Tips for Finding the Perfect Bra Size

by Alexandra Owens

Murray Feierberg/WWDMurray Feierberg/WWD Years later, the Oprah episode that sticks with me most (oh, Oprah, how I miss you!) was the one about bra size. Does everyone remember this moment? One by one, women got in front of a studio audience, met with a professional to be prodded and measured, and found out how much better they looked in a wildly different bra size. So maybe it was naive of me to go to an appointment with Bobbie Smith, the fit expert at, and expect to be a bra prodigy. I'll spare you the details, but I feel like I owe my anatomy a sincere apology now. (And no, that is not me in the photo above.) Here are some of Smith's tips that took me by surprise.

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Pick your band size, then your cup size. Cup sizes are in relation to band sizes. For example, a 28D is much smaller than a 36D. No one is a universal D cup. If you lose weight or your band size changes for any reason, there's a good chance your cup size will, too.

Measure by the outer hooks. Measure your band size by the outer pair of hooks. The only reason the other hooks are there is so you can move inward as the bra gets looser. Most bras stretch up to three inches before they should be replaced.

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Give it a rest.
To slow that process down and make your bra last longer, never wear the same one (even your favorite!) two days in a row. A break gives the elastic a chance to spring back.

Go low. The bra band should fit below the underwire--even my mother didn't know this one! If it's riding up on your back and causing the straps to slip off, you need a tighter band size--especially important since that's where 90 percent of support comes from.

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