The Complete Bra Guide: All you need to know
Why Do We Wear Bras?
1. Why Do We Wear Bras?
Have you ever seen topless tribal women on the discovery channel and wondered how our ancestors and these tribal women maintained perky breasts without wearing a bra even after childbirth while we women have saggy breasts even after wearing expensive well-supportive bras?
How Do I Calculate My Bra Size Properly?
2. How Do I Calculate My Bra Size Properly?
Take a look inside your wardrobe, are all your clothes of the same size? I bet that a few of your clothes are one size up or down your usual size.
This is because different brands have different measurements so as to add uniqueness to their product line, though the difference is not drastic you can still feel something is off when you wear an ill-fitted outfit. Bras are no different, so it is important to follow the bras size guide of the particular brand you wish to buy.
Lingerie rules you should know before you begin measuring:
- Bra sizes in India start from band size 30A and increase in even numbers i.e after size 30A it is band size 32A. Sizes 38 and above fall under the plus-size category.
- A, B, C and D are predominant cup sizes and any size above this is considered to be plus-size cups.
1. Measure Your Band Size
- The band is the part around your ribs below your breasts where the bra sits.
- To measure your brand size properly make sure that the tape lies exactly where you want your bra to sit when you wear it.
- Make sure the tape lies flat and snug to your body.
- Make note of the size in inches, round off points the nearest whole digit. For e.g, if it says 42.1 inches round it to 42 inches and if it’s 42.6 inches round it off to 43 inches.
2. Measure Your Bust Size
- Bust/Cup size should be measured at the fullest part of your breasts.
- Understand that women with saggy breasts may have the fullest part of their breasts lying below their band size and for some nipples may not lie on the fullest part of their breasts.
- So just measure where you think your breast is at its fullest without confusion to acquire your bust size.
- You may bow down slightly if you have too much side fat.
- Round off any decimals to the nearest whole number.
3. Calculate Your Bra Size
Just enter the measurements on our bra size calculator and it will provide you with the accurate bra and cup size you should buy or you can calculate your own size by:
- Adding 4 inches to the band size you measured to get your bra band size
- Minus the acquired band size from your bust size to get your cup size.
Let’s say you measured 30 inches at your ribs for band size and 36 inches at the fullest part.
Then 30 + 4 = Band size 34 inches
36 – 34 = 2 inches so you are a ‘B-cup’
You are an
- A-cup if the difference is 1
- B-cup if the difference is 2
- C-cup if the difference is 3 and it goes on.
What Are the Types of Bras?
3. What Are the Types of Bras?
- Beginner Bras - They offer support and shape breasts helping teenagers ease into puberty while preparing them for the real bras. The slip-on feature makes it comfortable to wear with full coverage.
- Bralette - These are similar to beginner bras but only fancier. They can be worn as a stand-alone crop top or under transparent outfits to add sensuality.
- Everyday Bras - They are often non-padded and wire-free with seamed cups. Nowadays light padded and moulded bras with good craftsmanship and seamless cups have also entered under the heading. These bras are comfortable, supportive and durable.
- T-Shirt Bras - The light material of T-Shirts make the silhouette of everyday bras look out of place. Women can avoid such wardrobe mishaps by wearing T-Shirt bras that are smooth with light padding, seamless cups and dig free straps.
- Nursing Bras - Pregnant or lactating mothers often struggle to unhook back open bras as too much pressure can cause milk spillage. The front open nursing bras from Shyaway makes it easier to unhook while holding a hungry baby.
- Cami Bras - For women who feel uncomfortable without a camisole a cami bra is the best choice. It acts as a bra as well as a camisole and makes you feel like you are wearing nothing underneath.
- Minimizer Bras - Similar to small breasts, big breasts can also be a problem for some women. Minimizer bras hold your breasts and side spillage in like shapewear and still allow you to breathe easily.
