Getting your first bra is quite the experience. Whether your new found boobs were something you loved or hated, there comes a time in every girl's life when a little support is deemed necessary.
Cue being dragged down to the local lingerie store to be fitted into a horrifying contraption by an old lady with zero understanding of the concept of privacy but hey, that's another story for another time.
Fact of the matter is, it's not just adolescents who need help when it comes to choosing their bras. As our bodies develop and change with age (sorry, ladies, but it's true), so should the bras we wear. In other words, if you're reading this thinking, 'pfffft, I've been a 10B since I was 15" -- it might be time to invest in some new lingerie.
If you're unsure of what size or shape of bra you need, the wisest thing to do would be to enlist the help of a professional fitter. However, if that's not your cup of tea, there are some tips and tricks you can employ yourself to make sure you're getting the right fit for your front.
"Obviously it would be best to go and get fitted at least once, but if you're doing it yourself, don’t assume that the bra you wore five years ago is still going to fit you," David Jones underwear buyer, Angela Favaloro, told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Because body shapes do change. I'm always hearing people say, 'I've been a 12B since forever and I’m always a 12B', but the reality is there's something called gravity and things will drop.
"If you have had children, if you fluctuate in weight, or you are on a medication that makes you retain water -- there are a number of things which can impact the type of support you need.
"On top of that, different occasions call for different measures. A sports bra, for example, might fit differently from an everyday bra, whereas a strapless is another thing entirely."
When trying on a bra, go for the middle hook.
But for the normal, everyday, wear-it-to-work kind of bra, there are a couple of key points to remember which can help you find the perfect fit.
"The most important thing is, when you are putting on a bra, to make sure the under-band is firm on the body," Favaloro said.
"You'll find most bras have three hooks on the back, and I would recommend initially using the middle hook. If you use the end hook and the bra stretches, there's no room for you to go, whereas the first hook could mean it’s too tight.
"So when the bra is on the middle hook, you shouldn’t be able to put fingers beneath the band comfortably. Obviously you don't want it ridiculously tight, but if it's not firm enough, you can actually get a lot of chafing under the bust."
Unless you want to wear each breast as an earmuff, it's also likely you will need to loosen the straps.
"When buying a bra, don't assume the straps are in the right position," Favaloro said. "Most likely they will be too tight, because that's how the bras look best on the hangers."
It's worthwhile taking a couple of different sizes into the change room with you.
In terms of your actual cup size, there are a number of things to consider.
"You want the cup to encompass the breast, unless of course you are trying on a push up bra, in which case you obviously want cleavage," Favaloro said.
"But generally, who want the cup to be full and the breast to be fully covered, with no bulging out the side or front. Specifically down the side, don’t want your tissue to be showing.
"A good thing to do is to take a t-shirt or seamless cami into the dressing room with you, because once you put a t-shirt on you can see straight away if there's any spillage. You want the look to be nice and smooth, with no digging in the side, no creasing in the cup and no overflow at the top.
"Your breasts should be pointing forward, not to the side, and when you put your clothes on you should feel a million bucks."
Favaloro recommends taking several sizes and styles into the dressing room with you (without causing the dressing room attendant to have a meltdown) as trial and error can often prove the best way to find the perfect fit.
"If you want to change brands, everything fits differently," Favaloro said. "You have European cup sizes and Australian cup sizes -- it's all different. You really need to bring at least four different sizes with you."
Finally, if you are one of those people who like to do their bra strap up at the front, before swiveling it around and looping your arms through the straps, then Favaloro wants you to
learn how to dress like a grown-up change your ways, stat.
"It horrifies me," Favaloro told HuffPost Australia. "When people hook the bra, turn it around, and then stick your arms in. No no no.
"What you should do is do the back up, lean forward and fall into it. You will need to readjust yourself by putting your hand inside the cup and pulling your boob into shape. If there's any creasing or bulging going on, then it's the incorrect size. You may need to change shape or go up a cup."