A tape measuring device for determining bra sizes has dimension
and size markings on both the outer and inner surfaces of the tape.
The dimension markings divide each surface by standard units and
subunits of length--typically inches. The size markings on the outer
surface allow the user to determine the proper band size for a bra
based on a single measurement, without the need for any additional
calculations. The size markings on the inner surface allow the user
to determine the proper cup and overall bra size based on the band
size determination and a measurement of circumference around the
bust, again without the need for any additional calculations.
What is claimed is:
1. A measuring device for determining bra size consisting of band
size and cup size for a bra comprising: a length of material, having
a first surface and a second surface; a first set of size markings
printed upon said first surface of said length of material, said
markings including a series of band sizes, each band size corresponding
to an underbust circumference and a torso factor; and a second set
of size markings printed upon said second surface of said length
of material, said second set of markings including a series of groups,
each group corresponding to an overbust measurement and comprising
a plurality of band sizes and associated cup sizes, said cup size
being associated with said band size as a function of overbust measurement.
2. The device of claim 1 wherein said markings printed upon said
first and second surfaces correspond with standard generally accepted
dimensions for band and bra size.
3. The device of claim 1 wherein said torso factor varies as a
function of underbust circumference.
4. The device of claim 1 wherein each said group comprises a column
having at least one row, said row including a marking for a band
size and a cup size.
5. A method for determining bra size consisting of a band and cup
size by direct measurement comprising the steps of: determining
a band size measurement by directly measuring the torso circumference
immediately below the breasts using a measurement tape having a
beginning, an inner side and an outer side, said band size measurement
being the torso circumference and a torso factor, said band size
is read from the outer side of the tape at the point where the beginning
of the measurement tape intersects the inner side of the measurement
tape; placing said measuring tape around the upper torso at the
apex of the breasts to determine the overbust circumference; said
inner side of the measuring tape lists size markings corresponding
to band and cup sizes, grouped by overbust measurement; wherein
the bra size is determined by finding said band size measurement
from within the band and cup sizes, grouped by overbust measurement,
at the point where the beginning of the measuring tape meets the
inner surface of the measuring tape, and reading said band size
measurement and cup size from the inner surface of the measuring
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to the field of measuring and testing
devices. More particularly, the invention relates to a measuring
tape and system for use in quickly and accurately determining bra
2. Brief Description of the Prior Art
Bra sizing is traditionally done by determining two specific values:
band size and cup size.
Band size, typically expressed in inches in the United States,
is conventionally determined first by measuring the circumference
around the wearer's torso immediately below the breasts (the "underbust"
measurement) with a conventional tape measure then adding several--typically
five--inches to arrive at the correct band size.
Cup size, typically expressed as a letter size, is conventionally
determined by first taking a measurement of circumference around
the wearer's torso at the "apex" or fullest part of the
breasts (the "overbust" measurement) then calculating
the difference between the apex or overbust measurement and the
band size. By standard practice, a difference of one inch corresponds
to an A cup, two inches to a B cup, three inches to a C cup, and
It can be seen that this traditional method of bra sizing is complicated;
the process often produces errors that result in improper size selection
and poorly fitted garments. Previous inventors have sought to address
this deficiency. A harness-type bust measuring apparatus having
an adjustable horizontal measuring tape or strip and at least a
pair of vertically disposed measuring tapes or strips trained through
the horizontal tape is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 2946125. However,
measurement of band, chest or torso size as necessary values to
be used in the determination of cup size is not done using this
device. Further, the device requires that it be worn by the user
while the measurement is being made, which can be inconvenient and
Another bust measuring apparatus known in the art has separate
measuring tapes for taking band size and apex measurements combined
into a single circular device. The device clips onto the center
back strap of a person wearing a bra. After band and apex measurements
are taken, cup size is found by lining up the appropriate values
found for band and apex into a "conversion wheel"--a type
of circular conversion table where the calculated value sought appears
in a cut out window when the corresponding band and apex dimensions
are lined up correctly on the face of the wheel--incorporated into
One side of the device.
