Saturday, July 27, 2013

You're Wearing the Wrong Bra Size, I Guarantee It! How to Determine Your Correct Bra Size

Hello all!  So I know the topic of this blog is generally hair and makeup related, but I have to tell you about my bra journey.  I recently figured out that I've been wearing the wrong size my whole life, and I went from a 36B to a 30F bra size.  I am willing to bet that every single one of you reading this is currently wearing the wrong bra size.  Do your shoulders hurt at the end of the day? Do your straps always fall down unless you tighten them so tight that they leave marks?  Does your band ride up in the back? Does the piece of plastic or metal in the middle of the two cups not touch your skin?  Do you "quadboob" (where tissue from your breast rolls up over your cups, creating an uneven surface)? These are all some (not all) of the signs that your bra is the wrong size.

First of all, let's dispel some myths:

Myth #1: I got sized at Victoria's Secret, so I already know what my correct size is.

Victoria's Secret and most department stores measure you using an outdated system of measurement, where they go around some part of your body (it varies widely) and then do some crazy math like adding 4 inches to get your band size.  When I was "fitted" at Victoria's Secret, they measured me over my shirt and over the bra I was wearing.  The thought occurred to me: "If you're just taking a measurement over my current bra, aren't you just going to tell me what size that bra is?"  Sure enough, that was usually the outcome.  Other times they would just seem to make up a random size, usually either 34B, 34C, 36B, or 36C.

The reason that they use this strange system of +4 inches is because bras used to be made with less elastic materials.  Since the bands and cups wouldn't stretch as much as they do today, they would just add inches.  Victoria's Secret likes to put women into band sizes that are too big, with cups that are too small. Sure, that gives some awesome looking cleavage. But it also hurts like heck.
None of these bras fit. Good job Victoria's Secret.
Also, it's a money game (what isn't these days?).  Stores like Victoria's Secret know that they simply cannot keep enough sizes and styles in stock to fit everyone properly.  So they have put millions and millions of dollars into advertising that every woman should be between a 32A and a 38DD.  Anyone else must be a freak.  This would be like a dress store saying, "Well, we don't have the capacity to store dress sizes 2-30 and it just isn't profitable to do so, so we're going to stock sizes 6-12 and tell everyone that they should be in that size range."

Myth #2: Most women fall within the A-C cup range, and D cup or larger is freakishly huge or implant size.

Do you know what a 32FF looks like? Probably like a porn star, right?

Properly fitted 32FF.  Image from

OK so that's not freakishly huge.  What about a 34G? That's gotta be like Courtney Stodden level implants, right?

A properly fitted 34G. Image from

Not exactly.

Alright so maybe now you're seeing that these "big" letters aren't actually freakish at all.  They look pretty normal.  Let's go the other way.

32C...that's like the Victoria's Secret Gold Standard, right? Cleavage everywhere!

Properly fitted 32C. Image from
Alright, what about a 34B? Heck, the odds are that's the size you're wearing right now, since Victoria's Secret thinks that's average! What does that look like?  Actually, has ZERO images of a properly fitting 34B.  When measured properly, it's an incredibly rare size.

Myth #3: There is a standard looking "B" cup or "C" cup or even "D" cup

Completely remove from your head the idea that there is such a thing as a "B" cup sized chest.  Cup size cannot be separated from band size.  They are intertwined.

Example: Here is a 28D:

Image from
Here is a 34D:

Image from

The band size affects the cup size.  This is why a 28D looks completely different than a 34D.  So stop looking at yourself as a "C" or a "D."  The letter cannot and should not define how you approach your breasts.

Myth #4: Bras are just uncomfortable, whether properly sized or not.

My shoulders used to hurt  By about 2:00pm.  Burning, aching pain.  I would rush home to take my bra off.  When I'd arrive home, screaming cats or need to use the restroom be damned! I needed to take the bra off before I did anything else.  And oh the relief! The sweet relief of taking off a bra.

Now that I've figured out my actual size, this is all a thing of the past.  No more "I'm home, now get this damn thing off of me."  I don't even notice that I'm wearing one.  I actually slept in one accidentally the other night.  That would have been unthinkable in my old bras.

How do I figure out my bra size?

I used the extremely helpful and well thought-out guides on in order to create this post.  I cannot overstate how helpful the ladies over there are, so I would definitely recommend that you make a free account! 

You've got to measure yourself!  The process seems daunting written out, but it takes all of about 5 minutes.

You'll need a soft tape measure.  If you don't have one, grab some ribbon or string that isn't stretchy and a hard measuring tape or a yardstick (you can lay the string against the measuring tape to get the numbers in inches).  You'll also want a piece of paper and pen to jot down your numbers.  It's best to do this in front of a mirror.

1) Remove your shirt and your bra.

