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How To Measure For First Bra: The Complete Guide

Written by Uplifted Lingerie on 14 August 2023

How to measure for first bra


Buying your first bra might seem like a big deal, and the thought of being professionally measured might make you a bit nervous. While there's nothing to be embarrassed about, you can also measure yourself at home if that's more your speed. This article will guide you through the process, suggesting which types of bras are ideal for teens and how to avoid common fitting issues like gaping cups, straps that slide down, and uncomfortable wires.


The Right Size Matters

You might be considering a bra if you've noticed some changes, like your breasts moving when you run or your nipples becoming more visible through your clothes. But choosing a bra isn't just about the colour or design; you need to find the right size.

Wearing the wrong size can lead to poor support and even back pain. On the other hand, a well-fitted bra can offer proper support as you grow, and it might even help your posture.

So, how do you figure out what size to buy? What do those numbers and letters mean? Keep reading to get the lowdown on measuring yourself for your very first bra.

View our full range of teen bras here

When To Buy Your First Bra

First things first, how do you know when it’s time to buy your first bra?

There isn’t a simple answer to this question, as it’s completely down to personal preferences. Some pre-teens may decide to begin wearing a bra from the age of 9, when they begin to feel uncomfortable changing for PE without the added cover of a bra.

Others choose to wait until their breast tissue begins to grow, which can happen any time begin the ages of 8 and 14 years. At this point, you may notice that your breasts begin to move when you run, or that your nipples may begin to show through your clothing.

Ultimately, when you decide to buy your first bra will come down to individual preferences, and there really is no right or wrong answer.

What Are The Different Types Of Teen Bras

There are many different types of bras for teens, and the type you’ll choose will depend on your personal preferences. In this section, we’ll talk you through some of the options available when choosing your first bra.  

Training Bras And Crop Tops

If you’re not quite ready for a standard sized bra or cupped bra, a training bra is a great option. A training bras is a type of crop top which offers some basic support, along with modesty, whilst prioritising comfort.

Non-Wired Teen Bra

Non-wired bras have a soft cup which offers support to the breast without risking causing any damage to the breast tissue. These bras are comfortable and will give your breasts a natural appearance.  

Underwired Bras

Underwired bras have a U-shaped wire which is built into the cup of the bra. This wire sits underneath the breasts to provide additional support and to give the breasts more shape.

Sports Bra

As the name suggests, sports bras are perfect for wearing during exercise. These bras help to reduce the movement of your breasts, keeping you comfortable while you exercise. Choosing to wear a sports bra during physical activity will also help to protect the ligaments that support your breasts.

Padded Bra

Padded or push-up bras have more structured cups, along with some padding inside. These bras help to give your breasts more shape, making them appear fuller. A padded bra is a great choice if you’re looking to enhance the shape or size of your breasts, or to increase your modesty.

Find the perfect first bra here

Royce Posie teen bra

How Do Bra Sizes Work?

Bra sizes can seem complicated, especially if you’ve never bought a bra before. They combine both a number and letter together, which can feel daunting at first. We’re going to explain exactly what that number and letter mean, giving you a clear understanding of how bra sizes work.

Your bra size begins with a number, such as 28, 30 or 32. These numbers go up in increments of 2, so you’ll never see an odd number within a bra size. This number refers to the band size of your bra. This is the measurement of your ribcage in inches. So, if you have a band size of 30, this means that your ribcage is 30 inches in circumference.

The band size is followed by a letter which represents your cup size, for example B, DD or G. This refers to the size of your breasts in relation to the size of your rib cage.

Measuring For Your First Bra

To measure for your first bra, you will need to work out both your band and cup size. To do this, you will need to have a flexible tape measure which you will be using to measure both your rib cage and your bust.

Measuring Your Band Size

First, wrap your tape measure around your rib cage, directly under your bust. The tape measure should lie exactly where the band of your bra would naturally sit. It should be level and snug. This measurement in inches is your band size.

This is where many high street stores go wrong as they are renowned for adding several inches to this measurement. This is because back in the 1950s, bras were made from silk and satin and did not stretch. However, fast-forward to the 21st century and our bras now allow for stretch, so we don’t need to add anything onto this measurement.

So, if your rib cage measurement is 30 inches, your band size is 30. If the number is an odd number, you might need to try both the band sizes above and below to see which fits you best.

Measuring Your Cup Size

Next, wrap a measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust, level with your nipple, and then round the number in inches to the nearest whole number. You will then need to subtract your band measurement from this number.

