Hi guys I’m obsessed with this shit lately because I don’t want anyone to have unhappy, unsupported boobs like I did. Even if you think your boobs and bras are fine, try it. It will make a big difference in comfort, support, and shape, even if you have small boobs or big boobs. A proper fitting bra can fix back, shoulder, and neck pain, along with breast soreness – and it can help you look 10lbs lighter, and your breasts a hell of a lot perkier. This guide also works for proper-sized bikinis and bathing suits (many online stores linked to below sell both- sometimes for as low as 10$!)
Don’t just like this, REBLOG IT. EVERYBODY WITH BOOBS DESERVES A PROPER FIT. Even if you don’t wear bras yourself, spread it around to tumblr or with your friends or family.
Grab a soft tape measurer (use inches) and get nekkid – don’t wear a bra or shirt please, you don’t wear a bra or shirt underneath your bra, do you? This part is fast and easy, and will help you find your ‘Starting Point’ bra size – you may not end up in this exact size, but it will get you in the right ballpark.
How to Measure:
- Measure your underbust – go right underneath the root of your breasts, but make sure the tape is straight/parallel to the floor. Take a firm, snug measurement – if you have chub, take it tighter.
- Measure your bust bent over – bend forward so your back is parallel to the floor and your boobs are hanging so you have access to all that beautiful breast tissue that is now brought forward. Measure very loosely around the nipples, keeping tape straight/horizontal/perpendicular to the floor.
- If your breasts are kind of empty and/or have a lot of sag, this method may overestimate your cup size. Instead, take your bust measurement bent over, standing, and lying flat on your back, and take an average of those three measurements and use that for your calculations.
How to Use These Measurements to find your ‘Starting Size’:
- Round up your underbust measurement to the nearest even number. If you are only half an inch or less away from being a lower size, use that instead (unless you have a bony ribcage). This is automatically your band size. No BS. There is no adding imaginary inches here.
- The difference between your underbust measurement and your bust measurement dictates your cup size. Every 1 inch in difference represents a cup size, so 1 inch = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, 4 = D. As you can see here, a true D or DD cup is actually pretty fucking small.
- CUP SIZES ARE NOT STANDARD, UNLIKE COMMONLY THOUGHT (AND TOLD TO US BY ASSHOLES LIKE VS). They are TOTALLY relative to band size. The cup on a 30D has 4 inches less volume than the cup on a 34D. A 30D is actually the same cup size as a 34B!
- No one has their shit together on the lettering for each cup size, so here’s a handy dandy chart. Remember to go with UK measurement as they somewhat have their shit together (and because American companies do not make much above DD, so there’s literally no point in knowing it, but the European sizing may come in handy)
- I DON’T CARE IF YOU LIVE IN THE USA, DO NOT USE THE AMERICAN MEASUREMENTS, FFS. YOU’LL ONLY MAKE THINGS HARDER AND MORE CONFUSING FOR YOURSELF. ANY BOUTIQUE IN NORTH AMERICA WORTH GOING TO, AND 99% OF ONLINE STORES, IS GOING TO SELL PRIMARILY BRITISH OR EUROPEAN BRANDS AND WILL GO BY THEIR SIZING. THERE IS LITERALLY NO POINT IN KNOWING AMERICAN SIZING
- DO NOT USE AMERICAN SIZING
- DO NOT USE AMERICAN FUCKING SIZING
- EVEN IF YOU ARE AMERICAN
- AND LIVE IN THE US
- USE THE BRITISH SIZING
- For example, I have a 29.5 inch underbust and a 38 inch bust when bent over. So, I should take a 30 band and then there’s an 8 inch difference. So I am a 30FF in UK sizing. This is just my starting point when looking for bras, and I may not always end up with this exact size
- Do not pull the ‘omg no I’m not a G cup my boobs aren’t that big you’re more stupid that the idea of vegetable bread’ shit with me ok? You drank the Kool-Aid and now you need to piss it out. CUP SIZES ARE NOT STANDARD. A 34D IS BIGGER IN THE CUPS THAN A 30E. Here, take a look at a chart of cup volumes and see what I mean.
