Most bra companies don't use traditional, but that's what I was trying to use and was very confused by all this! Make sure the tape measure is horizontal and fairly snug. Keep in mind that certain factors can cause you to change bra size: Below are some of our favorite places to pick up a pretty bra, in person and online. Add 4 inches 10 centimeters.
You should be able to slide only one finger underneath the band. First, tighten the band, then shorten the straps. Put on a close-fitting shirt over the bra. If the cups pucker or your breasts bulge, you're not wearing the correct size. Look at yourself sideways in a mirror. Your breasts should sit midway between your shoulders and elbows. If not, you need a more supportive and better-fitting bra.
If you need to go down a cup size for fit, go up one band size, and vice versa. For example, if a 34C is too big for you, move to a 36B. Choose a bra that fits perfectly when secured on the outermost hook. As the bra loosens over time, make the band taut by moving toward the tightest hook.
Now that you've found your correct bra size, it's time to go shopping! Below are some of our favorite places to pick up a pretty bra, in person and online. Real Simple may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website. Close View all gallery. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team.
If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. By Rachel Shelasky and Julee A. Share the gallery Pinterest Facebook. Everything In This Slideshow. Shop Real Simple Logo. Most people wear a bra too large in the back and too small in the cups. Although sizing can vary slightly between brands, all follow a basic measurement system that you can use to measure your bra size in the comfort of your own home. To measure your bra size, start by running a tape measure all the way around your body, just underneath your breasts, to get your band size in inches.
If you get an odd number, you may need to try on bras that are the size above or below that measurement. Next, bend over so your chest is parallel to the ground and measure around your torso so the tape measure is over the fullest part of your breasts. Finally, subtract your band measurement from that number to get your cup size. For example, if the difference is 3 inches, you're a C cup. Featured Articles Bra Fitting. Reader Approved Why choose wikiHow?
In this case, we have also received several testimonials from our readers, who told us how this article truly helped them. Know that cup size is not absolute. This is the biggest myth about bra sizes: For instance, a 32 D will fill out less volume than a 36 D, but they're both D cups.
Understand how a correctly fitted bra should look and feel. There are a few tell-tale signs that indicate whether or not a bra fits you. Here's what to keep an eye out for as you're measuring yourself and trying on different sizes: The band is what should do the majority of the work supporting your breasts, not the straps. You should be able to put one or two fingers under the band, but no more. You shouldn't have any tissue coming out from the sides of the cups, beneath your armpits.
On an underwire bra, you can assess side coverage with the underwire: The gore the part of the bra band that's between the cups should sit flat against your chest, without digging into your skin uncomfortably.
If it doesn't, you're wearing the wrong bra. Avoid the dreaded "quad-boob" that results from the top of a too-small cup cutting into breast tissue above the bra. Instead, look for a fit that results in a clean silhouette with no stray tissue. Be aware of different breast shapes. So what happens if you find a bra in your size, but it still fits wrong? You're probably not picking the right bra cut for your breast shape. Try these solutions to common shape issues: If your breast tissue is evenly spread over a wider area, with less projection, you probably have a shallow shape.
Shallow breasts fit best in balconette or demi-cup bras, with a cup that's open on top and cut horizontally. Pendulous or tuberous breasts: If the base of your breast is relatively narrow, but the actual tissue hangs down quite a bit, don't despair! Instead, look for bras that have underwires, well-separated cups and fuller breast coverage. Avoid demi cups and plunge bras.
Know about sister sizes. If you find a bra that's close to a perfect fit but not quite there, try a sister size. It might provide just enough variation to correct the slight differences between manufacturers. Go down a sister size: Reduce your band size by two, but take your cup size up one interval. For instance, you might go from a 36 C to a 34 D. Go up a sister size: Increase your band size by two, but go down one cup size.
For instance, you might go from a 36 C to a 38 B. Navigate different fitting styles. Currently, there are two different bra fitting styles outlined below. The modern measurement is being adopted by more manufacturers, though some still use the traditional style. Unfortunately, it's difficult to know which system individual designers and labels use. Here's how to hedge your bets: If you're trying on bras in a store, it's a good idea to know what your size is for both styles.
If you're ordering online, try to find a site that has a flexible return policy. Be wary of professional fittings. However, being fitted comes with a few caveats: Avoid stores that carry a limited range.
A fitter at one of these shops might try to incorrectly sell you a size that they have on-hand, instead of your true size. Before you commit to a fitting, make sure the store carries smaller band sizes such as 28 and 30 and larger cups DDD and up. Good choices in the US include department stores like Nordstrom and Dillard's. Ask to be fitted with both measurement systems. That way, you have an idea of what size to try if one style produces a completely wrong fit. Don't leave your current bra on.
If your fitter tries to measure you with your bra still on, it's probably not going to be the correct measurement. If you're concerned about modesty, wear a thin but close-fitting tank top to your fitting, and simply remove the bra underneath. Measure your band size. Run a tape measure all the way around your body just underneath your breasts and take a measurement in inches. Make sure the tape measure is horizontal and fairly snug. Your arms should be down.
Write down this number. If this measurement is an odd number, then you should try out bras in both the size below your measurement and the size above. If your measurement is already an even number, this is almost always your band size, but you may need a smaller or larger size depending on your body type. Determine your cup size. Remember, your cup size isn't an absolute measure — it's in proportion to your band size. Bend over so that your chest is parallel to the ground.
