How To Choose the Right Bra Size
Chances, are, by now, you think you know your bra size. But when did you last get measured, or measure yourself?
We've all heard that up to 90% of women are wearing the incorrect size, which, given the implied health risks, is a little concerning.
Even a little weight loss or gain can affect which size you are, and with very, very few people remaining the same size and shape for their entire adult lives, chances are you could have changed and not even noticed. We recommend checking your bra size at least once a year.
Luckily, you don’t need a professional lingerista to burst into your house, waving a tape measure: we’ve got some expert top tips right here to allow you to do it yourself, simply and easily.
Above: Find out how to find your bra size at home in this video from lingerie expert, Sammi Cole.
How to Find Your Bra Size
Before you start, you’ll need to grab your most comfortable bra (as chances are, this is the one that fits you best), a soft tape measure, and a mirror. Make sure that the bra doesn't have any extra padding, as this could falsely affect the reading.
Standing in front of the mirror whilst wearing the bra, pass the measuring tape around your back and pull it firmly (but not tight!) against the skin just beneath your bust, where the underwiring usually sits. Check the measurement in inches, and, if it’s an odd number, round it up to the next even number. This is your band size.
Next, move the tape measure up to the fullest part of your bust, keeping it against your body without it digging in, and read the measurement in inches. This is the overbust measurement.
Now it’s time for the maths. Take the band size measurement away from the overbust measurement, and whatever the difference is will tell you your cup size. Every inch difference between underbust and bust measurements is an extra cup size; so, for example, if you measure 36 inches under the bust, and 40 inches around, you’re left with a size difference of 4 inches, which makes you a 36D.
The table below shows how the difference in overbust and underbust measurements translates to UK bra sizes.
Difference Between Overbust and Underbust
UK Cup Size
Less than 1 inch AA 1 inch A 2 inches B 3 inches C 4 inches D 5 inches DD 6 inches E
Non-Cup Sized Bras
Sometimes, you may come across bras (particularly in sets) that are sized by dress size, or Small, Medium, or Large rather than cups sizes, and this can get a little confusing.
On Lovehoney, all of these bras should have a brand size chart featured on the page which tells you the equivalent dress size, but not necessarily the cup size.
So, very basically put, here is the average cup size for each UK dress size.
UK Dress Size
Average Bra Size
4 30A 6 32A 8 32B 10 34B 12 36C 14 36DD 16 38E 18 40F
Now, chances are, you're looking at the table above and thinking, 'Well, that's ridiculous, I'm a size 10 and I'm definitely not a 34B.' The sizes above are based on the standard overbust measurements for UK dress sizes, but this doesn't mean that the only bra size that can wear a size 10 is a 34B. This is where sister sizes come in.
Above: Find out exactly how sister sizes work in this video from lingerie expert, Sammi Cole.
The volume that a bra can contain (i.e. the sheer amount of boob) is proportional to the underbust size, meaning that when you increase the underbust, you're increasing the size of the cup, even if you choose the same cup size.
So let's say you are a 34B. If you increase the underbust size of your bra to the next width up (a 36) and decrease the cup by one size (an A), then you have what is known as one of your "sister sizes" - that is, a bra with essentially the same volume as your true size.
This does require a degree of common sense, however: technically, a 30G bra would have the same volume as a 44A, but as most bras only come with 3 hook-and-eye positions on the back fastening, it's unlikely you'd be able to get the best fit beneath the bust. Generally speaking, you can go up to two sister sizes in either direction.
So with this in mind, the above table can look a little more like this:
UK Dress Size
Average Bra Size
4 28B/30A/32AA 6 30B/32A/34AA 8 30C/32B/34A/36AA 10 30D/32C/34B/36A/38AA 12 32DD/34D/36C/38B/40A 14 30G/32F/34E/36DD/38D 16 32G/34F/38E/40DD 18 36H/38G/40F/42E
Our Top Picks of the Best Non-Cup Sized Bras
Best for: Narrow Bands
If your underbust measurement is less than 34 inches, then the best non-cup sized bras for you are the ones that have adjustable bands.
The Lovehoney Lace Peek-a-Boo Bra features a halterneck style to lift and flatter your breasts, and a slider that allows you to adjust the fit to suit you.
"The bra is halterneck and needs to be tied in a bow, allowing you to pull it as tight as you need." - Lorah13, Lovehoney customer.
Best For: Wider Bands
Those with a 38" or above underbust measurement will love the support of our fabulous Flirty Underwired Plunge Bra. Soft, stretchy lace moulds to your body, with multi-position hook-and-eyes and adjustable shoulder straps giving you the closest fit.
Thanks to the high coverage of the plunge lace, you get the support of a full-cup bra, but with added sex appeal. Padding up to the nipple gives support, but without creating an unnatural shape.
"As a bigger woman (size 22-24/ 40C or D) I find it hard to find bras that don't dig in and make wearing a bra feel like a breast prison, but this one is the most comfortable bra I own now!" - Ora_Llove, Lovehoney customer
Best for: Smaller Cup Sizes
Ladies with B cup or smaller boobs are lucky enough to be able to wear some seriously sexy soft cup bras, like the Lovehoney Sheer Ruffle Bra & Crotchless Skirted Thong Set.
Not only are the halterneck ties adjustable for the closest fit, but, as we all know, halternecks are perfect for giving your cleavage a slight boost. Along the bustline, a lace trim helps to add some extra emphasise to your girls.
"I've been after a mesh bralette thing for a while, but being petite they're hard to find... so this little number from Lovehoney hit all the right notes!…" - PrincessSparkle, Lovehoney customer
Best for: Larger Cup Sizes
Those with bountiful DDs or bigger will love the stretch lace and soft support of Escante's longline number. Offering superior support thanks to the longline shape, it's the perfect blend of comfortable, supportive, and sexy.
A pull-on style means that this bra is super-stretchy, moulding to the shape of your bust and still showing off that enviable cleavage due to the plunging neckline. Plus, you even get the matching boyshorts, too.
"I'm a size 14, but as I have size 34H breasts I went for the XL to ensure a better cup size, which I often struggle with. And it fits really well, providing enough coverage without any spill over..." - missy g, Lovehoney customer
We always want you and your partner to be totally happy with the underwear you choose, so if there are any problems at all with your choice of bra, don't forget that our returns policy means you can return or exchange your gift.
You may also like: