How to determine your bra size

one of best strapless bras for large breasts

The different sizes, shapes, symmetries, spacing and positioning, density and slump of female breasts make it elusive for the manufacturers to make a perfectly fitting bra for each and every woman. In fact, there is wide evidence that up to 85% of women across the world never get to wear their correct size of brassiere.

Bra size measurement

Bra measurement has been practiced for over a century and since the 1930s, a bra size consists of the band length and the cup size. The band length is the length of your underbust, measured directly below the breasts, while you are standing as upright as possible.  The cup size, on the other hand, is a proportionate estimation of the breast volume based on the difference between the overbust (over the nipples) length and the underbust length. This is because it is not possible to practically measure the volume of a breast. The S. H. Camp and Company (1908-1997) pioneered the use of the letters of the alphabet A, B, C and D to represent the varying cup sizes, starting with the smallest.

The average female breast sizes vary across continents and thus different countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, and Japan have with time developed their own unique bra size standards. In the US, the band length is measured in inches (typically 30- 48 inches) and rounded off to the nearest even number. The cup sizes for a specific band length typically vary from A to H, in increasing order. Below is a list of the most common US bra sizes;

30        32        34        36        38        40        42        44        48

30B      32A      34AA  

30C      32B      34A

            32B1/2  34A1/2 

30D      32C      34B      36A

32C1/2  34B1/2  36A1/2 

30E      32D      34C      36B      38A

            32D1/2  34C1/2  36B1/2  38A1/2

30F      32E      34D      36C      38B

30G      32F      34E      36D      38C      40B

            32G      34F      36E      38D      40C

            32H      34G      36F      38E      40D      42C      44B

                        34H      36G      38F      40E      42D      44C      46B

                                    36H      38G      40F      42E      44D      46C

                                                38H      40G      42F      44E      46D      48C

                                                                        42G      44F      46E      48D

Without due diligence in discovering their size of bra before they shop, most women end up with either entirely the wrong size of bra or a mismatch between the cup size and the band size. The mismatch implies either snuggly fitting cups and a small band length or the vice versa. Plus size and full bust women seeking to wear stylish brassieres such as large breast strapless bras seen at are the most affected, due to the heavier weight of their breasts, which requires a bra with a closely fitting band, but which at times comes at the cost of too small a cup.

  • The cups don’t wrinkle or fold, meaning they are not too large
  • The cups fully cover your breasts and breast tissue does not overflow from the sides and at the top of the breast cups.
  • The straps fit you snuggly and they don’t dig into your shoulders or slip off
  • The underwire and the band snuggly lie against the breastbone and lining the inframammary fold, without poking your breast underside or the chest.
  • The band (and not the shoulder straps) provides the primary support to your breasts, without sliding.
  • The band at the back is parallel to the ground and does not ride up, even when you lift your arms up.
  • The bra fits comfortably when you close the outermost hook(s) and tee arrangement. The band loosens with time and thus with such a bra, you will be able to shift to the inner hook(s) and tees.

How to know if a bra is your right fit

Aside from the lack of commitment to finding the right bra size, several women can’t tell whether a certain bra fits and feels good for them. Below is a guide on how to know your right bra.

A bra is the perfect size for you if;

What to do if you can’t find your right size of bra

An oversize bra needs you to ashamedly keep on lifting it up as it slides downwards under the weight of your swinging breasts. On the other hand, an undersized bra may irritate or chafe you leading to sores, and it’s also embarrassing to have the edges of your breasts popping out of the tiny cups.

When it comes to several types of strapless bras, if you cannot find your bra size or you only get a mismatch between the band and cup sizes, experts advocate for sizing down in the band and sizing up in the cups. The major purpose of a bra is to support the breasts, thus if you take one (sister) size down in the band length and one (sister) size up in the cups, a bra for big boobs with a closely fitting band will be firmer but still comfortable.  For instance, if you are roughly size 34B but it cannot fit you, you can use bra size 32C.