2) Measure your snug underbust with the tape measure (or ribbon or string). You want the tape comfortably snug against your skin, being sure to keep it parallel to the ground (hence, the mirror).  Check out this picture if you aren't sure where to place the tape measure for this or any other measuring step.  Write down the number as your Snug Underbust.

3) Measure your underbust with the tape wrapped as tightly as possible.   Like you are trying to break the tape Incredible Hulk style. Be sure it's parallel to the floor.  Write down the number as your Tight Underbust.

4) Measure your bust while standing.  This means you are placing the tape measure comfortably around the largest part of your chest.  Be sure to keep the tape measure parallel to the floor.  Write down the number as your Standing Bust.

5) Measure your bust while leaning over.  Your face will be looking at the floor and your back should be parallel to the ground. Keep that tape measure straight! Write down the number as your Leaning Bust.

6) Measure your bust while lying down.  Lay down with your back on the floor.  Keep the tape measure straight, and write down the number as your Lying Bust.

Now that you've got your measurements, plug them into this calculator. 

The calculator will give you a good starting point, but now you need to go try bras on.  Don't be discouraged if you can't find the precise fit right away.  You may want to check out how to determine your breast shape, because shape definitely can affect fit! And of course, you need to know where you can go to buy a bra in your new size, because Victoria's Secret probably doesn't carry it!

Please let me know in the comments if you try this out! I would LOVE to hear stories from your gals about your bra journeys!  Thanks for reading!


Rachel said...

This is so interesting! I actually did this myself about six months ago or so - found my "real" bra size, but I read this entire post word for word because the whole thing is so fascinating. I'm basically boy-flat but I'd always been buying A cup bras because, well, that's what women with no cleavage do, right? Also a 34 band size, because, heck, most people are 34, right? This was seriously my criteria for determining my bra size. No surprise that there was tons of riding up, gaping, everything. When I measured correctly, I discovered I'm a 30AA. I was SO off. The bad news is that 30AAs are not easily found in stores. The good news is that it's the standard pre-teen trainer bra size, and they actually make some that don't look little girly. SO I can buy my bras 2 for $14 and they fit like a dream. Whoo-hoo!

Diana Mattoni said...

For years I also thought I was a 34B. I somehow was a REALLY late bloomer and didn't get my boobs until in my 20's! That's why I was always so adamant that I was only a B cup. I went to a college reunion and everyone wanted to know where I got the boobs! I finally started looking through old pictures and yes, in college I was MUCH smaller that I am now. Needless to say, I'm now in a 38D but I think I'll try out the measurements and see if that is true. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Raff said...

I found a similar blog post to this through pintrest, and through that found the sub-reddit. It has been AMAZING!!!! I had been wearing a 34B I knew it didn't fit me right but I didn't know what I could do to find out the right size. So literally the day after I read all about this, I went to Nordstroms and got fitted, I'm not in a 32DD!!! My boobs look and feel great!! I never thought I would be happy with my boobs or bras until I found this sizing system. Ever since I have been telling other people about it because it impacted me so much. Thanks for sharing your story as well!

the abby o'sullivan said...

Just for the sake of clarification... Victoria's Secret measures the band size over your chest above your breasts. That is your band size estimate. Then they measure over the fullest part of the breasts, the bust. They subtract the band measurement from the bust measurement to estimate a cup size. The bust measurement will almost always be bigger. Rarely the exact same. The difference between the two measurements corresponds to a cup size.
So if your band measurement is a 36 and your bust measurement is a 38, the 2 inch difference indicates that you are a B cup. So you are a 36B.

Keep in mind that this is just an estimated size for you. A starting point. Each bra is different. For the most part you will wear the same size, but you might feel more comfortable in a sister size. For example, if you measure a 36B, you might also want to try a 34C for a snugger fitting bra. When you decrease the band size, you want to increase the cup size, since the band size affects the size of your cups. (A 36B and 34B have different band and cup sizes believe it or not... thats why a 32G and a 38G are quite different)
If you are looking for a strapless bra, you might want a tighter fitting band and should at least try out the sister size!

Some women aren't as comfortable with their bodies to take off their clothes for a measurement, so they prefer to be fitted over their shirt. The employee will also take into consideration the type of bra that you are wearing and whether you are wearing any other clothing over top.
After you get measured, you have the opportunity for a bra fitting. They have a sample of every bra on the floor in every size. They listen to what kind of lift/support you are looking for and give you samples to try until you find just the right fit.
Victoria's Secret also has a bra specialist working in the store who is an expert in bra fitting and sizing. She will make you comfortable and help you find exactly what you need.

Also, don't forget that Victoria's Secret employees are just people like you and me. They make $7.25 an hour and go through training to help you. Every VS employee is trained to take measurements, some are more experienced than others. You are the only person who can tell you exactly what fit works best for you!


