There are a multitude of ways you can measure for a bra and most companies will provide their own guide. Usually it is based on a simple set of math equations. It’s a starting point; a best guess on the cup size volume your breasts will fill. However, once you have breast implants, the math may not always come close at all.
Luckily, there are ways that you can try to help get a better idea for a starting point. Measuring is just that, a starting point. After years of helping other women with implants find a good fit I have gathered some patterns to help you get started.
Let’s start with the basic measurements! You’ll need a fabric tape measure, a mirror, and someone to help you if possible. Make sure it is someone you are comfortable with, in most cases these measurements are taken with no bra.
Your first measurement is where you’ll need your friend or mirror the most. You are going to take a set of underbust measurements.
This measurement is taken just under the breasts, around the rib cage where your bra band sits. This measurement should be level around your body, no dropping to your waist or up your back. This is where your mirror or friend will be helpful.
The big debate in bra fitting circles is exactly how to take this measurement. There is the BTT (break the tape) measurement, which literally has you pulling as tightly around the body as you can after exhaling. There is a firm measure, which is a firm measurement around your body but no tighter than what you’d want your bra band to be. Then there are variations of a loose measurement, up to an measurement while completely inhaled. All of these are useful! More on that in a bit.
Our next measurement set will be the fullest bust measurement. It is important that your tape stays level around your body here, so keep that friend or mirror handy! You’ll take this measurement around the fullest part of your bust, not necessarily at the nipple but wherever is fullest. Every woman is different, so the fullest portion of the bust can be higher or lower than the nipple. For breasts with natural hang, in your best fitting bra may be best. Many of us augmented ladies are more self supporting, so you may not need a bra.
Our second measurement will be the same, but you’ll lean forward so you are bent at the waist, body at a 90 degree angle. This is a no bra measurement. This is like simulating a really good swoop and scoop. Any and all breast tissue that may not be caught by that first measurement will be caught by this one. Some women will have both measurements exactly the same, others have several inches different.
Our final measurement set will be the perimeter of your largest breast. You may have to do each breast to find which is larger. You’ll also do this leaning over. Like the fullest bust measurement, you may need to use a bra for the standing measurement if you have a lot of natural breast tissue. To take this measurement you will want to measure from the furthest point of your sideboob or the edge of your implant, across the fullest part of your breast, to your cleavage. Like before, your fullest point may or may not be your nipple.
The rib cage measurements tell us about band size. Different companies size differently, different bodies wear bras differently, and different personal preferences will dictate what each woman wants their bra to feel like. Your firm ribcage measurement is often used as a starting band size. The BTT measure will tell how much soft tissue there is over your ribs. Soft tissue is compressible, so some women with more soft tissue prefer a tighter or wider band. The inhaled measurement can tell how much stretch you need.
Hypothetical example- firm ribcage measurement of 28in, BTT measurement of 27in, inhaled measurement of 31in. This lady would want to look at band sizes in the range of 28-32. Sounds like a big range – that is 3 sizes. She will want a firm fit for support, but she needs room for her ribs and lungs to expand. A stretchy 28 in one brand may be ideal while a very firm 32 may be perfect in another brand.
Next up is the fullest bust measurement. These two measurements tell a few things. Comparing the two will give an idea of your soft tissue and how it is placed in the breast. Women with very little natural tissue and whose breasts are mostly implant will find that these measurements are very close to each other. Women with more natural tissue with even breast fullness may find that their leaning bust measurement is larger. A leaning bust measurement that is smaller is often found with very bottom heavy breasts, which you do not often find in augmented women. The above applies to the individual breast measurements as well. Why do we do both then? Well, I’m getting to that!
Traditional calculations will either say to take fullest bust – band size = cup size or fullest bust – rib measurement = cup size. Well that gives you a big range depending on what your measurements are. That is where the single breast measurement comes in! Using the equations above, let’s say you got a result of 8in and 9in. But your leaning single breast parameter measurement is 10in. Now you are thinking, oh my gosh this is never going to be easy, I’ve got three measurements for cup size and I already had three band sizes.
Stop right here, let’s go for the simple side! Your single breast measurement being larger indicates that the traditional calculation methods will estimate your size too small. This is common when you have implants, especially higher profile implants. So simple math here, 10in for your cup volume, no adding and subtracting. That is a UK GG. Now what band size? Here is where your preferences come in. Do you want a firm band? Try a 28GG. Do you prefer something looser? Try a 30G, maybe 30GG.
Let’s say you had the same results (8in and 9in) but your single breast measurement was 9in. You’ve got a great starting estimate by using 9in! The recommended starting size would be a 28G or a 30FF/G.
As you can see, the basic math equation doesn’t give a firm answer. It doesn’t for ladies with natural breasts and it doesn’t for ladies with augmented breasts. The math can give you an idea of where to start. Your knowledge of your own body, your preferences, and your implants will help guide where to go from that starting estimate. The final step is trying on bras, and assessing their fit.
Be sure to check out the rest of the series!