How Do You Make a Bra Fit Recommendation?

Here’s a riddle: There are hundreds of thousands of bras in the world, and billions of breasts. How do you create a system wherein the bras can find their way to the breasts they were made to fit?

At Missfits, that’s exactly what we ponder day-to-day. And what we’ve found is that we need a lot more information than is currently out there–about bras and breasts–in order to solve this puzzle.

A Universal Bra Sizing System

As we’ve discussed elsewhere, bra sizes can be highly unstandardized, and generally fail to capture a great deal of complexity. As anyone with breasts knows, two bras of the same size are not guaranteed to fit the same way.

So, our first step has been to create a universal standard to measure and assess the fit of any bra. Each bra that enters our database is profiled according to twenty different measurements and attributes. Some examples include the wire shape, material, and cup width. These attributes provide the basis of a universal fit profiling system, which tells us in detail what makes one bra similar to, or different from, another.

Personalized Recommendations

Using this information, we generate a personalized bra recommendations. To do that, we rely on two primary pieces of information from you.

The first is your reference bra, or your “most comfortable everyday bra” (one of the questions in our Fit Quiz). When we ask for the brand, model, and size of this bra, we’re determining the measurements and features of the bra you like to wear.

If this bra fits you perfectly, we search in our database for bras with a similar profile, with the assumption that these bras will fit you similarly. If this bra doesn’t fit well, we adjust our search parameters to identify bras with more suitable measurements for you.

Here’s an example: your reference bra fits everywhere except for the center panel, which doesn’t rest flat on your chest. Usually, this is a symptom of cups that are too shallow. So, we’ll look for bras that have a deeper cup (and are similar everywhere else) compared to your reference bra. The result of these searches appear in your Fit Profile recommendations.

The second key piece of information we use to generate recommendations is your breast shape profile. Our Fit Quiz asks for the area of your breast roots, tissue distribution, and tissue density (based on age, hormones, and activity level).

We use this information to find others with similar breast profiles to you. Knowing which bras have fit them well, and the features of those bras, help us to predict with greater precision how a given bra will fit you.

The Takeaway: Data Quality & Quantity

And there you have it, our methodology for recommending bras!

Besides giving you a peek into the geeky aspect of our work, there’s a deeper message at play here: the richness of our recommendation depends on the quality and quantity of data that we get.

This can help explain why we ask so many questions on our quiz. The more information we have, the more confident we’ll be in the bras we find for you. If at any point the questions are confusing, please don’t hesitate to contact us for clarification.

Secondly, The more women who create Fit Profiles, the more accurate and more plentiful your recommendations will be. Not only will we have more bras to recommend for everyone, we’ll also be able to draw new correlations between breast shape and bra fit. So if you’d like to a little self-care for your breasts, tell a friend about Missfits today!

globe with a measuring tape wrapped around it

Bra Sizing Around the World

Like currencies, visa requirements, and the pronunciation of “aluminum”, bra sizing lacks an international standard. 

Bra sizing emerged in the 1930s and 1940s when modern bras became more commercialized. Manufacturers could not create tailored bras for every woman, so the band + cup sizing was introduced to create a broad range of fits that a woman could easily identify based on her measurements. Most countries use the band + cup sizing technique, but the numbers and letters vary. So, your bra size will change depending on where you are in the world.

In this post, we outline the basics of bra sizing and how different countries approach it.

Basics of Bra Sizing

As we mentioned, bra sizes usually include a band measurement and a cup measurement, such as 34B. 

The number indicates the width of a woman’s torso, and the letter represents the difference between a woman’s bust size and her torso size. You can learn more about how cup sizes are measured over here.

Image of how bra sizing is measured

Bra Sizing Around the World

Most bras worldwide are measured with the band + cup sizing. A larger band number indicates a bigger torso size, and a letter further along in the alphabet represents a larger difference between bust and band. In this way, a UK size 38F would have a larger band and larger cup than a size 32A.

Bra Sizing in the United States

Bras sold in the United States are measured in inches. 

Bands are usually offered in sizes of 2-inch differences, starting at 28 inches, and the torso is measured underneath the armpit. Cup sizes vary in a range of one inch: an A cup means that a woman’s bust is one inch larger than her torso, a B cup means that her bust is two inches larger, etc. 

A standard for cup lettering does not exist in America. Some stores sell bras with cup sizes A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, E, EE, EEE, F, etc. Others use A, B, C, D, DD, DDD, G, H, I, etc.