PS. Yes, I worked at Victoria's Secret. Great place to work.
PPS. I have curly hair too and stumbled across your blog in search of some others. I am starting mine and wanted to see what other bloggers were up to. Good luck!

Laura said...

I'm unconvinced that you actually read the post. I also must respectfully disagree with what you have written.

You would benefit yourself and your customers greatly if you read through the materials here:

But since you have already proven you don't read everything carefully (more on that later), I would highly recommend you actually read through the following threads:

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

First of all, not every VS measures the same way. I have personally been measured in the manner I described in the post. However, the method you describe also results in the same problem: too large of a band and too small cups.

Your method of measuring above your breasts makes no logical sense. Do you measure your calves to get an estimate of your ankle size? Why in the world would you measure any place other than where the band sits to get a band measurement? If I am 29 inches around where my band sits, I want a 30 inch band, not a 36 inch band! The band is supposed to provide the vast majority of the support of the garment. The straps are there to help the cups form the shape they are supposed to, not to hold the weight of the breast tissue.

Also, I find it somewhat insulting that you presume to tell me what fits my body. "You are a 36B." Actually, I'm not. I wore them for years, and as a result had back pain daily. When I tried on my correct size, not only did my back pain go away (because the 30 inch band holds the weight of the breast tissue, instead of the straps), but I have a much nicer shape and much better lift.

You say, "A 36B and 34B have different band and cup sizes believe it or not... thats why a 32G and a 38G are quite different." This proves to me that you failed to actually read my post, because if you had, you would have seen that I said this: "Completely remove from your head the idea that there is such a thing as a "B" cup sized chest. Cup size cannot be separated from band size. They are intertwined." So, as I already pointed out in the post, I am fully aware that a 32G and a 38G are different. There is no such thing as a "G" sized chest, because 32G and 38G have such dramatically different volumes. I am fully aware of sister sizing. Hence, I said " I used sister sizing to go from a 28FF to a 30F."

So not only do you presume to tell me that you know my body better than I do, you also failed to actually read my post. A 36B DOES NOT FIT ME. I had pictures of myself up on this post in its original version to prove that, but due to privacy concerns I removed them. believe me, it does not fit.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of women who have measured themselves properly using the method I described above (note: I did not create this method. Actual seamstresses did). You should give it a try on yourself. Do it just to prove me wrong, if you must. Then go try on your "wrong" size at Nordstrom (because VS won't carry it). As the title says, you're wearing the wrong size, and I guarantee it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, here just a stranger passing by. I'm currently wearing a 36D (at the tightest hook) and, according to this article, I should most likely be a 30G/30FF (my leaning over measurements were 10 inches greater than my snug underbust). I have noticed that my band seems to be too loose, as it rides up at the front and the back, despite having the straps at their loosest setting. However, I do get red, somewhat prominent marks from my band and the underwire, framing my breasts and where my band should be (albeit higher at the back as it keeps on riding up there). My question is, what should I do? I've been measured a few times where they advised me to try on a 32 or a 34 band, only to take back their words when they found out that I get marks from even a 36 band. Are there more people with a similar problem? I used to wear a 32DD/32E (my breasts have grown since then), but I stopped wearing those because of the markings. Also, my cups are completely filled and not bulging in my 36D bra, they even have a bit of space when I slump.
Anyhow, anyone got an answer?

Laura said...

"VS is a Fortune 500 company founded on their expertise in bras so it seems a little silly to criticize what they do so harshly based on your experience at one store with one person."

Well, the thing is, it is not just my experience. As I linked you to many threads above, hundreds of women have documented their experiences as well.

It's not that I have a problem with VS as a company. It's that I have a problem with 1) their sizing technique, which uses outdated methodology which gives a bra size with a too large band and too small cups, and 2) their refusal to stock sizes that most women actually fit into.

If VS stocked sizes that most women fit into, I would be the first one there, because it is a pain to have to go online or to speciality stores to get my size, even though it is one of the most common sizes when this fitting technique (using your actual body measurements in the place where the bra will actually sit). Again, I would encourage you to educate yourself on this so you can actually inform your customers. I have given you plenty of reading material already.

"VS is a Fortune 500 company founded on their expertise in bras so it seems a little silly to criticize what they do so harshly based on your experience at one store with one person"

This is patently false. The store was founded BY A MAN who was not a seamstress or an expert in bras so that men wouldn't have to be so sheepish about buying lacey things for their wives and girlfriends. From Wikipedia

"Eight years prior to founding Victoria's Secret, Raymond had been embarrassed when purchasing lingerie for his wife at a department store. Newsweek in 1982 quoted Raymond in the previous year explaining: "When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife," he recalls, "I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder....Raymond studied the lingerie market for eight years before borrowing $40,000 from his parents and $40,000 from a bank to establish Victoria's Secret: a store men could feel comfortable buying lingerie. The company's first store was located in Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California."

