As if feeling comfortable in your own skin wasn’t hard enough, try feeling comfortable in your own bra. Why is it so hard to find bras that are not only comfy, but also flattering? It’s almost as hard as dating, except there aren’t any handy apps out there for it.
Gaping or wrinkling cups, jutting (or worse, stabbing) underwire, pinching or slipping straps, seemingly misplaced padding, a band that rides up, cups that spilleth over with unwelcome abundance. Bras are already a tricky contraption on their own, and while they can look very sexy, an ill-fitting bra can make or break even the chicest outfit … and good mood.
While all breasts were certainly not created equal (and very commonly, not even within a singular set!), neither are bras. That said, we suppose it’s a good thing there are so many bras out there for so many beautiful snowflake boobies. Getting your own bra size down to an exact science is key, and yet it’s not always constant.
The experts at Kiki de Montparnasse know that “figuring out your bra size is imperative to being your most comfortable and confident self.” So how do you go about measuring? You can pop into your nearest Kiki lingerie boutique for an exquisite fit and gorgeous look, or follow a few steps at home if you feel your breasts are in a consistent state.
First, either braless or wearing a non-padded bra, take a flexible roll of tailor’s measuring tape to your torso and measure directly under your bust, where your band should comfortably sit and affectionately hug (ehem, never strangle or ride up). Make sure the tape is level and snug, but not tight. Round up to the nearest whole number. Write it down, put it in your phone, whatever you have to do to remember.
For your bustline, measure the fullest part of your breast, which is usually at nipple level. Round to the nearest whole number as well. Take this number and subtract from it your band’s width number. The number you get typically correlates to your cup size, from smallest to largest. Meaning, if the number from the equation is 1, aka 33” bust and 32” band, you’re an A cup. If it’s 2, you’re a B cup, and so on. Your band size paired with your cup is your ideal bra size, such as 36C.
When trying on bras, there are a few tricks to make sure everything is where it should be. Try bending forward at the waist when slipping your bra on and fastening it, to make certain your breasts are fully in the cups. The band should stay level with the front and never ride up in back. Adjust the straps, and try on a fitted tee. This is a great gauge to tell if the bra is wrinkling, puckering, or if something’s just off.
Typically, if your usual bra size isn’t working whilst schvitzing in the fitting room (yes, we know bra shopping can be a chore) and you need to go up or down, choose a band size that corresponds with your need, going up a band size and down a cup, or vice versa. For example, if you’re a 34C and it’s too big, try a 36B in that bra. If your 34C is too small, try for a 32D.
The lingerie professionals at Kiki de Montparnasse expertly point out that “as women, our weight fluctuates naturally throughout our lives and therefore our bra size does as well!” A new fitness regimen, change of diet, or pregnancy can all contribute to fluctuation in breast and thus bra size, not to mention this study that conclusively states that bust volume increases with age. That said, if you’re undergoing some serious changes, “periodically getting fitted is a great practice to ensure the bras you are purchasing fit impeccably.” And let’s face it—at the end of the day, it’s all about comfort.