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How to... Get the perfect fitting bra; Did you know 80% of us are wearing the wrong bra size, which can lead to discomfort and back problems? M&S bra fit expert Julia Mercer says the right bra can make you look slimmer, so here are her tips on finding it.

1 Consider your body shape

Before you get fitted you need to know which bra shape will best show off your figure. The four main fits are the plunge, balcony, full-cup

and strapless bra. For a smaller frame and closer together breasts, a plunge bra will give you support and positioning. A plunge bra does not necessarily mean a push-up bra; it supports the bust from the centre of the cups and pushes the breasts together. If you have broader shoulders and a gap between the breasts, a balcony bra will be a better fit for a fuller-looking shape. A full-cup and well-supported strapless fit will suit most body shapes.

2 IDEALLY, GET FITTED EVERY 6-12 MONTHS

Your bra size can change in that time; putting on or losing weight, getting pregnant or just getting older can all affect your shape enough that you may need to change bra sizes, or your bra shape. Most bra fittings are free, so it's always worth taking the time to go and have one.

3 The fit: your bra should frame your cleavage The wires at the front of the bra should sit back completely against your sternum.

The wires at the side of the breast should frame your breasts and not dig into your skin.

There should be no spillage at the front or sides - the cups should fully encase your breasts.

Adjust your straps so they are snug but you have enough room to fit two fingers under them.

The underband should be horizontal across your back. Make sure it stays in place when you lift your arms.

Badly fitted bras will be uncomfortable and affect your posture. Lumps and bumps will also show up through your clothes.

5 Can't get to a professional fitting? 23% of women don't like bra fittings, and many of us just don't have time. M&S have a bra-fitting tool online which will guide you with pictures and questions. Their bra size calculator will find your perfect match measurement across their own brand, Next, Rigby & Peller and other bra retailers. All you need is a tape measure and a mirror to get started.

Measure under your breast, and around your ribcage with the tape measure fitted snugly against the skin. This will give you your band size (round it up to the nearest even number if you get an odd number). ? Then measure across the fullest part of your bust and subtract your band measurement from this - each inch difference equals a cup size. For example if you are a 34 inch band size and 36 inches around the bust, the difference is 2 inches, which means a B cup.

Be realistic about your bra size... To get the most out of your bra fitting session, be open about the shape recommendation and trust the professionals to find your perfect fit. Don't obsess about being a particular size just because you've always been that size; and remember, different brands will have different sizings.

BOOK YOUR BRA FITTING WITH M&S: Use the bra fit booking tool on marksandspencer.com or when you are next in store ask at the Lingerie bra fitting room. If they can, they will fit you in straight away. You can even take an outfit for a special occasion with you and M&S will fit a bra to suit it.

Some brands, like Bravissimo, won't actually measure you but will assess you visually and try on several bras until they've got the right fit.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 28, 2016
Words:584
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