There is a saying that a good man is hard to find, and the same should be said about a bra. Considering the rules of gravity, women will find that a well-fitting bra is a worthwhile investment. Luckily, there are ways to stretch your budget without ruining the fabric of your life.
My Cup Runneth Over
A bra that provides adequate support can help alleviate back pain, general discomfort and poor posture, not to mention your look. Some may make you seem more endowed or less, so depending on your neurosis, you do have options.
Fit for Life
The first step in buying a bra is to get fitted. Many boutique lingerie shops and department stores don't charge for the service. Of course, if you're disappointed by what the expert deems as your size, you can always get a second opinion.
Once you're fitted, you'll still need to try on the bra to check your measurements against manufacturer guides, as there are often variations among retailers. Plus, it's a good way to see if the fabric works well under your clothes.
Whether you go to a local shop or chain store, like Nordstrom (JWN), the salespeople will encourage you to purchase a bra, typically at retail value. Investing in a form-fitting bra will pay off, so it might be a worthwhile purchase. That said, you can always check online first to compare prices and see if a particular brand's style (and size) is offered elsewhere. You can also ask the salespeople whether their bras will go on sale soon. Since fit is fundamental, it's worth going to the store to try it on, even if you snag a cheaper deal online later. Regardless, there are ways to save if you have the time to look for deals.
Types of Bras
Your cup size and shape change as you age, just like your needs (and budget). Skinny straps may be fine when you're young, or for a fun evening, but basic nudes and black bras, as well as adjustable straps, enable you to use the same bra with a variety of outfits. Victoria's Secret, Natori, and other major labels sell bras that can be worn traditionally or as a cross back, one-strap, or strapless. Always try adjusting it at the store before you come home to find that the strap is actually hard to refit.
A Caring Touch
The average lifespan of a bra is purportedly around 6 months, depending on the elasticity. (Bra makers and stores may give that statistic as a way to encourage you to shop more often.) Regardless, it's crucial to take care of your lingerie. The better care you take of your bras, the fewer you'll need to buy. Many lingerie websites recommend that you rotate your bras often to reduce stretching and allow the garment to recover its elasticity.
In terms of washing, always follow the care label. For bras that require hand washing, use a cleaning product designed for delicate fabrics. If you're using a washing machine, avoid harsh detergents. Make sure to clasp bras before you put them in the wash, so they don't catch. It's best to zip them up in a lingerie bag, even if you're machine-washing them at home. Whatever you do, there is one major don't: Don't dry bras in the dryer, as doing so can cause shrinkage. (If only going in the dryer worked as a form of weight loss!)
Buy a Great Bra or Bust!
Bras come in so many colors, fabrics, and sizes that you're sure to be able to find deals on ones that you can take care of over the long haul. Sometimes shopping with a friend, relative or boyfriend can help, by providing a second opinion. Just make sure that person truly qualifies as a bosom buddy.