It was not until 1983, 6 years after their founding, that they contemplated a strategy change that focused on marketing to women, rather than embarassed men ("In 1983 Leslie Wexner revamped Victoria's Secret. He discarded the money-losing model of selling lingerie to male customers and replaced it with one that focused on, specifically, females. Victoria's Secret transformed from "more burlesque than Main Street" to a mainstay that sold broadly accepted underwear.")

Victoria's Secret exists to make money. As they should, as a corporation. They were not founded because they saw a problem of women wearing the wrong bra sizes. They were founded to get men to spend money on sexy things for their wives. They were not founded as an "expert" in bra fitting. They were founded by a businessman, plain and simple.

Laura said...

Hi there!

Have you posted your measurements on ? I only ask because with your leaning measurements being more than 10 inches compared with your snug underbust, you may benefit from those ladies' experience and expertise in figuring out a starting size. It's free to sign up for a totally anonymous account.

You are getting painful red marks in smaller bands because the cups are too small. A 32E is at least 3 cup sizes (depending on the brand) smaller than what you need (the sister size of a 30G would be a 32H. E, F, G, H = 3 sizes too small). So your breast tissue, having no room in the cups, is being forced under the band. So what may be an ok band in terms of its length for your bare torso is now trying to hold your bare torso + breast tissue. If you try on a 30G or 30FF (and also consider 32FF, 32G for comfort possibly), you will probably not end up with those painful red marks. Now, my well-fitting bras do leave marks on me. The same sort of marks that my socks leave on me. Small indentations in the skin. But those marks are neither red nor painful/uncomfortable. DIY Keratin said...

OMG, so sick of all the "wrong bra size" stuff. I mean, is this any kind of real problem? Wrong shoe size, yes. Wrong bra size, not really.

Sophie said...

It's actually really bad for your back and breasts demand proper support. So yes, it is indeed a real problem (especially if you have a big cup size, it's quite some weight for your back and it will get sacky while you get older).

anonymous said...

I work at a bra boutique and we specialize in measuring and carrying sizes that are not commonly found in stores. Everyday women come into my store with their breasts spilling out of the cups or the straps digging craters into their shoulders and it's frustrating when they refuse to even try on a different sized bra. When I tell my friends I am a 30DD/32D they look at me like I'm crazy and refuse to even entertain the thought that they are wearing their incorrect size. It was incredibly refreshing to see a blog post so detailed and accurate about how a bra should properly fit. Good Job.

DEH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Can said...

Laura, I couldn't agree with you more! I am so frustrated with the OUTDATED measuring techniques at VS! I've been lifting a lot of weights for the past few months and the band size was starting to dig into my sides. So, I went to VS last night and thought I would get "measured" again. They told me I should be wearing a 34C???!!!!! Are you freaking kidding me? So, I played along and let the "experts" grab me some bras. I kept telling her it was waaay too tight and they just didn't listen. Then when the "bra fit specialist" figured out she was wrong, she tried to convince me I was a 36A. Jesus, what part of "my sides are more muscular now" did they NOT understand? Turns out, I am a 38A....which they conveniently do not carry. I'm sorry, but as a VS customer for 20+ years, I will never buy bras from them again. They always have me spending hundreds of dollars on wrong sizes. Very frustrating. REAL bra specialists measure exactly the way that you do. I am so much happier now that I am wearing the right size. Women today have much more athletic builds than they did 30 years ago. VS needs to update and learn how to listen to their customer. If the girl is telling you it's too tight, then it's too darn tight. Period.

Kaylie H said...

I tried a similar method a year or two ago, and came up with 32FF/G, as I did just now with your method. I ordered a 32G bra that felt too tight and the cups way too big. Then I went to a local bra boutique and was measured at 34D, with their system. The bra did fit pretty well. I was wondering if the 32 was supposed to feel really tight, at least at first. I would like to get the proper size this time around, and am wondering what I did wrong. I have 33.25 under bust, 31 tight under bust, then 39.75, 40, and 38 for the three bust measurements. Do you think I should stick with the 34D? Thanks! So glad you have this info up!

Laura said...

Oh dear! Thanks for alerting me! If you head over to this site: you'll see a sidebar full of links on the right hand side of the page. The information I was refering to is the "Buying Guide" and the "Shape Guide." I will also update this post with those things in a few minutes.

