How to Bra Fit the Professional Way in Just 4 Steps

By on May 13, 2013

by Susannah Perez

BrasAs most ladies know, regardless of size, finding the right fit in a bra can be an absolute pain – sometimes literally. Even if you think you know what your correct size is, there’s still a minefield of different styles, sizes differing between brands and bizarre fits to navigate through.

So, if you still haven’t got a bra that you find 100% comfortable and supportive, here is how to bra fit the professional way in just four steps.

Step 1 – Measure your back band

Take a fabric tape measure and pull it snugly around your ribcage, making sure it’s level all around, just where your bra band would sit. If the inch measurement comes up as an odd number then round it up to the next even number – this is your bra band size.

Fitter’s note: Don’t panic if this does not fall between 32 and 38 – not every shape of woman is going to fit into just one of four band sizes! Whatever you do, don’t add anything to this number – +4 and +6 methods are outdated and were designed back when bra bands had no stretch in them. Nowadays, anything from a 24 to a 50 is common.

Step 2 – Measure your cup size

Put on your best fitting, unpadded bra (moulded cups are fine). If you have no bras that fit you, take this measurement braless whilst leaning forward to be sure you’re accounting for all of your breast tissue. With your tape measure, take a loose measurement from around the fullest part of your bust.

Working from your original band size, calculate your cup size with each inch between the measurements being a cup size. So, +1in = A, +2in = B, +3in = C, +4in = D, +5in = DD and so on. For example, if you measured 28-35, you would be a 28F.

Fitter’s note: Again, don’t panic if this gives you a far smaller back size and larger cup size than you have been wearing. Bra sizes work on a gradient (e.g. 28F, 30E, 32DD, 34D and 36C are sister sizes and technically have the same volume in the cup), and you may well have been wearing a far bigger back than you should be.

Step 3 – Try on a basic bra in this size

You need to use the measurement you’ve taken as a guideline and simply a place to start when trying on bras. Very few women are the exact size they measure up as. Go to a good lingerie store, and pick a basic bra in the size you’ve measured, or look online to try on in the comfort of your own home.

When you put this bra on, fasten it on the loosest hook – the rest are only there to use as the bra stretches, and adjust the straps to a comfortable length. The back should fit snugly and you should just be able to fit 4 fingers under the band, though if it feels incredibly tight, you’ll need to go up a band size. Check that your breasts fully fill the cups with no overspill, the central gore sits flush against your ribcage and the wires fully encase all of your breast tissue, including what’s under the armpit. If you have any pinching, riding up or gaps, you’ll need to adjust your size.

Fitter’s note: Many women find the back band in their true measured size will almost feel ‘too tight’ as they are often used to wearing back bands 4 or more inches too large. Remember that most of the support needs to come from the back band, not the straps, and if your straps dig in or you have to have them super tight to get the support and shape you need, you’ll need a tighter band.

Step 4 – Find your ideal style

Every woman’s breasts are different, so we will all prefer different styles. Fuller busted ladies will probably prefer fuller cup or balconette styles, but may have issues with plunge and other low-gored bras. Smaller busted ladies will probably find plunge and t-shirt bra styles work well for them, offering natural bust enhancement, though balconettes may be too high on the central gore, and fuller cups may mean there is empty space.

Fitter’s note: Remember the cup size is primarily based on where the wire sits on your torso – if you find you have empty space in the cups, are falling out into the middle or find that the wires are poking into your armpits; try a different style before you modify your cup size.

Finding the right bra fit is not simple, but when you know what your correct size and ideal style is, it can make life a lot easier. Be aware that brands fit differently and there is no standardised model for bra sizing, so you should be prepared to +/- one band size, and you could need to go up two cup sizes for some styles. When bra shopping, you should try on multiple sizes in each style to be sure you’ve got the best fit.

Right class, any questions?

Susannah Perez is a fashion and beauty blogger with a penchant for a well fitting bra. You can find her blogging for Triactol or wittering away on Twitter.


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