Many people use the terms “bra size” and “bra fit” interchangeably. A large number of women assume that when you get a bra in the “right size” it will automatically fit. In reality, bra fit involves many important factors that go far beyond basic size. You must also evaluate brand size differences, cut and style, your own body shape and sizing inconsistencies when you look at fit.
What is a Bra Size?
Your bra size is the number and letter designation you use when you select and purchase a bra. The number is the band size, which can be calculated by measuring around the body and following our Measuring for Size instructions to determine your band size. The letter in a size designation refers to the cup size. For example, a 34F would be a 34 band size and an F cup size. Bra size isn’t the only thing that determines whether a bra fits, though, so you can’t just measure and assume a bra will fit.
What is Bra Fit?
Bra fit is a function of whether the proportions of the bra are right for your body. Finding the right bra fit is a balancing act between getting the right cup size and band size. Bra fit also depends on the style of the bra, the bra’s design, your body type and any individual fit challenges you might have when finding a bra. When you’re evaluating a bra for fit, you look at things like whether your bust is properly supported, whether the cups are large enough for your bust and whether the bra stays put once you put it on. For more information on bra fit, check out our Bra Fit page.
The Differences Between Bra Size and Bra Fit
Taking a size measurement doesn’t mean a bra will automatically fit. You might measure and find that you’re a 34F bra size, but you might find that a 34F in a specific bra just doesn’t fit properly. Maybe the cups are too large, or you find that the band pushes away from your body. If you need a smaller band size, you might go to a 32G. If the cups are too large, you might try a 34E, or even a 36E if you find that the band is too tight.
These bra sizes are very close in physical measurement, so any of them might fit within the dimensions you find when you measure for a bra size. It’s how the bra fits on your body that is important, so you may need to adjust the proportions and fit when you try a specific bra.
Once you measure and calculate your size, try the same bra with a smaller band size and larger cup. If you want to see the difference, try the same bra with a larger band size and a smaller cup. In the vast majority of poorly-fitted bras, women actually need a smaller band size and larger cup. Experiment with fit and sizing, and check out our bra fit guidelines to make sure that your size actually fits!