- Also… not all ‘big cup’ bras are ugly and granny-like. Just check out brands like Freya or Gossard or Gorteks or Panache or Cleo! They are gorgeous!
Trying it on: What a proper fit is like
- ALWAYS SCOOP AND SWOOP BEFORE ASSESSING WHETHER IT FITS OR NOT. What does this mean? This means bend over, hike up your bra so that it sits right under the root of your breasts. Then, start smooshing all your back fat and armpit rolls or any loose tissue thats underneath or to the side of the cup, INTO the cup. All that stuff is breast tissue that got pushed around from your shitty bras, no I am not bullshitting – after a few months of wearing better bras, many people end up having to get a bigger cup and sometimes even a smaller band too, as all the smooshed breast tissue migrates back to the boob, where it should be. Not kidding. So get everything in there and make sure the wire is positioned perfectly under your boobs. Then stand up and assess the fit. If it seemed to fit before scooping, it won’t fit now.
- THIS IS JUST A STARTING POINT. Try on your starting size and work from there. You may need to go up or down a band size, or up or down many cup sizes. Not all brands or even models in that brand are made the same way, and the shape of your boobs also helps determine the size and fit, so don’t try on JUST the size you calculated, say “it doesn’t fit”, and then give up and go back to your 36Cs. You aren’t doing yourself any favours. If you don’t feel comfortable in your ‘starting point size’, go ahead and try a size up or down in bands and/or a size or two or even three up or down in cups as needed.
- ALWAYS start on the loosest hook. If you need to start on the tightest hook, go down a band size. The point of hooks is simple – as your bra gets used, it gradually loses its elasticity and gets loose. So, you use your hooks to bring it in, and when you reach the last hook, well, be prepared to get rid of your bra in a few months (unless you invest in a band tightener like the Rixie Clip)
- A proper fit means the bra band is straight and parallel to the floor. If it isn’t, and seems to be getting pulled up, its too big and isn’t supporting you. Get a smaller band. You shouldn’t be able to stretch it more than a couple inches off your back. It may feel tight at first, but bras do need ‘breaking in’ and you are used to wearing things that do not fit correctly, so give it a chance. Of course, it should not hurt either!
- A proper fit means your bra straps are not digging in.
- A proper fit means the gore (the little centerpiece of the bra where the wires sort of meet) MUST tack/sit firmly against your chest. If it doesn’t, then the wires are not truly fully underneath your boobs and so are not giving you the proper support.
- A proper fit means your boobs must fit smoothly into the entire cup (after scooping and swooping). The wire should totally encase all your breast tissue (this includes armpit fat and stuff). There should be no empty space at the bottom or top of the cup. Your boobs should not be overflowing from the top of the cup. If there’s overflowing or uncontained tissue after scooping, or of it feels tight, get a bigger cup.
- A proper fit means you should be able to lift your arms over your head and jump around without the band or underwire budging or exposing underboob.
Size Tweaks/Troubleshooting (make sure you scoop and swoop first):
- The band feels tight: Is the gore tacking or not? If not, go up a cup size or two (or maybe even three or four). Even if the gore is tacking, try this first. The band may be tight because the cups are too small, so your boobs are stretching the band out too much to overcompensate for lack of cup depth, making it feel tighter. If after trying larger cups, it still feels uncomfortably tight, go up a band size (and down a cup size if the first size fit well in the cups – remember, cup is relative to band, a 32DD is the same in the cups as a 34D). Remember though that it takes a few days to break a bra in, so it may feel tight or perfect at first, and then comfortable or too loose later.
- The band feels loose/band is riding up and not remaining parallel to the floor: Go down a band size (and up a cup size or two because blablah relativity).
- The gore is not tacking, but band is not tight: Band size is too big, or maybe fits just right – but the cups are too small. You know what to do.
- Boobs spilling over: Go up a cup size. Check first though that the bottom of the cup is not empty, and hike it up if it is!
