How to Measure the Right Bra Size
An astonishing number of women don’t know their correct bra size.
I used to just buy bras that looked like they’d fit. You know, I'd look down at my chest, look up at a row of bras, and measure by eye. Then once, I managed to grab a store clerk’s attention. She measured me, and that day I returned home with two bras that wouldn’t have fit when I was 13.
In other words, your actual size may surprise you, especially if you've been buying the same size since you were 13. Here's precisely how to find out your exact bra size.
Measuring for a Bra
So how do you find the right bra size for your body? Well listen up, ladies, I’ve got some great chest-enhancing, body-fitting booby advice, and I’m sharing it with you because no one ever bothered to educate me on how to find the right bra. All you need is a body and a measuring tape.
If you’re a guy who wants a bra, please feel free to apply the following to your fantasy boobs. You’ll find no prejudice here.
How to Measure Bra Size
Make sure you’re wearing a really lightweight bra while you're taking the measurement—nothing padded, just a plain one without embellishments. You definitely need a measuring tape to do this, because a ruler just won't do!
How to measure your correct band size:
- Using a tailor's measuring tape, measure around your ribs right below your breasts. Don’t allow the tape to go slack and drop down—make sure the line is as straight and flat as possible, all the way around.
- Now write down this measurement, to the nearest inch. (If you measure 29¼" around, write 29".) Let's call this your exact rib measurement.
- Next, do some simple math to find out your band size. If the number is odd, add another five inches to it: This is your band size. If it's even, add four inches to find your band size. (For example, if you measure 31", add 5 for a band size of 36—or if you measure 28", then add 4: your band size is 32.)
- NOTE: If your exact rib measurement is 36 or larger, only add an extra 2 if odd, 1 if even. (For example, if you measure 37 inches, then add 2: Your band size is 39.)
How to measure your correct bra cup size:
- While you're wearing an unpadded, lightweight bra, place the measuring tape around the fullest part of your breasts. Write down this number: it is your widest chest measurement.
- Next, simply subtract your band size from your widest chest measurement and check the chart below to find your corresponding letter cup size. For example, if your band size is 34 and your widest chest measurement is 37", then the difference is 3 inches and your cup size is a C. (Refer to the chart below for correct cup sizing.)
Bra Cup Size Chart
Measurement (widest chest measurement minus bandsize)
Less than 1 inch
DD Cup - E
DDD Cup - F
DDDD Cup - G
How to Buy the Right Bra
You know, wearing the right bra not only does wonders for your comfort (fits better, feels better, upholstered better), but it also makes you look slimmer. Great, huh? More bang for your buck. Besides, trying to squash a quart into a pint cup never works. One of the laws of physics: If it's too big, be prepared for spillage.
How you know your bra doesn't fit:
- the sausage back effect
- underarm fat rolls
- too many puppies in too small a basket
'Fess up ladies: who wears a badly fitting boulder-holder and spends all day scooping escaped bits of flesh back into a space that immediately ejects the excess... during that important meeting? And who hasn't performed the quick-and-snappy back-band shuffle? The shoulder-strap tweak? The under-wire scoop?
Tips for Always Getting a Bra That Fits
- If you can, try on at least a dozen bras. Even with the correct measurements in hand, you'll still need to make sure that the bra fits correctly.
- A lot of the support you get from any bra comes from the band, and that's why it's so important to make sure your band size is measured correctly!
- A correctly fitting bra will sit flat on your rib cage, and it should be centered. If it slides or bags away from you ribs, it's not going to support you. If you own any bras that don't hug your ribs anymore, toss them out.
- Re-measure yourself if you gain or lose weight. Makes sense to assume that if your waist has dropped or gained a size, so has your bust.
- Remember: Each time your band size increases or decreases, the cup size likely follows suit.
- It won't hurt to have yourself professionally fitted. If you have access to this service, use it.
- The straps should sit comfortably on your shoulders: no cutting in or dropping.
- The back band should sit slightly lower than the bra front. It should feel snug without feeling tight. If you've got muffins going on, it's too tight: Adjust it, and if that doesn't help the bra feel comfortable and snug, try another.