"I have a confession to make," I said nervously, as I stood shirtless in a small dressing room in Dillard's lingerie department.
"I've never been fitted for a bra before. In fact, I've been wearing the same bra size since I was in my 20s."
Wacoal bra-fit expert Laura Shifflett smiled and shook her head. "That's not uncommon," she said. "Most women don't know their bra size. They stick to what they've been wearing for years."
Experts say up to 80 percent of American women are wearing the wrong size bra, which can cause all sorts of issues, from back fat to welts to back and shoulder pain. The wrong bra can even make you look heavier.
Shifflett, who has spent a decade helping women find the right bra, pulled out her tape measure, took a few measurements and disappeared into the lingerie department. She returned in short order with several bras - none of which was the size I usually buy.
She instructed me to slip my arms through the lacy straps and bend forward, then she fastened the bra on the first set of hooks.
While I was still bent over, Shifflett reached in and, ahem, made some more adjustments. When I straightened up, she fiddled a bit with the bra's underwire and band.
Awkward? Not really. There was something about Shifflett's warm, matter-of-fact demeanor that put me completely at ease.
"This is going to give you a nice round shape," she said. "Now, how does that feel?"
I looked in the mirror. Talk about feeling uplifted.
"Most women don't realize the fatty tissue under their arms is actually breast tissue that needs to be supported," Shifflett said.
One of the biggest bra blunders women make is wearing a bra band that is too big. "Ninety percent of a bra's support comes from the band," she said.
Indications that your band is too big: your bra straps are falling down and you have back fat.
A wide band or "wing" can minimize back fat.
Shifflett said the band should be level all the way around. And you should be able to fit two fingers under it.
Also, your breasts should be centered about midway between your shoulder and elbow.
If you're spilling over the cup - the dreaded uniboob look -- it means you need a deeper cup. A D-cup is most common.
"Your bra should be comfortable," Shifflett said. "If you think about your bra during the day, you're wearing the wrong size bra."
Also, one bra won't work for all of your fashion needs.
"Women should have a wardrobe of bras," she said. "A T-shirt bra is going to fit differently and provide different support than a sports bra."
When I got dressed, I noticed my posture already was better and the seam on the blouse I was wearing was actually hitting me in a lower spot that looked more attractive.
So, should I always buy this new-found size, I asked.
Bra size varies depending on the style and manufacturer, Shifflett said. And diet, exercise, pregnancy and hormones can change your bust size, so be sure to try on any bra before you buy it.
She reminded me to wash my bras by hand or hook them closed and wash them in a laundry bag. Fabric softener is a no-no, and putting bras in the dryer will stretch them out. Always hang them dry.
Bras can be expensive, so make sure you start out with the right fit - and keep your bras in shape with good care.