Best of Philly Spotlight: Philly Bra Lady Karima Renée Barge on How to Find the Right Bra Fit for Your Body

The Lansdowne-based bra expert has helped more than 1,000 clients find their correct size.

Philly Bra Lady bra fitting

Get the perfect fit with the Philly Bra Lady / Illustrations by Kevin Whipple

Everyone should have someone like Karima Renée Barge. The Lansdowne-based Philly Bra Lady has helped more than 1,000 clients find their correct size, become better educated about bras, and feel confident in their own skin. “It can be life-changing,” she says. Here, our Best of Philly winner for Best Bra Fitter shapes things up for you, too.

1. Find out what size you measure. 

Barge recommends getting fitted once a year as well as anytime you experience changes in weight or hormonal shifts like pregnancy or menopause.

Shop for your breast shape, not just your size.

“Sizes on a tag are relative,” she advises. “Every brand’s 36D is not the same. If your breasts are short and wide, the cup of the bra should mimic that.

Consider material and structure. 

With smooth, molded “t-shirt” bras, “Whatever you have going on, it’s gonna show,” Barge says. But a lace bra can better define your silhouette: “The seams in the bra act like what contouring does to your face with makeup,” giving the illusion of a perkier bust.

Make sure the center of the bra is lying flat on the center of your chest.

“Your breasts are not supposed to touch while wearing a bra,” she advises. “That’s why there are two cups: a house for each breast.”

Always adjust your straps. 

You should be able to place two fingers snugly between the strap and your skin. If your bra band rides up your back, the straps aren’t the problem; the bra size is.

Keep your bras clean.

You should be hand-washing them after two to three wears, on average. Fill your sink with cold water and add one capful of baby shampoo per bra. Then soak your bras, drain, and rinse (again, with cold water). Lay flat to dry.

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Published in the August 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.