Video: How To Measure Your Bra Size

We should probably start this post by saying that we are definitely not experts on how to measure your bra size – obviously we’ve had no official training, but Sian has spent much of her life (well, recent years) exploring the world of lingerie and bra blogging and stumbling across many posts and videos of the bra fitting variety, so we thought we would add our own contribution to this!
There are a few disclaimers we need to make first, including the one in the video! As we said, this measuring guide is just a starting point – if you don’t fit the bra size it gives you or you don’t feel comfortable in it, try a few sizes around the size you come out with. For example, if the band feels too tight but the cup is just right in a 32E, try a 34DD; if the cup feels too small and the band just right in a 38FF, try a 38G, and so on. You can tell how well your bra fits from our handy guide here!
We are using the +0 method as opposed to the +4 which is commonly used in shops such as La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, and is the one that most online bra calculators use. We believe in most cases the +4 method is wrong because it’s outdated. It’s a loooong explanation, but it’s along the lines of back in the days when bras were first made, the fabric was stiff and not elasticated, meaning 4 inches needed to be added for comfort. Add that 4 inches to an elasticated bra brand now and you’ve got a problem!
Do not be surprised if the measurements give you a size completely different to what you think you should be! The bra size that’s stated as being most common is currently around a 36D, but in reality, the bra size that’s actually the most common in properly fitted women is a 30F. There is (yet another!) post coming up on size misconceptions soon, but remember, an F just means a 7in difference between underbust and full bust, and it’s not necessarily that big (see here – these are all correctly fitted F cups!).


We should finally note that it’s best to do your measuring without a bra on – obviously for the video we wore bras…just because! But this affected a couple of our results a little, see below:

Onto the video! And some further detail on each of us.
Rosie measures up as a 28E but has never tried one! She’s currently wearing around a 32D/34C and thinks she would feel more comfortable in a 30 or 32 band than a 28, particularly because it’s a more difficult to find 28 bands on the high street. She could sister size to a 30DD or 32D for this purpose, but will need to ensure it fits as per our guide.
Fran comes up between a 36F and 38E but after trying a few bras, finds that she is more comfortable in a 38E.
Charley is our problem: she measures as a 28DD/30D but we know she is more comfortable in a 30C in general (for example, this 30C M&S review). She was wearing a bra for this measuring which throws it off a bit with the padding, plus she had post-op swelling.
Sian comes up as a 28FF but can also wear a 28G, 30F or 30FF – she was also wearing a bra for this measuring, but on the opposite side of the scale from Charley, it actually makes her overbust measurement smaller as she gets more uplift.
This all shows that what you get will be a starting point, and brands/styles can cause your size to vary.

Again, our guide is just a starting point – it doesn’t go into much detail on breast shape or how the right/wrong style of bra will affect your fit. Different bras will of course fit people differently and you need to bear this in mind when trying bras, so make sure to try on a few different style bras (ie. plunge, balconette, soft cups, wide wires, narrow wires etc.) in your recommended size to see what suits your shape best. In the future we’ll be doing a post on breast shape and which style suits which shape best, but for now, a bit of trial and error will be handy!
If you need more detailed info, this guide from the Reddit group r/abrathatfits could help – and the group itself is really useful for doing measurement checks (if you’re not so sure on the maths) and helping you out with shapes and styles, so have a bit of an explore there if you want.
If you have particularly pendulous breasts, there are additional measurements you may want to do such as leaning forward without a bra on. You can then take the average of your overbust (standing) and overbust (leaning) to work out a good cup size for you.
If you need further guidance on sizing, please comment below and we’ll try to help out, or try asking on Reddit where someone will help you.

So, we want you to measure your bra size! What size did you think you were and what size do you come out as when you measure yourself as per our guide?!

16 Comments

  1. Anna April 21, 2014 / 3:05 pm

    I thought I was around a 36 C, but wasn’t sure anymore, because I’ve been breastfeeding and I lost a lot of weight while I was pregnant (morning sickness). I hatedmy nursing bras, since I didn’t buy very high quality ones, and since we’ve gone to nursing only at night, I’ve been pretty excited to not wear them any more. I won’t be buying new bras until my daughter’s officially weaned, because that may change my cup size, but I went ahead and measured just to see. 34 D. I’ll remeasure before I go buy new bras in a few months, but it’s interesting to realize that I’ve been buying a band size too big and a cup size too small.

