Did you know that as many as 80% of women don’t wear the correct bra size? This may seem hard to believe, but with the many changes a woman’s body goes through, it’s natural to fluctuate in both band and cup size. That’s why taking the time to get an accurate measurement is so important — and you don’t even have to leave the house! Finding your precise bra size measurement will result in more comfort, more confidence, and a much easier time shopping for a new bra or lingerie online. We’ll be sharing everything you need to know on how to measure for a bra and find the perfect fit for your body.
How To Measure Bra Size
As previously mentioned, finding the right bra size is everything. The wrong bra size can leave you uncomfortable and be visible underneath your clothes, ruining even the most fabulous outfit. For this reason and more, getting as precise a measurement as possible is vitally important. To ensure you get the best bra fit, you’ll need a few things on hand:
- A soft tape measure
- A mirror
- A calculator
To calculate your bra size, you’ll first need to measure your band size and bust size. Please make sure you’re topless before taking these measurements to ensure you measure your breasts at their most relaxed, natural state. From there, it’s just a bit of simple math, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a bra that both looks good and feels good on your body.
Step #1: Determine Your Band Size
For our first measurement, we’ll be determining your band size. This number will be the circumference of your ribcage just below the bust. Getting the correct measurement here will help prevent that dreaded back overhang that comes along with a too-tight bra band, resulting in a much more comfortable and flattering fit.
First, wrap your soft measuring tape just under your bust. The tape should be wrapped snugly but with enough room to fit a finger or two — essentially how you’d like your bra to fit your body. Your measuring tape should run parallel to the ground during this step to get the most accurate measurement. If you find yourself with a band measurement that’s an odd number, round up to the nearest even number.
Step #2: Measure Your Bust Size
For the next step, you’ll be finding your bust size or the fullest part of your bust. This will be the measurement you compare with your band size to find your overall cup size. Take extra care with this measurement, as it’s often the most tricky one. Too loose, and you’ll have to deal with an annoying gap, too tights and spillage becomes a problem.
While once again keeping your tape measure parallel with the ground, measure around the fullest part of your breasts (most often at nipple height) and round to the nearest whole number. If you find fuller breast tissue at the bottom, try bending over slightly to get a more accurate measurement.
Step #3: Calculate Your Cup Size
Next up, you’ll need to take both your band size and bust size measurements and do a bit of math (don’t worry – it’s just the simple stuff for today!)
Take your bust size measurement (which should be the larger number) and subtract your band size measurement. You will use the number you arrive at to determine what your cup size is. Below is the standard chart most manufacturers use in determining bra sizes.
Bra Size Chart
|Bust Measurement Minus Band |
|Less than 1”||AA|
Once you’ve found your two measurements and the difference between the two, you’re ready to find your bra size.
How this works is that each difference (in terms of inches) corresponds to a letter on the size chart. For example, say you have a bust size measurement of 38 inches and a band size measurement of 34 inches. This means there is a 4-inch difference in size between your bust and band sizes, which corresponds to a D cup on the size chart. This would make your bra size 34D.
If you’re shopping for a style such as a bralette or sports bra that goes by standard XS-L sizing, make sure to refer to the retailer’s size chart to find your current size.
How Do You Know You Have The Right Bra Size?
Once you’ve discovered your correct band and cup size, there are some easy ways to determine if you made your measurements correctly or if you need to go for a different size.
The proper bra size should be perfectly comfortable and free of pinching or pulling. You should be able to comfortably slip a couple of fingers underneath the band and straps with a well-fitting bra. While it should be snug, you want to be able to pull the bra away from the body a couple of inches. Your breasts should also fill out the cups without any gaps or squeezing. Also, make a note of the way the band fits the body — it should be straight and parallel with the ground, not riding up or sagging down your back.
Signs You May Have The Wrong Bra Size
First of all, it’s worth noting that no matter how expensive or well-made your bra is, it’s unlikely it will ever fit or feel quite right if the size isn’t correct for your body. Even the most affordable bras can fit nicely if they’re the correct size. With that said, here’s how you can tell that your bra isn’t the correct size.
A too-small bra will cut into your body and feel like it’s squeezing you. It may be difficult to breathe and/or leave prominent angry lines on your body upon removal. Cups that are too small can result in spillage (where your breasts “spill” out over the top of the cup).
On the other hand, a too-large bra will feel unsupportive and like it’s falling off your body. Most of the support of your bra should come from the bra itself, so if you feel like the straps are doing all of the heavy lifting, you probably need to go down a band size. The cups should also fit snugly against the breast — gaping at the top or space at the bottom of the cup points to a too-large cup.
The Bottom Line
Having the right bra is a luxury that all women should be able to enjoy. Whether you’re shopping for a bralette, push-up bra, or any other bra style, getting an accurate measurement regularly will ensure that you always look your most fabulous. We hope this guide will help make bra shopping a lot easier and leave you feeling more beautiful and confident than ever.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I measure my bra size at home?
It’s simple! All you’ll need is a soft measuring tape, mirror, and calculator.
First, measure the circumference of your abdomen right below your breasts. This number is your band size.
Next, measure the fullest part of your bust. This is your bust size.
You’ll then subtract your bust size from your band size. The difference will be how you determine your cup size.
Using the number you got after subtracting, reference our size chart to find your cup size. For quick reference, 1″ is an A cup, 2″ is a B cup, 3″ is a C cup, and 4″ is a D cup.
What are the most common sizes for bra cups?
Cup sizes can range greatly, from AAA to K and beyond. Generally speaking, most bra manufacturers offer sizes AA through DDD, but every brand is different. If you have a larger band or cup size, our selection of plus-size lingerie offers even more sizes to choose from.
What is the difference between a bra and a bustier?
While they often use the same sizing, bras and bustiers are pretty different. Bustiers usually have underwire, are strapless, and extend down to your waist or hips like a corset or other shapewear piece. Bustiers are figure-flattering and offer increased support, making them an excellent choice for formal events and the bedroom.
Should I have a professional bra fitting?
Getting a bra fitting from an expert isn’t necessary, but it certainly doesn’t hurt! Having someone else measure for you may result in a more accurate band and bust measurement, and you may even learn a few tips and tricks for finding the perfect bra that you hadn’t considered before. Many bra fittings are on the house, so don’t be afraid to ask for one if this method makes you more comfortable.