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ShopSmart Three Step Guide to Finding the Perfect Bra

ShopSmart MagazineYonkers, NY – Experts estimate that 80 percent of women do not know their true bra size. Many women wear bras with bands that are too big and cups that are too small, or simply pick out cuts that are inappropriate for their shape.

The April 2012 issue of ShopSmart magazine, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, has an easy three-step guide to help women discover the best size and cut for their shape, plus amazing bra makeovers and staff’s top picks.

“We were shocked to learn that not one of our 45 volunteers for this story was wearing the correct bra size! It’s the perfect example of why women need this type of guide to help them find the right fit,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. “The right-size bra can make you look thinner and feel better.”

Step 1: Get Measured

Where to get fitted: Wherever you go, a fitting should be free. You can choose a specialty lingerie shop like Soma, a national chain, or the intimates department of a store that trains its employees. Nordstrom, for example, is known for its expert fitters and great customer service. It’s smart to get measured every time you go bra shopping because your size can fluctuate, even at different times of the month. And you should try on bras; you shouldn’t choose one by size alone.

How to do it yourself: Wrap a tape measure around your rib cage just under your bust, keeping it tight. If the measurement is an odd number, add 5 inches. If it’s even, add 4 inches. That figure is your band size. For cup size, measure around the fullest part of your bust and subtract your band size from the cup measurement. Then match the difference to a cup size: 1 inch is an A cup; 2 inches, B; 3 inches, C; 4 inches, D; 5 inches, DD; 6 inches, DDD; 7 inches, E; 8 inches, F; and 9 inches, G.

Step 2: Find a good fit

Your breasts are fully contained in the cups. If you see gaps or notice that you’re spilling out underneath, over the top, or under the arms, it’s the wrong bra. Wrinkled or puckered cups are another sign that a bra is too big.

The band feels snug. This is where most—if not all—of a bra’s support comes from, not the straps. Fasten a new bra on the first set of hooks, then  move  in  as  the  bra  stretches over time. The band should be positioned low and level across your back. When it rides up at an angle, your front will sag, offering less support. If you can slip two fingers under the band, it’s too big.

The middle section lies flat. If it’s gaping between your breasts, you need a bigger cup size.

The underwire encases your entire breast. It should lie flat against your rib cage and not poke into the sides of your breasts or jab into your upper arms. If it does, it doesn’t fit.

Step 3: Know your type

Plunge. Cups are cut diagonally across, dipping lower at the center so that you can wear a deep V-neck or wrap-style top. Best for any size when wearing a low-cut neckline.

Full cup. For everyday wear, this style totally covers the breast. Look for an underwire for added stability. Rigid materials like lace provide a firmer fit than, say, microfiber. Best for average-to-larger chests and full-figured women.

Balconette or demi. These classically feminine half-cups with wide-set straps provide a bit of flattering lift. Best for petite to average breasts.

Push-up. Amp up cleavage with a bit of padding at the bottom of low-cut cups that push breasts together and up. Best for any size that could use a boost, especially when you’re going for sex appeal.

Strapless or convertible. For dressier occasions when showing straps ruins the outfit, consider one of these adaptable styles with straps you can customize or skip. Best for anyone – there’s a size and style out there for you. But depending on the garment, smaller women might want to go without, or try a tapelike product.

About Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

About ShopSmart Magazine

Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon the publication’s celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. ShopSmart features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. It’s ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix. ShopSmart is available by subscription at www.ShopSmartmag.org.


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