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    The Ultimate Guide To Buying, Wearing, And Caring For Bras

    It's probably easier to find a soulmate than a bra that actually fits. But we're here to help.

    Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Get to know your *breast friends* before even shopping for a bra — this will help you figure out the support you actually need. Not all boobies are created the same! But they probably fit into a category.

    *Stares into a mirror for thirty minutes* "Am I tear or slender damn it?!"

    Check out more from ThirdLove for how to identify your tatas!

    2. Learn up on what style bras are best designed for the shape of your breasts. You can pick mainly based on how you fill out cups, as every design offers a different kind of support.

    Need some suggestions? Here are some highly rated options of all the styles!

    Seamless Stripe T-Shirt Bra ($72 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 30A-40G and in four colors) is softer than a baby's bottom (in a totally normal way) AND has memory foam cups to form to your body so it's practically custom made. Plus, it has super-soft lined strap that won't slip and actually stay comfortable. And of course its semi-sheer striped fabric stays well hidden under tees.

    Classic Contour Plunge Bra($68 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 30A-40G and in five colors) has three goals: hug your curves, eliminate cup gaping, and provide a natural lift. Plus, its cups feature memory foam so it's always a perfect fit.

    Seamless Stripe Wireless Bra ($68 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 30A-40G and in four sizes) is all about supporting your boobs without ever giving up what's most important: comfort. It's also super versatile, thanks to its three-way convertible straps that can be worn straight, criss-crossed at back, or as a halter. It even has some flexible side boning for extra support!

    Lace Balconette Bra ($76 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 30A-40G and in seven colors) combines style (hello, beautiful floral lace) with unbeatable comfort (and hello to you too, memory foam cups). It has convertible straps that can be worn straight or crossed in the back and a foam-padded hook and eye with a tagless (scratch-free!) printed label so there's zero itching and scratching. Truly blessed.

    Classic Full Coverage Racerback Bra ($68 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 32B-42G and in three colors) offers full coverage but with a front closure clasp and smoothing racerback design. You can rely on it for great support but know it'll still lay flat underneath even the thinnest of tops. PLUS it boasts memory foam on the inside to form to your body, AND a supportive foam on the outside.

    Classic Full Coverage Bra ($68 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 32B-40G and in nine colors) isn't kidding when it says it's got you ~covered~. It has just about everything: memory foam, super-soft material, and supportive foam on the outside. Its design is meant to to seamlessly hug your curves even underneath even thin T-shirts. Did I mention even its straps have memory foam? Hallelujah.

    Classic Strapless Bra ($72 on ThirdLove; available in 32A-40G and in three colors) knows that there truly is nothing worse than a slipping bra. Its cups come in half sizes so you'll definitely fine ~The One~ that will stay firmly in place. The cups are designed to form to your body but still give you a subtle lift (with silicone at the top and bottom to keep it in place). It even comes with removable straps for versatility.

    3. Remember your bra's life expectancy — a typical bra tends to last between six and nine months. If you reallyyyy care for your delicates, it can last up to a year. But even the most well-made bra isn't made to last forever. Sigh.

    Check out even more for secrets bra fitters won't tell you!

    This unlined bra from Soma has almost 438 positive reviews that speak to its comfort, shape-enhancing support, and of course b-e-a-yootiful design! Get it from Soma for $44 (available in sizes 32B-42DDD).

    4. Seek the guidance of a professional to learn your *correct* bra size. A lot of us think our band size is directly proportional to our cup size, and that's simply not true. A proper measurement can sometimes drastically change your sizing!

    5. Take a test online before splurging on a new bra (as we all know they are an INVESTMENT). Brands like True&Co., ThirdLove, and Victoria's Secret offer in-depth quizzes to learn all the deets about your nips, boob shape, shoulder shape, and more before suggesting a style.

    6. Fret not if your breasts are two different shapes. That's totally normal! Expected, even. When you shop for a bra, choose the one that fits your larger breast and then tighten the straps to ensure a snug fit.

    Or wear a bra insert ($10.29 for a three-pack on Amazon) where the smaller breast leaves a gap!

    This wireless, lightly-lined bra ($23.97 on Aerie; available in sizes 30B-38D and in two colors) is a great choice for those looking to please their gals of two different sizes. Not only does it feature super-soft, two-way stretch padding for reliable support and free movement, but also self-adjusting straps to get it to sit justtt right. It even makes sure the fabric molds to your body for extra comfort and support!

