Troubleshoot your Bra Size

A lot of people know that something’s not quite right with their bra, but don’t know exactly what to look for or where to go from there. For this reason, I had been thinking about writing a post summarising different signs of poor bra fit, but instead I’ve decided to make (what I hope is) an easy-to-follow flowchart. To assess your bra’s fit, first ensure you have put your bra on properly and adjusted fully. Fit issues may still arise due to style or shape incompatibilities (even in a bra with the appropriate cup volume and band length), which I have discussed further down the page, but following this should lead you to your optimal size.

Click the image to view full size, or press Ctrl and +/- to zoom in/out. Ctrl and 0 will return you to default.

Bra fit flowchart6

Found a seemingly good size, but still having fit issues?

Bra size is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you know a good size range for you, and you know how to tell if your bra doesn’t fit, you then need to look for the best bras for your breast type. I’ve answered some common incompatibility questions below, but finding bras will be much easier if you can work out your breast shape and root width. If you have any more questions that are not addressed below, please feel free to leave them in comments.

Bras I Hate & Love wrote a great post on figuring out your breast shape here, and this infographic may also be useful. You may also have issues with centre/outer fullness, though I don’t know of any resources for this, so I have made a graphic to help determine centre/outer fullness here. Determining root width is slightly trickier, and will usually have to be done by trying on different bras, and comparing the underwire width with your root width. Some resources on root width include Venusian*Glow’s posts showing examples of narrow roots and broad roots (NSFW), and this chart, which lists the typical width of different brands in relation to each other.

Contents

The straps

The straps are adjusted to two-finger tension, but they still dig inShoulderstraps

Digging straps are often due to a too-loose band, but if you’ve followed the flowchart then a tighter band may not be the solution. Your straps are meant to take 10-20% of your breast weight, which may be quite a lot for larger busts. I personally get this problem with thinner or more rigid straps – you may find that bras which have wider straps, stretchier straps or padded comfort straps help to relieve this. You could also try using bra strap pads to redistribute the pressure on your shoulders.

The straps are adjusted to two-finger tension, but keep falling off

Slipping straps are often due to a too-loose band, but if you’ve followed the flowchart then a tighter band may not be the solution. A lot of bras are currently made with wide-set straps, so if you have narrow or sloping shoulders, it may be that the straps are placed too far apart for you. Look for bras with more central straps, such as the Claudette Dessous range. You could try adding a racerback clip to bring your straps more central, or if you want a more permanent solution, you could try this alteration to move the strap position.

The bra cuts into my shoulders/armpits where the straps and cups meet

This can happen if the cup is too big, but if you’ve followed the flowchart then a smaller cup may not be the solution. This issue is usually due a combination of wide-set straps and too-tall sides. Look for bras with more central straps (such as Comexim bras or the Claudette Dessous range) and/or lower sides (such as Comexim or the Panache Jasmine). You could try adding a racerback clip to bring your straps more central, or if you want a more permanent solution, you could try this alteration to move the strap position and/or lower the armholes.

Empty space/overspill

I have empty space at the outer-upper cup (around the straps), but not towards the centreEmptyspace

If you have overspill at the centre no matter how much you size up, this is probably due to having more centre fullness and less outer fullness than the bra, though it may also occur if the cups are wider than you need. Look for bras that bring you more upfront, and have space towards the centre (such as Cleo balconettes or the Panache Jasmine). This may also be due to a too-small band making the cups shallower, so if you haven’t tried a larger band, you might want to try a sister size up (e.g. 34FF -> 36F).

I have empty space/gapping towards the centre, but not at the outer-upper cup (around the straps)

This is usually due to having more outer fullness and less centre fullness than the bra, though it may also occur if the bra is narrower than you. You should be able to find bras to suit this (such as Curvy Kate or Bravissimo balconettes).

I have empty space at the top of the cup, but if I try a size down there isn’t enough space at the bottom

If you have this problem, you are likely full-on-bottom. Look for styles that are more closed on top with more lower projection (such as the Bravissimo Alana, Curvy Kate Princess or Ewa Michalak CH).

