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The Science Behind Fitting a Bra

Posted on December 08, 2021
Fit Advice, How to do, Product and Care, Style and Fit

The Science Behind Fitting a Bra

Have you ever wondered why the bra you’re wearing doesn’t seem to fit quite right? Or what your bra size technically is? You might be among the estimated 80% of women who are wearing the wrong bra size. A study published in the journal of Chiropractic & Osteopathy1 found that 70% of the women involved wore bras that were too small, while a further 10% wore bras that were too big.

These results aren’t surprising when you consider the often overwhelming nature of a bra shopping trip, or the difficulty of attempting to buy bras online. The shift to working at home has also left many of us a little behind in updating our bra size, which often shifts over time.

This article will explore Bra Fit Questions, How to Measure Bra Sizes & 10 Expert Bra Tips.

Are you wearing the right bra size? Our Bra Fitting expert answers your most searched for questions

However, the question of how should a bra fit doesn’t have to be a mystery. With lockdowns throughout Australia coming to an end and stores beginning to reopen, now is the perfect time to finally find the right bra fit for you and your style.

Why is wearing the right bra size important? Finding the best fit is vital for the support and confidence you need day to day. Moreover, the wrong bra can lead to shoulder pain, skin irritation, and even affect your posture!

Your bra fit questions answered

So, you’ve finally decided to find the perfect bra size for you. But how should a bra fit? With so much different information available online, it can be hard to find the perfect bra fitting guide. Fortunately, that’s where the experts at Triumph Lingerie come in.

We’ve performed a unique data study using Google search volumes to understand exactly what you want to know about bras. We analysed over 280,000 search queries condensing into 10 key bra- related categories, to understand exactly what Australians are searching for on the topic of bras - from how to measure bra size, to the perfect fit, style, sagging, and bra care.

We then asked Kate Minin, one of Triumph Lingerie’s leading bra fitting experts with over 25 years of experience, to step in and answer the nation’s most asked and searched for questions. Kate has assisted over 50,000 women to find the right bra size, and now she’s turning her attention to Australia’s biggest bra-related queries.

Read on to find out more!

Top 10 most searched for bra themed queries & bra related questions over the last year

Rank Search Theme 2019-2020 2020-2021 YoY%
1 Measure 54,560 78,330 ↑ 44%
2 Size 22,680 24,190 ↑ 7%
3 Wear 13,730 16,050 ↑ 17%
4 Type of Bra 12,410 14,530 ↑ 17%
5 Fit 9,680 10,730 ↑ 11%
6 Care 5,310 5,660 ↑ 7%
7 Sagging 2,280 2,650 ↑ 16%
8 Wire 1,710 1,900 ↑ 11%
9 Sleep 790 1,120 ↑ 42%
10 Pregnancy 1,250 1,060 ↓ 15%

The Results

It is no surprise that around half of all bra related searches over the last year relate to ‘bra measurement’ (78, 330). This topic is the most searched for year-on-year (YoY) with a 44% uplift. There has been a significant increase in people looking for measurement information and advice and includes variations of main query; ‘how bra size is measured’ and ‘how to measure bra size.’

Roughly one in six searches relate to ‘size’ which is the second searched for category with many Australians’ seeking to understand ‘how bra sizes work’ and any considerations to be aware of relating to typically bigger or smaller breasts and shape.

Interestingly, there was a 42% YoY increase in ‘sleep’ related searches and whether it is advisable to wear a bra to bed or not. We know that health has been and remains at the forefront of our minds and is reflected here in yearly uplift.

Woman being fitted for a bra with the quote "The large search increases this year in fitting and measurement advice has come out of necessity due to the Covid Lockdowns. Women haven’t been able to access the traditional Brick & Mortar stores for fitting advice, so they have wanted to educate themselves to find the perfect fitting bra.”

Our Triumph Lingerie expert has shared her insight into the most searched-for bra queries across key categories and here are the answers you are looking for…

Bra sizes and how to measure bra size

How to measure bra size?

Firstly we take the time to understand our customers’ individual needs, rather than pulling out the tape measure straight away. At Triumph, we don’t just make bras that fit, lift or secure your breasts, we find bras that lift your whole life.

During an in-store fitting consultation as well as through the online bra fitting calls that we provide, we walk you through how to measure. There isn’t a difference in how we measure a fuller bust as opposed to a smaller bust, as there are many variables in the way a bra fits. We use the below steps as a guide to gauge size:

Woman measuring her underbust with measuring tape

Under-bust Width:

  • The first measurement taken is the under bust measurement. This needs to be a firm measurement as the measuring tape isn’t stretchy-like a bra is. This will give us a close estimate to your bra band size-10, 12, 14 etc. It is preferable that the measurement is taken over the bra you are wearing, but can be taken over a T-Shirt if you are uncomfortable with removing your clothing.

    Woman measuring her bust with measuring tape

    Bust Width:

  • The next measurement is taken over bust. For this the measuring tape needs to be over the fullest part of your bust, but measured loosely. You need to envisage that the measuring tape will fall between your breasts to gain the closest possible gauge to the correct size. Once we have this measurement, the difference between the under bust and over bust gives us a cup size reference (A, B, C, etc.).

