10 Bra Sizing Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

Don't buy your next bra without reading this first.

Bras are a true wardrobe essential, but bra sizing mistakes are nearly just as commonplace. While choosing the right bra can be a challenge, especially when shopping online, it doesn’t have to be if you're aware of the pitfalls.

Here are the most common mistakes almost everyone makes when choosing a bra, as well as expert advice on the best ways to remedy them. Avoid them to find a comfortable bra that actually fits!

Meet Our Expert

  • Jené Luciani Sena, a fashion expert and a go-to guide for beauty advice, authored The Bra Book.

  • Bra-fitting expert Megan Irvine is a senior buyer of premium bras and shapewear at Bare Necessities.

  • Gabriela Kern works as a bra specialist for Skarlett Blue and Oh La La Cheri.

Thinking Your Bra Size Stays the Same

Many think their bra size stays consistent for their entire life but, according to bra expert Jené Luciani Sena, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “You can fluctuate as much as every month. For example, if it’s that time of the month, or if you’ve lost or gained even as little as five pounds, it can change your bra size.”

You may need a different bra size even if a weight fluctuation seems like an insignificant number. Consider heading to your local bra shop or department store to get re-sized or follow our guide for measuring yourself at home.

Assuming You Wear the Same Size in Every Brand

Your bra size is never set in stone, insists Sena. You might be a 34C in one brand and a 32D in another. “Every manufacturer uses a different fit model. One is not like the next," she says. "Often times you could have many different size bras in your drawer.”

Sena recommends using tools the store or brand provides on its website as a guide. Better yet, visit a brick-and-mortar store to be professionally measured for the best fit. You can measure yourself at home, but you’re better off having a professional do it to avoid the inconvenience of returning or exchanging your purchase.

Not Shopping Brands Designed for Your Needs

This mistake is especially valid for those who wear hard-to-fit sizes, because all brands are not created equal. "People with petite busts will find more success shopping with brands that are made for smaller bands/cups in mind," explains Megan Irvine of Bare Necessities. "Same thing for women who are DD+ or plus-size," she adds. "Shopping with brands who have your needs in mind with designing their bras will help with fit and function as well."

Choosing the Bra Size That Looks Right

Many of us hold on to an idea of what a certain bra size looks like. For example, explains Sena, you think you can’t possibly be a DD. “Well, a 32DD looks very different than a 42DD,” she says. Different styles, like a strapless or backless bra, can look different from a traditional one, so you still need to check the size.

Not Understanding How Bra Sizes Work

While many of us think bra and band sizes are independent of each other, that just isn’t true. “Volume and the band size work in conjunction with the cup size, not independently of one another,” Sena insists.

Buying Your Bra a Size Too Large

Most women end up choosing a band size that’s too large, according to Sena, because they think they’re bigger than they are. “The band is 90% of the bra’s support so it really needs to be fitting snuggly and properly," she says.

"You should only be able to slip two fingers beneath it on the back of the band and it should go horizontally across your back and not be riding up," explains Sena. "Think about gravity, if it’s riding up in the back, it’s coming down in the front, which [is] exactly the opposite of what we want our bra to do.”

Not Tightening Your Bra Straps

One way to make your bra fit better is to tighten the straps. Sena suggests bending over with your bra on, so all the breast tissue falls into the cup, and then standing up and adjusting the straps for the best fit.

Not Buying What’s Right for Your Breast Shape

"Just because you fit the size of the bra, doesn’t mean it fits your breast shape," Irvine insists. For example, those who don’t have a lot of breast tissue on top—whether they're naturally shallow or they've experienced aging, weight loss, pregnancy, or breastfeeding—should consider ¾ cups or demi cups instead of full-cup bras. She adds that those with more breast tissue on the side may find a better fit in side-support bras and plunge bras that shift breast tissue to front-and-center.

The Center Gore Bows Out

"One problem I often see is when the center gore, the part between the cups, bows out instead of laying flat against the chest," says bra specialist Gabriela Kern. "This is typically a sign that the cup size is too small." To avoid this and other problems, she recommends getting a proper professional bra fitting to ensure you find the best possible fit.

Wearing a New Bra on the Tightest Closure

If you start wearing a new bra on the innermost hook-and-eye closure rather than the outer one, you're doing it wrong, according to bra specialist Gabriela Kern, and the band size is likely too large for you. "While a new, well-fitted bra may feel quite snug at first, it will stretch out comfortably after a few wears, much like breaking in a new pair of jeans," she explains.

"When buying a new bra, it should fit snugly on the outermost hooks. As the bra stretches over time, typically 6-8 months, the wearer can move inward to the tighter hooks," she continues. "I also advise having three bras in rotation—one being worn, one resting, and one being washed—to maximize the lifespan of each bra."

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