Did you ever think dropping 5 pounds could be as easy as finding a bra that actually fits your body? Not only can a wrong bra be uncomfortable, but it makes you look heavier. When your breasts are lifted to where they actually belong, your entire body looks slimmer. Susan Nethero, owner and founder of Intimacy boutiques, has tips that will help you get the perfect fit.
Scenario: Lisa was wearing a 34B, but she's really a 32A. Susan says: "You're underfilling your bra if you see puckering in the cup. It helps to think of your bra like a seesaw: If the band is too loose and rides up in the back, the girls will sag. If it is level all the way around or lower, they'll be lifted."
Tip: Adding a little volume to your bust is as simple as using a bump-up pad.
Try... "Isabella" all-over lace bra, Le Mystere, $82; bloomingdales.com. "Every time the band gets bigger, the cup size gets an inch deeper. So a 36C is a bigger band and cup than a 34C."
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Scenario: Martha was wearing a 38B, but she's really a 32D.
Susan says: "After two kids, Martha's body is completely different, and her bra should reflect that. In fact, I recommend getting refit once a year. One of the biggest mistakes women make when buying a bra is sticking with the same size throughout their life."
Tip: If you can pull your bra away from your body more than two inches, your band size is too big.
Try... "Mi Corazon" push-up bra, Cosabella Amore, $52; Bloomingdale's, 800-777-0000 for store info, bloomingdales.com. "You need to try at least 10 to 15 bras to find one that really fits."
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Scenario: Sarah was wearing a 38DD, but she's really a 36H.
Susan says: "A full-busted woman wearing the wrong bra size can do serious damage to her back and neck. A well-fitting bra will alleviate the weight on your shoulders and improve your posture. If your straps are digging into your shoulders and leaving marks, try a smaller band size and a deeper cup."
Fact: 90 percent of the support of a bra comes from the band, not the straps!
Try... "George" balconette bra, Cleo by Panache, $55; barenecessities.com. "Bras are personal but also technical, so ask a professional for help."
Find the Best Sports Bras to Support Your Bust
Scenario: Diane was wearing a 36D, but she's really a 34DD.
Susan says: "I always put fuller-busted women in the most youthful bras their body type can pull off. They can still wear all the same styles and shapes as women with smaller breasts, but with about 70-percent cup coverage versus 50 to 60 percent."
Tip: When a bra is properly centered, a large bust will look smaller and a small bust will look fuller.
Try... "Saffron" balconette bra, Panache, $66; breakoutbras.com. "Your bust should sit midway between your shoulder and your elbow."
Natural Ways to Increase Your Breast Size
Scenario: Jennifer was wearing a 36B, but she's really a 34C.
Susan says: "Many women, including Jennifer, wear a bra band that is way too big. If the band is too big, your straps will fall and the bra will ride up and grab your skin - causing the dreaded 'back fat.'"
Tip: When a bra fits perfectly, the underwire and centerpiece will lie flat against your rib cage.
Try... Print bra, Ambrielle by JCPenney, $30; JCPenney stores, 877-FIND-JCP for locations. "If you're wearing the right-size bra, you won't feel the underwire at all."
Must-Know Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Breasts
Which bras provide you with the most support? What elements do you look for when bra shopping?
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.