Spend time with a professional bra fitter — with measuring tape in hand — in a fitting room trying to find your true bra size?
A bra fitting session is just not something that I’d be comfortable with.
Fortunately, bra fitting experts have a lot of good tips to help you find your true bra size.
Here’s how to put those tips to work and find the best bra for you…
How I Found My True Bra Size
I’m 47, and it wasn’t until this year that I finally found my true bra size.
Sure, I thought I had found it before. But I was wrong.
The problem was I simply didn’t know all of the key points about bra sizing and bra shopping.
So I decided to spend the past few months researching and combining all of the best tips that I’ve heard, seen, and read. And I’m thrilled to say that I have finally found my true bra size!
Like you often hear from the ‘bra experts’ out there… it’s a much different size than I thought it would be.
I thought I was a 36C. I’m actually a 38D.
I’m not a D!!! No one in my family is a D!!! For the majority of my adult life I’ve barely been a C.
Well, not anymore!
All the companies about 10 years ago changed all the sizes without telling us. They vanity sized it, they wanted you to think your back was smaller and your breasts were bigger. In other words, what once was a 36-D is now called a 32-G. Source
Following are the most important things you need to know in order to find the best bra fit for you.
How To Find Your Real Bra Size
That’s why I’m so thankful for these bra fit tips. From a number of different bra experts, I’ve learned that…
#1 – Your bra straps will not fall down if you’re wearing the right size bra.
This was the #1 reason for me to find my true bra size. I actually gave up on wearing bras for a couple of years because I despised those falling straps so much! Instead, I’d wear tanks with built-in bras under most of my shirts. And when I absolutely had to wear a bra, I’d wear a Genie Bra. (They fit great, but they’re not the most stylish.) Finally, I decided I wanted something more feminine, so I bit the bullet and searched high and low to find a good-fitting bra. If your straps fall down, it means your bra band is riding up. Try going go down a band size and up a cup size. Worked for me!
#2 – You don’t want a “side boob” — with bulges popping out on your sides under your arms.
I learned this from watching the ladies on QVC describe how Breezies bras fit. I don’t have any Breezies bras but I trust the female company owner when she’s describing how she designed her bras for real women — like you and me. And I even trust the female show hosts who add their 2-cents about bra fit. The one thing that kept coming up in their bra demos was the ‘side boob’ — that bulge that appears under your armpit when your boobs spill out the sides of your bra. A bra that’s too tight or too thin can create that unsightly bulge. Instead of spilling out under your arms, you want your breasts to be moved up (lifted) and forward (viewable from the front, not the sides). For me, a thicker bra band with higher sides completely eliminated my side boob.
Does your flesh spill out under your armpits? Blame the shape of your cup. A deeper cup keeps the breast tissue on the front of your body where it belongs, instead of pushing it to the side. Bringing your breasts front and center also creates a more youthful silhouette. Source
#3 – The larger your bra size (anything over a C), the wider the bra straps, side, and bottom band should be.
Don’t fear a larger bra size — and all of that material — like I did. All of those extras are there to help shape you in ways you never thought possible (or never even thought you needed). You will love the results. Mostly, with the right bra, it’s harder to tell where the bra material ends and your skin begins — which is a good thing. It’s almost like a little bit of body shaping is built into a good-fitting bra.
#4 – It’s not about choosing the smallest size bra for your body.
It’s actually about choosing the largest cup size that you comfortably fit in. And with larger cup sizes comes wider bands and wider straps as well. Initially, I didn’t realize that a good-fitting bra required so much material and would take up so much real estate on my body. I had a hard time accepting the fact that this larger-than-I imagined undergarment was actually responsible for making me look slimmer and trimmer and more in proportion to my body size.
Studies have shown that 76% of women overestimate their band size, and 84% underestimate their cup size. If they had more availability and opportunity to try the correct size, as well as education in how bra sizing works (which we’re trying to play our part in!), maybe they’d find themselves much better supported, looking and feeling better in the right size bra! Source
#5 – There’s a certain way that you should put on a bra.
Use the scoop and swoop method. You should put your arms in the straps first, then lean forward and let your breasts fill the entire cups before securing the bra clasp on your back. This way, everything is in its place. And your breasts look perky and firm, rather than saggy or lopsided. I learned this from watching the Double Divas on TV. Those 2 ladies are brutally honest with all women. I’ve learned a lot of really neat bra tips from them!
Scooping and swooping de-squishes your breast tissue so that it isn’t being smushed into your armpits or compressed in the cup. It also makes your boobs sit properly in the cups, so that they are being lifted rather than just covered. Source
#6 – Your bra should fit you tight.
The Double Divas say, “Get it tight. Get it right” — because your bra shouldn’t fit loosely at all. If it’s too tight (or too small), you’ll see bulges from all angles. When your bra is the right size, it will smooth out those bulges. That’s why it needs to be a little tight, but not too much. That’s why a bra has 3 hooks — because your bra stretches with each wear, and with each washing. So you’re supposed to start on the loosest (closest) of the 3 bra clasps in the middle of your back when you buy a new bra. Then, every few months, as the bra stretches out a bit, move in and use the middle clasp for awhile. Finally, use the tightest (farthest) clasp until the bra no longer fits you well.
