Exuding outward confidence all starts with what’s happening underneath—your clothes, that is. We’re talking about your bra. Ideally, you want to find a bra that fits and feels as though you’re not wearing anything. After all, if the straps refuse to stay on your shoulders or the underwire makes it difficult to breathe, you’ll be feeling uncomfortable no matter how stunning the rest of your outfit is.
But finding the perfect fit for something you wear from day to night can be a tall task, especially if you’re not sure what your correct bra size is, if it’s changed, or why your lace bandeau bra style is a different size than your sleek triangle bra?
Ah, the intricacies of bra size. Don’t worry—we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll cover how to measure bra size at home, how often you should be measuring, and discuss tips for evaluating fit beyond just the numbers.
Bra Sizing 101
Confused about what a plunge bra is and how to choose the right size? All bras, from sheer mesh plunge bras to everyday t-shirt bras, come with a size attached to them. This is why it’s important to know your own unique size as a starting point before purchasing different types of lingerie. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re looking for.
Bra sizes consist of two parts. These are:
The band – This is the bottom part of the bra that sits along your ribcage. It’s indicated by a numerical value.
The cup – The cup refers to the cup-shaped fabric that holds your breasts, denoted by one or two letters.
Measuring at Home in Three Easy Steps
To measure your bra size at home, find a soft tape measure (the kind used in sewing), take off your bra, and follow these steps:
Start with the band – Place the tape just below the band line and wrap it all the way around your torso. If you see an even number, you’ve found your band size! With an odd number, round up or down to the nearest even number depending on your preferences. If you want a snug band or have just had a large meal, you might want to round down.
Measure the bust – To get a reading on your bust size, wrap the soft measuring tape around your chest, making sure to start at the fullest part of your breast. With this measurement, in particular, you can keep it on the looser side rather than pulling the tape taut.1 Jot down the number of inches you see. This is the first step in finding your cup size.
Do the math – When you have both the bust and band measurements, subtract your band size from your bust size. The difference is your cup size, with each number correlating to a letter, like so:2
- 0 = AA
- 1 = A
- 2 = B
- 3 = C
- 4 = D
- 5 = DD
- 6 = F
- 7 = FF
- 8 = G
- 9 = GG
- And so on
By putting your band size and bust size letter together, such as 32C, you’ll have your bra size!
Measuring Best Practices
When measuring your bra size at home, it’s important to make sure you’re getting an accurate read. Keep the following tips and tricks in mind as you work your magic with that tape measure:
Make it tight, but not too tight – Be firm when you’re wrapping the soft measuring tape around yourself, but remember that you’re measuring for a bra, not a corset. The tape shouldn’t be so tight it’s digging into your skin. On the other hand, make sure you get rid of any excess wiggle room. The tape should not be falling off your body.
Lay it flat – If your tape measure is wrinkled from being stuffed in the back of your closet or if you’ve accidentally twisted it while pulling it around yourself, the numbers will be off. Make sure to keep the tape flat against your body, especially when measuring the uneven surface of your bust.
Use a mirror – You don’t have to look at yourself to measure your bra size, but standing in front of a mirror can help you position the tape properly and keep it parallel to the ground. Don’t forget to check your back as well, since it’s easy for the measuring tape to hang further down if you’re not careful.
How Often Should You Measure Your Bra Size?
If you’ve ever put on your floral-embroidered lace plunge bra for date night only to find that the band seems tighter than usual, you’re not alone.
It’s completely normal for your bra size to fluctuate, both on a daily basis and over time. Examples of events that can affect your bust measurement include:
- Being on your period, since hormonal changes before and during this time can lead to an increase in breast size.3
Celebrating the first night of your beach vacation with a big feast and a refreshingly cool glass of wine, which can lead to greater fluid retention and puffiness around the torso.4
- Starting a new birth control regimen that causes temporary changes to your breast size as your body adjusts.5
That’s why it’s important to measure your bra size regularly—we recommend about once every six months.6 But scheduling in these fitting sessions can easily fall by the wayside. If you’re having trouble remembering, try these tips:
Add a reminder – Putting your at-home bra fitting in your planner or calendar means that you won’t have to spend time thinking about how long it’s been since the last time you measured. You’ll also have an exact date set which increases accountability.
