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Bra Size Basics

Overwhelmed by all the bra choices out there and not sure what it all means? When you need to start wearing a bra, it can be pretty intimidating trying to figure out what you need and what's best. Here are some bra-basic tips for you to follow.

Cups or no Cups?

There’s a time and place for everything, including cups in your bras. Usually, when a girl starts wearing a bra it's one of those simple sporty ones that comes in sizes like Small, Medium and Large. These simple, stretchy cotton bras are great if you're in the beginning stages of development. Eventually, though, you're probably gonna need something with cups. Cups give you more support and keep your boobs from flopping all over the place. So how do you know when you need a cup? Well, there's an old test that goes like this: if you take a pencil and put it under your boob - and it stays - then you need a cup. If the pencil falls then you're still good to go without them.

Bra SizeBra Size

Lingerie Lingo

If you don't get what all the letters and numbers mean on a bra, don't worry. It's not as complicated as it looks. The letters - like A, B, C, D - stand for cup sizes. The numbers - like 32, 34, 36, 38 – tell you the band size – that’s the part of the bra that goes around your torso. In other words, a 34A means that your boobs are an A cup and that your bra is 34 inches around. The best way to figure out what cup and size is right for you is to go and try some on. Salespeople at lingerie stores are usually extremely helpful – don’t be afraid to ask one for assistance! But if you’re dead-set on figuring out your bra/cup size yourself, we’ve got some tips on how to do just that.

Measuring Up

Believe it or not, at least 80% of women wear the wrong size bra. The most common mistake is wearing a band size that’s too big and/or a cup size that’s too small. Though the average bra size is a 36C, most females who wear this size should actually be wearing either a 34D, 34DD, 32DD or 32E bra. The TRUE average bra size is around 34DD.

Also know that cup sizes relate directly to band size. So a 34 band size, for example, is actually different in a B-cup bra and a C-cup bra. This is because, often, the bigger your boobs, the larger you are around your torso. Smaller boobs usually belong to girls with smaller frames.

Bra SizeBra Size

Another thing to remember is that your bra size changes as your weight changes throughout the different stages of your life. Losing or gaining a few pounds will usually mean you will need a new bra size. Some girls go for so long wearing one bra size that they don't even realize when it doesn't fit well anymore and feel uncomfortable! To find the perfect fit, here's how to find your true bra size.

Step 1: Measure Your Band Size

  • Run a tape measure all the way around your body just underneath your breasts and take a measurement in inches. Make sure the tape measure is straight and fairly snug. Your arms should be down. If this measurement is an odd number, round up to the nearest even number. This should be your band size. If your measurement is already an even number, you may find that this is your band size, or you may have to go up to the next size (that is, you may have to add 2 inches). So, if you measured 31 inches, your band size should be 32. If you measured 34 inches, your band size may be 34 or 36.

Step 2: Figure Out Your Cup Size

  • If you already wear a bra and think you need a new size, the best way to find your cup size is to use your current bra size as a starting point. The cups are sized relative to the band, so if you try a smaller band size but keep the same cup size, the cups would be too small. Instead, increase the cups by one size for every band that you go down. For example, if you’re current bra is a 34C and your underbust (see Step 1, above) measures 31 inches, then you probably need a 32D. On a 30-inch band, this would be a 30DD.
  • And remember: In the U.K., cup sizes are AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K, KK.

Step 3: Try It On!

  • Even after you’ve measured yourself, you need to actually try some bras on to make sure you got the right size. Go to the store and try a few on! If you’re wondering what the right size bra should feel like, the correct band size is the smallest you can comfortably wear – tight enough to be supportive without cutting into your skin. You should be able to fit no more than a fist under the back of the bra. The right cup size is the biggest you can totally fill out without the fabric wrinkling and without there being any extra space in the cups. This goes for low-cut and push-up bras, too!

Shopping Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind while trying on bras. First off decide what look you want. Bras come in various styles, like push-up and full-coverage and sports. If you want something that is simple with lots of support, you don't want a push-up. If you're looking to appear a little bigger than you are, then you do want push-up. Whatever your style, just make sure it fits right.

Some easy things to watch out for - the top part of your chest should meet seemlessly with the part in your bra. In other words, you don't want the top part of your chest to appear flat and then you have these bulges where your bras starts. If you've got the bulges it usually means that your cup size is too small. A quick and painless check is to latch the hooks of your bra, lean over and allow yourself to fall into the cups. If your boobs are pouring out and over, you need to move a cup size.

You also don't want bulges on your back. If your bra is too small around or you've got it done up too tight, you'll be able to see it through the back of your shirt and your skin will appear puckered or bulgy. Your straps should also be loose and not dig into your shoulders.

