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How to measure for a bra

Updated February 21, 2017

A correctly fitting bra provides comfort and support. Incorrectly fitting bras can leave marks on chest and shoulders, as well as being very uncomfortable. As your body changes with time, the size of bra you need will change also. Knowing how to measure for a bra is straightforward and will ensure you always get the right size for you.

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  1. Measure around your chest just below your bust. This gives you the “underbust” measurement you will need to calculate your band size. If you are unsure where to measure, place the tape measure at the point where the bands on your bras sit and measure around from there. Make a note of this measurement, in inches.

  2. Measure around your chest from the fullest part of your breasts, in inches. This gives you the “overbust” measurement that you will need to calculate the cup size of your bras. Again, place the end of the tape measure on the fullest part of one of your breasts and measure in a circle around your body. Make a note of this measurement.

  3. Add 4 inches to your underbust measurement if you noted down an even number or add 5 inches if it was an odd number. This is the band size you need. Compare this value to the overbust measurement you noted down, to find your cup size. If the values are the same, you need cup size A. If the overbust is 1 inch larger, you need cup size B and so on.

  4. Tip

    Remeasure your bra size regularly to ensure you are still using the right size bra for you. If you put on or lose weight, you may find your breast size increases or decreases accordingly, as will your underbust measurements. As a result, old bras may not fit correctly and will need periodic replacement.


    When measuring, resist the temptation to breathe in and hold your breath, as this will alter your chest size and result in inaccurate measurements. Similarly, keep a firm grip on the tape measure while measuring your overbust but do not pull tightly on the tape measure and end up squeezing your breasts together or you will end up with a bra size that is too small.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

About the Author

April Kohl

Based in the United Kingdom, April Kohl has been writing since 1992, specializing in science and legal topics. Her work has appeared on the Second Life News Network website and in British Mensa's "LSQ" magazine. Kohl holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Durham University and a diploma in English law from the Open University.

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