#7 – The wire in an underwire bra should hit at your rib cage under your arm.
So if you press on the wire there, and it’s not hitting your ribs, then it’s too small. The Double Divas say that the wire should hit your ribcage all the way around your breast. It shouldn’t poke your fleshy tissue. Here are the best problem/solution underwire bra tips I could find.
#8 – The band of your bra should be halfway between your elbow and your shoulder.
‘The Bra Lady’ says if it’s higher than that, then your bra is too small. If it’s lower than that, then your bra is too big. Every time you go up a band size, you should go down a cup size.
The perfect position for your breasts is midway between your shoulders and your elbows. And your bra should be level front to back. Most women wear their bra bands too high on their torsos and throw their measurements off. Most women keep going up in the back [increasing their band size] instead of getting a deeper cup. We want to keep the back lean and small so we can lift the bust. The bra band is like a bridge—if it’s properly planted at the base, it can lift. Source
#9 – Your breasts should fit perfectly within the cup — not spill out over the top.
If the girls are popping out of the top of your bra, it’s too small or it’s cut too low for the size of your breasts. The worst thing — especially for full-on-top women, but even for small and medium busted women — is to look like you have a puffy marshmallow sitting above each breast when you’re wearing a bra. If you do, then go 1 cup size larger.
#10 – Back fat can be eliminated by choosing the right bra.
You don’t have to be a larger woman to have back fat. I had it until I found the right bra. Back fat is more obvious when you’re wearing the wrong size bra. Try going down a band size and up a cup size. You want your bra band to fit snug and low around the less fleshy part of your rib cage at the base of your bust line.
If you have the dreaded back fat, you probably think your bra is too tight, but you’re wrong—your bra is too big. Wearing the bra lower on your back with a smaller band size will completely eliminate the back fat. Source
#11 – To make your bras last longer, don’t wash them after every wearing.
You really don’t need to wash them until after you’ve perspired in them. Especially in the winter months, I sometimes go a long time in between washings. Here are the best tips I’ve found showing how to wash lingerie.
There’s no need to wash in between each use. You can wear a bra up to 7 or 8 times before cleaning it. Source
#12 – Every woman should own a few different bra styles and bra colors.
The Double Divas say that every woman should own at least 7 bras. That way, you can keep them in a rotation and wear the right one with the right outfit. I now own 8. And they all fit great!
Tips To Use When Trying On Bras
Here are 2 of my best tips to find a bra that fits you perfectly…
#1 – When trying on bras, wear the tightest, thinnest shirt you own; one that shows every curve and every lump in your body.
For me, it’s a solid light-colored skin-tight t-shirt that has a lot of give to it. I wouldn’t wear this shirt in public, but I’ve held onto it (from my skinny days) just for the purpose of trying on bras. If you always wear the same shirt when trying on bras, then you’ll be able to compare — apples to apples — and see which bras fit right and which ones don’t. Trust me, you’ll see every lump, bump, and bulge this way!
#2 – When you find the bra that fits you best, try the next largest band size and the next smallest cup size.
Chances are, that bra will fit well too. That’s because a bra’s cup size changes with its band size. It’s called the sister size. Bonus: now you have 2 different sizes to look for when your favorite bra goes on sale. Or best of all: when you happen to see one on the clearance rack! Having 2 sizes to choose from increases your odds of finding one on sale.
For the record, I found that Olga bras fit me best. I especially like the Olga Disappearing Act Ultimate Tshirt Bra. It’s the best t-shirt bra! It actually has an underwire, but the bra is so well made that it’s incredibly hard to find the underwire. You can feel all the way around the cup itself, and barely even notice that there’s an underwire in there. I love it!
So there you go.
With every bra you try on, just use the above tips to find the absolute best fitting bra for you!
It took me several bra shopping trips to local department stores before I finally got it right. I always tried the bras on in the store first, but I returned 80% of those I brought home after trying them on at home while wearing my bra-fitting tshirt and using a handheld mirror to see from all angles how well the bra fit.
Now that I know my true bra size, I can honestly tell you I have never been happier to wear a bra! Seriously. Who really likes wearing bras, right? I do! (Finally.)
When a bra fits you correctly:
- You’ll like the way it makes your cleavage look.
- You’ll like the way the straps stay in place… all the time!
- You’ll like the way your clothes look on.
- You’ll like the way your body looks …less lumpy than it used to when you were wearing the wrong bra.
Women should get properly fitted in a lingerie shop every 1 to 2 years, especially if they’re on birth control, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have lost or gained a significant amount of weight. That much bra shopping sounds like torture, but it’s worth it to find the right one. Source
More Tips For Finding The Perfect Bra
- The Bra Lady’s Bra Size Calculator
- Amazing Bra Fitting Problems & Solutions
- 5 Signs Of A Poor-Fitting Bra
- Common Bra Fit Problems And Solutions
- Bra Buying Checklist
- Top 25 Bra Problems Solved
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).