Finding the perfect bra can be a daunting task, especially if you have a larger bust. The United Kingdom has established its own set of standards and sizing guidelines that cater specifically to the needs of women with larger breasts.
In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of bra fitting for larger busts, providing you with valuable insights and expert tips to help you find the most comfortable and supportive bras that accentuate your natural curves. From understanding UK sizing to exploring different styles and key considerations, this article will be your go-to resource for achieving the perfect fit.
Understanding UK Bra Sizing
The United Kingdom follows a unique bra sizing system that differs from other countries. Instead of the commonly used American or European sizing methods, the UK sizing system uses a combination of numbers and letters. The band size is represented by a number, while the cup size is indicated by a letter.
In North America, we are used to bras ranging in size from A to DD as standard practice. We’ve been conditioned to believe that these are the only options and that we must fit into this limited group of cup sizes.
Why do bra manufacturers usually only cater to the A-DD sizes? I can only make a personal assumption that it is easier and more cost efficient to produce a limited sizing range than to offer the full spectrum of actual bra sizes.
The benefits of UK sizing over North American sizing include additional cup and band sizes and more accurate measuring practices.
UK cup sizes progress alphabetically, with each letter representing an increase in cup volume. For example, a DD cup is larger than a D cup, and an FF cup is larger than an E cup. It’s important to note that the UK system does not include triple letters like DDD. The letter progression usually goes as follows: A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, and so on. A “DDD” in North American sizing would be a size E in UK standards.
Here is a sizing chart comparing UK sizing to USA/Canadian sizing:
Use the chart below to see your converted cup size:
How to Measure your Bra Size at Home
Lucky you! You’ve come to the right place! My accurate bra size calculator uses UK sizing standard to help you find the perfect bra, no matter if you have small or large breasts.
By simply entering your measurements into the calculator, you’ll be able to find your proper size as well as optional sister sizes (sizes that may also work for you!).
You’ll just need a flexible measuring tape to get started.
Factors to Consider when Bra Fitting for Large Busts
Okay, now that we’ve talked about the UK being the better sizing standard, we can talk about fitting a bra for larger breasts.
When fitting bras for larger busts, there are several important factors to consider beyond size alone. These factors will help ensure optimal comfort, support, and overall fit. Some key considerations include:
Wide and Cushioned Straps: Look for bras with wider, padded straps that distribute the weight of your breasts more evenly, reducing strain on your shoulders. Note that the support from your bra does not come from your straps, however! The support should come from the band.
Reinforced Underwires: Underwires should encase your breast tissue fully, without digging into your skin or breast tissue. Opt for bras with sturdy underwires designed to provide proper support. Breast tissue can migrate and many women don’t realize that the extra “fat” (as I’ve heard it called!) under your armpits can actually be breast tissue that your underwire should also encase.
Three-Panel Cups: Bras with three-part cups offer enhanced support and shape for larger busts, as they provide additional structure and contouring.
Side Panels and Powermesh: Look for bras that feature side panels and powermesh fabric. These elements help to anchor the breasts and provide additional support, preventing excess movement and reducing discomfort.
Full Coverage: Choose bras with full-coverage cups that encapsulate the entire breast. This style helps to distribute the weight evenly and minimize spillage, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit.
Wide Underbands: Look for bras with wider underbands that sit flat against your ribcage. This feature provides stability and prevents the band from digging into your skin, ensuring a supportive and comfortable fit.
Adjustable Features: Opt for bras with adjustable straps and multiple hook-and-eye closures. These features allow you to customize the fit and provide additional support as needed.
Fabric and Construction: Consider the fabric and construction of the bra. Look for high-quality materials that offer durability, breathability, and stretch. Pay attention to the seams, ensuring they are smooth and non-irritating against your skin.
Choosing the Right Bra Style for Larger Breasts
Different bra styles offer varying levels of support, coverage, and shaping. When selecting a bra for larger busts, consider the following styles:
Full-Cup Bras: These bras provide maximum coverage and support for larger busts. They offer a secure fit, minimize movement, and create a lifted and rounded shape.
Balconette Bras: Balconette bras have lower-cut cups that create a flattering, uplifted shape while still providing adequate support. They are ideal for wearing under lower necklines or more revealing outfits.
Minimizer Bras: Minimizer bras are designed to redistribute breast tissue and create a slimmer silhouette. They are perfect for those seeking a more modest look or who want to minimize the appearance of their bust.
Sports Bras: For active individuals with larger busts, a well-fitting sports bra is essential. Look for sports bras specifically designed for high-impact activities, offering maximum support, moisture-wicking properties, and a comfortable fit.
Bralette and Wire-Free Bras: While not offering as much support as underwire bras, bralettes and wire-free bras can still provide comfort and light support for larger busts. Look for styles with wide underbands and adjustable straps for added support.