- Empty space at bottom of cup: Hike that shit up so it gets right to the roots of your breasts. This may fix bulging/spillage. If you can’t get it higher, then you need a smaller cup or this make of bra is just not suited to your shape.
- Empty space at top of cup: You need a smaller cup, or this shape of bra just does not suit you your breasts, especially if your breasts are not very full on top. Or you need to scoop and swoop!
- Straps digging in: Loosen them. If your boobs suddenly sag, then the band is not supportive enough, and you need a tighter band.
- Armpit rolls: Bigger cup and/or scoop and swoop that shit. The cut of bra may also just not be for you (for now anyway – your armpit rolls may migrate back into the boobs and disappear eventually!)
- They don’t even make my size!!: If you’re in a 28-48 D-KK (UK sizing) cup, you will find your size online easily enough. however, if you have a smaller band than that or need smaller cups, they are hard to find – message me and I’ll try to help you with a solution!
- So, for example, my starting size may be 30FF, but I may end up wearing a 28G or H if the band of that model is too loose and the gore not tacking. Or the band may be fine and I may need a bigger cup so I’ll get a 30G. Or The band may be good but the cups too big, so I’ll get a 30F or E. Or the band may be too small to be comfortable and I’ll wear a 32F or E (same cupsize-ish as 30FF!).
What Not to Do:
- NEVER PUT YOUR BRA IN THE DRYER. AND PREFERABLY, WASH IT BY HAND. The heat and twisting ruins the elasticity of the bra and reduces its life! This is the best way to ruin bras, don’t do it.
- Do not add 3 or 4 or 5 inches or whatever to your band measurement. That is BS that American companies use so that they don’t have to manufacture a larger range of sizes – they use it to fit you into their stock, not their stock onto you. The band will be too big and unsupportive. Those 4 inches they add to the band are 4 inches that should be in the cup size, so no wonder people think anything over DD should be huge.
- Do not measure your ‘overbust’ cause really what the fuck does that have to do with how large you are underneath your boobs, come on
- Do not do the above because 80% of the support comes from the band, which needs to be firm against you and not be sliding or moving around.Would you wear underwear 4 inches bigger than your hips? No, so why would you wear a bra band 4 inches bigger than your ribcage that gets pulled up and stuff and would fall off if not for the straps, while expecting it to support the boobies at the same time?
- Do not go down a band size and then forget to go up a cup size or two. Again, cup sizes are not static. A 30FF is the same cup volume as a 32F or E. If you don’t do this, no shit the bra will fit badly or feel tight.
- Do not go straight to Victoria’s Secret or La Senza or whatever, even if you are lucky enough to fit in their small range of sizes – they don’t seem to follow sizing very well. Still, try, by all means, but be aware that their bras may be odd compared to others.
"But where do I get these Bras? I’ve never even seen these sizes!“
Luckily, the internet makes this shit really easy. Buying bras online is nearly always way cheaper, even with shipping, and even if coming from somewhere in Europe! But of course, its best to try on stuff first, to avoid the hassle of return shipping (even though its still not that expensive – just annoying). So what I advise is to find a store near you, try stuff on there, note down the Brand, Model, and Size, and then buy it online for up to a quarter of of the in-store price.
If you can’t find a store near you, online ordering is still extremely cheap, even with return shipping. Instead of getting a whole bunch of bras in only 1 size each, pick out a few models and order a few sizes of each. Ex: one with a bigger or smaller band if your measurements are close to needing a bigger or smaller band size, and then some up or down a couple cup sizes so you can compare the fit. When you have the perfect fit in one bra, it will be easier to go on Bratabase or r/ABraThatFits and have them suggest bras that give similar shape or suggest a different size to you as a model you’re interested in may run large or small.
So, Where to Find:
- Note: You can find proper-sized bras as low as 10$ US online (particularly from ebay or brastop.com) and most average 30-45$.
- List of Online Retailers from BustyResourcesWiki: A complete list of online retailers around da world. Many ship internationally so take a look at all of them (particularly the UK ones)
- Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon all have bras inexpensively.
