In 2015, when I had lots of back pain, my doctor said that I was definitely a candidate for breast reduction. I opted for bras with firmer bands, physical therapy and improved posture instead. It worked! My back only hurt once or twice a month… until recently.
I decided to write this post because wearing a less than ideal bra size can lead to neck, back and shoulder pain, headaches and migraines, breast tissue migration and more. Knowing bra size math is vital because some stores use inaccurate and/or deceptive techniques.
In both UK and US sizing, the number refers to the underbust measurement in inches while the letter refers to the difference between the bust measurement and the underbust measurement. For example, 36D refers to a ~36″ underbust and a ~40″ bust.
The cup sizes in the UK and US sizing systems vary after D-cups, so it is pertinent to know which sizing system a particular brand uses! Without context, H-cup could refer to either an 8″ or an 11″ difference between bust and underbust measurements.
Calculating your suggested starting size:
Step 1 – Locate a plastic or cloth measuring tape, not a paper tape. You will need the ability to really pull on it without fear of ripping.
Step 2 – Do It Yourself (DIY) method – Carefully follow the instructions on the Busty Resources guide.
Step 2 – Do It For Me (DIFM) method – Carefully follow the instructions on the A Bra That Fits Bra Sizing Calculator.
(Note: A blog reader informed me that those with larger breasts may have better luck with the Sophisticated Pair Bra Size Calculator.)
Note – If you are in disbelief about a suggested starting band size of 24, 26, 28 or 30, visit the Bra Band Project! If you don’t believe your suggested starting cup size, please try to suspend your disbelief. There is life beyond the letter D and it is not so bad up here!
DIY screenshot from the Busty Resources guide:
Calculated band size: 26 (underbust)
Calculated cup size: 35 (bust) – 26 (underbust) = 9″ difference = G
Suggested starting bra size: 26G (UK) / 26I (US)
DIFM screenshot from the A Bra That Fits Bra Sizing Calculator:
How did my suggested starting size fit?
I tried on a sister size because no offline retailers sell Polish bras in my area yet. (This may change in 2018!) The cup volume was spot on.
Finding bras in your suggested size:
Step 2 – Whether you buy in person or online, definitely try on some bras in your suggested starting size. See how they fit and go from there. If you live in an area with offline retailers, do yourself a favor and visit at least one of them!
To learn more about bras, bra fit and bra sizing, visit the Beginner’s Guide by /r/ABraThatFits. The Breast Life™ Guide to The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Size, Style, and Support e-book is currently on sale for $1.99. I definitely stuffed a couple stockings with that book!