Do Your Body A Favor And Wear The Right Bra Size

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Here’s a quick checklist you can do right now to see if you are wearing the right size bra.

1. Does the center gore (the piece that connects the two cups on the front) sit on your chest?

2. Is your breast popping out of the top or side of the cups?

3. Do you have to adjust your bra at any point of the day buy either fixing the band or the cups?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you are probably not wearing the right bra size. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a study published in the Chiropr Osteopat in 2008, “80% of women wore incorrectly sized bras,” with 70% wearing bras that were too small and 10% of the women wore sizes that were too big.

But why so many people? There aren’t any definite findings, but many online communities and higher end bra specialty shops conclude it’s the poor selection of sizes and measuring techniques some stores use. American companies are notorious for selling ill-fitting bras so they don't have to produce more sizes. They do this by using a system that adds four or five inches to your chest measurement to get closer to the sizing they offer.  

This old measuring system leads to bras that are either too loose or too tight, uncomfortable, and unsupportive. This method of measuring also contributes to the myth that people with D cups or larger have huge breasts, when in fact it is not true.

There are many websites, videos, posts, communities, and yes, even companies, who are pushing for a better measuring system that leads to a more comfortable and better fit. Though breast density, shape, and fullness need to be considered, measuring is a good starting point.

To start, get a soft tape measure and remove your shirt and bra. Snugly measure under your breast for your chest measurement and write that down in inches. Then measure around your bust and write that number down. If you have larger breast, it helps to take two more measurements, one leaning parallel to the floor and one laying down, then averaging those numbers.

If you get odd numbers like 27” around the chest and 33” around the bust, round the chest measurement up since bands are only sold in even numbers (you now have 28”). For the cup, you would subtract your chest measurement from your bust measurement, resulting in a 5 inch difference, or a DD/E. So the next time you walk into a store, you should try on a 28DD/28E and see if you need to move up or down a size to accommodate for your shape, density, and fullness. You can use the chart below, but be mindful that they use centimeters.

Credit: Cake Lingerie

Credit: Cake Lingerie

But wait! I’m a 32A, I can’t be a DD!

And that’s what many companies will want you to think. But the reality is that cup size is not all one size. For every inch you measure, you go up an additional cup size to give your breast the proper amount of space to rest in. Imagine trying to stuff your foot in a shoe that is too small. It would be painful and, if you did succeed in getting your foot in, would lead to your foot getting distorted from the tight fit. Or alternatively, you try to fit your foot in a shoe too large. It would be difficult to walk and you won’t have the support your foot needs to properly get you from place A to place B. The same concept applies to your cup size.

If you need some visuals, there are many websites, such as The Bra Band Project, that are dedicated to showing the difference between sizes and help you see what I mean when I say that there is no “D” cup.

So once you have your size, it’s time to hunt for a company that actually stocks those bras. If you are lucky to fall into the 32/36 A/DD range, you have many places at your disposal. However, if you don’t, there is still hope. There some brick-and-mortar places you can go like Nordstrom, but you can also search online, which is often cheaper. Busty Resources and A Bra That Fits are two larger sites that have a list of brands and stores that carry those sizes.

Having bras that fit properly should be a requirement, especially for people with larger breasts. Back pain, soreness, breast pain, posture, breathing problems, and spinal problems are just a few problems caused by wearing the wrong bra. You can see and feel an immediate difference if you’re wearing a properly fitted bra. Many people compare their before and after pictures as see instant improvement to the shape and feeling of their breast.

It is time we demand bras that fit from the fashion industry. Buying from brands that carry our sizing is one way to send a message to the industry. Plus, it just feels good to have a well-fitted bra. So get fitted and buy the right sized bra. Your body will thank you.

Michelle Chavez (they/them/theirs) is a Film Studies major at Cedar Crest College out to change the world through film and vlogging. Their hope is to spread knowledge and spark conversation about issues across the board, from the societal to the personal.