- Maximizer Bras - If small breasts are making you insecure a maximiser bra will solve the problem. These bras are tailored to make breasts look fuller and natural. The smooth pads and poke free underwires add comfort to this luxurious bra.
- Transparent Bras - Lace, cold shoulder and back open outfits are the trend and a peeky strap and metal hooks are not preferred by many. These bras are made of firm high-quality material that doesn’t snap easily and will move along with you like a second skin.
- Strapless Bras - If you don’t want the transparent bra straps to peek, go for the strapless bra. They are firm, slip-proof and provide ample support and shape.
- Tube Bras - These are similar to strapless, the only difference is they are slip on and completely hook free. The wider fabrics are made especially for women with heavier breasts who often tug at strapless bras to keep them in place.
- Stick-on Bras - These bras are made of silicon and are the best choice when you wear a mid open, back open or side boob outfit. With proper care, you can retain the adhesive for repeated usage. They are not recommended for frequent usage as they may cause sagging breasts later on.
- Push-up Bras - Saggy breasts can be easily tackled with push-up bras. Depending upon the level of sag you can choose between three levels of push-up bras with or without underwires.
- Cage Bras - They are cupless! As the name suggests these are completely made of straps that hold your breasts in place, making it appear like your breasts are inside a cage.
- Sports Bra - Depending on the sport you play you can choose between a normal sports bra, padded or a high support sports bra as well if need be and experience a jiggle free routine.
- Bridal Bras - Most of us want to get married just to wear bridal bras. Made of silk and satin, these bras are designed specifically to make you sultry on your special day.
- Chemise - Chemise aren’t bras but they are the best silk nightwear in the market. A good pair of lingerie is always the best way to get a good night’s sleep.
- Babydoll - The date night favourite of every woman out there. Babydolls are more alluring than a chemise. The lace and mesh don’t leave much room for imagination and a pair or two will always be handy.
- Bikini - Indian beaches may not allow bikinis but there is nothing wrong in wearing bikini bras paired with bikini panties or thong panties. These dainty bay-watch inspirations can top your guilty pleasure list with their trendy patterns and designs.
- Swimwear - Swimwear has also evolved with the world. The new age swimwears not only offer varieties in style, colours, patterns and designs but are also available with padding and wires. A lustrous looking swimwear will make you feel appealing even when you are drenched in chlorinated water.
What Are the Available Styles?
4. What Are the Available Styles?
Bras have been changing along with trends and needs. Here are the popular bra styles women go for:
- Casual - As the name suggests these are casual everyday styles where the cups and the strap are of the same solid colour.
- Printed - Women love to play with colours and prints are a basic requisite in any type of outfit. You can choose between denim prints, flowers, geometric and other designs or animal print cups based on your preferences.
- Moulded - For women who don’t like pads but still want to have shapely breasts should definitely go for moulded bras as they are non-padded and still provide a natural shape and firmness to your breasts.
- Lace - I know I needn’t say much on this heading because every time women go bra shopping, there will always be a lace bra in the cart. Irrespective of whether women are single or not a lace bra is a weak spot.
- High Support - Tailored to aid intense workout and physical activity, high support bras have become a need in the wardrobe of every adventurous woman out there.
- Front Open - Not only nursing mothers but plus-size women or women who are incapable of reaching their back to unclasp a bra due to medical conditions also opt for front open bras that are similar to front open saree blouses.
- Fancy Back - Women wear fancy back bras as a stand-alone bikini top or under halter tops and back open outfits to dress like a tease. These bras are usually made of lace, straps with stonework.
- Backless - Backless or a thin blouse outfit calls for backless bras. They expose your smooth backs while holding up your breasts together firmly creating a fuller breast look.
- Racerback - Unlike other bras, these bras provide thick straps that form an ‘X’ on your back. They provide utmost comfort along with great support.
- Longline - Bras that have extended bands reaching till the end of the rib, made of firm but flexible lace are called longline bras. They aid in posture correction for women who stay in one position for longer periods.
