If your bra digs into your shoulders, the cups don’t fully hold the sisters, you are feeling pain on your ribs, chances are that you are wearing the wrong size. Wearing a fitting bra is important for your breast health. Read this guide to learn how to measure your bra size.
According to bra statistics, majority of women do not wear fitting bras. In fact, you probably know that you wear the wrong size bra.
How can you know that you are wearing the wrong size bra? Simply by checking its fit.
If you are not feeling 100% comfortable in your bra, then it’s probably of the wrong size.
It is critical to wear bras that fit you perfectly. If you have never measured your bust without your bra on, do so today.
Why Do Women Wear the Wrong Size Bra?
There are a number of reasons why most women do not wear fitting bras. These include:
Unavailable Bra Sizes
Most of us wear the wrong size bra mostly because our real bra sizes are not available at local stores.
Leading bra manufacturers such as Aerie, Victoria’s Secrets, and others only carry limited sizes. Majority of bras from these companies go from 32 to 38 and their cup sizes range from A to DD. However, acording to Plunkett Research, 68 percent of women are outside this range.
Most women opt to get a sister size with a band that is too large. Basically, they settle for a bra that does not fit them properly.
Unreliable Bra Fitters
Generally speaking, most professional bra-fitters in stores do not know how to accurately measure the bust. The fitters are trained on inaccurate techniques such as the “plus 4 rule” (they add 4 inches to your measurement, which is something you should never do!) or the overbust measurement (where they measure above your bust).
Some bra-fitters even eye-ball measurements. No matter their experience, eye-balling measurements leads to inaccurate results.
Finally, some fitters work on commission and will direct you to the wrong size bras just to make a sale.
If you are an honest bra fitter, my sincere apologies. However, the above observations are a reality in some stores.
Underestimating the Cup Size
“I can’t be a DD cup”, you must have said to yourself at one time or the other.
The truth is that most women underestimate their cup size and refuse to believe that they are actually a DD or bigger. This underestimation is due to the misconception that a bigger cup means having bigger breasts.
In reality, wearing a DD cup does not automatically mean you have huge breasts. Bra cup size really depends on its band size. If you are not familiar with the band size, check out this article on sister sizes. Generally, a 28DD and a 34N have the same cup volume.
Thinking that Our Oversized Bras Fit
Most women underestimate their band sizes because they feel that their large band fits well.
The bra support mainly comes from the band but not the straps. The work of the straps is to hold everything in place, not to support your bust. Therefore, the band should be tight on your torso.
For example, you may feel that a size 38” band “fits” you. However, if the straps are supporting your bust, then it means that the bra is too big.
If you have a bra with a band that is too big, size down the band and size up the cup. This is where knowledge of sister sizes will help you.
How to Measure Your Bra Size
To measure your bra size, you should follow proper measurement and common sense. There are no specific set of rules to adhere to when fitting a bra. However, by following the guide below and adding common sense and your personal experience, you will determine the right bra size for you.
What You Need:
- A mirror (optional)
- Basic math skills
- A flexible tape measure
If you do not have a flexible tape measure, you can either use a rigid one or a ruler that is paired with any type of string. Here is a good tape measure we recommend.
How to Correctly Determine Your Band Size
Follow the steps below to determine your band size.
Step 1: Measure the Underbust
Take the measurement around your ribcage, just right under the bust. Make sure that the tape is snug when taking the measurement. Moreover, the tape measure should be straight. You can look in the mirror while measuring to make sure the tape forms a straight line all around your body.
At this stage, do not measure around your breast tissue. Just measure the underbust, where the band should hold on the torso.
Step 2: Round Up the Measurement
Round up the measurement you get in Step 1 above to the nearest even number. This number is your real band size.
If the measurement is 28 inches or less, add two. Otherwise, do not add any inches or pass this number.
Compare the result you have gotten to the band size of your current bra. If you can fit two fingers under the band when wearing it, this means it’s too big.
Use the measurement you got and adapt it to your needs. Use common sense to determine the right band size. Remember, measuring your bra size is an art, not an exact science.
Here are some examples that illustrate what I mean:
Example 1: You measure your underbust and get a 36.5” and your current band size is 36”. However, the band does not fit tightly around the ribcage, and you can squeeze two or more fingers under it. Instead of going up to a size 38”, you should size down to a 34” band.
Example 2: You find that your underbust measurement is 28.5” and you currently wear 30” band. The 30” band fits very tightly. Instead of rounding off the underbust measurement up to 29”, you should go another size up to a 32” band.
How to Determine Your Cup Size
Determining your cup size is easy. Simply go braless and measure around the breasts, at nipple level. Make sure the tape is loose, almost to a point of falling down. From there, subtract your underbust measurement from your band measurement.
Here is a video showing how to correctly measure the underband and overbust:
US Vs. UK Sizing Differences
Check the table below to determine your cup size. The result you should be looking at should be that of the bra’s manufacturer country of origin.
For US and UK sizing, the cup sizes remain the same up to a DD cup. From there, the 2 size charts differ slightly. For example, the UK bra size chart has double letters (DD, FF, GG) in-between single letters (D, E, F, G). However, the chart skips a double E.
On the other hand, the US system is straightforward and just follows the alphabet.
Most of the best bra brands are based in the UK, and hence they use UK sizing. Among the brands include Bravissino, Fantasie, Curvy Kate, Gossard, Panache, and Freya.
There are also some popular manufacturers that use US sizing. The manufacturers include Le Mystere, Maidenform, Goddess, Cacique, Victoria’s Secret, and Wacoal.
It is a good idea to measure both your UK and US sizing. Follow the steps we have outlined above and use the sizing chart below to determine your UK and US bra sizes.
|Band Minus Bust Difference||US Cup Size||UK Cup Size||Euro Cup Size|
|Less Than 1″||AA||AA||AA|
|5″||DD or E||DD||E|
|6″||DDD or F||E||F|
Here’s an example: If your bust measures 38” and your band size is 32”, the difference is 6”, which corresponds to an F cup. Therefore, your size would be a 32F (UK Size).
Did You Get Your Correct Bra Size?
Most women are surprised when they get their true bra size by using the correct measurement steps above. However, when you try on a bra of the size you have just measured, you will be surprised that it fits you perfectly.
After determining the correct bra size, you should know your breast shape and learn which bras will complement them best.
We hope the above guide on how to measure your bra size has helped you.
Now, go ahead and shop for the perfect bra.