As to your sizing question, I would highly recommend making a (free!) account on the site I just linked you to ( and posting a Measurement Check with your measurements, because there are lots of other women who are better at starting point suggestions than I am! But, looking at it quickly, I think a 32 band size really would be best, but if the cups were too large, try going to a 32F. The band should feel tighter than what you're used to, but it should be a snug and supportive sort of tight rather than a painful tight. The cups may initially feel too big as well, but this is because you need to "swoop and scoop" your breast tissue into the cups. My bras look like I tried on mom's bras until I reach in, grab the sides of my breasts, and "scoop"/pull them into the cups (toward the center of my body). Then they fit just right.

All that being said, if you're happy in your 34D, then that is great! This fitting system is really about making women happy with the fit of their bra. But I definitely recommend going over to that site and asking for further guidance.

Laura said...

Thank you for your compliment and for what you do! I'm sure you've made many women very happy! Where is your boutique?

Laura said...

Yay! So happy that you've found your fit.

Caitlew03 said...

I was measured at VS before I had kids, I had been wearing a 34B for a few years. They told me I was a sister thought it was hilarious, because her chest was smaller than mine and she thought she wore a 36C (I didn't have the heart to tell her all the extra room meant it was too big), so I put one on just for good measure and I was exploding out of it. I didn't buy anything. A few weeks later I went back and they fitted me for a 32C, sister size 34B! The 32C did fit me slightly more comfortably than the 34B. Now that I'm about 8 dress sizes up since having kids and my breasts are more saggy and empty, but larger, than before...the only bra I can find that sort of fits is a 34DD. According to the new measurements I took based on this article, I should be a 30GG/H, which could explain why I never find one that rests against my breast bone. This is actually very upsetting news. I have no idea where to find a bra that size within 50 miles of my home. :(

Laura said...

Check around for a local boutique. I like to find these by going to the websites of brands that make bras in this size range and seeing where they are sold.

Here are some links to store locators for the brands that you can find in boutique stores in the US:

Also, some Dillards and Nordstrom stores carry bras in those sizes.

And finally, if you truly don't have an on the ground place, I highly recommend ordering bras in your range from because they do free returns. That way, you can order with the mindset of "I'm just ordering to try these on, just like a fitting room in my house." If I were you, I'd pick up one in a 30GG, a 32GG, and depending on your measurements, a 30 and 32 in either a G (if you were close to being a G) or an H (if you were close to being an H). And send back which ones don't work!

BeccaC said...

I have been wearing a 38C for years. Usually it fits decently enough, but I often feel like the cups have a little too much room like I might need a smaller size.
I measured myself today using the "outdated" method of under my bust (38") and at the fullest part of my bust (44") which calculated my size to 38F - how is that even possible? I thought my bra was too big not too small. Then I tried these calculations and it came out as 36G. I don't even know where I could find these sizes to try them on and see if it's even close to accurate. Any help?

Laura said...

Oh gosh. That's embarassing. I am also obviously from /r/abrathatfits. I switched the terminology because it makes more sense to me that way, but obviously I made a typo. I'll just switch the terminology to be consistent with the /r/abrathatfits terms and fix the typo.

HeatherLorali said...

Looks great! Now, when you were determining your bra size initially, you did use the ABTF method as I described right? Like, is 26.5" your snug or BTT measurement? Because if 26.5" is actually your BTT measurement, that would change your size calculation.

Also, please don't recommend that women sister size in order to find something easier in stores. That can be okay to do if you're only going up one band size, like you've done, but if someone measures at like a 28GG, they'd have to size up to a 34F or 36DDD (if they wanted to shop somewhere like VS) in order to find their size in stores that didn't carry UK brands (no US brands make 28 bands, except for one brand that uses UK sizing anyway). The actual size and fit of the bra should be the first priority, and not whatever is "convenient," because wearing a bra that actually fits will be much better in the long run. And it can be SO EASY to find bras in the correct size for great deals online. I've never paid more than $25 for a single bra (except for one from a bra boutique that was just way overpriced at $50 before I knew better).

Laura said...

Yeah I used /r/abrathatfits in doing my own sizing. Like I said, I changed the terms through part of the guide but clearly didn't change them in the calculation section. I promise I'm not totally clueless!

Also, I can see now why you'd get the impression that I'd recommend sister sizing to get something easier in a store, but that wasn't the intention. I go from a 28 to a 30 because it's easier to find yes but also because of comfort. So I will add a note to correct that misunderstanding.

shaytom said...

Hi there. I'm one of the moderators of /r/ABraThatFits. While I'm glad you're spreading the word about proper bra sizing, I'm a little disappointed to see screenshots and exact wording from the guide that I put a lot of time and effort into creating specifically for use on our subreddit without any real acknowledgement. You linked to the sub for those who fall into the two different criteria, but didn't actually mention that we (specifically I) were the ones who actually wrote up that information. You changed some of the wording, but most of it is pretty darn close, and the cup size chart is a screenshot directly from the guide.