This is so that you'll be measuring all of your breast tissue — not just what protrudes outward when you're standing up. Measure around your torso, so that the tape is over the fullest part of your breasts. Write down the number. Make sure your tape measure is level to the ground. It shouldn't be a few inches down your back, or you'll end up with an uneven measurement.
To combat this, try to measure yourself in front of a mirror, or ask your partner or close friend to help you. Calculate your cup size. To do this, you'll subtract your band measurement from the cup measurement you just took. The difference between the two numbers determines your cup size: Less than 1 inch 2. These are equivalent to E and F. If you're in any doubt, particularly with larger cup sizes, you can refer to an international bra sizing chart. Try on a bra with the band and cup size you've arrived at in these steps.
You should not regard this as your definitive size until you have tried on a few bras, and even then you will often find you need a different size in different brands or styles of bra.
Put on the bra on correctly. Known as the "scoop and swoop," this is a more correct way to make sure all of your breast tissue is in the bra: After taking the bra off its hanger the shoulder straps will need to be lengthened.
Put your arms through them and lean forward slightly so that your bust falls into the cups. Fasten the bra on the largest set of hooks and eyes. Don't worry if it's tricky to fasten, if you're trying a smaller back size you will notice that you need to stretch it around you to make the hooks and eyes meet.
Still leaning forward, take hold of the underwires and give them a wiggle from side to side to make sure you're settled comfortably into the cups. For each side in turn, slip your hand into the side of the cup and lift each breast towards the centre. You will probably have to adjust the length of the shoulder straps. Slip them off your shoulders and adjust the sliders so that the straps are short enough to stay in place but don't cut in. Check the band size. The correct band size is the smallest you can comfortably wear.
It needs to be firm enough that the bra is still fairly supportive without weighing down heavily on the shoulder straps. You should be able to run your fingers around the inside of the band, but not much more. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit no more than a fist under the back of the bra where your spine is at. It should fit on the biggest adjustment, but will probably be too tight if you try to fasten it on the smallest size. Bras are designed to fit like this so that you can tighten the band as the elastic starts to wear out.
If the band is roomy enough for you to be able to comfortably fasten it on the tightest adjustment, try a smaller band, for example if a 32D is too loose, try a 30DD. Remember that the cup size has to be changed when you move to a different band size - for every band you go down, you must go up by one cup size in order for the cups to remain the same capacity and vice versa.
If you find the band painfully tight you should try going up a cup size because too small of cups can make a band which is too big or the right size seem ill fitting. If going up a size, maybe even several does not work, then try going a band up and a cup down, e. However, try the first method before the latter. Check the cup size. The correct cup size should be completely filled out with no wrinkling of the fabric or space in the cups, but any spillage or "double boob" means the cup size is too small, even in low cut or pushup bras.
Check around the cups for any bulging, not only at the front but also at the sides under your arms. Make sure the underwire encloses your whole breast and lies flat against your rib cage. Check at the sides under your arms to make sure the underwires are sitting on your ribs, not on soft breast tissue.
If they're cutting into the sides of your breasts then you need a larger cup size. Also be aware that if you have been wearing a bra with a too big band and too small cups, you may have ended up with migrated tissue, which will seem to be armpit rolls, or back rolls. This can be fixed after getting a well fitting bra. If the underwires are pressing painfully against your breastbone at the centre front you may need a smaller cup size or you could try a plunge style with a lower centre front this is more likely to be an issue with the cups than the band.
Or you might just be human, and it's the shaping of your ribcage. In that case, wait for the bra to be "broken in" and see how it fits then, or go with the lower centre front.
If you think the cups might be too small but you're not sure, try on a bigger cup size as well to double check. It will usually be obvious if the smaller size fits better. See how it looks with your top on. You've found a new bra that fits well, maybe in a different size or style to the ones you're used to.
Now it's time to see what it does for your figure! If you're trying a t-shirt bra it's also important to make sure it gives you a smooth line under fitted clothes. If you look side on to the mirror , you should be able to see that your bust is approximately halfway between your elbow and your shoulder.
In a well fitting bra, your bustline will be supported at the right level. A lot of people find that their clothes fit a lot better, and they discover a waist that could never be seen before! If your bustline had previously been quite low because of a poorly supporting bra, you may even find that you need to wear a smaller dress size. A fitted t-shirt will show up any bulges from cups which are too small, and likewise a moulded bra that is not filled out will show lines at the bust where the edge of the cups are visible.
It's also useful to make sure that the colour of your bra is not showing through a thin or light coloured top - if you need to make your bra invisible, go for seamless cups which match your own skin colour rather than the colour of your top. It is a common concern that wearing a smaller band size will make a big bulge around your back.
While braless or wearing a non-padded bra, measure around the bottom of the band, directly under your bust. The measuring tape should be level and very snug. Round to the nearest whole number. To find your bra size, you'll need a tape measure and your best-fitting bra (preferably an underwire, not a minimizer or sports bra). If you don't have a flexible tape measure, you can use a string. 1. Sep 26, · How to Measure Your Bra Size. Four Methods: Sizing Basics Modern Sizing Checking for Fit Traditional Sizing Community Q&A. Believe it or not, at least 80% of women wear an incorrectly sized bra! Most people wear a bra too large in the back and too small in the cups%(7).