Buying a buy is a dreaded chore for many women, particularly overweight, small-breasted women that have a hard time finding the right size for adequate comfort and support. But shopping for a bra doesn’t have to be such a trying experience. Before you hit the stores in search of the perfect bra, you’ll need to know your measurements. Once you know your measurements, you can find the best bra for all occasions, whether you’re looking for a bra for day-to-day wear, a strapless bra for a formal dress or a push-up or padded bra.
The Importance of Knowing Your Bra Size
Knowing your real bra size is important for all women. However, it’s especially important for overweight, small-breasted women because knowing your exact size will help you locate the right bra, which may not be as easy as walking into a department store. Start by putting on a comfortable bra you already have that doesn’t minimize or boost breast size. The fit doesn’t have to be perfect – that’s why you’re measuring.
Determine Your Band Size
Band size plays a major role in the comfort and fit of your bra. To determine your band size, measure under your armpits, around the top of your back just above where your bra strap sits, and across the top of your chest above your breasts with a flexible measuring tape. The measurement in inches is your band size if it is an even number – 36 inches, for example. If the measurement isn’t even, add 1 inch; if the tape shows 35 inches, you’ll need to round up to 36 inches, according to Women’s Health.
Determine Your Cup Size
To determine your cup size, you first need to figure out your bust measurement. To do this, measure around your back and over the fullest part of your chest with the measuring tape at nipple level. Round up to nearest inch, if necessary, to get your bust measurement. Subtract your band size from your bust measurement to determine your cup size. An equal measurement is equivalent to an AA cup size, a 1 inch difference is equivalent to an A cup size, 2 inches is equivalent to a B cup size.
Know Your Size, Check Your Fit
Once you know your band and cup size, it will be much easier to find a bra that fits, even if you need a size that isn’t as common as others. However, that doesn’t mean you should just blindly buy any bra with a tag that says it’s your size. Different manufacturers make bras different ways, and there is often some variation from brand to brand. You may also find that you prefer a bra that’s different than your exact size. For example, if you measured your band size as 32.5 inches, you’ll have the choice of buying a bra with a 32 inch band or a 34 inch band, and it may be necessary to try on different brands of bra in both sizes to see which one is best for you.
Where to Shop
Knowing where to shop for a bra if you don’t fit into a common size can be difficult. However, many larger stores will order special sizes for you and you may not need to buy them first, giving you the ability to try them on once they arrive. Some women may also find that shopping in women’s big and tall shops that carry undergarments is simpler since they’re more likely to have your size in stock.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Many stores train their staff to help you measure to find the best bra they can offer, and in some cases, having somebody else do the measuring can provide a better fit. The person that helps you measure may also be able to help you find a bra that’s right for you because they simply know more about what’s available. You’ll still need to try a few bras on before you buy, but expert help can be beneficial.
Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."