Choose A Brassiere With Proper Fit

When buying a brassiere, choose the style that is most comfortable and provides the best support by checking the fit first.

Many jokes circulate at the water cooler or on the Internet about uncomfortable shoes and underwear. In the latter category, women's lingerie encompasses a lion's share of discomfort issues stemming from underwear that is restrictive or ill-fitting.

That is why, when purchasing a brassiere, you take time to be sure the style you have in mind is a good fit with your body shape and size. Here are a few tips to help you get one that will be comfortable:

1. Don't shop cheap. Avoid second-hand stores or discount centers where the underwear that is available has either been already worn, and thus stretched out, or may be made of inferior fabric and fasteners. Aim for a mid-level store, such as a department store chain, where you can be assured of a wide selection and moderate quality. You don't want to spend $10 or $20 for a bra, only to have it tear in the washer or break a hook while trying to get it on.

2. Check the cup fit. Lingerie specialists recommend that a bra comfortably and firmly secure your breasts without unduly compressing them. If your breast tissue is squeezed over the top of the bra, or if the skin below the bra line is pushed out, the bra may be too tight. Give your breasts room to "breathe" with the right-sized bra. Larger women may need to look for a double or triple cup, such as 40DD. If in doubt about your current cup size, have a sales assistant in the lingerie department help to measure your bust size. Or you can use a tape measure to do this yourself by wrapping the measuring tape around your bust line, taking care to ensure that it fits snugly but not tightly over the nipples. Check to be sure the tape isn't twisted or uneven. Getting the right numerical measurement can help you select a bra that will accommodate your size. Always try on a bra before buying one, however.

3. Next, check the bra's girth or band size. It should fasten comfortably without feeling too tight or forcing your skin out of or below the bra. You should be able to easily insert your index finger under the girth band to ensure the fit isn't too tight.

4. Now examine the fit of the shoulder straps. Whatever fabric the bra is made of, the straps should fit neatly over your shoulders so that the bra doesn't sag (neither will you) or pull up your bust to the point where you feel uncomfortable and look unnatural. The straps should be designed for easy adjustment, if needed, and should be made to last without fear of breaking the straps or their adjusters.

5. Make sure that the bra's structure conforms to your body shape. You don't want pointy cups, a stiff girth band, or prickly lace that will itch. Some brassieres are made of fabric that is too stiff, while others are composed of material that is too limp. Shop for the right fit.

Buying a bra is important, because this is a garment that most women wear everyday during their waking hours. It should be comfortable and form-fitting without reducing circulation or making the wearer miserable.

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