1. Go to a lingerie store and have someone measure you.
You may not like what you’re about to hear but to get a truly proper fit you’ll have to get a fitting. Yes, this most likely will entail a virtual stranger with their hands up around your top-drawer business – the good news is, they are professionals and have been trained to a) do this correctly and b) make you feel as un-weird about it as possible.
Victoria’s Secret is an obvious place – because they’re probably one of the most visible brands on the planet – but you can find all sorts of good small businesses that can do the same thing for you. If you absolutely cannot reconcile yourself with the thought of someone all over your T’s, it is possible to do it at home yourself (but it may not be quite as accurate unless you’re really well-versed in tailoring or garment measurements).
Either way, the following will still apply.
2. Your attire will matter.
Wear a bra that you’re already comfortable in. Might be a long-shot, because how comfortable are they, really?
But one that’s already feeling pretty comfortable is already giving you a decent amount of support — it’s going to give the most accurate reflection of your size and what you need. Don’t wear a push-up bra or a sports bra — these styles might make you feel confident or comfy, but they’ll interfere with you getting a spot-on fitting. Wear outer clothes that are comfortable and not too thick or baggy if you can.
They can definitely measure you over your clothes if you want.
3. You can get fitted in a dressing room — or in the middle of the store.
Look, it’s already uncomfortable enough to have someone handling your dirty pillows in a mall. It’s not all that bad – they don’t need to cup your actual boobs in their actual hands – but even the thought of someone quickly using tape to take a few measurements may have you feeling weird about it. That’s okay.
They’re trained to do this fast and well, and a lot of the time they’re also trained to talk to you if you’re feeling insecure about anything – they might have a lot of the same insecurities that you do! We’re all in this together.
Usually, the salesperson will offer you a dressing room to be fitted in. Ah, that’s better, nice and private.
However, maybe you would feel less awkward if you weren’t in a confined space with a stranger? That’s fine, too. If you want to be in the middle of the storeroom floor you can do that! The world is yours.
Also, a top secret, hot af pro-tip: you DO NOT have to go in the dressing room, a lot of times the salesperson will try and persuade you into one so that they can then talk you into trying on a bra and getting you to buy it. This is your Salt Shakers’ circus – you call the shots.
4. Times you will want to definitely get a fitting:
Funny story: once at work with my work bestie and lifer, Lauren, she said, “God, you have such small boobs, haha, what are you like an A?” JOKE’S ON YOU BABY, I HAD JUST GOTTEN FITTED AND I WAS A 36C.
She’s like “Dude, no way, I’m a B.” Lauren’s packing a lot of punch up top.
I said, “Babe, you need to get measured because NO YOU ARE NOT.”
I convinced her and she ended up being a DD.
Yeah, this can actually happen to you. Has it been a few years (or never) since your last fitting? Has your bod gone through some big changes like weight loss or gain, pregnancy or nursing, traumatic injury or illness? Even changes in posture could affect your bra size because the band measurement can change.
5. If you’re going to do this yourself, keep these things in mind:
Like I said above, attire matters, don’t wear a push-up bra or a sports bra to measure yourself at home. Ya gotta get a measuring tape and you need to take two measurements — your band size and your cup size. To get your band size, measure yourself at the base of your breasts (beneath them) and against your ribcage. Use the bra that you’re wearing as an alignment guide across the back. To get your cup size, measure yourself across the fullest part of your breast — but loosely — then subtract your band measurement from your cup measurement.
From a pro: “Whatever number you end up with, each inch will represent a cup size. For example, if your band measurement is 36 and your cup measurement is 40, your cup size is D and you should look at 36D bras.”
Confused by that? I KNOW I AM.
So, that’s why pros are helpful because they know all the ins-and-outs of that, as well as being able to help you out if you’re between sizes or if you just can’t get comfortable in your “correct” size they can help you find your “sister size” (going down one band measurement and up one cup measurement).
6. Love your body, baby.
This last one is from me and it really has not much to do with getting a proper fit for a bra – I just don’t want anyone feeling bad about what they’re working with. Be nice to yourself – you’re beautiful any way you are!