Bra Cup Size CalculatorBras were undoubtedly created by men to make women "nicer to look at" :) There are stories that the first cross-your-heart lift-and-separate bra was developed for movie actresses, and you see a scene of that in "The Aviator" which is supposedly about Howard Hughes.
That being said, if you DO want to wear a bra, you definitely want to wear one which fits as properly as possible. A too-tight bra will malform you which is rarely attractive. A too large bra will look saggy and loose. You want a bra that fits as perfectly as possible to your specific form. It's important to note that this size will change over the years, so don't rely on the size you were when you were 18 or 20, if you're now 30 or older! Re-measure your size every few years and get bras that fit you NOW.
Now, to determine your size. Whoever developed this cup system must have been completely insane. Its measurements make no sense at all. Here is what you do. Feel free to print this page out and follow along.
You measure UNDER your breasts, so the circumference of your "chest without any breast". I find that I can do this 10 times and get 10 different numbers. Your aim is the smallest number, because this means you have gone as "straight across" as possible. Don't pull tight, because remember that this is going to determine how your bra's "band" fits. You want it to be comfortable, not tight and not loose. Let's say you measure 31 inches.
Your Measurement: _______
You add 4 inches to this number. Why 4 inches? Who knows. Bra makers are completely insane. I really vote they redo their numbering so they just use THE ACTUAL CIRCUMFERENCE. That might make far too much sense. In any case, if we began with 31 inches, we would add 4 so now we would have 35 inches. Note that because this number is odd you're going to be adding 1 to this shortly, to turn it into 36, but to keep this as simple as possible, for now just write down your actual inches + 4.
Your Measurement: _____
Because bra makers are completely insane, they will NOT sell odd numbered bras. They only sell even numbered bras. This means if you were lucky enough to be even in step 2, you are all set. If you are NOT lucky (like say half of the world) you now must add ANOTHER inch so that you have an even number. This means the bra won't fit perfectly! Sure, they adjust a little bit. It would be much better though if they simply made odd numbered sizes too, so they fit everybody! In any case, if you had an ODD number in step 2, add 1 to it. If you had an EVEN number in step 2, you are set and write that number here. So our 35 inches test person has to add 1 to your number.
Your Measurement: _______
Note that this above number is the "number" part of the bra size. So if your bra is a 36B, the 36 is the above part. It's not the ACTUAL circumference of your body. It's this artificial number.
You now measure your circumference of your breast at its fullest part, so usually across the tops of the nipples. You are going for a "comfortable fit" again. You don't want a bra that squashes you in. That ends up hurting after a while. You also don't want a bra that flops around. You want one that fits gently against your breasts to hold them in place. On our test person, that is 37 inches.
Your Measurement: _______
You now take the number from Step 4, say 37 inches, and subtract the "altered number" in step 3, which in our test person is 36 inches. You end up with a difference. Note that because of the bra companies' inane system of "adding 5 inches" it could actually be a negative number! Feel free to strangle bra makers for doing this. In any case, our test person has a difference of 1 inch.
Your Step 4 Number: ________
Your Step 3 Number: ________
(subtract 3 from 4)
Your Difference: ________
Now that you know your difference, use the following chart to determine your cup size. That is how "full" your breast is.
You see part of the problem here. If you have a difference of 2.5 inches you are right in the center of B Cup size and that bra will probably fit you perfectly. However, what if you are exactly 2 inches? You are a "big A". You are a "little B". That can be a HUGE difference in fit. If you use an A cup, your breast may be squashed and look flat. If you use a B cup, your breast may not fit into it, making it look floppy and small. Your breast looks its very best in a cup and bra that is just the right size for it, that supports it to look full.
You never want to squish your breasts into a too-small cup. You might think this makes you look "full" but really it makes you look squished and oddly shaped. That's not a good look for a person. You might think getting a bigger bra is a good thing. However, then it looks floppy and loose and makes it very obvious that you are "smaller than you should be". That isn't something you want to aim for.
The solution is to go to a lingerie shop when they have breast fittings and have a specialist help you get fit. You then find out your exact measurements, and what bra lines they suggest as working well with your size and shape. As odd as it might seem, even if you don't want to pay high prices for the line they recommend, you now have a starting point, and can see what other lines tend to have the same sizing.
Also, check this measurement every few years. We all change shape and size as we age - we gain weight, we lose weight. Our bra sizes DEFINITELY change. Make sure you wear lingerie that suits your current shape, to show it to its best advantage.
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