In a world of Victoria’s Secret ads and non-standard bra sizes, finding a bra that fits is nearly impossible. The American bra manufacturing industry is notorious for vanity sizing, a lack of proper measurement, and changing cup size based on band size. Some women wear a B-cup or a D-cup depending on where they’re shopping. Others’ bra sizes vary widely within the same store. Finding a properly fitted bra is difficult, but not impossible. Keep your breasts healthy and supported by measuring your breasts and trying on old bras for fit, whether or not you’ve recently had breast surgery.

Find Your Correct Band Size

Although many lingerie stores determine band size by measuring above the breasts, the best way to find your correct band size is to measure directly beneath the breast tissue. In a private space, measure directly below the breasts and write down the measurement (for best results, wear only a thin undershirt). A properly fitted band:

  • Should rest flat across the back
  • Should not dig into the skin
  • Should be comfortable and supportive

Find the Right Cup Size

properly fitted braTo properly measure breast tissue, first remove your bra. Measure at the widest point of the breast (usually flat across the nipple), taking care to keep the measuring tape straight. Write down the measurement. If you have an excess of breast tissue beneath the armpits, lean perpendicular to the floor before measuring to guarantee you’re measuring all of your breast tissue. A properly fitted bra cup should:

  • Completely encase the breast tissue
  • Support the breasts at a natural height
  • Have no gaps or ripples
  • Eliminate breast spillage
  • Feel comfortable

Find a Bra that Fits

Subtract the band size measurement from from the cup size measurement and check a bra fit chart to determine your proper bra size. Many women have to change bra sizes based on where they shop. In the end you should buy bras based on fit instead of size. Buy a bra you can wear comfortably on the loosest hook. Bras stretch as you wear them, so you need to be able to fasten your bra more tightly in the future. A good bra will:

  • Support the breasts, keeping them lifted
  • Minimize back and shoulder pain from heavy breasts
  • Not dig into the back, breast tissue, or shoulders
  • Not feel flimsy or loose

Do you have questions about how poorly fitted bras affect breast and back health? Call Dr. Brantner’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery office.

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