Did you know the letters and numbers in bra sizes actually mean something? But not everyone has cracked the code–four in five people wear the wrong bra size. Thanks to our handy bra size chart, you no longer have to be one of them.
Women’s clothing sizes are generally incalculable, inconsistent, and inscrutable. Take pants, for example. While men get length and width measurements, women get random numbers–sometimes even, sometimes odd, and never the same.
Yet you can easily find your bra size from home, no assembly required. All you’ll need is a soft tape measure and your naked, free range breasts. No bralettes, corsets, or cones. Let ’em loose so we can strap them in.
How To Measure Your Bra Size at Home
1. Measure your band size.
Your band size is the number part of your bra size. It measures the length of the band part of your bra. A well-fitted band creates a sturdy base to support your sweater puppies.
To measure your band size, start standing with your tatas topless. Wrap the measuring tape around your rib cage under your bust, where your bra band would sit.
Tip: if your honkers hang low, shimmy the measuring tape under your breasts. The tape should be snug, but not tight–you should be able to fit a finger under the tape.
Take the measurement in inches and round it to the nearest whole, even number. For example, if you measure 41.25″, you would round up to 42″. That gives us your band size number.
Write that down because, unfortunately, we’ll have to do some math later. But we promise to keep you entertained with more fun ways to say “boobs.”
2. Measure your cup size.
The cup size is the difference between your band size and the widest part of your breasts. That determines the approximate volume of your breast tissue so you can find a bra roomy enough for your rib cushions. (See?)
To measure your bust, stand up straight with your breasts bare. Measure the widest part of your bust, keeping the measuring tape parallel to the ground. The measuring tape should be loose, not squeezing you like a bad date. Take the measurement in inches and round to the nearest whole number.
Here’s where the math comes in. Subtract the bust measurement from the band size from the previous section. The difference will give you your cup size. If you’d rather not do the math yourself, try this bra size calculator.
Ideally, this number is standard. However, somehow, there is also a metric system of bras. The US and the UK use different cup lettering systems. Many brands that are popular in the US sell UK-size bras, especially companies that cater to larger sizes. Use the chart to convert the difference to a cup size.
3. Calculate your size–and believe it.
Now we have our band size number and cup size letter. Put them together and you have your bra size.
For example, say you have a band measurement of 36″ and a bust measurement of 42″. Subtract 36 from 42 for a difference of 8″. Consulting the chart, 8″ is an H in US sizes or an FF in UK sizes. That makes your bra size a US 36H or a UK 36FF.
You may be shocked by your bra size calculation. People with smaller band sizes are often shocked by their measurements. They think because they’re a smaller person overall, there’s no way they could have a “large” cup size. But even if you don’t consider yourself to have big boobs, you might have a larger cup size than you expected.
Many of us grew up believing that DD is the largest size of all time, reserved for the bounciest of bazongas. But as you can see from the chart, DD is one of the smaller sizes. If you doubt your DIY measurements, you can visit your local specialty bra store for a professional measurement.
4. Find bras in your size.
If you get a bra size that you’ve never heard of, don’t panic. You may need to look beyond the basic stores to find your best fit. Check out the Bratabase to find user submissions of bras available in different sizes with fit photos and advice.
Some popular brands that come in extended sizes include:
- Bravissimo (28D-42KK)
- Freya (28C-40HH)
- Panache (28A-46K)
- Elomi (32GG-48G)
- Curvy Kate (28D-46G)
- The Little Bra Company (28A-38A)
- Savage x Fenty (30A-46DDD)
Many bra brands that sell extended sizes use the UK sizing system, so double check the sizing when you’re shopping online.
5. Check the bra fit.
Once you find a bra to try on, make sure it fits correctly. While bra measurements are standard, different styles of bras can affect fit. You may need to experiment with different cup shapes to find the glass slipper for your pumpkins.
When trying on a bra, make sure your sweater meat is in place using the “scoop and swoop” method. Use your hand to scoop the outside edge of your breast tissue and swoop it towards the front so all of the breast tissue is in the cups. Then, check the fit using these steps:
- Band: The band should be snug, not too tight, on the last hook. Your bra will stretch over time, so you want it tighter to start. The band should be level to the ground, not riding up.
- Straps: The straps should stay in place without digging into or slipping off your shoulders
- Cups: Your breasts should fill the cups without overflowing or gaps.
- Underwire: The underwire should sit at the root of your breast and fully encase your breast tissue without digging or pinching.
- Center gore: The center part of the bra should sit flat between your breasts, not lifted off the chest.
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