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What size bra should you buy?

Where do you start?

Don't go near a tape measure! The objective is to wear a properly fitted bra not a tape measure. Experienced fitters don't need a measure and neither do you. If a bra is too big or too small it tells you. All you need to know is what to look for, and then by taking one step at a time you can achieve your best possible fit. More importantly you will know why that bra fits you, and you will be able to disregard any bad advice from a well-intentioned lingerie assistant in the future.

The first thing to do, before embarking on a size review, is to take a critical look at the bras that you are currently wearing.

1. The main rule
2. Cup size
3. Bra style
4. Contact us for advice
5. UK to US to European cup size comparison chart

1. The first question - Is my bra back too big?

If the back of your bra is too big you won't get the cup right.

It is almost impossible to wear a bra with a back size that is too small for you without being aware of it - it will be too tight and plainly uncomfortable. Unfortunately it is not so easy to be aware of a bra with a back that is too big for you, and this is undoubtedly the biggest single sizing mistake.

A correctly fitted bra should fit firmly around your back, which is where most of the support should come from. The back should stay parallel with the front of the bra. If the back of your bra tends to ride up, it is probably because the back is too big for you.

A simple test is to ask someone to put their hand flat between your back and the back of your bra, then to turn their hand 90 degrees. Their hand should now be quite firmly wedged and they should not be able to pull the bra much further away from your back. An inch or so at most. If it can be pulled further, you need to go down at least one back size. A new bra should pass this test with the clasp on the loosest fitting - this allows you to tighten the bra as it stretches with wear and washing. Never fit yourself into a new bra on its tightest fitting.


2. Cup size

Once you are happy with your back size you can then address the cup size.

If you need to change to a smaller back size (which we find to be a very common occurrence), you may also need to opt for a larger cup, because often one compensates for the other. You also need to be aware that a D cup on a 34 back bra is bigger than a D cup on a 32 back bra. The actual wire on an underwired style gets larger as the back size increases, even when the cup letter stays the same! The rough rule is that you should increase the cup letter for every decrease in back size, if you want to keep the cup the same size, and vice versa.

Let's say that you have been wearing a 36C bra, and you have just discovered by trying our back test explained above, that you should really be in a 34 back bra. If you were happy with the cup size C in a 36, you will now need a D in a 34.

If you are happy with the cup size that you have been wearing, then the change from back to back will be your only concern, together with any adjustment in cup letter to maintain the cup size

If you are wearing a bra with a cup that is too big for you, that is relatively easy to spot. Basically you won't be filling the cups properly, and you need to drop a cup.

It is more likely that if the cups aren't fitting you properly it is because they are too small. The signs to look for are breasts bulging over the top and sides of each cup, and the wires of an underwired bra not sitting back against the chest wall in the cleavage. If the band of your bra is tight enough, it will be attempting to pull the underwires up against your body. If the wires (i.e. cup size) are big enough, they will go around each breast and sit snugly against your rib cage, with each breast in it's cup. If not, an increase in cup size is called for. Some judgment comes in here to assess how much of an increase is required, but at least if your bra back size is correct, you will be able to concentrate on the cup.

3. Bra style

In terms of styling, a full cup bra with shoulder straps placed centrally to each cup will suit people looking for full coverage, a minimiser full cup bra will help to flatten a bust, a half cup or balconette bra with widely spaced shoulder straps will provide uplift, and a push-up and plunge style both uplift and maximum cleavage.

4. Call us for fitting advice

You may find it useful to talk to us if you are unsure about any fitting issues, and you can do so by calling
0044 20 8293 5995 between 10.00 and 4.00 Monday to Friday (020 8293 5995 UK).
e-mail us with a phone number and we will call you back.


5. UK to US to European cup comparison chart

UK cup sizes US cup equivalent European Cup equivalent
G I  
GG J  
H None  
HH None  
J None  
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(fel8027) Felina Melina panty
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