I wore the wrong bra size for years. I knew it, too, but I was always too lazy/poor/ashamed of my body to do anything about it. One day I was feeling emotionally tough and financially wealthy, I marched into Nordstrom, located the oldest employee in the lingerie section — figuring she knew best because she had the most years on the planet/feeling up boobs and also, it's just less embarrassing to be naked in front of the elderly — ripped off my shirt and said "HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES??"
Actually, no, I wasn't that brave, but a sexagenarian in head-to-toe impeccably tailored bebe (or it might've been Express?) did find me browsing the racks of cheapy cheaperton salebras and walked over, tape measure around her neck and eyes narrowing on my chest. "You're wearing the wrong bra size," she barked as she openly gawked at the side boob falling out of my tank top. She was so authoritative; I almost dropped and gave her 20. With that, she pushed me into the fitting room and conducted the. most. invasive. bra fitting known to woman. I seriously haven't been that intimate with another human being in well, ever. By the end of this fitting, I thought I might be pregnant, but I did't care because I was wearing a bra that felt fucking fantastic!
I cannot say enough times how very wrong I was about the size I was wearing — OK, fine, I'd been in a 38 B and my actual size is a 36 D — but let me tell you: BAM! HELLO COMFORT. HELLO BREASTS.
My new (paid) friend explained to me that many women wear too large a band size and too small a cup size, and that pushes their boobs to the side, and long story short, your tits look like shit, you die alone, your cat pisses in your mouth and then drinks that up, and then eats you, etc. So if you aren't sure if you're wearing the right bra size (and you wear bras, in general; do your thing, girl), please please please get a professional fitting. Most every high-end-ish store offers them for free — and you can always go in and get the fitting, and then leave and buy your bras on Amazon, or whatever.
The experience was far less mortifying than I thought it would be, and by the end of it, I was straight-up doing a bizarre (and... sexy?) fashion show for three Nordstrom employees. I felt good; I looked better!
If you're still unsure about whether or not you want to see someone about it, at least check out The Stir's handy dandy guide to the eight mistakes people make when purchasing and caring for bras. It's useful, and I'm especially feeling this info about being open-minded when it comes to size:
What you think your bra size is and what your bra size actually is are probably two different things. And don't be surprised if your band size is smaller than you think and your cup size is larger. Don't laugh or cringe when you find out your real size after being professionally measured. Just go with it.
That was a hurdle of mine, but I realized it's the same with clothing. I can wear anywhere from a size 8 to a size 20. Tags ain't nothing but a number, always try things on and fuck the feeling bad for not being the size you think you're supposed to be.
I also learned that it's important to wash your bras fairly regularly because the "oil from our skin breaks down the elasticity of the fabric if we don't wash them every time." Puke, and also: DULY NOTED.
Although not mentioned in the article, it's equally important to learn how you put on your bra. You might've just rolled your eyes at me, but this is important and I bet you don't know at least some of it. If you already know everything — don't worry, we can secretly high five each other with our boobs later for having such great boobs.
Everyone else: Listen closely, I'm about to blow your mind with a little something I learned from my good friend Oprah.
How to properly put on a bra:
- Fasten your bra in front, and then twist it around so the clasp is in the back.
- Place your arms in the straps and adjust them so they rest on your shoulders and they're not all twisty or wonky.
- This is the most important part! Bend forward and pull your boobs (and side/under boob fat!) into the cups. Seriously, it's crazy how good it looks when you pull forward that side and under fat and your boobs presto changos into bigger boobs. Sorcery!
- Now, stand up. If you have muffin top, just push it back into the cup. Don't be afraid to manhandle your boobs and make sure they're all in there.
Here's an easy-to-follow video tutorial on putting on a bra — start at 3:01 to see her demonstrate the technique:
This might seem kinda silly and overwrought to some, but I'm telling you — it matters. A bra that is the right size and put on properly isn't just about vanity — although you will look and feel like a million bucks; money back, guaranteed!* — it also makes bras legit comfortable. I'm at a point where I don't have to rip my bra off right when I walk through the door so my sweaty boobs can finally fan themselves by flopping freely.
I don't think I'm being dramatic when I say having a bra that fits and that I put on correctly is a revelation.** It can change your life — or, if that's too theatrical, it can at least change your cup size.
**also a lie; it's pretty dramatic.
Image via Shutterstock/Millisenta.