Thinking about buying a new bra? You’re not alone. More than half of American women reportedly own just one bra, and many of them don’t even have that one in their correct size. Perhaps you’ve struggled with finding the right fit as well. Fortunately, there are many ways to figure out your correct bra size and find great-fitting bras in the future. There are lots of different sizing standards out there for bras, but they all boil down to two things: band size and cup size. So which do you measure? And what do those measurements mean? Let’s take a look!
Know Your Current Bra Size
Before you start measuring, you’ll want to know your current bra size. You can do this by measuring yourself or by trying on various sizes until you find one that fits well. If you’re measuring yourself, be sure to keep these guidelines in mind: Never measure cold. Your breast tissue will behave differently depending on how warm or cool your body is. Make sure your breast tissue is lifted and fitted into the smallest circle possible. Your breasts will expand and contract throughout the day, so it’s important to make sure they’re in their smallest state when you measure them. Make sure the tape measure stays parallel to the ground. Once you’ve found your band and cup size, you can then narrow down which specific bra size you need.
Try on Different Brands and Styles
Once you have your current bra size, try on a variety of bras from different brands and styles to see if they fit the same way. If one brand or style doesn’t fit, that doesn’t mean that all of that brand’s bras are wrong for you. Each brand will fit differently, so try on as many different types of bras as you can until you find one that fits the way you’d like.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re shopping in-store and want to try a new bra before you buy it, ask an employee if they have an in-house fitting room. Many retailers will let you try on bras in their store, then take them home if they fit you well. This way, you can try on several different bras before purchasing just one. If you’re shopping online, many retailers let you order a few different bras and return the ones that don’t fit well. Keep in mind that not all brands have this option, so make sure you check the retailer’s return policy before purchasing.
Measure in Centimeters
Once you’ve tried a few bras on and know what size you are, you can use those measurements to determine your correct bra size. You can measure yourself using a cloth tape measure or a flexible ruler. Make sure the ruler is pressed as flat as possible against your skin to get an accurate measurement. You may find that one method of measurement works better for you than the other. For the cloth tape measure method, start by wrapping the tape measure around your back, level with your naval. Then, pull the ends of the tape measure back around to the front of your body, making sure that the ends meet in the middle of your breasts. Once you have those measurements, plug them into this formula to determine your band and cup size: For band size: Subtract your bust measurement from the measurement around your back. For cup size: Subtract your bust measurement from the measurement around your chest.
If you’re still having trouble finding the perfect bra, you can try the bend-over-backwards method. This involves putting on the wrong bra (one that doesn’t fit you correctly) and then bending over, looking at yourself in the mirror, and seeing what parts of your breasts are being squished, lifted, or falling out. This is a good way to see how you want your breasts to look in a correctly fitting bra.
Try the Tampon Method
If you’ve tried everything else and still can’t find the right bra size, try the tampon method. This method isn’t as accurate as the others, but it might help you find a size that’s close enough until you can try on some more bras. To do this, try putting on a bra that’s one cup size too small. Then, take a regular-sized (not super absorbent) tampon and push it up into the cups of the bra. Once the tampon is in the cups of the bra, push the cups of the bra up against your breasts until the tampon is squished between your breasts. If the cups of the bra are touching your skin, try a larger cup size. If there’s a lot of space between your breasts and the cups of the bra, try a smaller cup size.
Now that you know how to measure and determine your correct bra size, you’re ready to start shopping for new bras. Keep in mind that bra sizing is often inconsistent between brands. What’s right for one company’s bras may not be right for another. And even though it’s difficult to find the perfect bra, remember that it’s important to wear a bra throughout the day. Wearing a bra provides support, reduces breast pain caused by exercise, reduces the risk of breast cancer, and makes your outfit look more put together.