Remember! I have designed this hub after making a great search to ensure my readers that this article doesn't carry false or misguiding information. Thanx to source sites.
How to Measure Your Bra Size
Believe it or not, 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. The most common mistake is wearing a band size which is too big, and/or a cup size which is too small. Although the average bra size is often quoted as 36C, most people who wear this size should actually be wearing a 34D or 34DD bra. Cup sizes are relative to the band size, so a D cup, for example, is not the same size in every bra. A 32D is the same size as a 34C or 36B, but on a smaller frame. A 28F is actually 2 cup sizes smaller than a 38D. You may not think of yourself as being busty, but in moving to a smaller band size you will find that you need a bigger cup size.
Your bra size changes as your weight fluctuates throughout the seasons and the years. Sometimes you go for so long wearing a specific size that you don't realize it doesn't fit well anymore and you stop noticing the discomfort. If you're looking for a better fit, here's how to find your true bra size.
Important note - the measurements used in the steps of this guide refer to UK bra sizing. Although US bras are theoretically sized according to the same system, there is considerable variation between brands, so if you are in the US you may find you need a bigger band size and/or a smaller cup size than that indicated here. For example, A UK 32E may be equivalent to a US 34DD or even 36D.
- Wear your best supporting bra. The bra doesn't have to fit perfectly. The objective is to get your breasts to the position that the ideal bra would support, with the weight suspended comfortably. This step is optional, however, so if you can't find a bra with good support, continue with the measurements.
- Measure your band size. Run a tape measure all the way around your body just underneath your breasts and take a measurement in inches. Make sure the tape measure is horizontal and fairly snug. Your arms should be down. Round to the nearest even number. This should be your band size. For instance, if you measured 31 inches, your band size should be 32. If you measured 34.5 inches, your band size should be 34.
Many bra fitting guides will tell you to add four or five inches to your underbust measurement, but this is not correct. The old method was devised in the 1930s when bra design was in its infancy and does not work with modern bras.
3. Measure your bust size. Measure loosely around the fullest part of your bust in inches (not too tightly or the measurement will be inaccurate). If you don't have a bra, or if the one you have is very poorly fitting, bend over so your back is parallel to the floor and measure around your chest, over your nipples. Round this measurement up to the nearest whole number.
4. Calculate your cup size. Subtract the band size measurement from the bust measurement and determine your cup size as follows: (The cup size calculation may be less accurate for larger cup sizes.)
- 1. less than 1 inch = AA cup
- 2. 1 inch = A cup
- 3. 2 inches = B cup
- 4. 3 inches = C cup
- 5. 4 inches = D cup
- 6. 5 inches = DD cup
- 7. 6 inches = E cup (US DDD)
- 8. 7 inches = F cup (US DDDD)
- 9. 8 inches = FF cup
- 10. 9 inches = G cup
4. Try on a bra with the band size and cup size you've arrived at in these steps. Because there can be wide variations in how bras are manufactured as well as differences between different styles of bras, this size should be starting point.
5. Check the band size. The correct band size is the smallest you can comfortably wear. It needs to be tight enough that the bra is still fairly supportive without weighing down on the straps.
1. You should be able to run your fingers around the inside of the band, but not much more.
2. It should fit on the biggest adjustment, but will probably be too tight if you try to fasten it on the smallest size. Bras are designed to fit like this to leave room for the bra to stretch after you've worn it a few times.
3. If the band is painfully tight, even on the biggest adjustment, then go up a band size (and down a cup size to compensate). For example, if a 32D is too tight, try a 34C.
4. If the band is loose enough for you to be able to comfortably fasten it on the tightest adjustment, try a smaller band (e.g. 32D -> 30DD).
5. Check the cup size. The correct cup size is the biggest you can completely fill out. You should fill out the cups, but not bulge out anywhere.
- 1. Check both the top of the bra and the sides for bulging.
- 2. Make sure the under wire encloses your whole breast and is flush against your rib cage.
- 3. If the cup size is too big, go down a size.
If it is too small, or even if it seems to fit, try on a bigger cup size as well to double check.
Examples Of Best Fitting Bra
- This measurement applies to the UK, but it can be translated into bra sizes for other countries using an international bra size calculator. US sizing may vary slightly - you may find that you need a bigger band size and/or a smaller cup size in US brands.
- Cup sizes above D tend to vary much less reliably between manufacturers. Some brands go to the next letter of the alphabet for every added inch, while other brands may simply add on the same letter for every inch.
- A well-fitted bra should provide support from the band, not the straps. You should be able to take off the straps and still feel supported by the bra.
- Always try on a bra before you buy, and keep an open mind about your size.
