The last time I shopped for a bra, I found myself under the stark fluorescent light of a department store changing room, being brought bra after bra by a chirpy salesclerk with a measuring tape around her neck. As I stuffed myself into a bra that was clearly too small, I noticed that parts of my body appeared to be trying to escape the entire situation and were prepared to leave me behind. I bought a single heavy duty bra because I felt like I had to, and left, vowing to find a better way.

A few months later, when I wanted to get a new underwear set for Valentine’s Day, I knew I had go shopping again, but I didn’t want to face the harsh lighting and pushy salespeople. So I decided to take the plunge, and buy my bra online.

It turned out to be easier than I thought – if you can measure yourself accurately, then buying bras online is a cinch! The trick is knowing how to measure, and where. Bonus points if you can get a good friend to help.

 

Step 1: Determine Your Band Size

 

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While braless or wearing a non-padded bra, measure around the bottom of the band, directly under your bust. The measuring tape should be level and very snug. Round to the nearest whole number. If the number is even, add four inches. If it’s odd, add five. Your band size is the sum of this calculation. (So if you measured 32 inches, your band size is 36. If you measured 33 inches, your band size is 38.)

 

Step 2: Take Your Bust Measurement

Wrap the measuring tape somewhat loosely around the fullest part of your chest (at nipple level). Round to the nearest whole number.

 

Step 3: Calculate Your Cup Size

 

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Subtract your band size from your bust measurement – the answer is your cup size. 1 inch = A, 2 inch = B, and so on. You catch the drift. For example: 37 inches (bust) – 34 inches (band) = 3 inches. That’s a 34C.

If this seems like too much math, there are plenty of websites that will do the calculation for you. Just plug in your measurements, and hit submit! You can choose both US/UK sizing, depending on where you want to shop and where the bras are made.

 

Image: Pexels

 

Now, shopping online isn’t for the fainthearted. It can be a bewildering process, so here are a few tips to make sense of it all:

  1. Only buy bras that have band and cup sizes. Stay away from websites that have bras listed as merely small, medium and large (unless they are sports bras, where accurate sizing is less important).
  2. Shop from sites with a good search function – it’s pointless and frustrating to find out that the bra you want isn’t available in your size.
  3. Better yet, shop from sites with a generous return policy. If it doesn’t fit, send it back and try again.
  4. Read the comments and ratings. Pay attention to reviews by people who are similar to you in build and size.

 

Article first published on Ezbuy