I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but overspill at the topLoweremptyspace

If the cups are too small, your breasts will not be able to get into the bottom of the cup, so make sure this is not the problem. It can also occur if the band is too tight, as the tight band makes the cups so shallower. You should align the underwires with your breast root while adjusting, so if this occurs even after scooping and swooping, and a larger cup and/or larger band do not fix this, it is likely a shape issue. It may be that you are more full-on-top, and the bra has too much lower volume and not enough upper volume. Look for styles that are shallower at the bottom and open on top (such as the Masquerade Rhea, Curvy Kate Tease Me or Ewa Michalak S).

I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but the top fits fine

You should align the underwires with your breast root while adjusting, so if this occurs even after scooping and swooping, and you have followed the flowchart to your optimal size, this is likely a shape issue. Again, it may be that you are more full-on-top, and the bra has lower volume that you just can’t fill. It could instead be that you have more lower fullness than the bra, so your breasts push the cups down to get to a deeper section. This is not the biggest fit issue as long as the bra is still supportive and comfortable, but you may find a better fit in a bra with better suited lower projection (see above answers). If you have roughly even fullness, look for even styles such as the Ewa Michalak S, Panache Jasmine, or the Cleo Lucy and Marcie.

The apex

I get empty space at the apex that my boobs can’t fill, but a cup down gives overspillApex

This may be because the cup is too small, and your boobs can’t get into the cups. If going up in the cup has the same problem, and a cup down gives overspill, the bra probably just has more projection than you. It may be that you have shallow breasts, so you may want to look for shallower bras (such as the Parfait Charlotte, Cleo Marcie or Freya Marvel). You may also want to consider altering your bra to take space away from the apex, as shown in this tutorial and this tutorial.

I get bulging along the apex seam, but going up a cup gives empty space at the top/bottom/sides

This usually occurs when a bra does not have enough projection. It may be that you have deeper, projected breasts. Look for deeper bras (such as the Bravissimo Boudoir Beau, Ewa Michalak PL).

The wires

I have empty space at the sidesWidewires

If a smaller cup does not fix this, the bra’s wires are probably too wide for you. Look for bras with narrower wires. In my experience: Comexim, Parfait, Ewa Michalak and the Panache Ariza and Jasmine have narrow wires; Cleo, Bravissimo and Freya balconettes have fairly average wires; the Panache Melody, Freya half-cups and most Curvy Kate bras have fairly wide wires. This chart may also be useful.

The wires sit on breast tissue at the sides

If a larger cup does not fix this, the bra’s wires are probably too narrow for you. Look for bras with wider wires. See the above answer for suggestions of bras that may have wider wires.

The wires poke up into my armpits

The wires may be too tall. Look for bras with lower sides (such as Comexim, Ewa Michalak PL or Bravissimo Alana). If it is the entire armhole which is too tall, you could try this alteration to move the strap position and/or lower the armholes (though you would need to shorten the wires if they are the same length as the wire channel).

Breast tissue escapes over the sides of the cups

If this occurs even with scooping and swooping, and the wires are definitely not too narrow and the cups are not too small, the wires may just be too short to contain your breast tissue. Look for bras with taller sides (such as the Parfait Charlotte, Curvy Kate Portia or Panache Ariza).

The centre gore puts too much pressure on my sternum, it’s uncomfortableCentregore

Some bras have very rigid wires (such as the Panache Melody), which can be uncomfortable if you have close-set breasts. If this is the problem, try bras with slightly less rigid wires (such as Freya balconettes), or look for a bra with a lower gore (plunge bras) or narrower gore (Bravissimo balconettes, Ewa Michalak). In some cases, pressure on your sternum/ribs may be due to a too-tight band. You may prefer a looser band, or you may just be incompatible with that particular bra. You may find some relief by bending the wires (either by curving them and/or bending the gore away).

The centre gore does not sit flat, but when pushed down, there are no other signs of a poor fit

This is fairly common, and may be for a number of reasons. Firstly, some bras are just made with weak wires – for instance, Freya’s balconettes have a floating gore for just about anyone over an H cup, and non-wired bras will almost never sit flat. This may be slightly less supportive than a bra with firmer wires, but it isn’t something that will change with a different size, so it’s up to you if it bothers you.
Secondly, if your breasts are close-set, the centre gore may be too wide or too tall to actually get between your breasts, so your breasts will push the gore away. Again, this may be slightly less supportive than a tacking gore, or it may be uncomfortable if the gore sits on your breast tissue. It may help to slightly scoop your breast tissue away from the gore after putting your bra on, or you may want to look for narrower/lower gores.
Finally, some people will not get a tacking gore in any bra, whether due to the shape of their sternum or a medical condition such as pectus excavatum. As long as your bra fits in other respects, this is fine. You may find that bending the wires of your bra helps to relieve rib pressure, and you may prefer bras with lower/narrower gores (as they are likelier to sit closer to your sternum).