If you have a bust larger than size C, you may have trouble comparing cup sizes between manufacturers. 

Bra Sizing in the UK

Like the United States, the UK also measures bra bands in increments of 2 inches, and are sized 28, 30, 32, 34, etc.

Bra cup sizes vary by manufacturer. Some sellers designate cup sizes as AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, etc. However, stores such as Marks & Spencer eliminate double sizes past DD. This means that if you usually wear a J-cup size and purchase a J-cup from Marks & Spencer, you will receive a size equivalent to an H-cup.

To avoid this, we recommend to always try on bras before you buy them.

EN 13402: The European Standard Bra Sizing

In 2007, most of Europe implemented a standard sizing system called EN 13402. It identifies how clothing should be sized depending on a range of bodily measurements, measured in centimeters. For example, a women’s size Small shirt will fit a woman with a bust in the range of 82-90 centimeters.

EN 13402 also includes standards for bra sizing. As with bras from the United States and the UK, European bras are sized from torso circumference (measured underneath the breasts) and bust circumference – the EN 13402 calls these measurements “underbust girth” and “bust girth”.

Band sizes are offered in increments of 5cm, beginning at 60. Cup sizes are measured as the difference between the underbust girth and the bust girth, starting at 10cm and increasing every 2 centimeters (as opposed to one inch, as in the UK and US systems). 

In the European standard, An AA cup will fit a 10-12 centimeter difference, an A cup will fit a 12-14 centimeter difference, etc. This means that while a UK bra size 34C translates to a European bra size 75C in any size conversion chart, the cups of the 75C bra will be smaller in volume, because each progressive size in the EU system (2cm) corresponds to a smaller difference compared with that in the UK or US system (1 inch). This difference becomes more noticeable in larger cup sizes, buying D+ cup bras from a different country, do your best to try a few different sister sizes before settling on your fit.

The EN 13402 sizing standard has been adopted in all European countries excluding Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium. It has also been adopted by other non-European countries, and therefore is considered the “International” standard.

Bra Sizing in France/Spain/Belgium

France, Spain, and Belgium size their bras very similarly to what is outlined in the EN 13402 sizing standards. The only difference is that, for unknown reasons, band sizes are exactly 15 centimeters larger than EN 13402 bands. For example, an “International” bra sized 70A would be offered as 85A in France. Cup sizes are the same.

Bra Sizing in Italy

Italian bras are offered in a unique sizing system, which can be converted from the EN 13402 sizing.

Italian band sizes are usually represented by the number 0 and Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII. Band sizes in Italy are found by dividing the International band size by 5 and subtracting 12. Italian size 0 corresponds to International size 60, size I will fit International size 65, etc.

See our international bra conversion chart below for reference.

Bra Sizing in Australia and New Zealand

While most countries have a loose guideline to how bras are measured, Australia and New Zealand do not. Bras in these countries are sometimes sold in American sizes, International sizes, or through a brand’s personal sizing system. Some bras are even offered in sizes Small, Medium, or Large. If you are bra shopping in Australia or New Zealand, we recommend using the conversion chart below to help you shop between brands.

We know that the lack of a universal standard makes bra shopping abroad a daunting endeavor. International size conversion charts can help, though they come with their own inaccuracies, especially in larger cup sizes. We hope that this post gives some useful pointers when bra-shopping abroad. Good luck, and let us know how your bra-buying adventures go!

International Size Conversion Charts

Converting Cup Sizes between EN 13402 and UK

Bra sizing conversion chart between European standard and UK

Cup Size Conversion

How to convert cup sizes

Band Size Conversion

How to convert band sizes

bra facts cover

11 Mind-Blowing Bra Facts That You Didn’t Know

How much do you know about bras?

This roundup of fun bra facts has us thinking we may not know as much as we thought we did!

Bra Fact #1: The average woman owns 9 bras (but only wears 6 on a regular basis!) Source

bra choices image

Bra Fact #2: The average push-up bra costs $29.49 USD, which is cheaper than the average bralette, which averages $32.88 USD. Source.

money gif

Bra Fact #3: Bras account for 55.5% of of the global lingerie market, which is worth $16.5 billion USD. Source.

bra facts global

Bra Fact #4: According to our Fit Quiz data, H&M is the most popular retailer for Missfits women to buy bras, followed by Marks & Spencer and Intimissimi

bra facts shopping

Bra Fact #5: Bras and bra-like garments date back to the 14th century BC. Female athletes in the Minoan civilization used them while they competed! Source.

history of bras

Bra Fact #6: Some bras, such as PrimaDonna brand bras, are composed of 40+ pieces and require a very technical assembly.

bra facts sewing

Bra Fact #7: The largest bra ever made was created for World Cancer Day. The finished bra weighed 90kg and covered 375 square meters!

world's largest bra

Bra Fact #8: Our Fit Quiz data indicates that the most popular bra size for Missfits women is 34B.

