How many days of the week do you come home ready to rip your bra off (and contemplate burning it) because you are just so DONE? Done with the digging in, the slipping off, the riding up. All of it. Even one day is too many in our book because the simple truth is you don’t have to (and shouldn’t be) uncomfortable in your bra if you have the best fit for your body.
But few garments (except jeans, maybe) are as hard to get right as plus-size bras. So, naturally, we went to our designers — a whole team of women who have dedicated their careers (and insane sewing skills) to perfecting plus-size bras — to give us all the dos and don’ts of bra fitting. Finding the right bra (and bra size!) is a lot easier when you know what to look for. And, no, you don’t need to go see a professional to find your bra fit. Just these 9 bra fit tips from the expert bra makers at our in-house design studio.
1. Your Bra Should Stay Put, Even if the Straps Move a Bit
That’s because over 90% of a bra’s support comes from the band. Cups hold the girls in place. Straps keep the cups where they’re supposed to be. The band plays the supporting role. A band that fits right should sit comfortably just below the shoulder blades without riding up or digging in. If your band is moving around, it either needs to be adjusted or you need a different size.
2. You Can Calculate Your Band Size & Cup Size
Band sizes are numerical, while cup sizes are alphabetical. You need both numbers to figure out your bra size. Here’s how to measure bra size at home with a measuring tape:
Step 1: How to Measure Your Bust Size
Wrap the tape measure around your back and under your arms so it’s snug — not tight. Make sure the tape measure is parallel to the floor. Round the result to the nearest whole number.
Step 2: How to Measure Your Cup Size
Measure around the fullest part of your bust keeping the tape loose enough that it's not squeezing.
Step 3: How to Calculate Bra Size
Subtract the difference (cup size minus band size). For example, if your band is 44 inches and your cup size is 47 inches, you’re a 44C because 47 minus 44 equals 3, and that number corresponds to the letter “C” in the alphabet.
Or, you can let our bra size calculator for the work for you!
3. Always Fit the Bigger Breast When Determining Your Bra Size
If you have one boob that’s bigger than the other (and you do because everyone does), fit your bra to that side. If you want to even out the sides, you can always add a bra cutlet to the other side, or find a bra with removable padding and take them out from the big side.
4. If Your Straps Keep Slipping Off, It Could Mean Your Cups Are Too Big
If your straps are sliding around or off the shoulders, they might be stretched out (which happens over time). Or you might be in the wrong cup size causing the straps to sit too wide and slip more easily. Another sign that your cups are too big is if the center panel between the cups is pulling away instead of sitting flush against your sternum.
5. If Your Straps Are Digging In, Your Cups Might Be Too Small…
More often than not, though, women underestimate their cup size. Too-small cups lead to spillage over the top which can put extra weight on the straps or cause them to pull so taut to accommodate the overflow that they dig in.
6. ...Or Your Band is Too Big
Your straps could also be digging into your shoulders if your band is too loose, making it so your straps are doing all the work. Take a look in the mirror to check if your straps are pulled so tight the band is riding up. Either your band is too big or it’s too stretched out to stay low and snug.
7. If Your Underwire is Poking, You Might Need a Different Cup Size
Poking or pinching wires often speak to a larger problem — the wrong cup size. Cups that are too small make the underwire too tight which means, wah-wah, digging in and pinching. On the flip side, if your cups are too big then there’s more wiggle room for the wire to move around (hello, wire poke).
8. Always Size a New Bra on the Loosest Hook
This fit tip is as much about the right bra fit as it is about making sure it has the longest bra life. All bras stretch over time. If you start by wearing it on the loosest hook, you’ll have room to tighten and adjust as it stretches, keeping it as supportive through the last hook as it was on its first wear.
9. How You Wash Your Bra Can Change How it Fits
Overwashing or incorrect washing can accelerate the elastin breakdown in the bra’s fabric that causes it to stretch and lose its support. Whether machine washing your bras or washing them by hand, these tips for how to wash your bra will help it stay supportive for longer: 1) Always use a lingerie bag (or zip-close mesh) bag in the machine to keep the bra from snagging. 2) Use cool water and mild detergent. 3) Never put your bra in the dryer! Hang drying is the way to go.
All bras stretch over time and ultimately can no longer provide the support they once did. No matter how well you care for your bra, even your favorite ones will need to be replaced eventually.
The next time you go bra shopping, use these fit tips to find bras for plus size women so comfortable and supportive you won’t even think about them at all, let alone want to take them off the minute you get home.