Buying a bra can be a daunting experience for anyone, no matter what your size. It can become a nightmare if you can’t find anything that fits. Need a 32J? You won’t find it in most stores. In fact, the average department store doesn’t carry a 32 band.
Compiling your own research is always a good idea. You are always your best advocate in matters relating to your own body. Knowing your measurements is an excellent place to start.
When measuring, have a friend help you. The tape must be taut, but not pulled, and it must be level. A friend can see that the tape is held correctly and can easily record the information for you. Be sure to measure when wearing your best fitting bra. A bra that is allowing you to sag, or squeezes the tissue will give you false readings.
You’ll need at least 2 measurements. First, measure around the ribcage, directly below the breast tissue. Keep the tape level. Next, measure around the fullest point of the bust. Again, keep the tape level. A third helpful measurement is around the top of the bust, just below the armpit. Some online companies require that measurement to help with sizing. For most women, this measurement compares to the band size.
A general rule to finding your band size using the measurements is to add 3 to 5 inches to the ribcage measurement. The amount varies, depending on the measurement. Anyone measuring 33 or lower, should add 5 inches. For example, if you measure 29 inches around the ribcage, look for a 34 size band. Those measuring higher than 33 need only add 3 to the measurement. For example, 35+3=38.
The cup size is determined by subtracting the band size from the fullest bust measurement. If you measured a bust of 38 inches, and your band size is 3, then take 38-34=4. Cup sizes go up in 1 inch increments, starting with A. 1″=A, 2″=B, 3″=C, 4″=D, and so on.
Remember that this is just a guide. Everyone fits differently, and manufacturers try to create a variety of styles to accommodate the differences. You will find that you require a different size for different brands and styles.
Once you are certain that the measurements are the best set possible, record the information on a small card and keep it in your purse or wallet. That way, you will have it when you go shopping. By the way, it’s nice to have a friend to shop with. She can pick out other sizes and styles, instead of you have to dress and undress.
In the store, take care how you shop. Remember your measurements and your approximate size. Get help if it is available. Store clerks often know how each style and brand fits.
Choose a style and pick several sizes that look appropriate to try on. Remember that you may be a 36D in one brand or style, but could be a 38C in another. Keep an open mind. If looking at boxed bras, you may finding some sizing information on the package. Some hanging bras have helpful information on the tag.
As you try the bras, check the fit of the band. Is it too loose or too tight? The band is part of the support, and should have a snug fit, without pinching.You should be able to slip two fingers under the band, but no more. Check the placement of the band. Does it sit level? It is too loose, if it rides up your back when you move about.
How are the cups fitting? Wrinkled cups mean that you need a smaller size. Unless you are wearing a balconette style bra, you should not have tissue spilling over the top of the cups. Try a larger cup size if this is the case.
Take care when looking for a better fit. Going for a larger band to get a larger cup is not always a wise move. You compromise the support when you wear a band that is too loose. If you can’t find a cup large enough for your band size, then you must choose a different style, or possibly, a different brand.
That sad fact for many is that their size is not available in most stores. Don’t waste your money on bras that should fit, but don’t. Go to a specialty store for a proper fitting. Most have trained fitters. Watch carefully during the fitting. Remember your fitting tips. If you question the fit in any way, tell the clerk. Bras from a specialty shop are an investment. You don’t want to be disappointed when you try the bra on at home.
By the way, most shops will exchange product if you take it home and double-check the fit. Do this as quickly as you can. Don’t remove the tags, and don’t wash the item. We are talking about an undergarment, so be as respectful as possible.
Today, you can find a wide range of bra sizes and styles, online. For those who have a good feel of what size they need, but just can’t find the size, the internet has become a wonderful friend. As a fitter, I can only help those who live in Fergus-Elora, Guelph, Elmira, Waterloo, Kitchener and area with a personal appointment. I can provide tips, products and links for those farther away, but I can’t do the fitting.
Recently, I have contracted with select online stores and brands to offer shopping choices. Most are featured on this page and can be connected by clicking the photo links. Please see the Custom Fitted Bra page for more products.