- List of Offline Retailers from BustyResourcesWiki: List of chain-stores (not of privately owned stores)
- If in Canada, look for a Change Lingerie near you to try on bras. Note that they only carry their own brand.
- If in the USA, look for a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack near you to try on bras. They carry all sorts of brands and have an online store as well (and also ship to Canada!)
- Use a store locator from the webpage of a bra brand company to find non-chain, privately owned stores – if they have one of these brands, they’ll have others. Here’s the locator for Freya, Curvy Kate, Fantasie, Chantelle, Panache, and Affinitas. There are more than just these of course.
- If you are small in the band AND in the cup (under a D cup) look at the Little Bra Company.
- Ask around on Bratabase or r/ABraThatFits for stores near you.
- WOMAN, YOU HAVE THE INTERNET! GOOGLE! YELP!
WARNING: There are many chain stores (Nordstrom, Lane Bryant, Mark and Spencer, Change etc) that do bra fittings and have a good reputation. However, each store is different – some measure correctly, and some use the stupid VS method. Every store has a different team of employees and knowledge. DO NOT GO IN WITHOUT HAVING MEASURED YOURSELF FIRST, JUST IN CASE THEY ARE ONE OF THE BAD STORES. DO NOT TRUST ALL BRA FITTERS, EVEN IF SOMEONE RECOMMENDED THEM TO YOU. If your fitter gives you a measurement different from this one, be mentally prepared to have a difficult time getting them to help you find the right bra.
I had the fitter at Change help me, and when I mentioned that the gore did not tack, she said “Oh, the gore never touches the chest with these bras”. I was like HAHA NOPE BRING ME A LARGER CUP WOMAN. And lo and behold, 2 extra cup sizes later, the gore tacked (and my boobs stopped spilling out). She was very nice otherwise but if I hadn’t known better that could have been bad.
- r/ABraThatFits: forum for bras, they will help you with sizing, fitting, and finding the right model for your breast shape – they have links to a lot of resources, such as online stores, used bra listings, etc.
- Busty Resources Wiki: Great resource for fitting tips, diagrams, explanations, styles.
- Bra Band Project: an online gallery of what various sizes look like! Dump your disbelief!
- List of Online Retailers: Online is MUCH cheaper and shipping is usually cheap too, even from Europe. Try bras in a store near you , pick out what you like, and order them online instead.
- Bratabase: Database of bras, with user inputted measurements of each bra model in its size – bras may be marked the same size, but with this you can see which may have bigger or smaller bands or cups, or what style may suit what shape of breast, all of which helps find the perfect fit for you!
- Great Youtube Video on Bra Fitting: This is one of the few people on Youtube who knows their shit about bras. Great for the visuals to help you understand what a bad fit and proper fit look like.
- Venusian Glow is a great bra blog – SO MUCH INFO. Suggests bras based on your boob shape amongst other things.
Reblogging to pass this information on.
I have seen many patients with back pain that could have been helped with properly fitting bras.
I actually took the time to go for a bra fitting after some encouragement from my boyfriend. We went to Nordstrom and the woman followed the instructions above to determine my bra size. Btw, I did do this at home first to see if I was close to accurate. I was sized at Victoria’s Secret a few years ago as a 36DD, had perpetual boob spillage and my back hurt almost constantly while my straps dug into my shoulders. The verdict from Nordstrom? I’d been incorrectly fitted and was actually a 36H/34I.
If it wasn’t for this post, I would’ve been threatening a breast reduction and eventually followed through. Also, my boobs don’t feel anywhere near as large or in the way as the improper bras made them feel.
It’s also worth noting that – especially for the really small hand hard-to-find band sizes – you CAN have your bra band taken in a couple of inches to help with better fit or to prolong the life of a stretched-out band.
I was super impressed that Torrid had a chart of cup-size equivalents posted in their bra section, so that even though I only found one 38 F I managed to easily find two more sale bras that I could easily tailor down to my proper size.