How to measure your bra size

How to measure your bra size

Women have used some type of garment to lift, separate, or minimize their breasts since 2000 B.C. But are the digging straps and poking underwires of today’s bras any more comfortable than the corsets of yesteryear? They definitely are, but not if you’re wearing the wrong size.

If bra straps leave marks on your skin and bands ride up your back, it’s likely that wearing the wrong size bra. In fact, 80% of all women are wearing a bra that is the wrong size for them. That means that many of us go through life wearing the wrong band size, cup size, or both.

We all know what an uncomfortable bra feels like. What you may not know is that an uncomfortable bra can be harmful to your health. Poorly fitting bras can strain your back and shoulders, impede blood and lymphatic system flow, and even break down the firmness of delicate breast tissue.

Taking the time to determine your correct bra size will help you find a bra that gives proper support, is comfortable, and looks flattering too. Many department stores and lingerie boutiques offer free bra fittings, but you can easily measure your bra size in the privacy of your own home with these three steps:

Step 1: Determine Your Band Size

Wearing your best-fitting, unpadded bra, use a flexible measuring tape to measure around your rib cage, directly under the bust. Make sure the tape is flat and straight against your back and measure tightly.

If you come up with a fraction, round down if it’s less than ½. Round up if it’s 1/2 or more. For example, if your measurement is 30 and 1/4 inches, round down to 30. But if your measurement is 30 and 1/2, round up to 31.

Next, add 5 inches to your rib cage measurement. If you come up with an odd number, round up to the next even number (bras only come in even sizes). For example, if your rib cage measurement is 30 inches, adding 5 inches equals 35. You would then round up to the next even number, 36.

Write your even number down. This is your BAND SIZE.

Step 2: Measure Over the Bustline

Measure loosely around your chest at the fullest part of the bustline (usually across the nipples). Keep the tape measure horizontal, straight, and flat all the way around your body. Round up or down to the nearest whole number.

Write this number down. This is your BUSTLINE MEASUREMENT.

Step 3: Determine Your Cup Size

Subtract your BAND SIZE (step 1) from your BUSTLINE MEASUREMENT (step 2). The difference between the two determines your cup size.

If the difference is:
½ inch, your cup size is an AA
1 inch, your cup size is A
2 inches, your cup size is B
3 inches, your cup size is C
4 inches, your cup size is D
5 inches, your cup size is DD

Here’s an example to follow:

Step 1: The ribcage measurement is 28. Add 5 inches to equal 33. Round up to the next even number. The BAND SIZE is 34.


Step 3: The difference between the BAND SIZE (34) and BUSTLINE MEASUREMENT (37) is 3 inches, so the cup size is C. Our example bra size is, therefore, a 34C.

Now that you understand the three steps to determine your bra size, keep in mind that this measuring system is more of an approximation than an exact science. Unfortunately, there are no real industry standards for bra sizing, so the fit may vary depending on the manufacturer and style.

It is also important to realize that every woman’s body is unique. A woman’s height and weight, and the volume, shape, and spacing of her breasts may affect how different bras fit. Ultimately, a bra that is perfect for one woman may be totally wrong for another, even though they wear the same size.

To find the perfect bra for you, try on a variety of brands and styles for fit. This will take a bit of time and patience, but the bra size you determined from your measurements is a great place to start. Try to think of it as shopping for shoes-even though you wear a size 7, some 7s may not look or feel that great when you try them on.

So hit the racks with your newly measured band and cup sizes in mind. And remember, if the bra fits, buy one in every color.

So hit

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