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Are You Wearing the Correct Bra Size?

Did you know many women wear the wrong bra size? The most common mistake is a band that is too big and a bra cup size that is too small. For example, a 38C instead of a 36D.

The correct bra size is essential for good breast health, for good shape and for comfort.

Signs of an Incorrect Bra Size

You are most likely wearing an incorrect bra size if...

  • Your bra rides up at the back -- this is a sign that the cup size is too small or the straps are too tight

  • Your bust spills over the top of your bra -- the cup size is too small

  • Your bust spills out at the sides of your bra -- the cup size is too small
  • There's a wrinkle in the cup nipple -- the cup size could be too small (your breast doesn't fit into the cup) or too big (your breast doesn't fill the cup)

  • There's a wrinkle in the cup or the cup is loose -- the cup size is too large

  • You have a bulge of fat above or below the band at the back -- the cup size could be wrong or your band size is wrong or needs adjusting

  • The straps leave red marks on your shoulders -- the cup size is wrong, your band size is too big and leaving the straps to do too much support, your straps are too thin, or your bra needs adjusting

  • The center of your bra does not lie flat on your chest -- the cup size is too small
  • Your bra pinches -- the band size is too small or needs adjusting

  • The underwire cuts into your bust tissue -- the cup size is too small, the wire should sit outside and under your bust

Either that or you're wearing a bra design that isn't right for your shape or your bra needs the adjustments covered in fitting a bra.

Determining Correct Bra Size


The correct bra size is found by...

  1. Measuring -- to determine your band size and your cup size and

  2. Trying on -- since there can be variations in sizes between different brands and different styles

When was the last time you were measured for a bra? Never? Not since your first bra? It's a good idea to get professionally fitted for a bra every so often.

If you notice that your bras are feeling uncomfortable it's either because they need replacing, or it's because your body shape or your weight has changed and you need a different bra size.

You'll find trained bra fitters offering a free fitting service at better department stores and specialty lingerie stores.

Bra Sizing

The size of a bra is made up of 2 measurements...

  1. Band Size -- this is the measurement around your torso just under the bust.

    It's measured in centimeters or inches and can be translated to dress sizes (8, 10, 12 and so on), although it doesn't necessarily correspond to the size of clothing that you wear

  2. Cup Size -- this is the size of your breast. Sizes are alphabetical, for example: AA, A, C, D, DD and E

How to Measure Bra Size

It's not easy to do this yourself because lifting your arms to hold the tape measure affects the measurement! While you can get a friend or relative to help it is better to get a trained bra fitter to professional determine your correct bra size.

This is what is involved...

  • Wear your best fitting bra, adjusted as well as possible, you will be measured over this bra (and maybe over a thin top). Your fitter will make allowances for any sizing deficiencies with your current bra

  • Under-bust measurement -- Your fitter will place the tape measure around your body under the bust. She will make sure it is parallel to the ground, held firmly around the body and that her fingers are not under the tape! This measure is rounded up or down to the nearest 5cm (2inches)

  • Bust measurement -- The tape is left where it is at the back and moved up at the front to be loosely over the fullest part of your bust. Your cup size is calculated from the difference between your bust measurement and your under-bust measurement

If each breast is a different cup size you should choose the larger cup size for your bra.

Bra Size Calculator

I was going to try writing my own bra size calculator, but the international bra size calculator here seems to work fine, so I won't re-invent the wheel! Although it claims to need 3 measurements it works with just the first 2 measurement filled in, that is just the under-bust and bust measurements.

Related Articles

>> Fitting a Bra

>> Bra Shopping Tips

>> Panties and Shapewear


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