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Really, to know if your bra fits, you should pay attention to more than just your cups and band, but most other problems can be fixed if you have the cups and band right.

General considerations

When trying to figure out whether a bra fits you, the first and most important step is always to put it on the correct way!

A bra should adapt to you, not the other way round! Sometimes a certain bra just won't work for you. This is not your fault, nor your breasts' fault, this just happens. Keep trying until you find the best-fitting bra in the world for you! :)

On this topic, see:

If you are lucky enough to live in a country or city with good fitting experts around, an in-person fitting is usually easier and yields faster results. There will be a shop listing on Bratabase eventually, but for now, you could try asking in an adventure whether someone knows a good place to be fitted where you live.

If you're planning to go see a bra fitter, read this:

Some of us aren't lucky enough to be in the vicinity of good fitters, though. Self fitting is certainly possible, you can buy bras online and read through guides to figure out how your bra should fit. This is one such guide.

Measuring yourself

To get an initial idea of where to start looking for a bra size that fits you, measuring yourself should help. It's unlikely that you will end up with one definitive size, a lot of us need different sizes in different brands, or at different points of our menstrual cycles. However, measuring can give you a place to start.

Read about how to measure yourself here:

Determine if the band fits

Band fit diagram

The band of your bra should be responsible for supporting most of the weight of your breasts.

  1. It should be snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers under the band, but not your whole hand.

  2. Check that the entire band is parallel to the floor. It should be at the same height on the front and on the back.

Signs that you're wearing the wrong band size

It's a good idea to always try on new bras on the loosest hook, so that you will be able to switch to the tighter hooks when your band stretches out. If you try on a bra and can easily close it on the tightest hook, you should try the next smaller band size.

About straps

Be careful when adjusting your straps. Over tightening your straps, so that they're digging in, may make a too big bra size seem to fit correctly, while under tightening the straps will make them constantly slide off your shoulders. You may have to experiment a bit to find the correct setting for yourself.

Determine if the cup fits

Cup fit diagram

When you are wearing a bra that fits you properly:

  1. The centerpiece (gore) between the cups should lay flat on your sternum.

  2. Each of your breasts should be enclosed naturally inside each cup.The underwires should be flush along the base of the root of your breasts.

  3. The underwires should not be poking into breast tissue on the outer sides. Look here for how to find out where your breast tissue ends and how to find out whether your wires fit you right.

  4. There should be one smooth curve across the top of your breasts over the cup to the bottom of the underwire, with no breast tissue bulging out. The cups shouldn't be empty and wrinkled. If your cups seem empty and wrinkled, check that for orange in a glass effect.

Find a better fitting bra

You can determine a good size for you by checking if your bra shows signs of bad fit.

This means that, for example, if the band is riding up, you should try a smaller band size. Keep in mind that cup sizes are relative to the band size, so if you are wearing a 32D that fits well in the cups, but you want to try a bra in a smaller band, try a 30DD.

If your cups are too small, try bigger cups. If your cups are too big, try smaller ones.

Keep in mind that if your cups are much too small, the band may seem tight enough, or even too tight, when in reality it may be too loose and you may need a smaller band once your cups are big enough.

If your bra is wrong in every way, and simple one-step adjustments won't help, you could try out a calculator or read blog posts on how to measure yourself. Or, you could use the fitting help which is available from the Bratabase community if you upload pictures of yourself wearing a bra.

Don't fall victim to letterphobia, even if the recommended sizes sound really strange to you!

Always try to move all of your breast tissue into the cups! The cups are meant to accommodate all of your bust and not just some of it.

Common fit problems

These are the most common fit problems:

Resources and further reading: