It’s time to learn how to measure your bra size properly. Whether or not you wear a bra is your choice, but knowing your size is crucial for a good fit, comfort, and the support your bras are designed to give. An ill-fitting bra can mess up your day, whether at work, out with friends, or just walking downstairs. Sadly, lots of us own bras that don’t fit well. Kelly Dunmore, chief lingerie stylist at Rigby & Peller, mentions that despite having many bras, people often stick to just a couple.
For those of us who wear bras, our preferences can change because of various reasons, like outfits, monthly cycles, or changes in breast size. So, how do you measure for that perfect fit? We’ve got all the details to help you improve the number of good bras in your collection.
Why is it important to have a well-fitted bra?
Anyone who wears lingerie understands the challenge of finding that ideal bra— the one that offers perfect support and coverage. Choosing the right bra isn’t a strict science because everyone’s shape is unique. But there are ways to discover the best bra size for you. Once you nail that down, it’s smooth sailing.
Let’s explore the importance of wearing a bra that fits you perfectly:
1. Better Posture
Wearing the right bra improves your posture. It stops your shoulders from slumping and keeps your back straight by giving your chest the support it needs. Plus, it doesn’t squeeze or add extra layers where you don’t want them.
2. Make You Confident
When your bra fits perfectly, it boosts your confidence. You won’t be bothered by it, so you can focus all your energy on feeling fabulous!
3. Works Wonders On Your Health
A well-fitted bra that gives great support can ease skin irritation, back pain, and chest discomfort, especially for those with heavier breasts. A good bra can truly do wonders for your health.
4. Makes You Active
Wearing the right bra, be it for the office or gym, makes you active. The right bra won’t distract or make you uncomfortable, letting you focus better on your tasks and be more productive.
5. Lasts Forever
Don’t hesitate to invest a little more in good brassiere. It’ll stay comfortable and last much longer, so you’ll get your money’s worth.
6. Bring Out Your Outfit
The saying goes, the right bra completes any outfit, and it’s absolutely true! Perfect lingerie can make your outfit look amazing, adding a huge boost to your overall appearance.
7. Helps Keep Your Breasts In Shape
It’s super important to wear the right bra during your formative years because it helps shape your breasts.
8. Bye Bye Back Pain
If you’ve been dealing with back pain, wearing the wrong bra size might be the cause. Fix that, and you’ll likely feel a lot of relief.
9. Becomes Your Second Skin
When you discover the perfect bra, it should fit you so comfortably and snugly that it feels like you’re not wearing anything at all.
10. Looks Fab
A great bra can sport a fun and quirky design, making it comfy to wear and enjoyable to look at!
How often should you get measured for a bra?
There’s no fixed rule for when to get fitted since it depends on lifestyle changes affecting your size. But generally, aim to get a refitted bra measurement every six months to a year. If there haven’t been major changes like pregnancy, weight fluctuations, or menopause, you can lean toward the longer side. However, sticking to six months is safest for a flawless fit.
Even if you’re on a six-month to a yearly schedule, there are signs for measuring bra size if:
1. Band Riding Up
If your go-to T-shirt bra’s band rides up, it’s not giving you the support it should. That suggests the band size might be off.
2. Breast Spilling Out
Any spillage from your favorite demi-cup bra— sides, top, or bottom—means the cup size is likely too small, and it’s time for a refit.
3. Unruly Straps
Straps digging in or slipping off, even after adjusting them, signal the need for a proper refit to find your true size.
How to measure bra size
Did you know that about 70-80% of women wear bras that don’t fit right because they’re unsure how to measure their bra size accurately? A good fit isn’t just about looking good; it’s crucial for posture and providing the support you need. One big reason for these misfits is that many women never get measured for their bra size. Figuring out your correct size is the first step to finding that perfect fit. Luckily, measuring your bra size isn’t complicated at all. We’re here to guide you on how to measure bra size at home.
How to measure your bra size with a tape measure
Before we begin, ensure you’re wearing a basic, non-padded bra to keep everything in place. Then, just have a soft tape measure handy.
1. Measure your band size
Wrap the measuring tape around your ribcage directly beneath the bra band. Ensure it’s comfortably snug and level. Note the number of inches. If it’s an even number, that’s your band size. And, if it’s odd, round up or down to the nearest even number based on your body type. Suppose you have more softness around the band, round down. If you’re leaner and the band has less give, round up. That’s your band size.