    7. Fasten a new bra on the middle hook when testing to see if it fits. If the back rides up and doesn't rest straight across, that means the band size is too loose. In that case, go down a size bracket!

    8. Buy some staples that you know will be reliable no matter what. Certain styles come in handy every day (looking at you T-Shirt bra) while others save the day in unexpected situations (bless you, plunge bra).

    Rebecca Hendin / Thinkstock / BuzzFeed

    Check out even more for what bras experts recommend you need!

    Don't feel like reading? Here are the styles they say you NEED:

    The T-shirt bra ($17.98+ on Amazon; available in sizes 34B-40D and in 22 colors) for an option that's reliably invisible under (you guessed it) T-shirts and has smooth cups that give the boobs a natural, rounded shape.

    The balconette bra ($18.99+ on Amazon; available in sizes 34A-44D and in three colors) whose motto is ~less coverage, more cleavage~. It's still built for comfort and support, but gives a little lift.

    The full-cup bra ($14.30+ on Amazon; available in sizes 36B-40G and in 51 colors) covers your entire bust and keeps your breasts high on your chest so that they stay PUT.

    The half-cup bra ($17 on Amazon; available in sizes 28A-36DD and in four colors) covers half of the breast, so half is in, and half is out. But make sure you get the right fit, so they're snugly tucked.

    The plunge bra ($15 on Amazon; available in sizes 32B-36D and in five colors) features a deep neckline so you're all set the next time you wear a wrap dress of evening wear.

    The strapless bra ($12.99+ on Amazon; available in sizes 30A-44DD and in three colors) can be worn with no shoulder straps for when you're ready to dare to bare. Be sure your choice features slip-resistant silicone lining so everything stays in place.

    The sports bra ($8.69+ on Amazon; available in sizes S-3XL and in 17 combinations) gives you the support you need while exercising. Emotional support sadly not included.

    The bralette ($7.01+ on Amazon; available in sizes S-XL and in 11 colors) are your no-wire, uber-comfortable solution for anyone who cringes at the sight of traditional bras.

    The mastectomy bra ($12.95 on Amazon; available in sizes 34-48 and in five colors) is a specialized design with pockets to hold the prosthesis after breast surgery.

    9. Keep in mind stores don't label their sizes consistently (lucky us!). The chart below lists all related sizes, or "sister sizes". Tldr: things like 28A and 30AA are exactly the same.

    10. Same goes for plus sizes! Letters like "E" and "G" are simply an extension beyond a "DD". For example, "F" is also a "DDD".

    11. Know the right steps needed if you're measuring yourself for a bra fitting. Pay attention to placement (for the band: right under your bust, and for the cup size: the fullest part of your bust). If you get a fractional measurement, just round to the nearest whole number!

    12. End the constant quest for nude bras that don't actually match your skin tone (hello world, we are not all ivory-colored). Aerie features a more diverse range of shades for nude bras!,

    Get the Aerie's "Real Me" bra from Aerie for $23.97 (originally $39.95; available in sizes 30B-38DD and in six shades).

    13. Make sure your bras pass this extremely simple test to see if they really do fit. If you can put your whole hand through the band, the bra is much too big.

    Check out even more from As/Is for clever bra hacks!

    14. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by the complicated world of plus-size bras. Sure, every store seems to have a different letter for your size, but with this universal cup sizing guide, you can easily convert to know which is for you.

    You know what I'm talking about: why do cup sizes larger than "D" have more than one name? Like at Wacoal you're a DDD, but at Chantelle you're an F? WTF? Luckily, now all you need to do in HerRoom's universal cup sizing converter is enter your usual bra size and the brand you're shopping from. That's it!

    Check out even more from HerRoom for how to make sense of plus sizing for bras!

    15. Put a bra on *correctly* by stooping over, gently tugging the bottom of the cups down, and jiggling to make sure your breasts sit completely in the cups. You'll know it's on right when the highest part of your breast is lined up with the center of the cup.

    16. For cup sizes D and larger, you should lean over and use your opposite hand to place all your breast tissue into the bra cup. Then scoop your breast from under your arm and under your breast and into the cup. Again, the highest part of your breast should be aligned with the apex of the cup.

    17. Consider a bralette if you absolutely hate the feeling of every bra. They're less expensive, extremely comfortable, and most importantly ALWAYS free of underwire.,

    Promising review: "This review is for all other small breasted women who are looking into this product. I am 32A. My biggest problem with underwire bras is that I could never quite find one that fit perfectly. No matter what, there always seemed to be a little space between my boob and the cup. If you have this problem too, you will love this bra. I'm gonna buy a million of these and throw all my other bras out." —Lauren

    Get them from Amazon: first for $7.01+ (available in sizes S-XL and in 11 colors) and second for $9.99+ (available in sizes S-L and in nine colors).