34b gif

Bra Fact #9: The world’s most expensive bra is the Heavenly Star Bra, created by Victoria’s Secret in 2001. It is worth $12.5 million USD and boasts 1,200 pink sapphires and a 90-carat diamond.

the world's most expensive bra

Bra Fact #10: Mark Twain invented the bra clasp! He even has the patent for it. Source.

bra clasp patent drawing

Bra Fact #11: A bra should last between six and nine months of wear. Here’s how to make your bras last longer!

bra facts

We hope this list of bra facts was interesting and educational! What is your favorite bra fact? Leave us a comment below!

While you’re here, be sure to check out our Fit Quiz!

bra facts shopping

Sister Sizing: Our Favorite Bra Shopping Hack

Imagine two different bras: one is size 38A, and the other is size 32DD. Which bra has the bigger cup?

You probably imagined the bras like this.

Bra sister sizing example

In fact, it’s more like this.

Sister sizing example

How is that possible?

Bra sizes 38A and 32DD actually hold the same volume of breast tissue.

This is due to our favorite bra-shopping hack called sister sizing.

What is sister sizing?

Remember that a bra cup size is always relative to its band size, calculated as the difference between the bust circumference and the torso circumference. Therefore, as the band size increases, the same cup size will hold more breast volume. So, the cup size for 36B is larger than the cup size for 32B, even though they are both sized B. By the same logic, bra size 36B holds the same volume of breast tissue as size 34C. Check out the diagram below to get a feel for how this works.

sister sizing visual example

Many women have hacked this system to help with bra shopping. You can too! If you find a bra that you like, but your typical size doesn’t fit correctly, you can try a bra in a sister size.

How do I find my sister size?

You may have figured out that rather than a static figure, your bra size actually falls somewhere along a range of sizes that have equivalent volumes. To find your sister sizes, take your regular bra size and go up a size in one factor and down a size in the other factor. It sounds more complicated than it is.

Here’s an example: If you are a 34B, one of your sister sizes would be 32C (down a band size, and up a cup size). As you can imagine, there are a lot of sister sizes for each bra size.

Below is a chart to help you sort it out. Find your bra size, and every size in the same row (going across) are your sister sizes. If your size isn’t on the chart, use the international size conversion table below.

sister sizing chart
International bra size conversion chart

How do I use sister sizing to find a bra that fits?

To start, try on a bra that is your typical size. Does it fit correctly? Here’s how to tell.

If the band fits but there are gaps between your cups and breasts:

Choose a sister size with a larger band size and smaller cup size (36B → 36A).

If the band fits but the cups cut into your breast tissue:

Keep the same band size but go up in cup size (36B → 36C).

If the cups fit but the band is too tight:

Choose a sister size with a larger band size and smaller cup size (36B → 38A).

If the cups fit but the band is too loose:

Try a sister size with a smaller band and larger cup (36B → 34C).

If neither the cups nor the band fit:

If the bra doesn’t fit right but it’s close, opt for a bra with a different band size (36B → 38B). Changing the band size means that both the band size and the cup size will change.

We hope our tips on sister sizing makes finding the right bra a little less intimidating.

When bra shopping, keep in mind that if a bra doesn’t fit no matter how you tweak with the sizing, it could be an issue of the cup shape, rather than the size itself. Check out our Fit Quiz to learn more about your breast shapes and which bras are best for you!

Have you heard about sister sizing before? Let us know in the comments!

a pile of different kinds of bras

The Every-Woman’s Encyclopedia of Bra Styles

Bras as we know them today were officially introduced to the world in 1914 by Mary Phelps Jacobs, who received a patent for a strapped garment that was designed to support breasts. Since then, we have seen some ridiculous bra styles, from Madonna’s (in)famous Jean Paul Gaultier cone-shaped bra to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras which have retailed at $1,000,000+ USD.


For us everyday women, we only want our bras to feel like a million bucks. But how do we begin to navigate the world of bras when there are so many bra styles? It seems like every season, lingerie brands are inventing new bra styles that we’ve never heard of before (Cage bra? Seriously?). Here, we break down all the vocab that brands are using to talk about bras: what they look like, when you should wear them, and why they are useful. Most bras are a mix of different styles, but here are the basics.

