Are You Wearing the Right Size Bra?

Real Style on 09.26.11
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo: Bare Necessities

Remember when Oprah announced that eighty percent of us were wearing the wrong size bra? "Women of America," she announced, "you need to rise up and get a proper bra fitting." (And then she had every single member of her audience fitted for a new bra. I miss Oprah.)

A bra fitting is truly a must-have for every woman, but professional bra fitters can be tough to find if you don't live in a big urban area (I've had no luck finding a good bra fitter in my mid-size midwestern city). Fortunately, you can check your fit at home, in just a few easy steps.

This fun video by HerRoom founder Tomima Edmark walks you through how to measure for a bra and why we do it that way. Did you know that the traditional measuring approach was created as a marketing gimmic, and that it tends to be inaccurate for anyone over a 38D? Yes, really! Watch the video and learn how to find your perfect fit.

Step One: Measure
You'll need to measure both your band size and your cup size. HerRoom and Bare Necessities both have clear, concise instructions on line for measuring both band and cup (if you prefer written directions); Bare Necessities also includes the alternate strategy for measuring band size (measure above your bra rather than around your rib cage). I like this options, particularly if you don't have anyone to help you with your measuring.

Step Two: Assess the Fit of Your Current Bras
Bare Necessities provides an easy-to-use bra fit checklist, which is basically what a professional bra fitter will do with you in store. The list helps you to assess how well your bra is working by focusing on specific aspects of the fit. Is the band supporting your breasts or are the straps holding them up? Are your breasts spilling out of the cups? Or are the cups wrinkling and bagging? Most of us will settle for a bra that almost fits because we're not sure how to do better; this guide shows you exactly what to look for and what to avoid.

Step Three: Repeat Every Six to Twelve Months
A bra fitting, either in store or at home, is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You'll need to reassess your size every six to twelve months to make sure you're still in the right bra. Pregnancy, nursing and the associated weight gain and loss can change your bra size dramatically. A good rule of thumb is to remeasure yourself every six months or any time you lose or gain five pounds. Bonus: the right bra can make you look like you've lost ten pounds. And that's totally worth the time it takes to measure.

More on Looking Great in Your Mom Uniform
11 Hot Jeans for Hot Moms
8 Beauty Breakthroughs That Make Life Easier
7 Makeup Bag Must-Haves