    18. Shop at as many stores as possible to truly discover which brand is best for you (don't make a place your go-to just because you started there when you were 12, ok?!).

    Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

    Check out how a BuzzFeeder went to a #@&%ton of stores to find the right bra!

    Need ideas? Check out some of the best places to shop for bras online!

    19. Struggle no longer with dangerously loose strapless bras (oh, there's my bra, around my stomach). Wrap a removable strap around your bra for some DIY (and cheap!) support.

    Check out ever more from WhoWhatWear for how to finally master strapless bras!

    Get a three-pack of removable bra straps from Amazon for $7.59+ (available in two colors).

    20. Think you can't wear strapless bras if you have big breasts? WRONG. It just takes a little trial and error to find a good one. Luckily, we already went through all of that for you!

    Macey J. Foronda / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    The winner: Wacoal Red Carpet Convertible Strapless Bra. What a name. What a bra.

    Wacoal / Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    It has 742 five-star reviews that speak to its great support, full coverage, ability to STAY👏 ON👏, and of course tear-inducing comfort. It has gripper strips inside its top and bottom edges to ensure zero slippage.

    Promising review: "I have forever been in search of a good strapless bra. This bra is unbelievable! I am a 32D and wore this bra last night. It stayed in place. I wasn't constantly adjusting it. It is seriously the most perfect strapless I have ever worn!" —LoveLaughLove

    Get it from Nordstrom for $65 (available in sizes 32C-42DDD and in two colors).

    21. Study the complete structure of the *brassiere* — hooks and all! Now you'll know what salespeople are actually talking about, instead of smiling and nodding.

    Check out more from HerRoom for the anatomy of a bra!

    22. Avoid sleeping in an underwire bra. Being in underwire 24/7 is just unnecessarily cruel to your soul. Instead, opt for a soft cotton bralette as a far gentler solution.

    Walt Disney

    This soft cotton bralette ($7.01+ on Amazon; available in sizes S-XL and in 11 colors) has 999 five-star reviews that all rave about its unbeatable comfort! And, yes, many say they sleep in it!

    23. Wear dark bras a little looser, as their ink makes them feel tighter. #Science.

    Check out more secrets bra fitters won't tell you!

    This T-shirt bra with convertible straps ($49.50 on Victoria's Secret; available in sizes 32A-40DDD) has earned almost 363 positive reviews for its shape forming material, lasting comfort, and of course, the ability to smoothly hide under thin shirts!

    24. Differentiate between the three kinds of sports bras before deciding which type fits your needs. There are three categories: encapsulation, compression, and compression and encapsulation.

    Each address the level of impact, or activity, that you'll be experiencing when exercising. For example, a sports bra for yoga is "low impact", as the sport doesn't involve rapid motion, therefore doesn't require too much support. But an activity like running (hello, bouncing) calls for a "high impact" sports bra, because we need all the support we can get.

    Check out more from R.E.I. for how to choose sports bras! Need some suggestions? We've already thought of that:

    Encapsulation sports bras ($32.73 on R.E.I.; available in sizes S-L and in five colors) use individual cups to surround and support each breast separately (much like everyday bras). They offer a more natural shape than compression bras, and are for ~low impact~ activities.

    Compression sports bras ($44 on R.E.I.) are typically pulled over your head (and don't have built-in cups) and hold your breasts against your chest wall to restrict movement. These work best for ~low-to-medium-impact~ activities.

    Compression/encapsulation sports bras ($44.73 on R.E.I.; available in sizes XS-XL) combine support and comfort. They offer more support than compression or encapsulation alone, which makes them the best for ~high-impact~ activities.

    25. Pause before you count out cheap sports bras; price tags don't always reflect the support they offer, even for high impact activities. Have we already tested some out? Of course.

    Elena Garcia / BuzzFeed

    26. Reconsider your sizing approach if you can never find a bra that's *just* right, like if there's always a little small gap between you and your bra that you can never shake, no matter the store. ThirdLove offers half sizing for their bras, so you're much more likely to find your fit!

