Out on my favorite running trail this weekend, I saw a woman running toward me who immediately caught my eye because her running top with its built-in shelf bra was doing her no favors. All that movement looked horribly uncomfortable, not to mention a little goofy. But it inspired me to write a post about the importance of wearing the right bra size.
It’s estimated the vast majority of us are wearing the wrong bra size. We tend to wear a larger band size and smaller cup size than what’s warranted. Anyone who’s ever spent a day fidgeting with an ill-fitting bra, sporting the dreaded uni- or quadruple-boob look, or bemoaning the presence of back fat can tell you wearing the right bra size will make or break an outfit.
While there’s no standardized method for determining bra size, you basically measure around your rib cage, just under your breasts. Some bra fitters say to add five inches to that number to get your band size – i.e. 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, etc. But others say to add only two to three inches or even to add nothing, since bra bands are elasticized.
Next, measure around the fullest part of your breast. The difference between the two measurements is what determines your cup size. A difference of up to 1” = A (or AA); 2” = B; 3” = C; 4” = D and so on. Here’s one site that provides detailed information about measuring, but there are dozens of sites that demonstrate how to measure yourself.
The most accurate way to measure your bra size is to have someone else measure you. Almost any major department store will offer a bra fitting service. (In Austin, I go to Petticoat Fair.) If you’re anxious about having to disrobe so that someone else can measure you, you can be measured wearing a non-padded bra.
Even after being measured, consider it your starting point. Finding the right bra takes time and you will still need to try on many bras to find your proper fit. As with clothing, different brands will fit you differently, so be patient.
One last note on the subject: It’s important to measure or be measured every six months, or whenever your body undergoes a change, such as weight gain or loss, pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives.
Happy bra hunting!