Every woman knows how troublesome it can be to find a bra that fits. The reality, however, is that most of us are not having our bra size correctly measured. Measuring the cup size and band size is not only important to ensure you feel comfortable, but also to protect your health! Poorly fitted bras can cause serious back pain, so make sure you take the time to measure yourself to ensure that your bra fits exactly as it is supposed to.
If you don’t like the idea of being measured for a bra at a store, then why not ask mum, sis, or a good friend to do it for you (measuring yourself is not really ideal), then you can buy a bra with confidence, knowing you’re selecting the correct size for you.
The three measurements that should be taken to correctly fit your bra are as follows:
Band size of the bra
The band size refers to the measurement taken just below the bust. This is measured by simply extending the dress, making tape around the torso at the point where the band will sit. Measurements will need to be converted into Australian sizes – for example, if you measured 70 cm or 32 inches, you are likely to require a size 10 bra. Please see the chart below:
Measurement above the bust
The second measurement that should be taken is done just above the bust. This measurement gives an indication of whether the woman has broad shoulders or narrow shoulders and upper torso. Taking this measurement can help to determine the size cup needed. If two women measure the same size at the mid-bust point, but one has a much narrower torso, then this means that the actual cup size she will need is going to be larger than a woman with a broader torso.
Measuring your bust size requires you to wrap a measuring tape around the center of your bust, which is usually the nipples. Subtract your band size from your bust size to determine your cup size. Cup sizes are described using letters with the smallest size starting at A and working upward. Considered alongside the band measurement and the measurement above the bust, this helps to determine the right size cup to fit you correctly. If this is too big or too small, then the bra will either be loose, or you’ll end up with an unflattering silhouette line where the breast is being squeezed over the top of the bra.
Having a bra that fits correctly is important to ensure you feel comfortable in whatever activity you are undertaking. Pretty lingerie can make you feel feminine and is available in a range of colors so that you can find the right items to wear under your favorite outfits. Once you have measured your bust correctly, you’ll be able to confidently buy bras in the right size for you so that you can get the maximum wear and pleasure from this garment.
Bra Size and Fitting
I remember when my mother took me for a bra “fitting” when I was much younger. An old lady was poking and prodding on me in the fitting room, adjusting straps and bands and checking cup size, and well, just putting her fingers all over where they didn’t belong! It was the closest I have ever felt to violated – well, not really, unfortunately, but it was sure icky when I was 12. LOL My new favorite undergarment store, Figleaves, has a great guide to bra size – minus the old lady and her prodding fingers. Start here and work your way through the section to find out more than you ever thought you needed to know about the fit and function of your bras! And then hit the store – I have been so pleased with my Figleaves purchases, and they are chock full of new sets for spring!
Bra Fitting FAQ
How do you wear a bra with a backless dress?
I really like that strapless, backless solution. That bra makes me want to buy low-back tops just to show it off.
Which cup size is bigger A or B?
These are awesome but number 5 told me what I was trying to avoid. I really don’t want to have to go up a cup size!
Honestly, it’s worth it! I got fitted at a Victoria’s Secret a few years ago and they told me I was a 36D, which still didn’t feel quite right. I then went to get properly fitted at a specialty shop and ended up a 32E – a 4-inch band size difference! I look 10 pounds lighter just from wearing a bra that properly fits, even if it’s a “large” cup size.
Victoria’s Secret told me I was a 36DD, went to a different place, and was told 36G. A 36DD does not hold these bad boys at all!
Victoria’s Secret won’t tell you the correct size if they do not carry it. They’d rather you wear the wrong bra than take your business elsewhere
I will probably end up in a 32D and my current 32C is hard enough to find. That’s my only worry. Ugh. And not nearly as big of a difference as yours but I’ve gotten here incrementally.
32Ds are extremely easy to find…EXCEPT at Victoria’s Secret. Seriously, stop shopping there. Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, etc. all will have plenty of your sizes. You can also order them online at Figleaves and bravissimo, which have amazing sales all the time. Sure, the bras are more expensive than VS sales, but they’re also higher quality and fit properly. Your boobs will thank you.
Let me tell you my evil little secret Sneezy! Go to one of those really expensive stores that carry the UK brands. Try on a bunch till you find a couple you really LOVE. Don’t be a dick about it, tell the working ladies you are only looking today and don’t abuse their help or leave a mess. Go home and buy those bras for way less on eBay. (Maybe save up and come back for one bra when you can from the store. If you want to know my favorite, it is the Triumph Amourette. It’s pretty, lacy but not so bumpy that it looks lame under a T-Shirt, Supportive (38E here), and all-day comfort. Good Luck!
How do you determine cup size?
I disagree with the infographic that says that the average woman owns 9 bras. No way!! I have 20+ and feel I need to buy way more!!
