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bra too small

If you’ve ever had a bra fitting or shopped for lingerie recently, you’ve probably heard the statistic that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size.

Here’s what you might not know: The statistic comes from a 2004 study by lingerie retailer Wacoal America, who partnered with U.S. department stores to conduct their research. According to the study, the selected department stores recorded two sizes: the sizes of the bras the women wore to their fittings and their new bra sizes according to their bra fitters.

From the study, they found that the majority of women were wearing bras that were doing their bodies a disservice. Some of the common fit problems included bras being too big in the band, too big in the cups, too small in the band, or too small in the cups. They were suffering in these ill-fitting bras – quite possibly without realizing there were better options out there.

The most interesting part of the study is not the 80% statistic. It’s this: “More than half (56 percent) of all women are wearing a bra in which the cups are too small. Thirty percent of these women will wind up increasing by two or more cup sizes when properly fit, generally increasing from a C cup to a DD.”

Why is this so major, you ask? The study found that women were wearing a bra cup size that was too small and, as a bra fitter, this is something I see all the time.

Why do so many people wear bras that are too small? Here are a few possible reasons:

1.  They don’t know what a proper fitting bra looks like (or feels like).

When was the last time you wore a bra that fit well and felt amazing? We’re talking about a bra that felt like it was custom made for you (or close to it)? Some people have never experienced a bra that checks off all their boxes. Everyone deserves lingerie that feels like it was designed with them in mind and we want to help.

If you’re shopping online from home, read as much as you can about bra fitting. Take your measurements and double check the fit of your bras with our guide here. We also have dozens of other articles on our blog to help you out too.

Prefer to shop in store? Head over to a local lingerie boutique and they’ll be happy to help you shop.

2.  They’ve never had a bra fitting.

Have you ever had a bra fitting? There are certainly a lot of people that have never had one. It could be due to a number of reasons: maybe they aren’t comfortable with getting a bra fitting, or they don’t have a local lingerie store to go to, or they prefer to shop online.

While we always recommend getting a bra fitting before buying new bras – to avoid buying ones that don’t fit well – it’s entirely up to you if you’d like to get one or not. That being said, a bra fitting might be worth considering if you’re struggling with finding bras that fit.


Related: Ask A Bra Fitter: What Are Bra Fittings Like?


3.  They think a DD or bigger is huge, so it can’t be their size.

Did you know that all D cups fit differently? It’s true. A 32D will fit different from a 34D and a 36D, too. A cup size doesn’t really mean anything on its own – it needs a band size for context. I’ve had people tell me that they couldn’t possibly wear a D cup after wearing a B cup all their life. Or a G cup after wearing a DD cup all their life. And look at me in disbelief. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with needing a bigger cup size. In my experience, it’s pretty common.

4.  They’ve been wearing a certain size all their life.

Bra fitters know that a change in bra size can be difficult to process. Our job is to show you what a proper fitting bra looks like, hand pick bras for you to try on that we believe will work best for you, and answer your bra fitting and care questions. You are always empowered to choose if you want to buy a bra or not – and which size you want to buy. We’re merely there to help guide you along. If you’re having a hard time processing a new bra size, I think the most important thing to remember is that you’re not your bra size. Or your clothing size. Or your weight. Or your height. Those things don’t define you – you define you.


Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Published by

Katie Donnelly

Katie Donnelly is a freelance writer and content manager. She got her start in the lingerie industry by working as a bra fitter. After helping hundreds of women find beautiful and supportive bras in-store, Katie began writing lingerie articles online to help women everywhere find bras that fit. Her favorite bra is the vintage-inspired Charlotte Padded Bra in Dusty Rose/Black.

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