You’ve got bra questions, we’ve got answers: Introducing our very first Bra Q&A, where we tackle the biggest concerns you have when it comes to buying, wearing and caring for your bras.
Frequently Asked Bra Questions
Q: How do I know if my bra fits right?
A: There are several ways to tell if your bra fits. Start with these:
Cups: Breasts should sit comfortably in the cups. There should be no overflow at the tops or sides. There should also be no extra space in the top of the cup.
Band: The band is where most of the support comes from in a bra—not from the straps—so making sure this part fits is very important. The band should fit snugly (but not tightly) on the outermost set of hooks. That way, when your band stretches out, you can wear on the tighter set of hooks.
Gore: The gore is the piece of fabric in the center of the cups. When the bra fits correctly, the gore should lay flat against your skin. If it doesn’t, the gore will be raised and away from the body.
Straps: The straps shouldn’t pinch or hurt, and they should not be supporting most of the weight—this is the job of the band. They also shouldn’t slip or fall down. Look for bras with wide-set straps or a U-back—this will help them stay in place. Textured or pleated straps will also help keep the adjustment from slipping.
Q: How do I measure to find my bra size?
A: Here are instructions on how to measure yourself for a bra:
Step 1: Wearing a non-padded bra, stand in front of a tall mirror so you can see everything clearly.
Step 2: First take a measuring tape and wrap it around the fullest part of your breast and record the measurement in inches. Be sure not to pull the tape measure too tight—comfortable fit is all you need.
Step 3: To get your band measurement, wrap the measuring tape around your ribcage directly under your breasts, all the way around your body. Again, try not to pull the tape too tight.
Step 4: To calculate your cup size, subtract your band size from your bust measurement and refer to chart. Find the difference in the chart below to determine cup size.
Q: I have a larger bust/cup size. Can I wear a strapless bra?
There are many strapless bra options out there that will support a larger cup size. The key is to look for a style with a wide, sturdy back band and non-slip silicone trim along the interior neckline. Extra boning at the sides will also help keep your full cup strapless bra in place.
Elila Molded Strapless Bra, $67 Available up to size 46I
Q: Can I put my bra in the dryer?
A: Typically, the answer is no.
Bras tend to be delicate—soft, light materials like lace and embroidery should always be laid flat to dry. Even sports bras should be air dried since sweat-wicking fabrics can lose their abilities if they’re exposed to high heat. When in doubt, always check the care tag and follow the manufacturer’s suggested washing instructions. No tag? Hand wash in cool water with a gentle detergent and lay flat to dry. Follow our how-to washing instructions here.
Q: How often should I replace my bras?
A: It depends.
The longevity of your bra can depend on the quality, frequency of wear, and how well you take care of it. Look for common signs of wear. Does your band feel loose and stretched out? Is the material dirty or stained? Is the underwire poking out of the cups? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to buy a new bra.
Have any questions we didn’t cover? Share them with us in the comment below!