Why Do Bra Brands Fit Different?
Bra fitting is complex – it’s no wonder so many women struggle with finding bras that fit. And, when you add in differences in bra sizing, styles, and fabrics, it certainly doesn’t get any easier.
Wondering why certain lingerie brands fit you differently than others? Read on for the full scoop.
1. Lingerie brands use different fit models.
From the initial sketch to construction to the first sample fitting to approval to production – bras go through a lot of steps before they make it to your local lingerie store. One of the most important steps of lingerie design is fitting it on fit models. Fit models give lingerie designers the ability to see a bra on a real person instead of on a dress form. This is a crucial step in lingerie design and most fit problems are identified and addressed here.
Many lingerie brands work with fit models who wear specific bra sizes and then cut their first, second, and third (if needed) samples in those sizes to fit. Because of this, sample sizes can vary between bra brands and often depend on the bra sizes of the fit models and lingerie brand’s core customers. Since each woman’s body is unique, bra fit and sizing can vary between brands as well. This is just one of the reasons why some brands may fit you better than others.
2. The cut of the bra matters.
Demi cup bras, half cup bras, quarter cup bras, full cup bras – the cut of a bra can completely change the fit. We recommend getting to know your breast shape and trying on as many bras as possible to find the styles that work best for you. Cut isn’t limited to cup alone – be sure to pay close attention to also the strap placement, band, cradle, and underwire width and length if you’re having trouble finding a bra that fits well.
3. The fabric matters too.
Did you know that fabric can change the fit of a bra? It’s true. Rigid fabrics and fabrics with little to no stretch influence the fit of a bra’s cups and bands. A power mesh band, for example, will offer a snugger fit than a stretch lace band. Satin fabrics sewn onto foam cups will have less stretch than unlined or lightly lined stretch mesh cups, too.
4. Lingerie brands may use different fitting methods.
Grading, the process of sizing bra patterns up or down to create a new bra size based on an existing bra size, can vary between bra brands. Some lingerie brands use a +4 method – adding 4 inches to the underbust measurement to get the band measurement – so a woman who has an underbust measurement of 28 inches would wear a 32 inch band. Other lingerie brands might use a +0 approach – adding 0 inches to the underbust measurement – so the same woman would wear a 28 inch band in that brand. Ultimately, there is no universal way to grade – it really depends on the brand, their target customers, and their preferences, among other factors.
5. Sizing systems can vary.
Bra sizing isn’t the same around the world. In fact, there is no universal bra sizing system. As such, some lingerie brands use US sizing while other brands use UK sizing. For example, a UK E bra size is equivalent to a US DDD bra size. What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re used to shopping a brand that uses UK sizing (like Parfait) and find a bra that you like from a brand that uses US bra sizing, you’ll need to convert your bra size from a UK bra size to a US bra size. On another note, you might find that your bra sister size fits you better in another brand. As always, go by the fit and not the size on the tag.
Need help converting your bra size into UK or US sizing? Check out our quick and easy bra size chart here.
Remember: There is no one size fits all approach.
It’s not uncommon to fit perfectly into different sizes in different brands. Your bra size is more of a guide than a set number. You might find that certain brands fit you better than others and the same goes with certain bra styles. Since fit isn’t determined by size alone, you’ll need to know what a proper fitting bra looks like if you want to get the best fit. Bra fitters have extensive training in bra fitting and product knowledge. They know which brands have narrow underwires, which styles fit smaller than others, and which styles will work best for you. Head over to our stockist list here to find a local lingerie store near you.
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!