The Importance of a Correctly Fitted Bra

Recently, my world changed a little. I didn’t win the lottery or give birth; I found out my actual bra size. You’ve all heard the statistics that 85-90% of women are wearing the incorrect bra size, which we all casually ignore and think to ourselves ‘ I’m one of the 10%, these women are clearly all ignorant’. Well, I have news for you. You’re probably wearing the wrong bra size.


Upon perusing Reddit recently I came across the fantastic Sub A Bra That Fits and arrogantly assumed that, although my bra fit may not have been perfect, it wasn’t outrageously wrong. Oh, how foolish I was. This discovery was made during the height of my essay writing period for my final undergrad term so I was very willing to take some time off to play around with measuring tapes and watching endless YouTube links.

Here was my biggest revelation. If you already knew this (it seems so obvious!) then I applaud you and also can’t help but wonder WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?! Ok, here goes. Band size and cup size are correlational. The bigger the band size, the bigger the correlating cup size. Ever wandered around Marks and Spencer and thought ‘that’s never a C cup, it’s huge!!!’ or tried on your standard D cup when shopping and found that your breasts have apparently shrunk to half their size and don’t even half fill your bra? Me too. My mammary-related epiphany occurred when I found this guide. As you can see, a woman wearing a 38C cup has the same volume of breast tissue as a woman wearing a 32E.

Always in media will you hear Glamour-Models bragging about their ‘F-Cups’ as though it is a standard size, generally thought to be rather large. Well, if they’re wearing a 30 Inch band then they’re not boasting about much more than a C cup on a woman wearing a 38 Inch band. This also doesn’t help with the shock some women will feel upon being told that they need to be wearing a H cup bra. One must always remember: it is correlational. Interest peaked yet? By this point I was practically leaping down the stairs, yelling to housemates that the world of bras was so much better than I ever knew.

To help start out with finding your actual bra fitting there is a fantastic guide that can be found here. For a more detailed instruction on how to measure yourself properly for a bra then I strongly recommend that you head on over to Busty Resources. Remember how we’ve always been told that you measure around your back, just under your breasts, and then add on 4 inches to determine your band size…WHY. Why are we told to do this? I’ll tell you why. If you have a 34 back, and are told to wear a 38 then it is much more likely that you will fit into a A-DD size cup. Co-incidentally, the majority of bras made fit into this category. Ever tried shopping for a DD+ bra that isn’t both lacy and expensive? You will have found yourself choosing from a rather small collection of rather large looking bras. If your back measures 36 inches then you need to be wearing a bra that is a 36 inch band size. End.

You will then measure around the fullest part of your breast. It is also advised to lean forward at a 90 degree angle and measure around your breasts. This will allow all of the breast tissue to fall forward to where it should be and give you the correct measurement. Then, quite simply, subtract your band size from your breast measurement and the resulting number will correlate to your cup size. If you want even more information then here is the guide to getting started on the Reddit page.





























If you are still reading and you haven’t yet dived for the nearest tape measure then I will continue to convince you. When I first took my measurements I was no less than adamant that my apparently ‘correct’ size was outrageously wrong. Time to overshare: I have been wearing a size 38C for approximately five months. Before that I was wearing a 38B for several years. Upon taking my measurements I worked out that I was a 34E/F. In my mind I couldn’t help but think ‘but my breasts are so small, there is no way they are an E. Topless women in magazines are a size E, not me’. Well, I was wrong. But it took a while for me to be convinced. I think the page that quite thoroughly convinced me was this one (NSFW). Here is a collage of women wearing D/DD cup bras which fit them correctly. In my mind a woman in a DD cup had certifiably large breasts. Not the case, apparently. I’m going to willingly go ahead and blame media for perpetuating myths about D+ cups being ‘enormous’ and for skewing women’s perceptions.

The piece that BLEW. MY. MIND. was Busty Resources’ article on Migrated Breast Tissue.. I admit, I am still confused and dubious about this, but I think they have a point. Find yourself to have bulges coming out both above, below and behind your bra? That is breast tissue (apparently). Through wearing cups that are too small, and a band size too big, your bra can shift throughout the day and eventually force breast tissue to move around, giving you lumps of fat under your arms and possibly ending up as lumps of fat on your back. If it doesn’t fit in your bra then it has to go somewhere, does it not? Anything that promises to re-locate back fat into breasts is guaranteed to have women jumping for joy. Through wearing a correctly fitting bra a woman may find that she will gradually need a smaller band size and a bigger cup.

At this point, I was sold. Here comes, possibly, one of the most important things I learnt on my journey to a new bra world. It is the Scoop and Swoop. When putting on a bra I would often simply…place it on my chest and go about my merry way. This is when you will end up with migrated breast tissue – especially if your bra is ill-fitting. When you put on a bra it is recommended that you lean forward, pull the bra away from your side and with your opposite arm reach around and scoop all of the tissue from your back and underarms into the cup. This is when you will really see how your bra fits you. When I did this in my C cup I almost burst out of it completely and was left with the unwanted ‘Quad Boob’. Nothing summarises the necessity of the Scoop and Swoop more thoroughly than this blog post from Bras and Body Image (NSFW) in which she demonstrates her bras both before and after the Scoop and Swoop. If you have tried on a bra and thought to yourself ‘oh this is much too big in the cups’ then try out this method to really see how it fits. Even for smaller sizes it is important to do this or you might end up with more breast tissue sitting under your armpits than in your bra. The underwire and cups should completely encompass your breast – if your breasts spill back out into your armpits then you need a bigger cup.

When trying out your new bra size it is likely to be somewhat uncomfortable, especially if you are suddenly wearing a band size 4 inches smaller than you are used to. If you can put more than 4 fingers into your bra band, or pull it away quite far from your back then it is much too large. A correctly fitting band should leave slight red marks on your skin after wearing. Not so much that it is uncomfortable, but they should be there. It is the band of your bra which does the majority of the support (or at least should be) so if it is sliding down your back and not holding its place then it is doing nothing for you. The straps are there to hold the cups up and keep the shape, not to hang your breasts off. You are going to have to learn to fasten your bra behind your back because, if you are wearing the correct band size, you shouldn’t be able to fasten it at the front and twist it around. You’ll learn it in about 5 days – I did and I am currently sporting a very large burn on my face due to my lack of co-ordination with a curling wand; even the most clumsy of us can do it.

If your new bra doesn’t fit perfectly then try going up or down a cup size until you find the right fit. Each bra is different; padded and moulded bras may be more difficult to fit than an unpadded one. I have never worn an unpadded bra – until now, and I love it. If the gore of the bra does not fit flat, AGAINST your chest then your cups are far too small. If the band rises, or slips down, it is too small or too big. If your breasts spill out over the top then the cups are too small. If your breasts do not fill the cups then try the Scoop and Swoop then reassess.

Either way, you will be much closer to wearing a correctly fitting bra and will, hopefully, continue to share the message about how to *really* wear a bra – and please feel free to be smug about the fact that you are now really in the 10-15% of women wearing a correctly fitting bra. Tell everyone!!!

My recommendations for starting to look for a well fitting, good quality bra would be to head over to Figleaves. They have a plethora of bras, from almost every good quality company and are almost guaranteed to stock your size, whatever it may be.

Two other good links I found which summarise all of this information fantastically are found here and here and here. I could go on forever but here we must part and you must continue on your journey to a correctly fitting bra alone.

Lauren – Tweet Me!


One thought on “The Importance of a Correctly Fitted Bra

  1. Pingback: Beauty, By Nature. | Wendy House

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