Remember a new bra should fasten at the middle or last hook, cuz the material will stretch with wear. Eventually, you'll wanna fasten it at the first hook.

Do yourself a favor: When you head to the bra department, find the oldest salesperson around. We’re talkin' the older the better. Walk right past the young trendy girls - who haven't got a clue - and find someone is pushing retirement. She's the lady who knows how to properly fit a bra.

Stay away from patterns. Sure that green-and-purple-plaid number looks great on the hanger but it'll be hard to wear because it'll show through a lot of your clothes. If there is a patterned or brightly colored bra you like you're best off to remember it and try to find a similar bathing suit or something.

Bra Stats

  • The most popular bra colors (in order of popularity) on the US mainland are: black, white, then beige.
  • In Hawaii, the popularity of colors is beige, white, then black. Island women are strong believers in matching your under garments to your skin tones. Not a bad idea.
  • Marie Tucek patented the actual first “breast supporter” in 1893. It was very similar to the bras sold today, with pouches for the breasts to sit in.
  • The average American woman owns six bras. Out of those six, one of is a strapless bra.
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Biggest Hassle About Buying a Bra?

  • Going with my mom - she's embarassing.
  • The sales clerks bugging you.
  • Trying to figure out the sizes.

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

KayKayZ
KayKayZ posted in Friends:
Hmm, okay, well I'll try to give you the best advice that I can, Error. So you say you don't like your friend for a number of reasons: Liar, bad influence, uses swear words, too blunt, etc. I feel like some of these could be over-looked, such as the swearing and the 'bad influence' part. Really, all you have to do is just not copy her actions, and they won't be influential at all. If you disagree, it shouldn't be hard to just refuse to follow in her steps. However, lying isn't the best quality I would look for in a friend.  She doesn't seem like an enjoyable person to be around in general, which is why you are making this post, obviously. But I'm gonna ask you something here. Don't you think that, in a way, you're lying too? You're pretending to be her friend solely for purposes of monetary value because, I assume, your family cannot pay for or get you to gymnastic class themselves. If this is true, that's kind of bad, isn't it? It sounds like, to me, that your friendship isn't exactly a healthy relationship at all. But I'm gonna sympathize with you, since I know gymnastics must be important to you, and you wouldn't be doing this if you didn't have a good reason. So, what should you do about it? Well, personally I think there are a few things you could do. You could stop being her friend, therefore no longer having to deal with her; but in the process lose access to your gymnastics class and have to look for it in another way. On the flip side, you could continue to put up with her, which would probably not be in your best interests, but you'd still get to attend your class. Or, you could try talking to her about it. Ask her what she really thinks of your friendship, if she actually values you as her friend. Maybe you two can talk about problems that you're having with each other and work on fixing them. This option could have negative effects, since she might want to stop being your friend or things could become very awkward after that. But it's probably your best bet to be honest with her, as you'd hope she would be with you. How about if you tried being really nice to her? Kindness is contagious, and perhaps if you treat her well enough, she'll start doing the same to you. I feel like maybe if you complimented her, told her things that you really like about her, maybe even got her gifts or made her food once in a while, that she would come to appreciate you and all that you do for her. And in turn, she might start to respect you more herself, and become a good friend. That's about all I can say. If you're close enough with her mom, maybe you could even try asking her about her daughter and see if she can give you any advice. Hopefully that helped in some way, but if it didn't, maybe it at least made you think? I hope your problem gets resolved, Error, and you can be content with the outcome of it. :-)
reply about 5 hours
Error101
Error101 posted in Friends:
Okay so I have this friend and I don't like the type of person she is and I wouldn't be friends with her but her mom takes me to gymnastics every week.  I  had her over to spend the night and she lied about everything to me.  She kept telling me that she used to think I was weird and she didn't like me and it kind of hurt my feelings...  I would never tell someone that even if it was true.  She cusses and is a bad influence and she lies a ton.  There are a ton of bad qualities about her, and very few good ones.  I can't be mean to her because she is how I get to gymnastics but I don't really want to be her friend.  What should I do?  :(
reply about 8 hours
Wonderfulcalico
