The Right Undergarment


QUESTION #1: Fighting the Back Bulge

I’m looking for a good bra that doesn’t give me “back bulge” – that roll of skin and fat that too
often falls over the back of the bra. Help!!

-Lynette K.

This is not an issue of excess weight but rather an issue of proper fit. If your bra is giving you
obvious back bulge, then it is not an accurate fit.

The Essential Fit

If you are wondering if you are wearing the right bra, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does the back ride up or do you fill your cup? If, yes, the bra is too small.

2. Are there wrinkles or do the cups sag? If, yes, the cup size is too big.

3. Are you spilling out of your bra? Your cup size is too small.

4. Do you bulge out of your bra at the sides or back? If yes, the band/bra is too small.

Bra cups should be filled out with no excess fabric in the cups, and no breast tissue spilling out of the cup at the top, side, or bottom. The band should fit but not cut into your skin and should not ride up in the back. If it rides up, try adjusting the straps. If this does not work you probably need a smaller band size.
Bra straps should be adjusted to give support to the bust without cutting into your shoulders. A good support bra will be large enough to support your breasts and have shoulder straps that have extra width, which is gentler on the skin. Choose a style that has under wiring and is well designed, lifts and separates.

How to measure for size

The perfect fit starts by measuring to find your size and then re-measuring every few years to accommodate for changes in breasts from dieting, pregnancy, breast-feeding and aging. To find the right size, follow these guidelines:

• Start with the band size and measure around your ribcage, just below your bust. Add 5 inches to the measurement. A rib cage measurement of 30″ + 5″ equals a 35″ band size.

• Find your cup size by measuring loosely around the fullest part of your bust.

• Subtract your band size from the cup size. A difference of 1″ = A cup, 2″= B cup, 3″=C cup, 4″ = D cup 5″= DD Cup, 6″= E Cup, 7″ = F cup. 8″ = G cup, 9″ = H cup. For example, a cup measurement of 36″ – 35″ band size equals 1″ or an A cup.

If after you’ve measuring yourself, you realize that you have been wearing the wrong size bra, your next step is to seek out an expert. An expert will be able to help you choose the right bra for your size and advise you on the look you want to achieve.

The Band Test

A new bra should be able to pass this test below with the clasp on the loosest fitting – this allows you to tighten the bra as it stretches with wear and washing. Try to avoid buying a bra where the best fit is the bra’s tightest setting. My suggestion is to have a bra that fits on its loosest or at least its middle fastening position.

1. Ask someone to slide their hand between your back and the back of your bra.

2. Then have them turn their hand 90 degrees so that it is perpendicular to your back. Their hand should not be very firmly wedged…

3. . …and they should not be able to pull your bra further away from your back.

QUESTION #2: Smoothing It Out

How can I avoid embarrassing undergarment lines that show through light colored or tight pants?

-Cherie A.

Try Spanx! My MOST FAVORITE weapon to look 5-10 pounds slimmer. Spanx is a must-have
undergarment to hide bulges or lines under shirts and pants. This Nylon/Lycra spandex body
shaping garment contours curves while minimizing the look of problem areas. If you must
choose just one, choose the “Higher Power” which slims, smoothes and shapes the figure from
the lower thighs up through the midriff. Spanx are INCEDIBLY comfortable and are thin enough
so as to not add extra bulk. (They are NOTHING like their predecessor, the girdle) They also
breathe nicely so you don’t get hot and can be worn during any season. Buy in nude or neutral
for most versatility.

Not all Spanx products fit and feel the same. They are all a little bit unique to their name and each collection offers a different amount of compression:


• Hide & Sleek collection – least compression

• Hosiery Shapewear – more compression

• Slim Cognito collection – most compression

QUESTION #3: The Life of a Bra
How many bras should I have and how long do they last?

-Nicole J.

The life span of a bra depends on how many bras you rotate. A bra should be given 24 hours to
“rest” between uses. This preserves the fabric and elastic. It is recommended that a woman have
3 bras and the life span of a 3 bra rotation is maximum 18 months. The elastic stretches out in the
straps and this compromises proper back/breast support. The material in the cup also deteriorates
making the fit less flattering.

QUESTION #4: A Little Support, Please?

I’m a fairly large-chested woman and have a hard time finding a bra with good support.
What should I look for?

-Susan P.

Large-chested women need additional support to the lower cup to help lift a heavier bust. This
can be achieved with double fabric or a flexi-underwire. The shoulder straps should also be
substantial enough to provide support to the back. A thicker back strap also yields more support
and comfort for a larger chest. Fabric is a complete issue of preference but can change the
performance. Lace is not a supporting fabric unless backed by additional fabric. Maternity stores
offer great options for comfortable bras for large-chested women.

QUESTION #5: All Wired Up

At Oprah’s recommendation, I went in for a bra fitting – but all they could recommend is
underwire bras. I think the underwire is incredibly uncomfortable…any other options?

-Sarah A.

For maximum shaping and support, an underwire bra is the best choice for most women. The
underwire shapes and holds the cup to a fixed diameter, which can benefit even a small-busted
woman. Complaints about underwire are due mainly to poorly fitting bras, which can cause
pinching, constricting, and poking wires. Wireless options depend on your bust size. Sports bras,
or camisoles with the bra built in are a great alternative. If you have a large bust, the market is
now producing bras made with a flexible kind of plastic for extra support. Another option is to
have your bra custom tailored. This is a little more expensive but a great option to give you
maximum comfort.

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