Pick a bra with rigid cups, rather than a minimizer, which can make you look heavier. Turn sideways and look in a mirror. Your nipples should be halfway between your shoulder and your elbow. “If not, the bra isn’t supportive enough,” says Linda Becker, owner of Linda’s Bra Salon, in New York City.
To try: Take heart, double-Ds. “Matronly” isn’t your only option. This streamlined wonder serves up ample support with sturdy cups and a wide band, all while boasting feminine details, like slim straps and a low cut. In sizes 30 to 38, D to G. Also in nude and white.
Opt for a bra with removable padding, then take out the insert on the fuller side to even out the different sizes. Shortening the strap on the smaller side also helps to eliminate bagginess.
To try: This embroidered beauty has pockets with air-filled inserts that can be removed to even out your chest. Bonus: The straps can be clipped together into a racer- back. In sizes 30 to 38, A to E. Also in pink and white.
Choose a molded bra, even if you don’t want to increase your size. “The foam cups provide shaping and opacity without added bulk,” says Rebecca Aughton, owner of Bra-vo Intimates, in Royal Oak, Michigan.
To try: Thanks to the smooth patterned overlay on the stretch foam cups, you can enjoy the look of a lace bra without the bumps (and show-and-tell) that usually come with it. In sizes 34B to 36DDD. Also in nude.
To buy: Wacoal Rosy Outlook Contour bra, $68, Nordstrom, 888-282-6060.
4 of 6 John Lawton
If You’re a Plus Size
Rely on a wide band to give you a smooth appearance and extra support. Check that the underwire is flush with the armpits and lies flat against the breastbone. If it doesn’t, go up a cup size so that the underwire fully contains each breast.
To try: Full-figured lingerie often prioritizes support over style, but this sleek alternative gives you both. Rigid fabric between the cups provides extra lift, while the firm mesh band trims the sides and the back. In sizes 34 to 48, D to GG. Also in black.
Find full-coverage cups that point up for a perky lift. Check out your rear view. “If the bra rides up in the back, the breasts drop down,” says Lauren Amerine, a co-owner of Isabella Fine Lingerie, in Chicago. Go down a band size until the bra is level.
To try: Powerful “petals” at the bottoms and the sides of the cups fight gravity to bring the breasts front and center. Cushioned straps minimize weight on the shoulders. In sizes 34 to 42, B to DDD. Also in taupe, vanilla, and white.
Make sure the band is snug around the rib cage by selecting a brand that specializes in petite-friendly sizes (28, 30, and 32). Select a padded demi or push-up bra to enhance your cleavage.
To try: A petite frame needs scaled-down cups, plus scaled-down band sizing, like this lacy style that starts at a band width of 28. Another perk: a natural-looking (not nature-defying) boost, courtesy of push-up pads. In sizes 28A to 36B. Also in mocha.