8:45 pm - 03/06/2005

Bra fit guide

aechei said: "That is a good bra fitting guide. you should post it separate and ask to have it archived. Lots of people ask about bras."

So I will.

I'm a fit consultant at Sears and here's my guide as I was trained:


I hate plugging my store in threads like these, but I have to. Sears (in canada anyway) has a really comprehensive lingerie program. Their fit consultants get trained bigtime, put through clinics and certified. It may sound silly, but a proper fitting bra is a BIG deal. A bra that is too snug can have many adverse health effects.

Regardless of what you measure, not every bra in that size is going to fit. Here's some examples from my experience: Playtex runs large, Warners run small, most "in-store" fashion brands run small, Wonderbra is usually fair but can vary by style and support level, and Vogue runs pretty fair. Also, even if a bra is the right size, it may not be the right style and support level for an individual.

Have someone measure you at home, in inches. (Sorry, I don't know a European metric fit guide)

1. Measure snugly under the bust (arms down in a well fitting bra). Add 4-5 inches to your measurement (whichever will give you an even number)if you measure about 36 inches around or smaller, 2-3 inches if your frame is larger than that. That is your band size. Example: A 34 band size will measure about 29-30 inches. A 42 band size will measure about 39-40 inches.

2. Measure around your bust, across the nipple (arms down in a well fitting bra). Take that measurement and subtract the band measurement.

0 difference = < AA
1 difference = A
2 difference = B
3 difference = C
4 difference = D
5 difference = DD (E)
6 difference = DDD (F)

Edit: I'll give an example.

I measure 31 inches around my ribcage. 31 + 5 = 36 = my band size.
I measure 35 inches across my bust. 35 - 31 = 4 = D cup .:. I am a 36 D



Some tips:

-Know that bras are expensive and it's one of the most important article of clothing for comfort and asthetic reasons. Don't be afraid to spend.

-For the "average" person (34A - 38D) expect to spend about 20-40$. If you are not average, you may be spending a bit more.

-Department stores that carry big name-brand bras are the way to go for quality, service, and fit in my experience. La Senza, Victoria's Secret, and the like tend to have a lot of staff turnouver and therefor may not have good training or much experience. This is going to very by store obviously so don't be too afraid to check these places out.

-Staff should be able to offer suggestions on products once you're measured and have explained your needs. They should also be able to direct you how the bra should look on and should be willing to come in and have a look once you're wearing the bra (if you're comfortable with that).

-If you can stick a pencil horizontally under your bust and it stays when you move your hands, you need full-support. Not necessairily everything that is full support says that it's full support. Your fit consultant can help you judge (or they should be able to, otherwise they need to find a new job).

-One bra that you wear day in day out with everything is just wrong on many levels. No bra is appropriate under every type of clothing, and one bra in your wardrobe is not going to cover your needs comfort wise or asthetic wise.

-Maximum lifespan with regular wear for a bra is about twelve months and can be as short as three months. Average is about six months.

-Bras are never to be put in the drier or near a heat source. If you put your bras in the washer they must be on delicate cycle and preferably in a delicate bag. If not, you're not going to get your money's worth.

-Don't buy a bra unless you've tried it on or you know you can return/exchange it. Trust me you'll be sorry.

Note I make this post from my middle-class-Canadian frame of reference. :)
miz_kitty 7th-Mar-2005 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for this helpful guide. I'm always so confused by all the numbers. Some you add to the band measurement, some you don't.

And I've always wondered, if you're a AAA, does that mean you have an inverted chest?

Seriously, there is nothing more frustrating than bra shopping. Thanks for the tips.
aechei 7th-Mar-2005 01:22 am (UTC)
na, AAA would just be that you have less than a 4 inch(or so) difference between your ribcage and your breasts.

what i want to know is, if i can go braless with my C-D cups, why owuld anyone with a AAA want to bother witha bra in the first place?
slytherinblack 7th-Mar-2005 01:23 am (UTC)
Couple questions:

Maximum lifespan with regular wear for a bra is about twelve months and can be as short as three months. Average is about six months

Um, really? o.o How so? Because I bought three bras the first time I bought them and they "lasted" about four years (until one of my straps snapped). Was there something that would have worn off after the first year that I wasn't aware of? Or is that rule for owning one bra only?

