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Lingerie Lowdown: Finding Your Bra Size

How do you know you’re in the right bra? How do you find your bra size? How do you measure yourself for a bra? Can you measure your bra size without a tape measure? These are only a few of the many questions women ask when they’re shopping for a new bra. Relax, take a deep breath, and read on for the answers you need.


For us women, few things are more annoying than trying to find the right bra. At one time or another, we all arrive at the same dreaded question: “What bra size am I?” And finding an answer we’re satisfied with can be confusing, frustrating, and sometimes even outright discouraging.

Determining your correct bra size means a departure from the comfortingly familiar small, medium, large or 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 sizing conventions. Instead, bra sizing involves two very specific measurements: Band size and cup size. Let us break this subject down for you by answering some of the most common questions women ask about bra sizing.

What is the difference between band size and cup size?

That’s easy.

Your band size is determined in part by the circumference of your torso directly under your bust. If you think of where the bra band sits (around your middle, supporting the cups from underneath the breasts), you’ll get a better picture of why having the correct band size is so important. Band sizes are expressed on an even number scale, such as 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, and so on.

Your cup size is the bra measurement relating to your bust measurement (in order to reflect your actual breast size). Having the right versus the wrong cup size means the difference between supporting, lifting and shaping your entire breast properly and experiencing cup overflow, gapping, discomfort, and sometimes even pain. Cup sizes are expressed on a letter-based scale, such as A, B, C, D, DD, and so on.

The combination of your band size and your cup size equals your complete bra size. For instance: 36C means you have a 36 band size and a C cup size.

How do I know my bra size?

Before you buy a bra, you need to know your correct bra size. There are several ways to go about determining your bra size. Many women go to a professional fitter at a lingerie or bra store to be measured. Others prefer to take matters into their own hands by measuring themselves at home, or having a friend or loved one help measure them. Each method has its advantages as well as its drawbacks.

When you go to a professional fitter to be measured, you can never be sure they’re properly trained to find your right size. Fitters also tend to work on a commission and may tweak your size to sell you a bra they have in stock. This isn’t the case in all situations, but it’s work taking into consideration. Measuring yourself is convenient and easier than it seems, but you need to make sure you’re measuring yourself correctly or you could easily end up with the wrong measurements. That’s why HerRoom has created The Fitting Room™, which features a vast library of exclusive bra sizing and fitting information.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your breast size and shape can change several times over the span of your life. Contributing factors to change in bra size include pregnancy, nursing, weight loss, weight gain, aging, menopause, breast augmentation, breast reduction, and more. In fact, it’s perfectly normal for a woman to have her bra size measurements change 5-6 times in her lifetime.

How do I measure my bra size?

You can find your bra size by following these three simple steps.

  1. Measure your band size: Using a tape measure, measure around your under bust making sure the tape is loose but still parallel with the floor. Exhale completely, and then take your measurement. Write it down. If the size you record is an even number, add 4 inches. If it’s an odd        number, add 5 inches. This is your band size.

  2. Measure your bust size: If you’re doing this wearing a bra, make sure it doesn’t have padding. Stand up straight keeping your arms by your sides. Wrap the tape measure around your torso, over the fullest part of your bust (over the breast apex) – keeping the tape parallel with the floor. Round your measurement to the nearest full number. This is your bust size.

  3. Do the math: Subtract your band size measurement (number 1) from your bust size measurement (number 2). Then consult this chart to determine your cup size:

Combine your band size measurement with your cup size. Now you have your bra size!

Want to learn more about how to measure your bra size? Visit our in-depth instruction page!

How can I measure my bra size without a tape measure?

You can figure out your bra size without having to break out the measuring tape and calculator. Follow these two steps:

  1. Put on your best fitting bra. If you like the fit, you’re in the right size (that was easy!) If you think you could find a better fit, go to step 2.

  2. Determine what you don’t like about your current bra. It helps to get in front of a mirror and make a list. Does the band ride up in the back? Do the cups gap or feel binding? Are your straps digging in? Are you not in love with the shape your bra is giving you? Note everything you think could be better and then find them on our Solutions To Bra Fit Problems You’ll find solutions to every bra fit issue you have. Using those tips and tricks, tweak your bra size and get a much better fit.

Have additional bra fitting and sizing questions? Leave them in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter.


The right bra can change the way you feel about everything. Find the right style and fit in just a few minutes with our exclusive Bra Fit Quiz.

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