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How to Find Your Correct Bra Size

How to Find Your Correct Bra Size

By Jennifer Grudziecki

Sparklers, there's a reason people say that 95% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, and it's not just because they like fun statistics. It's because it's true! Most girls just go with an easy, popular bra size because it's widely carried (Victoria's Secret, we're looking at you), but those bras are usually too loose and give no shape to the bust.

If you're like me, you've probably never been fitted for your correct bra size because that's really awkward and it's hard not to be insecure about having a stranger hold a measuring tape up to your lady lumps. LUCKY FOR YOU, I happen to be an expert* in do-it-yourself bra-measuring AND it's super easy! So keep reading to figure out how to buy an over-the-shoulder boulder-holder that fits.

Here's what you need:

  • A measuring tape (the soft, ropey kind)
  • An empty room that you feel comfortable in
  • Yourself

Step One: Measuring Your Band Size

Take your tape measure and run it around your body directly under your breasts. Make sure it stays flat and is fairly snug, and also that it goes in a relatively straight path around your body (this makes the measurement the most accurate).

If the measuring tape reads an even number, you've got it easy: that's your band width! When you go to buy a bra, start with that number and NOT your cup size (in other words, don't go looking for a bra in a size C, look for a bra with a 34 band width, etc).

But, if you've got an odd number, you're going to have to try on bras in two sizes (sorry). So if you're staring at a measuring tape that reads 33 inches, you should try on both 32s and 34s. In most cases, you're going to want to go with the smaller size: when it comes to bras, a tighter band is much better than a looser band, which will do absolutely zero for you.

Step Two: Measuring Your Cup Size

Often, people wear the wrong cup size because they think, hey, I'm slim and I've got pretty small nuggets, so I must be an A or something. THAT IS TOTALLY WRONG. Cup sizes are only relative to your band size; if you've got a petite rib cage/band width, you could still wear a C or D cup.

There are a couple of ways to do this, so we'll start with the easy way: look at size of the bras you currently wear, and compare the old band width to your new band width. For each band width dropped, add one cup size (so if you've been wearing a 36C but are actually a 34, start with a bra in a 34D).

However, actually measuring yourself, though a bit harder, is much more accurate. Make sure you're wearing a non-padded bra. Then take your measuring tape and run it straight along your bust and around your back, again keeping the tape horizontal and snug. Once you've got your measurement, subtract your band size from it. Every inch of difference is equal to one cup size (for instance, if your band size is 36 and your bust size is 39, you have a three inch difference and are a size 36C).

Step Three: Adjustments

Of course, finding your actual, measured size and finding a bra that fits aren't always the same thing. When you're trying on bras, here are a few things to check for:

  • Is the band width snug? You're wearing the correct band width if it's as tight as you can comfortably wear without restricting your breathing. This means that your bra will probably feel tighter than you're used to, but that's a good thing. A good rule of thumb: if your bra doesn't stay in place without the straps on, it's too big.
  • Are you covered? Even if you're wearing a push-up bra, your assets should still be concealed. If you're spilling over, you should go up a cup size.
  • Does it look good? Always try your shirt on over your bra to make sure there are no awkward bulges or bumps that shouldn't be there.
  • Are the straps the right height? Don't make the mistake of buying the wrong bra size just because you never adjusted the straps! If they're cutting into your shoulders, they're not the right height.

* And by expert, I mean I've read about a dozen how-to guides, which is almost the same thing.

Got any good bra-buying advice?

Topics: Life, Beauty
Tags: clothing, measurements, how tos, breasts, do it yourself, how to guides, bra, bras

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About the Author
Jennifer Grudziecki

Jennifer Grudziecki is a writer, intern, and soon-to-be college graduate living in New York City. Her life goal is to be a space pirate, and maybe to write a book along the way. Follow her on Twitter @JennyGrudzy or on Tumblr at www.jennigrudzi.tumblr.com/

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.