Bra shopping is a tricky business, especially in the U.S. where bra sizes are not standardized. One brand's 36A is not another's. Moreover, types of bras fit differently so it can be difficult to know exactly what to purchase. Experts suggest, however, the getting properly sized is one key to getting the right bra size. The other key is to try them on. Even so, bra shopping is still difficult when you hop from brand to brand.
Different Brands, Different Bra Sizes
Women who shop for bras are perpetually frustrated when it comes to bra sizes. Part of the issue is that bra makers do not have a standardized model. A woman who shops for a certain size will find that the size varies from brand to brand. This explains why trying on one brand's 34A fits differently than the same size by another brand. This is a problem as many women aren't particularly loyal to one brand over another. Women may like a certain brand, but they'll often seek out other styles and colors made by other brands. Moreover, women will also shop sales for new bras, and the differences between brands and their sizing models makes the experience a frustrating one.
Most Women Don't Know Their Size
Complicating the experience is the fact that between 70% and 80% of women don't know their measurements or size. Bra shopping, therefore, has become a lot of guesswork. Often women will order multiple sizes online and then send half of them back. Women will also buy the wrong size in the mistaken belief that if the band fits or the cup fits, they've found their size. It can be difficult for women to measure themselves as well. Recently, new apps have been launched that help women find their size. These are promising, but not always as accurate as an in-person fitting.
Getting the Right Bra
The best way to choose a bra is to get sized by someone who knows how to size for bras and then trying on bras between different brands. Some bra makers have actually decided to offer half-cup sizes for an even more accurate fit. The better the bra fits, the better a woman looks in proportion to her waist. A bra should feel comfortable and provide the optimum level of support. The band should be snug but not uncomfortable. Many women are used to wearing bras with stretched out bands so they often mistakenly believe a snug band is too small when, in fact, it may be the proper fit.
Visit a Specialty Shop
Women who visit specialty bra and lingerie shops often find their experience of shopping for a bra is enhanced because staff members are experts when it comes to fitting and they understand the ins and outs of various brands. Staff will know that one brand's sizes run small while another are more generous. Getting fit by an expert staffer is the ideal way to begin to shop for a bra. Knowing your accurate size allows you to narrow down the selection to find bras that fit your shape perfectly.
"Bra Fitting", LuLa Lu, http://www.lulalu.com/bra_fitting
"Q&A: The Women Trying to Revolutionize Bra Sizing", NYMAG.com, http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/05/qa-the-women-revolutionizing-bra-sizing.html