Whether you're well-endowed or small-breasted, your bust size is just like your jean size -- individual with a fit that can vary tremendously depending on brand and style. Educate yourself about bra fitting -- before you go into a store -- and you can work with a salesperson to find a flattering, supportive garment that's a source of comfort rather than frustration.
When you've been blessed many times over in the breast department, it can feel like you're relegated to boring, white, cotton bras. "There are lines that cater to larger breasts, like Panache or Fantasie," says Jené Luciani, stylist and author of The Bra Book. "You can find bands as small as 32 and cups as high as K." Support and proper fit are more important than ever for larger-busted women.
Smaller-busted women face their own set of challenges when it comes to bra size. "It's a misconception that smaller-breasted women don't need to wear a bra. Any amount of breast tissue needs to be properly supported," says Luciani. "There are lines that cater to these women as well like Lula Lu Lingerie and The Little Bra Company." Tired of forever being stuck with padded bras? Luciani recommends a demi cup or balconette style that provides a boost without padding.
"Pregnancy is perhaps the toughest time for finding comfort in your bras. Our breasts are changing almost daily; it's hard to keep up!" says Luciani. She recommends getting fitted each trimester and looking for a supportive bra that doesn't constrict sensitive breast tissue. A too-tight bra can cause painful inflammation of the milk ducts. "Around the third trimester, invest in a well-fitting nursing bra," says Luciani. "Deciding which 'style' is right is a personal choice and may be determined by trial and error."
Certified mastectomy fitters are available to help women who have undergone a mastectomy. "A post-mastectomy bra should be comfortable for sensitive and sore breasts, easy to move in and help boost a woman's confidence after such a life-changing experience," says Luciani. "Amoena's Hanna Collection is one of the industry's first to offer camisoles and bras infused with Vitamin E and Aloe to ease discomfort and promote healing after breast surgery." She explains that mastectomy bras -- usually made of soft, breathable cotton -- are typically adjustable to keep from irritating the surgery site and pocketed to accommodate prostheses, absorb moisture and provide security.
No need to make sacrifices when it comes to feeling sexy, no matter your size or shape. "Frederick's of Hollywood offers some fun ones and they really pay attention to constructing a good bra as well at a good price point. I'm a fan," Luciani says.
Ultimately, be mindful of your body shape when shopping for bras and accept the hand that you've been dealt so you can make the most of what you've got. "Overall, the right bra can make you look thinner, more proportioned and improve your posture," Luciani explains. "The rule of thumb is to get fitted at least once a year."
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