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How to Measure Your Bra Size
Guess what? Getting the perfect bra isn’t just about shopping at the right places; it starts with you. Yes, YOU, and a simple measuring tape. But let’s not just throw around words like “underbust” and “bust”. I’m here to walk you through each step, ensuring you measure yourself accurately. After all, we’ve all fallen victim to the common measurement blunders, haven’t we? Let’s get started!
1. Preparation Steps
Before you start measuring, it’s important to get yourself (and your body) prepared.
- Wear a Non-Padded Bra: This helps in getting the most natural and accurate measurements. Or, many opt to not wear a bra at all for measuring.
- Stand Straight: Use a mirror to check your posture. No slouching or bending!
- Breath Normally: Sounds silly, right? But you’d be surprised how many measure while holding their breath. Just breathe!
Ok, let’s get on to measuring!
2. Measure the Band (Underbust):
Always start with the underbust measurement first.
- Wrap Position: Place the measuring tape around your ribcage, right under your breasts. Make sure it’s parallel to the ground.
- Snug, not Tight: The tape should be snug but not cutting into your skin. No squeezing!
- Read the Number: Look in the mirror and read the measurement without bending to see it (this alters the measurement and number!).
Expert Tip: If the number is odd, you can round up to the nearest even number. This is because the vast majority of bra brands don’t sell odd numbered band sizes.
3. Measure the Bust (Chest at its Fullest)
Time to measure your breast size!
- Tape Position: Gently wrap the measuring tape (not boob tape)! around the fullest part of your bust. This is usually at nipple level.
- Keep it Parallel: Just like with the band, ensure the tape is straight and parallel with the floor.
- Not Too Tight: The tape should touch your body all the way around but not be pulling tightly. It should rest on your bust comfortably.
It’s important to measure your boobs at their fullest part. This can vary a bit from lady to lady.
4. Common Mistakes to Avoid
If you’re measuring to get a better fit from your bra, you don’t want to get the wrong measurement! Here are some tips to avoid common mistakes:
- Twisted Tape: Ensure your tape isn’t twisted. A straight tape means accurate numbers.
- Wrong Bra: Wearing a padded or push-up bra? It’ll add inches you don’t have. Again, I usually just recommend not wearing a bra for this.
- High Underbust Measure: Ensure the underbust tape isn’t creeping up the back. It should sit firmly below the shoulder blades.
- Drooping Bust Measure: For the bust, the tape shouldn’t sag at the back. If it does, it’s too loose!
Alright, at this point you’re ready to actually calculate your bra size!
5. Calculate Your Bra Size
Our bra calculator will do this work for you. But, here is the basic math behind it:
- Band Size: Use the underbust measurement as your band size (or the rounded-up number if it was odd).
- Cup Size: Subtract your band size from your bust measurement. The difference determines your cup size:
- 1” = A
- 2” = B
- 3” = C
- 4” = D
- 5” = DD / E
So, for example, let’s say your underbust was 36” and your bust was 39”. This would make your bra size a 36C, because the difference between your underbust and overbust is 3”, which translates to a C cup.
As a result, its possible to have a variety of cup and band sizes when you compare breast sizes.
A Few Final Tips
When ensuring a proper fit for bras, consider the following essential tips to guide your choices:
- Re-check Measurements: Measure twice, buy once! Always double-check your measurements.
- Annual Check: Bodies change! Measure yourself once a year or after significant weight changes.
- Trust How It Feels: Numbers provide a guideline. If a bra feels uncomfortable, trust your body over the tape.
Ok, you might know how to measure your breasts to get your bra size. But, there are a number of other factors that you need to consider before buying a collection of bras.
Understanding Bra Sizes
First, lets define the two parts that make up your bra size.
- Band Size: Often, when you look at bra sizes, you’ll first notice a number like 32, 34, 36, and so on. This isn’t just a random number; it represents the circumference of your ribcage, situated right beneath your breasts.
- Cup Size: Following the number, you’ll see letters like A, B, C, etc. These alphabets aren’t arbitrary either. They stand for the actual size or volume of your breast.
1. Sister Sizes Explained
“Sister sizes” might sound like a fancy term from the bra universe, but in reality, it’s a simple yet revolutionary concept that can make all the difference in your quest for the perfect bra.
