How does a push up bra work?

Updated April 17, 2017

A push up bra is a type of female undergarment designed to lift the breasts and give them a rounder shape. Women tend to wear push up bras when they want to enhance the appearance of cleavage and make their breasts appear larger. Some women use push up bras to achieve larger-looking breasts instead of getting plastic surgery.

How It Works

Push up bras work to lift breasts and make them appear larger thanks to some unique technology built into the cups. Most push up bras are padded with a small, pillow-like insert that pushes the breasts up and adds extra cleavage. Some are padded with silicone inserts or water sacks to mimic the look and feel of natural breasts. Moreover, push up bras contain metallic or plastic underwiring, which adds support to the bottom of the breasts, thereby lifting them up higher.

Choosing the Right Push Up Bra

When shopping for a push up bra, it is imperative that you know your exact measurements. Using a tape measure, measure under your armpits and over the fullest part of your bust. Then measure directly below the breasts at the rib cage. Take the measure of your rib cage and subtract it from the measure on your bust (i.e. subtract the second number from the first). Use the difference in the measurements to find your cup size. For example, if the difference is 1 inch, your cup size is A; if the difference is 2 inches, your cup size is B, and so forth. Thus, the measure around your bust plus your cup size is your actual bra size. For example, if you measured 34 inches around your bust and your cup size is B, your bra size is 34B. Wearing a well-fitting bra is ideal to overall comfort.

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About the Author

Maggie Hira has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for numerous websites and print publications, including "LA.Direct Magazine" and The Budget Fashionista. Hira holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.