You read my introduction to bras but it probably didn’t help you out much. Let me say that I am a newbie when it comes to bras and fittings but I have learned a lot in a few months. There are woman out there who are experts when it comes to lingerie, many can be found at Bratabase.
There are endless topics and areas of bra fitting that I could cover in depth but I will try to brush on them all in this post.
Majority of Women are Wearing the Wrong Size Bra
It’s a fact that most women are in the wrong bra; but why? I think most of the blame belongs to bra manufacturers and fitters. If you go into any store, like Walmart or Target, you will generally find bras from 32A to maybe 38DDD or larger. You probably won’t find a 32DD or anything past a D.
Fear not! Bras don’t end at D and a DD cup isn’t always huge. But we will get into more of that later. Because companies only make bras in a handful of sizes you are forced into wearing them because that’s what is available.
The Plus Four Method
Another reason we have the wrong size bra on is because of archaic fitting methods. Created in the 30s, you were to add four or five inches to your underbust measurement to get your bra band size. This was because lycra spandex had yet to be invented and bras in those days did not stretch.
Today, we have stretchy bands so they need to fit snug around the rib cage. Therefore, the +4 method is obsolete yet most bra fitters still use this method. Your bra band size should be the same size as your underbust or only an inch bigger. It does get more complicated than that sadly.
Have I Been Wearing the Wrong Size?
If you band rides up your back, your breasts fall out from under the cups, and your bra moves around your ribcage through out the day then your band is too big. If the center gore is not lying flat against your sternum, the wires are sitting on breast tissue, or you have double boob then your cups are too small. You may even find that after you get into a well-fitting bra that you need to go up in the cup because all of your breast tissue is being contained and the band is firm around you.
By wearing the wrong size bra you can damage your breast tissue and cause migration, sending your boobs to your armpits and back. This is reversible and once you start wearing a good fitting bra your breasts will migrate back. You might also find you no longer have back pain or quit slouching once you change sizes.
Just see the difference the right size makes!
You can see the shape is very flat and droopy in the before photo. There is no lift and I’m not getting any support. It’s easy to tell the difference in the after; the boobs are more rounded and being lifted and supported. In the very top photo, you can see my chest is much higher in the right size bra. I actually have a figure!
How to Measure Yourself
It’s easy to measure your own bra size with a soft measuring tape and a mirror. You will want to do so naked, of course. When measuring your band size, place the tape directly under your breasts, where the band would sit. You should pull it tightly and make sure it is parallel all the way around. I measure 28″ and that is my band size. I sometimes wear a 30 band if I know the bra runs right in the band.
Next you will bend over and measure your bust. The tape measure should go over the fullest part of your chest, usually the nipples. Don’t pull it tight, this measurement should be loose. My measurement is 35″ to 36″ inches. Putting your numbers into one of these fine calculators will give you a general idea of your size. My result is anywhere from 28FF to 30F.
But I’m a Curvy Lady
A common misconception is that larger women automatically need bigger bands. This is simply not true. Usually those with squishier ribs will need a tighter band while an athletic woman might opt for a size larger because she doesn’t have enough buffer on her ribs. Just because you have curves doesn’t automatically put you in 40 bands! There are many different shaped women who also wear 28 and many are larger than I am.
So You’ve Got the Size
It may be daunting at first; you may even deny that you could be a 32H or something of the sort. Lots of people assume a DD cup is huge! The cup size is relative to the band size. There are also sister sizes in bras; a 34B has the same cup volume as a 32C and a 30D. A 28DD bra will have much smaller cups than a 34DD. So just because you are a DD or GG doesn’t really mean much until you add a band size to it.
Bra Styles and Breast Shape
Now that you have a basic idea of sizes to browse for you should think about a style that will work for you. This takes a lot of trial and error, even to find the correct size. As you remember I thought I was a 30DD before a 28FF.
I’ve found that balconettes and demi bras work best for me; bras that are open on top such as the Masquerade Rhea. Full coverage styles tend to not work for me but will be better for women who are full on top.
I could get into detail about breast shape but I’ll save that for another day.
Where Can I Find These Sizes?
You won’t be able to run into J.C. Penney and find a 28GG bra (or even a 30DD). Unless you live near a high end department store such as Nordstrom or Dillard’s you will need to go to the internet. You may not like the idea of buying before trying but it’s a sacrifice we make for well-fitting bras. Many ladies of the community will order several bras of the same style in different sizes and return the non-fitters.
You will most likely not find much in “odd” sizes within the U.S., even online. It’s a good idea to turn to U.K. based stores. But keep in mind the difference between US and UK sizing (a UK 28FF is a US 28H). Most sizes will be UK based. Even eBay is a good bet to find your size. I often find great deals on bras there. You can also score great bras from other ladies; Bratabase has lots of listings of bras.
Once You Have a Bra
You may find the band uncomfortable now that it is snug and close to your body. Stick it out and you will usually forget all about it and find that it is much more pleasant than a band that is sliding around all day. It should fit firmly on the loosest hooks; once it stretches you will move onto the middle hook. I never knew that’s why bras had three sets of hooks!
You’ll also have to start doing the swoop and scoop. The proper way to put on your bra is to bend over and hook it in the back. A lot of you will want to hook it in the front and twist it around. You can, but it will stretch out your band quicker. Still bent over, put your arms into the straps and adjust yourself.Time to swoop and scoop! I’ll use your left boob has an example. Using your left hand, hold the underwire/side of the bra. Take your right hand and scoop from your armpit/side area up and into the cup. Release the undewire while still holding your tissue. You should now have all of your tissue in the cup. At this point you will know if your cups are too small.
Hopefully I was able to enlighten you somewhat on the world of bras and their vast sizes. If you have large breasts, small breasts, shallow breasts, or soft breasts: there is a bra for you! You don’t need to hate your boobs; it’s the bra, not you.
I feel like I barely touched on a lot of topics and information so please ask questions about anything and I will help the best I can! This is only the first of boob related articles. Soon, I will be doing some bra reviews. Please let me know what to write about next, what you had trouble understanding or would like to learn more about!