First and foremost, I did NOT write this post.
It is directly copy/pasted from Reddit and was written by Redditor MyWifesBusty.
The only reason I am pasting/reposting here is because things on the internet have a habit of getting unlinked/broken, and I think this is some of the best bra-fitting advice I’ve ever heard.
As a woman, I feel compelled to pass this on.
Men, I know this isn’t a topic for YOU, necessarily — but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting, or potentially useful to the women in your life. (Or the man who wears bras. I ain’t judgin’.)
How To Size Yourself For a Bra
The guide is intended to get you really close to wearing the perfect size but there is no alternative to actually trying on bras and assessing the fit. Ideally, every woman would have access to a well stocked lingerie store that carried everything from 24A to 50K, but alas.
You’ll need a tailor’s/cloth tape, a scratch pad and pen, and (if at all possible) a friend/significant other to help. You don’t need a friend, but it’s really helpful to have one as they can make sure you’ve got the tape lined up neatly and do the measurement for you.
First, here’s the “Don’t do this!” part of the program.
- Don’t measure yourself wearing a bra, even a bra you think is a good fitting bra. You’ll effectively be measuring the bra and not your breast tissue.
- Don’t wear anything. You’re not trying to measure yourself to wear a bra over a t-shirt or a bra over another bra or anything. You want a skin-to-tape measurement.
- Don’t do any weird math, fancy over/under the boobs nonsense, or anything else you’ve ever heard about measuring for a bra.
Alright, you’re naked and you’ve got your tape and pen/paper. Now, let’s get measuring! =)
Lean forward so that your back is parallel with the floor. This is important. You want gravity the help pull all your breast tissue forward, even the breast tissue that your previously ill-fitting bra squished back under your arms (and even around onto your back). You may even want to take a moment to reach back and massage your sides, kind of pushing the breast tissue forward with a sweeping motion. Measure around your torso with the tape passing over the fullest part of your hanging breasts. Keep the tape as straight as possible (essentially perpendicular to the floor if you’ve done your best to make your body parallel to it.)
This measurement should be loose. Tighten the tape just tight enough that it doesn’t easily slide off the skin if nudged, but not tight enough to begin to deform the breast tissue.
So! Upper body parallel, measure with a snug and straight tape, and write that number down. For the sake of this example, let’s say 42 inches. Write it down.
Note: If you have pendulous breasts you may wish to take two measurements and average them. You can measure yourself once in the hanging position, then once in the standing position and average the two numbers.
I strongly suggest leaning towards the larger measurement. The vast majority of the “90% of women wear the wrong bra” crowd are wearing bras with radically undersized cups. Make sure there is room for your breasts and then work down to a snug cup fit!
Next we measure for the band. Wrap the tape around your torso, directly under the root of your breast. Wherever your breast tissue terminates into the torso, that’s where the band should be sitting. Even if it seems high (because you’re used to wearing poor fitting bras or you have breasts with a high root but signification slope) you want the band to sit at the root of the breast so that the breast tissue is laying nicely in the cups.
You want this measurement to be very snug. Pull the tape tight enough that it feels really snug but not so tight as to be a corset or a that it leaves a red mark in your skin. It’s important you get a snug measurement; If you start with a band that is an inch or more too big it will not only fail to support you right from the start but it will rapidly get worse.
So! Measure tight but not so tight that you leave a red mark on the skin. Write this measurement down. For the sake of this example, let’s say the measurement was 34 inches.
Armed with those numbers: 42 inches over the fullest point of the bust and 34 inches snug around the rib cage, it’s time to do some very minor calculating. You can do it manually or you can use a bra fit calculator. The big caveat is that 99% of bra fit calculators are absolute garbage; they’re so bad as to be completely useless.
That said, as of this writing (3/29/12) the bra fit calculator at Sophisticated Pair is excellent. Probably the best one online at the moment. If we plug in the numbers we got with our measuring, it suggests that our model would likely be comfortable wearing a US 34H or a UK 34FF.
