Bra Fitting Guide: Tips for a Perfectly Fitted Bra

21 Jun

Correcting bra size can improve comfort & appearance!


Without a proper bra fitting and instruction, women size themselves incorrectly, which is why most of them are wearing the wrong size.


Poor-quality, ill-fitting bras can cause all kinds of annoyances – straps digging in, cups stretching out, under wires snapping or poking out, hooks tearing out.

According to many studies, over 80% of women aren’t wearing the correct bra size. This means that only 1 or 2 women out of every 10 are wearing the correct size!


Women get hung up on the labels, especially if they should be wearing harder-to-find sizes. If it fits, it’s going to look better, so ignore the number and letter, it’s like losing 10 pounds instantly when you’re wearing the right-size bra.

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If you don’t have access to a specialty fitting store or a local  Nordstrom, then an at-home measurement can give you a good idea of whether your current bra is sized correctly. There are two measurements you need to determine: band size and cup size. To find them, put on your best-fitting unpadded bra and stand in front of a mirror, holding a tape measure.
  • Band size: With the tape measure, measure around the top of your rib cage, directly under your bust. Be sure to keep the tape evenly horizontal to get the most accurate number possible. When you have the measurement, round it off to the nearest whole number. If the number is even, add 4 inches; if it’s odd, add 5 inches. Your band size is the sum of this calculation. (So if you measured 32 inches, your band size is 36. If you measured 33 inches, your band size is 38.)
  • Cup size: Place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust, again making sure that it stays as even as possible around your body. You also want the tape to be snug without digging into your skin. Round that measurement to the nearest even number and calculate the difference in inches between this number and your band size. A difference of 1 inch equals an A cup; 2 inches equals a B cup; 3 inches equals a C cup; and 4 inches equals a D cup. So if you measured a 36 band in the first step and you measured a 38 here, your cup size is B.

BQcDAAAAAwoDanBnAAAABC5vdXQKFnE3V3I2M3RLUmxXVDFteVVqUUxEX1EAAAACaWQKAXgAAAAEc2l6ZQUnderstand how a correctly fitted bra should look and feel. There are a few tell-tale sighs that indicate whether or not a bra fits you. Here’s what to keep an eye out for as you’re measuring yourself and trying on different sizes:

  • A snug band: The band is what should do the majority of the work supporting your breasts, not the straps. You should be able to put one or two fingers under the band, but no more.
  • Sufficient side coverage: You shouldn’t have any tissue coming out from the sides of the cups, beneath your armpits. On an underwire bra, you can assess side coverage with the underwire: if the end of it is pointing toward the middle of your armpit, you’re good to go.
  • A flat gore: The gore (the part of the bra band that’s between the cups) should sit flat against your chest, without digging into your skin uncomfortably. If it doesn’t, you’re wearing the wrong bra.
  • A smooth curve: Avoid the dreaded “quad-boob” that results from the top of a too-small cup cutting into breast tissue above the bra. Instead, look for a fit that results in a clean silhouette with no stray tissue.


Known as the “scoop and swoop,” this is a more correct way to make sure all of your breast tissue is in the bra: leaning forward, take hold of the under wires and give them a wiggle from side to side to make sure you’re settled comfortably into the cups.

Cups don’t always cover the entire breast, and some are designed to expose the top of the breast – like a half cup bra. No matter what style of bra you choose, you want a single, smoothly sweeping line from the bottom of the breast to the top, without any lumps, bumps, wrinkles or gaps.

For each side in turn, slip your hand into the side of the cup and lift each breast towards the center.


See how it looks with your top on. You’ve found a new bra that fits well, maybe in a different size or style to the ones you’re used to. Now it’s time to see what it does for your figure! It’s important to make sure your bra gives you a smooth line under fitted clothes.

  • If you look side on to the mirror, you should be able to see that your bust is approximately halfway between your elbow and your shoulder.
  • In a well fitting bra, your bust line will be supported at the right level. A lot of people find that their clothes fit a lot better, and they discover a waist that could never be seen before! If your bust line had previously been quite low because of a poorly supporting bra, you may even find that you need to wear a smaller dress size.
  • A fitted t-shirt will show up any bulges from cups which are too small, and likewise a molded bra that is not filled out will show lines at the bust where the edge of the cups are visible. It’s also useful to make sure that the color of your bra is not showing through a thin or light colored top – if you need to make your bra invisible, go for seamless cups which match your own skin color rather than the color of your top.
  • It is a common concern that wearing a smaller band size will make a big bulge around your back. However, these bulges are actually caused by the back of the bra riding up when it is too large. You should find that when the band sits lower at the back, it fits firmly and remains horizontal, rather than pushing upwards creating a bulge.

A good-quality bra, when properly taken care of, should last at least a year.

Bra fit and care tips

• Most women have one breast that’s bigger than the other. Fit to the bigger.

• Fit to the loosest hook so when the bra stretches out, you can tighten it.

• If your band measurement is an odd number, add an inch.

• The band should lie straight across the back, without pulling up or sagging down.

• Don’t wear the same bra two days in a row. Alternate them.

• Hand-wash bras or wash them on the gentle cycle.

• Hook bras together before putting them in the washer.

• Wash bras in a mesh garment bag.

• Don’t put bras in the dryer. Let them hang-dry.

• Store bras flat in a drawer. Don’t invert the cups.


The biggest myth about bra sizes: that a D cup looks the same on every band size, or that having small breasts automatically means you’re an A cup. Actually, cup size is proportional to band size — meaning it’s dependent on your band measurement. For instance, a 32 D will fill out less volume than a 36 D, but they’re both D cups.

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Ultimately, you’ll need to try on a bra to determine your best fit, since sizes vary between brands and bras.

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