ARGH! How do I work out my bra size?

(58 Posts)

I cannot find a reliable answer to this on the net. Under my bust is about 35 inches, over it is approx 38 inches. Apparently I should be in a size 40AA??? This seems laughably unlikely. Any suggestions?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 06-Dec-12 15:37:10

34D would be a good starting point.

Although I measure 36.5 under bust and wear a 34 band so it isn't an exact science.

BOFingSanta Thu 06-Dec-12 15:37:13

No, you are a 34E, more than likely. Or 36D. Try a few on in that sort of ballpark.

What formula did you two use?

So I can check mine later.

SorrelForbes Thu 06-Dec-12 15:41:44

OK, you measure 35 underbust which means you could be need a 34 or a 36 back. However, most people who measure inbetween sizes usually need the smaller band.

So, start with a 34D but also try a 34C.

To test the band size, put the bra (in this example a 34 back) on back to front. If you can breathe but if feels tight and you can only fit two fingers underneath the wire at the front, then that's the correct back size for you. If it's so tight it's unbearable then go up a size.

The cup will differ much more between brands and styles than the back. Turn the bra round the correct way, lean forward then take your right hand and put it inside your left cup. Reach right round under your armpit/towards your back and scoop all the backfat/escapage forward in to the cup of the bra. Repeat at the other side.

Then put the shoulder straps up and adjust as necessary (not too tight as it's the back that should be doing most of the supporting work). If for example, you've started with a 34C, you will probably find that after scooping, you have some bulging over the cup and four-boobage going on! This means you need to go up one or more cup sizes. Keep going up through the cup sizes until all your breast tissue is firmly in place

The underbust measurement should be your band size so if i was you I would be trying a 34 C and a 36 C, then taking it from there- it should fit snugly on the loosest setting (as the band normally stretches with wear so enabling you to tighten it when this happens)
If the band fits, check out how the cups fit- make sure you lean forward and sort of 'tip' your boobs into the cups and make sure its all in there! Then you should be able to see if the cups are loose/tight. Sometimes putting a plain top over the bra helps you see the line more easily.
Also- not all brands or styles of cup fit the same so it probably depends on the shape of your boobs so be prepared to try on lots!

SorrelForbes Thu 06-Dec-12 15:42:30

Oh yes, ignore any on-line calculators as, with very few exceptions, they are all completely bonkers!

Sorrel- you have explained it much better than me! smile

SorrelForbes Thu 06-Dec-12 15:48:42

Don't tell anyone, but I have that all saved on a word doc blush. Bra bore, me?

Thank you so much. I was 36B/C pre-DC so 40AA sounded utterly wrong. Bit blush I don't actually know my current size but have been wearing all-encompassing Bravado! pull-on ones (SO COMFY!) for years ... reckon it's probably about time I got some actual proper bras, was planning on ordering by post but sounds as though I might need to go to an actual shop <sigh>

Sorrel grin

SorrelForbes Thu 06-Dec-12 15:54:43

Pop along to Bravissimo if you can. JL and Debenhams often carry a good range but their fitting service can be a bit hit and miss. If you are a 34D (ish)then it should be fairly easy to find decent bras at reasonable prices as the supermarkets and most highstreet stock that size.

Avoid any fitters in M&S, La Senza or Victoria's Secret like the plague. The bras in those shops can be quite good (not impressed by the quality of M&S at the moment though) but you'll have to fit yourself as, on the whole, their fitters really don't have a clue and use an outdated measuring method (and in the case of VS use an equally mad method of their own).

Good online shops are brastop and figleaves.

Happy shopping.

Desichick Thu 06-Dec-12 20:54:20

help me please Sorrel, I wear 36d at the mo but do find the back rides up on some of them, measured myself and am 34 under the bust and 39 across the bust? what would you advice?

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Thu 06-Dec-12 20:57:18

I'd try 34DD first

Thanks again grin

This thread has reminded me of a friend of mine. We always wore the same size (or she wore 36C and I did sometimes depending on the bra) but her jugs were about ten times the size of mine. I've heard that 80% (or whatever it is) of women wear the wrong size and always assumed it was her (she presumably always assumed it was me!) but maybe I should have been in a size 34-something or other all these years after all ... Friend once went to get fitted at Debenhams, which was done via an appraising glance rather than measuring her confused and was alarmed to be told she was a [I forget the number]-M (she wasn't at all, fitter was just insane).