- It is possible to find out your bra size without a tape measure. If you already wear a bra which seems to fit well in the cup, but is roomy around the band, you can go down a band size and up a cup size until you get to a size you can only just fasten - this is the right size. (e.g. 36C -> 34D -> 32DD)
If you have uneven cup sizes, go with the bigger side. You can support the smaller breast by making that shoulder strap slightly shorter, or alternatively you can pad out the cup.
DON'T DO THIS
- As mentioned above, this is only to give you an approximate idea of what size to try on first. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and bra size can be affected by back proportions, breast shape, pectoral muscle mass, and so on. All of these factors can interact to affect your bra size in ways that are impossible to predict.
- Ignore anyone who claims to be able to tell you your size with certainty from your measurements - especially if they tell you to add several inches to your underbust measurement. Just like dress sizes, bra sizing has changed over the years, and the old method does not work for modern bras.
- If you have previously been told your size, but now find that a different size fits better, just wear the size that fits! The fit is more important than the number on the tape measure.
Have Your Say
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ghazal qasair on May 15, 2014:
it didn't my problum my brest is sexy showing my body but not soft bra available. multani
Andrea L on July 06, 2013:
"A 32D is the same size as a 34C or 36B, but on a smaller frame" is a bit difficult to decipher. I suggest it would be clearer as, "A 32D caters to the same bust measurement as a 34C or 36B, but with a tighter band."
And the numbering under point 4 makes the number of inches difficult to read.
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on September 02, 2012:
Good Work Denise.
I am not an expert as I mentioned already, however, I see you have put good effort in gathering some useful techniques. Thanks for appreciation.
Denise on May 08, 2012:
HI! This is great information! I agree that this method of calculating your bra size is most accurate, and I am putting together a site about this myself. Check it out and let me now what you think. It's http://brasizingcalculator.com/
Fiona on April 18, 2012:
um according to this i am a 28A, but i have looked on lots of other websites and they say I'm a 32AA - one even said i was a B. Help please!
what is my actual size?
my band size is 27.5 inches and my bust size is 30.
Sarah on March 10, 2012:
Gyuhyunah66...U are the same size as me, a 34D. The reason for this is that you take 32 and round up, as it stated in the article, to 34. The difference between 34 and 38 is 4 inches = D. (1=A, 2=B and so on) Or you can not add anything to your band for maximum support, best for fuller figures and you would get 32F/DDD. If you have the option go to a boutique where they have a range of sizes and styles. You cannot rely solely on measurements. When I went into one the lady simply looked at me and grabbed a couple sizes but the first one (34D) was it.
@ krissy72 yup that's right :)
Gyuhyunah66 on February 28, 2012:
my underbust is 32" and bust is 38"
i measured it on online bra size calculator..it shows 36D according to US measurement..i just ordered a bra online of 36D....am horribly confused..it was expensive..what if it doesn't fit me?? oh god!! i tried calculating it on 85B.com or something like that.. please anybody tell me my right size.. Underbust 32" bust 38" and overbust 34" Help me please.
krissy72 from Ohio on February 20, 2012:
ok i'm confused. I just measured myself and i measure underbust 28 to 29 inches and across bust is 36 inches. According the chart, i'm 30DDD, am i getting that right? I've always worn a 34c. I am needing to buy new bras though because mine are all old and stretched out from when I was pregnant.
RawrXD on December 16, 2011:
Is there any other way to measure?
sand on November 19, 2011:
i love this bra verry sexey
Lynn on November 12, 2011:
Going through my drawer I found 36H's also that fit, I'm actually 34.5 band but found 34 feels too tight which is why I chose to go up to 36 and can fit H (for that almost 11 inch difference I guess) as well as GG. Either way, better than cramming myself into a 38DDD (stores really do give zero option) :D So consfusing, but this makes it less so. Although anyone reading my comments probably just had to read the article again to find out what the heck I'm talking about :)
Lynn on November 12, 2011:
Finally something that explains it correctly! It makes loads of sense now, I never did understand the whole adding 5 inches to find band size.
I'm a 35 band and according to the old fashioned way of adding inches I'd be a 40 band but a 38 rides up my back so a 36 is perfect. The cup math is also correct. I was always wearing the wrong size because stores don't make my size except specialty shops (so much $$!) but I found an online store, ordered a GG for my 10 inch bust difference and VOILA!
Thanks for this. All the other bra size info pages should be as informative!
meflippinsweet on November 04, 2011:
Yea so according to this my bra size would be closet to a 28F. Impossible.
meflippinsweet on November 04, 2011:
I don't believe this. I had measured my bust. it is 35 and my underbust is 26. According to the add 5 or 4 method. I am a 30D. which fits me but according to this, I am an F cup. Which I am 5'1 and most guys tell me I look like a C-D cup. I think mine aren't big, defiently not a F cup.
