7 Signs You're Wearing the Wrong Bra & How to Measure Bra Size Correctly

October 11, 2023

bra size


If you've been wearing bras most of your life, you know that finding a bra that hits all the marks is pretty much impossible. As you're comparing cost, comfort, and overall fit, it becomes clear that bra-buying is just plain hard. And it doesn't help to know that most women have been wearing the wrong bra sizes their whole lives!

Bras help us in many different ways, and if they don't fit correctly, they can actually hurt us. Think about it: Your bra's job is to support your breasts. If it can't do that job, your body's muscles have to pick up the slack—which means you could suffer from an aching back, sagging breasts, and/or a stiff neck.

Related: Lingerie Shopping? Read This First.

Wearing the wrong bra size is not your fault, though. It's the industry's. How many times have you relied on haphazard try-on sessions and less-than-qualified sales associates to help you find bras? If your answer is more than once, then you know that you usually end up wearing a bra that either doesn't feel right, doesn't look right, or both.

Well, it's time for that to change.

It's time to measure your bra size the right way so that you can buy bras confidently—no matter if you're lingerie shopping online or in-store. Luckily, measuring your bra size only takes a few minutes and anyone can do it as long as they have a measuring tape!

bra size


7 Signs You're Wearing the Wrong Bra Size

Maybe you think you've got this bra thing figured out. If that's the case, go through this handy checklist to see if you have any signs of the wrong bra size.

  1. You're constantly adjusting your bra throughout the day
  2. The bra straps are digging into your shoulders
  3. You're spilling over your cups
  4. There's a lot of jiggling in the cups
  5. Your ribs and/or mid-back are aching
  6. The band is squeezing your back
  7. You can't move your body freely

These issues, among others such as headaches and neck pain, can all be caused by an ill-fitting bra. That's why it's so important that you learn to measure your bra size yourself!

Bras are not only about how they make you look but about how they make you feel, too. And besides the pain the can come from a bad bra, ill-fitting clothing, in general can lower your self-esteem, too. Feel your best in a bra that supports you with these bra measuring tips.


How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home

measuring tape

Step 1: Measure Your Band Size

Grab a measuring tape and make sure you're either braless or wearing a non-padded bra. You'll want to measure your torso directly underneath your bust (where your bra band would typically sit). The tape shouldn't be loose—make sure it's level and super snug. When you find your measurement, round it to the nearest whole number (in inches).

Now, to determine your bra band size, you need to take this number and either add four inches to it if it's even, or add five inches if it's odd. The sum is your bra band size! 

Example: You measured 27 inches around your torso. So, you add five inches. Your bra band size is 32.


Step 2: Measure Your Bra Cup Size

You're almost done! (See? Told ya it was quick.) Now, you just need to measure your bust and calculate your bra cup size, similar to the way you did it with the bra band. Take your tape measure and wrap it gently around the middle of your bust, near the nipple level. Round that measurement to the nearest whole number (in inches).

Now, subtract your band size from your bust size. Then, take that number and refer to the cup size chart below. That is your bra cup size!

How to Measure Bra Size Correctly

Example: Your bra band size is 32 (per Step 1), and you measured 36 inches around your bust (Step 2). Subtract 32 from 36 = 4, and according to the chart, the number 4 means your bra cup size is D.


Step 3: Uncover Your True Bra Size!

Now, simply put your band size and cup size together, and you've got your true bra size! In the example we used above, the resulting bra size would be 32D.


How to Tell if Your Bra is the Correct Size 

bra size


Remember that the numbers don't lie, and if it feels right, then it is definitely right. But, if you're still unsure if you've got the right bra size, here's how to tell if you nailed it or need to revisit the tape measure.

5 Tricks to Make Sure Your Bra Fits Correctly

  • Bend forward at your waist, then slip on your bra and hook it. You'll be able to tell if your breasts fit the cups or not.
  • Slide a finger beneath the band. If you can fit more than one finger, your bra is too loose. Adjust the band—the front and back should be level.
  • Put on a tight-fitting shirt with the bra. If your breasts bulge or the cups pucker, you might want to check your math.
  • Check yourself out in the mirror—sideways. If your bra isn't supportive enough, your breasts will not fall where they are supposed to. You want them to sit midway between your shoulders and elbows.
  • Your bra should fit perfectly when fastened on the outermost hook. The bra will loosen over time, so you'll have a couple more hooks to go to keep it fitting better for longer.

Words of Wisdom

If you need to change your size for a better fit, here's a good rule of thumb to follow. If you go down a cup size, go up one band size. If you go down a band size, go up a cup size.

Example: If a 34B is too big for you, try a 36A.


Life's too short to wear bad lingerie, so give yourself a little bra-fitting session this weekend. Then, once you've got your true bra size sorted out, you can treat yourself to a few new bras that feel and look great. We've got a huge selection of sexy, sweet, and just plain comfy bras for you to browse—click here to start shopping.

You Might Also Like: Lingerie Sets That Come with Matching Panties

Jennifer Tiemeyer
Jennifer Tiemeyer

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