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You’ve been buying bras every year since you were 12. So why can’t you get the underwire to stop digging into your ribs? We asked Rigby & Peller’s lingerie stylist Jennifer O’Connell to help us take the mystery out of buying bras. Here are seven reasons you’re not getting a perfect fit.

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UNDERESTIMATING THE CUP SIZE

A little cleavage is fine, but when a bra fits properly, there should be no breast tissue peeking out of the sides of the cup. Put on a bra and check out the sides of your breasts, by your armpits--there should be no discernible bulges and everything should be scooped up and supported.

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OVERESTIMATING THE BAND SIZE

When your cup size is too small, that probably means your band size is too big. If you can fit more than two fingers between the band and your spine, try a size that’s two inches smaller and adjust the cup size accordingly. The band provides most of your bra’s support, so a comfortably snug fit is important.

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ASSUMING YOU’RE THE SAME SIZE IN EVERY BRAND

You’re a medium at Anthropologie and a large at Zara, yet most women buy the same size at every lingerie store. Just like clothing, bras vary by manufacturer, so you might need to try on multiple band and cup sizes until you find an exact fit.

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ASSUMING YOU’RE THE SAME SIZE YOU WERE 10 YEARS AGO

You were a 34C in college, but your boobs have been through a lot since then. Keep a close eye on the fit every time you try on a bra. It’s not unusual to change sizes every year.

RELATED: The Only Five Bras You Need in Your Life

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GETTING A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SPORTS BRA

If you have a large chest, choosing an off-the-rack sports bra that gives you a uni-boob might not be the best option. Instead, opt for a fitted sports bra with added support and underwire, like this one from Panache Panache.

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SKIMPING ON QUALITY

Those $12 bras at the mall might look cute, but trust us--in the long run, you’re better off going with a higher-quality option that will stand the test of time. Bras have a one-year shelf life, so choose one that will last at least that long. 

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DOING IT YOURSELF

If you’re still stuck, get a professional fitting. When you’ve tried on a properly sized bra, you’ll never forget what it feels like. It’s just like riding a bike--ya know, but for your boobs.

RELATED: The Best Way to Wash Your Bras

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