Let’s face it – as women, we’ve all gone through that awkward phase growing up where we had to ask someone the question, “What is a woman’s bust?” 

Whether you simply never heard the term before, or you came across it while trying to find out how to measure yourself for your first bra, it’s not as “weird” of a question as you may think. 

What Exactly is a Woman’s Bust? Where Did the Term Come From?

What Does the Term Bust Mean?

A woman’s bust, or bust size, refers to the measurement around the fullest part of your chest. When it comes to bra sizing or even clothing sizing for that matter, you’ll often come across multiple measures referring to bust size, including:

  • Bust – measures the fullest part of your chest, often at nipple height.
  • Under-bust – the measurement just under your breast, often used to determine your bra’s band size. 
  • Over-bust – the measurement around the top of your chest (directly above the fullest part of your bust), right under your armpits. 

While you’ll most frequently come across these terms when shopping for bras or lingerie, many online clothing retailers are now including these measurements in their sizing charts to ensure that buyers get an accurate fit. 

Where Did the Term Bust Originate From?

When used as a noun to describe a woman’s breasts, the term bust dates back to the 1690s. The English variation is said to originate from a variety of translations, including:

  • French: buste
  • Italian: busto
  • Latin: bustum

What Are Some Alternatives to the Term Bust?

When it comes time to start researching bra sizes and types, you will likely come across multiple terms for the word bust. Some of the most common include:

  • Bosom
  • Breast
  • Chest
  • Upper Trunk

Bra shopping can be uncomfortable enough without having to use terms like bosom and even bust. So, if you find yourself uncomfortable using either term, then it’s okay to use chest or even breast.

If you’re visiting a shop specializing in undergarments, you should never feel uncomfortable using the necessary terms. Remember, these are professionals, and terms such as breast and bust are a part of their everyday vocabulary. 

How to Measure Your Bust and Find the Perfect Bra 

Unfortunately, the terms bust, breast, and even chest have been sexualized by the mainstream media to the point that young girls are afraid and embarrassed to ask what a woman’s bust is. That makes buying bras an extremely uncomfortable scenario for many. 

That’s why you must take the time to discuss proper terminology for the female anatomy and help your girls feel comfortable with their bodies. Once they’re ready, it’s time to teach them how to correctly measure their bust and find the perfect fitting bra.

If you don’t, they could very likely fall into the 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. If they don’t feel comfortable getting fitted by you, you can always approach them with the idea of getting fitted at the store as well. 

1. Find Your True Bust 

You’ll want to make sure that whoever is being measured is wearing either a very lightly lined bra or a loose-fitting shirt. Then have them put their arms out parallel to the floor and wrap your tape measure around the fullest part of the breast.

For most girls/women, this will be at the middle of the nipple. Ensure the tape measure is snug but not tight to the point that you are squeezing the chest. That will give you the bust size.

2. Measure Your Band Size

Frequently referred to as your under-bust. Your band size is the measurement of your torso right below your bust.

Have the individual put their arms down in a relaxed manner and then wrap the tape measure around them. Again, do not pull tight, and you will want to make sure the tape measure is level – and doesn’t look like it’s angled up or down, as this will give you an incorrect number. You’ll want to make sure you round the number down to the nearest even number. 

3. Find Your Cup Size

This is done by subtracting your band size from your bust size. That number can then be compared to a bra size chart (they can vary by manufacturer, so it’s always best to check) and see where your cup size falls.  

Once you’ve got all the pieces of the puzzle figured out, you can head out to the shops or head online and get shopping! 

Find Your Cup Size

Answering “What Is a Woman’s Bust” is Step One in Getting Comfortable with Your Body

Growing up, girls often find themselves feeling a tad uncomfortable with asking questions about their ever-changing bodies. It’s doubtful you’ll hear a tween speak up and ask what a woman’s bust is.

We must teach young girls to feel comfortable asking these sorts of questions and comfortable enough to seek out help with adequate bra fitting.

Not quite sure where to begin with finding the right bra? Then give our online bra finder a try today!

Prev Previous page
What Are the Best Wide Strap Bras to Battle Shoulder Pain?
Summer Style Guide: Favorite Outfits and the Bras to Match
Next Next page
Back to Articles

Lift, Shape, and Support With Comfort and Style