Fitting 101: To Add or Not to Add

Continuing with the fitting 101 series, today we’re going to talk about whether you may want to add inches to your under bust measurement or not to get your best fit.

If you do some research, there are many conflicting opinions about whether you should add inches to your raw under bust measurement or not. The following information represents my knowledge and my honest opinion about when you may want to add inches and maybe when you will want to subtract inches. Ultimately, the most important thing is that your bra fits (meeting the proper fit criteria), and that it is comfortable. 

When to add inches 

In some situations, it is necessary to add inches to your raw under bust measurement. Here are some scenarios in which adding inches is common:

  • If you have little to no body fat around your ribcage, you may want to add 2-4 inches to your raw under bust measurement for comfort
  • If your breasts are smaller and are set further into your chest (not wide set), you may want to add inches so that you do not have a lot of empty cup on the side. In this instance, you need more band than you need cup. Adding 2-4 inches would be ideal
  • If you prefer a looser band, add 2 inches (adding 4 may make the band too loose and unstable, depending on your build, body fat percentage, and weight of your breasts)

When to add NO inches

The general advice I give is to start with your raw under bust measurement, adding no inches to your measurement. Here are some scenarios for when this is useful:

  • When finding a starting size if you have a very poorly fitting bra; a raw under bust measurement can point you in the right direction for a proper band size
  • If you have some padding, moderately sized breasts (think DD+) and want a comfortable level of support

When to subtract inches

In some instances, subtracting inches from your under bust measurement will help you to get the most support and comfort out of your bras. Here are some common scenarios for subtracting inches:

  • If you have a lot of body fat around your ribcage and are quite squishy, subtracting inches from your raw under bust measurement may help your band better tack to your body. I would recommend only subtracting 2 inches at the most (going down one band size from what you measure).
  • If your breasts are at the upper end of the size range (think HH+); having a snugger band can help to carry more of the weight of your breasts, putting less stress on your back and shoulders. I would recommend only going down to the next band size
  • If you prefer a snugger band, for whatever reason. I would only suggest going down 2 inches from your raw under bust measurement

As mentioned, these suggestions are based on my knowledge, experience, and in some cases, personal preferences. However, only you can decide what feels comfortable and what will work best for you.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below 🙂


9 thoughts on “Fitting 101: To Add or Not to Add

  1. I can definitely attest to the ribcage padding having an effect. I measure 25.7″ tight and 26.5″ normal and I have bony ribs, a band that stretches to 26″ is awfully uncomfortable on me, if 26 bands were readily available I would still choose a 28.

  2. You spoke my mind 🙂 And thank you for that disclaimer in the end because I think too many bandsize posts lack the openness to different ideas and preferences.
    Boobiehugz! ^*

  3. Excellent posts and points! Another factor I seem to be running into lately is rib cage expansion from an increased workout routine. My underbust measurement is the same or smaller; however, I’m needing a different type of band or larger band to accommodate my breath capacity. Constant change is not convenient or inexpensive when it comes to bras!

  4. Definitely covers and helps with the great debate on how many inches to add if any. At 29-30″ but with a bust usually in JJ/K, I choose to go to 28 because anything else feels too loose and unhelpful in supporting the weight.

  5. Thanks for explaining subtracting inches! The bra filters keep putting me in 38 when my raw size is 40.5, I tought them crazy since I was wearing 44 in Playtex brand. My cup size is between an HH /J depending on the style. I have lots of side tissue and having trouble with height of sides.

  6. but what about back cleavage? I wear 34J which is A-MAZING for my boobs but it is tight and thus creates back cleavage which is so not attractive! What do you advise?

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