Real talk time–most of you are probably wearing the wrong bra size.
Whaaaaat? It boggles the mind. When I worked at Victoria’s Secret we measured women all the time, and let me tell you something…they measure the wrong way. I was a 36A according to VS but I struggled with the straps falling, gaping cups, and not enough coverage. Then one day I stumbled across an amazing video on how to actually fit yourself for a bra and it was like BOOM. Mind blown. I was actually a 32D.
Why are so many people wearing the wrong size?
We have never been taught how to fit ourselves! The biggest myth the bra industry has sold us is that D cups and up must mean a ginormous bosom. Here’s the thing, though–cup size alone is NOT a good indicator of volume. Cup size and band size are actually codependent.
“My band rides up.”
Band is too big. Go down in size.
“My straps dig in.”
Band is too loose and not giving enough support. Go down.
“The gore (the center of the bra between the breasts) doesn’t lay flush against my sternum.”
Cup size is too small, go up.
“My cups gape.”
Band size might be too big. Go down. Or you’re wearing a bra style that doesn’t work for your boob shape. Find more info on that here: https://www.herroom.com/know-your-breasts/Questions.aspx
“My boobs spill out the top or the sides.”
Cup size is too small, go up.
Here’s the thing. Your true bra size is going to make your boobs look AMAZING, but it might be uncomfortable at first if you’re not used to wearing it. 95% of the support in a bra SHOULD come from a band. It will feel tight at first–it’s supposed to! It’s holding up your breasts!
Figuring out your size
You will need a soft measuring tape, a piece of paper, and a pen. Got them? Okay. Get naked. You need to do the measurements with no bra and no shirt.
First, measure your ribs where you bra band sits. Get the measuring tape as evenly placed around the ribcage right under the breasts and write that number down. If it’s an odd number, you will round up one for your band size and write down that number.
Next, bend over so you are leaning forward over the floor. Measure your bust at the fullest part. Write down that number. This allows all the breast tissue that has migrated from years of poorly fitting bras to move forward into the boobs so you get an accurate number.
The difference between your band size and your breast size is going to give you your cup size.
The difference between UK and US cup sizes is not huge, but the UK cups sizes make more sense! And if, like most women who do this, you find that you need a smaller band size and a bigger cup size, UK bra manufacturers are a great resource because they have more selection.
Why doesn’t the US sell the bigger cup sizes/smaller band sizes if it’s the what most women wear? They produce and sell based on past sales. So if everyone has been buying and wearing the wrong sizes forever, that’s the data the stores use to stock.
How it should fit
When you put on a bra in the correct size, here are a few tips to see if the fit is good. The gore should be flat against your chest between your breasts. The outter edge/wire of the cups should be almost as far back as your armpit. The band should be parallel to the floor all the way around your torso (not riding up in back). The cups should contain your breast tissue and not gape or cause spillage.
When you first purchase a bra, you should only be able to cinch it on the loosest hook in the back. Why? Bras are elastic and stretch and lose elasticity over time. The idea is that you will eventually be able to move the hooks in for a tighter fit as this happens.
When you put on your bra, you need to “swoop and scoop” your boobs into the cups. Breast tissue migrates over time if you wear bad bras! It wanders back towards the armpit. When you put one on, simply reach back to the armpit and swoop the tissue forward and scoop into the cup. You’d be surprised how much fuller your breasts get over time wearing the right size!
Where to shop
The good news is that there are some places that will measure correctly and help with fitting! Nordstrom is one of those. They are usually fantastic with this and have a good selection. If you can’t stomach the prices, get measured there, try on the brands, and then look for the ones that work at Nordstrom Rack. Natori is my all time favorite brand from there. Keep in mind that as with all clothes, sizing is not consistent across brands. Once you are armed with your true bra size, you will still need to experiment and try on to see what works.
Some other good places to look:
You should be replacing your bras every couple of years. I challenge you to go through your bra drawer and get rid of any that don’t fit well or are older than a couple years.
A well fitting bra will make a WORLD of difference in both how you feel and how you look! It can easily make it look like you’ve had a lift or lost weight if you’ve been wearing the wrong size. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!