So, if your bust measurement is 36” and your band measurement is 30”, you’ll do the calculation 36-30 and be left with 6”. You can then use the table below to discover your cup size. In this example, your bra size would be 30E.


Cup size

Less than 1 inch


1 inch


2 inches


3 inches


4 inches


5 inches


6 inches


7 inches


8 inches


9 inches


10 inches


11 inches


12 inches


13 inches


14 inches


15 inches


16 inches


17 inches


Checking The Fit Of Your Bra

The fit of your bra is far more important than the size on its label. You might find that you need to go up or down a size depending on the brand of the bra that you choose, so it’s important to know how to check that your bra fits properly.

When you put on a bra, you’ll need to start with a ‘swoop and scoop’. To do this, reach into your bra cup and scoop your breast tissue from underneath your armpit so that it sits inside the cup. If you notice that your breast tissue is spilling out of the top of the cup after you have done a ‘swoop and scoop’, or if the wiring is pressing into your breast tissue, you may need a larger cup size.

Next, check how the band of the bra sits on your back. It should be level all the way round your ribcage, without riding up at the back. When the bra is fastened on the loosest hook, you should only be able to fit two fingers under the band. This will allow you to tighten the bra in the future, as the band loosens as it ages.

Finally, check how the straps fit on your shoulders. They should be tight enough that they don’t slip off your shoulders, but loose enough that they don’t take the weight of your breasts. This is because the support should be coming from the band of your bra rather than your straps, preventing back and shoulder pain.

Read our full fitting guide here

What If Your Breasts Are Different Sizes?

Breasts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, all of which are normal. Some people fit an AA cup whilst others require a K cup. There’s no right or wrong size, only the size that’s right for you. Our differences are what makes us all unique.

It’s also completely normal for your breasts to be different sizes from each other. Some people may have breasts that are almost identical in size, whilst others may have breasts which vary by a cup size or more.

If your breasts are different sizes, you’ll need to fit your bra to suit the larger breast. This is because breast tissue can be damaged by wearing a bra which is too small.

Royce Sweet Violet teen bra

Can Teens Wear Underwired Bras?

Non-wired bras are usually the recommended style for teens for two reasons. Firstly, wearing a bra can take some getting used to. Non-wired bras are often more comfortable than underwired bras, so you’re likely to find these bras easier to wear as a first bra.

Secondly, if your bra doesn’t fit properly, the wire may dig into your breast. Whilst underwired bras are completely safe if fitted properly, they can also damage the breast tissue if the bra becomes too small.

As a teen, your breasts will continue growing for several years. Whilst a bra may fit perfectly one day, within a couple of weeks your breasts may have grown. Choosing a non-wired bra will mean that your bras last longer and there won’t be anything uncomfortable digging into your breast as you grow and develop.

Older teens may prefer to wear an underwired bra for the additional support and shape that the style offers. It’s especially important to ensure that the bra fits correctly if a teen does decide to opt for an underwired bra.

How To Tell When You Need To Buy A New Bra

As a teen, your breasts will be constantly changing. In fact, even once you reach adulthood, your breasts will continue to change as a result of hormones, illness and even the amount of water that you drink. As a result, you might find that your bra no longer fits quite right. That’s because your breasts have changed since you last checked the fit.

You’ll need to check the fit of your bra regularly to ensure that it offers you the right level of support and comfort, without digging into your breasts. If you find that your bra is no longer fitting quite right, it’s time to buy a new bra.

View our full range of teen bras here

Related Questions

What Type Of Bra Should A 14 Year Old Wear?

The type of bra that you choose will come down to personal preference. However, we would always recommend a non-wired bra for teens. Not only are non-wired bras typically the most comfortable choice, but they also help to prevent damage to your breast tissue. This is because wires can damage breast tissue if the bra becomes too small, something that can quickly happen in teens due to the rapid changes that your breasts are going through.

What Age Should You Wear A Bra?

There is no right age to start wearing a bra, it is completely dependent on personal preferences. Some pre-teens as young as 8 years old decide to start wearing a bra to support their developing breasts and offer modesty, whilst some teens find that they don’t need a bra until the age of 14. There is no right or wrong age, and every teen is different.

Find The Perfect Teen Bra

Measuring for your first bra can feel complicated. Whilst some teens share the experience with their parents or another adult, others prefer to shop for their first bra alone. If you need support or guidance in choosing the right teen bra, we are here to help. Simply send us an email or give us a call and we’ll offer as much assistance as you need to find the right bra for you.

Discover our full range of teen bras here

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