While some of the complexity associated with bra sizing is alleviated
by allowing the user to determine bra size by "dialing"
the appropriate band size and apex measurements into the conversion
wheel once known, that device still requires the user to convert
the previously obtained band size and apex measurements in order
to arrive at the proper cup and bra size. Since this step requires
that the user not only remember the measurements taken, but also
to line up the corresponding measurements on the conversion wheel
correctly, the possibility for error still remains significant.
Further, the user is also required to wear the device on the center
of the back strap of their bra in order to obtain proper measurements,
which can make using this device more time consuming, awkward, and
uncomfortable to obtain bra size measurements than taking the same
measurements conventionally with a single flexible tape measure.
A method where bra size is determined by direct measurement of
the breast is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5965809. The method disclosed
determines cup size by directly relating it to measurement of the
circumference of each unclothed (bare) breast, with a single flexible
tape measure used to measure each breast laterally from the beginning
of one side of the breast mound to the parastemal area medially.
While this method takes some of the complexity out of bra sizing
by directly measuring the breast itself, several shortcomings are
The need for measurements of the bare breast may result in socially
awkward situations when another person is responsible for taking
the wearer's measurements, such as would commonly occur in a retail
setting, since many women would not feel comfortable having a "fit
specialist" put measuring tape to a bare breast in order to
obtain the required dimensions.
Self-measurement of the required dimensions can also be difficult
and inaccurate due to the awkwardness involved with having the wearer
keep the tape positioned in the right place around the bust while
taking the measurements; movement of the arms up or down can change
torso measurements, so even relatively small changes in arm position
can introduce significant error into the measuring process.
Additionally, a direct cross-measurement of the bare breast--regardless
of who does the measuring--may not always be an accurate means of
determining cup size. Since cup size is a function of capacity or
volume, two women may have different cross-measurements due to differences
in the position and shape of their bare (unsupported) breasts, but
actually require the same sized cup.
Further, even though the breast is measured directly, a conversion
calculation wherein a measurement of seven inches is converted to
an "A" size, eight inches to a "B" size, nine
inches to a "C" size, and so on, is still required, which
increases the potential for error.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
This invention provides a measuring device for determining bra
sizes comprising a length of material having an outer surface and
an inner surface.
In one embodiment, the outer or front surface of the measuring
device is used to determine an underbust measurement, and has a
set of sequential dimension and band size markings printed on it.
These markings divide the front surface by standard units of length
(typically inches and subunits thereof). Additional band size indicator
markings printed beneath the length markings on the front surface
allow the corresponding band size for each measurement to be read
directly from the front surface immediately after obtaining the
The inner or back surface of the measuring device is used to determine
cup size and overall bra size, and has a set of sequential dimension
and bra size markings printed on it. These markings divide the back
surface by standard units of length (typically inches and subunits
thereof). Additional bra size indicator markings printed beneath
the length markings allow the corresponding bra size to be read
directly from the back surface after first determining the proper
band size using the front surface as described above, then taking
a measurement of the apex circumference using the back surface.
The invention allows bra size to be determined quickly and accurately,
without the need for calculations or conversions using a single
measuring device to take two simple measurements. These and other
advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the description
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates a portion of an outer or front surface of a
measuring device in accordance with the intention;
FIG. 2 illustrates a portion of an inner or back surface of a measuring
device in accordance with the intention;
FIG. 3 is a sketch that illustrates proper location for taking
an underbust measurement for determining band size using the outer
or front surface of the measuring device; and
FIG. 4 is a sketch that illustrates proper location for taking
an apex measurement for determining cup and overall bra size using
the inner or back surface of the measuring device, in conjunction
with the previously determined band size.
The present invention will now be discussed, with reference to
illustrations of an embodiment of the measuring device, as it would
be used in the determination of bra size.