- Plus-Size - There is no difference style-wise between a normal and plus-size bra. It just makes it easier for women to shop for the product that is available in their size without surfing through the entire website.
- Designer - Bridal bras, honeymoon wear or any other fancy looking bra out of the ordinary styles and designs that are tailored by our designers based on the current trend come under this category. May it be style inspired by an actress or the current fashion needs of a regular woman.
Like I said earlier, the shape of breasts vary, it is necessary to understand the shape of your breast and choose a cup shape that will compliment your physique.
- Full Cup Women with bell-shaped breasts can opt for full cup bras to help their breasts sit comfortably inside your bra.
- Demi Cup Women with round breasts can go for a demi cup with underwires to nail a fuller breast regardless of their cup size.
- Plunge These are suitable women who have breasts facing the opposite directions or with too much space in between, a plunge bra will push them together creating a natural cleavage that will look pretty while wearing low neck outfits.
- Deep Plunge Are suitable for women with thin and sagging cone-shaped breasts.
- Balcony The coverage is slightly less than a demi-cup bra and is often worn by women whose breasts are heavier at the bottom. They help to even out the difference. These open neckline bras are the best when paired with low neck outfits.
- Balconette There isn’t much difference between a balcony and a balconette bra. A balconette has a horizontal neckline and is usually strapless with a high centre.
The above-mentioned cup shapes are available in different styles to add glamour to your fashion requirements. These are the styles from which you can choose:
- Seamed Cups Visible stitch lines that run horizontally or vertically across the entire cup dividing the cup into two or three parts. These lines help to hold your breast in place and offer durability to your products.
- Dart Cups They are similar to seamed cups but the stitch ends mid cup like a princess cut blouse.
- Seamless/Moulded Cups While wearing light material outfits, visible stitch lines can make it awkward so a seamless or moulded cup will do the job while retaining the shape.
Bras can be also divided by the amount of coverage offered by them.
- Full Coverage 100% coverage prohibits side spillage, quad boobs and offers full lift and support and works best for women with fuller breasts.
- 3/4th Coverage The cup sits about 2-3 inches above your nipple offering 75% coverage and is best for regular or wide neck outfits.
- Demi Coverage– The cup sits just on top of your nipples, the 50% coverage is combined with either pads or underwire to provide a fuller breast look for deep neck attires.
- No Coverage As the name suggests they provide 0% coverage and are usually worn by women on special occasions as a fashion accessory.
Padding & Wire
Different women have different requirements, these are the usual add-ons to your bra to make it even better.
- Non-Padded Normal bras such as beginner bras, cami bras, bralettes, moulded bras and everyday bras are available with non-padded cups.
- Padded Women who want a smooth round finish with push-up and sag-free effects often shop for padded bras with different thicknesses.
- Removable Pads These are useful when one of your breasts is bigger than the other. Removing the padding on the bigger side will even out your entire chest.
- Wire-Free Women who don’t have too much sag should opt for padded bras without wires as the breast can retain its shape without the help of wires.
- Underwired Women with too much sag or with breast facing the opposite direction should go for underwire bras to provide shape. It is important to choose a good quality dog-free wired bra as a poking wire can cause serious
Underwire bras can be mono wires that run along the base of your breasts continuously, memory wires that go back to shape after a wash or 3D wires that are present right under your breasts with a gap in between to separate the pair.
Many women end up getting red marks, heat rashes and backache due to bad strapping. A bra strap is as important as a band and cup because they are the ones that provide support. They are usually available as one of the following or a combination of both.
1. Adjustable Bra straps are either entirely adjustable or are semi-adjustable. Semi-adjustable is either adjustable in the front half or the back of half of the bra. The main reasons for providing adjustable straps are
- Straps may lose elasticity and tightening them will make good the loss.
- Our breasts may bloat during periods and loosening it will reduce pain.
