We’ve heard it many times… most women are wearing the wrong bra size — whether it be the wrong band size, the wrong cup size, or both. The first step in reaching your nirBrana is to get measured. Remembering that the primary purpose of a bra is to provide comfortable support, we highly recommend that you be aware of your current bra size. If it has been a particularly long time since you’ve been measured, it is important that you get re-measured because your bra size will fluctuate with weight changes and body changes such as pregnancy and breastfeeding. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t shop for pants without your pant size in mind. However, similarly to pants, bras may fit differently depending on brand, style or cut. Nevertheless, an accurate measurement is the best possible place to begin. You can measure yourself and find your bra size by using the 4 steps below.
So, let’s get started in finding your perfect fit!
Grab a flexible tape measure.
If you don’t have one handy, use a long piece of string or ribbon, mark you size and use a ruler to measure.
Don’t wear anything bulky, a minimizer-style or sports bra.
You can wear a lightweight top but it’s best to do the measurement in your bra so you can best see where you are taking the measurements.
Let’s starting measuring…
Step One: Get Your Band Size
First, let’s get your band size.
Wrap the tape measure under the bust. Be sure to measure right under your bust along the area that your bra band would typically sit. If the measurement is even, add 2 inches. If the measurement is odd, add 3 inches. The reason for this is because bra band sizes are sized in even numbers. The result is your band size.
Example: 33″ + 3″ = 36, or band size 36.
Example: 34″ + 2″ = 36, or band size 36.
Step Two: Get Your Cup Size
Next, let’s get your cup size.
Wrap the tap measure around the fullest portion of the breast, across the nipples. Round to the nearest whole number. Record that measurement. This measurement will determine your cup size.
Example: measure 39.5, cup measurement = 40.
Let’s find your bra size. Subtract the step one measurement from the step two measurement. Plot the difference on the chart below to find your cup size.
Example: 40-36 =4 = D. The bra size is a 36D.
Remember ladies! Getting measured and determining your bra size is not an exact science. Your size may vary depending on brand and type of bra. Shhh! This is a secret that many bra stores don’t what you to know. But, it’s true! All brands are cut differently and all styles fit differently. So, use the measurement as a starting point and be open-minded to trying on sizes up and down the band and cup spectrum depending upon the brand or style.
Step Four: Check your Fit
Okay, let’s now check the fit. You have your bra size and you are being open-minded trying on bras going up and down the band and cup spectrum to find the best fitting bra. But what should you look for? Follow these guidelines:
- Bust if spilling out. Breasts should not overflow out the sides of the cup (under the armpits), or in the front cleavage area. This is an indication the cup is too small and can cause noticeable “cuts” or protrusions under clothes. If you are unsure if a cup fully covers your breast, try on a tight camisole or t-shirt to check if there is any apparent unevenness.
- Band is too tight to slip a finger under it. If the band squeezes the flesh or leaves indents in your skin, the band is too small.
- Straps should be adjusted accordingly to ensure the band runs perfectly horizontal across the back. Straps should not dig into your shoulders either. This could be a sign that the cup size is incorrect.
- Underwire pressing against the cleavage and is not positioned under the breast.
- Straps slide off the shoulder. No amount of adjusting will fix these straps. It will only cause the band to ride up the back.
- Cups pucker. If there is any gap in the cup, the cup is too big. The breast should be fully encapsulated but not have gaps.
- Band rides up in the back and gapes. You should not be able to fit more than 2 fingers under the band. If you can fit more, the band is too big.
- If the center bridge (area between the two cups) or the wire are floating, then the bra cup or band is too big.
- The band should be positioned perfectly horizontal across the back. It should not ride up or down along the back. Note: Most women have their bra positioned too high along the back.
- The underwire lays flat against the body on the breastbone, not on the breast itself.
- The bridge (area between the cups in the front) lays flat between the breasts.
- Breasts are fully encapsulated in the cup and not overflowing in the front or sides.
- The straps don’t fall off or dig into the shoulders.
Finally, make sure the bra is comfortable! A good fitting bra will look great under your clothes. Try on a shirt over it to make sure it looks great.
And, remember, it’s what’s underneath that really counts.