How to shop for bras online

Make online bra shopping a breeze with our handy fit guide.

Bra measuring

by Michelle Nightingale |

Shopping for bras in stores can be a stressful and confident-knocking experience at the best of times. Let alone going it online without a handy bra fitter to help you. According to statistics, a third of us are wearing the wrong size bra, and while it might not seem a big deal, an unsupportive bra can cause back pain and can even lead to poor posture.

On the other hand, a bra that fits well will help you stand taller and will give you a waistline too! High street habits have changed post lockdown and more of us are shopping online, so it’s important we don’t suffer with old and ill-fitting underwear.

Read more: Shop Susanna Reid's style

Armed with the knowledge of how to find your correct size, you can shop online for bras from the privacy and convenience of your own home.

Finding your perfect fit

Start with a tape measure to give you a rough guide.

Work out your band size

Without a bra on, measure in inches around your torso directly under your bust. Pull it snug and round up to the nearest inch. If your measurement is an even number add on four inches, if it’s odd add on five.

Work out your cup size

Wear a non-padded bra. Measure loosely in inches around your bust at the fullest part. Round up to the nearest inch. Subtract your band size from your cup measurement – the difference is your cup size.

Cup-size

How to make sure your bra fits perfectly

Next, check your bra fits the way it should with these tips from Emma Cooke, Junior Buyer at Figleaves.com.

The underband

Emma says: “Your underband should sit in a horizontal line around your body. Fasten it on the loosest hook and pull it out from the centre back. You shouldn’t be able to pull it out more than 4cm. If it pulls out 4-8cm you need to go down an underband size. If it pulls out 8-12cm go down two underband sizes and 12-16cm go down three sizes.”

The straps

Emma says: “Adjust the straps so they sit comfortably on your shoulders. They shouldn’t dig in or fall down, but after wearing they may need tightening.”

The front

Emma says: “The underwire and the centre front of your bra should sit flat against your chest without gaps.”

The cups

Emma says: “There shouldn’t be any overspill at the cups or underarm – these are signs you need a bigger cup size. Wrinkling or creasing shows the cups are too big. We all have slightly different sized breasts, so always fit your bra to your largest. A stretchy fit bra will make the difference less noticeable.”

DID YOU KNOW?

80% of support should come from the underband of your bra, rather than the straps.

How to choose the right style of bra for you

Not sure what style to choose? Emma from Figleaves.com shares her tips for choosing the right style for your shape.

Balconette

Perfect for… Full or wide set breasts that need lift and support.

Not so good for… Those with narrow shoulders – try a plunge or full cup instead.

Plunge

Perfect for… Most shapes, particularly those with narrow shoulders, shallow breasts or a convex ribcage.

Not so good for… Large breasts, you may find a fuller cup with a deeper centre more comfortable.

Full cup

Perfect for… Large breasts that need extra support, or those with shallow top cups and a fuller bottom cup.

Not so good for… A smaller bust – a plunge or half cup might be more flattering.

The bra Vs the bralette

Most of us have been enjoying the freedom of going bra-free during lockdown, but experts agree we should still be giving our ‘best’ assets support. The bralette is a comfier option that can work for most shapes. If you’re big busted look for styles with adjustable straps for extra support. Smaller busts may want to choose slightly padded styles to give a rounder shape.

The best shops to buy bras

These lingerie retailers have a great range of styles and sizes online, plus experts on hand to offer extra support!

Bravissimo

Bra sizes 28D-40L

You’ll find… Lingerie, swimwear and clothing, plus bra fitting advice.

Free delivery on orders over £75 and free UK postal returns 01926 459858 www.bravissimo.com

Curvy Kate

Bra sizes 28D-44K

You’ll find… A great selection of own brand lingerie and swimwear, plus a free online bra fitting service.

Free delivery on orders over £50 and free UK postal returns

www.curvykate.com

Figleaves

Bra sizes 28D-52D

You’ll find… A selection of own brand and branded lingerie, swimwear, nightwear and sports clothing, plus bra fitting help.

Free delivery on orders over £50 and free UK returns via Royal Mail, Collect+ or Hermes 0345 401 2014

www.figleaves.com

Pour Moi

Bra sizes 30A-44J

You’ll find… Lingerie, swimwear, nightwear, clothing, hosiery and sportswear.

Free delivery on orders over £50 and free UK postal returns

www.pourmoi.co.uk

M&S

Bra sizes 28AA-46K

You’ll find… A good selection of styles at affordable prices.

Free delivery on orders over £50 and free UK returns via Royal Mail or Hermes.

www.marksandspencer.com

TOP TIP

Look out retailers offering free returns via Hermes, which allows you to arrange for a courier to collect your return package from your home.

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