2. Measure your cup size
Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. Keep it comfortably snug without pulling too tight; just let it lay flat. Ensure it’s level and note the number of inches. That’s your cup size.
3. Calculate your cup
There is no need to stress about complex math here; simple subtraction works just fine. Subtract your band size from your cup size and jot down the result. This difference determines your cup size. If it’s difficult, you can find a bra size calculator online.
4. Determine your bra size
Lastly, combine your band size with your cup size to determine your bra size.
To make sure we’re clear, here’s an example to reinforce what you’ve learned about how to measure for a bra.When your band size measures 34 inches and your cup size measures 37 inches, the difference is 3 inches. That makes it a C cup, so your bra size would be 34C.
Bra Measurement Guide
How to check if your bra fits properly
But hold on, we’ve got more wisdom to share! We’ve gathered extra expert tips from professionals on how to figure out if the bra you’re wearing is the right fit for you.
1. Band Fit
Experts highlight that getting the band size right is crucial. About 80% of the support should come from the band, not the straps. It should feel tight, but not too much. An incorrect band size can affect how the cups and wires work. A good fit means you can slide two fingers under the band at the back, with about an inch of give when you pull it away from your body.
Make sure the band sits horizontally all around and fits well on the last hook. As you wear and wash it, it’ll stretch, so moving to the second hook gives a better fit and then to the tightest hook.
A bra should snugly fit across your rib cage to avoid relying too much on the straps for support. Many make the mistake of wearing a band size that’s too big, thinking it’s more comfortable. But a firm band holds everything in place, reducing the need for the rest of the bra to support you.
2. Cup Fit
You might observe the cups aren’t fitting properly. If your breasts are spilling out, the cups could be too small. On the other hand, if there are wrinkles or gaps, it suggests the cups are too big.
3. Bridge Fit
Let’s explore other areas to check on your bra, the gore/bridge between the cups, and the wiring. Firstly, the wires at the center front, also known as gore, should sit flush against your body, not standing away or gaping. Secondly, for your health, the wire on the side toward your underarm should be behind all your breast tissue. It shouldn’t sit on your boob! Your breast tissue should be in front of the wire.
4. Strap Fit
Before concluding that your bra doesn’t fit, ensure you’re using the straps correctly. A common fitting mistake is not adjusting the straps properly.
If they’re too loose, you might think you need a smaller bra because there’s extra room at the top of the cup, or it feels baggy. But tightening them a bit can make the bra fit much better, giving you more lift. Similarly, if you’re concerned a bra is too small (like double-boobing at the neckline), lengthening the straps can make a big difference! The straps should stay put in place but not uncomfortably tight or dig into your skin.
Bra sister sizes
Sister sizes keep the cup volume consistent while the band size and cup letter change. Cups aren’t consistent by letter alone but by band size, too. As the band size increases, so does the cup size. For instance, a 34B holds the same cup volume as 32C or 36A. Knowing your sister size simplifies finding the right bra fit.
There’s a common misconception that a larger cup always means a larger bra size, regardless of the band size. However, one cup size pairs with multiple band sizes, creating various bra sizes. For instance, the sister size of 36A is 34B. Understanding sister sizes helps you discover your perfect fit.
Finding the right bra size is like solving a puzzle of proportions. If you ace the band-to-cup ratio, you’re likely to nail your bra fit. The rule of thumb is if you increase the band size, you should decrease the cup size, meaning a 34C is like a 36B. Let’s break it down.
Sizing down: Decrease your band size by one and increase your cup size by a letter. For example, if you’re a 36B, your sister size would be 34C.
Sizing up: Increase your band size by one and decrease your cup size by a letter. For instance, if you’re a 36B, your sister size would be 38A.
Check out this bra size chart to find that perfect fit!
How to measure for a sports bra
Did you know eight out of ten women aren’t wearing the right size sports bra? That means most aren’t getting the comfortable and positive running experience they deserve. Getting the size right is key for a sports bra to be comfy. It is too big, and it won’t support well; it is too small, and it can limit movement and breathing. We’re aiming to improve women’s sports bra experiences by making sure they’re in the perfect size for their unique bodies. Follow these steps to learn how to find that ideal sports bra fit for you.
1. Find Your Band Size
How do you discover your size? Start by taking a few measurements. You can do this yourself or ask someone you trust to help. Grab a soft tape measure to find both your band size and cup size.
Surprisingly, the best way to find your band size is by measuring above the bust, just below the armpits. It might sound odd since the bra’s band goes elsewhere, but measuring below the bust might give the wrong sizes for some ribcage shapes. The measurement across the top of your bust is your band size.
