You’ve probably heard that most women wear the wrong plus size bra. If your bra hurts, is leaving deep red ridges in your shoulders, or you’re not feeling supported, it’s not the right bra for you. Smaller busted women may find that their bras don’t flatter, create a nice shape, or shift on their body uncomfortably. The right bra will help you not only look your best, but also feel your best. For some women, a bra that provides appropriate support will reduce back, neck and shoulder pain and even cut down on the frequency of headaches.
Grab a tape measure and put on your best fitting plus size bra, assuming it’s not heavily padded. Measure under your breasts, around your ribcage. Pull the tape measure quite snug, without any slack at all. Note down this measurement. Now, measure around your full bust, holding the tape measure at the largest point on your breasts. Be careful to keep it parallel to the floor and not too tight.
So far, this sounds about like the typical advice you’ve heard since junior high; however, here’s a critical difference. Traditional bra sizing calculators added five inches to your band size to determine your band and cup size. This produces a band that’s too big for your bust and cups that overflow. For a better fit, round your underbust up to the nearest even number, or work with it exactly if you’re already an even number. Occasionally, you may find a band size up is more comfortable, particularly for an extremely stiff or non-elastic plus size bra; however, this formula is an ideal starting point.
Subtract the underbust measurement from the full bust measurement to figure out your cup size. Allow one-inch per cup size. A one-inch difference is an A-cup, a three-inch difference a C-cup, a six-inch difference an F-cup. While the A-cup to D-cup size range is pretty self-explanatory, sizing gets more challenging after a D. Typically, most lines progress through D, DD, DDD or F, G, GG, H, HH and so on. As an example, if your underbust measures 36” and your full bust is 44 ½”, you’ll likely wear a 36 GG or 36H, depending on the bra.
The best way to find a perfect fit is, of course, to try the plus size bra on; however, finding well-trained fitters and a good variety of bra sizes can be a challenge. If you have a specialty shop in your area, make a visit. When you don’t have access to a well-stocked shop, you may want to order bras in several brands and return those that don’t work well with your body. Once you know which brands and sizes fit, online ordering is significantly easier. With the right bra, you’ll stand straighter and look your best, whether you’re heading for a night on the town or visiting the gym.