  2. Melissa December 25, 2014 / 3:13 pm

    The website is an absolute blessing!
    For years I’ve always thought I was 32c, and just assumed the fit that never felt right was just ‘the way it is’. After following your video it turns out I must actually be a 28d. I’m a bit confused about the sister sizing though. If I can’t find 28d’s in a nice style I like, would I then look for a 30c?
    It might sound silly but I’m looking forward to trying on some new bras, which in theory will now fit properly for the first time! Eep!

    • admin January 1, 2015 / 2:55 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      So glad you liked our measuring tips! I would recommend popping over to A Bra That Fits for some more fitting tips, as they can help you find something that might fit your shape and size best 🙂 How do your 32Cs currently feel? Are they about right in the cup? It’s usually unlikely that people go down in cup sizes when remeasured, but of course it is possible! If you want to drop me an email, I can recommend the best size or shape for you to start looking at, but if your underbust is closer to 30, you might want to look at around a 30C/30D first as they might feel more comfortable for you than a 28 band to start with. 28D is the “sister size” of 30C, which means it technically holds the same volume, but the band will be bigger – most people don’t recommend sister sizing up more than 2 sizes each way, but it’s usually a matter of finding what’s most comfortable for you.
      Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Thanks
      Sian & Charley xx

  3. Caitlin January 2, 2015 / 10:39 am

    According to my measurements (48 under bust, 55 over bust, right at nipple level) I would be a 48G (US). How is it that I find a 48C to be the best fit? My left breast especially, it barely fills the cup of a C, even with the lift and swoop method. I suspect that it probably has something to do with insufficient glandular tissue/lack of fullness. Buying bras is frustrating!

    • admin January 2, 2015 / 2:07 pm

      Hi Caitlin,

      It can be difficult when you’re on the journey to finding the right bra for you! I’m not an expert in fitting, and I’m not hugely experienced in your size range, but I think you might be able to get some help at A Bra That Fits. Is 48in under bust your tight (as tight as the tape measure can go) measurement? In bigger band sizes, you sometimes have to go down from your normal (or ‘snug’) underbust measurement to get the best fit, so you may fit a 46 or 44 band better (although I can’t say for certain without knowing your full measurements). It’s possible that you get the gaping on the 48C cups because the band is sitting too low and you get the “orange in a glass” effect” as it leaves empty space at the top. It may be that the shape of the bra is also not compatible with your shape.
      There’s a lot goes into bra fitting! If you need more help, please feel free to drop me an email or ask over at A Bra That Fits – they have lots of experts over there 🙂

      Thanks
      Sian & Charley xx

  4. sylvie April 14, 2015 / 4:46 am

    i have tumors i am pregnant my breast measure band 38 my cup measurement 60 do you make a bra and what is the letter larger than n to get a bra to fit my measurement please help me i am only a size pant 14

    • admin April 15, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Hi Sylvie,
      Thanks for reading 🙂 Unfortunately we’re not hugely educated in bra fit in pregnancy or with illnesses that can affect breast size. Based on the measurements you’ve provided, I would suggest a 38NN size for you but unfortunately these are not available in the ready to wear market currently. There are sellers out there who can do custom sizes such as Comexim and Ewa Michalak, and I know that Jeunique goes up to a size just slightly smaller than yours. It might be worth sister sizing up in the band (40MM, 42M) and having it altered down or looking into a custom made bra. It’s also worth noting that the bra sizing in your size range can be a little less accurate, so it might be worth trying a variety of bras to see if there are any you can get away with, especially keeping an eye out for any with stretch lace that can help to accommodate your size a little better (for example, the Panache Jasmine.
      Sorry we can’t be of more help than this, good luck in your search for a better fitting bra!

  5. sylvie April 17, 2015 / 11:28 am

    i fund a company that will make custom bras in kansas thank you for getting back to me

  6. Ann August 29, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I’ve been wearing ill fitting 40D bras for a while so I checked my measurements and came up with an astounding 38KK+an inch of extra boobage if I bend over. I’m having a really hard time believing that my current bra is 10+ sizes too small (like I would believe that I’ve forgotten how to count before I would believe that cup size). My underbust is 38 (snug) and my overbust is 54-55 (I’ve measured a dozen times to make sure I’m not seeing the number wrong). Is my math correct? Have I been trying to stuff a hippopotamus into a tea cup all these years?!?

