You may have heard that 75–85% of women wear an incorrect bra size*, but with bra fitters in just about every mall lingerie shop, ever wondered how that’s possible? There are a couple contributors at play here; an old measurement standard that simply doesn’t apply to every body type, and bra fitters at retail stores may not actually know how to properly fit women.
When you don’t fit the mold…
The widely excepted method of band measurement is to measure around your frame from just below your bust line then add 4 inches. This may work for some women, but we’re not all built the same so how can one system fit us all? Simple answer, it can’t. For instance, a woman with smaller breasts won’t need a bra that fits as tightly around as a large busted woman of the same frame will. Now the question becomes, how should you find your bra size?
Exhale. Then measure starting from just under your bust line and around your back in a straight line. Be careful not to let the tape drop down on one side when you are doing this. Note the measurement in inches and round down to the nearest even number. This is your band size.
Now measure over the fullest part of your bust, still making sure to keep the measuring tape even. Subtract your band size from this new measurement to get your cup size. A one inch difference means an A cup, two inch difference is a B cup, three inches – C cup, and so on.
Try some on. Seems obvious, but you won’t know what fits you best unless you try on a few different sizes. For women who need the extra support you’ll want your bra to fit a bit more snug, but for women with a smaller chest, you may want to go up a bit for a looser fit.
Tricks of the trade
Not all bras are made the same! Different brands will likely have different fits, and your body will likely go through some changes too, so you need to try on your bra before buying one every time. Something to keep in mind when shopping is the relationship between your cup size and your band size. If you are typically a perfect 34B but find yourself looking for a tighter fit, you might want to try decreasing your band size and increasing your cup size to find the right balance. So in this case you could try wearing a 30 or 32C and see if that feels more comfortable. This method works going in both directions.
Large busted women (D cups and larger) need more support and should look for a band that fits snug. It is also important to point out that women with larger breasts and full figured ladies will find less consistency in fit across different brands as these standards vary greatly among manufacturers.
When buying a bra, look for one that fits snug (but comfortably) at the loosest band setting. Your bra band will stretch with use so by doing this you will get more wear out of your purchase. Alternately, if your bra starts to fit a bit too snug, you can always stretch a bit more life out if it by using one of our bra extenders (see our products page for details).
Good fit vs. bad fit
How do you know if your bra fits? Here are some tell tale signs that your bra doesn’t fit properly:
Red marks left on your skin from digging shoulder straps or bra bands(your bra is too tight and straps should be loosened or try going up a band size
Bulging fat from too-tight straps and bands(your bra is too tight and needs adjusting or you need to try a larger band size)
You can fit more than two fingers between your back and bra band(your bra is too loose, try a smaller band size)
Your bra band is slipping or riding up your back instead of staying level across your torso(either your shoulder straps are too tight or your bra band is too loose – try adjusting the fit or going down a band size)
The underwire portion of your bra sits on your breast instead of underneath your bust line(your cups are too small, go up a cup size)
The underwire digs in to your breasts or under your arms(cups are too small, try going up a cup)
Your breasts overflow the cups(your cups are too small, go up a size)
The cups pucker or wrinkle at the top(bra cups are too big, go down a size)
The centre panel of the bra doesn’t lie flat against your sternum (your cups are too small, go up a cup)
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