    What bra sizes are there and how do they work?

    There is a large variety of bra sizes, which can range from an A to G cups, not to mention breast shapes. The numerical part of the bra size refers to the under bust band (e.g. size 10, 12, 14).

    The alphabetical part of a bra size refers to size of the cup (e.g. A, B.C, D). Bra sizes do not relate to clothing sizes. For example, a woman who wears a size 14C bra may wear size 16 Clothes.

    Bra Measurement Chart

    How should bras fit?

    When you are wearing a correctly fitted bra-it should feel super comfy and feel as though you aren’t wearing one. Different breast shapes impact the styles of bra that suit and fit best. There are different kinds of bras which will give each individual the best lift, support and comfort and the material can also change the way a bra will fit you. Remember the three F’s of fit, fabric and function when choosing your next bra.

    Here are some tips to ensure that a bra is fitting correctly:

    • Bra top – your bust should not ‘spill over’ the cup material and if it does, try the next cup size up.
    • Bra centre front – your bra band should not curl or lift with ideal position sitting flat against your diaphragm, if it doesn’t, then try the next cup size up.
    • Bra back - your bra should sit level around your back and should not ride up. If it does then try a band size down as the fit may be too big for you.
    • Bra straps - your bra straps should not dig in or slip off your shoulders. If you notice them leaving marks then try a bigger size, or look for a bra style with straps that sit centrally on your body.
    • Bra cups – your bra cups should not have slack at the point and if there is, it could be that the cups are either too big or too small for you.
    • Overall - Once you are happy with how your bra fits then it is important to sit down and move around to see if the bra feels comfortable in everyday activities.
    How to check your bra is fitting correctlyHow to check your bra is fitting correctly

    It is also worth noting that as the cup size increases on any frame size, the frame size does not alter. However, as the frame size increases, the cup size will also become proportionally larger.

    Sometimes a bra does not fit well because it simply does not give enough support to a very soft or pendulous breast and that’s why it’s important to understand your own breast shape when looking for your perfect fit.

    At Triumph, we refer to the nine most common breast shapes when helping women fit and find their perfect bra. Each style of bra can complement and support each breast shape differently.

    9 Different Breast Shapes

    Bras and our bodies

    Do you need to wear a bra?

    We know that breasts come in all shapes and sizes. However, we also know finding the right-fitting bra now goes beyond that. Finding the right bra isn’t just about how it fits in the change room or during an online consultation. It’s about how it fits in your life and how it makes you feel.

    Does wearing a bra reduce sagging?

    Breasts are made up of fats, tissues and glands, the breast has no muscles to help hold its shape. To help give support to the bust, a well-fitting bra can provide important comfort and support. There are ligaments behind the breast called Coopers Ligaments, if they aren’t protected with a well-fitting bra, they can over time stretch causing breasts to sag. It is natural for this to happen, and there are many contributing factors that lead to this occurring, such as genetics, breast size, age, weight and breast-feeding fluctuation.

    Is it better to sleep with or without a bra?

    Wearing a bra while you sleep is a personal choice. We recommend to customers who do want to wear a bra whilst they sleep to try a wirefree option to provide further comfort - such as our Sloggi range, as they are super comfy and lightweight.

    Finding the right bra for your outfit

    Which bra should I wear with a cocktail dress?

    Triumph provide a range of bra styles to complement your outfit. For instance, our strapless styles are accompanied by convertible straps that can be modified for different cuts.

    Which bra should I wear with a strapless dress?

    We have a great range of strapless bras that are generally lightly padded, to offer shape and lift. However, we also have non-padded styles and wirefree styles too!

    What bra should I wear under a white top?

    If you would like the bra to go unnoticed, then we would recommend wearing a beige bra. If you want the bra noticed then the sky’s the limit! White and black bras look great under a white T-shirt!

    5 Women wearing white tees and underwear

    Bras to suit all needs

    How should I measure bra size for sports bras?

    Sports bras are firmer in their fit as they need to offer a high level of support - this protects breasts from damage during sport activities. Breasts bounce during activity - even during mild exercise, which can cause damage to the ligaments in your breasts and surrounding skin, which can cause your breasts to sag.

    We do suggest using our sizing guide for sports bras, due to the firmness in their fit. For example, if you normally wear a 12D, in a Sports bra you may need to try a 14C. This will give you a little extra space in the under bust band for comfort - but be the same fit in the cup.

    Sister Size Chart

    How should I choose a nursing bra?

    Everyone is different in the way they grow and change shape during pregnancy, so we do recommend having a fitting whether it be in store or virtually to ensure that you have the right bra for your needs. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have too!

    Each maternity bra has additional features such as drop down feeding cups, and an A-frame on the inside of the cup for additional support. Triumph maternity bras also feature an extended hook and eyes at the back of the band for longevity of wear during pregnancy.

    We recommend booking a bra fitting during the first trimester, as this will see the bra last you through until the third trimester. This will also ensure that you have a comfy bra to wear all throughout your pregnancy. However, if you’d prefer to wear a different style, then we have a range of other suitable solutions including wirefree fabric that adapts to your changing shape.

