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How to buy a bra that fits

Cup overspill, lumps and bumps... Bras can be tricky to get right. Luckily, we've got blogger Josephine from Chic At Any Age on hand to give us the low down on fitting and buying the best bra for you.

tape measure

A well-fitting bra can help you to look younger and slimmer. How easy it is to spend our money on a great jacket, pretty dress or gorgeous silk top, while somehow it often seems difficult to spend money on a well-fitting everyday bra that is unlikely to see the light of day.

Yet it is one of the most important purchases we can make. Not only will a well-fitting bra support our breasts and contribute to breast health but will also act as an excellent framework allowing our clothes to drape correctly.

How to find your perfect fit

bra pic closingIt may be that you suit a balcony or a plunge shape, or that you need padded rather than non-padded. But no matter what suits you, every woman can create a smoother, slimmer silhouette simply by investing in the right bra in the right size.

You'll instantly smooth over any lumps and bumps that can be created by ill-fitting underwear, but most importantly your posture will improve, making you appear taller and slimmer.

How to measure

If you go shopping with a rough idea of your size, you'll know where to start before you head into the changing rooms. It's always worth checking with an assistant, but knowing your basics can speed up the process.

bras contentMeasuring is by no means a scientific process, as it doesn't take into account your personal shape so my best advice is don't measure yourself, go to a good measuring service and get it done properly. There is no obligation to buy their bras, and you will end up with a far better fit than  basing it on your own mathematical equasions!

If you really, really want to try to measure yourself, John Lewis offer a good video to get you started.

A rush and grab in the nearest department store is not the ideal way to buy a bra, even if we have taken our measurements beforehand. Personally I find that self measurements are only a guideline and that the ideal way to ensure that your bra fits perfectly is to schedule some time and have a proper fitting. A professional fitter will have a trained eye and will know what styles will suit you best.

measuring tapeMost lingerie retailers and department stores across the country have trained bra fitters who will spend time understanding your needs and choosing the perfect bra for you. Put your trust in them and I promise the result will be a fabulous silhouette that you'll be happy to show off. Rigby & Peller have some fabulous bras and, in my opinion, offer the best fitting service.

Be open minded when choosing a new bra - you may be surprised that a style you had previously ignored is perfect for you.

Some misconceptions

Moulded bras make you look bigger than non-padded ones. This simply isn't true. They will, however, give you a more rounded shape. Try one - you could be very pleased with the result!

The back should be comfortable. Sadly ladies, it should be as tight as possible! Especially when you first try a bra, as it will give over time with washing and wearing. This is vital to give you the correct support. Don't be tempted to go up a back size for comfort - if your bras all fasten on the tightest hook and ride up your back, you certainly need to try a size smaller.

Strapless bras don't work on fuller-busted ladies. Many brands now do a fabulous selection of comfortable and supportive strapless bras that will give you confidence whatever you're wearing.

different brasAll bras fit the same. Sadly not! They vary hugely depending on brand, style and material, so you should always try them on before buying. Your size can be different depending on the brand, so don't worry about having a drawer full of different sizes, as long as they all fit correctly.

Only non-wired bras are comfortable. For women that have spent their lives wearing non-wired it's understandable to be wary. However, brands are now working specifically on making their wired bras as comfortable as possible, and they'll stay in place all day.


Your bra wardrobe

It's very easy to get stuck in an underwear rut. If one style feels comfy, that's great - stick with it. But variety is the space of life, don't forget, and there will be other styles out there that are comfy too.


  • nude bra 2Invest in a good quality nude-colour bra to wear under your white t-shirts (white bras actually show up more than a nude bra under white tops).
  • An 'invisible bra' made of satin or microfibre will work well under tight-fitting or fine fabric tops. They often have lazer-cut seams to aid invisibility. Bra technology has come a long way, eh?!
  • The neckline you will be wearing will determine the bra shape you choose. If you have an abundance of certain kinds of necklines in your wardrobe, make sure you've got plenty of bras that are suitable. 
  • I find it is nice to have a couple of coloured or lacy numbers. They always make me feel chic and well dressed even if nobody but me knows I am wearing them. Matching knickers go a long way in this respect too...


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