2. Find Your Cup Size
To figure out your cup size, measure around the fullest part of your bust. Keep the measuring tape level and not too snug. Round this measurement up to the nearest inch, then subtract your band size from the first step to get the difference. With your measurements in hand, refer to brand sizing charts to find your perfect bra size. Remember, various brands might size their bras a bit differently. So, even if you’re a certain size in one brand, it might not be the same in another. Always double-check each brand’s sizing chart to be certain.
3. Find Your Support Level
The level of support you need relies on both your activity and your cup size. Different activities and body types call for different bras. Just like you wouldn’t wear lacy lingerie on a backpacking trip, your yoga bra might not be the best choice for a run. Each exercise causes a different level of breast movement.
For runners with smaller chests, a low-medium impact sports bra can give enough support. Meanwhile, those with larger busts usually need more structured support, which high-impact sports bras provide. Sports bras generally fall into three support levels:
High-impact support bras: They minimize movement and offer maximum protection. Great for high-motion activities like running, especially for larger-chested runners. They might have thicker bands, padding, or built-in cups for targeted support. Adjustable straps and hook/eye fastenings ensure a secure fit, making them perfect for larger cup sizes.
Medium-impact support bras: These offer moderate support and coverage, suitable for most runners who don’t need intense compression. Good for activities like hiking or elliptical workouts. They often have wider straps, a thicker underband, and a compressive design to minimize movement. Racerback styles offer mobility and ease of wear.
Low-impact support bras: Ideal for smaller-chested runners or for comfortable wear during light activities like yoga or weightlifting. These bras are lightweight, with thinner straps and gentle compression, offering minimal support.
Bras To Shop Now
1. Natori Women’s Pure Luxe Bra
|Underwire, hook-eye closure, adjustable straps, demi padding
This bra aced our list. Users love it whether they have smaller or larger cup sizes. It’s super comfortable, kept its shape after being stretched, and washed like a champ. We swear by it, even after trying tons of other bras. It’s a classic choice for daily wear with its foam cups, adjustable straps, supportive underwire, and hook-eye closure. It offers great coverage while staying hidden under most clothes, though a few users noticed the lace straps peeking out under certain tops. Plus, it comes in lots of colors—from neutrals to brights—and caters to a wide range of cup sizes.
- Comfortable fit with smooth fabric
- Provides good support
- Comes in a wide range of cup sizes
- The lace straps might show under certain tops
2. Maidenform One Fab Fit Bra
|Underwire, lightly padded, convertible racerback straps, demi style
This $20 bra beats pricier ones, hands down. Testers gave it top marks for support, comfort, and fit. It’s multifunctional, too, with convertible straps for a racerback option, giving extra lift and support. The lightly padded cups add some lift without making it bulky. While it’s labeled as a demi style, it covers more top-ups than other bras we tested in that style. The super smooth nylon/polyester fabric won us over. It aced our Lab’s stretch tests, keeping its shape. Just a heads-up: it shrank a bit when machine-washed, so hand-washing is the way to go for the best results.
- Best value for price
- May shrink after use
3. Hanes Women’s Bra
|Wire free, hook-eye closure, convertible straps, lightly lined
This bra puts your comfort first, using a super soft, stretchy fabric that feels like your favorite cozy T-shirt. No tags mean no irritation. Plus, you can switch it up to a racerback style with its adjustable straps and built-in hook. It’s got underwire for that extra lift and support, despite the Amazon listing mistakenly calling it “wireless.” The Hanes Ultimate T-Shirt Bra aced our laundry tests, staying the same size. But here’s the catch: sizes are a bit more limited than other bras we’ve checked out. Also, in our stretch tests, it didn’t bounce back as well as some others, so it might stretch out over time.
- Soft material
- Straps are convertible
- Tag less design
- Size options are limited
4. ThirdLove Classic T-Shirt Bra
|A-H also includes half-cups
|Underwire, hook-eye closure, adjustable pleated straps, thin memory foam cups
ThirdLove stands out as one of the most sought-after bra brands online. They nail inclusivity by helping you find that perfect fit. You start with a quiz to find your size and style. What sets them apart is their extensive range of sizes, up to a 44-band size and even half-cup sizes for those in-between moments. Their website flaunts the bras on various models, showing how they fit different body types.
