Seriously, when I read this I jumped out of my chair and immediately measured myself. Betty’s formula is spot on with the bra size I got from my Intimacy bra stylist years ago. Feel free to pause whatever you’re doing right now, grab a measuring tape, and follow the formula below:

  1. Take the measurement, in inches, of your rib cage, just under your breasts. If that number is odd, add five; if its even, add four. That number is your bra size.
  2. Take the measurement in inches, around your bustline for your fullest point. Note: don’t be wearing a sports bra for this. You won’t be able to get your fullest measurement because a sports bra compresses your breasts. You can measure naked, or in a barely-there bra.
  3. If the difference between the first measurement and the second is fiver inches, you are an A cup. If it’s six, you are a B. A seven-inch difference means you’re a C cup. And eight inches means you need a D cup.

There you have it. Now you can really go clothes shopping. Because, as Betty Halbreich says, “so many of us give little thought to our underwear, but the right bra really is a necessity before you buy clothes.” She also recommends that you take a tight-fitted sweater, or t-shirt with you when trying on bras. That way you’ll get an idea of how they really look. You can bring more than one, too. Bring something silky, clingy, and sheer to try on with it.

What To Do Next.

Now it’s time to go shopping and try on all kinds of styles, colors and bra types to fit your daily needs, and most intimate desires. Hit up boutiques, malls and department stores, and see what brand and fit you like. If you’re worried about falling in love with a bra that you don’t know how to wash, click here for my blog post on how I take care of my lingerie. If you’re not sure where to begin, and want to brush up on the types of bras out there are which ones you wear for what, click here for the next post in this, Secrets Of A Fashion Therapist by Betty Halbreich blog series. And, if you’re up for a challenge, and want to dive deep, head over to Cora Harrington’s The Lingerie Addict — the world’s largest lingerie and intimate apparel blog where there’s something for everybody.

Stacy Hamm
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