We are getting right back to basics today and talking about how to measure yourself for a bra. Knowing how to measure yourself is a really handy skill and for many women it's essential. If you live a long way from a lingerie store that has skilled staff or if you find it physically or emotionally difficult to be fitted at a store then measuring yourself at home is necessary.
I'm going to keep this really simple today but I want you to remember that the numbers are only a starting point in finding your fit. The shape, density and position of your breasts can all play a part in the size that's best for you.
Once you're familiar with the basics of measuring yourself for a bra then it's worth checking out these blog posts:
Soft Breast Tissue and Bra Fit
Shallow Breasts and Bra Fit (you can see our shallow friendly bras here)
Torso Shape and Bra Fit
Breast Roots and Bra fit (you can see our high set breast friendly bras here)
How Height Can Affect Bra Fit (you can see our short torso friendly bras here)
Here are a few things you might have read elsewhere that you won't find in our measuring advice:
- We don't recommend measuring without wearing a bra because the density of your breasts can affect the measurements.
- We don't recommend adding inches to your measurement results.
- We don't recommend exhaling and pulling the tape measure tightly (you usually find this advice in techniques that add inches)
- We don't recommend measuring with clothes over the top of your bra because this skews the results.
So having said all of that let's get started on how to measure yourself at home for a bra.
Standing in front of a mirror put on your best fitting bra (avoid padded, sports, minimizer and molded bras). The mirror is to help you see your bra fit around your body.
Don't worry if you know the bra doesn't fit you correctly you can adjust it so that it fits you better for the duration of the measuring. Adjust the band so that it's as firm as possible and level with the ground while you do the measurements. Scoop as much of your breast tissue into the cups as possible then take your measurements.
Measure around your ribcage using a fabric tape measure. The tape measure should lie flat against your body. There's no need to pull the tape measure tightly or to exhale.
Make sure the tape measure is level with the floor all the way around your ribcage because this is where the band should sit on your body when your bra fits you correctly. Write down your first measurement in inches. No need to round up or down.
Pass the tape measure around the fullest part of your breasts (over your nipples), again ensuring that it is level all the way around. Write down the size in inches. Don't round up or down.
Now that you've done all the measuring it's time to work out your best starting bra size.
Let's start with your band size. Your ribcage measurement is your band size. If you measure an uneven number round up one inch to get your band size. For example if you measured 31 then your band size would be a 32.
You don't need to round up your ribcage measurement when working out your cup size below; use the exact ribcage measurement.
Now to find your cup size. Subtract your first measurement (the one around your ribcage) from the second measurement (the one around the fullest part of your bust). For example:
Step 3 Measurement (fullest part of your bust) = 39
Step 2 Measurement (around your ribcage) = 31
DIFFERENCE = 8 inches
Compare your Difference Number to this table to find your cup size (we recommend knowing your UK size as most full bust brands are British):
|Difference in Inches||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||13||14|
|North American Sizes||D||DD||DDD||G||H||I||J||K||L||M||N|
NB: Lots of charts show a UK DD to be the same as a North American DD and a UK E to be the same as a US DDD but we simply haven't found this to be true. Of the styles we carry a UK DD cup is the same as a North American D cup.
A Difference Number of 8 equals a UK G cup (the equivalent of a North American brand's H cup). Put your band size and cup size together, in this example a 32G. You now have your best starting bra size!
For many women this process will give them a bra size that works for them in most styles and brands. However, you know your comfort best and so you might find that you prefer a looser or a tighter band. You can use our cup volume blog post to work out how to adjust your bra size for a tighter or looser fit.
I hope this post helps you get a good start on your bra fit for this year. Our Free Size Consultation is a great follow up to knowing your measurements. Great bra fit means you can get on with life more comfortably and confidently! xx
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