Keep track of your tape measure – Having your measuring tape readily available can make it easier to stick to your schedule. If you keep your tape at the bottom of your sewing kit, tucked into the back of your closet, you’re less likely to pull it out. Instead, consider stashing your measuring tape in your intimates drawer.
Couple it with other routines – Incorporate your bra measuring session into routines you’ve already set, such as your bi-annual order of skin care products or even a spring or fall wardrobe switch.
Other Factors that Impact Fit
In a perfect world, your bra measurements would land exactly on whole numbers, and every bra in that size would fit you to a T. But the reality is that even two bras marked with the same size can have completely different fits. So if you fall between a thirty-two and a thirty-four or if you can’t decide whether you’re a C or a D cup, don’t despair!
Bra size is meant to be used as a ballpark figure to give you a sense of where to start looking. When searching for your dream bra, various other factors, such as style and fabric, can impact fit.2
Consider the following examples:
- A minimalistic bra with a band as thin as the straps can more easily dig into your skin if it’s too tight, requiring you to size up.
- A silk bra may not have as much stretch as a flexible tulle bra that can accommodate various measurements.
And what do you do about bras that use XS–XL sizing rather than a number and a letter? For those situations, look to see if there’s a bra size chart that includes corresponding band measurement and bust measurement or size conversions. It is also important to learn how to wash lingerie or care for them properly to avoid them from becoming loose or stretched.
How Do You Know If Your Bra Really Fits?
The journey to finding a beautiful, form-fitting bra begins with your bra size, but ends with how the bra sits on your body. Be sure to look for the following signs of fit:
The band – A well-fitting band provides firm support without being too tight or too loose. It should sit in a horizontal line against your skin. If you find your band riding up or leaving red marks on your skin, these could be signs that you require more breathing room.2 Consider loosening the hooks or sizing up.
The cups – If you look down and find there’s enough room to fit your hand into your bra, your cups are too big. On the other hand, excess spillage is also a no-no and indicates that you should size up.1 A sneakier sign of an ill fitting cup are straps that easily slip off your shoulders, which may indicate that your cups are roomier than they should be.7
The bridge – Don’t forget to pay attention to the bridge—that little piece of fabric in between the cups. On a well-fitting bra, the bridge will lay flat against the middle of your chest.2 If it’s arching out, your body may be telling you to size up.
Find Your Perfect Fit at Gooseberry
Understanding your bra size and finding your perfect match is the secret to strutting into your day (or night) feeling comfortable and confident. But at Gooseberry, we know that how your bra looks is just as important as how it feels. That’s why we draw our inspiration from the quality craftsmanship of classic fashion houses while also adding bold details for extra elegance and flair.
Plus, we focus on using sustainably-sourced fabrics and employing Fair Trade practices so that our chic, high-end intimates can leave you feeling amazing in more ways than one.
Here at Gooseberry we pride ourselves on providing our customers with high quality pieces including loungewear lingerie, bodysuits, shorts, sexy sleepwear, and more. Explore our exquisite collections today!
Women’s Health. How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home in 4 Simple Steps. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/gym-wear/a700109/how-to-measure-bra-size/
Vogue. How To Measure For A Bra That Won’t Sabotage Your Day. https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/how-to-measure-for-a-bra#:~:text=Stand%20upright%20without%20a%20bra,that%20is%20your%20band%20size.
- Mount Sinai. Premenstrual breast changes. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/symptoms/premenstrual-breast-changes#:~:text=Hormone%20changes%20during%20the%20menstrual,a%2028%2Dday%20cycle).
- Healthline. Why Does Alcohol Make Me Bloated? https://www.healthline.com/health/alcohol-bloating
- Healthline. How Birth Control Can Affect Breast Size. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/does-birth-control-make-your-boobs-bigger
- Marie Claire. This is how often you should get a bra fitting. https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/news/fashion-news/often-get-bra-fitting-512368
- Self. 11 Expert Tips for Finding the Right Bra Size and Fit. https://www.self.com/story/tips-for-finding-the-right-bra-size-and-fit
Cosmopolitan. How to measure your bra size in 4 easy steps. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/fashion/style/a35751320/how-to-measure-bra-size/