You’re trying to do all the things and get on with your day, but all you can feel is your bra digging into your back, tight and uncomfortable. No matter how many times you adjust the straps and pull at your underwire, all you want to do is get home and rip it off.
Badly-fitting or wrong-size bras are the worst. And if you’ve got big boobs, it’s the pits. Breast and back pain is real, so investing in a quality, well-fitting bra in terms of cut and size is a gamechanger. From brand to brand, bra size is as changeable as the weather; a B-cup here is a C-cup there. Bear in mind – bras can also change in size after a wash or even after you’ve worn it for a full day. The good news is, we’ve fitted bras for over 21 years, and we have all the best tips on how to measure your bra size.
Be Your Breast Advocate
For the best fit and maximum support – know your bra size. These numbers are notoriously hard to remember, so it’s best to keep a record of them on your phone. That way, when you’re buying online, your size is at your fingertips. Remember, the letters relate to cup size, and the numbers are your bra's band size. The band size should be the same or one size smaller than your regular clothes size.
What Does What?
Odds are, you’re wearing the wrong size bra. Sorry – annoying but true – roughly 80% of women are wearing the wrong size. Like most clothing items, bra sizing is a guide only, and different brands can fit differently. Your best bet is to go by feel.
80-90% of the support your bra offers comes from the band around your ribcage. It needs to be firm but not tight in an ‘I can’t breathe’ way. Most of us think the shoulder straps are the star of the support operation – not so. They help keep the breasts in place, but they don’t carry the weight. If you cast the straps in the lead role, your bra will be uncomfortable and ultimately damaging in the long term. The same goes for the underwire; it’s there to shape and keep your boobs separated, not to act as suspension or support.
Bend forward while you hook up your bra. This guarantees your boobs are totally in the cups, and the wire isn’t sitting on your breast tissue. When you adjust the band, your bra should be at the same level front and back – no riding up your body. Next, an easy test for a loosey-goosey bra: you should be able to slide only one finger under the band. If you can fit two, tighten. If your straps start slipping down your shoulders, first tighten the band before shortening the straps. If your bra is relatively new, tighten only the bra straps. As a rule, the straps need tightening almost weekly; they tend to wriggle down over time.
When you’ve had your way with all the hardware, it’s time to look in the mirror. With a well-fitted t-shirt over your bra, you can see if the cups crumple or if there’s bulging out the front. If so, your bra is the wrong size. Now turn sideways: your boobs should sit halfway between your shoulders and elbows. If they’re too high or too low – that’s a no go. These red fit flags mean your bra isn’t a good fit.
Your bra should be a top fit when on the outermost hook. That way – as your bra loosens over time, you can tighten the band using the inwards hooks. If you have to go down a cup size, go up a band size. If you have to go up a cup size, go down a band size.
Now you’re bra smart. Knowing, and not guessing your size means no more sore boobs, shoulders or back, and you can confidently adjust to changes in your body and breasts. If you need more help, our experienced, in-store fitters will find your perfect fit. And if you’re shopping online – ask us anything by phone, email or live chat, or ask us about our virtual fittings where we can help you find the right fit from the comfort of your home.