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Why More Than Bra Size Is Important For Lingerie Shopping

So you get a proper bra fitting, find out you’re a 38C, and then you’re good to go shopping for bras. If that’s what you believe, then we hope you read until the end because there is so much more that you can consider if you want to find the perfect bras. On #ShopNTL, we discuss the benefits of wearing a bra that fits correctly continuously because they are important for you to know, and we know that so many women still go without wearing the proper fitting bra for so many reasons. So once you know what you’ve been measured at in terms of your bra size, here are some more things you should consider as so much more than your bra size is important to know before lingerie shopping.


First of all, not everyone knows how to break down the measurement you are given during a fitting to understand what it means. The number in your bra size represents your band size, and measures from under your bust all the way around to your back. Your band should never dig into your back, should never sit higher than the front of the bra, and plays a more significant role in support than you might think. The letter in your bra size is your cup size, which reflects, for the most part, the depth of your breast. What it doesn’t reflect is the diversity in breast shape, which we’ll discuss in a bit, which can influence what type of bra you need. Sometimes you might measure in between cup sizes, or might find the cup size you’ve been given by a fitter feels a little to small. When in doubt, try a size up, as it’s never okay to have a bra cup feel too tight.

via Invest In Your Chest

via Invest In Your Chest

Your breast shape plays into your breast size and is important to know and acknowledge before shopping for a bra. What that means is because you can find a 40DD in every single style you could imagine, doesn’t mean you should buy every single style because they may not be built with the type of support you need for YOUR unique breasts. For example, a woman’s breasts may be bottom heavy, meaning she has more weight sitting in the bottom of her breasts. This means that a good underwire (or underwire substitute) is crucial to help lift them up, and a balconette or full cup bra with some sheer elements on top can help make them appear balanced. Alternatively, a bralette or a triangle bra may not be the best choice for a bottom heavy breast as those two styles don’t tend to push up the breast and distribute them evenly.

Learn more about different breast shapes with one of our Bra Doctor blog posts and this article that goes more into depth about shape and placement.

via Ophelia Lingerie

via Ophelia Lingerie

Where a bra is manufactured or where a lingerie company’s country of origin is can play a significant role in which size you may need as well. This is a complicated science that can take a while to learn and remember, but many of the same rules apply to lingerie that apply to clothing. For example, North American companies tend to reflect the way that North American women are built, which tends to be a bit larger, or true to size by the standards of the land. Asian and European sizes tend to run a bit smaller on our bodies (our meaning North American) on us, and often times, we have to go up a size. This means you should try on every single bra you are interested in before just purchasing them because they say your size. Know the return policy of each boutique you deal with, especially when shopping online, as you can’t really try before you buy. When on #ShopNTL, you can contact our #BraDoctor if you have a question about a particular style and find out return policy here.

We hope this information helps you when you go on your next bra shopping excursion, but if you have any other questions or concerns, be sure to leave us a comment below and we’ll chat with you about it. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we can also chat and you can learn more information that’s helpful as we share it. You can also find more tips and tricks on our Pinterest and YouTube channel.




  • Susan Langwell

    Hi…My question is this; I had a breast reduction 8 weeks ago and have no real idea of what size I will need now. I use to wear a 44G or H. I measured myself using a company’s guide and measured a 40 under my breast and a 43 over the fullest part. Using their formula I should now wear a 40C. Does this sound correct? Would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thanks

  • admin

    Hello Ms Langwell,
    Thank you for contacting us.
    According to the formula it would sound correct but I would like to add a little more guidance.
    You indicated that you got a breast reduction which means that it is the breast tissue that decreased not necessarily the band. Both the cups and band would be affected due to weight loss.
    I will use size 40C as an example in order to try and suggest the size you need.
    If you are wearing a 40 band size bra at the middle or loosest hook and are experiencing bulge, you need a 42 band.
    If you are wearing a 40 band size bra at the middle or loosest hook, raise your arms and the band moves you need to decrease the band size.
    The center gore of the bra needs to touch your breast bone, if it does not the size of the band it too big.
    If you are wearing a C cup and the breast tissue is overflowing on the sides, you need to increase the cup size from a C to D, or D to E and so on.
    I hope this helps, please do not hesitate to contact me should have any other questions.
    Have a great day

  • Kristian

    I am 5″2 and a 32GG SOMTIMES 32HH i am having trouble finding bras that dont have a band digging into my belly, but have plenty of support for my bottom heavy brest

  • admin

    Hello Kristian,
    Thank you for contacting us. You did not specify if you need underwires. This is the list of bras available in both those sizes More are coming and will be showcased on our website. Getting back to the band digging indicates underwires and the way they are shaped. The wires are most likely in a “U” shape and should be more open.
    I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have so don’t hesitate to ask.

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