Support System: Everyday Bra Styles that Get the Job Done

The following bras are the basic bra styles that vary according to their basic construction.

1. Padded Bra

Illustration of a padded bra

Why is it special?

Padded bras are bras with a padded lining that enhance the shape and size of breasts. They give you the appearance of a fuller bust, and they can disguise any unevenness in your breasts.

When do I wear it?

Many women wear padded bras every day because they offer support while still being comfortable.

Is it right for me?

If you are part of the #ittybittytittycommittee and want an extra size boost without being too obvious, a padded bra is a good choice.

2. Convertible Bra

Illustration of three convertible bras with convertible straps

Why is it special?

Convertible bras can come in all styles, structures, and supports, but they are special because the straps can be restyled and even removed.

When do I wear it?

Convertible bras are the ultimate Swiss Army Knife for all types of outfits. Are you wearing a racerback top? Convertible bra straps can connect at the back. Do you have a one-shoulder dress? The convertible bra can work with that. Do you need a strapless bra? A convertible bra has you covered.

Is it right for me?

If you have a diverse wardrobe but don’t want to shell out a small fortune on lingerie to work with your different styles of tops, a convertible bra is your answer.

3. Minimizer Bra

Illustration of a minimizer bra

Why is it special?

Minimizer bras are the opposite of padded bras: they are designed to make your breasts appear smaller. They do not actually shrink your breast size (sorry) but they are designed to minimize their size, by either lifting and distributing your breast tissue across your chest, or by doing a good old-fashioned Spanx-style squish.

When do I wear it?

Minimizer bras are good everyday, every occasion bras if you wish to reduce the perceived size of your breasts. They look especially great under clothing with streamlined silhouettes, such as bodycon dresses or turtleneck tops.

Is it right for me?

If you have a larger chest and wish to appear smaller, we recommend trying a minimizer bra. When buying a minimizer bra, buy one in your normal size, as a smaller size will simply make your breasts look misshapen.

4. Underwire Bra

Illustration of an underwire bra

Why is it special?

Underwire bras come in a wide array of styles, but they can be identified by a hard strip of U-shaped or J-shaped wire sewn into the cup of the bra.

When do I wear it?

Because of the rigid structure, underwire bras offer good support and lift to all breast shapes and sizes. Many women use them as everyday bras.

Is it right for me?

A good underwire bra will help you conquer the world, but an ill-fitting one will send you spiraling. We’ll help you find one that minimizes poking – take our Fit Quiz now!

5. Full Coverage Bra

Illustration of a full coverage bra

Why is it special?

Full coverage bras are straightforward – they offer greater stability due to longer wires and more fabric on all sides. They are designed to be comfortable and subtle.

When do I wear it?

Because of their support, full coverage bras are great everyday bras if you have a larger chest. They can be worn under anything, because they often come in neutral colors and smooth, body-hugging fabrics.

Is it right for me?

If you have a bigger bust or generally require more support, you will find full coverage bras to be more comfortable and supportive than their plunge or balconette counterparts. 

6. Demi Bra

Why is it special?

Demi bras once again reference French: “demi” = “half”. Compared with full-coverage bras, they are designed to cover less (ie: half) of your bust.

When do I wear it?

Demi bras are versatile and can be worn under anything: t-shirts, button downs, or summer dresses. They offer good coverage and support while still being very natural-looking.

Is it right for me?

Demi bras work for small- and large-chested ladies. They can be low-cut, so if your breasts are fuller on top, we recommend a full coverage bra instead.

Our Favorite Br-ahhhhh: Bras Designed for Comfort

This group of bra styles are the bras that we could live in (and do!). They are the ones you reach for on your day off, the ones that you wear on planes, the ones that don’t poke you or shift around, the ones that make you forget they are even there.

7. T-Shirt Bra

Illustration of a t-shirt bra

Why is it special?

T-shirt bras are lightly padded and made of soft, smooth fabrics. The cup is lightly shaped to create a very natural looking bust.

When do I wear it?

T-shirt bras are perfect for – you guessed it – t-shirts (and every other type of top). They are middle ground between very structured bras and no bra: you will be comfortable, but still lightly lifted.

Is it right for me?

These bras are great for all breast shapes and sizes, but they work best for women who do not need a lot of chest support.

8. Bralette

Why is it special?

