How to Measure Your Bra Size
By: Daisy Hemmen
Whether you’re buying your first or five-hundredth bra, finding the right size can be a pain. Too tight, and you’ll face itchy straps and poking wires. Too loose, and you’ll have zero support and fabric bunching.
But when you find the goldilocks size? Everything falls into place.
If you struggle to find the perfect bra size, there’s a simple solution—taking your bra measurements. If it’s your first time holding the measuring tape, don’t worry. Our quick guide will cover how to measure your bra size for the optimal fit.
Say goodbye to shifting, squeezing, or scratching.
First, How Are Bra Sizes Measured?
You’ve probably seen the same bra size chart (38C, 34B, 38DD, etc.) across most lingerie stores and brands. But what do those labels actually mean?
While not standardized, bra size labels do indicate a specific range of inches.1 The labels are divided into two measurements:
- Band size (number) – a calculation based on your under-bust circumference
- Cup size (letter) – the volume of the bra cup
While most lingerie stores use these bra sizing labels, their measurements can widely vary. One store’s 36A bra can match another’s 34B. As a result, many women buy an ill-fitting bra that is technically “in their size.” That’s why understanding how to know your correct bra size is tricky, but key to support and comfort.
How to Determine Bra Size On Your Own
Many brick-and-mortar lingerie stores offer personal fittings. But if you’re shopping online for a new bra (or just want to know for yourself), taking your own measurements is the easiest way to determine how to know if a bra fits.
Before pulling out the measuring tape, you should prepare yourself for a proper fitting—otherwise, you could mark inaccurate numbers. Here are some tips for getting the right bra size:2
- Use a flexible measuring tape
- Take off any upper-body clothes or undergarments
- Stand straight and relaxed
- Hold the measuring tape snug but comfortably on your body
- Measure with inches (US bra sizes use this system)
Now, you’re ready to take your two bra measurements—band size and bust size.
#1: Band Size Measurement
Your band size uses the circumference underneath your bust (usually on one’s lower ribcage).
Start by wrapping the measuring tape firmly around the under-bust in a loop. Make sure the front and back sides of the tape are level. Then, note the number of inches on the tape. If between numbers, it’s best to round up.
Now, here’s the catch—that number is not your exact band size. If you get an even number, add four inches. If you get an odd number, add five inches. This calculation will give you your bra band size.
#2: Bust Size Measurement
Now, it’s time to determine the other half of your bra size—your bust measurement.
Begin with wrapping the measuring tape across your fullest bust area. The tape should lay flat on the skin and stay level around the body. Finally, round to the nearest whole number and then write down the inches so you don’t forget.
#3: Calculate the Cup Size
How do you get a letter out of two numbers? To determine your lettered cup size, you’ll need to make a simple calculation with your band and bust measurements.
Start by subtracting your band size (#1) from your bust size (#2). Based on your result, you’ll likely end up with one of these cup sizes:
- Less than 1 inch – AA
- 1 inch – A
- 2 inches – B
- 3 inches – C
- 4 inches – D
- 5 inches – DD
- 6 inches – DDD/F
- 7 inches – G
For example, if you have a 38-inch calculated band size and a 40-inch bust size, you’ll end up with a 2-inch difference—meaning a B cup size. And if your result is larger than a G cup, no worries! Cup sizes can go much further down the alphabet
#4: Putting It Together
So you now have your calculated band size (#1) and your cup letter (#3). Put them side-by-side, and you have your bra size! While this label doesn’t guarantee a perfect fit, it’s a good direction to start with any bra purchase.
Signs You’re Wearing the Wrong Bra Size
Everything from unregulated sizing to body changes (pregnancy, weight fluctuations, etc.) can lead to wearing the wrong bra size. That’s why taking your measurements every six to twelve months can ensure a proper bra fitting.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to reassess your bra measurements:3
- Skin marks (indents, redness, chafing, etc.)
- Back or shoulder pain
- Unlevel band
- Strap slippage
- Breast spillover
- Gapping at the gore (band section between the two cups)
- Cup wrinkling
Find the Perfect Fit With Boody
When people think of bras, “comfortable” is not usually the first word that comes to mind. But with your measurements, you can find a bra that actually supports, not strains, your body.
That’s why Boody creates sustainable bras with comfort in mind.
Our soft bamboo viscose fabric and versatile sizes are meant for all to enjoy—no matter your measurements. Have more questions like how to pack bras or if you should wear a bra to bed? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.
About the author:
Daisy Hemmen is a San Diego State University Fowler College of Business alumni. Based in Encinitas, California, Daisy is a part of the marketing team at Boody North America. She is passionate about learning the ins and outs of living a happy and healthy lifestyle that benefits both people and the planet, and enjoys sharing her bountiful findings with the community.
- Real Simple. How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home. https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/shopping-guide/how-to-measure-bra-size
- Gillam, R., et al. How to Measure Your Bra Size at Home in 4 Simple Steps. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/gym-wear/a700109/how-to-measure-bra-size/
- Schumacker, L. 7 Simple Clues That Your Bra Doesn't Fit Right. https://www.insider.com/does-my-bra-fit-me-2017-11
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.