When Shakespeare said "to thine own self be true," he was almost definitely talking about bras. Some girls like fancy, attention-getting pieces (think push-ups with lace, rhinestones, or bows), and others prefer understated basics in black or nude—they may not be showstoppers, but they get the job done just fine. Whatever your style, how do you decide which ones to buy? Read our bra-buying guide to make sure you're covered—LITERALLY!
Get measured. When you enter the store, don't assume you know your size. Your body is constantly changing (especially when you're a teen) and since bras are investment pieces (they can cost big money), it's important to make sure they fit just right. Don't be afraid to flag down a friendly sales lady and introduce her to your girls. No need to be shy; it's all part of their job!
Raid the store. Bras come in all different shapes (demi, plunge, push-up, racerback, etc), so try all of them so you can see what makes you look best. Grab a ton of assorted brands, and get bras with soft cups as well as others with more structure and support. Once you have two handfuls of these contraptions, take a deep breath and head into the dressing room. You will be in there for days and you will likely die there.
Look at your own body. While a bra might look great on a mannequin, you need to make sure it works for you! When you try on a bra, check to make sure you the top of your boob isn't popping out over the cup. We want to keep the girls somewhat contained! Also, check out your back, as you want to avoid unflattering rolls. A bra that fits right will conceal back fat (even really skinny girls can have this, so don't get upset). If you think you like the bra, throw a shirt on over it to see what it looks like under clothes (is it too textured? Is it smooth enough?), since you likely won't be parading around at school sans top.
Keep calm. You may get frustrated, but remember to take a deep breath; it's just bra shopping! If you need to, let out an audible grunt, send your friend a funny text message, or ask the bra lady for some moral support before continuing your bra shopping trip.
Get basics. It's important to have some everyday bras that will work perfectly for your day-to-day life. Stick with bras without too much lace or fancy extras, so they won't show through your Doctor Who tees.
Get fancy. Every girl deserves something that makes her feel special, so get a bra or two that fits your personality. That doesn't mean you need to get something sleazy, but if you are drawn to that polka-dotted bra, or that one with neon pink lace, go for it! Just make sure it fits correctly (see above) and that you end up going home with more practical bras than "fun" ones, since those are the ones you'll wear more often.
Get creative. There are a lot of bras out there to help support our girls no matter what we're wearing. If you tend to wear tube tops in the summer, invest in a strapless bra. Do you wear a lot of racerback shirts and hate when your bra straps show? If so, get a bra with re-postionable straps; these can work with everything from halters to prom dresses!
Bring Your Mom, Your Sis, or a Friend You Trust. It's really nice to have a second opinion (especially from a bra-wearing veteran.) Bring someone along who's honest, supportive, and patient—and who can tell you what looks good, what works for your figure, and which bras just aren't practical (step away from the bedazzled corset, dude).
Got any good advice for bra shopping? Any brands you love? Any foolproof fit tips? We want to know!