Size Matters. What size bra are you wearing?

Home / Aesthetic Medicine / Size Matters. What size bra are you wearing?

I come from a family of women with boobs.  All of us have boobs, some too big, none too small but all with issues of their own.  We have a long line of breast-cancer survivors on my mother’s side, with my mom herself having had cancer in her early 40’s, and on my father’s side we have a Plastic Surgeon.  Needless to say, we talk about boobs a lot in my family.

It was interesting to me then to find that my dad has taken on a new crusade that he thinks is more important for boobs than surgery is.  This is a man who has come into contact with a lot of boobs in his lifetime (more professionally than socially), and who alters more than a few pairs a week, and he thinks 90% of us are wearing the wrong bra.

Now I know you’re thinking that your bra is just fine, that you got measured that one time you went to Victoria’s Secret and your boobs look great.  I know you think you’re a 34B who can fit into a 34C if need be, and in some bra’s you’re actually quite comfortable in a D.  Ever wondered why so many bra sizes fit you?  It’s because none of them do.

There is both good and bad news coming.  The good news is that finding your correct bra size is actually easier than it seems, the bad news is that if you live in South Africa finding a bra that is the correct size for you might just have become the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty then.  If you look at yourself in the mirror in your bra there are a few telltale signs that your bra is ill-fitting:

  1. Does the middle section between the underwires lie perfectly flat against your skin? If not, your bra is wrong.
  2. Does your underwire allow bits of boob to sneak out from underneath them, or lift up when you raise your arms over your head? If so, your bra is the wrong size.
  3. Are your cups overflowing, even just the tiniest bit? If so, your bra is wrong.
  4. Does the strap at the back ride up between your shoulder blades? If so, your bra is wrong.
  5. Are your bra straps hurting you? Do they leave red marks after you take your bra off?  Or do your straps fall off under your clothes all the time?  Wrong bra.
  6. Do your nipples peek out over the top of your bra?  Wrong.
  7. Do the cups of your bra stand away from your skin, leaving a handy gap to slip R10 notes into, or to keep your cellphone in?  Totally wrong.

The ideal bra has a band that sits snugly under your boobs, with the middle section between the cups FLUSH against your skin – you should not be able to see your pedicure by looking between your skin and your bra band.  The band must be at the same height all around the circumference of your body; it should not ride up at the back or at the front.  Your boobs should not form a ridge over the cup, even a little bit of overflow ruins your silhouette.  Similarly, your bra should not be bigger than your boobs; this also looks bad in clothes.

So now that we have established that your bra is wrong (even if only one of the 7 points is true for you, it means your bra is wrong, ok?) it’s time to fix it!  This is so simple, you really don’t need a professional to help you BUT if you want professional help I’ve found Storm in A-G Cup very helpful.  (Inner Secrets also does a good fitting, but the shop girls’ attitudes leave a bit to be desired, and who wants to be judged when they have their tits out?)

Basically all you need is an inch tape, and most measuring tapes will have a cm side and an inches side so you should be able to do this at home.  Take your inch tape and measure your circumference about a cm underneath your boobs and you’ll probably come to a number in the late 20’s or 30’s.  If the number is odd round it up to the nearest even number and that’s your bra’s band size!  Easy, right?  So if you’ve measured 27inches, your band size of your bra will be a 28.  If you’ve measured 36 it’s a 36…get it?  The band of your bra should fit well on the LAST hook of the bra, so the “biggest” size the bra can be.  The reason behind this is that as your bra wears out and stretches a bit with use  you can move up to the next hook so that it still fits properly.  Essentially you extend the lifespan of your bra by starting on the last hook.

So now you’ve been wearing a 34 your whole life but you measure 30 inches which means your band has been too big this whole time, and that means your cup has been too small!    For every band size you’ve gone down, you will now probably go about 1 cup size up.  So if you thought you were a 34C and now you’ve measured 30inches your band size will be 30 and your cup will probably be an E.  If you thought you were a 32A and now you’ve measured 28 your cup size will probably be C.  Get it?  Similarly if you’ve been wearing a bra band that’s too big (so you thought you were a 32 but you’re actually a 36) your cup size will go down 1 letter for each band size you’ve gone up.

I know you don’t believe me but please do me a favour and try a bra on in the correct size – I know in the beginning the band will feel tighter than what you’re used to, but look how well supported your boobs are!  Look how they don’t jiggle around when you walk, and how your nipples don’t creep out of your cups!  Look at how the band sits flush against your skin and doesn’t ride up at the back making you look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Look at how the straps fit comfortably, and don’t fall off all day nor leave red marks on your shoulders!

The only downside to all of this is really that you will have to change all of your bra’s once you realize how much better it is to wear a bra that fits, and if you’re unlucky enough to have a small band size with a large cup size bra shopping is your newest nightmare.  Shops like Storm in A-G Cup do stock “odd sizes” (which are actually so much more common than we think) but your best bet is probably online shopping.  Good luck with that!

If you would like a super professional bra-fitting (or would like to modify your boobs to fit your bra rather 😉 ) call (021) 6833048 extenstion 1, or email

One Comment

  • Excellently written article!! I have printed copies for every staff member and forwarded it to a number of people who need to send it to their friends.

    From: CapeAesthetics Reply-To: CapeAesthetics Date: Friday 25 September 2015 12:47 To: Francois Duminy Subject: [New post] Size Matters. What size bra are you wearing? capeaesthetics posted: “I come from a family of women with boobs. All of us have boobs, some too big, none too small but all with issues of their own. We have a long line of breast-cancer survivors on my mother¹s side, with my mom herself having had cancer in her early 40¹s, a”

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