- There are times where we cannot remove our bras completely and easing it is the only option that is available.
2.Detachable You can remove your straps and attach transparent straps without buying a transparent bra or take up multiway styling to look something different from normal.
Similar to straps, different features are available to clasp your bra!
- Back Open These are the usual ones where you can choose between two or three hook closures.
- Front Open– Apart from nursing bras other bra types also come with a front closure to aid women who can’t reach behind their backs to clasp their bra.
- Side Open These bras either come as a slip-on bra with added side closure or entirely depend on side closure. Heavy breasted women who want to push their side spillage to the front and wear tight outfits, often choose side closure bras as the hooks hide under their arms and simultaneously provide the expected support.
- Slip-On Women who have small breasts, don’t move around a lot and have no issue tugging at the ends of their bras once in a while go for slip-on bras to complement their tube or crop tops.
What Type of Fabric Should be Worn?
5. What Type of Fabric Should be Worn?
Bras are no less than your everyday outfits. You wear bras every day and all the time, so a bra is usually manufactured using at least two different fabrics in different quantities by using tricot, raschel or jersey knit methods. You can read the bra tag for more information.
Tropical wardrobes overflow with cotton. There are innumerable benefits to cotton. Cotton bras are easy to care for and low maintenance in comparison to other fabrics and work best for everyday bras that we wear during summers. The cool material circulates internal and external heat evenly to maintain body temperature at all times.
It doesn’t matter if you workout or not. You can wear a spandex bra irrespective of the climate changes. They are also known as Lycra or elastane. Spandex bras are weaved in a certain way that compliments your movement along with flexibility.
A lace bra is not just a bra that looks feminine and sultry. They are comfortable, flexible, easy to wear all day long and make your day something different from the usual. Lace bras are typically made for spring and the beginning of the summer season.
Speaking climate-wise, silk or satin bras are not for outdoor use. These are luxury fabrics and are typically made for showing off. Nightwear, honeymoon and bridal bras are available in this material to spice up your nights. They are cool, flexible and too sexy to resist.
You should definitely have a variety of polyamide bras in your lingerie wardrobe if you live in regions that get frequent rains. Polyamides are hydrophobic in nature, they don’t do well with moisture so the only option to get rid of moisture is to dry faster. That is exactly what polyamide bras do. Your polyamide inners will dry faster than your outfits that are directly under the fan or heater.
Polyester is the best fabric in a bra that allows little movement lengthwise and no movement in the cross side. This way your breasts won’t jiggle too much and makes the bra highly supportive for women with heavier breasts. Polyester bras may not be a summer staple in very hot climates because even though they dry fast they don’t regulate the heat properly. So these bra fabrics are typically recommended for autumn, spring and early winters. Polyester bras do come with a mix of nylon and have the same benefits as mentioned above.
How to Choose a Bra?
6.How to Choose a Bra?
Now that you are well versed with the tons of options that are available while shopping bra 7you will be able to buy your next bra easily by following the below instructions.
- Get to know your breast shape.
- Decide on what you need on a daily basis. Take a look at your wardrobe, if you have a lot of T-Shirts go for T-Shirt bras, if you have lots of low neck outfits opt for Balconette or plunge bras, so on and so forth.
- Analyze your dress materials and breast sag to choose between non-padded, padded, wire-free or wired.
- Determine the positioning of your nipples and breast heaviness to choose coverage.
- If you are into workouts get the proper sports bra that will make your routine even more worthy.
- If you have backache or neck pain opt for thick or firm straps and broader bandwidth bras.
- Don’t buy a bra that looks good on the trial room mirror as mirrors can be deceptive. Sit down or move around to feel the bra.
- Choose the colour and pattern that will complement your wardrobe. Buy lighter shades in summer as dark colours will absorb too much heat.
- Your choice of fabric should be of utmost importance in relation to climatic conditions.
- Buy sleepwear separately, your outdoor bras are not to be worn while you sleep.
