More than half of women in the US are wearing the wrong size bra. This is often because they have never properly measured their body for the correct size, or they’ve gone through changes such as breast cancer surgery or pregnancy and resumed wearing the same bras despite the changes to their body.
Not only can wearing an ill-fitting bra be uncomfortable, but it also means that your breasts are not getting the support they need. However, lots of women continue to buy and wear the wrong size bra either because they don’t have the time to go for a professional fitting or don’t feel comfortable doing so. Fortunately, measuring yourself for a bra at home is much simpler than you think, even after having a mastectomy.
What You Need to Measure Your Bra Size at Home
The main piece of equipment you need to measure yourself for a bra at home is a measuring tape, but you should also make sure you have a pen and paper to jot down the sizes because there are a few calculations you need to make.
If you have had a unilateral mastectomy, you can wear one of your pre-surgery bras while measuring yourself. Choose a bra that isn’t padded or molded, as this can affect the cup size. If you don’t have a non-padded or molded bra, you can carry out the measurements just as well without wearing a bra.
Measuring yourself for a bra involves holding a tape measure against your front and back at the same time, which some people find challenging. If this is the case for you, enlist a trusted friend or family member to help or book a professional fitting with a BOC-certified fitter; the experts who perform bra fittings are discreet, compassionate, and experienced fitting bodies of all shapes and sizes for mastectomy bras and breast forms.
Measuring the Band
Once you are ready to get a new, well-fitting, and comfortable bra after your mastectomy, the first measurement you need to take is for your band size. Start by placing the end of your measuring tape in the middle of your chest, where your bra band naturally sits.
Next, pass the measuring tape around your torso and back to the front until it meets the point where you started measuring from. The tape should be at the same level all the way around your back and front. If you find this difficult and you don’t have anyone to help you, it may be easier to wrap the tape measure around your body at your waist level and gently slide it up until it is at the right height. Use a mirror to make sure the tape measure is level and hasn’t become twisted.
Note down your measurement in inches. If the figure is an even number, add four. However, if it is an odd number, add five. For example, if your measurement is 32, your band size would be 36. However, if your measurement is 33, your band measurement would be 38.
Measuring the Cup
To measure your cup size, start by placing the measuring tape on the center of your sternum. Pass the tape over the fullest part of your bust around to your back, stopping at the center, your spine.
Note down the number and multiply it by two to get your final number; for instance, if your measurement is 19, your final number will be 38. You will use this number, along with your band number, to determine your correct bra size.
If you have had a double mastectomy, you only need to take the band measurement. Once you’ve got the right band size, you can choose whatever cup size you’d like to accommodate your breast forms.
Calculating Your Final Bra Size
After completing the simple steps to measure yourself, you should have two numbers, for example, band size: 32 and cup size: 34. However, cup sizes on bras are indicated with a letter. To find out your size, you need to subtract the band size from the cup size. The difference in inches indicates your cup letter according to a mastectomy bra size chart.
- 0” difference = AA
- 1” difference = A
- 2” difference = B
- 3” difference = C
- 4” difference = D
- 5” difference = DD
- 6” difference = E
For example, if your band size is 32 and your bust size is 34, you need a 32B bra.
Many brands have their own bra size chart. This is particularly useful for women who have had a mastectomy because bras made by specialist brands such as Amoena and Almost U have been designed specifically for women who have undergone breast surgery. When you find a mastectomy bra brand you love, compare your measurements against their own chart to ensure the best possible fit. You will find a comprehensive range of bra and breast form size charts on mastectomyshop.com.
Checking for the Correct Size
Each time you try on a new bra, you should check that it fits properly. When putting on a new bra, never use the tightest set of hooks; over time, your bra naturally stretches a little, and you will get more life out of it if you can tighten the band. It’s also a good idea to avoid trying on a new bra just before your period is due, as your breast size may be enlarged.
The bra band should lay firmly against your skin; there should be no gaping. You should be able to snuggly fit two fingers under the band for the perfect size. If it is too loose or tight, the band will ride up, and you may notice bulging skin around the band.
If your bra has an underwire, it should circle the breast exactly and lie flat against your skin. If the cup doesn’t touch your breast or looks wrinkly, try a smaller cup size. If your breast seems to overflow from the cup, opt for a size up for the best fit. Your bra straps should sit comfortably on your shoulders without slipping off or digging into your skin. A good measure is to check that you can fit one finger under them.
Don’t forget to move around when trying on a new bra; lift your arms, bend over, walk about and pay attention to how it feels. Does it sit comfortably, or does it shift? Do you feel secure and supported? Put a top over the bra to see how it looks under clothing; can you see the seams or the pattern? It’s your bra; it should look and feel good to you.
Don’t Spend Another Day Wearing the Wrong Bra
Shopping for a bra can be daunting, particularly after having a mastectomy. Finding the right bra size is one of the biggest concerns women have when it comes to buying new bras and, while it might seem easier to reach for the size you’ve always worn, taking the time to get yourself measured or doing it yourself at home will make all the difference.
Once you’ve started wearing the correct size bra, you’ll be so comfortable you’ll wonder how you ever made do with your old ones!
If you’re looking for a new mastectomy bra and breast forms to match, take a look at the wide selection of quality products on mastectomyshop.com or call us at (877) 413-2272 for assistance.