If you’d like to calculate your bra size manually you need the band size and the difference between the bust size and the band size. In the case of our example the band size is 34 inches and the different is 8 inches. The cup size is determined by the difference (8 inches, in this case).
These are the most common measurements used by bra manufacturers [TAMI NOTE: I could not get this to paste correctly. Please visit original link to see the chart]
As far as the cups go… You want all the breast tissue in the cups. None bulging out in the arm pits, none being pushed back against your ribs, and none spilling out over the top of the cups (the dreaded quad-boob).
The band should be snug (you should be able to slide a finger or two under it comfortably, but no more), it should be parallel to the floor, it should touch your chest all the way around (if the band doesn’t sit flush to your breast bone in the front, that means the cups are too small and your breasts are lifting the band/gore away from your torso).
Here’s a quick trouble shooting list:
- Breasts spill over cup either on the tops or out the sides (like into the armpit area)? The cup is too small, go up a cup size.
- Bra cup is wrinkly? Either the cup is too big or the style of the cup isn’t suited to your breast shape (i.e. the cup is shaped to compliment a woman with upper pole fullness and you’re more of a lower pole kinda gal).
- Underwires are digging into your sides/armpits or aren’t flush against your ribs? Cup size too small, go up a cup.
- Band too tight? Increase band size.
- Band rides up in the back? (i.e. curves towards your neck, not parallel with the floor?) The band is too big, go down a band size.
- Gore doesn’t tack? (the center of the cups, where the underwires form a little bridge of sorts isn’t touching your torso?) Cup size is too small, go up a size.
- Straps painfully digging in? Loosen the straps to a two-finger tightness. Do your breasts sag? Then you were using the straps to over support them. You most likely need a tighter band.
Remember, the cup and band are not independent. If you make an adjustment to the cup or band size you need to make an adjustment to the other element. For example, if you’re wearing a 34H and you feel the band doesn’t fit well, your next stop should be a 32HH not a 32H (unless of course you’re attempting to diagnose a poor band and cup fit at the same time).
Most of all, it should be comfortable and flattering. Even if it meets all the requirements: breasts in cups, band flush, should straps not digging it… if it makes your boobs pointier than you’d like, gives them a weird shape, or otherwise doesn’t make you feel awesome… send it back. You’ve spent too much time wearing the wrong size bra to settle at this point in the project.
Back To Tami
A quick note: I’ve been “professionally” sized by four different locations recently, to find a strapless bra to wear in my friend’s wedding.
Every single location had a different size, and every single one of them differed from the above. One of them (*cough*Victoria’sSecret*cough*) was INCREDIBLY far off (they measured over my shirt and current wrong-size bra) AND they went so far as to cluck their tongue at me when I meekly asked if the fat rolls on my side were supposed to bulge like that. ”There are some things we can’t fix,” the girl said, obviously hinting that it was my body that was wrong, not their bras.
Note: I am NOT overweight, nor was I at the time I tried the bras on. Having been overweight and having worked to take all that extra poundage off, I am proud of my curvy body and I love the weight I am at. In no way, shape or form was that comment appropriate.
Even so, I find bra shopping to be demoralizing, uncomfortable, and demeaning. I never know if something fits just right, and places don’t like it if I ask Steven to come into the fitting room to help me verify whether something looks right. Sometimes, you just need a second opinion on that stuff.
Women? Don’t put up with that crap. Size yourself and find a bra that fits. I ended up being a 32DDD/F in american sizes, and I found quite a few nice bras in that size range at Macy’s (for ridiculously high prices. These bras had damn well better last me longer than the one I got at V.Secret.) I do not look like I am a DDD, but I fill these cups. Trust the measurement, and then go try things on.
Men? Wonder why your women have such terrible self-images? Crap like that is a lot more damaging than some photoshopped magazine models. Tell your woman she’s beautiful. Even if she doesn’t believe you at first, keep telling her. It took me a year of Steven telling me I was beautiful and sexy before I started to believe it, and I’m so very glad he was persistent.