SorrelForbes Fri 07-Dec-12 00:41:52

Yep, try a 34DD and sizes around that.

AgathaHoHoHo Fri 07-Dec-12 09:19:16

Does anyone know how the sizing of Bravissimo sports bras comes up? Do you buy your normal size?

SorrelForbes Fri 07-Dec-12 09:21:55

I'm afraid I don't, sorry. I think most sports bras come up small though. Apparently the Freya underwired active is small in the back.

AgathaHoHoHo Fri 07-Dec-12 09:25:13

Thanks. I'll try to get in to try one on, but failing that will order a bigger back size.

Desichick Sat 08-Dec-12 14:58:29

Thanks dishwasher and sorrel, can't wait to start the hunt for a decent bra x

KristinaM Sat 08-Dec-12 15:13:30

I'm a 30F in normal bras and a 32E in most sports bras. So go up a back size but keep cup size the same ( so go down a letter). I'm 31 under bust

I would agree with Kristina re most sports bras - definitely up a back, and sometimes down a cup to balance. They seem to be way smaller in the back!

lljkk Sat 08-Dec-12 19:27:50

Why do folk say "DD" instead of "E" cup? Is there a difference?
(Ditto with HH instead of I, or FF instead of G, etc.) confused

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Sat 08-Dec-12 19:34:25

DD is smaller than an E cup

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Sat 08-Dec-12 19:41:00

as far as I know the bra sizes (in the UK) go like this:

Most UK bra companies have AA,A,B,C,DD,E,F,FF,G,GG,H,HH,J,JJ,K,KK etc etc

They are actually different sizes - although you do get some brands who don't do "doubles"

lljkk Sat 08-Dec-12 19:46:25

According to stuff on Internet it varies by manufacturer whether there's a difference, also the DD cup tends to push boobs forward than the E cup.

Talk about a loopy system. Why are there doubles for A, D, F, G, H & J but NOT for B C E K or L?

Check out this Wiki entry.

MsElleTow Sat 08-Dec-12 19:46:49

Help me please Sorrel!

I measured myself today. I am a 33 underneath and 39 over the bust, where should I start? I am guessing a 32, but what cup size? Currently wearing an obviously wrong (thanks M&S) 34D!

Sorry for the hijack!

MsElleTow, I would suggest trying a 32E and F to start with - most people who are in between sizes seem to fit better on the smaller back.

Lljkk, there shouldn't be a difference in how a DD or E shapes the breast - they are just different sizes. Some manufacturers so them, some don't. And god knows who came up with the wonky bra alphabet! I think there are double for K in most companies who go that far - there just are not very many! And to confuse matters more - an AA is smaller than an A, but a DD is bigger than a D.

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Sat 08-Dec-12 19:54:39

32F maybe (does the 34 back ride up on you - if so try the 32, if not try the bigger cup size e.g 34E - do your breasts bulge out of the D cup size?)

musttidyupBeforeSantaComes Sat 08-Dec-12 19:57:20

SorrelForbes when I read this thread title I was going to do a shout out to SF the bra fitting guru but I see you got here already! grin

MsElleTow Sat 08-Dec-12 19:58:31

Thank you ladies.

Dishwasher, yes it does ride up a bit and my breasts do spill out of the cup, the wire digs in and I am not comfy which is why I measured!

I'll try a 32E and F and see how they feel.

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 08-Dec-12 20:01:49

I have to say, since doing the whole "scooping" thing after reading Sorrel's advice on another thread, my boobs seem MUCH bigger - it's amazing! Now just need to go and try on some new bras - in 34A at the moment but suspect 32C might fit better. For a while I was actually wearing 36A, because of that stupid add 4 inches thing. No bloody wonder 80% of women are wearing the wrong-sized bra! It's probably a ploy to make us buy more bras, the bastards.

AViewFromTheFridge, scooping also works much better in a smaller back size - when the back is a little loose the scooped bit can have a tendency to slide back out. Once you tighten the back up that stops happening smile

BOFingSanta Sat 08-Dec-12 22:09:07

AViewFromTheFridge- fucking AWESOME name, I love it!

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 22:14:02

I've found getting measured (if you have time and can bear it) incredibly useful. I've done it only twice in my life, once fairly recently when I decided to replace my stock of grey garments with white ones [grin[.

