Bra Fitting Guide

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The right bra can do wonders for your shape and self-esteem.
The right bra can do wonders for your shape and self-esteem. (Image: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

A properly sized bra helps your posture, makes you look slimmer and allows your clothes to fall in a more flattering way. Ill-fitting clothing doesn't showcase your best traits and can lower your self-confidence. In addition to not looking nice, a bra that doesn't fit correctly can cause a number of health conditions, including permanent shoulder indentations, back pain and neck pain. By mastering the basics of a proper bra fit, you can avoid discomfort and health problems and stay looking your best.

Cup Sizes

To calculate cup size, measure around your body directly under your bust. Do this after exhaling to get the smallest measurement possible. If the measurement is even, add four inches to the measurement. For example, if the measurement is 28 inches, add four to get 32 inches. If the measurement is odd, add five inches. So, if the initial measurement is 29 inches, add five inches to land at 34 inches.

Measure around the fullest part of your bust. Round this measurement to the nearest whole number. Subtract the first measurement from the measurement around your bust. The difference will define your cup size:

If the difference is: 0 to .5 inch: Your cup size is AA. .5 to 1 inch: Your cup size is A. 2 inches: Your cup size is B. 3 inches: Your cup size is C. 4 inches: Your cup size is D. 5 inches: Your cup size is DD or E. 6 inches: Your cup size is DDD or F. 7 inches: Your cup size is G. 8 inches: Your cup size is H. 9 inches: Your cup size is I. 10 inches: Your cup size is J.

Cup sizes may vary by manufacturer. If the cup gaps, it is too big. If your breasts spill out over the top, the cups are likely too small.

Strap Fit

Make sure that the straps fit securely, but they shouldn't cut into your skin. If the band is too tight, increase the band by one size. Try on a bra with your measured cup size, and one with a cup size one smaller than your measured size.

If the band is too loose, do the opposite. Try on a bra with a band that's one size smaller than measured, and both your measured cup size and a cup one size larger than measured.

Professional Fitting

A professional bra fitting is an excellent way to get advice on proper bra sizing and fit. Most major department stores offer fitting services. High-end lingerie shops offer the same services.

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