Tia on October 05, 2011:
I measure 28 from underbust n 32 right on the bust.. What would be my size? M confused.. Plz help
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Heather on February 24, 2011:
I'd just like to add that 2 of the 3 bras pictured in this article are not fitting the models correctly. Let's take the first one on the left (white). You can see some slight spillage on the outer edges near the underarm, and the bra is not properly supporting her. If it were, the fullest point of her bust would be smack dab in the center of inbetween her inner elbow crease and the top of her shoulder. Notice too, the lighting that's on the top of her breast tissue (what's exposed out of the bra) is lighter and there is more shadowing right next to the edge of the cup. This is what happens when you're wearing too small of a cup size to create cleavage (what they're trying to achieve in this photo). The band size appears to be fitting her correctly, but the cups are at least 1 size too small.
The second bra (gray) again has the same problem, but not nearly as bad. It's not supporting the models bust because it's sitting on her so low. See how she's arched her back and moved her shoulders up to keep the straps in place?
The third bra doesn't look as bad, but that model would benefit more from a full banded bra.
Heather on February 24, 2011:
Maggie, that is incorrect. Most women who are fitted correctly add anywhere from 0-2" to their ribcage for their band size. And your usage of the word "petite" is incorrect. Petite refers to your height only, not your frame size, and it's anything under 5'4" tall.
I'm 5'4" tall and I measure 26" underbust, 35" full bust. Adding 2" is more than enough for me. But it depends on the brand. Freya runs large. On a brand new bra from them I close it on the middle loops in a size 28. Panache on the other hand I would fit better in a size 30 as they tend to run a bit small.
Maggie on April 24, 2010:
My measurement is 28 inches under the bust and I wear a 32F, tried a 30FF for a month and the bands were extremely painful. I think you may need to add 4/5 inches if you're petite and measuring right on your bone. Ouch!
Dave on March 27, 2010:
I agree with Bob,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm titties
Womans Underwear on January 29, 2010:
Every woman knows the difficulty involved in finding the right bra. Questions like What cup Size are you now? What style do you require? Seem to never end! Well…First and foremost it is essential that you know your correct size.
Sophia on December 07, 2009:
Nice extensive article! I wish I had come across it years ago. I also found a couple of other informative sites which help when trying to measure a bra size: 1) http://www.knowmysize.net/BraSizeCalculator.aspx - Type in Measurements and 2) http://BraCups.net - History of Bras plus Types of Bras :P
bob on June 29, 2009:
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on June 12, 2009:
Actually I made this research for ladies who have really been unaware of this whole information even when they actually need it and now I can hope that this will work for you to make your name defining you to some extent :-)
Fit Breast from Malaysia on June 12, 2009:
Geeee such a detail article, i never knew so much until i go through it one by one and tested it...Thanks for the sharing..haahhah i can at least share with my sis and my friends as i believe they too are unaware about such techniques..One thing i understand is when we select the wrong fitting bra it may cause some problem to our health as i been through and i knew..Thanks darling for your sharing keep up the good work!!!
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on November 25, 2008:
Sory for delay in responding your comment topstuff. I know this one is gonna be resistive for busy ladies. But the purpose behind writing my hub is to help figure-conscious females.
Anyhow, thanx for your comment.
topstuff on July 24, 2008:
Additions and subtractions always confused me.
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on May 30, 2008:
Thanx very much Decrescendo!
Decrescendo on May 27, 2008:
Pretty serious health issue. Appreciate the tips
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on May 19, 2008:
It's really a big problem among the girls that they do not care about their figure. The gravity will certainly make your breasts sagging if you are used to wear cloths without any bra. And to overcome this problem you must have to take notice on these tips. I hope you will feel better with your body figure when you will wear a bra.
thanx again for appereciating my work.
Wendy Iturrizaga from France on May 19, 2008:
Really, a good fitting bra can make all the difference to the way a woman looks.
Not only important for everyday clothes but also for swimwear. Most women do not consider this advice when choosing a bikini or a swimsuit, without realizing what a difference to their shape it would make to have a good fitting bikini top.
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on May 12, 2008:
I really didn't noticed ur comment carefully and for that I am sory. Thanx for appreciating my struggle.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on May 11, 2008:
Not criticising QT - it's good info and explains something that mystified me when I was doing research for my own Hub on bras.
quiet tracer (author) from South-Asia on May 11, 2008:
Marisa! I respect your comment but I am not a woman so I don't consider what does work for you or not? But I have searched and read much for it and I found this method best for ladies what I have written here.
Anyways, thanx for your comment.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on May 11, 2008:
I'm amazed! When did the old rule of adding inches to your underbust size go out of style? You'll find references to it all over the web, and it's always confused me, because it never works for me!
Thanks for the tip!