Finding The Correct Bra Size: A Guide To Brassieres

By:    Published: July 20, 2012

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For most women, wearing a bra is something that they do for the majority of the day. A bra provides support and shape, and since it’s worn for most of the day, it’s essential to get the proper size. However, KidsHealth.org reports that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong bra size. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to finding the right size for you.

Determining Band And Cup Size

The two key measurements for a bra size are the band size and the cup size. Each of these measurements needs to be taken correctly in order to get the right bra size for you.

Band size is measured as a number (32, 34, 36, 38, etc.). To get your band size, run a tape measure around your torso with the tape placed just under your breasts. Make sure the tape is fitted to your torso without digging into your skin. Note the measurement that you get then add 5 inches. This is your band size. If you get an odd number, you’ll need to round down to the next number since bras come in even-numbered band sizes.

Cup size is measured as a number and converted to a letter (AA, A, B, C, D, etc.). To get your cup size, run the tape measure around your torso with the tape across the fullest part of your breasts. Note the measurement that you get and subtract your band size from that number. The difference between those two numbers tells you what your cup size will be: 1 inch is an A cup, 2 inches is a B cup, 3 inches is a C cup and so on. Combine your band size and your cup size and you’ll have the proper bra size.

Although you can take these measurements at home, there are also professionals fitters who will take your measurements for you (sometimes even for free). This will give you the most accurate measurement to determine which bra size is right for you.

Trying On Bras

There are several ways you can get a better fit when trying on bras. Here are some tips for finding bras that fit you correctly:

  • Bring several different styles into the fitting room with you. Each bra may fit a little differently and certain styles may be more suited to your body.
  • Keep in mind that different brands and styles may have slightly different fits and, as with shoes, you may wear a slightly different size depending on the type of bra you’re trying on.
  • Use the adjustable shoulder straps to get the right fit. Your breasts should rest comfortably in the cups and the bra should run straight across the middle of your back (it shouldn’t be pulled up higher by the shoulder straps).
  • If the bra feels too tight or too loose across the front of your chest, consider using the various hooks in the back strap to create a better fit.
  • Get a smaller cup size if there is a gap between your breasts and the bra. Similarly, if your breasts are bulging out the sides or top of the bra then you need a larger cup size.

Special Considerations

There are some special considerations that may make choosing the correct bra size a little more difficult, such as:

  • Menstrual changes: Some women experience a change in size or shape of their breasts during different parts of their menstrual cycle. If this is the case for you, consider finding different bras that feel the most comfortable at various times in your cycle.
  • Breast growth: Girls may find that they need to change their bra size often in order to accommodate their growing breasts during puberty.
  • Weight fluctuation: If your weight has changed by 10 pounds or more, you should re-measure to make sure you have the correct bra size. Dieting, exercising, eating more or having a baby can all change breast size or shape significantly enough to change bra size as well.
  • Different-sized breasts: Some women’s breasts are not symmetrical, and the different sizes of their breasts may make it difficult to find the correct bra size. For these women, the best solution is often to find a bra that fits the larger breast and use an insert to accommodate the smaller breast. This can also be achieved with a padded bra with removable padding.

Benefits Of Wearing The Correct Bra Size

The obvious benefit of wearing a bra is that it can shape the breasts in an appealing way. However, it’s important to realize how important a properly fitting bra is when it comes to comfort. In addition to controlling jiggling, a well-fitted bra provides comfortable support throughout the day without creating unnecessary discomfort or pain.

Women with larger breasts, in particular, often find that the support provided by a properly fitted bra also helps them to maintain better posture. When a bra doesn’t fit, back problems, muscle tensions or headaches can result.

Measuring yourself for the right bra size takes just a minute or two, but the results can be significant. You may not realize how much unnecessary discomfort has been caused by an ill-fitting bra, and switching to one better suited to your body will make you feel more comfortable and confident.

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