The right bra can do more for a girl’s self-esteem than all the valentines in the world. Ask any girl. Cleavage-creating, uplifting and contour enhancing, the (right) bra deserves a place on a wonders of the world list. Unfortunately, even a push-up bra will fall flat if the wrong size is employed. Susan Nethero, a professional bra fitter, calculates that 85 percent of American women wear the wrong bra size. Increasing breast size with a bra, then, requires proper fitting first and proper padding second.
Wrap the measuring tape around your ribcage, just below your breasts, at the intersection of where your breasts rise from your body. Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the ground, both back and front. Breathe naturally. Write down this measurement. This will be the basis for determining the correct band size for you.
Wear your most comfortable bra. Look into the mirror and make sure there is no overflow. Breast should fill but not overflow the bra cup. Adjust the band if necessary. If one of your breasts is larger than the other, pad the looser cup so that breast size is even.
Adjust the bra straps so that when standing with your arms down, your breasts fall halfway between your shoulders and elbows.
Wrap the tape measure around your torso, this time at the fullest part of your breasts, which usually includes the tips of the nipples. Breathe naturally. Write down this measurement. This will be the basis for determining your cup size.
Subtract the first measurement from the second measurement.
Use this conversion chart to determine correct cup size:
Less than 1-inch difference = AA cup size 1-inch difference = A cup size 2-inch difference = B cup size 3-inch difference = C cup size 4-inch difference = D cup size 5-inch difference = DD or E cup size and so on.
Return to the first measurement. If the number is an even number, add 4 inches. For an odd number, add 5 inches. This is the correct band size for you.
Try on the indicated bra size.
Position one gel breast enhancer in front of each breast, between your nipple and the front of the bra, for increased contour. Alternately, you can position one gel breast enhancer on the side of each breast, between your breast and the bra, for increased cleavage.
Choose one cup size larger if gel inserts make the bra fit too snugly.
Bra band sizes are given in even numbers. If your measurement is an odd number, round up to the next even number. For instance, if your measurement is 33.5 inches, round up to 34.
According to Dr. Joanna Scurr, of the University of Portsmouth, the average breast size of women is increasing. Some stores, such as Selfridges in London, England, and Intimacy, the chain of U.S. stores owned by Susan Nethero, have introduced bras with cup sizes ranging up to K cup. If you do not find a local store that carries your cup size, you can either shop online or ask your lingerie department if it offers custom bra creation.
Katherine Mariaca is a professional freelance journalist who specializes in alternative and complementary medicine, and skin and body care treatments. A longtime spa director and VP of skin care companies, Mariaca developed products and services for the spa industry. She earned a B.S. from Tufts and an M.F.A. from Lesley.