You're Wearing the Wrong Bra If...

by Tori Telfer

If only bras could talk. "Honey, just loosen my straps an inch on each side, and you'll be just fine." "Babe, are you delusional? You know I'm a good cup size too big for you. When your mom said to 'dream big,' this wasn't what she meant." "Wow, we look fantastic together."

But no. We enter the bra shop, scared and alone, and are faced with rack after rack of silent brassieres, staring us down as though disgusted by our lack of bra intuition. We let the salesgirls measure our chests yet again, even though we're pretty sure we're a 34B? We purchase bras based on their cleavage-enhancing capabilities, without once checking the band in the back. We head straight for the clearance rack because two kinda-fitting bras are better than one perfectly fitting bra … right?

Next time you head into Victoria's Secret, ask yourself the following tough questions. You may be loathe to let go of that uncomfortable-but-oh-so-chichi leopard-print wonder, but the right bra will save your shoulders, look great under a T-shirt, and most importantly, let you forget you're wearing it.

1. Does The Bra Press Uncomfortably Into Your Skin?

Beauty is not pain when it comes to bras. The underwire shouldn't be digging into your chest, the straps shouldn't be leaving red marks on your shoulders, and you definitely shouldn't be bruising anywhere. (You'd be surprised by how tight some bras can get.) Any red marks when you take it off? Next!

2. Is Overflow Happening?

A little side boob spillage? Cups running over? Four boobs when there should only be two? Time for a size up.

3. Are The Cups Wrinkling?

Then you probably got a little ambitious with the sizing chart. Your breasts should fill the cup enough to smooth it out. Size down.

4. Does The Fabric Connecting The Cups Lie Flat Against Your Chest?

That fabric is called the center gore, and it should lie nice and smooth against your sternum. If not, it means the bra is too small. Up!

5. Do You Keep Noticing Your Bra?

Unfortunately, this trick won't really help you while in the bra store. But if you're continuously reminded of your bra's existence while running errands or grabbing coffee with a pal, this is your bra's SOS signal. The two of you just aren't a good fit.

6. Is The Band In The Back Parallel To The Ground?

The back strap of your bra should lie in a fairly horizontal line across your back. If it's riding up, try loosening the bra's shoulder straps. You may be wearing a band size that's too big, and overcompensating by tightening the straps. If the band continues to ride up, try moving down a band size. This means you'll most likely need to move up a cup size, too (so a 36C should try out a 34D).

7. Can You Breathe?

No? Did Ryan Gosling just walk into the room? No? OK, then your bra is way too tight. A bra that lets the girls get away with a little jiggle is better than one that keeps them in a vise-like grip. Plus, Gosling Manor (or at least a Gosling Google Image Search) will always be there to take your breath away.

Image: undrey/Fotolia