    Learn more about your bras

    How does underwire work?

    Underwired bras give uplift, separation and support. The wire anchors the bra to the chest wall, giving lift and shape. Wearing a wired bra is personal preference choice. If you find that the wired bra you are wearing is uncomfortable and digging in, it may mean you are wearing the wrong size or style for your shape. There are customers who don’t like wearing a wired bra at all, so we do have great alternatives that are a great alternative to wearing a wire.

    How should I care for my bras correctly, so they last longer?

    It is important to care for your bras to ensure longevity. All styles will remain attractive in the long term if they are carefully handled and treated. The skin’s natural oils and cosmetic traces can damage elastane threads – like sun, sand and salty water act on swimwear – while silk and wool can be affected by sweat.

    How to care for your Triumph Bra:

    • Hand wash separately using bleach-free detergents, in cold water.
    • Hang to dry in the shade.
    • Alternate wearing your bras to ensure the elasticity of each bra can ‘bounce back’ between wears.
    • Always read the care instructions. Store only when dry. Moisture can cause bras to wrinkle, discolour or form mildew.
    • Keep your bras well-spaced when storing so that they keep their shape.
    How to Care for your Bra How to Care for your Bra

    Expert 10 top tips to improve your experience with bras

      1. Get a new fitting every six months… We recommend getting fitted every six months for a new bra to ensure you are wearing the right bra for your needs. Post lockdown is a great time to get re-fitted, as many of us are now returning to work and resuming everyday life activities.! There are a number of options available at Triumph to support you through this process:

    -Bra fitting in store
    -Online Consultation
    -Online Bra Calculator
    -Online Style Selector

    1. Make sure you have the types of bras you need…
      We do recommend having bra staples to complement your wardrobe. Depending on your needs, we suggest starting with a great T-Shirt or Push-Up Bra, Wirefree bra, Strapless bra, Minimiser bra and Sports bra.
    2. Fix chafing and discomfort with the right fit…
      If your bra is chaffing or causing discomfort, we recommend getting fitted into a bra that is the correct size and style for you. Each style is unique and will complement your bust differently, so a Bra Fitting Stylist can help you with this process.
    3. Ease back into the workplace with a comfortable option….
      Choose options that are comfortable for you, comfort is essential! We suggest getting re-fitted after coming out of lockdown to ensure you are wearing the right bra for your shape.
    4. Wash and store your bras to last…
      Hand wash in cold water, drip dry in the shade, rotate the bras you wear - so they bounce back to shape.
    5. Get measured and enjoy how good the right fit feels…
      Whether you are buying your first bra or trying a new style, it is important to get fitted. This will ensure you are in the right bra for your shape and needs. Once you are correctly fitted it should feel as though you aren’t wearing a bra at all. Visit our bra size calculator for help.
    6. Wear the right bra to prevent sagging…
      Wearing a correctly fitted bra will help to support and protect your bust, especially during sports related activities.
    7. Boost your confidence with a bra of your choice…
      When you are wearing a correctly fitted bra, it boosts your confidence. It makes a difference to the way your outerwear sits - so can really boost the way you feel!
    8. Don’t be afraid of support…
      If your bra has an uncomfortable underwire, it’s more likely the result of a bad fit than the wire itself. While wirefree bras are ideal for lounging around at home, a well-fitted bra with an underwire should still be comfortable while also providing the support you need.
    9. Go beyond fit to find the style that suits your everyday….
      Did you know your breast shape impacts the styles of bra that fits you best? It’s important to understand which kinds of bras will give you the best lift, support and comfort. That’s why we create a diverse collection of styles to suit all breast sizes and shapes ensuring we lift the life of every woman. We have a great new Style Selector Tool to help you find the right bra for your needs.

    The right bra fit is so worth it

    Finding the right bra will not only provide the support you need day to day, but also help you feel more comfortable in your own skin so you can take on the world. At Triumph, we have a range of bras to fit your shape and your life.

    Even with the best bra fitting guide, finding the right bra size isn’t always easy. Book an online bra fitting consultations to find the best fit for you from the comfort of your own home. Our experienced fitting specialists will provide a personalised fitting over video call and take the mystery out of finding the right bra for you.


    Triumph Lingerie Australia used data sourced from Google Keyword Planner to perform a unique consumer trends study to identify changes in search behaviour surrounding bra related queries and search habits relating to the current climate. A total of 280,620 Google search volumes were distilled into 10 core bra related categories which complied variation of the similar search terms, to reveal exactly what the nation is searching for when it comes to underwear; what we really want to know and areas of search concern. The study collated and analysed data from October 2019 – September 2021 which allowed isolation of search behaviour in two twelve-month timeframes (October 2019 – September 2020 & October 2020 – September 2021) to provide YoY comparison. Data was analysed in October 2021 and is representative at time of analysis.


    1Wood K, Cameron M, Fitzgerald K. Breast size, bra fit and thoracic pain in young women: a correlational study. Chiropr Osteopat. 2008;16:1. Published 2008 Mar 13. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-16-1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2275741/