Like I said, I really appreciate you writing a post to get more women into well fitting bras, but would have preferred that you messaged us first, or at least gave us credit for the parts of our guide that you're using.

Laura said...

I'm sorry to have caused offense. I did not intend to misappropriate your information. I just want to share it. I thought it was pretty clearly since all I really link to is on reddit that the information came from reddit.

Please let me know 1) what images you would like me to remove, 2) what sort of attribution you would like, and/or 3) if you would like the full post removed.

shaytom said...

Perhaps after the "How do I figure out my bra size?" heading you could just add a little note saying something like "The following information is adapted from the guides found on". I certainly wouldn't want you to remove the post, as I mentioned it's always great to see people spreading the word. It was just a little unclear that the information originated from our sub.

Laura said...

You've got it. It should be updated now. Again, I apologize for not making that clearer to begin with. I assure you, it was not my intention to claim it as my own method.

shaytom said...

That looks great. Thanks for being understanding and taking care of that so quickly!

Alexis said...

I used to wear a 34B until I realized the tops kept spilling out and since then have been wearing a 34C...However, my chest still feels sore and the bras either feel too tight or the straps fall off my shoulders even though I can't tighten them much at all else I can't breathe. I tried on my mum's 34D bra and it fits alright while her 36D was too big. Other bra calculation methods all told me I'm a 34A or 32A and there's no way I can fit into those unless I turn back into a 13 year old. Now, using your guidelines I'm flabbergasted to find out I'm a 28DD (I'm still in disbelief). If I minus the 4inches I'm an A-cup but following these instructions I'm a DD...O_O The sad thing is that I doubt I'd be able to find and try on a 28DD bra in my country and it's risky to order online, do you suppose I could just stick to my 34C bra or go try on a 32D or 30DD instead? My current bra only makes me bulge out a bit at the top when I wear it initially and then it fits well for the most of the day until it starts to feel kinda restrictive and tight towards the end.

Laura said...

Hi there! I would definitely recommend getting the smaller band size if possible. A 28DD sister sizes to a 30D (meaning that the cups have the same volume but different band sizes), so if you can find a 30D, that might work. If you have any sewing ability, there are some tutorials online for shortening band lengths if the 30 inch band is still too large. If you can't find a 30D, the next closest would be a 32C, but frankly, at that point, it's not doing much support for you at all. At that point, I would try ordering something online. If you create a post on there may be someone there from your country who could give you some recommendations for stores in your area or safe places to shop online. Best of luck!

Laura said...

If you are in the US, I would give Nordstrom a try. They carry bras in that size range. If you have one nearby, great! If not, their website offers free shipping and free returns so that could help you try things on without getting stuck with the ones that don't work!

Alexis said...

Thank you so much! :) Yeah, I think I'll just save up for one online when I need to go bra shopping next time. I'm so glad that I've stumbled onto this blog, especially after years of changing and doubting my bra size!

Robin Stach said...

Wearing a bra weakens your coopers ligament and makes them sag too; not that anyone with a larger cup size or just plain projection could run around without a bra constantly.

Emily said...

Check Zulily. They have sales on brands like Panache and Parfait by Affinitas that carry smaller band sizes. Also take a look at which has users that sell and trade almost new and used bras. Another place is I've bought 4 bras so far all under $20 each.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just came back from Victoria's Secret today and it was my first time buying new bras in about two years or more so I knew I had to get measured. The girl measured me and told me i'm a 34DD with a "sister size" of 36D and I was shocked and a little skeptical for quite some time while I was shopping but I tried them on and they felt good and looked pretty good. But I came home and was still not feeling 100% about the size I was given so I turned to the internet and found this. I did all the measuring and stuff correctly and came out with a UK size 34DD. Checked Victoria's Secret's online size guide and it says if you're a UK size 34DD that you would be a VS 34D. And I actually accidentally tried on a 34D at the store and the band was kind of snug and squeezed me more than I'd like. Soo maybe Victoria's Secret isn't that far off or maybe not all of them are.

Serena said...

Hello, I was just wondering if I had done this correctly.

Regular underbust: 28"
Tight underbust: 27.5"
Standing across fullest part: 33"
bent over across fullest part: 34"
lying flat across fullest part: 32"

I followed the directions by subtracting 28 from 34 and came out with a 28E. At Victoria's Secret, they measured me as a 34B. I started becoming skeptical when I was trying on their bras from the sports line VSX, in what they had measured me in, a 34B. I am thinking of going to Nordstrom to get a bra fitting their.

Justine said...

Hi Laura. What a revelation your article was. I have been measured for years as a 38B. Having created an account with I know find I am a 36DD! No wonder my bras always felt so tight across the back. I used to get indigestion from how tight my bra was underneath. I assumed as you say that a D or DD cup meant massive boobs...I now know differently! I have since been out and bought 2 36DD bras and have never felt so comfortable. It's taken me 45 years to find a comfortable fitting bra!! Thank you so much for your article. It's made my year!

