Finding a bra that fits you perfectly is essential for comfort and support. Not only that, it instantly improves your posture, gives you a better shape and can improve the fit of your clothes. Wearing the correct size bra can even eliminate aches and pains experienced from badly supported breasts, and reduce your chances of sagging.
It is estimated that as many as 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, so make sure you’re not one of them with our simple bra fitting guide.
Putting Your Bra On
Although this may seem obvious, it is important to put your bra on correctly. The first time you put on a bra you should have the straps at full length. Hook your arms through, gently lean forward into the cups and fasten the bra at the back. Using your hand ensure that the breasts are complete enclosed in the cups. Then slide the straps off your shoulders, and shorten them until they are comfortable. Remember, the back should provide most of the support so the straps should not dig in.
Always fit your bra to the loosest hook and eye; when it inevitably loses elasticity over time, you can tighten it, thus prolonging the life of the bra. If the first time you try a bra it is fits on the tightest setting then go down a back size. As a general rule, if you go down a back size you should increase the cup size, so if you were wearing a 34DD, and the back is too loose, then you should try a 32E. The table below illustrates equivalent sizes.
Finding the Right Band Size
The band size relates to the how the bra fits around your body. One of the most common mistakes is wearing a back size that is too loose, which can cause the bra to ride up at the back; this means that the breasts are not properly supported. The back of the bra should be horizontal and level all the way round; if you find that this is not the case, then you should try a smaller back size, and thus a larger cup size.
Finding the Right Cup Size
The cup size relates to the fullness of your bust. The centre front and underwire should sit flat against the breastbone between your boobs. Your breasts should be completely enclosed by the fabric of the cup, and there should be a smooth line with no overspill at the top of the bra. If you find your boobs are bulging over the top of the cup or that the fullness of your bust is pushing the wires away from your body, then try a larger cup size. If you have excess fabric or wrinkling in the cups then try a smaller size bra. If you increase the cup size you should also decrease the back size.
We hope that our simple bra fitting guide has helped you out, but we emphasise that this is not a substitute for being professionally fitted. If you’ve not has a bra fitted for a while, or ever for that matter, it’s definitely worth doing. Experts recommend being fitted every six months as there are numerous factors that can influence your bra size, such as; weight changes, your monthly cycle, pregancy and hormone changes from HRT or taking the pill.
Also, it is worthwhile remembering that different styles of bra (see our bra style guide) fit differently on varying body shapes, so you may not require the same size in a full cup bra as you do in a balcony. There is considerable variation between manufacturers too, so that’s why we offer free delivery and free UK returns so you can try as many as you like until you get the fit that is right for you.
Common Bra Sizing Problems
Always remember the general rule that if you decrease the band size, you need to increase the cup size in proportion, and the same vice versa. (Please see our table of equivalent sizes).
The band rides up at the back
If this is the case, then your breasts are not properly supported, as the majority of support comes from the underband. A good way to test if the underband it too loose is to loosen the straps; the band should still hold you in place even if you lift your arms or move around. If it doesn’t then you should try a smaller back size.
Shoulder straps dig in
This is frequently caused by the band size being too large and consequently the straps are taking the strain. If when the straps are loosened the band does not provide enough support then try a smaller back size.
The bras centre front is lifted
The centre front should lie flat against the body, if it does not then try a larger cup size.
The underwire digs in
If the underwire pinches or digs in under the arm, then the cup size is probably too small. You should ensure that all of the breast is enclosed in the underwire.
Breasts spill over the bra cups
If you breasts spill over the top of the cups, then the cup size is too small. When you try on a bra, put a t-shirt over the top, so that you can see if you have a smooth line through clothing.
Bra cups are baggy
If you have excess fabric, and the cups are wrinkled then the cups may be too big. Although, if the cups fit well, but crease where they meet the strap it may be that the bra is too high for your shape. In this case something which finishes lower down such as a balcony bra may suit your shape better. For more information on this see our bra style guide.
In addition to chosing the correct size, it is also important to pick the right style for your shape and the look you want to achieve. Our simple guide explains the different types of bras available and their key features.
Full Cup Bra
A full cup bra offers total coverage for comfort and firm well fitting, making you feel secure and is perfect for wearing everyday. The straps are set quite close together to lift your breasts through the centre of the cups. It is great for larger cup sizes and for ladies with a fuller figure as it provides maximum support.
Side Support Bra
The side support bra provides medium coverage and excellent support. The extra panel at the side projects the bust forward giving a more flattering shape.
A balcony bra gives a good shape to the cleavage by lifting the breasts from the side of the cups. This popular style features wide set straps to display the neck and cleavage and is great for wearing with lower cut clothing. Balcony bras are sometimes refered to as ¾ cup styles.
A plunge bra is cut very low at the centre and provides less coverage; perfect for deep V-neck tops and plunging dresses. Many styles are lightly padded to further enhance the cleavage. Generally these are more suited to women with a relatively firm bust.
Strapless and Multiway Bras
A must have for any lingerie drawer, the strapless bra is great for any outfit where you don’t want your straps on show. Most strapless bras come with detachable straps so they can be worn as a halterneck or for cross back styles; making them even more versatile. Strapless and mutliway bras also feature gripper elastic to keep the bra in place.
Moulded bras are usually seam free and great for wearing with tighter clothing so that the outline of the bra is undetectable. A firm mould will provide more lift, and a lighter mould will give a more natural appearance.
Padded half cup bra
Padded half cup bras offers great uplift and gently bring the breasts forward. The wide set straps display the neck and cleavage; a great style for smaller busts.
Non-wired soft cup bra
Non-wired soft cup bra offer a comfortable option for those who are pregnant or post operative. This style is also very popular with teenagers, if the bust is still growing, and for ladies who like to wear a bra to bed, this is a very comfortable option.
An absolute essential for anyone particpating in sports, especially those with a fuller bust. Sports bras are available in soft cup or underwired options, and are specially designed to lift and keep your breasts in the right place during exercise.
We hope that has helped you with your selection. If you know the style of bra you are looking for, why not use our Search by Style option. If you have any questions then please feel free to Contact Us.