Guessing your bra size

Have you been wearing the same bra size for years? If the answer is yes, then you have good company. Many of us have an idea of our bra size, but often we pick up the same bra size that we have always worn without taking into account body changes such as weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy, menopause and various hormonal changes. In a recent survey of our customers, we discovered that 95% of women visiting Brava for the first time were wearing the wrong bra size.

There is such a variation in sizes between brands and countries, so its not surprising we are all confused! When choosing bras off the rack, some women will be certain that they're choosing the right size not really understanding what a well-fitting bra actually feels like.

There is no such thing as your one true bra size.

Bra shopping is very different to clothes shopping. A dress may come in six sizes whereas some bras come in over 100 sizes, making it easy to get your bra size wrong. It’s not your fault. This is one of the reasons our bra fitters don't use measuring tapes. Numbers on a tape measure cannot possibly tell us all the information required to provide a perfect fit. Women’s breasts are a volume, not a straight line.

Cup sizes vary depending
on the back band size.

Not all cup sizes are equal.

It’s tempting to assume that bra cup sizes are the same across all back sizes. If you wear an E cup, for example, it’s easy to assume that any bra with an E cup will fit you. But this is not the case – a 10E and a 16E are vastly different sizes. Often we think that if a bra isn't fitting correctly the band needs to be bigger. In our experience, usually the back-band size is correct (or too big), but the cup size is too small and digging in to the breast tissue. If the cup and back-band aren’t working in harmony, that's usually why a bra feels uncomfortable.

What does the wrong bra size feel like?

If your back band is not a firm fit, it will constantly move and cause friction causing red marks. Another culprit is cheap bras; they tend to stretch into your folds of skin resulting in red marks and lumps and bumps. The general rule is that if your band is constantly moving and irritating you throughout the day, it's most likely too big in the back. Your bra needs to comfortably hug your rib cage.

I believed I was a 16G… turns out I was more of a 12J.

Many women feel silly in the fitting room for not knowing and wearing the right size. But until you understand how bra sizing works and then have some product knowledge, why would you know?

Take Christina for example:

“I hadn’t bought a new bra in a long while and desperately needed one. I went to 5 different stores and even the big department store and left empty handed because not a single shop, not even the “big girl” store, had a bra that could fit me. I left in tears and was felt quite depressed about it. Bra sizing and fit changes from brand to brand, and buying a bra online when I’m not sure of my size seemed like a sure way to disaster. So I measured myself and with a rough bra size I timidly arrived at Brava Highpoint in a last ditch effort to find something for me. I believed I was a 16G… turns out, I’m more of a 12J. Who knows how long it would have taken me to figure that out through solo trial and error with dozens of different bras in that range of sizes! After a little trial and error, I was able to find two bras that not only fit me, but were secure, supportive and also actually pretty! I was delighted to feel the bra support against my rib-cage. I actually can’t remember the last time the middle of my bra touched my chest. It was a small victory, but it made me feel amazing. It is absolutely true that a good bra can help restore confidence.” – Christina.

Christina’s experience isn't the exception, it's generally the rule. Most women think they are bigger in the body and not as big in the cup as they end up being. If Christina’s story sounds familiar, the first step is finding a store that offers a wide range beyond a G cup (so you know you’ve found a true specialist).

Having the right bra size is just half the story.

Once you know your bra size, finding your perfect style is what really provides comfort and support. Something may be the right size for you, but the style may not be right. There's a lot that goes into finding the right style. Then there’s understanding how different countries size their bras, now that’s a whole different blog. Check out our 7 tips for bra shopping with a fuller bust including how style changes the fit and finding the best shape for you.

If you’re unable to visit a Brava store for a fitting, our online store offers a huge range of D-K cup lingerie & swimwear and also ships worldwide. Ordering online to find your fit can take time if you don't know what you're looking for, so our fitters are well-equipped to give over-the-phone fittings. Simply email us or pick up the phone. We are here to help!