Bralettes do not have defined cups, and are made without wire or molded supports. Bralettes can have padding or padded inserts, but typically are very light coverage. They come in a variety of styles: strapless, lace, embellished, etc.

When do I wear it?

Bralettes can be worn underneath tops or can be worn as a top on their own. They are great for warm weather, festivals, and going to the beach.

Is it right for me?

Bralettes offer very little support, so smaller-chested ladies will be most comfortable in them.

9. Sports Bra

Illustration of a sports bra

Why is it special?

At its most basic definition, sports bras are designed to restrict the movement of your breasts during physical activity. They have straps and are commonly made of stretch performance fabrics.

When do I wear it?

Sports bras are designed for exercising, but the recent athleisure trend has made sports bras acceptable for all activities of daily life. They can be worn under any garment, but are typically worn under tank tops or t-shirts for working out.

Is it right for me?

Yes, the sports bra is adored by ladies of all breast shapes and sizes. If you have a large chest, we recommend high impact sports bras, which offer the most support and movement restriction.

10. Unlined Bra

Illustration of an unlined bra

Why is it special?

Unlined bras do not have padding or wires – they are simply one piece of fabric.

When do I wear it?

They can be worn under t-shirts and loungewear for ultimate comfort. The absence of padding and structure means they are not bulky underneath clothing.

Is it right for me?

Unlined bras show the natural breast shape and can show nipples, which is not for everyone, but they are very comfortable.

11. Longline Bra

Illustration of a longline bra

Why is it special?

Longline bras are a mix between crop tops and bras. They cover more of the body than typical bras, sometimes even extending down to the hips for body-shaping.

When do I wear it?

Longline bras can be worn on their own, or underneath form-fitting clothing, or as everyday bras. They come in a large variety of styles.

Is it right for me?

Longline bras offer high coverage and support. If you have a large chest, you may be interested in longline bras.

Hidden Secrets: Discreet Bra Styles for Indiscreet Outfits

Raise your hand if you have envisioned the perfect outfit for a date, wedding, or GNO, only to find that once you got dressed, your bra peeked out of your clothes. We’ve all been there. The following bra styles are our secret sidekicks and we thank them for their humble service in helping us look great.

12. Strapless Bra

Illustration of a strapless bra

Why is it special?

Strapless bras are, surprise!, strapless. They are often half-cups with underwires and silicone lining to keep the bra from slipping down.

When do I wear it?

Strapless bras are designed to be worn under strapless dresses or shirts. They can also be worn with one-shoulder, wide-shoulder, or off-the-shoulder tops.

Is it right for me?

Strapless bras exist for all breast shapes and sizes, but a perfect fit is tricky to find. Take our fit quiz to learn more about how to find the right one for you.

13. Stick-On (Backless) Bra

Illustration of a stick-on, backless bra

Why is it special?

A stick-on bra is adhesive and sometimes resembles chicken cutlets. Some are made of fabric, some are made of silicone, and some come in the form of two sticky circles to cover your nipples.

When do I wear it?

Stick-on bras are perfect for backless and strapless garments.

Is it right for me?

Stick-on bras come in a variety of styles that fit all body types. The adhesive can be uncomfortable for some, so we recommend a test-wear before you commit to wearing one for an event.

14. Plunge Bra

Illustration of a plunge bra

Why is it special?

Plunge bras have two cups that connect at a very low center.

When do I wear it?

Plunge bras are designed to be worn under deep V-necks or low-cut tops and dresses, but they can be worn under anything. They offer medium support and are sold in an assortment of styles.

Is it right for me?

If your breasts are touching or very close, you may find plunge bras less likely to poke you in between your breasts. Also, the deep plunge of the bra creates great cleavage, if you’re in the mood for showing off!

15. Halter Bra

Illustration of a halter bra

Why is it special?

A halter bra has straps that connect at the base of your neck.

When do I wear it?

Halter bras work well underneath garments with halter necklines, as well as regular tops and t-shirts.

Is it right for me?

While a halter top offers more support than a bandeau or a strapless bra, they can be straining on your neck if you have larger breasts. We do not recommend wearing them as everyday bras.

16. Racerback Bra

Why is it special?

Racerback bras have straps that meet in a Y- or V-shape on your back. They can come in bralette styles, or more traditional bra shapes.

When do I wear it?

Racerback bras can be worn under tank tops or sleeveless shirts, and under regular tops as well. The placement of the straps distributes the weight of your breasts throughout your core, so they can be more comfortable and supportive than a strapless bra.