Little Details That Matter a Lot
7. Little Details That Matter a Lot
One little mistake won’t make a difference but a group of little mistakes is often noticeable. Just like that, it is important to pay attention to these little mistakes every woman makes while buying bras.
- Don’t measure bras while you are on your periods. Bloating can lead to miscalculations.
- Bend forward to measure as you want a bra that tucks in your side spillage as well.
- Bands that ride up or that are too tight to breathe indicates you have bought the wrong size.
- Straps and hooks that leave red marks, digs or fall down represent an ill-fitted bra.
- Quad boobs, uneven bulging at unnecessary places and side spillage signify improper coverage.
- The gore i.e the centre part of your bra in between your breasts is not lying flat to your chest means that your bra is not providing enough support.
- Breasts falling below the band also mean that the bra is not supportive enough.
- Poking underwires represent a broken wire or deformed wire.
- Jiggling means your bras are not firm and supportive.
- If your stick-on or slip-on bra rides down it means it is time to buy new ones.
Bra Maintenance and Hygiene
8. Bra Maintenance and Hygiene
Buying is the easy part, maintaining the bras and your health requires more effort. Here are a few tips that I would recommend for a better experience.
- Read your bra tags properly as many wires and padding are not suitable for machine wash. You can simply hand wash all your innerwear in normal or lukewarm water if you can’t remember the wash care of each and every product.
- Use mild soap as hard detergent residue can cause itching and rashes in your intimates.
- Stick-on bras don’t do well with water so wipe them with a wet cloth to make the adhesive last longer.
- I understand bras are expensive and bra shopping whether online or offline is time-consuming and changing them every 6 months is tiresome. Though that is a healthy practice you can compensate for it by increasing the number of bras you have. This way, you don’t have to repeat the same bra within a week, thus, increasing the lifespan of the bra.
- Don’t wear a bra without washing it, remove the sports bra immediately after your workout.
Why Should My Underwear Match My Bra?
9. Why Should My Underwear Match My Bra?
Not wearing matching lingerie is not a crime, but wearing one will definitely heighten your confidence. Psychology says that women who wear out of shape and worn out lingerie often feel insecure and undress faster even when they are alone.
On the other hand, women who wear new lingerie, especially matching lingerie were confident enough to undress in front of strangers and this confidence affected their life positively.
You can also opt for shapewear to tuck in those little fat peeping here and there to get a fitted silhouette. Saree shapewear is making a revolution by replacing drawstring inskirts as women love how the fleets fan out on the floor and the rash free experience they gain.
A tad bit of confidence can make a huge difference in the way we face the world and if a pair of matching lingerie can help you, why miss the opportunity?
Myths and Facts
10. Myths and Facts
Everything in this world is surrounded by myths and we have often shown interest in discovering the facts behind them. So here are few debunked bra myths along with other facts.
- Bigger breasts aren’t always sexy, don’t run madly behind a dream size and hurt yourself. Wear a bra that fits you in reality.
- Wearing bras doesn’t cause breast cancer nor do mammograms. Men can also get breast cancer.
- You may need bras of different sizes because different styles are tailored differently and it’s all completely trial and error.
- Women with small breasts shouldn’t wear padding or push up bras regularly as they can cause sagging.
- Not wearing a bra while you sleep is actually a healthy practice and won’t cause disfiguration.
Now that you have learned everything out there related to bras. There are few other things you should make note of while shopping for bras online.
- Read the product description properly. There are chances for misunderstanding while we surf through so many products.
- Understand the offers, return and exchange policy of the online store for a better shopping experience.
- Buying accessories such as bra bags, nipple covers and spare transparent bras to maintain your bras help in creating a healthy environment for your breasts.
- Light colour bras don’t mean they will be invisible under your clothes.
- Shapewear is not only for obese people and saree shapewear are as good as drawstring inskirts.
Happy Bra Shopping!