Bras - Bra Styles, Bra Fitting and Bra Sizing Problems with Solutions

Published: 26th September 2008
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Women's bras, from the French word Brassiere, come in many shapes, styles and sizes. Because of the diversity of bra sizes and bra styles, bra fitting and bra sizing can become a bit tricky. Furthermore, the problem of correctly sizing a bra is further exacerbated by the bra size variations and nuances from manufacturer to manufacturer. Suffice to say that bra sizes are not consistent across all styles and manufacturers, therefore, rather than simply staying with one size bra, a woman should always spend time in the fitting room with a professional, experienced bra fitter, who should know to bring in several differnt bra sizes and bra styles.

Bra styles come in all shapes and sizes to fill the dual roles of funtion and fashion, whilst always having an eye toward fit and comfort. Bra styles vary from purely functional, that is support and comfort, to stylish, with bra styles designed to spark passion and romance. Below, you will find listed many of today's popular bra styles. While a definition of each bra style is beyond the scope of this article, you may visit our Bra Styles article for a more in depth look at types of bras, including definitions and pictures of most bra styles.

List of Types of Bras and Bra Styles
(for descriptions, please visit our article Bra Styles):

Adhseive Bra, Full Cup Bra ,Nursing Bra, Shelf Bra ,Strapless Bra,
Convertible Bra, Mastectomy Bra, Padded Bra, Sheer Bra, T-Shirt Bra
Demi Bra, Maternity Bra, Push Up Bra, Soft Bra, Training Bra,
Front Closure Bra, Minimizer Bra, Seamless Bra, Sports Bra, Underwire Bra

Bra fitting is both an art and science due to the tremendous variations in bra styles and bra sizes, as well as the differences in manufacturer designs and processes. For these reasons, a woman should shop for bras, we recommend, with each season to ensure she is fitted properly approximately every three months to account for her body changes as well as to ensure a wardrobe full of comfortable, well fitting bras. The only way to ensure a well fitting bra is to try several different bra styles and sizes. For a more in-depth discussion of common bra fitting problems and bra fitting solutions, please visit our article on Bra Fitting.

Bra sizing, that is, measuring a woman's bra size, is the first step toward properly finding a properly fitting bra. Much hype has been made about statistics that upward of 70% of women have the wrong size bra. This may be true because many women focus on their bra size, perhaps measured more than a year ago, rather than focusing on bra fitting, the act of trying on several different bra styles as well as different bra sizes. Determining your bra size through the measurements below is a good first step toward finding a well fitting bra. We recommend, however, that you go up and down both one band size as well as one cup size when trying on bras for fit. For additional information, please visit our article on Bra Sizing.

Bra Size - Bra Sizing Calculations
Measuring one's bra size consists of taking two measurements, the the rib cage (directly below the breasts) and bust (across and over the breasts).

When measuring the rib cage (directly below the breasts), we are determining the bras "bandwidth", such as 32, 34, 36 (USA bra sizing) or 75, 80, 85 (European bra sizing). One's rib cage is best measured with neutral air in the lungs, that is, lungs which are not all the way full nor empty. Round this measurement to the nearest whole number. Next, we add four inches to the measurement if it is an even number and five inches to the measurement if it is an odd number. So, for example, if one's bandwidth measured 34.3 inches, this would be rounded to the nearest whole number, which is 34. Next, because 34 is an even number we add 4 more inches, to get 38.

The second measurement will help us to determine the bra's "cup size". To determine the bra cup size, such as A, B, C, D, etc., we take a second measurement over the breasts. All measurements should be rounded up to the nearest full increment/number. Next, we add four inches to the measurement if it is an even number and five inches to the measurement if it is an odd number. So, for example, if one's bust measured 36.3 inches, this would be rounded to the nearest whole number, which is 37. Next, because 37 is an odd number we add 5 more inches, to get 43.

Without a convernsion chart, one may generally calculate the cups size by simply adding one cup size for each 1 inch difference between the bandwidth size and cup size. Therefore, in our example of a 38 inch bandwidth and a 43 inch bust, we have a difference of 5 inches (43 - 38 = 5), which equates to a DD cup (see the bra size table below).

Calculate your cup size. Subtract the band size from the bust measurement and determine your cup size as follows: (The cup size calculation may be less accurate for larger cup sizes.)

Bra Size Table
less than 1 inch = AA cup
1 inch = A cup
2 inches = B cup
3 inches = C cup
4 inches = D cup
5 inches = DD cup
6 inches = E cup (US DDD)
7 inches = F cup (US DDDD)
8 inches = FF cup
9 inches = G cup

Author: Deona Wright, All rights reserved. Contact for permission to use.

Deona Wright is a free lance writer for

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