Their T-shirt bra is your everyday go-to, having underwire for that lift, foam cups for shape, and cleverly pleated straps to stay put on your shoulders. It handled washing like a champ but doesn’t quite bounce back to its original shape after a stretch.
- Lots of colors and sizes to choose from
- Smoothing panels for a sleek look
- Loses its shape and form
5. Olga Women’s Easy Does It No Bulge Bra
|Wireless, hook-eye closure, adjustable straps, extra coverage side panels foam-lined cups,
This bra tops the charts among many other wireless styles, scoring high marks across the board in our consumer reviews. Instead of an underwire, it relies on a supportive band. Its adjustable straps and back hook-eye closure ensure a personalized fit. The stretchy fabric feels like a second skin, moving with you effortlessly. With smoothing panels, it offers side support and hides any bulges. Unlike typical bras, which you pick based on band and cup size, this one spans from small to 3X, guided by a size chart for your convenience. It caters to band sizes 34 through 46, a broader range than most, but it’s specific only up to cup sizes B to DD. While it provides great shaping with built-in padding, it doesn’t offer the same level of separation as underwire bras do.
- Best in support, fit and comfort
- Offers smoothing benefits
- Shows some stretching
- Bigger cup sizes have less separation
6. Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra
|Underwire, hook-eye closure, removable convertible straps, non-slip binding around band, light padding,
This strapless bra proves that support doesn’t have to take a back seat. Users actually rated it higher than many bras with straps. It uses clever silicone strips along the top of the cup and band to keep it in place and wide side panels with boning for extra stability and a sleek look. Users found it comfy, but some online reviews mentioned that while it stayed in place, the silicone strips and boning could dig in a bit.
There’s no shrinking or stretching. It’s adaptable, too, with removable straps that let you wear it in different styles: traditional, criss-cross, halter, or one-shoulder. And the color options? Plenty. It caters to various band and cup sizes, and folks with fuller figures and larger busts especially loved this style.
- Stays put throughout the day
- Fits various cup sizes easily
- Offers multiple nude shades
- The bra band digs in a bit
7. Vanity Fair Full Figure Bra
|Underwire, hook-eye closure, adjustable straps, lightly lined smoothing cups
This bra has you covered all around. It’s got full-coverage cups to keep everything in place, wide straps that ease the pressure on your shoulders, and broad side panels for a smooth, bulge-free look. The cups have a light lining, so they’re not overly padded, and the fabric feels smooth and looks great under clothes. This version features an underwire for good separation, but there’s also a wireless option that proved supportive in our tests. Even though the panels stretch, this bra kept its shape after we really put it to the test in our stretch and wash trials.
- All-around support
- Back panels smooth out bulges
- Great value for the price
- Trouble securing the hooks
8. Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Push Up Bra
|Underwire, push-up cups, padded, adjustable straps
This push-up bra from Victoria’s Secret is a winner, creating sexy cleavage and lift. It’s got extra padding on the sides of the cup for natural-looking cleavage without sacrificing comfort. The sides are designed for a smooth feel, too. Plus, it’s made partly from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendlier choice. The bra shows minimal changes after washing, but the brand suggests hand washing for better long-term results. However, in our stretch tests, the bottom band did stretch out a bit.
- Makes natural cleavage
- All-day wear
- Push-up style works for both small and large cup sizes
- Straps can be delicate
9. True & Co Women’s Bra
|Adjustable straps, scoop neck, wire free
Consider this True & Co. option if you’re seeking an affordable wireless choice with more coverage. It gets a balance between a T-shirt bra and a sports bra, providing great lift and support. It’s got a look that’s almost like a crop top and comes in colors resembling surgical bandages, as well as vibrant hues like beet red and dusky orchid. When it comes to comfort, the fabric is top-notch; it’s softer than most bra materials.
- No spillage
- Very comfortable
- Great support
- Edges may wear off after a few washes
10. Calvin Klein Bra With Memory Touch
|Hook and eye closure, Underwired, Memory Foam cups
You can’t forget Calvin Klein when talking about underwear. We recommend this T-shirt bra from the brand, which has a dedicated fanbase thanks to its light lining and perfect coverage. The bra stands out, especially for its memory foam padding that shapes itself into your body for a personalized lift.
- Great price
- Does not weather quickly
- Fits perfectly
- It may make a squeaky sound at the straps
It might feel overwhelming, but it’s super important to understand your breasts. Taking care of them and finding a supportive, comfortable bra is a long-term investment in your well-being. Checking your size every six months is key. Our bodies change constantly, so keeping up with those changes is vital!