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 08-Dec-12 22:15:43

Oh thank you BOF blush

AViewfromtheFridge Sat 08-Dec-12 22:16:50

And StatisticallyChallenged, that does make sense. Cripes, I might even end up with cleavage at this rate!

soundevenfruity Sat 08-Dec-12 22:53:42

I would get measured in Rigby and Peller. I know it is not a budget option but I got fed up with being uncomfortable in bras that were bought based on advice of Bravissimo, JL, M&S fitters. Being properly fitted for a bra is quite amazing - your breasts do not pull you forward, nothing rides up or down, you don't feel you wear a bra at all. Well worth the expense.

Hijack away Elle grin

I have been measured in the past (when DC1 was tiny, so quite a long time in the past!) but was underwhelmed by the experience.

R&P is a nice idea but (1) nearest store is a couple of hundred miles away and (2) um I currently buy my underwear off ebay blush

Clure Sat 08-Dec-12 23:57:46

wow intersting. I wear a 32A and have just measured underbust is 28 and across bust 31, what would you recommend I try? sorry to but in ,never been measured except for maternity bra 7 years ago!

soundevenfruity Sun 09-Dec-12 00:01:34

Yes, it's a tough one. I lived in the middle of nowhere and wore pregnancy bras for the first 18 months of DS's life which didn't really hold the breasts in properly and gave me horrible backaches. I was fitted properly after DS's birth when I could drive to the (relatively) nearest Bravissimo shop and it was not a great experience - they didn't have anything for my huge breasts. Being properly fitted is great. There might be a small underwear shop around you with a knowledgeable owner. You don't need to buy all your bras there.

brighthair Sun 09-Dec-12 01:21:16

Clure - I would try a 28C to start with

RarelyUnreasonable Sun 09-Dec-12 09:30:11

Help me too! I'm in nursing bras 2 weeks since having DS. Can't get measured in RL as I would ruin stock through leakage!

Under bra was 33.5, around boobs 38.

I've been in mothercare drop cup 38D ones, and can't see how anything smaller than 38 will do up, but am ready to listen to your wisdom. Can I compromise with a 36 for now? wink

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Sun 09-Dec-12 10:47:51

A 34 back would suit your measurements better but maybe maternity bras have funny sizing!? Are you sure of your under boob measurement? With the figures given I would gave suggested 34D or E.

RarelyUnreasonable Sun 09-Dec-12 18:17:58

Thanks - am sitting much more pertly and comfortably in a 34D. Need to try an E too, but I now see why the 38 back was ridiculous. Pre-preg was a size 12.

Oh my word, I was going to write a very similar post, I'm a 33" underbust and 40" overbust- I've been in a 38"/40"bra for longer than I care to remember because of rubbish advice!

I can't begin to imagine I could be a D/E cup after all these years of being a AA-B cup shock

Thank you for posting this!

Clure Sun 09-Dec-12 18:39:02

Can't believe I could be a c cup! i really have bordering on fried eggs! Think i may try a 30b though, thanks

dishwashervodkaanddietirnbru Sun 09-Dec-12 18:39:47

wewereherefirst, I would try a 32 and a 34 back size and you would be round about an E/F/FF cup - try different styles to see what suits best.

RarelyUnreasonable Sun 09-Dec-12 18:42:53

I'm enjoying feeling bustier I know it's just the milk.

SorrelForbes Sun 09-Dec-12 18:49:20

Clure. I am fairly confident you will find the 30B too big in the band and too small in the cup. Be brave, try a 28C and remember to scoop!

BTW my teenage niece who has little bumps of breasts wears a 28DD.

SorrelForbes Sun 09-Dec-12 18:51:38

Wewere try a 32F, a 32FF and a 34E. However I suspect the 32 back will be a better fit.

Thanks dishwasher! E/F cups? <faints> I'll see what shops I can get to and try things on!
Just knowing I may find a fitting bra and possibly having big boobs has made me feel so much more body confident! smile

And thanks too Sorrel! I'm in a 38C at the moment so Im well out on sizing!

SorrelForbes Sun 09-Dec-12 19:00:45

Good luck. Remember to be brave, get the back right and then keep going up though the cups. If the back fits when done up back to front and then becomes too tight once you put the bra on properly, the cups are too small!

Themobstersknife Tue 11-Dec-12 21:06:48

Can I just say that this thread is the single most useful thread I have ever read on mn! I measure similar to one of the other posters and, based on the advice on here, I realised the bra I was wearing was way out. I have now worked out my new size and it has transformed my figure! Thankyou!


SorrelForbes Tue 11-Dec-12 23:31:42

That's great to hear grin

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