How to Buy A Bra & What to Expect When Bra Shopping

Smiling woman modeling ThirdLove's Pima Cotton Plunge Bra in white

What do we usually expect bra shopping to be? For most of us, it’s an unpleasant, time-consuming, experience that leaves us uncomfortable, confused, and unhappy with everything we have purchased.

For me, it’s always not knowing what size I am, and the inability to get a clear answer on it. Every time I ask at the store, I am always answered with a note of condescension of how could I possibly be this unaware of the size of my body. And it doesn’t help that every time I get measured, it’s a different size.

Then, there is actually trying on the bra. I’m topless under fluorescent lights with an unflattering undergarment that digs in to me to create fat rolls that I thought were being reduced with a semi-regular workout routine.

A harrowing pursuit to say the least, but here’s a secret: bra shopping doesn’t have to be this way.


Start with an open mind when finding your bra size.

It all starts with a change of perception, specifically when it comes to thinking about our actual size. Bra size is not indicative of weight or your perceived mass. When you go up in the band, you actually go down in the cup (and vice-versa) so while you might be seeing a higher number, it doesn’t mean you are a larger person. Additionally, the actual shape of your breasts can be a factor in determining your size. So whether you’re an A cup or an H cup, a 30 band or a 46 band, the most important thing is how the bra feels on you and whether or not it’s giving you the support you need.

We’ve all tried to squeeze into a size smaller dress for the sake of ego, but with bras this will do you zero favors. Remember, this is a wardrobe piece that is primarily built for function and wearing the wrong bra size (big or small) will not work – literally. Your band, straps, and cup play an integral part in providing support, so it’s imperative that you find a bra that fits perfectly.

Another thing to understand is that with bra shopping, you always have options. There is not a single answer that works for everyone on how to shop for bras. Everyone is different and there is no reason that you should do bra shopping one way just because it works for someone else.

And ThirdLove is all about options.


Figuring out “What bra size am I?”

Before buying a bra, you need to figure out what size you are. First, ThirdLove created the online Fit Finder® Quiz that can help you find your correct size by answering a series of questions pertaining to your fit issues and breast shape. Additionally, each of our products includes customer-provided ThirdLove reviews that you can sort through by bra size so you can get an honest opinion of how the bra works for your cup and band. Curious about bra sizing? Learn more about finding your size here.


You have options when bra shopping.

Whether you find that your size is larger or smaller than you expected, or somewhere in between (ThirdLove has half-cups!), there are more options than ever for finding your perfect bra and you should never settle for anything less than a bra that fits you perfectly.

We all have different approaches to finding the perfect bra. Whether you want to fix a fit issue you’ve been experiencing, need that one style to complete your essential bra collection, or want to get more bras in a style you know your boobs love, we’re happy to help.

You can chat with an experienced Fit Stylist, who’ll help you with bra sizing, finding the best style for you, and setting up an exchange if needed. We want to make sure you love your bra and we get that for some, it takes time to figure out if you really love it. So we offer our 60 day fit guarantee. During this time, you have the option to wear it, wash it, and try it out to see if it’s perfect for you.

Looking for some inspiration for your perfect bra style? Mix it up or make it a set, here are some of our best sellers and our fave underwear picks:

Discover the collection here.