The band

I’m between band sizes – what should I do?Band

If one band size is too tight on the loosest hooks, but the next band size rides up on them, you have a couple of options. The easiest option is to wear the larger band size on the middle or tightest hooks straight away, though the lifespan of your bra will be much shorter than if it starts out on the loosest hooks. If you want your bras to last a bit longer, you could go for the smaller band size and use an extender until the band stretches out. Similarly, you could go for the larger band size and use a Rixie clip to tighten it, though there are definite limitations to how well this works. Finally, for a more solid solution, you could go for the larger band size and alter it down to be an exact fit.

The bottom of the band feels tighter than the top / The bottom hooks of my bras often come loose

If your only problem is the bottom hooks coming loose, it may be that you always fasten your bra onto the bottom hooks first, putting more strain on them. Try to vary which row of hooks you fasten the bra onto first.
If the bottom of the band is firm, but the top is looser (such that it seems like only the bottom of the band is doing much work), or if the top is fine but the bottom digs in, it may be that you have a straight or A-shaped ribcage, and the band is better suited to those with a more flared, V-shaped ribcage. Look for bands which are the same length at the top and bottom. Some brands which are best suited to straighter ribcages include Curvy Kate, Bravissimo and Comexim (thanks to Dressing Curves for these recommendations). You may also find that bras with fewer hooks have more leeway in what works. If you still have this problem in these brands, or if you would like more brands to be available to you, you could try fastening your bra diagonally (so onto tighter hooks at the top), or you could try this alteration of adding a dart to the top of your bra band.

The top of the band feels tighter than the bottom / The top hooks of my bras often come loose

If your only problem is the top hooks coming loose, it may be that you always fasten your bra onto the top hooks first, putting more strain on them. Try to vary which row of hooks you fasten the bra onto first.
If the bottom of the band is fine but the top digs in, or if the top of the band is firm but the bottom is looser (such that it seems like only the top of the band is doing much work), it may be that you have a flared, V-shaped ribcage, and the band is better suited to those with a more straight or A-shaped ribcage. Look for bands which are slightly longer at the top than the bottom. Some brands which are best suited to V-shaped ribcages include Ewa Michalak, Freya and Panache (thanks to Dressing Curves for these recommendations). You may also find that bras with fewer hooks and/or a scooped-out back (such as Cleo) will have more leeway in back shape, and thus will be more likely to work for you. If you still have this problem in these brands, or if you would like more brands to be available to you, you could try fastening your bra diagonally with an extender (so onto looser hooks at the top), or you could try this alteration, modified to add a dart to the bottom of the band.

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Founder and main author of Bras and Body Image. Anna is a lingerie lover, feminist and maths student based in the UK, who hopes to someday cuddle every cat in the world.

26 thoughts on “Troubleshoot your Bra Size

  1. This is very useful, as I feel the best way to fit a bra is through trial and error rather than measurements, but I feel like you neglect other common fitting problems. I’ll go through some of the issues now.

    With the gore floating, this can also be caused by a too tight band flattening out the cups and therefore pushing away the gore now that the bra is too shallow. It could also be that the cups are too tall (for various reasons including style and size). Additionally, it doesn’t make much sense to me to have a center gore not tack because of too big band. A band should pull the gore against your chest, but not too tightly to be painful. A gore not tacking is rarely if ever for this reason.

    The bra cuts into my shoulders/armpits where the straps and cups meet problem can also be caused by a too tight band because by pulling the straps closer together in the back, because the cups are not themselves elastic, you’re also pulling the straps into your armpits.

    I have empty space/gapping towards the centre, but not at the outer-upper cup (around the straps) problem can be also be caused by a too big cup in a band that is too small. A too small band will make sure that there is no gapping on the sides, but it will not necessarily fix the gapping on the top.

