October is upon us and you know what that means…Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Just like Audrey Hepburn, I believe in pink. So this month, I decided to add a slight twist to the cause and focus on taking care of our ‘girls’ by discussing all things bra related! I don’t know about you but as a curvy woman, wearing gorgeous, perfectly fitting underwear always adds a little pep in my step – and I thought this would be the perfect month to offer a ‘braducation’( bra education) to all of you. I will offer tips and tricks that will help you confidently make your next bra purchase.
Did you know that 80% of women do not know their breast size? That is a lot of people dealing with unnecessary backaches! By the end of this post you will know how to measure, calculate and determine your bra size.
What You Need
- Your bare breasts
- A mirror
- A soft measuring tape
- Notebook and pen
Terms You Need to Understand
- Underbust – the area at the root of your breasts i.e. immediately where your breast tissue ends.
- Bust – the area across your breasts at their fullest point.
The Measuring Process
While standing in front of your mirror, there are 5 important measurements you need to take. With all of them, make sure to keep the measuring tape as straight as possible.
- Your underbust comfortably snug.
- Your underbust as tight as possible. Exhale and pull the tape as tight as you can.
- Your bust while standing.
- Your bust while leaning over 90 degrees.
- Your bust while lying down.
After writing down each of these measurements, it’s time to…
Calculate Your Size
Getting your results from the calculator is just the start. In my experience, I had to try different sizes around what I calculated to get the perfect fit. This is because sizing varies by brand and since fit is determined by the shape of the bra, even if the size is correct, certain bras still may not fit perfectly. In other words, after getting your calculation, you need to try a lot of different shapes (cups) and sizes (band) in order to figure out what works best for you.
After trying on the bra, you need to ‘swoop and scoop’ your tissue to figure out if the size is correct. If a bra only fits before you swoop and scoop, then it does not really fit. Basically, reach into the bra cup and gather ‘the girls’ as you pull back on the wire so as to put them in the right place. A bra that might have looked too small will now fit and a bra that seemed to fit will be revealed to be too small. You must swoop and scoop every time you put on a bra to make sure your breast tissue is being supported and lifted, not crushed.
If you would like to cross check that calculator size, here’s how you would do it (Source: Reddit)
- Round the first measurement i.e. your comfortable snug underbust to the nearest even whole number to determine your band size.
- Is there a difference greater than 2” between your standing bust measurement and your leaning bust measurement?
- IF YES: Average these two measurements. Use this number to calculate cup size.
- IF NO: Use your leaning bust measurement to calculate cup size.
- Subtract your snug underbust measurement from this number.
- Find the difference on the cup size chart below to determine cup size. If your number is between two, count both cup sizes. I would advise bra shopping based on the standardized UK sizing system. Each cup size is one size larger than the one before it i.e. AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K, KK and L.
- Combine your band size and cup size to determine your bra size e.g. 36DD
When you try bras on, it’s important to remember that…
- A great comfortable bra has a band that is tight enough to provide support and cups large enough to fit your breasts. The band should be straight across your body; not riding up, with the center gore (the part of the bra between the cups) sitting flat against your body.
- Band sizes are always in even numbers so if your ‘comfortable snug underbust’ measurement is odd, you can either add or subtract one inch to get your size, depending on how tight or loose you prefer the band.
- For a tight fit, try a band size that is the same as your ‘comfortably snug underbust’ measurement in inches (so if you measure 40 inches around, try a 40 band). If you would prefer, add 2 inches to the measurement for a more comfortable fit. Try multiple band sizes to find your preferred size. You know you have the right band size when you can slip two fingers underneath the back of the band.
- Bras should fit comfortably on the loosest hook(s) when bought so they can be tightened as the material stretches.
- If one of your breasts is larger than the other, then fit your bra on the larger breast. You can tighten the strap on the side of the smaller breast, add some padding to fill out the cup or purchase a bra with stretchy cups.
How have you been determining your breast size? Let me know in the comments.