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How to measure bra size

Trust Your Bust – How to Measure Your Bra Size

From the moment our boobs begin to grow, we are bamboozled by bras. If it’s not how to get it on, or fasten the clasp, it’s how to measure bra size and select the right bra in the first place? From 28AA to 40HH there is a lot of size variation out there. Sure, the principles of measuring your bra are (and should be) the same wherever you go. So then, how did I vary between a 34GG to a 38D on the same day depending on the person who measured me? Measuring bra size is not a straightforward science, we are not dealing with straight lines, more like super curvy ones – with lumps and bumps getting in the way.

So, just how to measure for a bra? Well, with a little bit of knowhow, a tape measure and a mirror, there is no reason why you can’t do it yourself. So read on, and find out how you can measure for your own bra size to be able to purchase bras with confidence.

P.S – If you want to become the ultimate bra buying expert, then why not check out my other blogs on all things boobtastic too – like The Ultimate Bra Fitting Guide to learn how to check if your bra fits correctly, or even Boob Shapes and Bra Styles to help you make the most of your assets with the right style of bra.

woman trying how to measure your bra size

Time to Take Control…

During bra measuring and fittings, all too often we stand there clueless, as we watch a complete stranger wrap their arms around our wobbliest bits to strap a thin tape around said wobblies, whilst predicting what size they think we should be. Actually, there is a very simple formula to follow, and it is nothing that can’t be done with a measuring tape and a mirror.

First things first, there are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself before measuring bra size:
1) How does your current bra feel on you right now?
2) How old is the bra?

If the bra you are wearing now feels ok, then skip the measuring and jump straight to checking if it fits you well. If you follow the steps and all seems ok – then take your bra off and look what size it is. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.

If you don’t feel like it fits very well, then why? Is it feeling baggy, or is it something else? How old is your bra? Remember, just like your boobs, bras will get a bit saggy over time. If your bra is over a year old and feels a little loose then probably worthwhile checking the measurements and possibly ordering a new one, even if it is your favourite.

Time to get into detail.

How to Measure for a Bra…

1. Measure Around Your Body

With your bra on, measure around your rib cage (just below where your current bra sits right under your boobs). Make sure the measuring tape sits flat and firmly onto your skin – don’t let it sag, nor pull it too tight so your skin bulges around it. Do this in the mirror so you can make sure the tape is horizontal all the way round, it shouldn’t drop down in the back. Then write down the measurement on a piece of paper.

Measuring Bra Size - Measure Around Your Body

Remember bra sizes are generally measured in inches in the UK so don’t be tempted to go metric, write down the inch measurement! Also don’t be fooled into thinking this body measurement is actually your band size or you’ll be squeezing yourself into a bra far too small. In order to find the bra that fits you best you need to add upto 4 inches onto your body measurement to find the correct band size for you – but more on that later.

2. Measure Around Your Cups

Still with your bra on, measure around the fullest part of your breast (this is normally around your nipple so aim for that and you can’t go far wrong). Again follow the rules, make sure the tape is flat without baggage or bulging, and keep it straight all the way round. Find your measurement and write it down in inches.

Measuring Bra Size - Measure Around Your Cups

3. Calculate

Ok so this is where the science (or should I say maths) kicks in. You have your body measurement already, to calculate your cup size you need to do a bit of subtraction. Subtract your Body Measurement from your Cup Measurement. The difference between the numbers is your cup size…

Cup Measurement – Body Measurement = Cup Size (in number format)

So woop-di-woop you have your cup size as a number, but cup sizes are alphabetical I hear you cry. Here’s a simple conversion for you:

Less than 1 inch (2.5cm) – AA
1 inch (2.5cm) – A
2 inches (5cm) – B
3 inches (7.5 cm) – C
4 inches (10 cm) – D
5 inches (12.5 cm) – DD
6 inches (15 cm) – E
7 inches (18 cm) – F
8 inches (20.5 cm) – FF
9 inches (23 cm) – G
10 inches (25.5 cm) – GG

4. Finding Your Band Size

Like many things about fashion, getting a simple body measurement to find out your band size just isn’t enough. You need to convert it too. I mean, how on earth do we calculate shoe sizes in the UK, or clothes sizes – it is a magical formula that we have no idea about but trust implicitly. Different bra brands in the UK have different recommendations to find your true band size. Some say to add 4 inches to your body measurement, some add 2 and a few add none at all. In truth, the band size is good to find out as a guide, but it should literally be that. A guide for you to start trying bras on in the right ball park measurement for you to do the right checks and find the actual perfect fit for you – whatever that size may be.

If you want a good rule of thumb, then either follow the add 4 rule, or try the mid point size between your body and cup measurements (ie, if your body measurement is 32 and your cup measurement is 36, then try a 34 bra size). Above all, remember it is a guide, a starting point for your fitting.

… And you’re done. Now you know how to measure bra size, it’s time to take your measurements and put them into practice. Happy bra hunting – shop our bra sets here.

Other guides in this series…
Trust Your Bust – The Ultimate Bra Fitting Guide
Trust Your Bust – Boob Shapes and Bras – The Ultimate Guide [Infographic]

About the Author Maggie Emstone

Maggie doesn’t hold back when it comes to helping you enhance your assets. A serial underwear shopper, with several top drawers to prove it, Maggie is a positive fountain of knowledge when it comes to your undies…

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