    I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but overspill at the top problem can also be caused by wearing your bra too low. Wearing a bra too low causes lost support, and often leads to wearing a tighter band than is necessary. I realized that I was wearing my bra too low and as a result, I had to go up in band size to be comfortable at the right height. Additionally, the I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but the top fits fine problem can also be caused by wearing your bra too low with the cups too big.

    I have empty space at the sides problem can be caused by wearing a too big bra, because if you go up in size, the wires get wider.

    The wires poke up into my armpits can also be caused by a too big cup.

    While it is cost effective to have a bra fit on its loosest hooks when you first get it, some people such as myself who are in between band sizes find it more comfortable on the middle or tightest hooks. People don’t come in two inch increments.

    But yeah, I think this is a good start, but my take away from this is that you’re ignoring fitting problems caused mostly by too small bands (and they are numerous). I see it everywhere. Distorted wires is ridiculously common. People seem to be afraid to mention these issues because it is seen as “better” to have a too tight band instead of a too loose band (hint, they’re both bad).

    • Hey, thanks for your comment.

      “With the gore floating, this can also be caused by a too tight band”
      A floating centre gore is usually due to small cups (as the breasts push the cups away), but I would say the second most common cause of a floating centre gore is a too-big band, as there is nothing to pull the wires closer to the chest. I have never seen a floating gore due to a too-small band, though I would imagine it’s possible. However, the bra style troubleshoot Q&A is meant to be used after using the flowchart, to ensure that someone is in approximately the right cup volume and band length before looking at style issues. Following the flowchart should direct someone to a band just tight enough to not ride up, but not tight enough to cut in. This is why I did not mention band tightness as the reason for most of these shape incompatibilities – if they have followed the chart, it is more likely to be a style issue, such as a too tall/wide gore. I did not mention the possibility of a floating gore being caused by too-shallow cups, as there would be other signs of style incompatibility (depth and width issues), so it would not appear to fit well with the gore pushed down.

      “The bra cuts into my shoulders/armpits where the straps and cups meet problem can also be caused by a too tight band”
      Yes, this can be caused by a too-small band, and occasionally by a too-large cup. However, again, the Q&A is for after using the flowchart, so if someone still has this problem, they should be wearing a supportive and comfortable band size, suggesting it is likely due to a style incompatibility. This sort of style incompatibility is very common in the small-band, large-cup segment, as many bras are poorly graded.

      “I have empty space/gapping towards the centre, but not at the outer-upper cup (around the straps) problem can be also be caused by a too big cup in a band that is too small”
      Again, the Q&A is for after using the flowchart. These suggestions are for those who are already in approximately the right size.

      “I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but overspill at the top problem can also be caused by wearing your bra too low.” … “I have empty space at the bottom of the cup, but the top fits fine problem can also be caused by wearing your bra too low with the cups too big.”
      Yes, this is why I specified that you should scoop and swoop when putting a bra on, to ensure that the underwires are aligned with your breast root. As a sidenote, wearing your bra too low usually results in a smaller cup than you need, not a bigger one, as your breasts are unlifted and squished (as demonstrated here).

      “I have empty space at the sides problem can be caused by wearing a too big bra, because if you go up in size, the wires get wider.”
      Again, the Q&A is for after using the flowchart. However, I did start this section with “If a smaller cup does not fix this, the bra’s wires are probably too wide for you” just in case, so I think you misread that section.

      “The wires poke up into my armpits can also be caused by a too big cup.”
      Possibly, but again, the Q&A are for after using the flowchart, so you should already be in approximately the correct cup volume.

      “While it is cost effective to have a bra fit on its loosest hooks when you first get it, some people such as myself who are in between band sizes find it more comfortable on the middle or tightest hooks. People don’t come in two inch increments”
      Very true. The suggestion to put your bra on the loosest hooks was for the troubleshooting, to check if it actually rides up and then see if a band down is better. If you are between band sizes, you should of course choose whichever is more comfortable, and wear it on whichever hooks are best (or with an extender/Rixie clip as necessary). I was planning to add that to the Q&A, I’ll update that in a bit.

      I hope that helped clear some things up.

