Bra Fitting: The Truth Exposed

I want to talk about bra fitting and what your body will look like when you actually wear the correct size. When I first started this blog, I toyed with the idea of having a bra fit guide included, but there are already so many good resources from plenty of bloggers and I didn’t want the sole focus of my blog to be THIS IS HOW A BRA SHOULD FIT AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.

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I recently left my job as a bra fitter of over 2 years, and even in that job sometimes the focus would move from the perfect fit and onto what each customer really wanted. I’ll admit, as a trained and experienced lingerie fitting consultant, it can be really difficult to stop focussing on the most absolute, perfect fit. Obviously, it is extremely important, especially for fuller busted women as the correct fit can literally change your life. However, sometimes certain aspects have to be overlooked. Sometimes you need to compromise things like the wires in the centre not lying completely flush, or women who don’t want to wear a smaller band but insist on wearing the bigger band size on the tightest hook (why tho?? It’s going to stretch out so quickly and if you’d just gone for the correct band size it would last so much better AND give you more support! But I digress).

SO. If you want to get the correct bra size, but don’t think anyone is measuring you properly or you feel uncomfortable/unsupported/in pain, I’m going to tell you how to find it. The best way to get fitted is by fitters who do it by sight, not with a measuring tape. One of the reasons so many women are in the incorrect size is due to the fact that they are measured with tape, and places which use this process tend to follow the old +4 method. What this means is that they are literally adding inches onto your underbust measurement that are NOT THERE. For example, I wear a 30 band. My underbust measurement is 31 inches, so technically I could wear a 32, but any that I try always feel much too loose and I feel the need to go to the tightest hook straight away. I recently went to get measured in a well-known department store trusted by most (British) women for the last couple of decades. I was interested to see how it would end up, knowing what I know now. They still use the measuring tape/+ 4 method. The lady ended up measuring me as a 36 (31+4, rounded up is 36. I DESPAIR). She also said she would keep the cup size the same… From a 30H to a 36H??? How did she not realise how massive the cups would be? For some reason though she ended up bringing me a 36F, which was ridiculous, looked and felt awful, but was probably not far off what I would have been wearing before I was fitted correctly, and it was not uncommon for me to fit women measured as this size but who ended up being more like a 32G!

ANYWAY. If you can’t make it to a reputable lingerie store for a fitting, measuring your underbust as a starting point is okay. Make sure you keep the tape in a straight line all the way around your body and have it RIGHT UNDERNEATH YOUR BUST. Not around your waist, and not with the tape riding up towards your shoulder blades. This is not where your bra should be so it’s not where the tape should be.  Whatever you measure around here pretty much dictates what band size you should be wearing. Measuring as 34 inches? Wear a 34 band. Are you in between? Try both sizes, and go with whichever one feels more comfortable and supportive. The band should sit in a straight line across your back, not riding up or having to be pulled down low to fit. You should be able to wear it comfortably on the loosest set of hooks at first, then move into the tighter ones as it stretches out over time. You should also be able to fit two fingers under the band comfortably, with about an inch to two inches stretch, BUT NO MORE. Sometimes when women find their correct band size, it can be too much of a jump to handle straight away. For example, if you need to go down two band sizes but it feels too strange at first, try wearing just the next one down for a while, and gradually work your way down to the correct size to give your body time to get used to the firmer feeling.

And while we’re on the subject of the correct band size and how firmer is better…if you have fat on your body, especially on your back or under your bra line, a well fitting bra WILL highlight this. Being able to see rolls of fat doesn’t mean the bra doesn’t fit. It just means there is fat on your body, WHICH IS TOTALLY FINE. Also, the heavier your bust, the more pressure it will put on the surrounding area. But the correct size is doing SO MUCH WORK and literally taking the weight off your shoulders and back, and ends up correcting a lot of pain issues for a lot of women (myself included). A lot of women struggle with this when trying on bras in the correct size, because suddenly the insecurities and “flaws” they’ve been trying to ignore for so long are suddenly much more obvious. It’s not that you suddenly have more “imperfections”, it’s just that a correctly fitting bra makes your body look different to what you’ve been used to seeing in the wrong size! And that’s okay! And I’m going to share a lot of photos showing you how a bra should fit and you’ll see my rolls n bumps in all their glory! Also, would you rather the band is nice and firm, lifting your boobs up and giving you great cleavage, or have them hanging around your waist because the band is too loose? As a fellow bra fitter once said, “it’s either back fat or saggy tits, mate!” I know what I’d prefer.

For the sake of comparison, I will also share the photos I took from when I was “measured” as a 36 so you can see what a difference the correct size really does make!

Now that you have the band size, you need to figure out the cup size. This seems to be where people struggle a lot more. Most people aren’t taught how the band size relates to the cup, and how moving up or down in one part affects what size you need to take in the other. Boobs are a volume measurement, which is why it can be so difficult to get the right size and why using a tape just isn’t the best way to do it. As my old boss said, “it’s like trying to measure a pint of milk with a ruler.” IT AIN’T GONNA WORK! The band size and cup size are relative to each other. Without going into too much confusing detail, you just need to know that as you change one, you also need to change the other to balance them out. So if you go down in the band but don’t need to change the cup size, you still need to take a bigger cup size to balance it out. There is a term we lingerie gals sometimes use which is “sister sizes”. This refers to how you can SORT OF get away with a bra that isn’t your true size, because it is roughly equivalent to what you should wear. Par exemple, if your correct size is a 32DD, but you can’t get it, you could get away with either a 34D (up in the band = down in the cup) OR a 30E (down in the band = up in the cup). TRY not to think about it too much, just remember that you do need to adjust these things if you’re playing around with different sizes. This is also what freaks a lot of women out when the find their true size. Because most stores only stock the “matrix” or core sizes (eg in and around 32A-38DD) most women who are heavier busted tend to be put into the biggest band size/cup size combo available.

This is also why there is a misconception that a DD cup is THE BIGGEST THING IN THE WORLD. Sorry, but it just isn’t. In fact, women who are actually around a D cup would actually be considered to have very small boobs. And honestly, in my 2+ years of fitting, I can genuinely count on one hand the women I fitted who were smaller than a D cup. And yet DD+ women are the ones made to feel abnormal. BUT WHATEVER. The times they are a-changin and all that. Onto how the cup should fit. The wires in the middle should ideally lie flush against your chest, separating your boobers and not squishing them together. If you find the wires sit forward, it means the cup is too small. Try bigger cup sizes until the wires are sitting all flat and cosy. The wires at the side should also be sitting away from the breast tissue, not on top of it or cutting into it, with nothing spilling out under your armpits. Everybody’s boobs are different shapes, so you need to make sure you check the fit by lifting your arms and checking the sides. Some people have overflow at the front, some have it at the sides. And again, if you are spilling out of the cup at all, it’s time to size dat cup up! It tends to be more obvious to most people when the cup is too big. If your boobs aren’t completely filling the cups, go down a size.

Oh, and just to make it all the more complicated, like clothes, not all bras fit the same. You do need to try them all on, even when you think you’re 100000000% positive. Different brands are cut slightly differently, different cup shapes will fit differently, and even the colour of the fabric can affect the fit. Just, try everything on. Always.

I hope this very eloquently written guide is of use to some of you. If you ever have any questions, please don’t feel like you can’t contact me! My email address is on the contact page, but I also reply to messages through my Facebook page and DMs on my Instagram (just search H Cup Chronicles on both!)

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When you wear the right bra size, you can jump up and down to your heart’s content without having to worry about boob mishaps!