    • admin September 1, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      It does definitely sound like your 40D bras may be too small, but there is a bit of an issue in that once you get into larger band sizes (around 38+) and differences between underbust and overbust of 10+ inches, the method we’ve offered can be a little inconsistent. I’m not an expert on this sizing range, so I’d recommend going over to A Bra That Fits for more info on this, but I would say that you’re probably going to be more comfortable in a 38 band and a larger cup. It may also be that you have what’s called a “shallow” shape, also known as “Ninja Boobs” – ie. your breast tissue is spread fairly wide over larger area and is not very projected away from the chest wall, meaning that your breast size appears smaller than it really is. This sometimes means you can get away with smaller sizes without suffering too much spillage, especially if you don’t do the “Scoop and Swoop” when putting on your bra. If you don’t normally do this, make sure to give it a go and see if you get spillage, and also look out for any tissue under your arms – it may look like “squish”, but more than likely, your bra is too small and breast tissue is coming out the sides.
      As I said, I’m not an expert in this size range, but to me it does sound like you’re wearing a good few cup sizes too small from your measurements at the moment. Good luck with your fitting journey!

      • Ann September 1, 2015 / 8:25 pm

        Thanks for the response! But this measurement method did not work AT ALL for me. I ordered a 40K and nothing about it fit. The band was so tight I could barely clasp it. And even with the “bend and scoop” I could have carried a grapefruit in each cup. Plus the underwire started all the way BEHIND my armpit (almost on my back). I’ve checked my measurements so many times they have to be right. Maybe if I do the old school calculation (+4 inches in n the band) I’ll end up with something that fits? For now I’m just glad Amazon does free returns.

        • admin September 1, 2015 / 8:30 pm

          Ah no! I’d definitely recommend asking on A Bra That Fits or checking out the information they have there for 38+ bands as it’s a size range I know very little about unfortunately, but there are experts on there who do 🙂
          It’s a sad fact that unfortunately once you get above around GG cups, wires become ridiculously wide in a lot of bras – I own one in a 28H that reaches my back, so I dread to think how bad a K cup would be in that bra! It’s very frustrating as it’s such a common problem, but it’s due to manufacturers not knowing how to grade correctly.
          Hope you manage to find something that fits you!

  7. Jazmin October 29, 2015 / 12:35 am

    I am sooooooo confused! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been measured. In high school (around 17) I measured at a 32B. As the years went by I noticed my breasts were growing so I decided a 34C fit me better. This past year however, (I’m 23 now.) I went to get measured and they measured me at a 34D. I had my mom check and she came up with an E. ((She used a method where she measured me overbust, then counted backwards to 30. Since I measured at 36, she determined an E (one cup for every inch past 30.)) Now according to your chart (mind you I’m in the US) she was right. I’m a 30E. How the heck does this make sense? I’d say my breasts are a good size for my small frame; but they’re by no means BIG! How am I supposed to walk into Victoria Secret (my favorite) and say that I’d like a 30E please?! My voluptuous cousin measured in a G. Hers are at least 4x bigger than mine in person.

  8. Jazmin October 29, 2015 / 12:51 am

    Confused. At 17 I was measured as a 32B. Several months ago I was measured by “pros” and they measured me at a 34D. Recently, (I’m 23 now), I had my mom measure me and she measured me at a 30E. (She used a method where she counted up from 30 and every inch after 30 was a cup size. I was 36″ so I measured at an E.)
    I used your method and I got the same thing.
    So does every lingerie co. decide that A-DD are the only normal sizes?
    An E is really big (at least in the US). And my cousin, who’s very voluptuous, measured at a G. She has to shop at plus size stores to find anything. Her breasts are at least 4x bigger than mine. I’m a good size for my small frame; but my breasts are by no means BIG!
    How am I supposed to walk into Victoria Secret (where I buy my bras) and ask for a 30E?!

    • admin November 2, 2015 / 3:24 pm

      30E does sound about right for you, but don’t be fooled as an E doesn’t necessarily mean really big – it’s just how it’s perceived to be as in the past bras were measured differently. In fact, a 30E is about a medium/average size! Take a look at the Bra Band Project here – those are all 30Es but not necessarily big at all. In fact, the 34D you were measured at is the same cup volume, just sister sized up two bands.
      Your cousin who is a G cup is at least 3 cup volumes larger than you, but if she has a larger band size, most likely she is more cup volumes larger than you – the cup size is relevant to the band size, so someone who is a 30E will look entirely different from someone who is a 36E and so on. Our post on So You Think You Know What a D Cup Looks Like might help with that 🙂
      And it is frustrating that a lot of large brands seem to stop at a DD cup 🙁 More and more are starting to extend their sizing though, so it’s becoming more normal to see DD+ on the shelves, or at least online. If it helps, you could try sister sizing into a 32DD which you can buy at Victoria’s Secret (the band may be slightly loose, but you might even find it more comfortable if you’re used to wearing a 34D now. Victoria’s Secret do also do a limited range of DDD cups (=E cup) – I’m not definite they have a 30DDD, but it’s worth a look.
      Hope that helps!

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