      • Thank you for your reply. I’m mostly worried because the fitting problems I listed in my post are the ones I faced. It’s very common with women who have average sized breasts with prominent tails of spence, which is quite a lot of women. The main reason I have so many objections to this is because it feels like my problems are being ignored. If I had followed this flowchart and troubleshoot a while back when I was still figuring things out, I’d still be in an unsupportive 30H (and some 30HHs, with their 28 band counterparts), instead of my much more supportive 32F and 32FFs (more supportive because they’re worn higher and because the cups are small enough to support better).

        There are some things you replied with that I will patently disagree with, like the fact that wearing a bra too low is caused by a too small cup. I usually find it impossible to scoop and swoop in a too small size. For most people, the narrowest part of their torso is not their underbust, but somewhere below it. A too tight band will go there because it’s more comfortable, along with a too big cup not looking as too big because more of the volume in the bottom is taken up because it is too low. I spend a lot of time on bratabase looking at how people’s bras fit, and I would say at least 8% of the pictures indicate that sort of problem. If you want to see that problem on me, you can look at my review of the Masquerade Orla. The words are misleading, but if you look at my fitting pictures, you can see that the wires are about an inch lower than they should be because that’s the narrowest part of me torso.

        • This is very curious. In my experience, wearing a bra too low means I can wear a much smaller cup. My breasts have a lot of hang, and will sit against my ribcage if I don’t S&S, making them shallower, so a too-small cup can cover my breasts and look as though it fits (to the untrained eye).

          I wonder if it’s to do with firmness and hang? I would imagine firmer breasts with less hang would not drop down and lose projection when braless, so wearing a bra too low would mean entirely empty lower space, but more depth would be needed further up, and thus a potenially bigger cup?

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  3. Great post, but I have to disagree with a couple of things – Cleo Marcie has interesting grading so so while it is shallow in smaller cup sizes if you have the too deep cup issues in larger sizes Cleo Marcie is likely going to be even deeper and narrower. It is one of the few bras that suit projected and narrow breasts in larger cup sizes outside of Polish manufacturers.

    I’m also not really on board with suggesting Meg for fuller on bottom breasts, it has a closed top edge but quite a lot of room right under it. The top section, besides the very edge, is weirdly loose for a lot of women and Meg runs somewhat large in cup, partially due to that. Meg seems to be for women with a lot of projection, bottom fullness but also top fullness while having a short root. It is honestly hard to fit to perfection.

    The older sister cuts (Sasha, Alexa, Olivia) have a much easier to fit top edge without that extra looseness in the top section and the same great bottom fullness accommodating characteristics, and the new Cleo Lily is also a lot more similar to those cuts than to Meg.

    • Cleo Marcie is an odd one. I was actually basing it being shallow on mine and some others’ experiences with it in the 30-34 J region. I know of a few people (including myself) with deep, projected breasts who find they get bulging along the apex due to it not being quite deep enough, whereas it seems to work very well for Bras I Hate & Love, who has fairly shallow breasts. Perhaps it’s more average projection than shallow?

      I was on the fence about Meg, too, but others had recommended it for FoB. Cleo styles in general are more suited for even breasts, so I think I might change that one.

  4. Awesome post–excellent, detailed information.

    I’d like to see more about altering a bra when the strap doesn’t attach like the one in the link you showed, but becomes part of the band (like many Fantasie bras).

    • Hey, thanks for you comment. I’m not sure I understand what you mean – in my size range, I believe just about all bra straps are individually attached pieces. Do you have a picture example of any bras like that?

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  6. A very helpful guide! But I do have a question, i have very full on bottom breasts with very very little fullness on top. It’s hard to find bras in my size and budget that work, so I often have gaping at the top (and a cup size smaller just hurts). The flowchart says I could use inserts but I don’t like this idea, mostly because of body image issues (people have always accused me of stuffing my bra ever since i was nine years old) but the gaping itself makes me feel really insecure too (my boobs are not small but somehow I still tend to think they aren’t ‘big enough’). I figured this was the right place to ask since it’s a blog about body image. Do you have any suggetions for me on how to fix the gaping or how to feel less insecure? The strap alteration from this post seems like it could help (I’m very narrow) but I’m afraid of ruining my bra, since I’m a teen with little to no disposable income. I hope I’m not a bother, I was very happy to find this blog and its posts!