Bras are never to be put in the drier or near a heat source. If you put your bras in the washer they must be on delicate cycle and preferably in a delicate bag. If not, you're not going to get your money's worth.

Again, really? Because I've always washed my bras with the rest of my clothes and noticed no adverse affects. Was there something I didn't notice? Or does it depend on bra brand or style?


Also: if you know anything about them, do you think you could post a little on:

-Sports bras, which I wear a _lot_ because I find them more comfortable
and
-underwires vs. no underwires? What's the difference? I have a couple bras with underwires and find them both _really_ uncomfortable, and my mom agress with me on this one.

And one more thing! lol - what sort of adverse affects come from having bras that are too tight?
frolicnaked 7th-Mar-2005 01:30 am (UTC)
I've got to think that the "lifespan" of bras varies with breast (not necessarily cup) size. I mean, a bra that holds up 38D's is doing more work, even more work per sqare inch of fabric, than is a bra that holds up 32AA's.

And I've noticed that my underwire bras need a lot more delicate care (meaning hand washing for me) than my soft cup or sports bras, which I can wash on the delicate cycle with few problems.
malantha 7th-Mar-2005 01:25 am (UTC)
wow, GREAT post.

i really think this post should be added to othe archives!!

(if a mod doesnt come by and respond, i think i'll email someone and point it out. hehe)
aechei 7th-Mar-2005 02:18 am (UTC)
my comment to that effect is actually the reason that this got posted. it was originally a comment to my story about victoria's secret and finding my real bra size, a few entries down. i feel special now.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
hadrian 7th-Mar-2005 01:30 am (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks for sharing!
shaden 7th-Mar-2005 01:59 am (UTC)
haha no wonder mine never fit right. Im way off!
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
aechei 7th-Mar-2005 02:36 am (UTC)
the double a you came up with is the one you did the math right. i know VS did not make the tape at all tight around the boobs when they measured, maybe you are pulling it too tight.
overdrive_xx 7th-Mar-2005 04:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, it should be added to the memories, definitely!
(no subject) - Anonymous
littlelolita wow im jealous7th-Mar-2005 08:26 am (UTC)
Its so hard for me to find decent bra's..I have a small ribcage and couble dds..whenever they fit in the cup it just sits down too low. Like its covering my breasts instead of holding them :(
giraffemoo 7th-Mar-2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
wait, i measured 31 around the bust and 39 around the boobs...thats 8 freakin inches...does that mean i'm seriously an F or G or some obscenely large size like that???
starsorstreet 7th-Mar-2005 01:57 pm (UTC)


I'm not sure what you mean by "around the bust". I assume you mean under the bust.

If you do actually measure 8, then you're probably a G. Chances are though, you're doing something wrong because most people who are a G are not a 36 band size. You may not have the measuring tape straight around you back or snug enough. If you did it yourself, get someone else to do it for you.

Also, "obscenely large" is kind of offensive. G is uncommon, but F (DDD) certainly isn't and please don't make others who may be that size feel like freaks.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
balmofgilead 8th-Mar-2005 01:02 am (UTC)
You know, I had always washed bras every time or every other time I wore them, too, and then a few months ago I took a little survey on hip_domestics, and it turned out that most people don't do that at all. Unless you get particularly sweaty, it's frequently ok to just let them air out a bit/alternate between the two and wear them many times between washings. It's made my life much easier...
mintgirl 6th-Jul-2005 05:18 pm (UTC)
i did
but i bought some 34G bras, and they didn't fit.
go figure?
miss_186 24th-Nov-2005 02:53 am (UTC)
I know that you posted this a while ago, but I was hoping that you could help me out (sorry for seeming kind of like an idiot).
I measure 28 inches around my ribcage, which would make my band size 32. Around the bust it's 33 inches, which means that I would end up being a 32DD, right? Well, I usually wear 34C, which fits pretty well. I'm way too tired to be thinking right now, but I'd really like if you could help my stupid self out. :]
kissedbythegods 5th-Apr-2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
This is really weird, but I'm having exactly the same problem. I've been using online calculators which say that I'm a 34C, but here I'm a 32DD. Did you ever figure it out?

(dude, do we have the same body? ha.)
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