Are you still wearing a wrong-sized bra? Our guide is here to help

M&Co rose print bra £14, briefs £7

M&Co rose print bra £14, briefs £7 - Credit: Archant

We’ve been told countless times, but many of us are STILL wearing the wrong-size bra. Before busting out the debit card with a lingerie spree, let Katie Wright hook you up with some expert top tips to make life more comfortable

It’s an oft-repeated claim that two-thirds of women wear the wrong bra size, and while that research isn’t iron-clad (it was based on a self-reporting questionnaire) an uncomfortable or ill-fitting bra shouldn’t be ignored.

“Many women guess their bra size and some stick with the size they’ve always had, even though their body may have changed shape over the years following pregnancy, losing or gaining weight, or simply because they’ve got older,” says Karen Stottrup-Thomsen, assistant lingerie buyer at John Lewis.

How can you tell if your underwear isn’t optimal? Kelly Dunmore, chief lingerie stylist at Rigby & Peller, recommends using the 80:10:10 rule.

“Eighty per cent of the support comes from the band, so you need to make sure it is firm but not tight; 10% comes from the straps, which need to be secure but not suffocating, and 10% from the cups, which need to be secure against your body.”

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Whether it’s too loose or digging in, if your bra doesn’t measure up, it’s time to take action. Follow our guide to get your best bra fit ever...


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Get handy with a tape measure. Begin by breathing out and measuring horizontally underneath your bust, and making a note of the measurement in inches. This is your band size.

Next, measure around the largest part of your chest, but don’t pull too tight. This is the bust size.

Check a site like, where there’s a step-by-step measuring guide and comprehensive table for working out your bra size.

However, you shouldn’t automatically start shopping for that size alone.

“The most common fault is wearing a bra that has been too loose on the under-band; therefore your new band size will feel tighter,” says Zoe Norman, lingerie buyer at “Try different shapes to see what suits you and what feels comfortable.”


If finding the right fit at home is proving difficult, seek out an expert at a specialist lingerie shop or department store.

“The advantage an expert fitter brings is that not only will they fit customers into the right size, they will ensure the style is suited to bust shape,” explains Karen Stottrup-Thomsen at John Lewis.

“The fitter will bring a number of bras for the customer to try on and will work from there to get the perfect fit. They can offer advice on whether the bra is a suitable fit, while ensuring straps are correctly adjusted, and so on.”

She advises wearing your favourite bra to get measured, and talking through with the fitter any concerns you might have.

“It gives the customer a chance to learn more about what works for them as an individual, and the fitter can introduce new styles or brands to customers that they may not have thought to look at.”


For the ultimate in bra-fitting perfection, Rigby & Peller offers a made-to-measure service, which involves two fittings and results in a one-of-a-kind piece tailored precisely to your body.

“Naturally, the fit will be better, as the lingerie will be made to your exact measurements, ensuring in-between sizes, such as 31-inch backs, can be truly catered for, or if you need one cup bigger than the other, for example,” explains Kelly Dunmore.


The Saturdays singer Una Healy added a bright touch to a chic but casual ensemble ? and dispelled the myth that redheads can’t wear red ? when she jetted in from Dublin recently, carrying a Cath Kidston Button Spot Medium Leather Tote, £60.


An ample bosom can be both a blessing and a curse, and can make finding clothes that fit correctly on your top and bottom halves much trickier. That’s where new brand Pepperberry, available at Bravissimo, comes in.

Every piece ? from dresses and tops to jackets and outwear ? is tailored with a larger bust in mind, so you won’t have to go up a size to get the right fit.

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