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How to Measure for Correct Bra Size?

Wearing the right size of bra can have a lot of positive impact to your body, health and confidence. Here is how you can achieve this and more.

A black and a white bra with a tape measure.

It’s something all women just have to get used to. No matter how tall or short you are, how thin or thick, how much you might hate it. All women, at some point, have to wear a bra. Many women wear them every single day. You probably don’t even really think about it. You just reach for a bra, slip it on and go.

But you also probably don’t know whether or not you’re wearing the right bra size for your body. Bra shopping is such a chore, many women simply grab the first thing that sort of fits and go with it. Wearing the wrong bra makes your clothes look worse and has some other surprising effects, too.

Take the time to find out your correct bra size and get the support you need to flatter your shape. Get the right bra to make the most out of what you’ve got. Because no matter what size you are, it makes all the difference when you’re wearing the right one.

Measuring Your Body

To find your correct bra size, you need to start by measuring your body. Put on your best-fitting bra that doesn’t have any padding. Stand straight and evenly and wrap a soft measuring tape around your body. Measure straight across your chest, just below your bust, around your back straight across beneath your shoulder blades. Write down that number.

Now, keep the measuring tape wrapped around your back and raise the front up so it goes across your chest at the fullest part of your bust. The tape should be snug against your body, but not tight. Round up any half or partial inches to whole numbers.

The first number is your band size. This is the number of measurements used in bra sizes. So if your measurement is 34, you wear a 34 band size. The second measurement is your bust size. Using this number to calculate your cup size is just a bit trickier. Subtract your band size (the first number you measured) from your bust size (the second number you measured). The number that’s left is what you will use to determine your bra cup size.

The formula is pretty simple. If there is a one-inch difference between the band and bust measurements, you wear an A cup. If the difference is two inches, it’s a B cup. The formula continues as three inches equals c cup, four inches equals D cup, five inches for DD, and six inches for DDD.

Measuring the Fit

A woman wearing a bra measuring her bust.

Measuring your body the right way is the best way to determine your bra size accurately. However, you can also determine whether you have on the right bra or the wrong one by the way you feel inside of it.

Do the straps fit comfortably without digging into your skin? Is the band nice and snug on your body when it’s on the last rung? You should only be able to get one finger between your skin and the band. Do the cups cover your breasts well, with no overflow or gapping? Is the bra comfortable? Does the underwire sit below your breasts?

There are many signs that you’re wearing the wrong bra size. Do the straps slide off your shoulders or dig into your skin, even after you adjust them? Does the band gap on your back? Is it too snug or too loose?

Does it ride up or sit low? Do your breasts overflow from the cups or are there gaps in the cups, loose spaces that sit out from your skin instead of sitting flush against it? Does the underwire cut into your breasts or otherwise feel uncomfortable? Your bra should fit comfortably and stay flush against your skin. If it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’re wearing the wrong size.

Maintain Good Bra Habits

Remember that in time, bras wear out. They become stretched out, they lose shape, the straps or the band can lose their elasticity and become stretched out. You shouldn’t be keeping the same bras around for years and years. Get rid of any old bras that are stretched out or worn out and buy new bras to make sure you have something that fits well and gives you the proper support.

Your body can also change over time, which changes your bra size. If you lose weight or gain weight, become pregnant or stop nursing, then your bra size is going to change. Measure yourself every time you go bra shopping to make sure you get something that’s going to fit the right way.

Ditch the Bad Bras

A woman putting on a white lace bra.

It may seem like it’s not such a big deal to put on an ill-fitting bra, as long as it’s comfortable and keeps you covered. But actually, wearing the wrong bra can be really bad for you. You may experience breast and back pain if you habitually wear a bra that’s not the right size. One chiropractor said he routinely treats women with rib and back pain caused by wearing the wrong bra. Bad bra size can also cause shoulder and neck pain. It can even cause chafing and painful areas of skin in these regions.

Wearing the wrong size bra can even cause skin damage to the breast, resulting in marks that look a bit like stretch marks. Skin damage around the breasts occurs when the skin is stretched too far.

Ultimately, wearing the wrong bra size too often can affect your posture. This can lead to sagging shoulders, a bend in the back, and other long-term effects.

Clearly, it’s time to clean out your bra drawer. Get rid of all the bad ones and get into the habit of ditching bras once they stop fitting perfectly.

Build a Better Bra Drawer

A woman choosing what to wear from her bra drawer.

Stay on top of your measurements and re-stock your bra drawer as needed. When you throw a bra away, replace it. Always have several perfectly-fitting bras on hand so you’re always taking good care of your chest and dressing at your best. No matter what you wear, every outfit is only as good as the underwear you have on beneath it.

Stop wearing ill-fitting bras and start taking better care of your breasts. When you have the right bra size, your posture will be better, your clothing will look better and you will feel better and more confident. Doesn’t that sound pretty good?