My parents have always been aggressive and abusive and I only just noticed it a couple months ago. Over time they've gotten worse (specifically my mother). Whenever she gets mad she'll yell at us and if she gets mad enough she'll hit and push us around. Whoever we get into arguments it's always one- sided and she always wins, even if she knows she is wrong. An argument we had not to long ago was about me not taking care of myself. She looked at my hair and started to touch it and told me "Your hair isn't soft why is it so dry, it's probably because you aren't taking care of your hair." Then she goes on to tell me that she's going to cut it and all of this other stuff when she knows I'm conscious about me looking like a boy ( Used to get called a boy for having short hair). As the argument goes on, I start to tell her things that she knows she is wrong about. She proceeds to yell at me then grabs me by the face and say "If you don't lower your tone and listen to what I'm saying I'm going to knock you in the head." Then she goes on to tell me she remembers nothing I was saying and that it's a lie. She also hit me when I didn't clean the laundry room correctly and whenever she gets fed up. I'm constantly having to watch what I say and do, because I'm scared that I'm going to end up hurt. She also likes to degrade me and tell how bad I'm doing. She's said plenty of thing like when I didn't have my bed covers tucked in she yelled at me and hit me and I said "Do you expect me to just stand here and take this", and she replied saying "That's what you are supposed to do you are the child and I am the adult, you take whatever I do until I'm done." Another time is when I had my band concert and I had to pick out the right attire. When we went shopping to get the clothing I chose slacks when she liked a skirt better, we went on to fight in the store and she bought the slacks. When we got home she said to me that real girls wear skirts and dresses and boys wear slacks and pants. This hurt me because she knows I have a past with people telling me I look like a boy etc. Another time I started to sleep on the floor, because I was practicing a minimalist life. When I left my pillows on the floor she found it and questioned me on why they were there. I told her it fell of my bed when really I left it there. Later when I told my dad, he told her and she got mad because I was getting cat hair on my pillows. She then proceeded to ask why I lied and I told her sometimes lying is better then the truth (I knew she would get mad that I was sleeping on the floor so I lied) then she told me that I was never going to have a relationship, a job, or friends ( This hurt me because I don't have friends now). She's also said that I don't take care of my body because I ate two sweets in one day which lead her to banning me from Doritos and now I have to ask to get chips and any other snack. She's told me I don't take care of my teeth because I have yellow spots from using whitening toothpaste with braces on. She's told me I don't take care of my hair so I can't wash it or do any hair style or then a bun. She had lead me to starving myself (Unless she makes me eat) and cutting myself. I've just stopped caring, because what ever I do is always wrong. I never get a choice in my activities, she controls my life in fact she me just in a different body. But what is even worse is that she's turning my dad into her. Now I have a scheduled time to eat breakfast and lunch, and to go onto my electronics. I feel like I'm in a prison with my parents constantly watching over me, in fact yesterday when I was pouring my milk my mom got out a measuring cup and poured my milk into the measuring cup and said "Why isn't this a full cup" and I replied saying "Because I don't measure my milk." Then she got angry at me. There's so much I could say about her, but I'll stop. Anyways my father is always sarcastic and he doesn't realize how much it hurts me. Today I was cleaning out my bag for next school year and my dad came in and said, "Wow, you aren't even dress yet and I had to come up here to tell you how sad." Just little things like that hurt me. My little sister got mad at me last week for sitting in a certain area and she said " Why are you sitting there," and I didn't reply because I didn't want to speak to her and she then said, "Probably because you are too stupid to answer." I wanted to break down crying then and there, but I kept it in. I've limited my talking to her, because all she does is break me down. Like when there was a Proactive commercial and she said, "Ha, you need that." That hurt me because just the other my mom was telling me how I don't take care of my face and that's why I have acne. My older sister and I barely talk, because whenever I try to talk to her she's mad for what ever reason and when my parents were talking about hitting my sister she was in the corner laughing. My cat Preston is very young and I got hi,abo a year ago. I get very sad and often cry, because I've seen him turn out scared and aggressive just like me because he's been through what I have. One time he pooped in a clothes basket (It's right next to his litter box) my mom grabbed him by the neck and hit him while she smothered his face in his poop, all while yelling at him. I was going to call the Animal Protective Services, but I got too scared and I realized how lonely I would be. Please help me I'm not sure what to do anymore. Also sorry for the very long post!
reply 3 days
Error101
Error101 posted in Family Issues:
Dear Kkmr324, I hope you get to feeling better as time goes on.  It does get better but like you said you can't actually get over it.  Losing someone to cancer is awful and I have never lost a friend and I hope I never will and I am so sorry that you did, but I have lost family to cancer and it is horrible.  I hope your okay. :(
reply 5 days
Kkrmr324
Kkrmr324 posted in Family Issues:
A few months ago,my friend Kendall died of cancer. It was really hard to "get over it"; because really you dont just get over it. One thing i did was find a bunch of pictures of me and Kendall and remembered all the fun we had together. And it helped! I still miss her, but good friends and family helped with that.
reply 7 days