Some lingerie experts estimate that more than 75% of women wear the wrong bra size. Discomfort is the number one sign of an ill-fitting bra, but there are other clues that you may wear a different size than you think.
For one, if there is any “overspill” on the top and sides of your bra, you probably need a bigger band and cup size. Cups that crinkle or pucker indicate that you’re wearing a cup size that’s too large. If the back rides up, or if the band slides up or down, you may need a smaller band size. If your bra doesn’t do anything for sagging, then you’re wearing either the wrong size or the wrong style. Underwires should not poke you. If the underwires have room to move around, then you’re probably wearing too big a cup size. And if the straps leave red marks, your bra is probably too small.
Here’s how to get an accurate measurement for bra size.
You’ll need two measurements to get an accurate bra size. Wear your best fitting, non-padded bra for the measurement. The measurements will be more accurate if you get someone else to make them so that you can stand straight.
First, with the measuring tape parallel to the ground, measure underneath the bra under your bust after exhaling. If you get a fractional number, round up or down to the nearest whole inch. If your measurement is an even number, add 4 to this number. If the measurement is an odd number, add 5 to this number. This number is your band size. So, for example, if your under-bust measurement is 30 inches, you would add 4 to get a band size of 34.
As an alternative method, you can measure above the bust, at underarm level, after exhaling. This measurement is usually not accurate for women with higher busts, or with breast implants. If this number is even, it will be your band size. If this number is odd, add an inch. So if you measure directly under your arms and get 35 inches, add an inch to get a 36 band size.
The next step is to determine your cup size. Standing tall, arms at sides, measure the fullest part of your bust, keeping the measuring tape parallel to the ground and not binding. Round any fractional measurements up or down to the nearest whole number. Subtract your band measurement from step 1 from the cup measurement you made in step 2. Every inch of difference equals one cup size.
If the difference between your band measurement and cup measurement is less than ½ inch, your cup size is AA. Differences from ½ to 1 inch indicates an A cup; 2 inches is a B cup; 3 inches a C; 4 inches, D; 5 inches, DD or E; 6 inches, DDD or F; 7 inches G; 8 inches H, and 9 inches, I. So if your band measurement is 34 and your cup measurement is 38, you would wear a size 34 D.
Consider your measurements to be a starting point when trying on bras. You may need to go up or down a band size or cup size depending on the manufacturer.