At its heart, sister sizes are bras that share the same cup volume but differ in band and cup sizes. Feeling a tad puzzled? Let’s dive deeper!
The golden rule of sister sizes is: If you adjust the band size, you’ll need to make a corresponding move with the cup size to retain the same breast volume.
Here’s the lowdown:
- When you decrease the band size, you’ll want to increase the cup size to keep the volume consistent.
- On the flip side, if you’re looking to get a larger band size, you’ll typically go down in the cup size.
For instance: Let’s say you have a 34C bra, but the band feels a little too snug for your liking. Instead of jumping ship from the style or brand you love, you could explore its sister size, a 36B. This alternative would offer you a looser band without compromising on the cup volume!
Remember, bras are a bit like shoes: sizes might vary slightly across brands, but understanding the concept of sister sizes can be a game-changer in ensuring you always find your best fit, no matter where you shop.
2. Common Fit Issues and Their Fixes
If more than 80% of women are in the wrong bra size, then chances are you might have one (or more) of these common issues:
- Issue: Spillage: When your breasts overflow from the top or sides.
- Fix: Opt for a larger cup size.
- Issue: Gapping: When the cups don’t sit flush against you.
- Fix: Consider a smaller cup size or a style with more coverage.
- Issue: Digging Straps: If the straps leave marks or feel painful.
- Fix: Loosen your bra straps up. If that doesn’t help, the band size might be too big.
- Issue: Riding Up: If the band moves up at the back.
- Fix: Go down a band size. Remember to adjust the cup size accordingly!
3. Bra Fitting Tips
Proper care and wear of your bras not only ensures comfort but also extends their durability. Here are some vital tips to remember:
- Rotation is Key: Don’t wear the same bra two days in a row; it can reduce its lifespan.
- The Middle Hook: When trying a new bra, it should fit snug on the middle hook. This allows for adjustments as the bra stretches over time.
- Wash with Care: Hand wash your bras and let them air dry. Machines can be harsh on the delicate fabrics.
- Use a Bag: If you do have to use the washing machine, make sure you use the best bra bag for it.
Remember, everyone’s body is unique, and sometimes, sizing can vary based on brands. It’s always a good idea to try before you buy.
Bras for Different Body Types
No matter what bra size you end up calculating, there are certain bras that will work best for certain breast shapes. Understanding your general breast shape and the corresponding bras will help you get the best fit.
1. Small Bust
A small bust refers to a breast size that is considered on the smaller end of the spectrum when compared to average bust sizes.
There isn’t a universally agreed-upon measurement that denotes a bust as “small.” Instead, it typically relates to bra cup sizes.
In many bra sizing systems, especially in the U.S., A and AA cup sizes might be categorized as small. However, the band size (like 32, 34, 36, etc.) that accompanies the cup size can also influence perceptions. For instance, a 32A might be perceived as smaller than a 36A, even though both are A cup sizes.
Great bras to consider for smaller busts:
- Push-Up Bras: Push up bras for smaller breasts are great for an added oomph! They lift and enhance, creating an illusion of a fuller bust.
- Balconette or Demi Bras: Demi bras feature half-cups, offering less coverage and enhancing your natural shape. A balconette bra boosts the underside of your breasts and gives you more cleavage.
2. Larger Bust
A larger bust is a breast size that is considered larger or fuller when compared to average bust sizes.
In bra sizing, a fuller bust often pertains to cup sizes that are on the larger end of the spectrum. For example, cup sizes D and above (such as DD, DDD, F, and so forth) might be categorized as representing a fuller bust. However, it’s essential to note that band size plays a role in this perception. For instance, a 32D might not be perceived as full as a 38D, even though both are D cups.
Great bras for women with fuller breasts are:
- Full-Coverage Bras: A full coverage bra offers more coverage and support, ensuring everything stays in place.
- Minimizer Bras: A lifesaver when you want to reduce the projection of your bust, a minimizer bra for larger boobs helps flatten your breasts out, making them smaller under certain outfits.
3. Wide-Set Breasts
Wide or side set breasts refer to a breast type where there is a more considerable space or gap between the two breasts. This means that the breasts tend to sit farther apart on the chest, with more chest wall visible between them.
