You would never wear a pair of shoes that don’t fit, so why would you suffer through hours in an ill-fitting bra? If you struggle with common bra mishaps, a few small adjustments can help you find a more comfortable style.

#1: How can I keep my bra straps from falling off my shoulders?
Sometimes it’s as easy as shortening the straps upward on either side of the bra, or wearing a racer back bra (also known as a T-strap). Another option is the Happy Strap from Braza ($6, This nifty elastic gizmo attaches to both shoulder straps across the back. Or, if shortening the straps does nothing, the sizing experts atThirdLove suggest going for a fuller coverage cup. Cups with more coverage tend to have narrower straps that won’t slip.

#2: How often do I need to get fitted?
Who’s got time to run to the lingerie department every other month? Still, you shouldn’t let too much time elapse between fittings. “Get fitted if you’ve gained or lost more than ten pounds, had a baby, completed hormone therapy, or started exercising regularly,” says Barbara Lipton, a buyer and fitter at Saks Fifth Avenue. In other words, often.

#3: I have strapless and low-back tops. Is there one bra that I can wear for all situations?
Yes. There are many multi-task bras on the market. We like Smoothie’s Seamless Convertible Stretch Bra ($27,, which can be worn five different ways. Although it looks like an ordinary bra, its interchangeable straps mean you can wear it with a one-shoulder, strapless, X-back, halter, or low-back dress.

#4: I’m on the heavy side. Can a bra help me smooth out my back?
Look for bras that have a leotard band (one that scoops up instead of running straight across the back). You can also try a bra with a wider back band.

#5: What do I do if my cup sizes are different?
There are two solutions. One is to fit the larger breast and then add padding to the smaller breast. Another is to find a bra with removable pads that allows you to adjust your push-up or even out your cleavage.

#6: I often have “side spillage” near my underarms when I wear a bra. How can I avoid this?
You are probably wearing the wrong size. Try a different size with fuller coverage or get refitted.

#7: Is there any way to make my bras last longer?
Think tender loving care. Wash bras by hand, or if you do toss them in the machine, use cold water with the wash cycle set to delicate. Berna Goldstein at Bali suggests hooking a bra’s eyes together and popping it in a lingerie bag. “But never dry a bra in the dryer,” she stresses. “Let it air dry instead.” Bras should be washed every two days or so, because they absorb perspiration. “If it’s well cared for, the bra should last a good couple of years,” Goldstein says.