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How do you know what size bra to wear?

Updated November 21, 2016

The perfect fitting bra can make all the difference in the way you feel and how your outfits look. Proper measuring is the best way to determine what bra size to wear, that will also give you adequate support. Different bra styles and different designer brands will fit differently. It's important to start by checking your measurements and then, check for other features to know which size bra to wear.

Measuring for Band

The first number on a bra size is the actual size of the band that holds the bra together. Wrap a tape measure around your upper chest at armpit level to obtain the correct measurement. Don't pull it tight. Band sizes are even numbers. If the measurement you get is an odd number, go up one more number to determine your band size. For example, if the measurement is 33, you would wear a 34 size band.

Measuring the Cup Size

The letter on the bra is the cup size. Wrap the measuring tape all the way around from your back to the centre of your bust. Subtract the band number measurement from the bust number measurement to get your cup size. Each inch in difference refers to a cup size. For example, if your band size is 34 and your bust number was 38; this gives you a difference of 4 inches. Your cup size would be D.

Underwire Fitting and Cup Size

An underwire bra supports full-figured breasts and lifts breasts for smaller figures. It's important that the underwire not pinch or cut into the breasts or skin. You should go up a cup size if the underwire is uncomfortable. Consider a different style of bra if the band and cup size is correct but the underwire is uncomfortable.

Double Checking Band Size

The perfect band size will fit snugly, but you will be able to comfortably insert two fingers underneath it. The band will also be level all the way around. Look in the mirror to check for the band being level. If there is any pinching into the skin or skin hanging over the band, it is too tight. You need to go up a band size. Additionally, it shouldn't twist or curl against your body. Most bras have adjustable hooks. If the bra doesn't fit by adjusting the hooks, you need to consider going up a band size.

Double Checking Cup Size

Buying the right cup size is important to look nice and feel comfortable. If there are wrinkles in the bra when you wear a T-shirt, consider going down a cup size. The fabric between the cups should lie flush against your skin and not on the actual breasts. You should go up a cup style if the fabric sits on the breasts. The cups should also rest flush against the breasts. If there is a gap or opening between the cups and the breasts, you will need to go down a cup size. If the breasts are bulging out of the cup, you should go up a cup size.

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About the Author

Daniel Smith graduated from technical school in 1993 and has been writing since 2005. His has written numerous articles for the instructional website called eHow in areas including gardening, home improvement, celebrating special events and health-related topics.