The Right Way to Find a Perfect Bra

Finding a perfect bra may not always be easy, but the time spent will ensure a much better fit

The Right Way to Find a Perfect Bra

When it comes to bras, fit is the most important thing you should consider when shopping for one. It is often said that 85% of women wear the wrong bra size, and of course, this implies that 85% of women do not wear bras that fit well. This can lead to all sorts of problems including discomfort and medical problems, and can also cause problems with your clothing, and even accentuate parts of your body that you don’t like. Let’s change that today by going over a great method to find the perfect bra.

Here’s the basic method for determining your (US) bra size:

Put on your most comfortable bra.
With a tape measure, circle the tape measure around your rib cage, just below the breasts, and be sure that the breast tissue is not in the way of the tape. Also, take care to ensure the tape is parallel to the floor for the most accurate measurement.
If the number is less than 33″, add 5″
If the number is greater than 33″, add 3″
If you end up with an odd number, add one additional inch. This number is your band size.
Next, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of the bust, also ensuring that the tape measure is parallel to the floor. This is your bust measurement.
Next, subtract your band size from your bust measurement.
The number that remains is used to determine your cup size. See the following chart:

Once you’ve completed this exercise (or had a bra fit specialist do it for you), you now know your bra size.

The Right Way to Find a Perfect Bra

Of course, the problem with this method is that it doesn’t account for several things like:

Small (and sometimes large) variations in how bra manufacturers size their bras
Your unique shape
Various bra styles, and how they fit

Here’s the smart way to find a bra that fits well:

Instead of accepting your band and cup size all the time, use it as a guide. For example, if after measuring yourself, you discover that you’re a 40D, you’ll want to try on at least three different bra sizes for every style you’re interested in. Try a 40D, but also a 38 DD, and a 42C. In addition, you may want to try a 40 DD or a 40C as well. Why??

One thing that never gets explained is that as band sizes increase, cup sizes decrease. In the above example, a 40D, 38 DD, and 42C all share the exact same cup size. Of course, maybe the 40 band fits just right, but your breasts are actually larger or smaller. Another possibility is that you actually are a 40D, but the bra style you selected runs large or small, or has a shape that doesn’t quite fit you.

Here are some tips to select a more appropriate style for your shape:

If you have wider breasts that protrude from the chest less, try a soft cup style.
If you have more narrow breasts that protrude from the chest more, try a minimizer or full coverage bra
If your breast doesn’t fill the cup completely (The fabric buckles, or the bra doesn’t hold the breast against the chest when bending over, for example): Try a soft cup, a non-molded cup, a padded or push-up bra, or go down a cup size.
If your breast is too large for the cup (the breast spills out the top or bottom of the cups, or the center gore doesn’t lie flat on the chest): Try a full coverage, a soft-cup, a minimizer style, or move up a cup size.
If you find that your bra strap is digging in to your shoulders, find a bra with a wider band, and wider or padded straps. This will help take that weight off your shoulders, and reduce the pain that develops when your bra straps dig in to your shoulders.
If the bra band digs in to your back, go up a band size (and down a cup size), or find a bra with a wider back.


Finding a perfect bra may not always be easy, but the time spent will ensure a much better fit. Think about it: If you wear a bra for 8 hours a day, spending an extra hour at the department store will pay itself back to you when you find a bra that makes you feel good inside and out, all while being comfortable, supportive, and looking great under your clothes.

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