Whether you opt for lacy or just plain racy, shopping for new bras after your breast augmentation should be fun. But it can also be challenging. If you are small-boned and get large breast implants, for example, it may be hard to find the perfect-fitting bra.

Good news! Our tips below should make bra shopping simple.

If your bra doesn't fit properly, your breasts will sag and you may even end up with back and shoulder pain from the lack of support.

Find a Bra That Fits

Wearing a bra that fits, and fits well, is essential for every woman, regardless of whether or not she has breast implants. If your bra doesn't fit properly, your breasts will sag and you may even end up with back and shoulder pain from the lack of support.

Part of finding a bra that fits well is knowing which ones don't. Here are some tell-tale signs that your bra doesn't fit:

  • If your bra band rides up your back, it doesn't fit. The back of a well-fitted bra should be at the same level as the front.
  • If you find yourself trying to lift your breasts by shortening your shoulder straps, the bra doesn't fit.
  • If your breasts fall out of your bra when you bend, you may need cups that cover more of your breasts.
  • If your bra bags at the nipple area, it doesn't fit. Try one with some Lycra, which will better conform to your breasts.

Bras and bra sizing vary a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer. You may find that you fit perfectly in one size at Victoria's Secret, but need a smaller one in a Warner's bra.

So how do you find the perfect bra?

Good question. There are a lot of different methods and formulas to help you determine your correct bra size.

What's Your Bra Band Size?

The band size (also called frame size or back size) of a bra is the number part of the size. In the United States, this number is in inches. Elsewhere it is in centimeters. Determine your band size by measuring around your ribcage with a tailor's measuring tape. (This is exactly the tool that the sales staff at Victoria's Secret sport around their necks.) Wrap the measuring tape snugly around your ribcage, directly under your breasts. It should be horizontal all the way around. It should not sit too high or too low around your back.

Once you have this number in inches, add four if your measurement was an even number and five if it was an odd number to get your band size. For example, if your ribcage measured 28 inches, add four, for a total of 32. If your measurement was 29 inches, add five, for a total of 34. This approximation gives you a place to start your bra quest.

Your band size does not increase after breast augmentation. It is determined by your rib cage measurement, not your cup size. Put another way: If you were a 34B before surgery and went up to a D cup, you are going to be a 34D.

If your surgeon significantly lowers your natural breast crease, and your bra band rests a little lower on your ribcage as a result, you may have a smaller band size. This difference is usually minimal.

What's Your New Cup Size?

Bust Size Minus Band Size (inches)Cup Size
0 to ½ AA cup
½ to 1 A cup
1 to 2½ B cup
2½ to 3½C cup
3½ to 4½D cup
4½ to 6DD (or E cup for some bra makers)
6 to 7DDD (or F cup for some bra makers)
7 to 8G cup
8 to 9GG cup
9 to 10H cup
10 to 11HH cup
11 to 12J cup
12 to 13JJ cup

Determine your approximate cup size by measuring across the widest part of your actual breasts. Do this by centering the measuring tape over the fullest part of your breasts and around your back. The tape should be horizontal and level all the way around. Subtract your band size from your new bust-size measurement. Now find that number on the chart below.

If you use this method but still have significant sagging, you may need a larger cup size than shown on the chart. If the cups are too loose, go down a cup size.

Both the band and the cup size matter. The bigger the band size, the bigger the cups attached to that band size. A 34D is larger than a 32D. Choose the correct size for both parts of the equation. If you get the 34D because it fits your breasts better, but it fails to hug your rib cage, your breasts are not going to get the support that they need.

Bra Strap Basics

Bra straps should be comfortable. They should not dig trenches into your shoulders or irritate your skin. They are not the primary support for your breasts. Bra straps may be thin or wide, padded or clear. If the bra straps dig into your shoulders, lengthening them a bit may help. If your torso is long, you may need strap extenders.

More Tips for Bra Shopping and Bra Care

Trial and error can be helpful. You may have to try on a bra and wear it for a while to be able to tell if it is too large or too small. It should fit snugly on the last setting (or the loosest hook) so that when it stretches with wear you can still fasten it.

After all the hard work that went into finding the right size bra for your new breasts, take good care of it! Hand wash and line dry your bras. If you do machine wash your bras, do it inside a lingerie bag and line dry afterward. Happy hunting!

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