How To Find the Best Bra
The best thing a bra can do is make you feel confident in your body. Just like the clothes you wear, you get to pick out a bra that you like and that feels right for you. Buying your first bra can be confusing and overwhelming when you don’t know what to look for, so I’ve written down some tips on how you can find your best bra:
1. Does my bra fit me?
The most important feature of your new bra is that it fits you really well. The most common first type of bra is a training bra. These along with bralettes and sports bras often use simple sizing measures like small, medium, and large. This makes it easy to shop for training bras in the size you already know you are because of the size t-shirt you wear.
The most common kind of bra is a cup-style bra, and that is where the measuring gets tricky. The good news is that cup-style bras have adjustable arm straps and back clasps. If the straps tend to slip off your shoulder, even when adjusted to the smallest the strap allows, then you know that the bra is too big. But if you’re having a hard time fitting everything into the cups and spilling out the front and sides, then you know it’s too small.
Cup-style bras have a band that goes around your back and is sized in numbers. The cups are measured by letter sizes, with the beginning of the alphabet being small and going into sizes like E and F for extra large. All the letters and numbers can be really confusing when you’re looking for your first cup-style bra, but once you know your perfect fit it opens up all the fashion and colour possibilities!
The easiest way to measure your band size at home is to wrap a soft tape measure (not those yellow metal ones used in home renovations) around your torso just below your breasts. If you don’t have a soft tape measure, you can do the same thing with a length of string and then, marking where the string meets itself around your torso, straighten it out and measure the length on a straight ruler in inches. If you don’t get a whole number, round up. If you get an even number, add four and the sum is about the band size you should look for. If you get an odd number, add five and the sum is your band size (1).
Make sure the tape or string is level all the way around, because that’s how a bra will fit.
Make sure you measure it snug around your torso without tightening it so much that it digs in
Try not to inhale or exhale too much as this will change the size and make the measurement too big or too small
If you find measuring yourself to be frustrating you can ask someone else who you feel comfortable with helping you do it, like your mom
Finding your cup size involves even more math if you can believe that. Take your measuring tape or string and bring it around your torso again, but this time up right under your shoulder blades and just grazing the fullest point of your breasts. That number should also be measured in inches. Now, subtract the band size (not the measurement, but the size) you found above from your bust measurement you just took. That number corresponds to the letter of your cup size!
If you got 1, that’s an A cup, 2 is a B cup, and so on (2). Finally, write down your band size followed by your cup size, and that is your perfect bra size! Now that you’re done measuring, you can shop knowing exactly what you need. All that’s left to find is choosing your favourite style.
2. Does my bra have enough coverage and support?
The next thing we recommend you look for in a bra is coverage and support. Bras come in a lot of styles, just like shirts. You already know about cup-style, training bras, bralettes and sports bras, but even those have different styles within them. For example, cup bras often come with what’s called an underwire. It’s a thin wire sewn into the fabric under the cup to provide more support. If you don’t find that you need that extra support, there are also bras without underwire that some people with smaller breasts find more comfortable. Either way, it should fit snug to offer the best support.
The other support comes from the straps. They hold weight on your shoulders. Most straps are adjustable so you can change them to fit perfectly. If it’s too loose, it won’t offer the best support, but if it’s too tight it may dig into your shoulders, causing irritation and slight pain.
Where the bra hooks and unhooks can also change depending on the style. Bra style is a personal choice, and most people own more than a few different styles depending on preference, comfort, and what kind of clothing they wear over top. If you’re just wearing plain cotton t-shirts all the time then we recommend a smooth fabric bra.
Especially when you’re just looking for your first one or two bras we really love our simple, classic style of cup bra or training bra. That would be a t-shirt material, lightly lined type with adjustable straps and back clasps.
If you’re active in sports or do a lot of rigorous physical activity it’s also a good idea to look for a sports bra. They usually come in simple small, medium, or large sizes.
There are also various degrees of lining in the cup of a bra, from unlined to extreme push-up. Unlined bras are also called balconette, which is just a fabric cup with underwire. These provide little support and not much coverage. For your first bra we recommend a lightly lined bra, as much more padding is often just for fashion purposes and can be less comfortable during everyday use. Don’t worry too much about figuring out what your preferences are right now, because we got you! Apricotton bras have removable padding so you can customize how you want your bra to look!
3. Does my bra have good quality material?
Next, focus on the material of the bra and it’s durability. You will find the material of a bra is important because it affects your comfort and the overall quality. A sturdy material will last longer and hold it’s shape better when you wash it.
Sports bra materials are especially worth noticing since puberty comes with sweating when you exercise, so your clothes and especially bra are best when they’re made of moisture-wicking materials. That way, the sweat doesn’t soak into your bra as much and cause it to smell or stain.
4. Does my bra look good?
The last key thing to figure out about your new bra is the look of it. We want you to be happy wearing it! The look of your bra is entirely up to you and your personal style. If you want, do some research about bra styles (like T-shirt bra, wireless bra, and front clasps) to see what is out there for you to choose from. We recommend something simple to start, so you know how a standard bra feels and works on you before experimenting with other styles, fits, colours and fabrics. Usually women will have one bra in the skin tone, a white bra, and a black bra. We also like light coloured bras because they work best under white clothes, since the colour matches the shadows in the clothing and blends in better than white fabric underneath a white shirt.
All these tips are for you to be the most comfortable you can be in your new bra! If you see a style and fall in love with it, try it out! If you’re interested in hearing more about Apricotton, sign up for our newsletter or visit the shop!
About the Author:
Selina Barker is a writer from Toronto, ON, currently in the final year of her Honours Arts undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. She is doing an English Language and Literature major because of her longtime passion for writing and reading.