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How To Measure For A Sports Bra

Let's make sure you get the right fit for you!

Belle Lingerie25 January 2024

How To Measure For A Sports Bra

Like any other item of clothing, whether it’s sport-specific such as a workout top or something more casual like a camisole, a sports bra needs to be the right size for you to feel comfortable and supported. Choosing the wrong size can make the bra useless, or even cause pain, so it’s important to get it right.

And don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by your existing collection, either! Older sports bras that have been used and loved for a long time can start to change in shape and size, meaning they don’t always fit you as well as they used to. That’s why it’s important to check the fit of your sports bras - and if they’re no longer right, it’s time to buy yourself a new one.


How tight should a sports bra be?

First things first, in the interest of making sure your current sports bras fit you the way they should, let’s take a look at how they’re meant to feel.

The first area to check is the band of the bra. You’ll need to check whether it is too tight, too loose, or just right. If it’s too tight, you might feel it cutting into your skin uncomfortably, or you might notice red marks around your ribcage when you take the bra off. If it’s too loose, you’ll find the back of the band tends to ride up when you’re wearing the bra. This can be spotted in the mirror, or you could ask a friend to help you.

If the band fits you well, move on to the cups. These should cover the entirety of your breasts smoothly. If the cups are too big, you might notice they gape away from your chest or the fabric rumples up unattractively. Alternatively, if the cups are too small, your breasts may feel squashed and you might notice bulging either inside or outside the cups. And although many types of lingerie consider cleavage a feature, if it shows in a sports bra, it’s time to size up.

Next, consider the shoulder straps. Most sports bras feature adjustable straps, so you should be able to alter the fit to suit you. Too tight and the straps feel like they’re cutting into your skin; too loose and they’ll fall off your shoulders. As a rule of thumb, you should have about an inch or two of give if you push your fingers between the strap and your shoulder.

If all those conditions are fulfilled, your sports bra fits well and you should be able to get on with your workout in comfort. If anything is too tight or too loose, however, your best option is to get a new sports bra as soon as you can so you can get back to your active lifestyle.


How to measure for sports bras

As a general rule, the right size for your sports bra is the same as your regular bra size. However, it’s not recommended to simply pick the same size each time in the hope that nothing will have changed. Your bra size can change for any number of reasons, from weight gain and pregnancy to muscle gain and weight loss.

Even if you don’t think there’s any reason why your bra size would have changed, it’s best to measure yourself every time you buy a new bra, sports or otherwise. This is because older bras tend to stretch with wear, meaning that if your band size has changed, you might not have noticed it due to the increased slack in your everyday bra. Try on a brand-new bra in the same size, however, and you might find it’s too tight.

Fortunately, the process for measuring your sports bra size is exactly the same as the method to measure for an everyday bra. Measure your band size around your ribcage directly underneath your bust, and round up to the nearest even number in inches. Then measure the fullest part of your bust, and round that number to the nearest whole inch.

Finally, take the band size away from the bust measurement and use a handy bra size conversion chart to convert the answer into your cup size.

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