Is it right for me?

We recommend racerback bras to women of all breast sizes, but women with larger breasts will find them especially comfortable, because of their weight distributing qualities and supportive structure.

Showing Off: Bra Styles for Enhancement

If you’ve got it (and you do), flaunt it! The following bra styles will define, shape, boost, and highlight your twins. If you have grapes, melons, or something in between, and want to show them off, these are the bras for you!

17. Bandeau Bra

Illustration of a bandeau bra

Why is it special?

A bandeau bra is a tube of fabric that you pull on. It doesn’t have clasps or straps. They can be sold padded or unpadded.

When do I wear it?

Bandeaus are worn under strapless or sleeveless tops and dresses, or they can also be worn on their own.

Is it right for me?

Bandeaus have very little support, so they are most comfortable for small-chested ladies.

18. Push-Up Bra

Illustration of a push-up bra

Why is it special?

Push-up bras feature angled and padded cups that push and lift your breasts, giving you maximum cleavage and good support.

When do I wear it?

Some women wear push-up bras under all of their clothes, so they always look full and lifted. If you are wearing low-cut and form-fitting clothing, a push-up bra will make your girls look great while still offering support.

Is it right for me?

Push-up bras come in a variety of “boosts” – from minimal padding to cups equipped with air pumps – so you will always be able to find one that offers the amount of lift that you want. They work for ladies of all breast shapes and sizes.

19. Cage Bra

Illustration of a cage bra

Why is it special?

Cage bras have elastic or fabric straps connecting around the cups to create a sexy stylistic element.

When do I wear it?

You can wear cage bras subtly underneath regular tops and dresses as a fashionable element, or as lingerie.

Is it right for me?

Cage bras come in many different styles so they work for all body types and shapes.

20. Embellished Bra

Illustration of an embellished bra

Why is it special?

Embellished bras are any style of bra that features details such as appliques, rhinestones, studs, or lace.

When do I wear it?

Embellished bras work great as lingerie. You can wear them under tank tops, backless tops, or strapless tops – anything that shows them off!

Is it right for me?

If you are a “my eyes are up here” type, embellished bras may not be the right bra for you.

21. Balconette/Half Cup Bra

Illustration of a balconette/half cup bra

Why is it special?

The word “balconette” is French for “little balcony” – how cute is that? It has wide-set straps and a half-cup to give a boost to your breasts.

When do I wear it?

Balconette bras are a perfect match for wide-neck or and low-cut tops, because they produce great-looking cleavage and sit low on the bust. They will make you feel super sexy!

Is it right for me?

Balconette/half-cup bra does not offer as much coverage and support as other bras, so if you are larger chested, you may be uncomfortable in this style. Women with wide shoulders will find this a good fit, as the straps are typically wider-set than other bras.

Ephemeral Bra Styles: We’re Going Through a Phase

These bra styles support us in defining moments of our lives: when we become women for the first time, when we enter motherhood, and when we are faced with the unimaginable. They are only worn for a relatively short period of time, but we are grateful for them because they help us in ways that other bras cannot.

22. Training Bra

Illustration of a training bra

Why is it special?

Training bras are lightly padded or lightly lined bras that come in smaller sizes than standard women’s bras. They resemble a sports bra or crop top, and often feature thin straps and an elastic bottom.

When do I wear it?

Training bras are designed to be used by girls going through puberty who are developing breasts. Training bras help you get used to how a bra feels.

Is it right for me?

If you have not worn bras yet and you think you would like to, a training bra is a perfect first bra. They are inexpensive, they come in fun colors, and they fit every body type.

23. Mastectomy Bra

Illustration of a mastectomy bra


Why is it special?

Mastectomy bras feature cup pockets that can be used to hold breast prostheses.

When do I wear it?

If you recently underwent a mastectomy or double-mastectomy, a mastectomy bra and inserts can be worn to give the appearance of two breasts. Some women who have not had mastectomies choose to wear these bras because they are ultra-comfortable and made for sensitive skin.

Is it right for me?

Mastectomy bras should only be worn when recommended by your physician.

24. Maternity/Nursing Bra

Illustration of a nursing bra

Why is it special?

Maternity bras are worn during and after pregnancy, when a woman’s breasts grow and begin producing milk. They are stretchy and very adjustable, and nursing bras have a clipped cup that can be opened so a mother can breastfeed.

When do I wear it?

Pregnant women typically begin wearing maternity bras during the first trimester of pregnancy, and continue to wear nursing bras until their child stops breastfeeding.

