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No matter what your chest size, a girl can flaunt what she’s got with the help of a push-up bra. “Whether you want limes, lemons or even oranges, the search for the perfect push-up bra shouldn't be fruitless,” says Ali Cudby, author of “Busted! The Fab Foundations Guide to Bras That Fit, Flatter and Feel Fantastic.” The key is finding the right fit in the right size, which is easier said than done.
Check the Size
A bra can only perform miracles if it fits properly. Small-chested gals should know that sizes can vary based on the manufacturer's interpretation of size, as well as style. The average size is typically a 34B, according to the petite lingerie website Lula Lu. Smaller sizes are scaled down from that, which can result in ill-fitting AAA-, AA- and A-cup sizes. Cudby notes that the designation “petite,” such as in the case of Lula Lu, refers to to cup size, not height or body size. “Buying petite bras can help maximize your chest because they are designed expressly for your body type, not just cut-down versions of larger bras,” she says.
“A great push-up bra not only gives a cleavage boost, but a confidence boost as well,” says Janie Bryant, Maidenform wardrobe expert and "Mad Men" costume designer. The two more important features of a push-up bra are the type of padding and the underwire. “These two components are very important in how great you look under your clothes,” she says in recommending the Maidenform Custom Lift T-Back Bra. Look for a bra with a side bump panel and pads that move your breasts toward the center to give you a natural, rounded shape.
Bra companies specifically for small-breasted women are often the best place for gals to shop. Cudby recommends the Lucia bra from The Little Bra Company. It has "graduated padding that makes the most of what nature gave you, with a generous helping hand," she said. If you are shopping in a standard department store, Jenny Altman, former fashion editor at "Oprah" and "Lucky" magazines and executive officer at the intimates website ILOVEAGOOD.com, recommends the Atlantis bra from Panache, which has gel-filled cups to bump up your perceived bra size by two cups.
Types of Padding
In the past, small-breasted women had to make do with heavy gels or liquids to boost their bust. While these still exist – and can often work wonders – the best push-up bras have graduated padding. "For an A or B cup the padding is very thick at the bottom of your cup (giving you tons of oomph), which gets thinner half way up the breast so the cleavage looks natural," Altman says.