Hi fellow confused curvy girl! How are you? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Bra fit can be a bit confusing and reading all my reviews does require some basic information about bra fit in the first place. This page is to guide you through some basic terms and principled of bra fit and trying to figure out your starting point size – so let’s jump in the fun!
Starting Point for Your Best Bra Size
There are several bra size calculators out there in the internet. The sad fact about it is that most of them are pretty much useless and won’t give you a great starting point at all. To point you in the right direction, I would suggest the Sophisticated Pair’s calculator which gives you an option to choose how you like your bands in the first place – a little snugger or more on the looser/comfortable side.
Another good way to find out your starting point size is to measure yourself with a measuring tape. Just take a tape and try to measure yourself accurately under and over your bust. The under bust area should be measured very snugly as measuring tapes don’t have elastic but bra bands do. The measurement (inches) you get under your bust should roughly represent your new band size. For example, I measure 31″ under my bust, so I wear either a British size 30 or 32 bands which translate to EU 65 and 70 bands (more about that later!). Sometimes your band measurement can be inch or two bigger or smaller depending on your preferences and also your body. People that have some “fluff” on their body usually can even take away a couple of inches from their under bust measurement whereas very skinny women need to add an inch or two for comfort.
So now you have your under bust measurement, right? The next thing is to measure around your bust rather loosely but the way that your measuring tape is parallel to the floor. My measurement seems to be 40-41 depending on how loosely I measure. With most brands, you can calculate your bra size the way that you subtract your band size from your over bust measurement, and one inch stands for one cup size. That means my size would be 41-30= 11, so eleven cup sizes: A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H. That would make my size 30H. This however, is always a starting point size and can wary depending on a particular brand or the softness of your own breast tissue. I find that softer breasts may require a couple of cup sizes more with this method, as soft breast tissue is not full enough to be measured accurately.
Converting Bra Sizes
Always check whether you are buying EU or UK sizes (or sometimes even US sizes but those are used rather rarely). The significant difference between the different sizing systems is that UK system goes on with double letters whereas EU system only uses single letters. Here’s an example:
UK – A B C D DD E F FF G GG H HH J JJ K KK
EU – A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P
As you can see, there is also another difference which is the missing of the letter I in British sizes. Also in UK sizes the E does not come in double letters, which might seem odd. No idea WHY exactly this is the matter, but you should really learn these quirks by heart to combat the size charts around the world. Also band sizes are marked differently in EU and UK sizing – when UK sizes usually start at 28 (inches), the EU sizes start with a 60. Not all brands manufacture this small sizes but they are one of the smallest in the market.
Some Bra Fit Vocabulary
- cup depth = how deep the cup is/how much breast volume it can contain horizontally
- shallow cups = cups that are not deep but a bit “flat”
- wire width = the width of the underwire from the armpit to the centre gore
- centre gore = the place where the cups and underwires meet at the middle/ front of the bra
- wire height = how deep of an U-shape your bra underwire makes / how high the underwires come up in your armpit and at the centre gore
- breast root = the point where you breast tissue starts and ends (you can see this especially well when lifting your breast a bit)
- full-on-bottom breast (FOB) = breast with more breast tissue on the bottom half of the breast (under the nipple area)
- full-on-top breast (FOT) = breast with more breast tissue on the top half of the breast (above the nipple area)
- balconette bra = a bra with a high centre gore and horizontal cup edges
- plunge bra = a bra with a low centre gore and sloping cup edges
- breast projection = how full the breast tissue is and how much it “projects” out of the torso
- breast with even fullness = breasts that are full all over so not FOB nor FOT
Some useful links to my previous bra fit articles
- 5 Bra Myths Busted
- Physical and mental issues caused by bad bra fit
- Tips for great bra fit (also in Finnish!)
- A Bra Buying Guide – How to Buy Your First Well-Fitting Bra?
- Sports Bra Shopping – What to Consider? (also in Finnish!)
I hope this guide helps you to deal with the kinks of the bra fit world! If there is anything else that comes into your mind and should be added to this post, feel free to leave me a comment! xx