Wearing a correctly fitted bra is extremely important to help insure good breast health. Like other parts of our body, if your breasts are not looked after they will age prematurely and cause us pain and discomfort.
A correctly fitted bra will not only help to accentuate your figure, giving you a defined waist and slimmer look, but also will also help to support and hold your breasts in place. Reducing bounce, pain and discomfort and premature sagging.f
What do bra sizes mean?
Some bras come in easy sizing XS-XXL, they will hold a number of cups sizes in the one bra size. These bras are not cup specific and should generally only be worn as a lounge or comfort bra, because they will not provide you with the levels of support that a cupped bra will provide for all day wear.
Cupped sized bras come in a range of different sizes starting from an A cup (a very small breast size) up to an M cup and larger in some cases, depending on the brand. The higher you go up in the alphabet the larger the breast size.
E.g. (US sizing) 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30FF, 30G, 30H, 30I, 30J, 30L, 30M…
The number before the letter of the alphabet determines the under band size. Combined they work together for your perfect fit.
Each country (region) has a different bra sizing formula. Most brands will list all regions with the converted bra size for your convenience.
(US) 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 32E, 32F, 32G, 32H…
(CA) 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 32E, 32F, 32G, 32H…
(UK) 32A. 32B, 32C, 32D, 32DD, 32E, 32F, 32FF…
(EU) 70A, 70B, 70C, 70D, 70DD, 70E, 70F, 70FF…
(AU/NZ) 10A, 10B, 10C, 10D, 10DD, 10E, 10F….. 8FF…
What bra sizes are for the fuller bust?
It is easy to confuse fuller bust with fuller figure. Fuller bust refers to the actual size of the breast and not the under band measurement E.g. 30G
A fuller figured women would usually have a larger under band measurement, but not necessarily have large breasts E.g. 42D
When we refer to a fuller bust we are referring to sizes FF cups and above.
In the past it has not always been easy for fuller busted women to find attractive bras, as they are often expensive, in limited supply and not necessary very flattering to wear.
The good news is that a lot more brands are now catering for the fuller bust as demand has driven supply. Many brands are specializing in designs for the fuller bust that are not only beautiful to look at, but provide a great shape and support too.
A good fitting bra can make or break an outfit, your mood, your budget or just send you crazy. To help you out, here is a set-by-step guide to take out the guess work.
STEP 01: LOWER BUST MEASUREMENT (BAND)
Measure around the band of your body while wearing a non-padded bra. (We recommend measuring in inches that will provide for a more accurate result)
The measuring tape should be level and snug. Most women find it difficult to measure themselves correctly and sometimes obtain a different measure each time. If you use a mirror, you will be able to see the tape measure lay flat along the back band of your bra – this should be parallel to the floor.
Once you have the tape measure in place, breathe out and relax (this will be counter intuitive when you have a tape measure around you, as you will be used to ‘sucking in’). When you inhale, your rib cage expands and when you exhale and relax, you will be able to pull the tape measure firmer to obtain a more accurate reading.
Round to the next whole number. Then refer to the chart below to determine your band size. (If you measured 27.4 inches, then round to 28. Your band size is hence a 32)
STEP 02: OVER BUST MEASUREMENT (CUP)
Now measure around your breasts where they are at their fullest. This will be where your nipple is. (Use the same care as in the previous step). The tape measure will need to sit on the upper edge of the hook and eye and be as parallel to the floor as possible. This is usually tricky to get right. Do not press the tape measure between your breasts; it should be as straight as possible between your nipples.
Round off to the next whole number (If you measured 34.6 inches, then round to 35) to get your bust size.
STEP 03: CALCULATE YOUR SIZE
Now deduct ‘BAND’ measurement from your ‘CUP’ measurement and refer to the table below to work out your ‘Cup Size’.
Example (inches): 35” (CUP) – 32” (BAND) = 3 (C cup) – your recommended size is a 32C
The band is the first thing you want to make sure fits you properly.
If you are struggling to do it up and cannot fit 1 finger under the band, this is too tight.
If you can fit 4 fingers (your hand sideways) under the back of the band, then this is too big. It will ride up your back and will not offer you the support that you need.
The 2-finger rule is a good one to go by so that there is enough stretch and the bra is working to support you.
When fitting the bra, fit it on the middle hook. This will allow for any shrinking and when the elastics become used, you can tighten the hooks to allow for this.
Many women are not wearing the correct size band – the band is usually far too big and the support is not there. If you usually wear a size 10 in clothing, you will not be a size 14 in the band.
Make sure the cups are fully encompassing the breasts with the wires/channel not being on the actual breast tissue, these should be on the chest wall and rib cage.
If you are fitting a non-wired bra, the design may not allow for the channel to sit against the chest – just make sure the cups are not digging in at all.
By leaning forward and adjusting the cups centre front to sit on your chest, then scoop (yes scoop) your breasts into the correct position by aiming your nipple at the cross seam of the cup (or deepest point of the mould) and then you can do a little shuffle to make sure everything else is in place. Sounds like a dance.
Don’t be surprised if you are 3 – 4 cup sizes bigger than you thought you were. It’s better to have a properly fitting and supporting bra rather than be uncomfortable.
The top cup should not dig in at all, there should be enough room in there for you to run a finger up and down and not have a side profile of a double boob. If it’s too big, then tighten the straps.
Don’t give up fitting until you have adjusted the straps. There’s a lot of components to make a bra fit, if you do them in this order, you’re more likely to achieve the better
The same rule of thumb should apply for the straps. They should not be so tight that you cannot get your thumb in underneath them. If you can fit you hand underneath them, then the straps are too loose.
Don’t get stuck on a particular style. There are many different styles and shapes out there and they will not suit all figures, even if you do get the correct size.
If you are looking for a particular dress or a particular shirt, take that shirt with you when you are trying. Once you realise your correct size and the styles that suit you. There can be a new found confidence within. So look out world.
Bras mistakes to avoid
It is important to be patient when buying a bra. Avoid these common mistakes, as they can be costly. We all have bras that just sit in the draw and never get worn.
- Avoid purchasing the first bra you see. Try many on first before determine the right bra for you.
- Consider your lifestyle and the type of bra that will get the most wear. Should you wear a lot of T-shirts looks for bras that have a contoured look to help create a smooth profile form under T-shirts.
- Avoid penny pinching. A good supportive bra will cost a little more. The investment is worth it as the bra will do a better job supporting you, and will be more durable.
- When you find a brand that works for you, stick with it.
- Find a local bra fitter and get fitted for your bras when purchasing. This will help to ensure your bras are fitting you correctly.
- Buy the correct size. Don’t convince yourself that a bra with a band size up or down from yours will do. The band actually provides 80% of the support in your bra. It will make a difference.
- Always try the bra on before purchasing it. The fabrics and materials may feel uncomfortable or itchy when on.
- Brands all have their own unique fit and styling. A 30G in one brand may not fit the same as a 30G in another.
- Never purchase for look over function. Looks can be deceiving, and whilst pretty may not provide the function you need.