We’ve all heard about how many women are wearing the wrong bra size. Could one of those women be you? Wearing the correct bra size is important because it can decrease strain on your back, shoulders, eliminate the look of “back fat”, make you look thinner and, most importantly, allow your breasts to look their best!
There are many different methods for determining your correct bra size. In this column, we will use one of the most popular methods but you may feel comfortable using different methods and comparing the results. It’s best to do this without a bra on but if you absolutely must- wear one that fits well and has no extra padding or push-up.
- Measure yourself around your rib cage, directly below your breasts. The measuring tape should be snug but comfortable, and should be parallel to the floor (make sure it’s not higher on your back than on your chest). This measurement (in inches) is your band size. If you have an odd-numbered measurement, it’s a good idea to try band sizes on either side of this measurement (example- if your band size is 33, try both 32 and 34 when trying on bras).
- Measure yourself around your breasts. Lean forward at a 90° in order to measure your entire bust. Again, the measuring tape should be snug but not so snug it’s pressing into your breasts or distorting their shape, and should run evenly around your body. (Depending on the shape of your breasts, it can be beneficial to also measure your breasts while standing up and average the two sizes.) Use this measurement to calculate your cup size.
- To calculate your cup size, subtract your band size from the bust measurement taken above:
- Less than 1 inch = AA
- 1 inch = A
- 2 inches = B
- 3 inches = C
- 4 inches = D
- 5 inches = DD
- 6 inches = DDD (E in UK sizing)
- 7 inches = DDDD (F in UK sizing)
- 8 inches = G/H (FF in UK sizing)
- 9 inches = I/J (G in UK sizing)
- 10 inches = J (GG in UK sizing)
NOTE: If you are larger than a D-cup, it is important to know what type of sizing a particular brand of bra uses. UK sizing does not mean it only exists in the UK! If you’re not sure, it’s always best to ask what sizing method a certain store employs or look at a sizing chart.
Now that you have determined a size, start trying on bras! Remember, this size is only a starting point, don’t be afraid to try on similar sizes. You can also ask an employee at any bra or lingerie store to measure you professionally. (Keep in mind though that they may try to sell you a different size, based on what they have available in the store.)
Sister sizing refers to going up or down a band size and the opposite in cup size. For example, if you think you wear a 34C, you may also want to try on a 36B and 32D. All three of these sizes will have the same amount of cup size on the bra itself, but will fit differently depending on your measurements and body type.
- The band should be parallel to the floor and not ride up in the back
- The straps should neither dig in, nor fall off your shoulders
- The cups should be full, but not overflowing (no cup runneth over!)
- Your breasts should not be overflowing near your underarm either
- The fabric of the cup should not wrinkle
- The underwire (when applicable) should follow the shape of your breast and lie flat against your chest
- The gore (that’s the flat centre piece between the cups) should also lie flat and be touching your sternum
- Your band should be comfortably snug (think: the smallest band size you can comfortably wear)
- Remember that sizing differs between brands- make sure you are trying on the right size for each brand
- Some styles of bras just don’t work for certain body types, if you’re sure of your size but a certain bra isn’t working, try a different style (styles refer to: demi-cup, full-coverage, padded, push up, et cetera)
- Don’t be alarmed if your bra size is larger (or smaller!) than you’d thought, the media has portrayed anything a D-cup or larger as HUGE, but this just isn’t true- your bra size depends on your body shape
Take your time when finding your bra size and don’t settle for anything that “almost fits”. Once you’ve found your size, all of that time and effort will have been worth it. Remember that proper bra sizing is about so much more than what it says on the tag and wearing the right size is going to make YOU feel more CONFIDENT. Now get out there and show off that newfound confidence!