Find part 1 here for calculators by Calculators.net, Linda’s Online, Bust’DD, Butterfly Collection, A Sophisticated Pair, Ewa Michalak, Gossard, Ann Summers, La Senza, 85b.org, Babycenter, Figleaves, John Lewis and Debenhams.
A year ago I tried out a big bunch of online bra size calculators and sizing charts to see how accurate they were. I was told I was everything from a 32A to a 24FF which just goes to show how wildly inconsistent bra sizing methods are amongst brands and retailers – it’s no wonder really that a lot of women are unwittingly wearing the wrong size or are unsure about what size they should be in!
Well, that article has since gone on to be our most popular blog post of all time, and since I only dipped my toe in the sea of online bra size calculators I thought I’d bring you a part 2.
Before I get into this I just want to reiterate a point I made in part 1: just because one of these calculators gives me a size I don’t wear, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or that I’m in the wrong bra size). Sizing varies from brand to brand and two women with the exact same measurements can wear different sizes due to body type or just fit preference, as I explained here.
Bra Sizes That Actually Fit Me: 30F and 32E (I’m definitely more comfortable and supported in a 30F, but own enough acceptably-well fitting 32Es from brands that start at a 32-band that I’m counting this as one of my correct sizes).
The Good – Right, or Almost So
Marks and Spencer – 28F
On a recent trip to the Marks and Spencer’s lingerie department I saw signs advertising expert bra fittings, and this is a place that sells more bras to British women than any other brand. So I had high expectations from their recently-launched online fitting tool, and I’m glad to say that this was my closest match. The tool asks you to wear your best-fitting bra and then takes you through a series of questions about its style and how it fits, plus asks for your underbust measurement (it never asks for your overbust one) and a handful of other things such as whether you have narrow, medium or broad shoulders. The only thing that surprised me was that it gave me a 28 band size despite me inputting that my best-fitting bra is a 30 band that lies straight and doesn’t dig in.
Linda The Bra Lady – 28DD or 28E
Kudos to this calculator for giving two sizes (that aren’t sister sizes) and explaining that my size will vary between brands and styles. It’s still a band and cup size too small, but it’s pretty close and a good starting point to try bras on if I had no clue as to my size.
A Bra That Fits – 26F/FF (with a note a 28E/F may fit better)
This calculator, unlike any other, takes into account how much ‘squish’ you have around your ribs by asking for your ‘snug’ and your ‘tight-as-you-can-make-it’ underbust measurements and using the difference between them to calculate how tight or loose a band you’ll need. Because the difference between those two measurements for me was less than an inch it said I may feel more comfortable sister sizing up to a 28E/F, which was helpful. Like the calculator above, it also gave me two possible cup sizes to try since sizing varies between brands.
The Bad – Well, the ‘Less Good’ (These Calculators May Work for Many Women)
Britney Spears Intimates – 28D
Being a European rather than UK-specific site, this actually gave me my ‘European’ size (60D) which I converted using their handy size conversion chart. It’s refreshing to see them tell me I should be wearing a 60-band despite this being a size this brand doesn’t sell, rather than giving me the nearest size they do sell or just telling me my size doesn’t exist / is out of range for their calculator. This isn’t as bad as some of the calculators below but it’s still not close to a size that would fit me. If I sister size up to a 30-band, it’d put me at a 30C which is definitely too small.
The Hilarious – Really, Really Not My Size
Victoria’s Secret – 30B
Um, no. The wording on this calculator really confused me: “Wrap a soft measuring tape around your back at band level, under each arm and around the front. Measure just above your bust, right about where the straps meet the top of the cup“. I wrapped the tape measure diagonally from band level at the back to above the bust at the front, but I’m not sure if that’s what I was supposed to do. I’m also not sure why Victoria’s Secret is asking you to measure above your bust to find your band measurement, which sits below the bust. Depending on your body shape, these could be very different measurements.
HerRoom – 30B
When I entered “the smallest measurement possible” as asked for the underbust, I was told my band size was below 30 and out of range for this calculator. However I do like my bands a tad looser than most so I plugged in an inch bigger for my underbust and got this result which is totally off.
Breast Talk – 30B
This calculator breaks if you use a fraction so I rounded my 26.5″ underbust down to 26″, but unfortunately it still didn’t give me a correct size. If I round up to 27″ underbust instead it tells me I’m a 32AA which is equally far off what fits me!
The thing that surprised me most was not how off some of these calculators were, but the fact that not one of them was spot on. Why? Because a huge amount of bra-fitting advice is dedicated to telling women that the ‘plus four’ bra sizing method is outdated or not right for everyone, and yet not one of these calculators is actually using that method (since it’s what I find works for me). Popular bra sizing methods may not be as outdated as we think.
This list isn’t meant to name and shame the bad bra fit calculators out there so much as it is meant to prove that you can’t rely on bra fit calculators alone – and especially not just one calculator – to find your size.
If you’re buying from a new brand and aren’t sure what size to go for, by all means use their calculator for guidance but take the results with a pinch of salt and remember that you’ll only really know if a bra fits you when you try it on (my ‘does my bra fit?‘ guide can help you decide!).
How many of these bra size calculators work for you? Know of any other good/bad ones I should add to my list?