High Center Gore: The center gore is the part of the bra that lies between the cups. A higher center gore offers better separation and support for larger busts.
It’s important to note that every breast shape is different! Some styles might not work well for you and will work better for other shapes. Some breasts are top heavy, and some are bottom heavy. Consulting a professional bra fitter can help you figure out your breast shape and trying on different options will help you discover the best bra style for you.
Common Fitting Issues and Solutions
When fitting bras for larger busts, it’s important to address common fitting issues to achieve optimal comfort and support. Here are some common fitting issues and their solutions:
Spillage: If your breasts spill over the cups, try a larger cup size or opt for a bra with fuller coverage and deeper cups.
Band Riding Up: This should never happen as the band is the part of the bra that supports your breasts. Try raising your arms and bending over to test this. If the band rides up at the back, it may be too loose. Try a smaller band size while ensuring the cups still accommodate your breasts comfortably.
Straps Digging In: If the straps dig into your shoulders, it may indicate that they are carrying too much weight. Look for bras with wider, padded straps that distribute the weight more evenly, reducing strain on your shoulders.
Cup Wrinkling: If you notice wrinkles or gaps in the cups, it may indicate that the cups are too large. Try a smaller cup size or consider a bra with a different cup style that better suits your breast shape.
Underwire Digging In: If the underwire digs into your skin or breast tissue, it may be a sign that the cup size is too small or the underwire is not properly positioned. Ensure that the underwire encases your breasts fully and sits comfortably against your ribcage. Utilizing the “scoop and swoop” method will help properly position your breasts into the cups. To do this, bend forward at the waist and use your hand to scoop your breast into the cup. Repeat on the other side.
Band Too Tight: If the band feels overly tight and uncomfortable, try a larger band size while adjusting the cup size accordingly. The band should provide support without causing discomfort or leaving red marks on your skin. The band should feel tight at first, but not to the point that it is causing you grief and pain. On a new bra, the clasps should be tight on the loosest hooks and as the bra stretches with wear, you can move to the tighter hooks.
Professional Bra Fittings and Specialist Retailers
If you’re struggling to find the right bra size or experiencing fitting challenges, consider scheduling a professional bra fitting. Many lingerie boutiques and department stores offer fitting services where trained experts can measure you accurately and provide personalized recommendations based on your body shape and preferences.
I recommend staying away from retail shops that cater to the standard North American sizing practices, such as Victoria’s Secret, La Senza, an La Vie en Rose to name a few. Nordstrom is usually equipped with great bra fitters as well as smaller boutiques that offer a range of premium bra brands.
One tip that I can share as a bra fitter is to be wary of bra fitters who don’t use your actual bust measurement for the band size. It’s typical in these retail shops that the sales associates add 3-4 inches to your bust measurement in order to fit into their brand’s band sizing… which will NEVER give you an accurate bra size.
Additionally, seek out specialist retailers that cater specifically to larger busts. These retailers often carry a wide range of sizes and styles designed to provide optimal support and comfort for women with larger breasts. Their knowledgeable staff can guide you in finding the perfect bra that suits your needs.
Caring for Your Bras
To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your bras, proper care is essential. You can read my post all about caring for your bras here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I get measured for a bra fitting? A: It is recommended to get measured and fitted for a bra at least once a year or whenever you experience significant changes in weight, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. For more information, read my article How Often Should You Get Fitted for a Bra?
Q: Can I wear a bra with an underwire if I have a larger bust? A: Yes, underwire bras can provide excellent support for larger busts when fitted correctly. Look for bras with strong underwires and comfortable padding.
Q: Can I wear a bralette or wire-free bra if I have a larger bust? A: While bralettes and wire-free bras may not offer as much support as underwire bras, some styles are designed specifically for larger busts. Look for bralettes with wider underbands and adjustable straps for added support.
Embracing Your Large Bust
Finding the perfect bra fit for larger busts is essential for comfort, support, and confidence. By understanding the UK sizing system, measuring yourself accurately, considering key factors, and exploring different styles, you can achieve an optimal fit that enhances your natural curves.
Remember to prioritize comfort, support, and your individual needs when selecting bras, and don’t hesitate to seek professional fittings or consult specialist retailers.
With the right bra fit, you can embrace your curves and feel confident in any outfit. Proper care and maintenance will ensure that your bras last longer and continue to provide the support you need.
Investing time in finding the perfect bra size and style is worth it for the comfort and confidence it brings. Remember that everyone’s body is unique, and what works for others may not work for you. Be patient with the process and trust your own comfort and preferences.
So go ahead, embrace your curves, and enjoy the confidence and support that a properly fitting bra can provide. Your search for the perfect bra is now one step closer to success!
Whether you’re rocking a full-cup bra for maximum support or a stylish balconette for a touch of allure, the key is finding the perfect fit for your unique shape.