80% of Women Are Wearing The Wrong Bra Size
Statistically, you’re probably one of them. Here’s how to find the correct size — and where to find affordable replacements for the old ones.
If your last bra fitting was years ago and if you’ve grown to hate wearing bras because of how uncomfortable they are, you may be in for a surprise — studies show that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. Statistically speaking, this means that you’re likely one of them.
If your bra straps dig into your shoulder, if your breasts spill out from the top or the side of your bra, if you have a gap between your breasts and your bra, if you need to use an extender to make your bra wider, if you need to inhale deeply to get your bra straps secured, or if you’re experiencing back pain or changes in posture because of how uncomfortable your breasts are… the culprit could be poorly-fitting bras.
Fun fact: this issue isn’t exclusive to women. Anyone who has breasts and opts to wear bras is likely wearing the wrong size. Fortunately, there’s hope. All you need a tape measure, the right calculator, and a few minutes to measure yourself.
Before jumping into the measurements, here are a few important facts to consider:
- The average bra size in the United States is a 34DD.
- 70% of women are wearing bras that are too small. This means that the real average bra size is likely larger than a 34DD.
- A D cup isn’t as big as you might think. Many people who expect to find that they’re a B or C cup actually find that they’re an F or G cup once properly sized. Here is what a 32GG looks like.
- People get band sizes wrong all the time. If you think a 32 is the smallest band size, think again: sizes like 28D and 30F are actually very common. Here’s what a 26E looks like.
- Most US-based retailers consider DD+ to be extended sizes. This is not the case elsewhere, where cup sizes like I, J, and K are common when people are properly measured.
- US sizes are different from UK and European sizes. Some of the best-fitting bras run in UK sizes.
Long story short: whether you think your breasts are small, average, or large, your bra is probably the wrong size.
Step 1: Get a cloth measuring tape.
If you don’t have one lying around, you can grab one for a few dollars at a local retailer, or you can buy one online.
Step 2: Use this calculator.
Enter your measurements into this calculator, where you can select US, UK, Australian, European, French, or Japanese sizing. UK sizing is recommended because most online bra retailers (especially those that sell D+ cup sizes) use UK sizing.
Once you’ve used the calculator, it’s time to accept that you might not have even heard of your new size.
Maybe you’ve been wearing a 36C for years, and now you’re finding out that your actual bra size is 30H. I know, I know. But it’s not out of the ordinary, I promise you. There is a community of over 200,000 people who discuss properly-fitting bras — if you’re in serious doubt, you can share your measurements with them and ask if they think the calculator is wrong. (They will say that the calculator is probably right.)
It’s also time to accept that your actual size might not be sold at the stores you typically buy bras from. This is okay. If your current bras are uncomfortable and if your shoulders ache until the moment you take them off, maybe it’s time to find a new place to buy bras from anyway.
Now that you’re about to find out what your real bra size is, let’s dispel a few common myths.
- People with large cup sizes can’t wear bralettes. Not true. Many retailers specialize in supportive bralettes for people who wear sizes D and above. Cosabella is one of them.
- Sports bras are supposed to be tight. No. Sports bras are supposed to be supportive so that your breasts don’t hurt when you exercise. They shouldn’t be difficult to put on or take off. You can find a sports bra that fits.
- Nobody stocks my size. Not true. HerRoom stocks a variety of brands in sizes 28–50, cups A-N. Yes, N. They have your size. Nordstrom Rack goes up to cup size O.
- Bikinis and swimwear only come in S, M, L. Wrong again. Plenty of brands, including Curvy Kate and Prima Donna stock swimwear that corresponds to your actual bra size.
- Small sizes only come in childish designs. Extended sizes only come in ugly designs. Nope. For extended sizes, check out Hips and Curves, FigLeaves, Chantelle, and Panache. For smaller sizes, check out The Little Bra Company, Journelle, Petite Cherry, and Natori. Not sure where to start? You can’t go wrong with HerRoom, which stocks almost every size and brand you can imagine.
Finding the correct bra size isn’t difficult — most people just don’t take the time to measure properly. If your shoulders hurt, if your bra doesn’t fit the way you think it should, and if you’re tired of spending money on bras that aren’t quite right, use the calculator and find a bra that fits, once and for all.