Bra fitting guide
How to determine the size of my bra – this is a question which resonates with all first time bra wearers. And surprisingly with most seasoned bra wearers as well. You can sense this problem palpably in the way breasts bulge in front unattractively or spill out from the sides and the way bra straps sink cutting into the skin on the shoulders, or the way one looks noticeably uncomfortable wearing ill fitting bras.
Do not worry or feel embarrassed if you do not know your bra size. You are not alone. 8 out of 10 women in the world do not know.
Sometimes it happens that you have fitted yourself with the perfect fitting bra but with time something has changed in your body and the bra that fitted you is not longer looking right. Even without any weight loose or gain, there are subtle changes taking place in a woman’s body with age. It is a good idea to recheck if you find that the one you have on is not giving you a good shape. You do not have to live your life with the wrong bra. Find the perfect one by following the directions given below
Related post : 15 Parts of a Bra – a simple overview of Bra Anatomy.
Qualifying properties of a well-fitted bra
A well-fitted bra serves a very obvious cosmetic purpose. It gives the perfect shape without any unseemly bulges. Other than that, it supports the breasts properly. If you are well endowed a well-fitting bra can even alleviate back strain. It prevents sagging of tissues of the breast.
A good bra is
- One that gives real support everywhere, back, sides and front
- One that will cover the breasts properly ( no bulge & rolls above the bra in the front or near armholes)
- One that is not too tight that the straps will cut into the skin marking it permanently
- One that is not too loose that your breasts hang support less.
- One where all the straps, even the underwire lies flat against the body and the center gore is not twisted.
How to know if you are wearing the right size ?
First of all determine if your current bra cup fits you properly or not. To do that you have to take a simple test in front of a full size mirror.A properly fitting bra should be resting at mid chest. There should not be any bulges anywhere.
- Stand in front of the mirror.Find the narrowest part of your body which is your waist .Mark on the mirror
- Find your collarbone. Mark on the mirror
- Look where the fullest part of your breast is at.Mark that too.
Is it in the middle of the top and bottom lines. If yes then the bra you are wearing is supporting you correctly.
If not it means that the bra is not supporting enough; it maybe time for you to get another well fitted one.
To know if the band size is too loose or not try this- If the bra band moves freely around the underbust your bra is too loose.If you cannot breathe or if you cannot insert atleast two fingers inside the band it is too tight
Check if you can see bulges or creases instead of a nice round shape in your cup.
Now raise your hands. Is the band horizontal all around you, even in the back? If it is going up in the front or back checkout a new bra size
How to properly measure for determining the bra size .
A bra size is composed of 2 parts
1. A number which indicates the band of the bra ( 32, 34, 36 etc) .
2. A letter which indicates the cup size (A, B,C).
The measurements you need to know your bra size are full bust and under bust
What is underbust ?
Underbust measurement is the measurement around the rib cage just below the bust. This is a very important measurement needed to know the band size of your bra.
Tips on properly taking your measurement for bra fitting
- Wear a well supporting bra which is definitely non padded. Do not wear any other clothes or minimal clothes on top to ensure accuracy.No pushup bra please.Underwire is fine.
- Get a soft measuring tape with clear markings
- If possible get help from a friend. It is better if you have your hands out of the way when taking measurement underbust.
- If you are alone stand in front of a mirror, to check that the tape is parallel to the ground level.
- Stand erect and straight when taking the measurement at all times. Do not push chest out or suck air in. Stay relaxed.
- Keep the tape measure straight and level at all times ; it should be parallel to the ground when measuring bust and underbust. Ensure it is straight on the back also. It is here that a helper will be of help.
- The bra you are wearing when you are measuring yourself should be tight enough in the band to get the right measurement. Not too tight that you cannot breathe properly but reasonably and comfortably tight.
- When taking measurements round the decimals. If less than 1/2 inch count down and if more than 1/2 inch count up. ie if you measure bust round as 36.75 take it as 37; if it is 34.25 take it as 34. Checkout the post on reading a tape measure properly if you do not know how to
- Once you have rounded out the measurement if it is an odd number make it the nearest even number ( on the higher side) . ie if you get 37 inches take it as 38 inches
Steps for taking bra measurements
Measure the bust around the fullest part of the bust, hands at the sides . For most people this will be across the nipple. Do not pull tight. This measurement is taken slightly relaxed rather than tight. This is FULL BUST measure
If you get an odd number round up to the next highest even number.
Measure the under bust ie around the rib cage just under the bust. Ensure that tape is held reasonably tight, without cutting into the skin.Expel all air from your lungs when taking the underbust measurement
This is UNDERBUST measure
Determine bra size : Add 5 inches to the underbust measure ; this is your size . Ie if you have a 31 inch underbust measure add 5 inches to this and you get 36 inches , your bra size
Determine your cup size : Subtract underbust measure from full bust measure; Take this as A.
If A amounts to 5 inches you should be wearing a C cup, which is the average cup size. If A is 4 inch your cup size is B, If it is 3 inches your cup size is A, If the A is 6 inches your cup size is D, if the A is more than 6 it is DD .
Checkout the correct bra size in the table
Bra size chart
UNDER BUST FULLBUST BAND - CUP SIZE 28 30 32 A 28 32 32 B 28 34 32 C 28 36 32 D 28 38 32 DD 28 40 32 F 30 32 34 A 30 34 34 B 30 36 34 C 30 38 34 D 30 40 34 DD 30 42 34 F 32 34 36 A 32 36 36 B 32 38 36 C 32 40 36 D 32 42 36 DD 32 44 36 F 34 36 38 A 34 38 38 B 34 40 38 C 34 42 38 D 34 44 38 DD 34 46 38 F 36 40 40 A 36 42 40 B 36 44 40 C 36 46 40 D 36 48 40 DD 36 48 40 F 38 42 42 A 38 44 42 B 38 46 42 C 38` 48 42 D 38 50 42 DD 38 52 42 F 40 44 44 A 40 46 44 B 40 48 44 C 40 50 44 D 40 52 44 DD 40 54 44 F 42 46 46 A 42 48 46 B 42 50 46 C 42 52 46 D 42 54 46 DD 42 56 46 F 44 48 48 A 44 50 48 B 44 52 48 C 44 54 48 D 44 56 48 DD 44 58 48 F
Tips on Going Bra shopping
Now that you have found the band size and cup size which suits you it is time to go shopping – Please do not buy bra without trying it first. Some stores have a policy of not letting anyone try. Atleast ask them to let them allow you to try it on top of the clothes you are wearing.
Go Bra shopping in simple clothes like a tshirt so that you can take it off and on with ease. Also if you have to try it on top of the garment it helps if you have a single layer of fabric.
Buy a bra which fits just right when hooked on the first set of hooks, rather than the last.Anyways the elastic will wear after some time with wear and wash. So getting a bra which hooks rightly only at the last row of hooks is a risk you better not take
If you are buying online make sure the store has a return policy.
What are the questions you should ask to get a good bra ?
Is the band too tight ?
Is the cup adequately covering your breast?
Is the cup too pointy ?
Is the center gore gaping ?
Is the underwire ( if it is there) poking into the skin or lying flat in the center?
Is the strap of the bra wide enough to be able to give good support?
Is it suitable for the outer clothes you wear? Is it visible from the outside ?
Is the strap snugly fitting on the shoulders rather than falling off the shoulders even after adjusting the sliders?
Is the band on line with the underbust even in the back, rather than riding up ?
Realize that each and every brand of bras available has slight differences in their fit. Which is why trying on a bra before buying is a very very good idea before buying.
Each and every woman is unique in her body. All of us are made beautiful. No one has a right to make us feel embarrassed of our shape or size . Just get out of any store where you have to deal with any sort of prejudice or judgement
Disclaimer : This is not an exact science. I have found my perfect bra with this table but yours may vary slightly. Please do take my advice as a direction and go from there.