I once read that one of the most dreaded items we women loathe shopping for is a new sports bra. And I can understand why. Who has bitten the bullet and gone on a bra shopping mission only to come home disappointed and confused?
I know I have, and I am in what is regarded the normal size range (12D). Spare a thought for those women who do not fall into this range. There is very little range available in sports stores if you are an 18G!
Why is this? Why is sports bra shopping so difficult? The reasons are many, but the number one reason is sizing. Both in the size range stocked by many stores but also in women knowing the correct bra size for them.
Many women feel uncomfortable getting measured in a store. And the teenage sales assistant at the nationwide sports store chain is not much help. As such, many women accept anything close to right just to get the experience over with.
If this is you, fear not as I will arm you with everything you need to find your sports bra size at home. So, you can hit the shops or online retailers with the confidence you need to find the perfect sports bra for you.
How to Tell You Are Wearing the Wrong Sports Bra Size.
Before we even examine the sports bra and how it sits on your body, we can often tell it’s the wrong size simply by comfort. If it is not comfortable it is likely the wrong size.
Too small, and it will feel tight across the back, shoulders or chest. Everything will feel uncomfortably squeezed in and exercising can be a painful experience.
Too big, and it will not support you like it should. Things will jiggle about as you exercise leading to possible pain and discomfort.
6 ways to tell if your bra size is wrong:
- The band is uncomfortably tight, and you find it difficult to breathe. Even on the loosest clasp setting.
- The band is too loose, and your breasts spill out from underneath. Not the underboob look you want!
- The cups are too small, and your breasts spill out the top and sides.
- Your cups are too big and there are gaps in the cup or wrinkles in the cup material. You want your cups full but not overflowing!
- Your shoulder straps are too tight, and they dig into your shoulders. Ouch!
- Your shoulder straps are too loose, and they do not hold you up or they slip off your shoulders.
Many of these problems can be solved with a simple adjustment of the band, straps or cups. Play around and see in adjustments solve your problems. If they don’t then it is time to go shopping for a new sports bra.
And to do that successfully you will need to know your size.
How to Measure Yourself at Home.
Now, this is not as daunting as it might seem. All you need is a tape measure a mirror and if possible, a helpful friend. If you can’t find a friend no problem. All this can be done solo.
When sports bra shopping you need two critical measurements. Your under-bust, this is used to determine your band size. And your over-bust, used to find your cup size.
These measurements are best done wearing a comfortable, well-fitting bra in front of a mirror. This will best represent the fit you are looking for. With everything held where it should be.
Measuring your under-bust.
Run the tape measurement around your chest keeping it parallel to the floor all the way around. You are measuring directly under your breasts where your bra band normally sits.
The tape should be firm but not too tight. Being able to slide two fingers under the tape is a good yard stick. This is where a friend comes in use.
Make a note of the measurement. It will be used to find your sports bra band size.
Measuring your over-bust.
Slide the tape up to the fullest part of your breast keeping it horizontal to the ground. This is usually across the nipple but depends on breast shape. Use your mirror as a guide.
A note here, the bra you are wearing should not have any moulding or padding as this could skew the measurement.
Make a note of the measurement. It will be used to find your sports bra cup size.
Armed with these two measurements you can now determine your size. A quick internet search will reveal plenty of online bra size calculators. Or you can simply use my bra size calculator.
No Tape Measure, No Problem.
These days not everyone has a tape measure lying around at home. After all, we do a lot less home sewing than we used to!
So, without a tape measure how do we accurately find our measurements? The easiest option is to perform the above using a length of string or ribbon in place of your tape measure. Simply mark where the string or ribbon crosses its end (make sense?)
Following this lay your string out on a table and measure the marked length with a ruler. Woo hoo, your under-bust and over-bust. Not as good as using a tape measure but not far off.
You may be wondering why go through all this effort. After all, surely your everyday bra size is the same as your sports bra. Unfortunately, not. Sports bras are made differently. They are made to support you and as such you often find the sizing is different to your everyday bra.
Finding your sports bra size is the first step in your sports bra success journey. There is a whole lot more you need to know to ensure you find the perfect sports bra for you. To educate yourself further please check out my online Fitting Room. It has a wealth of other sports bra related information to help ensure your success.
Once you know your size and exactly the style you want it is time to go shopping. Whether it is bricks and mortar or online you want to visit a store that has a large range of styles and sizes. Everyone is different and we can’t all squeeze into the limited range many stores offer.
My store, sportsbrasdirect.com.au is the perfect place to start. We have a large range of brands, styles and sizes. And the best bit 100% of our profits go to women’s charities.
Women supporting women!
Yours in Support.