Wednesday, February 11, 2009

bra fitting 101

photo by Cecil Williams

It's -14°C today, which is the coldest it's been all week! And even though it's a little chilly, I've been looking for dressy tank tops to go with my skirts because my office is just too warm.

The search for tank tops also had me searching through my bra basket for skinny straps, and I figured that I should share my bra fitting experience with you because it's been awhile since I posted it on journalspace. I'm not just a life insurance saleswoman - I'm also a lingerie specialist :)

Measure first!

Wearing a bra, place a measuring tape around your rib cage, directly under your breasts. The tape should be straight across the back and sit exactly where your underwires would sit in the front. For this exercise, I'll use my own, which is 38".

Next, measure the fullest part of your bust. Make sure the tape is still straight across the back. This measurement is 42".

42 - 38 = 4 inches. This is going to be the depth of your cup, and the scale goes like this:

1" - B cup
2" - C cup
3" - D cup
4" - DD cup
5" - DDD or E cup
6" - F cup
7" - G cup
8" - H cup

So if my rib cage measures 38" and my bust measures 42", my size is 38DD.

Trouble Shoot

- Do your straps fall off your shoulders? It's likely that your band size is too big. Remember that 90% of your support comes from the band, and only 10% from the straps. If you measure 32" or 33", try not to buy a 34.

- Do your underwires dig in at all? It's likely that the wires are too narrow, or the cup size is too small. Look for wires that go back further and take in ALL of your breast tissue, even that fleshy area under your arm.

- Does it slide up in the back? Go down a band size.
- Do the wires get pushed out the center? Go up a cup size.
- Do your breasts push out the underwire at the bottom? Go up a cup size.

Other Tips

- Hand wash expensive or perfect fitting bras. Machine washing them is equal to wearing one twenty-five times.

- Molded cup bras are not for adding fullness, rather they are for hiding nipplage.

- Buy a bra that fits the ribcage nicely on the middle set of hooks. This way if you gain or lose it'll still fit.

- You cannot wear a comfort strap bra with a tank top.
- You can wear a black or coloured skinny strap bra, but beige or white is usually a fashion faux pas.

More than 70% of all women wears the wrong size, but if you go into a store with a little more knowledge, unknowing salesgirls can't steer you wrong.

Have a good one!


  1. This is very good info! I don't do the measuring, however, I just go by the way it feels on me.

  2. I didn't know that! THANK YOU!!! My bra straps fall down ALL THE TIME--now I know why!!!!

  3. AWESOME! I need to go for a refitting. I have the strap-slipping problem CONSTANTLY, and I thought I just had defective deformed shoulders... hehee...

  4. Sometimes caps come across as sarcastic--just wanted to clarify my comment was made with all sincerity--I hate bra shopping and never get the right fit, so I really appreciate your post. :D

  5. I didn't know about the machine washing/hand washing comparison. I hate bra shopping, so when I do it, I buy as many as I can and try to keep them as long as I can. Sounds like I need to start hand washing them to make them last longer.

  6. Jeez, I never knew all this...not that I need to. This makes my brain hurt, it's so complicated.

  7. I remember this post from before. It helped me a lot. I'm going to have to get new ones with my weight loss :)

  8. Kate:
    Remember my post about my fetish? Well, this is it. Not to wear them, of course, but rather I just think a great fitting bra is extremely sexy on a woman.

    My first love always had her bras hand fitted. She was a 38D and those bras sculpted her breasts and no matter what she wore she always looked fantastic!

    Thank you for an interesting and, um, stimulating post. :)

  9. *Whoops!*

    I must have walked in at the wrong time.

    *Tiptoes from room* *Covers eyes and ears*

    Girl talk and I'm running out the door....

    Eeeewwwww cooties.

    I hear my mom calling me.

    Gotta go.


  10. This is great Kate!

    The only question I have is that when I got fitted they told me 1" more than the under-bust measure was an A, 2" was a B and so on. In my case that system has worked better. I guess they told you different.

  11. You freakin rock!!! I went in and got fitted for a bra, yeah, the bra doesn't fit- anywhere! *sigh* It was expensive too, and they wouldn't take it back. A wee bit peeved. Now I can measure at home and know just what to get! You are so smart! :-)

    Thank you a million times for posting this!!!!

  12. Thank thank you thank you for posting about the bra sizing! :o)
    {{hugs}}~ Gina

  13. This is fantastic

  14. Thanks for watching. Next week, tighty whities, and how to perform the "finger test".

  15. I'll be looking forward to that episode, Doug. In the meantime, Kate, you rock! (do you hear my printer buzzing in the background?)

  16. Judy - measuring is worth it.
    Tim - I love bras too.
    Bobby - I actually LOL at that
    Alianna - it is possible that people can be up to an inch off, depending on your frame. My daughter wears an A but it has less than an inch of depth - it actually has no depth...
    Doug - LOL
    Breath-e - you're welcome.
    Thanks everybody!

  17. Can you just come and measure me? I dont think I have ever gotten the right size.All brands fit different too.It seems the only ones I can buy that semi fit me are those ones in the box that are like 18 hour ones.Any other kinds just seem to run weird.I'll have to see if I can whip up a measuring tape from somewhere and try this.I can wear Cs and Ds.I used to wear DD but now they seem too big.

  18. I remember this post from JS but I didn't remember the details. Thanks for posting again, its been very helpful. :)

  19. Thanks Kate, perfect timing too as I reviewed the state of my lingerie drawer a couple of weeks ago and decided I had to go shopping.

    Nothing like being informed, cheers!

  20. this is mindboggling. seventy percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra? you think women would know their boobs a little better. i mean they're attached to you.

  21. You'd think, eh? But there's a science to it, and no two bodies are alike. It's hard.

  22. looks like too much trouble to me. am i glad i'm not a woman. :)

  23. This is interesting! My wife could have used this information when we returned to the states. Converting from the European metric sizes meant "trial and error" until she found the size that fit her. One cannot return bras to the store.