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Bra Size Measuring Guide:
How to Find Your Bra Cup & Band Size

How a Bra Should Fit
(Keep Reading Bra Measuring Guide Below)
Did you know that 7 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size! Popular shows like Oprah and TLC's What Not to Wear have dedicated entire shows to the subject. I began to wonder if perhaps I was wearing the bra size. I decided to do some research on behalf of all women on measuring a bra size. I will paraphrase the important parts about determining your bra size using 2 different methods.

What You Need to
Calculate Your Bra Size

Your favorite bra, flexible measuring tape, Trusted friend or bra department associate, and .... a little math!

Bra Measuring Method #1 (Best for Average to Large Busts)

Step 1: Put On Your Favorite Bra.
First put on your favorite bra that you think makes your breasts the right shape and feels most comfortable. Next you will need to find a flexible measuring tape (the kind a seamstress would use). You may also need to grab a trusted friend to help you measure, since it is difficult to keep the tape level around your body.

Step 2: Rib Cage + 5" = Band Size

Step 2:
Measure Around Rib Cage
The first measurement to take is around your ribcage, just below your breasts. Now add 5 to this number to get your band size. If the resulting band size was an odd number, you will need to round up to the next even number since bra bands only come in even numbers.

Step 3: Bust - Band = Cup Size"

Step 3:
Measure Fullest Part of Bust
The second measurement should be taken around the fullest part of your bosom with your favorite bra on. This measurement is your cup size. Next subtract your band size from your cup size to calculate the right cup size. Refer to the bra cup size chart below.

Bra Cup Size Chart (Method #1)

<1/2" larger than measurement #2--------------------AA
1" larger than measurement #2------------------------A
2" larger than measurement #2------------------------B
3" larger than measurement #2------------------------C
4" larger than measurement #2------------------------D
5" larger than measurement #2------------------------DD or E
6" larger than measurement #2------------------------DDD or F
7" larger than measurement #2------------------------G
8" larger than measurement #2------------------------H
9" larger than measurement #2------------------------I
10" larger than measurement #2-----------------------J

Bra Measuring Method #2 (Best for Average to Small Busts)

Step 1:
Wear Your Favorite Bra.

I know it seems odd (especially if you are already wearing the incorrect bra size) to put on a bra to measure for a bra, but it is the best way to get the most accurate measurement. Choose a bra that is comfortable, fits you best and makes your breast the right shape.

Step 2: Rib Cage + 5" = Band Size
Step 3: Width of Breast = Cup Size
Step 2:
Measure Around Your Rib Cage for Band Size.

Use a flexible measuring tape to measure the circumference of your rib cage just below your breasts. Add 5 inches to this measurement and round to the nearest even number See #2 measurement on the picture to the right.

Step 3:
Measure Width of Breasts for Cup Size.

This is what makes Method #2 different than Method #1. It tends to be more accurate on petite or small breasted women, but can work for many breast sizes. Measure breasts for from one end to the other. In other words, from the outer front edge of one breast mound to the other. Do not wrap around the sides of the breasts. See #3 measurement on the picture to the above. Refer to the table below to find your cup size.

Bra Cup Size Chart (Method #2, Measurement #3)

7" measurement #3------------------------A
8" measurement #3------------------------B
9" measurement #3------------------------C
10" measurement #3-----------------------D
11" measurement #3-----------------------DD
12" measurement #3-----------------------DDD or E
13" measurement #3-----------------------F
14" measurement #3-----------------------FF
15" measurement #3-----------------------G

The above charts are just a guideline of what size to start with at the bra department. You may need to go up or down a band or cup size to get the perfect fit.

After all my research about finding the right bra size, my measurements put me in the somewhat embarrassing category of 32A (UPDATE: after using method #2 for measuring, I found the correct size at 32B). I did indeed fall in the 7 out of 10 women who are wearing the wrong bra size. I figured models have smaller breasts right? It can't be that bad. So I was off to the store to try on what I thought to be my measured bra size. The only problem was a 32A was giving me four breasts (you know the double-bubble affect) instead of two! I was back to square one asking myself what's my bra size?

Video Showing How to Fit a Bra Properly

Video Provided by YouTube
--Editors Tip ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Finding Your Bra Size, Even if Your Department Store Doesn't Carry It

I really believe that one reason why so many women are wearing the wrong bras size is because local department stores only carry a very limited, standard size selection. We all think that we are suppose to fit in that limited size assortment, which is just not realistic. If you don't perfectly fit in the standard bras size, most women settle for mediocre fit of what is available, on sale and in the prettiest color.

I too, find myself in a rather hard to find size. I am also someone who prefers to stock up on everyday clothing items when they are on sale, which has been harder after learning my proper size. My new strategy is to buy the proper size, on sale and online. If I can find one at the store, I try it on and then stock up on that style through an online retailer. They are well stocked on unusual sizes and have sales all the time. Many offer free shipping deals, as well. Below are a few of my favorite online bra stores that carry a large variety of sizes brands.


Have a Professional Measure Your Correct Bra Size

Completely frustrated at the department store trying on the wrong size bras, I had to call in the little old woman sales assistant in the bra department to measure my size in the dressing room. I will admit I was a bit shy, but at least I would have a solid answer from a real bra professional. With the tape measure she too, measured the same measurements as I had myself. But when looking at me in the 32A, she saw the problem. She sweetly went out and searched for a 32B bra size for me to try. After trying on this new size it fit absolutely perfect! I was ecstatic and quite happy with the shape result and added perkiness.

The moral of the story is have a bra professional fit you with the proper bra size. Measuring with a tape measure may not be enough to get the perfect fit bra. And trust me, a correct size bra makes for a shapely, perky bosom with comfort. If your measured bra size is not translating well to the bra size try going up or down a cup or band size for the perfect fit.

What the Right Bra Size Shouldn't Do

With so many ladies wearing the wrong bra size, I thought I would take a moment to discuss the signs that you might be wearing the wrong size bra. Below is a list of no-nos when it comes to bra fit.

  • Breasts should not fall out below the bra when raising your hands above your head. If they do try, going down a band size

  • The middle part of your bra that sits between your breasts should sit flat on your rib cage. If it doesn't try, going up a cup size.

  • The band of your bra should stay level around the circumference of your body. A band that rides up in the back means your band size is too big.

  • The bra straps should only be 10% of the support your bra gives. If your bras straps are doing all the work, consider going down a band size.

  • Breasts should fit comfortably into the bra cup with no overflow, double-bubble, or wrinkles in the bra fabric.

  • Your bra band should not be giving you the illusion of back fat. If this is happening try a larger band size or a difference style bra.

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