Bra Fitting: Our guide on how to measure a bra and find the perfect fit

Bra Fitting: At Freshpair we believe the more a woman knows about her body and her bra, the more confident she is in life.

Feeling good, looking good—it’s empowering. Think about the way you feel in your favorite pair of jeans, your classic black dress, your plush leather pumps. You feel good because you’ve got the right fit.

Some bra fit specialists can take one look at you and know you’re in the wrong bra. But do you? The right fit isn’t magic (it just feels like it). It’s an art and science. We believe in educating the customer, in getting her in the proper band, the right cup, and exploring multiple styles. We don’t discount the merits of measurements. We explore the purpose behind them. Which ones are beneficial, which ones are misleading?

Bra fit calculators? Incredibly specific. Frighteningly inaccurate.

Forget being handed ill-fitting, quick-pick bras to close a sale or searching through messy department store racks. Collect expertise and convenience all in one spot. Take advantage of our tips and tools to finding the perfect fit.

It’s your body. Your bra fit. Ultimately, it’s your confidence.


The Imperfect Equation

We began the bra fit process with standardized fit charts and calculators—how to measure your bra band, how to measure your bra cup, calculate the difference. Then we started trying it ourselves—it wasn’t pretty. Bra fit sites calculate the band differently, some automatically adding up to 4 or 5 inches to your band size. Yes, it’s basic math—with a high margin of error. If bra companies vary their calculation process, then these traditional steps result in an unconventional fit. It’s enough to make a woman dizzy.

Calculate Feel

We stood straight and exhaled, measured, computed, compared, and collapsed. Finally we came to. As specialists, we know the right fit by the way the bra looks and how it feels. A bra’s band should fit snug, its cups should contain the breast tissue, the straps should assist the bra, not support the breasts. We know what an uncomfortable bra feels like and we know how to fix it.


The Snug Band

90% of bra support is in the band. It’s your suspension bridge, your foundation, your way to a perfect fit. The band is literally your bra’s base and is built to support your breasts. If it’s not secure, you’re not secure. It should feel comfortably snug and sit perfectly level around, front to back. If it rides up your back, it’s too big. If your straps are falling, it’s too loose. It must be snug. A good rule of thumb is, if you can use two fingers to comfortably skim the inside of the band, it’s correct. If there’s slack in the back, your bra may be worn or you may need a smaller band. Test your own bra.

  • First, what’s the bra size you’re wearing now?
  • Next, measure around your rib cage so you can accurately determine your band size (the beneficial measurement). Pull the measuring tape tight and keep it level around your body, just under the bust. Round up to the nearest whole even number.
  • Now, is the band measurement different then the bra you’re wearing? If your bra is a 36C but your actual measurement is a 32, position your finger at 36C on the chart below and move it up two spaces to the 32 line. You will have landed on a 32E, your real bra measurement.
  • Once a snug-fitting band is established, the cup size is next.

Did You Know? An improper fitting band is the number one source of bra complaints
(see problems & solutions). Book the right band to book the best fit.


The Well Contained Cup

All cups are not created equal. The cup on a 36A is not the same as a cup on a 32A because it changes in proportion with the band size. Whether your original band measurement is the same as your actual bra or you’ve discovered your new band size, your cups need to fit properly and contain the breast tissue. To determine if you need to go up or down a cup size, follow our tips.

You Need to go Up a Cup Size if:

  • Your breast tissue is spilling over anywhere—top, sides, or bottom of the bra
  • The underwire is resting on the breast tissue or poking it
  • The underwire is lifting away from the bust and not lying flat against the body
  • Your band size has decreased

You Need to go Down a Cup Size if:

  • There are gaps between the breast tissue and the cup
  • The band is level and the underwire is digging up into your armpit
  • The band is level and there is space between the underwire and where the breast tissue starts
  • Your band size has increased

Reality and Superpowers

Naturally our breasts change with life changes, whether it’s a shift in hormones, weight loss or gain, nursing, or age. From puberty to child birth, from marathon training to over-indulging, our breast elasticity gives and so does our breast composition.

Yet through it all we still shop for that special number we’ve either trained ourselves to wear or been told is correct. We’ve associated beauty with a number, not a fit. We may think “34C is what I’m used to, what I’ve always worn.” The reality remains—our breasts do not stay one size. Nor should our bra.

The right bra will noticeably improve your appearance. It will contain and lift your breasts, elevating your chest and minimizing your waist. The right bra will provide options. Bra Fit Specialist, Bobbie Smith, recalls a customer whose life dramatically improved from the right fit, “She hadn’t been able to wear t-shirts since she was 16 and it wasn’t until she experienced the right fit that doors opened to a new wardrobe. When you can’t find the right bra or don’t know what the right fit is, it really limits what you can wear.” Smith continues, “When you’re elevated and in the right bra, it feels like a superpower. Pair the perfect bra with a matching panty and you know you look good. You feel like you can conquer the world.”