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7 signs of the bra-pocalypse (yours probably doesn't fit)

How to tell if your bra is the wrong size

denver boudoir lingerieA couple of months ago, I went to Nordstrom to buy a new bra. The saleswoman asked if she could give me a complimentary fitting. I brushed her off, but then rethought it. It had been a year ... two? ... since I had a fitting, and my bras really weren't comfortable. The straps frequently slid down. And when I arrived home, my bra was off faster than my shoes. On top of it, the underwires kept poking through the fabric. That's always sexy.

I was shocked by the result. My band measurement was spot on. My cup measurement? Off by 3. Yes, folks, I am not a C, but a DDD. When I got into that correct bra size and looked in the mirror, I looked like I had lost 10 pounds. The girls were lifted, perky even. Sexy for sure.

Your bra probably doesn't fit right

The Internet says 80 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size. I believe it. When I do styling consults with clients, I always recommend that they have a bra fitting before buying any lingerie. I recommend Nordstrom and local lingerie stores—I think they're more accurate. The clients who listen to me (damnit) almost always tell me that their bras were too small.

It's so, so important that everything you wear in your boudoir photos fits impeccably. If your panties are digging into your waistline, or your bra is giving you the double boob or the half boob, you are guaranteed to look past your beauty and judge the poor fit as you being too fat. No. Your clothes are too small.

Measure your ribcage and add 4 inches, right?

Maybe not. A few websites I found indicated that rule of thumb originated before Lycra and stretchy fabrics used in today's bras. If you use this rule, your band size is probably too loose. And while the rule of then measuring across your breasts, subtracting band measurement from that one, and using the difference to determine your cup size can work, these lingerie experts say, if you're a size D or higher, it's not all that accurate.

Which is probably why I thought I was a D. My ribcage measures 38. My over the breast measurement is 42. But I'm a DDD? Hmmm.

Bra shape and style is equally as important as size

Last month I was shopping online for lingerie for a styled shoot and I came across the best tool ever for figuring out what bras will work for my boobs on HerRoom.com (this is a great lingerie site if you're shopping for your boudoir outfits).

Here's the tool. It's awesome. You need to do it.

The questionnaire goes beyond measurements and asks which way your nipples point, where the weight of your breast hangs, if your boobs are full or conical, if you have big areolas and more. I was really glad no one was home as I did the survey because I had to take my shirt off and compare my boobs in the mirror to the drawings on my computer screen. At the end, I was presented with bras that would make my breasts look great and ease some of the discomfort I experience. Apparently, the best bra for you lifts your breasts and makes your nipples point straight forward. Happily, the styles the site recommended to me are styles I naturally gravitate toward.

7 signs of the bra-pocalypse

I love this blog post by Aah! Intimates about 7 ways to tell your bra doesn't fit, aka the bra-pocalypse. (I just made that up.) I think every girl should carry the graphic that goes along with it in her purse when she goes bra shopping. Instant education! Here's her list, abbreviated:

  1. Digging straps
  2. Bumpy fit, aka the half boob
  3. Side boob/side muffin
  4. Back cleavage
  5. Cup gap
  6. Slipping straps
  7. Back band rise

And something I didn't know: When the underwires pop through the center of the bra, your cup size is too small. That's what had happened to all of my bras, and why I was shopping at Nordstrom.

Life is too short to wear an ill fitting bra. Go get measured before you start shopping for your boudoir outfits. You'll thank me!