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Buying guides

Lingerie buying guide

CHOOSING LINGERIE

Finding the right lingerie for you can be tricky, which is why we’ve put together a guide offering hints and tips on what you should consider. 

Whether it's lace or satin, underwired or soft cup, what matters most is how it feels.

Our bra fitting service

Your bra size changes at different stages in your life, so why not book a free fitting with one of our experts? We'll help find the right bra for you, and would recommend a fitting whenever you buy a new bra

Our fitters are also trained to measure and advise for maternity, nursing and post-surgery bras, as well as shapewear.

Find out about our Lingerie Advice service here.

Measuring & fitting your bra

If you can't get to one of our shops for a fitting:

1. To find your underband size, measure around your chest just under the bust.

2. Check in a mirror to make sure the tape is level and pulled snugly

3. To find your cup size, measure around the fullest part of your bust.

4. Use the table below to find your size

 

Tip

You can measure yourself with or without a bra on, whichever is easiest for you. Make sure if you are wearing your best-fitting bra that it's either non-padded or very lightly padded.

Size guide

Underband (cm) Bra Size Cup fitting (cm)
    AA A B C D DD E F
63 - 67 30 (65) 75 - 77 77 - 79 79 - 81 81 - 83 83 - 85      
68 - 72 32 (70) 80 - 82 82 - 84 84 - 86 86 - 88 88 - 90 90 - 92 92 - 94 94 - 96
73 - 77 34 (75) 85 - 87 87 - 89 89 - 91 91 - 93 93 - 95 95 -97 97 -99 99 -101
78 - 82 36 (80) 90 - 92 92 - 94 94 - 96 96 - 98 98 - 100 100 - 102 102 - 104 104 - 106
83 - 87 38 (85) 95 - 97 97 - 99 99 - 101 101 - 103 103 - 105 105 - 107 107 - 109 109 - 111
88 - 92 40 (90) 100 - 102 102 - 104 104 - 106 106 - 108 108 - 110 110 - 112 112 - 114 114 - 116
93 - 97 42 (95) 105 - 107 107 - 109 109 - 111 111 - 113 113 - 115 115 - 117 117 - 119 119 - 121
98 - 102 44 (100) 110 - 112 112 - 114 114 - 116 116 - 118 118 - 120 120 - 122 122 - 124 124 - 126
UK European US
32A 70A 32A
32B 70B 32B
32C 70C 32C
32D 70D 32D
32DD 70E 32DD/E
32E 70F 32DDD/F
32F 70G 32G
34A 75A 34A
34B 75B 34B
34C 75C 34C
34D 75D 34D
34DD 75E 34DD/E
34E 75F 34DDD/F
34F 75G 34G
36A 80A 36A
36B 80B 36B
36C 80C 36C
36D 80D 36D
36DD 80E 36DD/E
36E 80F 36DDD/F
36F 80G 36G
38A 85A 38A
38B 85B 38B
38C 85C 38C
38D 85D 38D
38DD 85DD 38DD/E
38E 85E 38DDD/F
38F 85G 38G

How should your bra fit?

  • The band should be level and sit smoothly around your body with a snug fit

  • Your breasts should be supported securely and comfortably within the cups

  • The straps need to be firm so they don’t slip off your shoulders, but not so tight they dig in – the band should offer 80% of the support and the straps only 20%

  • New bras should fasten on the last hook to allow for some stretch as the fabric and elastic wears over time

Common fitting mistakes and things to look out for:

  • The underwire digs into your chest

  • The cups are too big

  • The underband rides up

  • The side wings gape

 

Bra styles

  • T-shirt bra
  • Balcony bra
  • Full-cup bra
  • Strapless & multiway
  • Push-up bra
  • Plunge bra
  • Crop top
Bra fitting service

DECIDING

If you...

Want an everyday style with smooth contours and minimal detailing...

Then a T-shirt bra is best because...

  • The cups are usually seam-free and lightly padded for a smooth fit and shape

 

 

Tshirt bra

Want slight lift and cleavage...

Then a balcony bra is best because...

  • The wires sit midway between the breasts and the straps are wide-set for extra lift and support.
Balcony bra

Want an everyday bra that offers extra coverage...

Then a full-cup bra is best because...

  • The cups come up higher on the chest for full coverage and the straps are central
Full cup bra

Want a bra to wear discreetly under tops and dresses...