    • Hey, I’m glad you like the blog, and I’m sorry you’re having so many issues :/

      Using inserts at the top could work, but the best thing you can really do is to look for bras better suited for FoB breasts. What sort of bras have you tried, and what size(s) do you wear in what? Have you tried any Bravissimo balconettes (medium-to-narrow wires, suited to FoB)?

      I wish I had some suggestions for dealing with insecurity. Body image is a tricky thing, and there’s no quick fix or simple formula that will help everyone to cultivate positive self image. What helped me to personally improve my self-image was to just surround myself with pictures of a wide variety of people, body types and sizes, and to recognise the beauty in all of them. I guess just seeing the beauty in everyone else helped me to see the beauty in myself. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but it’s what helped me. All I can really do is emphasise that all bodies are good bodies, that you are perfect as you are, and your body doesn’t need to fit any arbitrary standard of appearance. You don’t have to look a certain way to be worthy of love, space or attention.

    • Primafleur

      You sound like you are shaped like me. I really like Fantasie bras (and Anna recommended Bravissimo which I didn’t like but they came very close to working for me). Look for seamed cups, not molded or seamless, and look for lace panel on top. Consider cups with side support.

  7. Hello!

    First => I’am sorry for my baddd bad english!

    II => I have a problem with the bras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    In my country, the bras sell for band size and don’t sell for band size and cup. Few brands sell for band size and cup (like Perlea) but come up to the D cup that is very small for me!
    I have decided buy in Ebay or some another online shop. But, i have a disadvantage: I cannot try the bras before buying it.
    That’s why, i have looked for internet and have found pages that have helped me very much but, i am still confused…

    These are my measurements so that you could understand what i say:
    [centimeters (inches)]
    Up – top the breast: 90 (35.1)
    Around the most stuffed part of the breast = 110 (42,9)
    Face down = 110 (42,9)
    In bed, face up = 108 (42.1)
    Underbreast superthight = 78 (30,4)
    Underbreast comfortably = 80 (31,2)
    Underbreast superrrrrcomfortably = 82 (32)
    Will exist any girl -who reads these blog- with measurements similar to mine? Enough would help me and i would be glad!

    Here, i have photos so that you see the form of my breasts:
    (If it turns out be offensive to you, i eliminate these photos…)
    Profile: I believe that my breast are more stuffed in the low part and I “feel” a well in the top part but, it is imperceptible.
    https://scontent-b-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t1.0-9/10300692_870306112996299_5196120606660475092_n.jpg
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/t1.0-9/p843x403/1013208_870306079662969_4583697449240008471_n.jpg
    https://scontent-b-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/t1.0-9/p843x403/10419980_870306136329630_7861646620183449205_n.jpg
    Above: My breasts doesn’t see like a “fallen” breast or with stuffed little in the top part but, when i raise it (in 2 photo) the difference is seen.
    https://scontent-b-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t1.0-9/p843x403/10419628_870306222996288_1349095021752735233_n.jpg
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t1.0-9/p843x403/10365920_870306246329619_3294217735947028367_n.jpg
    Looking ahead: They turn out to be fallen. Certainly, the quality of the photo and the lighting don’t help because there isn’t perceived the depth (personally, in the mirror, they turn out to be a little better) but, anyhow, they aren’t seen like a perfect circle… It looks like a pseudoptosis…
    https://scontent-a-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/t1.0-9/s843x403/10365875_870306186329625_1540697792926993835_n.jpg
    In bed, face up: They aren’t seen like a perfect circle!
    https://scontent-b-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfp1/t1.0-9/p843x403/10308350_870306126329631_3132032075644472575_n.jpg
    My back: This way my back is seen against a door. I have wide back for my height, measure 154 centimeters…
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t1.0-9/p843x403/10402994_870306209662956_8841570659712382787_n.jpg
    Might you observe if the size that i have calculated (further down) is correct or what type of bra is for me?

