The Best Bra Fitting Guide – Bra sizing & Style

Millions of women waste money every year on bras that don’t fit them because of two reasons. Either you do not know what size you truly are and/or you are not accounting for your breast type and shape.

Our Best Bra Fitting Guide is aimed at stopping discomfort, wasted money and irritation among all women whether you have a small bust or large bust. It is imperative that you read the entire guide from start to finish to have a properly fitting bra that you will love. You will also need to be prepared to spend at least $40 – $60 on a quality bra. I assure you that the time and money is well worth it in the long run.

Most Bra manufactures use visual appeal in design over functionality. Women fall into that trap and buy bras based on beauty and visual appeal. This bra fitting guide is only based on what will be functional and comfortable for your breasts and not what the bra looks like.

Why Bra Fitting is Not Easy

Bra fitting is not easy and there must be much more thought put into buying a bra than just the size. Design and style play significantly into a good fit just as much as cup size and measurements do.

As an example of why style is just as important as size is:

You have two women identical in height, weight, stature and breasts volume (the amount of actual tissue that makes up the female breast). They both truly measure to a full 36D sized bra. The difference is that there breasts are different shapes and types even though they are the same size or volume, just shaped differently. Woman “A” has not had children and is 23 years old while women “B” is 33 years old and has had two children.  Woman “A” has firm round breasts while women “B” has soft tissue breasts that are fuller at the bottom of the breast than at the the top. Woman “A” will be able to wear most bras while woman “B” will need a bra with a deeper cup with a soft elastic balcony (top of cup).

The Best Bra Fitting Guide – Proper Sizing

We are now going to walk you through each step to find your perfect bra size. Remember that each woman’s breasts are unique to her and many sizes, shapes and types of breasts exist.

The Parts of a Bra

It is important to understand the parts of a bra so you know what we are talking about. Please look over this bra diagram and refer back to it if needed.

Picture of a bra diagram explaining each part of the bra with labels.

Basic Measurements of Your Bust and Band

I first want to say that you need to ignore everything that the biggest retailer of overpriced bras has to say about measuring. I will keep their name a “secret”. Bet you would have never guessed that a corporate marketing team doesn’t know how to properly fit a bra. 🙂 I also want to say that measurements are only a ball park figure for cup sizes. We will use these measurements only as a guide to find the correct size.

1) wear a very non supportive bra if you are large busted or have saggy breast that lets your breasts hang. If you are small busted and your breasts do not “flop” over then no bra is needed.

2) use a soft tape measure to measure for your band size. You will need to wrap the tape measure around you snugly just underneath your breasts. Make sure the tape measure is perfectly straight or you will get an incorrect band measurement. Exhale all the air from your lungs and write down this measurement. If you have a fractional measurement like 1/2″ or 1/4″ then round this to the nearest inch. This will be your band measurement.

Use the chart below to convert your band measurement to your band size.

Bra Measurement Chart & Band Sizing

Never add inches to your band or bust!

Measurment 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Band Size 30 32 32 32 34 34 34
Measurment 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Band Size 36 36 36 38 38 38 40
Measurment 41 42 43 44 45 46 47
Band Size 40 40 42 42 42 44 44

3) Now lightly measure around the fullest part of your bust. Remember to keep the tape measure as straight as possible or your measurement will be wrong. Round your measurement to the nearest inch.

4) Now subtract your band size (not measurement) from your bust measurement to get your cup number.


5) Now use the chart below to translate your cup number into a cup size.

Cup Number 0-1/4 1/4-1/2 1/2-1 2 3 4 5
Cup Size AAA AA A  B C D DD/E
Cup Number 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Cup Size DDD/F G H I J K L
Measurment 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Band Size M N 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Now that you have measured your correct bra size it is time to give you some good news and bad news. Your newly measured bra size will most likely be correct IF you are are D cup or smaller. Larger cup sizes from DD/E and up will need a little more work but I urge all readers to continue reading especially is they have saggy, low root, pendulous, wide set or soft tissue/deflated breasts. If you are unsure of what those terms mean we will be explaining them shortly. I can guarantee that your band size is very accurate. Do not ever deviate from your band size or  you will have a world of uncomfortable problems.

Types of Breasts – How They Affect Your Cup Size

There are two types of breasts that affect your bra fitting. It is very important to consider this when choosing a bra that you want to be comfortable in.

The first is what is called firm tissue breasts. These breast are mostly firm to the feel, do not bounce or jiggle very much. Another trait of firm breasts is the they will keep there shape when bent over. No special attention is needed when purchasing a bra if you have firm or semi-firm breasts.

The second type is soft breast tissue. This is often found in women that have had children, especially multiple children, have breastfed or lost/gained significant amounts of weight. Plus sized women also tend to have soft tissue breasts.

Soft tissue breasts sometimes appear  “deflated or empty” looking and when bent over may appear to cave in somewhat on the sides.  Stretch marks usually accompany soft breasts also and you will find that your breasts jiggle easily. Many women that have soft tissue breasts also have pendulous breasts.

For women with soft tissue breasts it is important to have a elastic material on the balcony of the bra cup to prevent the breast from jiggling. The elastic will also contour to the thinner top portion of the breast.

Shapes of Breasts – How They Affect Bra Fitting & Cup Size

Wide Set Breasts

Wide set breasts come in all sizes from A to M Cups. It is very important to find a bra with a wide bridge or center gore. Notice the large gap between her breasts. If you can fit three fingers or more between your breasts then you have wide set breasts.

Click Here to view the best bras for wide set breasts


Pendulous Breasts

Pendulous breasts have thinner breast tissue on the top or root of the breast while the bottom of the breast is much fuller and heavier. A analogy that is commonly used to describe pendulous breasts is “breasts that look like a grapefruit in a tube sock.”

Pendulous breasts are very hard to properly fit for a bra and measurements are not a very accurate when it comes to cup sizes. Most of the time if you will need a bra cup size 1-2 times larger than what you measured for.

Click Here to view the best bras for pendulous breasts.