Other than that, I’ll pass this around to all my boob-owner friends, it’s pure gold :3. I was starting to think I was the only one with a bra-hoarding problem!
To me, 9 sounds like a lot! I mean, if I could afford cute bras, which usually come in sizes way too small for me, I can see the allure of a big collection, especially after seeing them all stacked and pretty in those drawers.
How many inches is an A cup bra size?
I wear a 28FF, so I’m used to screwing with bras to make them work. A few tips. The measuring and inches thing is fairly accurate up to a C cup, but it really should only be used as a guide to start off your search. If I followed that, I would be a 34B. A B cup would cover like 1/3 of my chest and a 34 band would fall off. The adding 4-5 is usually complete crap. Generally, if your bra fits weird, it’s that your cup is too small and the band too big because of this.
I find that with a large chest, slight push-up bras offer a great deal of support. Sure, I look slightly bigger but with the amount of support I get, it’s worth it.
Why do my bras stretch out so quickly?
Also, if bras stretch out, sewing ribbons to about half of the elastic band on each side can prevent some of the stretches and make bras last longer (esp at 60-80 a piece). This is nice because the more expensive the bras for large breasts, the better they are. Seriously.
Most people know this, but hand wash and air dry. If not possible, gentle cycle cold in a lingerie bag and hang dry.
Do bra bands stretch out?
Just another quick note from a former bra fitter; when you first buy a bra you shouldn’t be able to do it up past the first set of hooks, if you can you probably need a smaller back/band size. The idea is that as you wear the bra the elastic will stretch and if you are already hooking into the second or last set of hooks then you will not be getting the proper support once the bra stretches out. It’s also a good test for working out when you need to replace or throw away old bras.
It is worth going to see a specialist bra fitter occasionally, the difference it makes is amazing, as someone already said, the right bra can make you look like you’ve lost weight simply by shifting your boobs into the right place.
What is the most accurate way to measure a bra?
I found when measuring for a bra it’s more accurate to measure around the breasts when you are bent over, your back parallel to the floor. I got measured at VS and was told I am a 36DD. Ha, what a joke. I’m a 36G!
Almost any mall store will never tell you your true size if it is not in the range they carry. I used to work at one and often told ladies where to go in secret.
How To Measure and Fit A Bra?
The measuring infographic on most websites is incorrect – there are a lot of people with breast tissue that they do not recognize as breast tissue, and it often goes almost into your armpit. I wore a 36D or DD for ages until my two friends who are bra fitters measured me properly – I’m actually a 32FF. The difference is AMAZING.
PSA to women out there: NEVER get sized at Victoria’s Secret. They have absolutely NO idea what they’re doing, and they carry band sizes that are way too large for most women and cups that are way too small for many women. Get sized at Nordstrom’s (in the U.S.) or somewhere like Bravissimo (in the U.K.).
Do sister sizes really work? What is a sister size in a bra?
Sister sizing is total crap and only told to you at stores trying to sell more bras. If your cup is an E, you can’t wear a DD just because you make the band bigger. Your back and chest aren’t bigger, your boobs are. That’s like saying I wear pants that are a 30 and 34 leg but if I buy a pair that is a 28 but a 36 leg, those fit just the same.
Do you add inches to your band size?
Don’t add 4 inches!!! Don’t add 5 inches!!! Don’t add ANY inches to your band measurement – unless you are taking an odd number, like 33, and rounding up or down (depending on how tight you like your band). I’m a 28G and thought I was a 34D for years because of adding 4 inches.
Can you be different bra sizes in different brands?
Well you can, to some extent – a 36D cup volume is the same as a 34DD cup volume – so it can be helpful for variations between brands (so you may fit a 36D in brand A, but in brand B, the back is too loose – in that case, the 34DD may fit you better, since it’s the same cup volume, with a smaller back.)
I completely agree that there are variations between brands and even styles but in the same style, a 36D and 34DD don’t fit the same which is what I had one of Victoria’s Secret’s staffers tell me.
In the same bra maker that is correct but think of it like this: You wear a 36 in a pair of Levis but a 34 in Jordache and a 38 in… some other jeans lol. They are all theoretically measured in inches so how can this be? Different brands different fit right? It’s a little more complicated with bras but if you know how “sister” sizing works it gives you a place to start with an unfamiliar brand. HOWEVER, if you are a 36D in a particular brand, you should not take a 34DD when there are no 36Ds. You won’t really be comfortable. Just live to shop another day sister!
Is it important to wear the right bra size?
Okay, I just have to say it…. I absolutely hate bras. Seriously if there is ever an option to give modesty without wearing a bra I won’t ever wear one again. Seriously if you love bras then buy all you want and enjoy them but I would love to be free of them forever. I just had to get that off my chest (heh heh). I know I will be told I just don’t wear the right size or my boobs will sag, etc, etc, but to me, nothing beats the feeling of going without.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.