    Measuring (method -that i am going to name- 1) at the top and around my breast:
    Band 90 (35)
    Supposedly, I can choose between band 34 or band 36.
    43-35=8
    Difference of 8 corresponds to, supposedly, H cup…
    But: Must choose, indiscriminately, 34H or 36H? Or my measurement is 36H and, if the band is big, must to go down to 34I?
    34+9 (cup I) = 43 but, 36+8 (cup H) = 44

    Method 2 – Measuring around and under breast:
    Here, i have moooore problems:
    Many brands go from cup to other from 2 centimeters a 2 centimeters or from 3 centimeters a 3 centimeters. You know, 1 inch is 2.54 centimeters approximately…
    If the Ebay’s sellers don’t lie, i am 80J (36J) – 75K (34K) for the polish brand “Gorsenia”. Till now, there, doesn’t exist error because the Ebay’s sellers say that 75K is 34J “small”… I suppose, then, that “34J small” is equivalent approximately to 34I and coincides with the previous measurement.
    This is, according to UK sizes, 36G/34GG. I know that you cannot assure anything to me… It is not exact. The difference of “top breast – breast” doesn’t correspond exactly to difference “the breast – under breast”.
    This wikipedia’s image shows it:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Cup-conversion.svg

    But, when i have put my measurements in the bra sizes calculator on-line:
    36F (US) – 36H (UK) – 80I – 95I
    Even, 30M!!! I know that my back measures 30 inches but: this was corresponding to band 34/36 or not?

    IT WOULD HELP ME ENOUGH KNOW THAT DIAMETER HAS THE REAL 34GG CUP, of Curvy Kate, for example. My breast has a diameter of 18 centimeters approximately that, according to wikipedia, corresponds to one 34GG.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassiere_measurement

    The problems that i have had earlier are:
    Very big band for me: I know that, according to the calculations, band that corresponds to me is 36 “without discussion” (78 cm to 82 cm) but, the band 36 of brand “Perlea”… big for me… I don’t know if it is a particular problem of the Perlea but, the bands stretch therefore… I prefer that band is small.
    Small cup’s diameter: At first, i believed that the cup was a “little” big, that my breasts had a size difference but, then, i understood that the wire of the bra wasn’t covering the exterior side and, neither, the bra was resting against my breastbone… This was provoking that the bra was pushing up and to the center and the top part wasn’t on my skin.

    I like the bras push-up, balconette… I don’t like full coverage bra because i use, almost always, tank top and necklines…
    What do you recommend to me, what size, what bra’s type according my breast?

    And, if it isn’t ask toooooo much:
    1). My waist is 70 cm. and my hip is 110 cm. What panties size is?
    Is it preferable choose panties with waist 70 although it is small for my hips? Or is it preferable choose panties with hip 110 although it is big for my waist?
    2). How and where can i obtain dresses, t-shirt and others that attend to my difference of measurement between breast, waist and hip?
    Thanks <3

    • Hi Luciana!

      Thank you for your detailed comment, and sorry for the slow reply – you gave me a lot to think about! I wouldn’t calculate your band size from your above-bust measurement, as this is not where you wear you bra. With a tight underbust of 30 inches and loose underbust of 32 inches, I would recommend starting with 32 bands. It’s possible that in some styles that run loose you may need a 30 band, but in general I suspect 30 bands would be too firm for you. All of your bust measurements are similar, suggesting that you have quite firm breasts, so I think it will be best to calculate your starting point size from the largest measurement (43). 43-32=11, so you have an approximate difference of 11 inches. As an estimate, I would start looking for bras in a 32H (UK size), or 32K (US size).

      From the pictures, I would guess your shape is close-set, average-to-wide root, shallow-to-average projection, with even fullness all over (maybe with less fullness towards the centre, and more lower fullness). You may also have high-set breasts. I would look for UK bras around a 32H. As for specific bras which aren’t full coverage…Perhaps look for half-cup bras and lower-cut balconettes. Obviously I can’t guarantee that these will fit, but these are my best guesses from what I know so far, if you can get your hands on any of these bras:

      Curvy Kate Tease Me in a 32HH
      Masquerade Rhea in a 34G
      Tutti Rouge Betty in a 34H
      Any Bravissimo half-cup in a 34H (e.g. Moulin Rose, Paradiso Plume)
      Any Freya half-cup in a 32H (e.g. Patsy)
      Freya Marvel in a 32H
      Freya Deco in a 32GG
      Curvy Kate Smoothie in a 32H
      Cleo Marcie in a 32GG
      Cleo Lucy in a 32H
      Panache Jasmine in a 32GG
      Panache Envy in a 32GG
      Bravissimo Alana in a 32HH

      If you could try any of those (or, in fact, any bras around a UK 32H), it would definitely help to start pointing you towards the best bra style/size for you. I’m not sure which bra stores are accessible to you from your location, but when I buy online, I usually look at sites such as largecuplingerie.com, ASOS, and Brastop, as these stores often have bras at reduced prices, and you can often get free worldwide shipping. I also often buy from eBay and Amazon, though this may not be an option for you.

