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Bras can be very uncomfortable. Ill-fitting ones are even more likely to chafe, squeeze and otherwise cause discomfort. The thing is, they aren’t supposed to hurt you. Sure, some styles might be naturally less pleasant to wear than others, but good ones provide both excellent support and comfort.
However, many women go through life wearing the wrong size ones without realizing it or the fact that it doesn’t have to be disagreeable to don this undergarment. What exactly is the reason for this? The answer is simple: there is no standard for bra sizes.
Branders and fitters use different sizing and measuring systems respectively. How a specific size feels also varies between styles even among the same brand bras. Lulalu bras in one size may not feel the same as ones labeled with the same measurement from a different retailer. In fact, you may actually have more than one correct size. There is a way to measure yours though.
The first step you need to take is actually measuring yourself with a tape measure. There are two things you need to quantify, band size and bust size. The first is the circumference right under your breasts. The second is the perimeter over the fullest part of your cleavage. When performing this appraisal, you should wear an unpadded or lightly-lined bra. It should be the kind of bra you would normally wear under clothes when going out. It is best not to use a sports bra. The tape should be held parallel to the ground and pressed tightly to your body during the process.
Once you have the necessary numbers, it is time to compute your cup size. There is a simple, commonly used formula for this. Take your bust size and subtract your band size from it. The difference generally correlates to letters representing cup sizes in a chart. Note though that in different countries the symbols signify different proportions, so there is no single table for every situation. They may differ even among manufacturers. The even number before the cup size in bra sizes is the band size. If your band size is an odd number, you may have to try one unit up or down.
While finding the perfect bra dimensions and shape for you may not be easy, you can at least recognize the signs of a poorly fitted brassiere. They include:
- The straps do not lay comfortably, either digging in and leaving painful marks in your skin or sliding off your shoulders even when on the tightest setting.
- The underwire is in the wrong location — on your breasts rather than under them
- There is too much or not enough space: There are gaping holes or puckering between the fabric and your boobs, or said body parts are spilling out of the cups.
- It is not providing any support.
- The back part is constantly riding up.
- It simply feels wrong, either too tight or too loose.
Determining bra size is more complicated than you might think because of the lack of universal values. It is important when trying out bras to keep in mind that ones from different brands, manufacturers and sellers may not be sized in the same way.