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How to measure bra size

An important question when choosing from all the various types of bras is how to measure bra size to get a good fit. The best bet by far is to get a professional bra fitting, since this will provide you both expert measurements as well as experienced advice about which styles would be most flattering to you’re particular proportions. Lingerie stores and higher end department stores will typically do bra fittings.

When a professional fitting isn’t possible, measuring yourself or measuring with the help of a friend is a fine way to go as well to get a rough estimate of the bra size for you. Please keep in mind that measuring processes for how to measure bra size at home such as that below only provide a very rough estimate, and even after performing measurements, trying on several bras in band sizes and cups clustered around the bra size you calculate is critical to finding the right one.

To start, find a tape measure. Not the typical metal kind from hardware stores, but the soft type similar to that used by seamstresses and tailors, such as this one:

how to measure bra size with tape measure

With the tape measure in hand, now on to measuring for band size. All these measurements should ideally be performed while you are wearing an unpadded, non-minimizing bra. For the band measurement, wrap the tape snugly all the way around the body / around your back using the inches side of the tape measure, positioning the tape just under the breasts. Write down that number, for example, 31 inches. It is your underbust measurement. Add 4 inches to that number. As bras typically only come in even number band sizes, if the resulting sum was an odd number like 35, round up to the nearest even number (e.g. 32, 34, 36…). You now have your approximate band size, which in our example is 36.

Next for the cup, again measure around the back, but this time somewhat higher, such that the tape measure passes over the fullest portion of the breasts. Write down that measurement in inches as well. It is your bust measurement, for example 38 inches.

Subtract the band size from the bust measurement. This should be a positive, fairly small number, such as 2 inches (38 inch bust – 36 inch band) for our example. This number then equates to a cup size: 1 inch = A cup size, 2 inches = B, 3 = C, 4 = D, 5 = DD or E, 6 = DDD or F, and so on.

Now you have the approximate band size, and the approximate cup size. Put those two together to get a bra size such as 36B (36 band size, B cup).

No matter how accurately you take the measurements, please keep in mind that different bras and styles will have somewhat different fits, so the right size for you in one brand may differ from the right size in another brand or style. And measuring systems including the above are far from perfect, and are particularly inaccurate for larger band and cup sizes. Trying on several bras in various sizes is a must to complement the measuring you just did.

Hope this page was helpful in providing information on how to measure bra size, and hope you are able to find the bra size and bra type that is best for you.