How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home
Finding the perfect bra can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. That’s why so many of us stay in the same old bra for much longer than recommended. Here at Shaws, we’ve created a handy bra sizing chart to help make the experience a little bit easier.
Believe it or not, bras are not supposed to feel uncomfortable. The right-size bra should feel comfortable and can improve posture, reduce back pain and make your clothing look better. You’ll know it’s time to find a new bra when the band stretches out, the cups lose their shape, when the straps start slipping or when there are visible signs of wear.
Below, you'll learn how to measure yourself at home for a new bra, and how to find the best one for your body type with the help of our bra sizing chart.
What you'll need:
The most accurate tool for measuring yourself at home is a soft measuring tape or tailor’s tape. If you don’t have one, you can measure yourself without a soft measuring tape by using a piece of string or ribbon instead (make sure it’s not stretchy) and then measuring the string or ribbon with a ruler.
Firstly, measure to find your bra band size.Wearing no bra or a non-padded bra, run the measuring tape all the way around your back where your band sits, being careful to keep the tape level. It should be as snug as possible without digging. If you don't get a whole number (e.g., 33 and 1/2 inches), round to the nearest whole number (34 inches), and then use the chart below to find your band size.
Next, measure your bust. To measure your bust run the measuring tape around your back, just under your shoulder blades, and up around the fullest part of your bust. Round this to the nearest whole number.
Lastly, calculate to find your cup size. Subtract your band size from your bust measurement to find your cup size.The difference in inches corresponds to your cup size.
For example, a 39-inch bust and a 36-inch band equals 3 inches difference, therefore your bra size is 36C.
How often should you measure your bra size?
It is recommended that you measure your bra size yearly.
How to find the right bra for your breast shape?
If you're not finding the perfect fit even after measuring yourself, you might be missing an important piece of context: your breast shape.
Fit is dictated as much by size as it is by breast shape, so you shouldn't be afraid to try additional sizes from various brands to find the bra that looks the most flattering and feels the most comfortable.
- If you have full, round breasts, you carry fullness all over. For full breasts, our experts recommend triangle or plunge bras that hug breasts without digging in.
- If you have teardrop breasts, you mostly carry your fullness on the bottom. We suggest sweetheart demi silhouettes or fabric overlays that keep cups lying flat.
- If you have compact breasts, your breasts sit high, and you might find that bras sit away from your body or that lace or fabric doesn’t lie flat. Shop for stretch fabrics or bras with contoured padding.
- If you have wide-set breasts, you carry your fullness on the sides. Look for bras with gently curving underwires and generously spaced gores (the centre part of the bra between cups), like the Freya Idol Underwire Moulded Balcony Bra or Fantasia Illusion Underwire Side Support Bra
- If you have asymmetric breasts, one breast may be larger than the other. This is very common. We suggest looking for stretchy, shallow cups or contour styles sized to the larger breast. (Hint: Always shop for the larger breast to avoid tell-tale spillover.) You can also shop for bras with removable padding to compensate for the smaller side, like Sloggi Zero Feel Soft Bra
How do I know if the bra fits me correctly?
- The band sits level all the way around your ribcage without riding up, constricting, or squeezing.
- The centre of the bra lies completely flat against the breastbone. That centrepiece between the cups is called the gore, and it shouldn't hover above the chest.
- The straps fit snugly without digging in. They should be adjusted to fit tightly enough for support, but not so tight that they dig in. Indentations or tired shoulders are a sign they're too tight.
- The cups don't gape or dig into the breasts, even when you move around.