If there’s one experience women find universally frustrating, it’s how to measure your bra size accurately. It doesn’t matter what size you think you wear—everyone has trouble finding a bra that properly supports, lifts, and fits. As it turns out, there’s a reason for that.
Michelle Lam, founder and CEO of lingerie company True&Co.—an online boutique—reveals the one thing that causes many women to choose the wrong bra size: imprecise cup sizing. It’s a misconception that a bra’s cup size actually measures the full size and shape of your breast.
“Not many people know this, but when you talk about the cup size of a bra, it’s really just the horizontal width between the underwires,” Lam says. “This whole area that’s actually the most 3D part of the breast is completely uncharted territory. That’s why the A, B, C, and D cups don’t actually mean anything. It’s been the same system since 1937.”
A Revolutionary Quiz:
To resolve the issue, Lam founded True&Co. with the missions of selling bras for women, by women, and gathering the data needed to design and develop a well-fitting bra. She and her team created the fit quiz, the first of its type, to measure bra size and truly understand breast shape—by asking women to simply fill out a 15-query questionnaire, no measuring tape required.
Once You’ve Found Your Size:
“We’ve collected over seven million data points about a woman’s body and identified more than 6000 different body types over the last two years,” Lam says. “Our whole goal is not to put you in a certain band or cup size; it’s really about when you look in the mirror, do you feel transformed into the most beautiful version of yourself?”
Her solution: the site’s True Spectrum bra sizing system. Instead of limiting you to a band and cup size, the system takes into account the actual shape of your breast when measuring your bra size. It even accounts for how your breasts sit on your chest, and it recommends what standard size bras correlate to your Spectrum size from the other brands available on True&Co.
After shoppers take the True&Co. fit quiz, answering the questions about how their bras fit you as honestly as they can, they’re assigned a color—anything from citrine to violet to sapphire—and a size ranging from small to large. The goal is to find a bra size that considers not only the band and cup size but the shape and weight of the breasts as well.
While True&Co.’s sizing system is really handy because it doesn’t require a tape measure or any other such tools, there are ways you can measure your perfect bra size in the comfort of your own home.
Scroll down to find out how to determine your own perfectly fitting bra in five steps and shop some of our favorite picks while you’re at it.