8 Things You Never Knew You Needed To Know About Bras

It’s no secret that, here on Gurl, we manage to talk about bras quite a lot. But there’s a reason for that, and it’s because bras, for the most part, are hella confusing–like, there is nothing quite so agonizing as the arduous process of shopping for a bra, is there? You have to know your size, which seems simple and straightforward enough until you realize that sizes are different at pretty much every store ever. Then you have to know what kind you want. T-shirt? Demi? Push-up? One that refers to itself as a “fanny pack for your boobs?” Finally, there’s the contention over whether or not Victoria’s Secret is viable source for bras–some say yes, definitely, while others say absolutely freaking not.

Jury’s still out on that one, but by the time that gets resolved, you’ll probably need a new bra. In order to gird your loins for your next bra shopping trip–so to speak–here are some super useful things that you never knew you needed to know about bras:

Support Doesn't Come From The Straps

If you're like me, if your bra is ever feeling like it's lacking support, your first instinct is to blame the straps. Not so! Your bra's support actually comes from the band--so, if your bra is ever feeling loose, you probably need to adjust the band, not the straps.

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You Can Figure Out Your Own Bra Size

Put on a lightly padded bra that you know fits pretty well, grab a tape measure, and measure your rib cage underneath your boobs. The number that you get is your band size (and if the number ends up being in between, just round up.) Then measure across the center of your breasts--this is your cup size. Write both number down. Finally, you have to do a little math by following this equationSecond number – band size = cup size The number you get corresponds with a letter in the alphabet. So, one = A cup, two = B cup, three = C cup, etc. That's your bra size! Go forth and conquer with this knowledge.

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If You Do Get Them Sized, Go Prepared

If boob equations aren't exactly your thing, you can get them sized. Just be prepared! When you go, make sure to wear a thinly lined bra and a tank top. This will help you get accurate measurements (because, you know, wearing that massively padded push up bra might throw things off a little.)

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Your Bra Size Will Change Throughout Your Life

Your body is probably changing a lot right now, so don't freak out if you find that one bra that fit you perfectly a month ago no longer works for you. This will likely continue throughout your life, too--even when you're an adult who isn't growing anymore, your bra size can still change three to six times every year due to factors like weight gain or loss, medication (particularly if it contains hormones, like birth control) or menstruation.

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Some Sizes Are Interchangeable

Bra cup size is pretty subjective, so you could be one size at one store and a totally different on at another. This is annoying, but there's a way to work with it, Instead of focusing on one size in particular when you go to look for bras--like, only looking for 32Ds because that's what you were the last time you got measured--pick out a few in the same range. If you're in doubt, ask a salesperson to help fit you. It's their job!

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You CAN Sleep In Your Bra...

There's a lot of contention over whether or not bras are safe to wear to bed. The short answer: Go for it! If it makes you feel more comfortable, it definitely won't cause any damage. In fact, if your boobs are on the larger size, it could help prevent sagging. Just make sure you're not wearing a bra with an underwire to bed--this can pinch your skin and/or cut off blood circulation.

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...But Maybe Don't?

If wearing a bra to bed makes you feel uncomfortable, definitely don't do it. It won't automatically make your boobs perkier or anything, so you'd just be subjecting yourself to restrictive torture for no reason. Basically, when it comes to the bra-or-no-bra-in-bed debate, just do what makes you feel the most comfy.

Image source:iStock

Give 'Em A Break

Don't overwork your bras! Try to space out wears to every other day--if you wear a bra two days in a row, the band could stretch out too quickly. You can also help preserve your bra's lifespan by hand washing it in cold water with lingerie-safe detergent. They also don't last forever--Most bras have about an eight-month lifespan, so make sure that you aren't hanging onto them for years--your bras aren't supposed to last for, like a million years, be aware of when you need to go pick up a new one.

Image source:iStock

Which of these tips was the most surprising for you? Did I forget anything? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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