Wondering how a bra should fit? To answer this age-old question,
we’ve rounded up our top tips and tricks for getting the perfect bra fit at home.
Much like finding the best jeans for your shape, bras need to be tried on. But due to lockdown and the closure of shops, this just isn’t possible. And in the absence of a helpful bra fitting expert, we’ve been left to assume whether or not a bra’s the right fit. Which, safe to say, can sometimes prove less than successful.
So to save you the disappointment of a top drawer that’s full of bra’s you can’t wear, we’ve rounded up some editor-approved tips and tricks on everything from measuring bra size to finding the best bra for you.
Five tell-tale signs you’re wearing the wrong bra size
When figuring out how a bra should fit, it’s best to start with a quick look through your bra drawer.
Chances are, you’re holding on to a fair amount of bras that fundamentally aren’t fitting you as they should. In fact, as of 2019, a whopping 90% of UK women aren’t wearing the right bra size, according to a study by Nudea. Across the pond in the US, women face the same problem, with about 80% of women estimated to be buying the wrong bra size.
So how do we know whether or not our bra fits correctly? Here are some sure-fire ways to figure out if you’re wearing the correct bra size or not.
1. It’s leaving red idents on your skin
Nothing is more uncomfortable than a bra that doesn’t fit. Whether it’s a classic case of the bra band fitting too small, or you’re compensating for a bra that’s too big by overly tightening the straps, it’s time to get the measuring tape out.
2. You can see it through your clothes
Sometimes, you intentionally want your bra to peek through your clothes – i.e., you’re wearing a tight-fitting top with a lace bra underneath it. But there are some parts of a bra you should absolutely never see under your clothes.
If you can clearly see your bra when putting on a tight-fitting garment, it’s a good indication that it doesn’t fit – whether that’s the cup gaping through the fabric or your skin bulging over the band.
3. Your straps are slipping
As a long-time sufferer of sloping shoulders, I always thought that constantly having to hoist up your bra straps was normal, but that’s certainly not the case. If your bra straps are constantly falling down, it’s likely a sign that your band size is too big. As a general rule, the smaller a bra’s band size, the more narrow the straps will be set. So before you go adjusting the straps until they’re digging into your skin, it’s worth remeasuring your back size.
4. You’ve wound up with four pairs of boobs
Natually, some bras are cut to be more plunging than others. But your boobs should never – and we repeat, never – be spilling out of your bra. If you find that your boobs are spilling over the top, sides, or bottoms of a bra’s cups (enter the four boob effect), your bra is too small. As a rule of thumb, it’s probably a sign that you need to increase your cup size by one letter.
5. You’ve been wearing the same size bra for years
Like paying your taxes, measuring your bra size is something you should do habitually, at least once a year. Even if you aren’t noticing any problems, it’s worth going through the motions to ensure your cleavage is getting the support it needs.
How to measure your bra size at home
Measuring your bra size at home takes little more than a tape measure and ten to fifteen minutes.
There are several methods to measure your bra size, but Rigby & Peller’s tried and tested method is one we go back to time and time again. (I mean, we trust the brand that fitted bras for the royal family for years.)
Start by measuring the underband straight around, as tight to the body as possible.
If the measurement is an even number, add four (so 34 + 4 = 38). If it’s odd, add five (33 + 5 = 38). This will give you your band size.
To get your cup size, start by measuring around the fullest part of your bust. Then, take your back measurement and count upwards from there.
If your back came out at a 36 and the fullest part of your bust measures 36, your cup size is an A.
As a general guide:
- 37 = B
- 38 = C
- 39 = D
- 40 = DD
- …and so forth
The best virtual bra fitting services
If you’re not quite up to the at-home method (or you feel like it isn’t as accurate as you’d like), there are some great virtual bra fitting services available online. Here are just a few:
The prettiest bras worth investing in now
Are you now feeling like something of an expert in the area of how a bra should fit? Good, because we’ve rounded up the prettiest bras to flex your new-found fitting skills on.
When it comes to luxe lingerie that doesn’t break the bank, Rosie at Marks & Spencer gets our vote every single time. This non-padded longline bustier bra offers plenty of lift and support while staying steadfastly glamorous.
Balcony bras are a great option for larger and smaller busts alike because they’re cut to lift cleavage upwards rather than inwards. Figleaves’s non-padded Pimlico bra is a special occasion bra with impact. With sheer paneling and pretty binding, it’ll give you that all-important added lift while keeping your cleavage secure and supported.
We love the soft cleavage-enhancing shape of Wonderbra’s Triangle push-up bra. A wear-everywhere and love forever pick, it might look like a special occasion bra, but this one’s supportive enough for everyday wear, too.