Answers to the Most Common Lingerie Questions

The answers to the ten most popular lingerie and bra fitting questions.

Woman in bra and underwear
Sam Edwards/Getty

Bra fitters and those that work in the lingerie industry get asked the same questions over and over again. Good news: we've also got the answers! If you've asked yourself about how bras fit, where to buy lingerie, and what kind to choose, you're not alone. Below are more than 10 of the most popular lingerie, bra, underwear, and bra fitting questions ever asked - along with the answers! 

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How can I find my bra size?

The truth about bra sizes

This is perhaps the most popular question involving bra sizing. Bras come in a wide range of sizing, and finding the perfect size for you can be confusing. We've made it easy for you to finally find your bra size - or at least a bra size starting point.

Remember, if you stop into a lingerie boutique or the intimate apparel department at a store in the mall, you can work with a bra fitter. You can fit yourself and shop for bras online, or double check the calculations provided by a bra size calculator or a fitter. 

Once you've found your bra size starting point, you can use the helpful information about that bra size to start to shop for bras, picking the size in each brand that correlates with your new starting size. 

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How can I tell if my bra fits?

Chantelle lingerie

Bras are like jeans. The fit varies on style, brand, and cut. You can't just pick a size off of the rack, put it on, and be 100% sure it fits. There are some key elements to look for when trying on a bra with a bra fitter, at a bra shop, or even at home. You can use these 6 Steps to Check the Fit of Your Bra when shopping for new bras, or even when you're re-checking the fit of your current bras at home. 

Keep in mind, a well fitting bra is a comfortable and supportive bra. The size on your tag is a great place to start, and the way that it fits, feels, and functions is even more important.

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Is it normal for more than one bra size to fit?


Yes! It is totally normal for more than one bra size to fit. In fact, it's possible for the tags on your bras to read 9 or more different sizes, and each one can fit. Your bra size is not a strict scientific math equation that correlates to a number across all brands, styles, or materials. The bra size that ends up fitting you best can change based on your body (your current measurements, body shape, age, breast consistency), the bra style (plunge and full coverage bras fit differently, for example), and the brand (there is no consistent pattern or sizing system across brands).

Other factor's play into the final fit, as well, like the materials used to make the bra (bras made with very stretchy elastic will fit differently than firmer bras) or even the country in which the bra was made! Many countries use different sizing methods for the band, and the cup. That's why some basic knowledge on bra sizing and bra fitting basics can help you choose the bras - in how ever many sizes - that work best for you.

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Can I really find a strapless bra that stays up?

Warner's Strapless Bra

Good news: yes you can! It's a common myth that a strapless bra will inevitably fall or slip down. If you wear the right size, and find a style that suits your figure, it is possible to find a strapless bra that stays up, and in place. In fact, there are strapless bras for more sizes than ever before! Use the guides below to shop some of the best and most supportive strapless bras, for just about every bra size - including full busts, petite busts, and average size busts. 

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What is the difference between a molded, contour, push up, and padded bra?

Curvy Couture plunge bra
Curvy Couture

When it comes to choosing a cup style, American women tend to go for a molded bra. In general, a molded bra is a bra that keeps its shape or has a formed cup to it. It then "molds" your breast tissue to its shape. Molded bras can be firm or flexible, seamed or seamless, smooth or decorative. They can also have padding or push-up.

It's a myth, though, that all molded bras will add volume to your bust. Typically, bras that add volume are padded or push up bras. There are many different kinds of push up bras, and most are, indeed, molded. Some have removable padding, some are thicker than other bras, and many are a plunge shape. 

There is a whole world of molded bras to explore! Try a few for yourself and see if you like the shape, support, and style.

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Are thongs actually comfortable?

Cosabella Never Say Never Thong

Believe it or not, thong underwear CAN be comfortable. Though some may argue that the thin back of a thong feels like a "constant wedgie", it's also a great way to avoid visible panty lines (or VPL), or to show off a favorite asset. In addition, some women find thongs more comfortable than other underwear. The preference is up to you. 

If you'd like to try thong underwear and are suspicious of its comfort factor, try one or two of The Most Comfortable Thongs first. Give thongs a try and see what happens. You may just open your whole world up! 

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How can I hide my nipples?