Is it right for me?

While they are usually not the sexiest or most fashionable bras, maternity and nursing bras offer utility value. We recommend trying them out if you are pregnant or a new mom.

Head over to our Fit Quiz to learn more about your own breast shapes and identify which bra styles are best for you.

To know if your bra fits you correctly, check out The Ultimate Bra-Fitting Guide.

What are your go-to bra styles? Let us know in the comments!



The Ultimate Bra-Fitting Guide: 5 Steps to Finding a Bra that Fits

Welcome to the Ultimate Bra-Fitting Guide! We will take you through 5 steps to know if your bra fits correctly, and we’ll tell you how to fix the most common bra-fit issues.

We spend the majority of our lives in bras, whether we like it or not. Usually we don’t. They poke us, they squeeze us, they leave us sore at the end of the day, with fat red lines across our torsos. And while we wish we could “Marie Kondo” all bras out of our lives, most of us need their support to live our daily lives. So we, the Missfits team, are here to help alleviate some of your pain.

A good-fitting bra should stay in place and make you feel confident and comfortable, and the best bras make you forget that they are even there. If your bra causes you discomfort, it probably doesn’t fit correctly. Here’s a five-step bra-fitting guide to help you figure out whether your bra fits properly (and some handy tips for making it fit better!). So grab your everyday bra, and let’s discover how to fix this problem;

Step 1: The Cups

Woman adjusting her bra straps and cups

Look at how your breasts fit in the cup of your bra. A good-fitting bra should cover all of your breast tissue, while not cutting into your breasts.

If your cups cut into your breasts:

Your cup is too small, or the shape doesn’t suit your breasts. Try decreasing your band size and increasing your cup size.  

If there is a gap between your breast and the cup:

Try tightening your straps. If it still gapes, the shape of the cup may not be great for your breasts. You can add inserts to fill the space, or buy a bra with a smaller cup size.

If you are uneven-steven and have breasts that are two different sizes:

Most of us do too. Make sure your cup size fits the larger of your breasts, and add inserts to the other cup if you like.

Step 2: The Straps

A woman wearing a bra with straps that are falling off

Straps can help stabilize your bra, but the majority of the support for your breasts should come from the band, not the straps. Properly-fitted straps should lie tightly on your shoulders, but should not be so tight that they cause redness or indentation. You should be able to fit a finger comfortably between your straps and your shoulder.

If your straps slip off:

Try tightening the straps. It is common for the elastic to stretch out over time. If they are always slipping, try a bra that has narrower-set straps, a racerback bra, or a halter strap (though we don’t recommend a halter bra for everyday use).

If your straps dig into your skin:

Loosen your straps. If they still dig in, it’s probably because they’re doing too much work. Try reducing your band size and increasing your cup size.

Step 3: The Band

A woman fastening her bra band in the back

When buying a bra, make sure it fits when closed on the loosest hook. That way, when the band stretches over time, you can tighten as needed. The band should be in a straight line across your back and parallel to the floor. It should not pull away from your body easily, in either the front or the back. The bottom of the band should sit directly at the bottom of the bust.

If your band rides up in the back, gapes, or moves around:

Loosen your shoulder straps and tighten the band. This will help distribute the weight of your breasts from your shoulders to the band. The band is designed to hold 80% of your breast weight, so don’t make your shoulders do unnecessary work!

If your underwire sits on your breasts (aka you have underboob):

Try tightening the band and loosening the straps. If it still sits high, you may need to size down band size.

If your band digs into your skin:

Fasten the band on a looser hook or go up a band size. You can also purchase a bra extender, which are inexpensive devices that add extra hooks to your bras.

Step 4: The Center Gore

A woman using her hands to lift up the front of her bra

The center gore is where the cups meet in the front of your bra. In a properly fitting bra, the center gore should lay flat, in the center of your breasts, and rest snug against your body.

If your center gore does not rest in the right place:

The most common issues are that your bra cup is too small, or your band is too loose. Adjust accordingly.

Step 5: The Wires

A woman holding the side of her bra cup, to indicate painful bra wires

The wires should encompass all of your breast tissue, both in the middle and around your torso. The main purpose of bra wires is to support and stabilize your breasts against the push and pull of gravity. . Underwires can be plastic or metal, and most are made of carbonized steel. A properly-fitting wire should align with the silhouette of your breast. If the wire is too narrow for your breasts it will dig into your breast tissue (ouch!), and if it is too wide it may shift around on your body and deliver compromised support.

