Q. I am 5'11' and large busted. I have a terrible time finding a bra that fits at department stores. Help! How can I find a bra that fits?
A. We consulted Panache, the lingerie design expert for D+ cup sizes, for tips on ensuring that you have a properly fitting bra:
1. FILL YOUR CUPS...
Baggy cups are a surefire sign that you have the wrong size. Try going down a cup size. If your cups are creasing around the nipple, try going down a back size to pull the fabric taut.
2. ...BUT DON'T OVERFLOW
Spilling out over the tops or sides of your bra won't make your breasts look bigger; it will make your clothes look lumpy. It means you're wearing too small of a cup size, so try the next size up.
3. DON'T LET THE STRAPS TAKE THE STRAIN
A bra's main support comes from the band, not the straps. Make sure that you're wearing the correct band size: too big, and your straps will end up taking the weight, which will cause them to dig in and be uncomfortable.
4. THINK HORIZONTAL
Stand sideways and look in the mirror. Is your bra band at the same level all the way around? If it's riding up at the back, you probably need a smaller band size so it will stay in place and not cause the dreaded "back fat."
5. FINGER RULES
Never mind a rule of thumb; here's what you need to know about fingers. Your bra band should feel tight and firm but with enough space to insert two fingers under the back band, and one under the center front.
6. FASTEN A NEW BRA ON THE LOOSEST HOOK
Fascinating bra fact: a bra band can grow up to 4" due to wash and wear. When you buy a new bra, make sure that it fits properly on the loosest hook as you might need to tighten it with wear.
7. MAKE SURE YOUR UNDERWIRE IS FLAT AT THE FRONT...
The center front of your bra should lie flat against the breastbone. If it doesn't, go up a cup size.
8. ...AND SITS ON THE BONE
On that note, check the wire at the side of the bra. It should sit on the ribcage without digging into any breast tissue.
9. DO THE T-SHIRT TEST
The best way to see what shape a new bra will give you is to try it on under a fitted T-shirt. Look at yourself from all angles and make sure you have an uplifted look with no unwanted bulges.
10. GET MOVING
You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without walking around in them. So why should buying a bra be any different? Don't just stand there: stretch out and swing your arms to make sure it feels comfortable when you move. Also, make sure to sit down in your new bra. This will tell you whether the bra will dig in and bother you when you are sitting in it all day.
Ready to start shopping? Here are some of our favorite bras for size D and up:
Panache Tango Classic Balconette Underwire Bra
Panache Harmony Full Cup Underwire Bra
Le Mystere Dream Lace Tisha Bra
Le Mystere Dream Tisha Seamless Full Fit Bra