Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Find the Right Bra

Like most women your bra is something worn daily, and the one thing you can't wait to take off once you get home. It's either riding up your back, the straps are digging into your shoulders and the under wire is poking into your ribs. It may be lacy and pretty, but the truth is they can be torture. Thousands of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Wearing the correct bra size helps you instantly makes you look thinner, helps builds confidence and makes you feel free. For years I though I was a 38DD and I found out last week i'm actually a G! I know I couldn't be the only women with this problem, so I compiled some tips to help make finding the right bra easier. had the best advice, and should definitely be a reference when it comes to finding the correct bra size. Here' their input on the Do-it-Your Self Bra Fitting, By: Danae



Before you start sizing, you need a good idea of what kind of bra you’re looking for – do you want a new everyday bra to wear to work? Do you need a bra for party dresses? We’ve broken down some common bra types by the occasion you might want them for:
  • Parties, dressing up and going out: You need a good multifunction bra, which will let you swap between halterneck, strapless, and a regular style. If you don’t typically wear halterneck/strapless styles, a plunge bra is a great way to wear low-cut tops without showing any bra.
  • Everyday / Work: A traditional full-cup bra, maybe with a moulded cup will disappear under your work clothes and will provide maximum support.
  • Date night: Depending on your taste and cup size, a balconette or plunge bra will be perfect. Balconette is great to wear with a square or round neck to lift the breasts overall (think Jane Austen boobs), and plunge is great for low or v-necks.
Generally, balconette bras are better suited to smaller-cup sizes (DD and below), while full-cup and plunge are perfect for larger-cup sizes. (Editor’s note — There are exceptions to this rule — the balconette shape has been beautifully adapted for larger cup sizes by Miss MandalayFreya and Mimi Holliday to name a few). Once you’ve picked your bra style, you’re ready to size!


How do you tell the difference between bras in the store? Each bra will be labeled with its style (multi-way/multifunction, plunge/push-up, full-cup and shelf/balconette) or you can compare the shape to the examples given below:
Bra Styles Guide

(all photos from


Now that you know what bra you want, you can start your DIY Bra Sizing. But don’t go looking for your measuring tape! Measuring might feel accurate, but thanks to the sheer variety of body shapes/manufacturer sizes/bra styles, measuring is often wildly innacurate for bra sizing (i’ve been told i was a 42D when i’m a 36G!). We prefer to take a much more common sense, DIY approach to bra sizing: all you need is your current bra size and a little bit of trial and error.


  1. Test your band size – Reach around and pull your bra band away from your back – is it loose (more than an inch or so from your back)? If so, your band size might be too big. If it’s really loose, subtract two band sizes (always subtract by two, e.g., 38 to 34), if it’s just a little loose, subtract one band size (38 to 36). If you’re not really sure, get someone to try a playground bra-snapping on you. If it hurts, your band size is probably too big.
  2. Test your cup size – Feel under your arm for your bra’s underwire. Is the underwire directly below your armpit, or is there breast tissue poking out beyond the underwire?
    Now check your underwires at the front of the bra – do they lie flat against your skin, or do they stick out? If there is breast tissue beyond the underwire and your underwire isn’t flat, try adding two cup sizes (e.g. D to F). If the underwire is only wrong in one place, add one cup size (e.g. D to E)
  3. Do the math – Take your current bra size, do your additions/subtractions from Steps 1 and 2, and that’s your new bra size to test. Don’t panic if your test size sounds too big/weird/no-way-am-i-that-size/am-i-a-mutant. Just trust us for now – you’ll be testing this size in the changing room!


Once you’ve got a new bra size to test out, pick your bra style using the guide above and grab your new size in the store. Also grab some sizes around the test size, so if you were a 36C and you’re testing out a 32E, also grab a 30F and a 34DD for a little experimentation.
Where to shop

If you can’t find the sizes you need, don’t just make do and fudge the sizes, make an effort to find a good bra store (it will pay off in the long run!). U.S. readers should try higher-end department stores like Nordstroms, Macy’s, or Dillards, and UK readers should try Bravissimo, M&S, Frasers, or local boutiques. Try to avoid the “usual suspects” lingerie stores like Victoria’s Secret and La Senza, as they won’t have the variety in sizes and styles that you’ll need – take this opportunity to find a new lingerie retailer!


Once you have your test bra and a few variants, you’re ready to try them all out. Here is a simple changing room checklist for making sure your new bra fits:
Hook the bra on your middle hook (or the second one) – you need your band to be snug and tight, but also need an idea of how the bra will feel once the bra loses some elasticity. With the middle hook, you’ll get an idea of the looser fit, but can always swap to the first hook if you need it when the bra starts to age.
Keep your straps loose – too many women rely on the straps for support in their bra, but the band should be giving support, not the straps. Pull out the straps so they sit comfortably but aren’t bearing any real weight, and you’ll get a true idea of how the bra supports you.
Make sure your bridge is lying flat on your sternum — poke the piece of fabric between your cups (that’s the bridge), does it lie flat or does your whole bra move when you poke it? If it’s not lying flat, try going up a cup size.
Lean over and pull the girls in – this is the part where people start thinking we’re crazy. Seriously, it works – lean over so your breasts are pointing to the floor, reach into the cup and pull your breasts into the cup. Now stand back up, and marvel at your rack! If you see a bit of flesh hanging over the top of the cup, that’s a sign that you’re either wearing the wrong style (balconette or half-cup instead of full), or your cup size is too small.
Jump up and down – we call this the Jiggle Test, and it’s great for larger-cup women especially. Do the girls stay in place when you hop up and down a few times? If so, you’re doing well. If your breasts start bouncing like crazy you’ve probably got a band size too large, and if you get a lot of flesh wiggle on the top of your boob, your cup size could be too small, or you should try a fuller cup.
Put a tight tee-shirt on – we always wear or bring a snug, thin little tee with us for bra shopping, so we can see the shape bras give us – once you’ve pulled the girls in, slip on your tee and check out the general shape/lift. Is there not enough lift? Try a smaller band size (and maybe size up a cup to compensate). Are there bumps around the cups? Try a bigger cup size.

Try on all three of your test bras (the original test size and the two variants) and pay attention to how much lift you get, how flat the bridge lies, and how snug your band is against your back. Then, compare these with the bra size you’ve been wearing. With a little trial and error, you should be able to narrow down your size pretty quickly.

If none of the bras feel or look right, try a different style of bra (full-cup is a great default style) with your test sizes and repeat the checklist. Keep experimenting until you feel well-supported!


Bra-sizing isn’t an exact affair – there are simply too many manufacturers, sizing standards, body shapes, and styles for any woman to be one final size. Your “new” size won’t be the same in every brand, and may not even be the same between different styles in the same brand (that’s why we made you pick at the beginning). The trick is to find a good base size, then adjust that size as required by using the criteria above.
This whole process may take a little time, but will be worth it. You can do this process in a one-day blitz, or can simply pay attention to how different bras fit over time and work your size out gradually. Either way, you’ll soon start to learn your size range for your favourite brands and styles, and after a bit more experimentation, you’ll have a whole range of bras that fit you, not a bra size!

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