Bra size can be determined by using the outer or front side of
the measuring device to first determine band size and then using
the inner or back side of the measuring device to determine cup
and overall bra size.
With reference to FIGS. 1 and 3 band size is determined first
by measuring the circumference around the wearer's torso at position
10 immediately below the breasts (the "underbust" measurement)
with the outer or front side of the measuring device facing away
from the wearer's body. The measuring device should be drawn so
that the fit of the loop formed is snug around the torso without
being uncomfortable. The underbust circumference, preferably in
inches, can be obtained directly by reading the number from the
top line of markings on the front surface of the measuring device
at the point 11 where the starting point of the measuring device
intersects the inner surface of the device, closing the loop around
the torso. The band size, also preferably in inches, can be obtained
directly by reading the number from the second line of markings
on the front surface at the same point.
The conventional rule of thumb with respect to band size is to
add a "torso factor" typically about five inches to the
underbust dimension--the measured circumference around the wearer's
torso immediately below the breasts. However, experience has taught
that this rule overestimates the band size when used for larger,
"full figured" women. As a result, a more accurate, better
fitting band size for larger women is determined by adding a smaller
torso factor, typically three inches instead of five, to the underbust
measurement. The measuring device disclosed incorporates this feature
into the band size marking scheme, so that a smaller torso factor
is added to the underbust measurement to determine sizes for women
wearing a certain band size, preferably, approximately thirty-eight
or larger automatically, resulting in greater accuracy when determining
band dimensions for larger sized women.
With reference to FIGS. 2 and 4 cup size and overall bra size
can then determined using the inner or back surface of the measuring
device. With the inner or back surface facing outward away from
the body, the circumference of the wearer's torso at the apex or
fullest part of the breasts is taken at position 20. The apex or
overbust circumference 22 preferably in inches, can be obtained
by directly reading the number from the top line of markings on
the inner surface of the measuring device at point 21 where the
starting point of the device intersects the inner surface of the
device, closing the loop around the upper torso. In a column below
the overbust dimension the possible band and cup sizes are listed
which can be associated with any given overbust dimension. The cup
size is based on the difference between the overbust and underbust
dimensions. The bra size, as a number and letter combination (e.g.
34 B), can be read directly from one of the lines of markings directly
beneath the overbust number 22 at point 21 on the inner surface.
If no overbust measurements are printed on the band, the proper
bra size is determined by finding the proper band size at point
21 where the starting point of the device intersects the inner surface
of the device, closing the loop around the upper torso. The appropriate
bra size is obtained by locating the correct band size, previously
determined as described above, from within the group of bra size
markings in the column 23 directly beneath the correct overbust
measurement marking. Once the correct band size is found, the correct
bra size can then be read directly from the inner surface of the
For example, with the measurement device placed at location 10
the underbust measurement is read at location 11. If the underbust
measurement is thirty-seven inches that corresponds to a band size
of 40. Next the overbust measurement is performed. The measurement
device is placed at location 20 and the overbust measurement is
read at location 21. If the overbust measurement is forty-four inches,
24 the bra size will be chosen from the sizes in group 25 the
column beneath forty-four inches, 24. The exact size will be the
number and letter combination beginning with the previously determined
band size. In this example the correct bra size is 40D, designated
While the measuring device has been described as including linear
measurement markings on the first line of the measurement device
one skilled in the art would realize that the band and bra sizes
can be determined directly from the measuring device and no actual
circumference measurements are required. The linear measurement
markings are not necessary and could be omitted. Additionally, two
separate single-sided measuring devices could be used, a first measuring
device for the underbust measurement and a second measuring device
for the overbust measurement.
Although the present invention was discussed in terms of certain
preferred embodiments, the description is not limited to such embodiments.
Rather, the invention includes other embodiments including those
apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the scope
of the invention should not be limited by the preceding description
but should be ascertained by reference to the claims that follow.