*UPDATED: September 2014
I updated the way I recommend you finding your band size because I found a more accurate and easier way of measuring.
Hey out there! I’m really excited to be talking about the next topic in my blog series, “Bra Guide”. My first post was about How Bras Should and Shouldn’t Fit and received an overwhelming amount of response from ladies around the world asking me their bra questions, concerns, and issues. It was so exciting! I’ve had a lot of questions asked about bra sizing 101 and so that is what I’m going to be talking about today! Yahoo!
In this post I’m going to cover what the numbers and letters mean and corresponding sizes. Once you understand how bra sizing works, it will make finding a bra that fits so much easier! This topic is SO IMPORTANT! Make sure you sit back, grab a Diet Coke, and hang on. This is going to change your world!
I’m going to use myself as an example. My bra size is a 30D. Now what the heck does that mean? The measurement of my band or or underbust is 29″ which means I would wear a 30 band. There is a chart below that shows you the corresponding underbust measurements with the band size.
Finding your band size is really easy, all you have to do is take a measuring tape and measure the very top of your rib cage or underbust measurement. You want the tape to be snug and not loose when measuring. Once you have your measurement round it up to the nearest WHOLE number. That’s your band size! Yahoo!
Bra Band Facts
Here are some important facts about your band. Your band is where 90% of your support comes from. So it’s VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT that your band is fitting correctly. What I mean by fitting “correctly” is that it should be very snug on the loosest set of hooks when you first try it on. The reason why you want the band to be snug on the loosest set of hooks is so you can tighten the band as it stretches. The other reason is so the bra will last you longer.
When you buy a correct fitting bra it’s going to be really really snug at first, don’t worry it won’t be like that forever. It will take a couple of days of wear for the band to ease a bit. When trying on bras, if you have to hook the back to the tightest set of hooks for it to be snug, you need to go down a band size (don’t forget to up a cup size when you do this, I’ll explain this later on in the post).
There’s two tests you can do to see if your band is fitting correctly.
The first is to put the bra on and move your arms around and jump up and down. When you’re done and if your bra hasn’t moved or if you don’t have to adjust the girls or pull it down, it’s snug enough.
The second test requires you have a partner on hand. Have your child, husband, friend, or bra fitter try to slide their hand between the band and your back. If they struggle to do this, then your band is snug enough.
Every woman is different. But I like my bras really snug and there’s a couple reasons why:
First, because I like my bras to last me longer (if I’m going to spend my hard earn cash on a bra, I want it to last me as long as it can).
Second, I like the extra support.
Third, I love the feeling that my bra doesn’t move when I move. I HATE the feeling of having to adjust my bra throughout the day. I don’t have the time or the energy to worry if I’m going to be falling out of my bra. I want my bras to do the work of supporting me and holding me in place. I measure a 30D but I prefer going down a band size in some bras so I can get more use out of the bra. The equivalent size to that is a 28DD or 28E.
When you go down a band size you HAVE to go up a cup size to compensate the difference. I’ll explain this more in detail in the cup size portion of this post. I wouldn’t recommend this to every woman. Some women might not find this comfortable or feel like they need to. Depending on the person, their needs, what size they are. I sometimes recommend this to busty gals when they’re in need of more support or in need of more selection in bras.
One complaint I hear from women who get fitted and start wearing the correct fitting bra is back fat. Women don’t like the way the band is snug and it “squishes” excess skin on top and out of the sides of their back.
My thoughts on this.
99% of women have some type of “back fat” even very thin and athletic women have it. Men and especially women are not going to be looking at your back. People are going to be looking at your front. I’d rather have a little “back fat” then not have my boobs supported and therefore not look as put together and heavier.
If you want to look slimmer, thinner, and supported, the key is wearing the correct band size and making sure it’s snug because the band is the foundation of the bra and that is where you get your support from. I like to compare your bra band to the foundation of a house. If the foundation of your house isn’t strong, or in the case of a bra, if your band isn’t snug, the foundation won’t be able to support the rest of the house, which in this case the rest of the house is your boobs.
I found a some great examples of how wearing a correct fitting bra can make you look slimmer in the front.
Another important part to understanding how sizing works is how there’s corresponding bra sizes. Did you know a 32C and a 34B are actually the same cup size? There’s a difference between these two sizes and that is their band size. In the chart below, there’s a highlighted column below you can see how all of those bra sizes have the same cup size. A 28DD has the same cup size as a 38AA. So when someone says they’re a C cup, that doesn’t really mean anything without a the band size in front of it. You can be a large 38C cup or you could be a small 32C cup. Remember, the larger the band size the larger the cup sizes are, and the smaller the band size the smaller the cup sizes will be.
So let’s pretend you wear a 34C and you gained weight and your 34 band is too tight and is uncomfortable. Your cup size hasn’t changed, so you want to go up a band size, because you went up a band size you need to go down a cup size. Or you could look at the chart below and see that the corresponding size to the 34C is a 36B.
Let me repeat that one more time. Whenever you go down a band size you HAVE to go up one cup size to compensate the difference. If you go up a band size you HAVE to go down a cup size to compensate the difference. So “Friend A” ended up wearing a 30DDD or 30F.