The biggest bra mistakes you're probably making, according to an expert

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor
Image courtesy of Andrew Buda for Aerie. 

Shopping for bras can be a nerve racking experience no matter your age, which is why we sat down with Aerie’s bra experts to get to the bottom of some of the most common fit questions. From finding out the right size to wear to how to care for your delicate undergarments, read on for her top tips for bra care.

What are some of the most common fit mistakes women make when it comes to bras?

The most common mistake is that people aren’t getting measured consistently. This is important because your body changes over time. Don’t change you, change your bra.

Another one is [getting] hung up on the number. Wear what feels most comfortable to you. Also try different coverage levels; you may prefer and feel more comfortable in something full coverage vs. demi vs. plunge.

Lastly, bras stretch out and wear over time, impacting the overall fit and feel so try to let go of old bras.

Image courtesy of Andrew Buda for Aerie. 

How do I know if I’m wearing the wrong size bra?

A few indicators to pay attention to are the band, cups and straps.

For the band ask yourself if it is riding up your back or too tight on the loosest hook, and do you have any back spillage? If the cup is gapping at the neckline or digging and creating spillage at the neckline that is also an indicator. For the straps, see if they are digging in or sliding down.

How do I find my correct bra size?

If you can’t make it into a store to get fitted, use an online chart as a guide, but remember that bra sizing isn't an exact science. All that matters is finding something that makes you feel good.

To measure at home, wear a non-padded underwire bra to get the lift you need for the best measurement. To find the cup size, use a soft measuring tape and wrap it around the fullest part of your bust and round to the nearest inch. For the band, wrap a soft measuring tape around the top of your rib cage, just under your bust. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor and round to the nearest inch. Lastly, compare your measurements to the chart below to figure out your size.

Image via Aerie.

We also recommend seeing if your sister size fits better. Find the sister size by going up a band size and down a cup size. For example, if you usually wear a 34C, try a 36B or go down a band size & up a cup size: If you usually wear a 36D, try a 34DD.

What do I do if I’m between sizes?

You should always go with what you feel most comfortable in! Try a sister size by going up a band size and down a cup size or going down a band size and up a cup size. Choose what makes you feel good!

How should I care for my bras?

To help with wear rotate between bras regularly to help preserve their elasticity. When washing always use a mild detergent and cool water, or hand wash for extra care. Take out removable pads and always wash them by hand. Always clasp hooks to avoid snags and place bras in a lingerie bag for protection. For drying lay bras flat or hang because dryers tend to ruin elastic and cups.

If you’re in the market for a new bra, take a look at these recommendations for every shopping concern.

Aerie Real Sunnie Wireless Lightly Lined Bra

Image via Aerie.

For everyday wear, try the Sunnie Wireless bra - Aerie’s no. 1 top-selling T-shirt bra.

SHOP IT: Aerie, $27 (originally $45)

Aerie Real Power Plunge Push Up Bra

Image via Aerie.

For special occasions, try the Real Power Collection. These extra special have added details and padding to kick it up a notch.

SHOP IT: Aerie, $30 (originally $60)

Aerie Real Happy Wireless Lightly Lined Bra

Image via Aerie

For versatility, try the Real Happy Collection. Adjustable straps and j-hooks offer the opportunity to wear as both classic straps or racerback.

SHOP IT: Aerie, $20 (originally $40)

Aerie Romantic Lace Padded Bralette

Image via Aerie.

For nursing, wireless bras or bralettes offer the ultimate comfort.

SHOP IT: Aerie, $24 (originally $35)

Aerie Real Sunnie Full Coverage Lightly Lined Bra

Image via Aerie.

SHOP IT: Aerie, $27 (originally $45)

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