    Promising review: "I had been wearing the right *size* bra from Victoria’s Secret, but it turns out I wasn’t wearing the right *shape* bra. I love this plunge bra, which gives my 'relaxed' breasts a lovely shape and is comfortable to boot. And I haven’t had such an elegant bra since before I nursed two babies. I like it so much I ordered two more!" —ALISSA M.

    If brands recognize that our feet need half sizes, why not our boobies? This lace contour plunge bra ($76 on ThirdLove; available in sizes 32AA-40G and in three colors) has almost 581 positive reviews for its huge size range, memory foam cups, and lace overlay meant to hug curves and eliminate cup gaping!

    27. Fix constant slipping (I'm annoyed just writing about it) or any discomfort caused by straps from too much pressure by adding silicone strap cushions to your bra.

    Promising review: "These freaking saved my life. My bra straps were always slipping, even though they are the right fit and good quality. I got so tired of fixing my straps, especially at work since it doesn’t exactly look professional. Now I put these on every morning with whatever color works with my outfit, and my straps stay in place all day." —nomiskate

    Get it from Amazon for $5.98+ (available in 16 combinations).

    28. Don't restrict your bra choices to just bralettes if you're an "A" cup but would like more styles. Brands like Free People keep smaller breasts in mind when designing their selects.,

    Promising review: "I don’t have a large chest, and these just cover what I need! I think I own all but a few colors, I love them. I wear a small, 34A for reference and they are so comfortable that you forget you are wearing one!" —punkrocker

    Get them from Free People: demi underwire bra for $48 (available in sizes 32A-36DD and in three colors) and bralette for $20 (available in sizes XS-XL and in 19 colors).

    29. Take *care* when it comes to maintaining your brassieres. The better you maintain your undergarments, the longer they'll hold their original shape!

    Btw, it's recommended you wash your bra every five to seven wears! Check out even more from Torrid for how to take care of your bras!

    You can also wash your bra in a salad spinner for a fast and effective approach. Don't believe me? See why a BuzzFeeder swears by it!

    Get a five-pack of mesh laundry bags from Amazon for $9.99.

    30. Looking for sizes larger than DD? You're not alone. Brands like Torrid, Curvy Kate, and Lane Bryant cover wider ranges, so you can rely on cups that actually FIT!

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    Check out more for a full list of stores well-loved for bigger sizing!

    This lace, full-coverage wired bra ($19 from Simply Be) offers a band range from 34-46 and a cup range of C-L!

    31. Effectively hide straps when wearing things like tanks by simply using a bra strap clip. All it does is transform your everyday bra into a racerback!

    Promising review: "Who would have thought how a little piece could do so much?! These can, at first look, be confusing. But I promise that they are easy to use and work with a variety of bras. Once on and in position, they help your breasts feel more supported and give a little extra cleavage. The first day they came in, I wore one all day. The next day, I put on a bra without it and immediately wondered why my bra didn't feel as supportive. I will be ordering more of these just in case I misplace one. They do seem very well-made, even as I twisted and turned it the first time while learning to use it." —Shanna R. Eisner

    Get a three-pack from Amazon for $5.95.

    32. Live comfortably in bralettes, even if you have DD+ breasts. Lively's ~busty bralettes~ are specially designed with you in mind. Comfort? Check. Style? Mhm. Support? INDEED.

    There are two sizes: 1 fits a 34D, 32DD, 36D, 34DD, and 32DDD, and the size 2 fits a 38D, 36DD, 34DDD, 38DD, 36DDD, and 38DDD.

    Check out why a BuzzFeeder lives and breathes for this bralette!

    Get them from Lively: first for $35 (available in sizes 1-2 and in three colors) and second for $35 (available in sizes 1-2 and in two colors).

    33. Adjust your bra straps to their proper place, so you have a little subtle *lift*. This is the best way to ensure the best support and a comfortable fit.

    34. Organize your bras with a drawer divider to maintain their shape, find them easily, and overall take better care of them for a longer shelf life.

    This set includes four bins: a six-cell (for scarves and ties), an eight-cell (for underwear, briefs, and ties), a seven-cell (for bras), and a 24-cell (for socks).

    Promising review: "I ordered two sets of these when I recently moved and decided that I wanted my closet and drawer to have a Zen-like feel of organization. I absolutely love these organizers. My socks and delicates are nicely organized and easy to find on my closet shelf. My sports bras are organized by color and easy to access in the drawer. It doesn't get easier than this and the price is right!" —Educ8NC

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $13.87.

    When you're just a little too thrilled about your new discoveries:


    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    Ryan Pattie/BuzzFeed

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