The Secrets to Finding the Perfect Bra

by Hannah Hitchen

Author: Hannah Hitchen, guest author from Totally Physical.

A bra is a fundamental part of any woman’s wardrobe. Bras provide support, keep breasts firmly in place, and can provide a nice boost if that’s what you want. But buying the right bra can sometimes be a tricky process. Bras come in a multitude of different sizes and styles and if you get it wrong you could end up with a garment that is uncomfortable, inappropriate, or simply doesn’t fit.

If you are in the market for a new bra, follow these tips to avoid ending up with another bra you won’t ever wear:

The Perils of an Ill-Fitting Bra

Millions of women wear badly fitting bras. Unfortunately, an ill-fitting bra can cause all kinds of problems, ranging from back pain to trapped nerves in the shoulders. Bras that are too small pinch the flesh and dig into soft tissue. They are uncomfortable and downright annoying. Bras that are too big on the other hand don’t offer any support and look unflattering.

The Secret is in the Measurements

A bra size depends on two different measurements. The measurement around the rib cage gives you the 30, 32, 34 etc., and the difference between that and the measurement around the fullest part of the breasts is the cup size—A, B, C, D, DD etc. To illustrate how confusing bra sizes can be (usually to men) a woman with a 32DD bra actually has roughly the same size breasts as a woman who wears a 34D, 36C or even 38B, although the shape may be different.

Have a Bra Fitting

The best way to avoid the discomfort of a badly fitted bra is to be professionally measured. Many lingerie shops offer a bra fitting service for free and it only takes a few minutes to be measured up by a trained assistant. Once you know what bra size you are, you can then shop with confidence. However, remember that bra size can alter if you gain or lose weight, or if you have a baby, so don’t assume it will stay the same forever.

[Editor: You can also check our bra fitting flowchart for some quick fitting advice!]

Pick the Right Style

A quick glance around any lingerie store will tell you that bras come in all shapes and styles. From balconette bras and uplift bras to padded bras and cleavage boosting contraptions, the choices can sometimes be overwhelming. Before you buy, consider what you are looking for from your new bra. Are you hoping for an enhanced cleavage, comfort above all else or a but if you simply need a plain bra that won’t show through a t-shirt?

Try a Few Bras on for Size

Although bra sizing is meant to be standard, there are inevitably variations across different manufacturers. This means than a 32B from one brand might not fit as well as a 32B from another, therefore it is essential that you try a bra on for size before buying. And once you find a bra that fits like a glove, buy it in every colour on offer!

About the author: Hannah Hitchen is an expert in women’s health, beauty and fashion. To get the latest information on a wide selection of sports bras for her clients, Hannah visits



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Leave a Comment


Anonymous August 14, 2008 - 12:26 pm

Sadly “professional fittings” are the reason 80% of women are in the wrong bra size.

Estelle August 14, 2008 - 12:31 pm

That’s true to some extent as some stores are sadly giving bra fittings based on bad measuring/fitting techniques, but it does depend where you get fitted. I would recommend heading to a small, specialist boutique (especially one with good reviews for fitting) rather than any major chain such as La Senza or Ann Summers.

Jossie December 15, 2018 - 2:35 am

Hi thereI just wanted to say thank you for dsiigneng such a perfect fit (for me anyway!!) bra in the Melody Balconette. I have gone up and down so much after 2 children and losing weight i dont think my body knows what has happened .as well as costing me a fortune along the way! I know have my essential go to’ underwear please keep new colours coming.Thank you

Estelle Puleston February 9, 2019 - 7:42 pm

I don’t work for Panache or design their bras, but I’m glad you’ve found one that works for you 😉