Star said...

I measured myself and it said I'm a 28DD. Umm… that's definitely not right. I'm a 32 A. Anything bigger or smaller doesn't fit me. I've tried it all on.

Laura said...

Believe it or not, that's actually a pretty common jump to make. Check out these stories:

Keep in mind that a 28DD has the same volume as a 30D, which will be must easier to find in a store. Give one a try sometime! Of course, at the end of the day, if you're happy with your current fit, great!

Laura said...

Yup that calculation is right! Give a 30DD or 30E a try though. 28E isn't going to be found in a store, unfortunately. You can easily find a 30DD or 30E at a place like Nordstrom or a retailer selling brands like Panache, Cleo, or Freya. Best of luck!

Laura said...

Check out I've had awesome luck there. Or you can look on Amazon as well (here's my current favorite:

Carlotta said...

I'm really confused. I measured myself a while ago--I had been wearing 38D and although I used the leaning over measuring method, it wasn't as complete and thorough a process as this, but I ended up measuring as a 36DD. Then, I used this, and measured as a 32G. I know things vary, but I just can't imagine that this is correct? I have no idea what this would look like. Help!

Sia Nolte said...

LOVE THIS POST .definitely explains the back pain.... thank you!!

Sia Nolte said...

Love this post! definitely explain the back pain... THANK YOU!

Unknown said...

Wow, the example on the other site is me exactly. I've worn a 34B my whole life and turns out I'm actually a 28DD/E. Then I came back and finished reading the comments to see that I'll probably end up buying a 30D/DD because that is what is more available in stores. But I have a $25 Nordstrom gift card somewhere around here. Ooh rah, I'm going bra shopping!

KT said...

What in gods name??? Obviously you either have tiny tits or you are a man. Ignorant...

KT said...

Well she explained that above. The trick is to not be overwhelmed by the size, odds are this is correct.
She said above that she has pitcures of people with D cups that in real life most people would assume are B cups. Bigger cup size does not necessarily mean bigger boobs, it all has to do with the shape, the droopage level, the density of your breasts, etc.

jess said...

so weird, i have been wearing a 34a but i did get measured in a store the other day and they said i should be wearing a 32b however this calculator told me i'm a 30C?? interesting but confusing

darion said...

I work at Victorias Secret and, yes, many girls often size women wrong because they haven't been properly trained and are too nervous to ask for help. Not all of us are horrible liars who don't know how to measure ahaha I absolutely love helping women find their correct size and seeing the impact a well-fitting bra can have on a woman's life. In your case, however, all of the measurements are in a way correct. a 34a, 32b, and 30c are all the same cup size. It all just depends on how big your rib cage is. Your bra should be comfortably snug on the loosest hook so that you have room to tighten as it stretches. You are in the wrong size band if you need to wear it on a tighter hook immediately after buying it. I always recommend fitting two fingers under the band. If you can do that then the band fits. Experiment with the 32b and the 30c to see which is more comfortable in the band because, like I said, they are the same cup size. :)

Qua Nho Tuoi said...

Unluckily the link to the calculator has somehow broken. :( Do you think it can be fixed? I really want to try measuring my actual bra size. Thanks a ton. <3

MagykDagda said...

I've been wearing a 42D for years but this calculator says I should wear a 52B?? In a D cup my boobs overflow

Kazia said...

Ariba Quershi said...


Very Nice Post In today’s modern world women are more
conscious about their physical attraction and the question comes about in their
mind is how
to increase their breast size?

Em said...

I've been wearing a 34D for a while now, I knew it wasn't my perfect size but whenever I walk into a store and try to get fitted they keep telling me that I'm 34C which is crazy because my 34D barely fits me! The other day I decided just try on a couple of bra sizes because I've seriously had enough so I tried on a 32DD and 34DD just to see how it feels and it turns out I'm a 34DD! I've never worn a bra that was this comfortable before! I only used to wear full coverage bras and thought of even going out wearing a strapless bra was impossible, but know that I can wear demi bras and strapless and it's just a great feeling to have so many choices!

