Stop Hating Your Bra

Yes, bras can be beautiful and comfortable.

Grace Wilcox Photography

What’s the first thing you do when you get home? Take off your bra? That piece of supposedly supportive — and sexy — underwear can act like a torture device. The underwire digs in. The back strap can cut off your circulation. And the cups fit awkwardly. The truth is, there are so many parts to a bra, and so many opportunities to mess it up. Bra startup ThirdLove wants to solve that. They’ve created a line of bras that come in more than 70 sizes, including half sizes. They hope you can find one that’s just right.

ThirdLove has created an online Fit Finder, which takes about 60 seconds to complete. “We want you to never walk into a bra fitting room again,” Lauren Taylor Johnson from ThirdLove told me during a recent “bra lab” held at The Assembly. Instead of dealing with awkward measuring tapes, they want you to answer a series of questions about your past bra experience and body shape. I took their quiz, and found out that a 32B and a 34A are essentially the same size, and I would do better with the 32B. Talking to Lauren, I got some basic tips we all should keep in mind when bra shopping. Here they are:

  • Buy tight: When you purchase a bra, it should be most comfortable on the loosest hook. Then, as it ages and loosens up, you can begin to move in and tighten it. Once the tightest hook is too loose, it means it’s time to purchase a new bra.
  • Pay attention to the underwire: Not all underwire is created equally. ThirdLove uses flat tubing, instead of rounded underwire. That keeps it from poking out from the bra and scratching your skin. And you still get the benefits of underwire, which include definition and support. If you have smaller breasts, consider skipping underwire altogether. 
  • Banish the tag: ThirdLove has a genius solution to annoying, itchy bra tags. They’ve printed all of that information on the fabric itself. Problem solved.
  • Look for a hook with padding: ThirdLove adds a memory foam cushion between their hook and eye clasps, so you don’t feel it dig into you when you lean back against a chair or lay down.
  • Rethink sizes: If you’re like me, you’re never quite sure what size fits best. According to ThirdLove, 37 percent of all women fall between cup sizes. That’s why they’ve introduced half sizes and their customized Fit Finder.
  • Address asymmetrical breasts: Many ThirdLove bras come with microfiber padding you can adjust independently on each side.

If this all sounds smart, consider that ThirdLove’s founder, Heidi Zak, is an MIT grad. Chances are, you have one or two bras you wear on heavy rotation. But with these tips, they hope you will love each and every one in your underwear drawer.

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