You can identify if you have wide-set breasts by observing the distance between them. Typically, if you can place three or more fingers between your breasts without touching breast tissue on either side, they might be considered wide-set.
Sometimes they are just wide set. Other times the nipples actually point outwards, needing a bra designed for east-west breasts.
Here are some great bras to consider if you have wide-set breasts:
- Plunge Bras: With a lower center gore (that’s the center part between the cups), a plunge bra help pull the breasts towards the center.
- Push-Up Bras: Opt for a push up bra with padding more on the sides. This will push your breasts together, creating a subtle cleavage.
4. Close-Set Breasts
Close-set breasts refer to breasts that are closer together, with a smaller space or gap between them. In other words, they sit nearer to each other on the chest, with less chest wall showing between the two breasts.
You can determine if you have close-set breasts by observing the distance between them. Typically, if the space where your breasts meet in the center (the cleavage area) can only fit one or two fingers, or if the breasts touch without any spacing, they are likely close-set.
If you have close-set breasts, consider these bras:
- Balconette Bras: With wider-set straps and a higher center gore, the best balconette bra is both comfortable and won’t dig in.
- Wireless or Soft Cup Bras: These ensure no hard wires press against your close-set breasts. Wireless bras are extremely comfortable.
5. Athletic or Muscular Build
Athletic or muscular breasts refer to a breast type often seen in individuals with a more athletic or toned physique. This kind of breast shape is characterized by its wider base, more muscle, less breast tissue, and a more rectangular or conical shape than round.
Often, athletic breasts have less fatty tissue compared to glandular and muscular tissue, resulting in a firmer feel. The base or root of the breast might be broader, which can cause the breasts to span a larger area on the chest. They might sit higher on the chest due to well-toned chest muscles.
If you have these type of breasts, here are some great bras:
- Sports Bras: But not just any sports bra! Look for encapsulation-style sports bras, which hold each breast in a separate cup (much like a regular bra) providing better support for athletic activities.
- Racerback Bras: A racerback bra is great for broader shoulders and ensuring straps don’t slip off.
6. Asymmetrical Breasts
Asymmetrical breasts refer to breasts where one is noticeably larger or differently shaped than the other. This difference can range from slight to more pronounced. It’s worth noting that some degree of breast asymmetry is incredibly common, and many individuals have one breast that’s slightly different from the other.
With asymmetrical boobs, one breast may be larger or smaller than the other. Beyond just size, the shape or position of the breasts might differ. The position, size, or shape of the nipple and areola might also vary between the two breasts.
Try out these bras if you have notably asymmetrical breasts:
- Padded Bras: Significant padding in a bra gives an even appearance. Plus, many come with removable padding, so you can adjust as needed.
- Stretch Fabric Cups: These mold to the shape of each breast, accommodating size differences.
7. Sagging or Relaxed Breasts
Sagging or relaxed breasts refer to a natural change in the appearance of the breasts where they lose their youthful firmness and elasticity. This results in the breasts appearing to hang lower on the chest.
Breast sagging is influenced by multiple factors including aging, which affects skin and ligament elasticity, and external factors like gravity, pregnancy, weight changes, and genetics. Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and not wearing supportive bras, further contribute to this natural change in breast appearance.
If your breasts are a bit droopy, try out these bras:
- Full-Coverage, Lifting Bras: Nothing beats a full coverage bra with a bit of lift, providing ample support and give a youthful lift.
- T-shirt Bras: Seamless and smoothing, they offer a rounded shape under clothes.
Quick Tips to Remember
Selecting the right bra is both an art and a science, with different factors influencing your perfect pick. Consider these guiding principles:
- Know Your Purpose: A bra you wear for a workout won’t be the same as the one for a cocktail dress.
- Comfort is Queen: No matter how gorgeous a bra looks, if it’s not comfortable, it’s not worth it.
- Brands Vary: Sizes and styles can vary across brands. Always try before you buy!
Navigating the world of bras is both an art and science. Understanding your measurements and unique breast shape can guide you towards more comfortable and flattering choices. Ultimately, the best bra boosts confidence and feels good, so prioritize comfort and don’t hesitate to explore until you find your perfect fit.