Ági Takács said...

this is sooo frustrating and upsetting. I now my correct size, but I live in Hungary and till this time I haven't manage to buy that size- one that fits my shape as well. Although in US size I'm a 34D which is not even odd, but here the 34-s stop at C cup mostly. If not, the bra's entire shape and style changes for the 'larger cups' so it becomes a full coverage which I hate because those does not fit my shape. I assume i'm fuller on the top and those usually dig in at the top of the cup, although the cup size would be correct, with a demi style. OR they simply look like granny-bras from a certain cup size. So i wear a 36C, this is my best option. (My first VS order is in progress, I really hope those 34D-s will be great finally, because they were really expensive for me with all the shipping and taxes.)
The initial problem- I think- is with the ingorance of women. When i tell someone that I should wear a 34D but i can't find this size (which is a 75E in here) they look at me thinking I'm crazy and say 'I don't mean to offend you, but how, where do you need that E cup?' So yeah, basically they think that cup sizes tell everything and all C-s are the same... :/
If we would be more aware of our real sizes, and refused to buy the so-called 'common sizes' which we found at most retailers, I think it the classic demand-supply relation would work and they would start producing a wider range of bras. I would be so happy...

Lyannis said...

This is super interesting. I used the calculator and it said that I should be a 30F! I usually wear 34B, and it knda fits ( its a bit big so I always have to put it in the tightest hooks, plus my boob slips a little bit under the armpit, and I ussually have to tighten the straps a LOT to get the support I need) but what can I do? My boobs look small so I figured I was a B cup (big mistake), I also found out that my boobs are a mix of shallow with triangles, Lol. But anyway, I really can't believe I am an F cup, but let's try to buy a 30F bra, in the future (no $$$). By the way, my measurments are: Snug Underbust: 30in. Tight Underbust: 29in Standing Bust: 36in. Leaning Bust: 37in Lying Bust: 36in

miiimiii said...

I only did the measuring for fun and it didn't give me the right size because I know I already use it. It gave me two cups too big because I have tested one cup bigger than mine and I know it is too big (because my breasts just sinked) so yeah eihter I didn't measure it right or it doesn't work for everyones breasts.

Emily said...

I've been wearing Curvy Kates and Cleo (Panache) in 32E. Those bras fit me pretty well. Just measured myself and got 30F/FF. Only problem is that I feel like if I go down a band size, I'll have even more back fat bulging out.

Natasha said...

Thank you for posting this. Finding the correct bra is something that can make a huge difference and it’s amazing how many women don’t realize that they are wearing the wrong size. Most people think that anything above a D cup must be huge and we are not really taught that’s its relative to your band size. People look at me like I’m insane when I tell them I’m a D or DD cup.

When I was a younger I found wearing a bra to be so uncomfortable. I used to have huge red marks on my shoulders and back pain everyday wearing a bra was torture for me. The first thing I did when I came home was remove my bra. I had been fitted in a store so presumed this was just something I would have to deal with. I had small boobs so I presumed I was an A cup and when the women in the store said I was a 34A I just took her word for it as it was a common band size. I went to several other fitters over the years and got told I was a 34a or 34B

When I was about 18 I got so fed up of the pain that I went online and did some research turned out I was a 30DD or 32D depending on the bra. At first I was shocked no way was I that size. I had small boobs I didn’t look like some glamour model and some of my friends were D cups and looked so much bigger than me. I went shopping the next day and tried on a few bras expecting to look like a little girl playing dress up but to shock they fitted. I could only find a 32D but was able to get 30DDs online pretty easily. I brought a few new bras and the difference was shocking no more pain and my boobs looked so much better as well.

I feel like more women should be taught how to tell if a bra fits correctly if I hadn’t been so ignorant about it I would have saved myself so much pain. Sorry for the essay got a little carried away.

Eileen said...

Hey Lyannis, I went through this a couple months ago (I also used to wear 34Bs) and I have very similar measurements to you (about an inch smaller than you in each measurement). I've found 28FFs and 30Fs to fit sooo much better. Don't let the letter scare you!

Eileen said...

Corporate measurement calculators often use the "+4 method" where they pretend your underbust is 4 inches wider than it actually is. This calculator does not do that. Since the cup size is just bust minus underbust, when you don't add 4 inches to the band size, you get a size that is 4 cup sizes larger. The "correct" size will be whatever is most comfortable, but you are more likely to be comfortable in a band that is tight enough to support you.

Lauren said...

I feel like I'm really late here, but I did this yesterday and I normally wear a 32a or recently a 30b but it told me that I should be a 30c? Am I doing something wrong here? I don't think there's any possible or plausible way I could be a 30c or sister size 32d! I'm tiny up there!

Anonymous said...

Just came across this post. Wow that was rude Laura. Just because someone tries to offer a different point of view, it doesn't mean they didn't read your post. It just means they disagree. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Okay I had to have done something wrong here... I wear a 34C and they fit amazingly. The band is parallel, the little thing in between the breasts lies flat and atraight, there is no spillover of anythingm I mean it's perfect. But it's 130am and I'm bored and my boyfriend and I were curious if I chose the right size or not. So I did this and I was given 30F in UK size which is a 30G in the US. That's too small of a band size and that's too large a cup size. Are there any tips that can help me do this right? Thanks!