Nipple Covers from Bristols 6
Bristols 6

In the United States, it's often taboo for a woman to show her nipples. It's also common for her to cover up the shape of her nipple from showing through a top or blouse. Women often make the choice based on their place of employment, to avoid unwanted attention, or for personal modesty reasons. While molded bras can often offer built-in discretion, some are not made of thick enough material to cover up your headlights.

Alternatively, some women may not like the shape or fit of a molded bra. In that case, I highly suggest investing in a pair or two of nipple covers. The styles available today range from totally seamless, flesh like material to over the top decorative and fun! Plus, some are adhesive and will stick directly to your skin, while some can slip right into your bra without the use of glue.

Go seamless in a neutral tone to be discreet, or channel your inner burlesque dancer with a pair of sequin pasties! 

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Does anyone make pretty bras for full busts?

Tutti Rouge Lingerie
Tutti Rouge

You bet! Women who wear a cup size larger than a DD often complain that "no one makes pretty bras in my size!" And for many years, this was true. Now, several brands design and manufacture supportive and stylish bras for DD cups and up. In fact, you can find beautiful colors and pretty lace in bra sizes F (or DDD cup) all the way up to an N cup size. Get to know the brands that make F Cup Bras and Larger like Tutti Rouge, Panache, Elila, and many more.

Bonus: many of the brands included also make supportive cup-sized swimsuits up to K cup! That means style and support at the beach and by the pool, too.

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Does period underwear actually work?

The Lunapanties MAIA hipster style. Lunapanties

One of the biggest trends in underwear fashion includes a special function! Period underwear, meant to be worn during a woman's menstrual cycle, ranges from being able to fully replace the use of a tampon or pad, to being worn in addition, or simply to making that time of the month fun. Explore brands like Thinx, Luna Panties, Dear Kate, and more. They're just the tip of the period underwear iceberg. And, they often have additional benefits like sweat and odor absorption, yoga wear, and fun colors. 

The results vary on both your intended use, and your flow. But all in all, I suggest giving period underwear a go!

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How can I shop for bras online?

Online shopping in your underwear
Coco loves to shop online and gets inspiration from Instagram. Getty/gradyreese/E+

Getting fit in a bra boutique is a great way to shop for bras, but it's not the only way. If you live in a remote part of the world, or simply hate shopping for bras in crowded department stores or stuffy lingerie boutiques, you're in luck. Bra shopping online is easier than you think! Use this guide for How to Shop for Bras and Underwear Online to visit some of the best online lingerie shopping destinations, get tips on how to choose a bra size, and advice for making sure your bra fits when it arrives at home. 

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Is it ok to put bras in the dryer?

Dog Helping with Bra Washing
Hans Neleman/Photodisc/Getty

No! The way you wash your bras matters. And the dryer is the worst for your bras. The high heat from a dryer will ruin the elastic in a bra, and can cause underwires to break or to poke out. It's always best to air dry your bras by hanging them up or laying them out to dry. 

In addition, it's best if you can wash your bras by hand, too! Simply letting your bras soak in delicate wash, rinsing them, and then hanging to dry will help them last longer. If you can't hand wash, make sure you use a delicate cycle and very gentle soap. Read the Five Easy Steps to Wash Your Bras and explore the Most Useful Lingerie Care Items for a list of the best soaps to use to wash bras, ideas for hang drying, and even handy gadgets to make washing your delicates more fun!

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Why do my underwire bras poke?

Underwire popping out of bra
Getty Images/Mark Adams/UpperCut Images

If you're asking why your underwire bras poke or dig in, it could be a fit issue. Wearing a bra in the right size is a great start. Then, it's important to explore some style options. If the pain is in the middle of your chest, you can opt for a bra with a different center gore - usually lower. And if it's under your arm, look for an underwire that is not as deep. Test the underwire when you're trying on bras to feel if it's very rigid or has more flexibility if you're very sensitive. Alternatively, you can try a bra without an underwire

If you're asking why your underwires poke out of your bra, it could be how you care for your bra. The way that you wash, store, and wear your bra can all cause your underwire to break or poke out. The good news is that a broken underwire is usually preventable. Taking good care of your bras will help them last longer, and will keep you feeling comfortable longer.