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After I finished nursing my second baby, I realized that my chest was not was not returning to its pre-pregnancy size. It was definitely….larger. I had been able to wear the same bra size after baby #1 but this time it was not happening.
As I started to research bras and sizing, I found that I had never been measured correctly in the past. I started thinking…maybe that is why my bras never seemed to fit exactly right and my bra straps always seemed to slip down my shoulders throughout the day. Maybe it wasn’t just because I was short!
I want to share with you the method I used to get a great fitting bra. I am not guaranteeing that this method will work for everyone, but it sure worked for me. I was able to get a bra that lifted and supported my breasts, and my straps no longer slipped down my shoulders. It also helped me look better in my clothing. Having a bra that supports and lifts your breasts into the correct position is key to getting your outfits to look their best.
(Do not wear a bra while taking your measurements.)
Band Size: Place a flexible measuring tape straight across your back and then bring it around the front snugly underneath your breasts. Record the measurement in inches. If you get an odd number, round up to the next even number. Example: If your measurement is 35.5 inches, round up to 36 inches.
Cup Size: While standing, bend at the waist so your upper body is horizontal to the floor. Place the measuring tape straight across your back and then bring it around to measure across the fullest part of your breasts. You can also measure your breasts while bending over, standing, and while laying on your back (each time making sure to bring the tape around the fullest portion of your breasts) and then take the average of these three measurements. This second method is recommended if you have a considerable amount of sagging, as it helps you avoid overestimating your cup size. Record your final measurement in inches.
If your measurement falls between two numbers, round up to the next number. Example: If your measurement is 42.5 inches, round up to 43 inches. To get your cup size, subtract your band measurement from your cup measurement. Example: Subtract 36 from 43 to get 7. Once you get this number, you can match it to the bra sizes below.
Difference Between Band and Cup Measurements = Cup Size
Under 1″=AA (US)/AA (UK)
1″=A (US)/A (UK)
2″=B (US)/B (UK)
3″=C (US)/C (UK)
4″=D (US)/D (UK)
5″=DD/E (US)/DD (UK)
6″=DDD/F (US)/E (UK)
7″=DDDD/G (US)/F (UK)
8″=DDDDD/H (US)/FF (UK)
9″=DDDDDD/I (US)/G (UK)
10″=J (US”)/GG (UK)
11″=K (US)/H (UK)
12″=L (US)/HH (UK)
13″=M (US)/J (UK)
14″=N (US)/JJ (UK)
Once you have calculated your bra size, you may be shocked by results. I know I was quite surprised when I found out my new size (36 G in UK sizing). It sounded so…large. Please don’t let this shock keep you from trying that cup size. I have heard that over half of all women are wearing the wrong size…don’t let yourself be one of them!
Characteristics of a Proper Fitting Bra
Cups: Breasts should not bulge over the tops of bra cups. Molded cup styles are best if you have one breast that is slightly larger than the other. Always fit the larger breast in these cases.
Band: The band should sit horizontally across the back and not ride up with wear. If the band rides up, then try a smaller band size. The band should be snug on the loosest hook.
Underwire: The wire should be flat against your rib cage and sit in the crease under the breasts. If the wires are lifting away from your body, then try a bigger cup size.
UK-based bra companies have a reputation of being more standard in their sizing. UK brands to try include Elomi, Panache, Freya, and Fantasie. If you prefer a bra with US sizing, Wacoal and Natori are brands that offer quality bras. I find that Elomi bras fit me best.
If you have a large bust like I do, it may be necessary to shop online unless you live in a location with a specialty bra shop. My favorite place to shop for bras is Amazon.com. Being able to get free shipping and returns is very important when bra shopping. By shopping through Amazon, I have been able to try more than one bra without losing any money due to shipping or return shipping costs. Below are some bras with great reviews.
Elomi Amelia Band Less Molded Bra (My favorite bra)
Wear & Care Tips
When putting on your bra, lean over at the waist and scoop/lift your breasts into the cups. This method allows you to get all of the breast into the cup. If you ever notice an area of tissue sticking out between your bra and your shoulder, you may not have all of your breast in the cup. This method of leaning and scooping your breast into the cup helps fix this issue.
Never put your bras in the dryer. The heat of the dryer can cause them to shrink and can reduce elasticity in your bras.
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