      I am not sure what would be the best underwear size for you. I would probably go for closer to your hip measurement, though you may be able to size down slightly. I would probably try something like a 14 in UK sizing (maybe 16 if they run small). For clothes cut for hourglass shapes, look at retailers such as Urkye, BiuBiu, Pepperberry and DD Atelier. I hope some of that was useful! If you want more help looking for bras, or if you buy a bra and would like feedback on the fit, please feel free to comment again or email me at anna@brasandbodyimage.com with any of your questions.

      Anna x

      • Thank you very much, Anna! I like to find the people ready to help, the world is not lost! I don’t care about the delay, you have answered me and helped very good and completely.
        Across the investigated in internet and of what you say to me, i see that it is impossible to know exactly your size and cup if i don’t try on the bra. Therefore, i will risk buying the size and cup that you have recommended to me and will try it on. I hope that it should be this way but, if not, i am ready to make request again until i can find my size and cup. Then, already i will have a major idea on what make request.
        Thanks for the recommendations of on-line shops, for everything! I will write to you again if i have another doubt and when the bras should come to my house!

  8. Hi, I seem to have very similar issues regardless of what bra I try. They seem like the correct size, but it’s mainly the shape. I carry most of my volume in the top centre part, but I have tall and top-heavy breasts on the whole. I find that most bras sort of force my breasts out and down instead of supporting them in the naturally uplifted position. A larger size with inserts is not really a good idea, I already wear a 32GG. I also often find that most bras have a tight upper cup, it dosen’t cause an overspill per se but I feel pressure and it makes me slouch. This is made worse by my wide shoulders, in order for my straps to lie in the comfortable place just before the joint they deform the cup. Which is rather funny, because I could use narrower underwires most of the time. A cup size or two too small bras have perfect wires. I also could use taller side panels on the whole. The straps are ussually too close-set where they join the cup – and that is a problem even in bras renowed for wide-set straps. Ewa Michalak was the closest I got to a well fitting bra, but it still suffered from the traditional – too wide wires (though less than normally), too narrow-set straps, too much room in the lower cup despite volume being OK, forcing the breast outwards…

    What is my problem? Are you familiar with this set of issues?

  9. How did I never find your blog before? Huge help in fitting, but I do have one issue — either my arms are too short or I’m not flexible enough, but I have never been able to reach around and hook my bra in the back. I KNOW that hooking in front and turning it around is stressing the hooks and stretching the band, but I’m not sure what else to do.

  10. Pingback: Putting your Bra on Properly - Bras and Body Image

  11. I always have to tighten the straps because they slip down but they are always loosening themselves and when this happens I feel like I’m losing a lot of support from the straps. And I know you are supposed to be able to fit 2-3 fingers in the band, I can fit my fist, so I’m guessing I should go down a band size. I’ve lost weight and that includes in the bust. I’m trying to figure out a starting n for looking for a new bra. You suggest starting at your actual underbust measurement instead of adding 4-5″?

    • Most of the support from your bra should be coming from the band, not the straps, and if your band is too loose it definitely won’t help keep your straps in place. Given that you’ve said you can fit your whole fist under your band even on the tightest hooks, it does sound like your band is much too big, so I would try starting at your underbust measurement, yes. If you have been wearing +4/5, though, it might be a big adjustment to go straight to a +0 size, so you might be more comfortable in +2 for now. If you can, I’d recommend trying a few sizes on – ultimately, the best fit is what you find to be the most supportive and comfortable!

      If you want any more help working out what might be some good sizes to try, feel free to either comment again or email me at anna@brasandbodyimagecom, and we can work out a good place for you to start :)

      • Stacy

        I think the advice to add 4-5″ is from the 1950s when bras were made much differently. Since that’s how most of our mothers, and therefor us were told to do it when we were starting out, the advice keeps getting perpetuated. I have no idea why manufacturers would not just adjust the sizes on the band so that people didn’t have to add that extra!

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