8 underwear mistakes you’re probably making

When we go shopping, we look for clothes that make us look good. But when we buy underthings, it's not enough to look good - there are other, more important things to keep in mind. Here are 8 of the most common mistakes you could be committing, which might be making you look and feel less than optimal. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these bra and shapewear snafus!

1. Wearing a bra that's too small can give you "back fat"!

Some people wear bras that are too small for a lifting effect, but it's better to choose padded, push-up bras to achieve that look! Years of wearing a bra that's too tight or not the right size is a leading cause of the dreaded "back rolls". Both "back fat" and "underarm fat" can be caused by wearing a too-small bra that digs in, distorting your contour. Smooth things over - wear the right bra size.

2. Buying shapewear that's too small causes big problems!

There's a pervasive myth going around that you should always buy the smallest shaper you can squeeze yourself into. It makes sense, right? I mean, if you wear something really tight, it will compress you more...but that myth is as wrong as it is harmful. Shapewear is designed with strong compression fabrics that shape your body. If you're a size L and wear a size S, you're going to feel uncomfortable at best, and suffer from circulatory and digestive problems at worst. Buy shapewear that's the same size as your outerwear. Trust us - you'll see results without hurting yourself!

3. Don't get it twisted: Know your band size AND cup size.

Oftentimes when we go bra shopping, we either choose the size by eyeballing it, or we think we know our size by heart. It's a proven fact that around 70% of us don't know our correct bra size, and one origin of this confusion is mixing up the two factors that go into bra sizing. Next time you shop, keep this in mind:

- The numbers in the bra size (32, 34, 36, 38, 40, etc.) correspond to the band size, or the width of your torso right under your breasts.

- The letters (A, B, C, D, DD, etc.) represent the cup size, or the length of the projection of your breasts from your chest.

Keep in mind that your bra size may vary, not just over time but also across brands. It never hurts to know for sure (but it might hurt to wear the wrong size).

4. When it comes to straps, you may want to loosen up!

Bra straps do about 30% of the work involved in supporting your bust, so achieving a perfect fit in the straps is super important. You might think that keeping your bra straps at the tightest possible setting will give you better support, but no - too-tight straps just cause discomfort as they dig into your shoulders. The other 70% of a bra's support comes from the structure of the cups, the sides, the underbust band, and the back wings. Keep your straps at a comfortable length and let the rest of the bra do the work. If you need extra support, choose a bra with thicker straps that will support the weight of your bust without causing any discomfort.

5. Don't work out in your daily bra!

We all have that one bra that fits like a dream and provides super support...but if it's not a sports bra, don't wear it for sports. When you're working out, you should be wearing a sports bra that compresses, doesn't allow a lot of jiggle, and keeps everything in place. Underwire and side boning might cause discomfort, which isn't ideal when you're trying to concentrate on beating your records. A supportive, high-coverage, unstructured sports bra, with thick straps and an elasticated underbust band, can prevent pain and allow you to train in total comfort. Sports bras help you stay focused on smashing your goals! (Plus, they look cool.)

6. Embrace the change (in bra sizes)!

As the years go by, our bodies change, and sometimes our bra size does, too. Periodically measuring yourself and using a bra fitting tool (or getting professionally fitted) ensures that you're wearing the right size, which will help prevent back pain and other forms of discomfort. Be sure to do this at least once a year. Remember: wearing the ideal band and cup size is the secret to both a comfy fit AND a flattering look.

7. Your panties may be affecting your health!

The type of panty you wear says a lot about you, but it can also affect your health. Beyond style and silhouette, you should always check out what fabrics it's made of. It's important to put thought into the panties you choose - after all, your panty preferences can help prevent disease! Choose panties that allow for good airflow while preventing heat and humidity. Panties made of synthetic fibers or silks often aren't as breathable, meaning that moisture sticks around, which may cause chafing and even yeast infections. When in doubt, you can't go wrong with panties made of microfiber or cotton.

8. Don't wear the same bra with every outfit!

It's not bad to play favorites! We love our favorite clothes because they're comfy, well-fitting, and make us look great. But when it comes to bras, the reason why there are so many styles out there is that that there's at least one for every outfit. Strapless, multiway straps, full-coverage, triangle, etc. - every bra is designed to go perfectly with certain looks. The most important thing is to choose a bra that doesn't peek out or show through your clothes (unless you're wearing a bralette - in which case, show it off!)

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