Then strapless and multiway bras are best because...

  • The band is wider for additional support.
  • Optional straps can be placed in various positions so they aren't visible under clothing.
Strapless and multiway bras

Want extra uplift and cleavage...

Then a push-up bra is best because...

  • The cups are angled and padded to push the bust upwards and inwards
Plunge bra

Want cleavage without additional uplift...

Then a plunge bra is best because...

  • The cups are angled and the centre gore sits low on the chest. Ideal when wearing lower necklines
Push up bra

Want a less supportive, soft cup style...

Then a crop top is best because...

  • The stretchy styles are often nom-wired for optimal comfort. Ideal for small or developing busts
Crop top
Specialist bras

SPECIALIST BRAS

Maternity and nursing bras

  • A fitting is recommended within each trimester as your body shape is constantly changing

  • Try to go for a final fitting at around 30 weeks. At this point, your rib cage will not expand much more and you might want to consider a super-soft bra at night for additional support and discuss nursing bra options

  • Nursing bras have a clip on the strap that will be simple to open with one hand. This allows for easy access when breastfeeding

 

Sports bras

  • Sports bras reduce excessive movement and reduce the strain on your back, neck and shoulders

Larger cup sizes

  • Both the straps and underband are usually wider to reduce the pressure on your shoulders. The underwire is often firmer for better support, while the cup may have three or four panels for better projection

 

 

First bra

  • For the most accurate fit, it's best to get professionally measured. Our fitters can measure over your T-shirt and will recommend a few styles to suit your shape. Soft bras without underwiring are best for developing busts. As your shape changes, it's important to reassess which styles are the best fit for you

  • You can bring a female family member or a friend in with you if you want to

POST SURGERY BRAS

Our fitters are trained to measure and advise for post-surgery bras. These bras are often made from super-soft, breathable stretch fabric for optimal comfort and feature lined prosthesis pockets.

If you're having treatment that involves surgery, ensuring you have the right bra to support you is a good start on your journey to recovery.

Pre- and post-op

You may experience reduced movement and swelling, meaning a well-fitting bra is essential to your comfort immediately after treatment.

A comfortable bra…

  • Provides easy access for your consultants before and following the procedure
  • Avoids rubbing on sensitive scarring

 

The bra

Many women favour styles that are...

  • Seam-free, non-wired, open easily at the front or have drop cups, as these allow you to get in and out of the bra with the minimum of help
  • Stretchy but supportive and reach high under the arms and deep below the bust provide a secure fit

The Royce Silver post-surgery bra and the Royce Comfi-Bra offer an ideal level of support and comfort.

Following surgery: prostheses and reconstruction

The effects of surgery and radiotherapy can take some time to settle. Initially, you might be given a temporary cotton prosthesis until you’re ready for a permanent silicone one.

Permanent prostheses are measured by weight rather than cup size and are available in a range of shapes and weights.

  • Heart-shaped ones lend a good outline with strapless bras
  • Special swim prostheses are much lighter, but weighted to maintain shape

 

The bra

When being fitted for a prosthesis, it’s a good idea to wear a non-wired, non-padded bra to allow your consultant to accurately assess your shape.

  • The Royce range offers the Comfi-Bra and the Jasmine, which are specially designed to hold prostheses

After your operation, it’s recommended that you remain in a non-wired, super-soft seamless bra until any swelling and scarring has healed.

We offer a range of post-surgery bras that are specially adapted for women who’ve had mastectomies, with bilateral pockets, deep underbands and wings and wider straps.

These bras are good post-surgery options:

If you…

  • Would prefer to have a regular bra adapted to hold your prosthesis

Take a look at our pocketing service in store.

If you’re a DD cup or larger, we recommend that you request a flat pocket as it’s a better fit for a larger bust.

Long-term recovery and beyond

Even into your long-term recovery, once the scarring has healed and swelling has reduced, you may want to continue wearing non-wired or specialist post-surgery bras.

  • Non-wired bras have a specialist construction with rigid materials that provide you with extra support, so it’s important that you’ve healed inside and out before you return to wired styles

 

The bra

Everyone is different and as long as your natural breast and prosthesis are well supported, there’s no reason why you can’t wear whatever style you like.