If the bra wire is digging into your skin:

The bra may not be suited to  your breast shape. Underwire sizing is dependent on both band size and cup shape, so you may need to test a few different bra styles in different sizes to find the right underwire for you. In general bra wires are made with wires that are more J-shaped or U-shaped; check your favorite bras to see which underwire style normally fits you best.

A tattooed woman wearing a bra and looking over her shoulder

We hope this bra-fitting guide was helpful in finding a bra that fits you well. If you want to learn more about your own breast shapes and which bras to look for when bra shopping, check out our Fit Quiz!

Leave us a comment with your most common bra-fit issues!

Why does my bra ride up in the back?

 

When correctly fitted, a bra band should rest squarely beneath your shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. So why are so many of us walking around with bra bands that look like they’re made to sprout wings, rather than support our breasts?

Problem: Your bra band is too large.

A bra band provides 80% of the support for your breasts. It needs to fit tightly around your chest in order to serve this function. When the band is too large, its support function is compromised. Your breasts, unsupported from the bottom, push down on the front edge of the cups and cause the back of the bra to rise. Many women try to compensate by shortening the straps to lift the breasts; however, this only exacerbates the problem, causing the bra band to rise higher, while the breasts are no better supported. The end result is that your breasts are in a lower position than they should be, while your band is in a higher position.

Solution: Reduce your band size, increase your cup size.

A tighter band offers more bottom-up support to your breasts, which is how a bra should work. By wearing one, you’ll avoid the problem of your breasts putting too much downward pressure on the front of the cup (which causes the band to rise), and meanwhile prevent the band from sliding around your torso.

Remember that when you go down a band size you should also go up a cup size, in order to make sure that the cups are the right volume for your breasts. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!

Got a problem with your bra? Write us at hello@missfits.co and we'll get back to you with our fit advice.

How many bra sizes are there?

Answer: it depends.

Bra sizes are confusing. If you’re not convinced, try finding another piece of clothing where a standard sizing chart looks like this:

A bra size usually has two components: a number and a letter. (These conventions may vary around the world, but the basic logic of how to derive this size is the same.) The number and the letter reflect, respectively, two pieces of information about the bra: the length of the band and the volume of the cup.

To find your bra size, bra fitters generally measure once around your underbust (the circumference of your torso where your breasts meet your chest), and once around your bust (your torso including the widest part of your breasts). The difference between these two measurements to tells you your cup size, like so:

Cup sizing methodology. Image courtesy of HerCampus.com.

This sizing methodology has many imperfections, which we’ll get to later in this series. But even assuming that bra fit was simply a matter of finding your size, the fact is that the range of possible sizes is very large. Below you can see a (partial) list of bra sizes, which totals more than 200 combinations between band and cup.

Available bra sizes, according to UK sizing. Image courtesy of Ample Bosom.

Why so many sizes? Well, to be clear: the size range isn’t always this varied for all brands and countries. Italian brands for instance, generally offer six band sizes from which to choose (0-5), while UK brands offer up to seventeen (26-58).

This discrepancy in sizing array is meaningful if we analogize with shoes: imagine trying to buy shoes from a brand that only offered you S, M, and L options. The greater the range of sizes available to you in a brand or store, the more precisely you can find something that is both functional and comfortable. A bra has weight-bearing, shape-forming, and supportive functions. Therefore, a small variation in measurements from one woman to another can make a big difference in comfort and utility.

The problem is that it’s virtually impossible for a lingerie brand to produce and stock so many different sizes. Most household lingerie brands limit their production to a limited range of sizes that are statistically common, while excluding huge swathes of the female population.

If you happen to fall outside this range (and clearly a lot of us do), you’ve likely been ‘dealt with’ in one of two ways: 1) Being told that your size is not available, or 2) being incorrectly fitted into one of the available sizes. Both of these experiences are frustrating and unsatisfying. If there is any truth to the statistic that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, brands are partially responsible.

All of this is to say: if you have trouble finding a bra in-store, first try shopping with a multi-brand retailer, ideally online, where the selection of sizes is larger and therefore more customizable than you would find with a single brand. Some good places to start: FigLeaves and HerRoom.

Finally, there’s a lot more that goes into bra fit that the size can’t tell us. By knowing the width, position, density, and shape of your own breasts, you’ll be much better equipped to look for the features in a bra that best correspond to your unique morphology and preferences. If that sounds intimidating, fear not. We’re here to break down all of that for you, so check back soon for more tips.