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How to Find the Right Bra Size For You

Posted by Tasha | Friday August 12, 20115 comments

Are you wearing the right bra size?  According to Oprah’s Bra Revolution close to six years ago now, 8 out of 10 women aren’t. Sadly, that stat hasn’t changed.

If your favourite lingerie store doesn't offer professional fittings, we’ve got a few tips to help you measure up DIY-style. 

Bra sizes are measured in a letter and a number, the letter is the cup size. The band measurement is the number of inches around the chest. Get your measuring tapes out. If you measure 36 inches around, that’s the band size for you. Most of us don't measure an even number around, so here’s what you have to know about your band: this is what does all the work. It’s the band that supports the cups, the band that holds everything in place. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “gee, my straps keep falling they must be doing nothing for me.” The solution to your problem is to try a smaller band size. The smaller band size means that it won’t ride up up up and make your straps fall down down down. 

To find your perfect cup size, measure the circumference around your bust (that is chest plus your cleavage). Once you have that measurement subtract the band size from it (let's say 38-34 = 4). That final number determines your cup size. Starting at one inch for A cups, two for B cups, etc. But when it comes to fit, when your cups runneth over, it’s time to move up a letter not a number. Likewise, that gaping space between your breast and the bra itself means it’s time to move down a letter. Ideally, the centre gore - where the two cups meet - needs to sit flat against your clavicle (that area between the breasts). It you find it rubbing, irritating or a few inches out, your cup size is too small. 

Sister sizing
So now you know how to find your bra size, but when you take that knowledge to the store you can’t find your size in that cute pink lace bra! Most ladies assume “I’ll just go one band size down, from a 34C to a 32C and I’m good to go right?” Not so! Going down in the band means the cup is a little shallower too, so if you’re moving down a band size, you’ll also move up in the cup. When a 34C isn't available, try the 34D for a start. 

Now you’re ready to go shopping, because nothing boosts your confidence better than the perfect bra. 

What fit issues have you found with your bras?
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on August 12, 2011  AlexJC  50 said:

I've been professionally fit before and it was probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It was such a good experience in that it completely changed how I felt and looked!

on August 12, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

Oh shoot...I got it measured above my breasts as well. Ahhhhhhh.

on August 12, 2011  jskim07  50 said:

Oh Wow! This is so helpful!
I wonder what's the smallest number one usually is? I never see anyting lower than a 32. ....?

on August 12, 2011  mamaluv  STAFF said:

Yes, you must be honest when measuring! If you're getting it done professionally, make sure the fitter measures your ribcage where your bra band actually would be. I had a fitting at a well-known lingerie chain and they measured ABOVE my breasts. Of course, the size was way off. I kept telling them "give me size xyz" and the associate insisted "no, you're size abc!" Needless to say, her suggestion did not fit and it was extremely gratifying when I could demonstrate that my suggestion was in fact correct.

I was first professionally fit at CHANGE in Toronto, and was very surprised to realize how off I had been. Here I thought I was just an odd size because I never could find the right bra for me. Turns out, I was just way off track. Now that I know my true size, I can buy from any store and it almost always fits to a "T".

on August 12, 2011  TammyK  1,073 said:

Great article. Really informative! Another thing I find helpful is to go to the fitting area and ask someone to measure my chest...that sounds weird. Make sure you're not wearing something padded though or else the measurements won't be accurate!

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