  • Full cup bras that reach high on the chest can help cover scarring
  • Bras that have a pretty lace cup are perfect for creating the illusion of a lower cut, while keeping you supported and your prosthesis in place
  • Cups with trims on the edges add an extra dimension and look lovely worn under flowing tops and dresses

Some ideal bras for your recovery period:

If you feel ready for an underwired bra, there are a number of halfway points you can try, with some styles from Playtex featuring plastic supports.

Our tips:

  • Make sure wires are as flexible as possible
  • Avoid sensitive scar tissue with firm edges
  • Ensure the bra fully encompasses the natural breast
  • Be confident that it offers complete support before you commit

Post-surgery fitting: what to expect

Being fitted following surgery is very much like any bra fitting. We offer this service in all of our shops (except John Lewis at home shops); phone us or drop by to make an appointment with one of our experienced advisors. You can also see a fitting demonstration in our post-surgery bras video.


How long will it take?

The fitting may take a little longer than normal as we are committed to finding the right bra for you.

When can you fit me?

We can fit you for a bra immediately after surgery and in the first few months of your recovery, before you’re fitted for a prosthesis.

How will it feel?

The non-wired and post-surgery bras we stock will feel firmer than wired styles because the material used to make them needs to be more robust to provide you with the right level of support, so your size may differ.

We will fit you to the middle hooks if you’re trying on a Royce bra; the four sets of hooks create another band size and are ideal for adjustments.

How will you measure me?

We will always fit the bra to your natural breast rather than a prosthesis to ensure that you’re well supported. If you’ve had a double mastectomy, we’ll fit the bra to your underband measurement and prostheses. If you’ve had a reconstruction, we’ll fit to the larger breast.

When it comes to being measured, you’re welcome to keep your bra on or take it off. If you have limited shoulder mobility because of the type of surgery you’ve had, our Partners are there to help.

Do you have private changing rooms?

Our shops have individual, private fitting rooms, with some shops having discreet, slightly larger rooms specifically for post-surgery appointments. Please ask a Lingerie advisor in your local shop about the fitting facilities.

Shapewear

SHAPEWEAR

There's a shapewear solution to target almost any part of the body and to suit a number of outfits. With varying levels of control and coverage, here's an overview of your shapewear options.

If you...

Want to shape your tummy and hips...

Then Bodies & camisoles are best because...

  • They smooth the silhouette from bust to hips
Body and camisole

Want complete control from waist to knee or lighter, everyday sculpting...

Then a briefs and shorts are best because...

  • They feature panelling on the bottom and thighs for extra control
Briefs and shorts

Want full body sculpting...

Then slips and whole body shapewear are best because...

  • They give you control from bust to knee, ideal for special occasions
Slips and whole body

Want a bra to wear discreetly under tops and dresses...

Then strapless and  multiway bras are best because...

  • The band is wider for additional support. 
  • Optional straps can be placed in various positions so they aren't visible under clothing
Strapless and multiway bras

Want a defined silhouette on your lower half...

Then half slips, tights and leggings are best because...

  • They feature compression panelling on the bottom and hips
Half slips, tights and leggings

OWNING

Tips to look after your lingerie

    Do's

  • Always wash according to the care label to reduce garment damage and distortion
  • Close all fastenings before washing to avoid snagging
  • Use a lingerie bag when washing by machine
  • Wash similar garments together

    Don'ts

  • Don't use clothes pegs on the bra cup as this damages the foam
  • Don't fold or crush padded or moulded bras as this can distort the shape
  • Don't dry lingerie on a radiator
  • Don't tumble dry shapewear

VAT exemption and pocketing service

As part of our lingerie service, we provide pocketing on bras and swimsuits for women who’ve had breast surgery. You can choose from any suitable bra or swimsuit in our range and have one or two pockets added. This service usually takes around one week and the completed bras are returned directly to you. Our Partners will be happy to give you further advice.

If you’ve had a mastectomy or partial mastectomy, you’re eligible for VAT exemption on the cost of any product specifically manufactured as mastectomy wear.

  • All pocketed post-surgery bras, such as the Royce range, are automatically exempt from VAT
  • If you choose a standard bra and have a pocket fitted for a prosthesis, you can claim back VAT by completing a VAT Exemption form
  • The cost of having a pocket created is also exempt from VAT
  • Please note: if you choose to buy a standard non-wired bra and do not have it altered in any way, the product will not be exempt from VAT

If you purchase a bra from us in store, our Partners can guide you through the process of claiming VAT back. If you buy from us online, please contact our Customer Services team on 08456 049 049.