Getting the Right Size Bra
As seen in magazine's guide to Bra Fitting, September '04
The importance of a well-fitting bra
Did you know that 70% of women wear the wrong size bra?
We all know that the most important feature of any bra is the fit, and yet many women go through life wearing
the wrong back size, cup size, or both.
A poor-fitting bra will not give sufficient support, and this can lead to back, neck or shoulder pain, especially
for women with a larger bust. In addition, a bra that is either too loose or too tight can cause skin chafing or
At Legs & Co, we stock such a large range of styles and sizes that, whatever your size, we hope you'll find
the size for you. But before you order, go through our Bra Sizing Guide to make sure you're ordering the right
size (Don't try and guess!). Do bear in mind, though, that this is only a guide, as bras can fit differently
depending on the brand, style and fabric. For example, you could be a 36C in one bra but need a 34D in
Sound like a minefield? It can be! But if you remain in any doubt about your size, the best approach is to try
several sizes in the same bra until you find the one which fits just right.
How do I know if I've got the right size ?
Follow our checklist below to ensure your bra fits properly:
The bra should feel fairly tight and firm on the loosest hook when it is new, as the back can stretch up to
4" with washing & wear. The back of the band should also sit parallel with the front, and not ride up -
if it does, it's too loose. The band should be just tight enough so that it doesn't move around on your
A good-fitting bra's main support comes from the back band, not the straps (which is why a well-
fitting strapless bras still keeps you up!). A loose band will therefore not only reduce the bra's
supportiveness, but also mean that more of the weight has to be taken by the shoulder straps, causing
them to dig in.
The centre section in between the cups should be flat against the breastbone, not standing away from the
The breasts should not spill out or bulge from any part of the cup, including under the arm, even on a soft
cup bra. Try bras under a snug top to check for any tell-tale bumps or bulges.
After prolonged wear, the bra should not be digging in, or leave any deep marks or lines on the body. If it
does, it's too tight.
Most important of all, on an underwired bra, the wire should rest on your rib cage and not on the breast tissue
(even at the sides), so that the area directly under the wire is hard bone, not soft tissue.
Good and Ill-Fitting Bras
Here's a quick reminder of the key points to remember when buying a bra:
1, Bra needs to feel fairly tight and firm on the loosest hook when it is new, as bras stretch up to 4" in the back with wear
2, Centre section between the cups must be flat on the body
3, Breasts should not spill out or bulge from the cups on any bra, even soft cup ones.
4, After prolonged wear the bra should not leave any deep marks or lines on the body
5, Most important of all, on an underwired bra, the wire should rest on your rib cage and not on the breast tissue, even at the sides. This is so the area directly under the wire is hard bone and not soft breast tissue.
Back band rides up / Bra rides up when you lift your arms the back band is too loose. The band should be tight enough not to move around your body, but loose enough to be able to insert two fingers under the hooks.
Shoulder straps dig in
Either the back band is too loose (meaning the straps are taking too much weight) or the straps are not long enough
Straps slip off your shoulder
Straps may need adjusting (both shoulders can sometimes need slightly different settings). Some styles of bra (e.g. balconette) have the straps positioned further apart towards the shoulders, so if this is a problem you often have, opt for styles which have the straps positioned closer together (e.g. full cup bras).
Breasts bulge out at the top or side of the cups
Cup size is probably too small. Also, the cut of the bra may be too skimpy for you, in which case you may need to try a different style.
Cups are baggy
Cup size is probably too big. You may find that going down a cup size and up a band size will give the best fit (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 38B may be better).
Cup creases at the front
If the cup creases around the nipple area, then the band size is probably too loose, as it doesn't have enough tension to pull the cup tight.
Underwire digs in to side of breast
Band may be too loose - try tightening if possible. Also, if the bra has very narrow sides, you may get a better fit with a style that has deeper sides and band, as this will give better tension on the underwire. The underwire should come up high enough to enclose the whole breast at the side without bulging - depending on your shape, this may mean that its correct position can be almost under your arm.
Underwire doesn't sit flat at the front
Cup size is probably too small. Try a larger cup size with smaller band (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 34D may be better). The wire at the front should sit flat on the breastbone, with the front of the band being just loose enough to insert one finger underneath.
Breasts poke out underneath the wire Band size is too big and cup is too small (e.g. if bra is 36C, then 34D may be better). The underwire should sit snugly underneath the base of the breast - this will ensure that the bra not only gives proper support but is comfortable to wear.