Many of us assume we know our correct bra size and have continued to invest in that size for many years.
However, as women’s body weight, breast and dress size fluctuates throughout the year, it is recommended their bust is measured every six months to make sure it is properly supported.
Yet thousands of women around Britain won’t have had their chests measured for more than a year after fitting rooms closed when the nation first went into lockdown in 2020, leaving some with ill-fitting bras.
While places such as Marks and Spencer now offer contact-free fittings, where an expert shows you how to measure yourself, some people will likely still prefer to try and fit themselves with the perfect bra.
As such, lingerie experts have revealed to FEMAIL how best to work out your own bra size to avoid causing tissue bruising, red marks and back pain through ill-fitted garments.
To measure yourself you will need a tape measure and pen and paper, says founder of The Luxe Nude, Oyinda Akano, who’s offered a step-by-step guide to finding that perfect fit.
Many of us assume we know our correct bra size and have continued to invest in that size for many years (stock photo)
STEP 1: MEASURE THE BAND SIZE
Use a dress tape measure and place the beginning under your breasts at the centre of your breastbone. From there, wrap the rest of the tape around your chest until it meets the start of the tape.
Mark on the tape where it met and jot down the measurement in inches, which should be above 24 inches.
STEP 2: GETTING THE BAND SIZE
Now you need to round the previous number up to the nearest whole number. If it lands on an odd number, you need to go up to the nearest even number. This final number is your band size.
STEP 3: MEASURE THE CUP SIZE
The next step is to measure the fullest part of your breast, roughly nipple level. Hold the start of the tape in the centre and wrap the rest around you until they meet.
Mark the tape and once again round up to the number to the nearest whole number and jot it down.
STEP 4: FINDING YOUR CUP SIZE
Cup size is not measured in the inches, but instead you need to work out the difference between your under-bust and your over-bust measurements.
You can use a chart, which is for UK sizes, to find out your cup size based on what the difference between your measurements is.
Founder of The Luxe Nude Oyinda Akano said you can use this chart to find your cup size by checking which one corresponds between your underbust and overbust measurements
STEP 5: PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Take the band measurement and the cup size and you have your bra size.
FIGURING OUT WHICH MEASUREMENT THE SHOP USES
However, as women’s body weight, breast and dress size fluctuates throughout the year, it is recommended their bust is measured every six months to make sure it is properly supported (stock photo)
Getting the cup size right depends on which store you are buying from as there is no standard sizing for bras.
EXERCISES TO HELP WITH BACK AND SHOULDER PAIN CAUSED BY ILL-FITTED BRAS
Founder at www.physiofastonline.com Kate Knapton has given some exercises for neck and mid-back aches as well as headaches which can result from poor fitting bras.
- Shoulder shrugs and rolls
- Shoulder blades back together- hold count of 5 and repeat 5-10 times
- Stretching arms right up. Count of 5 and repeat 5-10 times
- Lying on a towel along spine and just relaxing as long as is comfortable 2-3 mins up to 10
If you notice yourself getting any aches of this kind, Kate said the points to consider are making sure your bra is correctly fitted, the width of the strap, whether marks are left when it is taken off and the support level – depending on the level of physical activity and size of breasts.
Founder of What Katie Did, Katie Thomas explained how band size is almost as important as cup size, as there are two ways that lingerie brands determine your band size.
She told how these are traditional, where you need to add three-four inches to your underbust measurement to get your band size, and true size (generally for larger cup brands) where the underbust measurement is your band size.
Katie said: ‘If the brand you are shopping with makes the same style in all their cup sizes (for example A-G) it is likely you will need to add 3-4″ to work out your band size.
‘If you are shopping with a brand that starts at a D cup it’s likely that your underbust measurement equals your band size.’
Katie recommends checking if your favourite fitting bra is true-sized or traditional which you can do by measuring the band at home.
If it equals your underbust measurement it is true, whereas if it is smaller than your underbust measurement it is traditional.
She added: ‘Regardless of your band size it is helpful to do this as what is a technically correct fit might not be comfortable for you.’
Katie continued: ‘The volume of bra cups changes depending on the band size. For example, a 34DD cup will be the same as a 32E, 36D and 38C.
‘Hence if you buy your normal 36C bra online and find the band too tight, but the cup fits perfectly if you try a 38B the cup will be exactly the same fit, the band will just be two inches longer.
‘If you don’t wear bras and you have no idea about what size you are, you will have to go and get professionally fitted.
‘It’s important to take into account your body and how you like to wear a bra because what might be technically correct in fit might not work for you.’