Bra Fitting: The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Your Bra Size

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Let’s connect the dots (and the hooks!) on all things bra sizing and fitting. But first, let me share some bra-opening stats with you: 

( . )( . ) 80% of women, or anyone who identifies as such, are wearing the wrong size bra 
( . )( . ) 70% of women are wearing a bra size that is too small
( . )( . ) 10% of women are wearing sizes that are too big
( . )( . ) 8 out of 10 women I fit are wearing an underband that is too big

Say whaaat? 

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I feel you 100%. I have a background in sports bra testing and, after growing tired of the current sports bra offering on the market, I decided that I wanted (and deserved) superior support. That’s what led me to take it upon myself to design my own and start MAAREE. ‘Cause, sometimes, if you don’t start a revolution, nobody will. 

Yet, every time I see those memes that say “The relief I feel when I take off my bra”, I’d like to reshare it to my Instagram stories and say: “No! No! No! It doesn’t have to be this way, girl.” Sure, your tatas need to run wild and free every now and then, but wearing a bra shouldn’t be frustrating. 

Also because, frustrated women = another missed opportunity for the world to be a better place. Women are too precious to be frustrated. AmIright?

But breast pain and discomfort caused by a wrong-for-you bra are not helping, and we need to do something about it. So, let’s start from the basics. 

Feel like you’re not getting your magic amount of support? What are the main issues that we are experiencing when wearing a bra that is no bueno for us? 

Most support from a bra comes from the underrated underdog: the underband. Based on my experience, most issues with sizing are underband-related, not cup-related, which might come as a surprise to you. 

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Photo by Ekaterina Grosheva on Unsplash

Here are the main signs of an ill-fitting bra:

  • The undersize band is too big 
  • You suffer from chaffing (movement and friction between the skin and the fabric)
  • Your ladies are popping out (like, boom, didn’t see that coming)
  • You get the 4-boob look (the top edge of the bra's cups cut into the breast tissue)
  • You get a side-boob (sure, that can be sexy, but it might not be that comfortable)
  • The gore is not laying flat
  • The underwires are digging in (ouch!)
  • Excess fabric in the cup? That’s a no-no
  • Your boobs are not filling the entire cup 

But why is that? Laziness, guessing, even hope. Yes! Because we sometimes tend to be overly optimistic that, by shortening or lengthening the shoulder straps, we will easily solve the issue. Ehm, sorry to break it to you. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. 

You also want to consider that some shapes may not suit your body. And hey, that’s ok. All bodies are different – and valid. Focus on what’s comfortable and flattering for you.

Also good to mention that not all bras are made to the best quality, so please please please make sure you are shopping somewhere reputable, ideally with a bra specialist in-store. 

So, how do you do that? How do you measure your bra size once and for all?

Tape measure might not give us enough information, but that’s a good start. 

  1. Always start with the underband size first (and use inches straight away). You can measure it directly under your bust. If what you get is an odd number, add one inch to it to determine your underband size. 
  2. Now, let’s move to the cup size aka the fullest part of your bust (hi, nipples 👋🏼) and subtract your underband size away from your bust measurement. The difference between these measurements will reveal your cup size. 
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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

Some helpful resources & reminders 

You know when you need a new pair of shoes and you normally wear 5.5 but, for some reason, the 5 size sneakers in that shop down the street are perfect? Well, that same nonsense might apply for bras sometimes. You can be different sizes in different shops, like with normal clothes. Always double-check you get a good fit with the size you purchase. 

Speaking of shops, please remember that what you measure is what you need. Don’t listen to shop assistants telling you to add 2-4 inches to your bra size, compared to what you measure. This is oh-so-wrong. Your underband size is what rules here.

For all charts, including cup size charts and international conversion charts, click here.

Want to take it a step further? Download my ebook. After realising that so many women were wearing the wrong size, I decided to make an easy manual for everyone to use. You can also save it to your phone for quick access in the palm of your hand.

Extra tip to get extra support? Connect your shoulder straps and turn your bra into a racer back. 

From underband to overband

The first rule about bra club is you don’t talk about bra club if you can’t mention the underband. Same goes for MAAREE when it comes to the overband. 

Why? Because The Overband® Technology is what makes MAAREE bras unique and revolutionary. It’s a concept designed by yours truly, materialised IRL as a curved panel that runs over the top of your breasts, to reduce upwards motion when you're active. Something no other brand has done before. *humblebrag and pat pat on the head*

Want to check the MAAREE Sports Bra range? Look no further.

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Let us help you

I mean, think of all the benefits that the right bra can provide you with. A few examples? 

​​👉🏼 It makes you forget about it so you can walk or run wild and free as you should
👉🏽 It smooths and shapes your lovelies so they get the support they deserve 
👉🏾 It improves your posture (bye back pain, see you never again) 
👉🏿 It makes your breasts appear more rounded and fuller 

If you still feel overwhelmed, why not book a FREE 15-min video session with us

Our online Zoom fittings are thought to help you measure your bra size so you can pick your ideal MAAREE Sports Bra. 

All you need is a tape measure, your sports bra (if you already bought it – and if not, book it anyway) and your beautiful self. Let’s connect, shall we?

Is that a yes? Bra-vo! See you soon.

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"This is the sports bra of the future!"

- Claire Sanderson, Editor of Women's Health