Bra fitting


I hate bras. Hate them. I like how they can make me look fantastic in a shirt, but shopping for them is such a chore!

I went to La Vie en Rose because I had $75 in gift cards and absolutely none of my old bras fit me after having just given birth to my son 3 months ago. After trial and error - oh, so much error - I think I've figured out I'm a 38 band, at least, and a C cup. I used to be 34A. But it still depends on the bra's shape and the amount of padding inside. I seem to fit better when there's more padding at the bottom and sides, versus none. 

I spent 3 hours in that bloody store, trying on bras! My husband has the patience of a saint.

Then I still wasn't 100% sure the two bras I just bought were the 'proper' fit, so I checked out this site:

By their standards I'm supposed to be a 32F. I highly doubt that. I'm also sick of seeing all these other help sites that say a brand new bra should fit on the tightest hook because bras stretch after washing and age. Well, if that's the case, a new bra should fit on the *loosest* hook, so you can take it in as it stretches.

It was so much more simple when I could get away with a simple stretch cotton bra that just held in the goods so I could go about my day with no nipples showing and more rounded boobs, instead of pointed natural ones. But now I have to worry about cups and bands. Ugh.

And when I bend over and kind of crouch to pick my son up from his bouncy chair, the underwire kind of cuts into my little roll underneath my bra. I suppose it'll get better once it stretches out a bit. 

If I had oodles of money I would totally just have someone custom make me a bra that fits me perfectly.
Apr 12, 2015 @ 05:42 pm

20 Replies


a better reading

This article helped out more. Especially with my idea that a bigger cup means bigger breasts. The sales people at La Vie en Rose didn't help at all.

But the other issue is, even when you finally deduce your proper size based on measurements, things like the shape of the cup and the amount of padding inside will totally change everything.
Apr 12, 2015 @ 06:12 pm

Yeah I can relate.

I always dread going bra shopping as well because I want to find one that fits great but is also comfortable! And since I do have above average sized breasts I unfortunately have to pay more because I need to find a bra that suites my needs.

A helpful tip is to get measured in the store in which you are bra shopping, that way you know what kind of bra you will need.

The ladies at Victoria's Secret are super friendly and helpful! They always help me find the best bra for me.

Anyways, good luck! I hope your bra troubles will be solved soon. :)
Apr 12, 2015 @ 06:26 pm

Better Bra Shops

I used to have this problem too. I'd go to Victora's Secret or La Senza, get fitted and get those. Then I discovered these other 2 bra/lingerie stores - Secrets From Your Sister and Change.

Both measure their sizes in European sizing and have you try on a lot of bras to find one that works.

Secrets From Your Sister is fairly expensive. You're spending $50 - $100 for a bra which is a lot. But it fits well and if you take care of it it will last you for a long time. I know it's a lot but it's worth it considering how many you get from other stores that don't fit and you end up throwing away anyway. The sales associates are very knowlegeable here! Their location is around Bloor and Spadina.

Change is slightly more affordable in my opinion but their bras can also get up there is price. Now that I have stocked up on a lot I only go get more when they have sales. Sometimes they have clearance sales where bras are $10 - $30. They have a location at Queen and McCaul area or one in Oakville. The sales associates, I found, are not as knowledgeable as Secrets From Your Sister though. They have sold me the wrong sizes which has pissed me off.

What I did was I got a few bras from Secrets From Your Sister my first time. It was expensive but they fit well. After I figured out how things are supposed to fit on my own I go to Change and I know what to get. I know how to adjust my sizing properly too.

If you have any questions let me know. They honestly solved my bra fitting issues.
Apr 12, 2015 @ 10:16 pm


The Toronto store isn't really an option for me. But the Change store might be. Where exactly in Oakville is it? I was trying to find the site, but it only comes up with Denmark in the store locations.

My husband googled another place that may help me with getting the right fit. My Top Drawer. They seem like a good company and one store opened up close to me in Burlington. Might check them out.

I'm willing to pay about $50, but anything more is just too much for my current budget. Especially since I'm sure I'll loose some weight down the road. And they always say the first thing to go are your breasts.
Apr 12, 2015 @ 10:44 pm


Seriously, is the underwire under the breast supposed to dig into the flesh below it when you bend to put on shoes? I'm starting to wonder if the cup itself is too big, because the underwire is actually an inch below my breast, but the amount of padding in it still seems to make it fit. I think I totally just wasted $80 on bras that aren't the right size. *sigh* They're putting me in a bad mood because I feel like I'm in a cage.
Apr 13, 2015 @ 07:58 am


The underwire should not be poking you anywhere. Victoria's Secret is useless because if you don't fit their size range, they will lie and say you're their biggest cup size/band size. I work at a plus size clothing store that has several lines of bras, and we get countless girls that come in and say that VS measured them at a 36DDD, when in reality they're over a 40D, but VS just doesn't make 'em bigger and they want to sell their bras. Not saying that that's your problem, but I don't trust VS/La Senza/La Vie en Rose after years of wearing uncomfortable bras and finally being trained how to properly measure.

