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Hope's Top Four Bra Buying Tips For Men

Updated on October 13, 2009

There have been a lot of questions lately regarding the purchasing of bras for men, so I am going to go over the basic problems that men tend to have with their bras and solve those problems here. If you have anything to add from personal experience, please do so in the comments!

Small Cups / Large Band Size

This is a common problem for men with broad chests and small breasts. You need a bra with a small cup size, but most bras with a larger band size also have a large cup size, which on you looks silly because it just flaps there, empty.

If you can't find a bra in your size for this reason, I suggest you spend a couple of dollars and buy some bra extenders. These are handy little devices which attach to the hooks and eyes of your bra and give you a few more inches of band size. You should be able to find these at any store that sells bras.

Do I Need To Add Five Inches?

Many bra buying guides for women state that you should measure your under bust and add five inches. This isn't recommended for men, because you generally don't have breasts which will affect the way the bra sits. Just measure your under bust measure and round it up to the nearest even number. If you find this is too small, go up a size. Sizes will change from manufacturer to manufacturer, a 42 B in one brand may very well not be a 42 B in another, so be prepared to learn your sizes. For this reason, trying some bras on is also a good idea. Many men have reported no trouble whatsoever when they have asked to be fitted for a bra in store, so find a place you're comfortable with and just ask!


For all day wear, cotton bras, or cotton blend bras may very well be the most comfortable. Men tend to sweat more than women and synthetic fabrics can hold that in, creating an icky feeling and even a rash. Microfiber is also a good choice, if you are looking for a soft fabric that breathes well. If it is the winter months, you're not hugely active during the day, or you're only looking for a bra to wear on 'special occasions,' then choose the material you most like the look and feel of.


Okay, this isn't a bra buying tip, but it is important. Don't just toss your bras in the washing machine, especially if it is one of the old agitator types. Use a delicates bag or wash your bras by hand. Machine washing can warp the hooks of bras if they get caught on a metal edge and it's very hard on the underwire in underwire bras as well. Using a delicates bag solves both these problems.


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    • quarsarte profile image

      quarsarte 8 years ago

      Hi Hope, this is a super hub, especially about the five inches. I've never seen this mentioned in any male fitting guides. You have been a huge source of information. the bra fitting specialists at Penneys are happy to help you with no funny looks. I guess they have seen it all.

      Thanks for your insights


    • profile image

      MrDonald 8 years ago

      Hope, with regards to your tips about washing, I have a front load washer and it is very gentle on bras, even underwire bras. I have been washing my bras for years in a front loader and have had no damage at all. I even wash my nightgowns and my swimsuits in that washer.

      One thing you may wish to add to this hub is that one should never machine dry a bra. It is just bad news for the elastics and could cause some cotton bras to shrink. Bras should always be line dried.

    • profile image

      threesweds 8 years ago

      Good advise Hope. I find trying on a bra is absolutely necessary. As you know the many styles and brands fit differently, and sales clerks are very helpful. I find a slight bit of padding provides a little "show" that I am wearing a bra.

    • profile image

      Khunting1 8 years ago

      Right on about the add five inches rule. That one goes completely out the proverbial window. I am 39 inch chest so I was able to go down to fit a 38b fairly decently.

    • profile image

      Zeta 8 years ago

      I enjoy wearing a bra, and get the most comfort from my wife's hand-me-down 36b. Buying new I get 38 in the smallest cup I can and have a small set of breast forms.

      I would really enjoy a fitted small cup bra in feminine materials, but do not have the nerve to go for a fitting.

    • profile image

      Nanciboy 8 years ago

      What a timely hub - I wore a bra to work on Friday under a wool shetland style sweater. Actually a very lightly lined bralette from (specialists in lingerie for small women). I'm about a 36AA right now. I swear I could see a little shape in the mirror, but my co-worker who knows my dressing habits said she didn't notice.

    • awsydney profile image

      awsydney 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I never knew these things existed! Now, to go get that bra...!!