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 We believe in most cases the +4 method is wrong because it’s outdated.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?!