If your underwire is an inch below your breast-- I'm assuming you mean the actual breast tissue-- the it sounds like the cup is astronomically too big. The underwire should act like a boundary for your breast tissue-- it should encircle it perfectly. It really sounds like the cup is too big and the padding is trying to make up for that. And even with padding, the bottom of the breast should still be properly encircled by the underwire; the padding should not be acting as bra tissue, but rather as a push-up. While padding may seem enticing to give you extra va-voom, my suggestion
would be to try one that has minimal padding, like a simple t-shirt bra, until you are sure of your perfect fit. Oh, and you're definitely right when you say that you should get your bra fit on the loosest hooks-- ie. the ones farthest from where they attach on the brand-- but you can also do the middle hooks if you're in between sizes. When you turn sideways and look at the mirror, your bra band should be parallel to the floor. You don't want it higher or lower in the back than where your breasts sit on your chest.

You want to look for 5 key areas when trying on bras:
- If your straps are digging in or falling off, they both mean your band is too big. Only 10% of your support comes from the straps, so you shouldn't feel pressure there; the rest comes all from the band.
- If there is any room in your cup that is causing gaping, your cup is too big-- your bra cup should hug all your curves; conversely, if you're popping out, you need a bigger cup.
- Your underwire should sit flat against your rib cage; a good way to check is to look at the part where the underwire meets in the middle of the bra. if that part is not lying flat against your rib cage, it's not right. Usually that means you need either a bigger cup or a bigger band
- If the side of your bra, under your arm pit, is digging in (often there is side boning, which is what digs), then you need a bigger band; if it's riding up, you need a smaller band.
- You should easily be able to fit two fingers under your band at the back when it's fitting properly, with no flesh on your back spilling out at the top or bottom of the band. You don't want to be able to fit your whole hand in, because that's too loose.

For measuring yourself, measure (in inches) around your ribcage right under your bust-- make sure you look in the mirror sideways to make sure that the measuring tape is parallel to the floor, otherwise it could skew your measurement. Make sure the tape is snug, but not digging in and not loose. Then, wearing a bra that fits you the best (you need to wear a bra to see what your breast tissue is like raised, rather than droopy), measure around your chest at the largest part, usually where your nipples would be, give or take-- again, make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor. Don't pull it tight, but again don't have it loose. Subtract your under bust measurement from your bust measurement. The difference will tell you your cup size.

1 inch - A
2 - B
3 - C
4 - D
5 - DD (Or E-- it's the same cup size, but some stores call it DD, some say E)
6 - DDD (Or F-- ditto)
7 - G
8 - H

So for example, if you measure 34 inches right under your bust and 40 inches around your bust, then your cup size would be 34DDD (or 34F). You'll have to play around a bit with different brands, but that's a good rule of thumb.

Say you try a 34DDD and the cups fit but the band is too big, then go up a cup and down a band size-- 32G; this is called cross sizing. Conversely, if the band is too small but the cup fits, you'd want to go up a band size, and down a cup size-- 36DD. The cup of a 42DD is much bigger than the cup of a 38DD; the cup size is relative to the band size, which is what makes cross-sizing important.

Anyways, I know how hard bra shopping can be. Even knowing all of these things and being able to help other people, I still struggle with finding the perfect fit for myself. I hope this helps, please don't get discouraged!
Apr 16, 2015 @ 12:40 am


Thanks so much for sharing all this information with all of us. I never seem to be able to get the right bra size. Over the years I've gone from a 36C down to a 34B and that sometimes seems to big for me. I think I can thank having my two boys for my deflation. LOL At least that's what I've heard it can be from and yet it doesn't seem to happen to all of us. So who knows the real reason behind breast deflation. I've sure some weight loss can make a difference, but I'm the same weight I was before I had my boys. So I don't know why this happened to me and to others I know, but that's another story. Now that you've provided us with all this great info I think its time to go bra shopping and at least try and find something that will not only fit, but fit me well. Thanks again bethanito and have a nice day! :)
Apr 16, 2015 @ 08:00 am


Oh! And one more piece of advice! When you're trying on the bra, lean forward slightly so that all of the breast tissue falls into the cups. Then, when you have the band done up, slip your hand down the front of the cup and scoop up the breast tissue-- your nipple should be roughly in the middle of the cup. You should be able to tell a difference in how the bra feels when you put it on that way, instead of the way most people do it. It just ensures that your breast tissue is sitting properly in the cup and nothing's being pinched. If you're not sure what I mean by this way to try on a bra, I'm sure google can be a bit more clear. Glad to help! :)
Apr 16, 2015 @ 10:50 am


I hear you! I dreed bra a shopping! Hate it so much just wish bras had lifetime guarentee and the same bra never left so you could keep buying the same one over and over.
Apr 16, 2015 @ 05:25 pm


Thanks a lot Bethanito! This really helped.
Apr 16, 2015 @ 07:41 pm

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