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"Wow" Breasts in 3 Easy Steps

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Are You Wearing the Wrong-Size Bra?

Eight out of 10 women are, according to Linda Becker, founder of Linda's lingerie boutiques in New York City. "Women's breasts change size and shape numerous times throughout their lives due to weight gain or loss, pregnancy and aging," she says. Yet most of us assume that our bra size stays the same.

The best way to figure out your correct size is to go to a professional fitter at a lingerie or department store. If you can't find a pro, follow these easy, do-it-yourself tips from Becker:

  • Measure the diameter of your rib cage, putting the tape directly underneath your breasts. If the number is below 33, add 5 inches; if it's 34 to 42, add 3 inches; and if it's above 42, add 2 inches. That's your band size.
  • Then measure the fullest part of your bust. (Wear a bra when you do this; even if it doesn't fit correctly, it will give you some lift and provide you with a more accurate measurement for your cup size.) The difference between this number and your band size is your cup size: a one-inch difference is an A, 2 inches is a B, 3 inches is a C, 4 is a D, and so on. If one of your breasts is bigger than the other, choose a cup size that fits the larger of the two.
  • Try on several bras. "Be sure to fasten them on the loosest or middle hook, never the tightest," says Becker. "If you have to use the tightest hook initially, the bra is too big."
  • Examine the fit. The band should be straight across your back, the wire or seam should be just under your breasts, framing them completely, and the straps should be taut but not so tight that they dig into your skin. The cups should lie smoothly against your breasts.
  • If the cups are too small, go up one cup size, says Becker, but keep the band size the same (from a 36B to a 36C, for instance). However, if the cup size is right but the band is too tight, go up one band size and down one cup size (from a 36B to a 38A).

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2006.

 

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