I received so many comments on my post about adding 2 inches to your underbustmeasurement that I’ve decided to respond to them in a proper post as opposed to replying one by one. When I tallied them last night, there were 16 comments that agreed with my post, 16 comments that disagreed, and 21 comments that were neutral or somewhere in the middle.
A common thread in the neutral comments was that my +2 method will work for women in the 26-34 band size range, but that higher measurements (like 38 and up, though some people started this category at 34 or 36) often need to use +0 or size down. I think this makes sense in several ways—firstly, because more natural padding means a tighter band wouldn’t have the same discomfort problems as when it’s coming in contact with ribs. Secondly because as a band gets longer, it has exponentially more stretch. I do regret not mentioning this in my original post. I don’t know that I can take a specific viewpoint about it since it’s not my area of expertise, but it was a pretty big oversight to not mention those issues, so I’m sorry about that. Bands from 28-32 are really more what I was talking about; they often have very little stretch because a solid 2/3 of the length of the bra is the cups. I think people in this size range will often find increased comfort if they wear +2 from their firm measurement, unless they absolutely cannot in the case of very heavy breasts. In this case they may need to wear smaller bands, but until bands are made to be more comfortable, that’s not an ideal situation—it’s something you do if you have to, not something we should all do. Again, that was really what my point was.
Another topic that came up a lot is the tightness of measuring. I never thought of myself as measuring tightly, but having shown people photos of how tightly I measure, apparently I do use a fairly tight measurement. So this is the sort of tightness I was talking about adding 2 inches to.
I honestly believed that everyone measured like this because the tape measure falls down if it’s any looser, but I’ve learned that isn’t always the case. I believe this might clear up some of the issues of larger band sizes needing to size down too. When I mentioned compressing the body, I meant compressing skin and bone, not fat. Compressing fat isn’t painful in the same way that I am describing. The feeling of wearing a too-small bra band reminds me more of the feeling of wearing shoes that are too small for an entire day. It’s a very specific kind of pain.
I realize that I should have emphasized the fit issue over the number issue. The most important point I wanted to make was that you should only wear +0 if +2 doesn’t work, whereas lots of people on forums recently have been saying that you should only wear +2 if +0 doesn’t work. I think we should accept something different as the basic system—start with +2 and move to +0 if necessary—and move from that, as opposed to using +0 as a starting point.
For all the people saying they use +0 because their band rides up with +2, that was still allowed for in the system I laid out, in which I said you should wear the largest band that doesn’t ride up, so we are not necessarily in disagreement. I just think people whose band is secure at +2 should stick with that and not go down to +0.
So in the spirit of science, here are images of me trying every band size from 28 (+0) to 38 (+10).
The 28 band fastens. It gives a lot of support, but more support than is necessary at the expense of comfort, and it compresses my ribs.
This reminds me of the look a lot of people seem to favor. It’s a little hard to fasten on the loosest hook, but I can also get it onto the tightest hook. The underwires are distorting a bit as the bra tries to gain more elasticity. You can see that I get a bulge at the top as well as the bottom.
Here’s another 28 band.
The hooks are pulling out—not normal. This shouldn’t happen with a good fit.
Here’s a 30 band.
This is pretty normal-looking to me. In my opinion, this is what a bra band that fits should look like—I do get little dimples at the bottom of the band, but it doesn’t give the image of an almost corset-like compression as the 28 band does.
This is a 32-band Panache Tango.
The band on the Tango runs pretty small in my experience, so this is actually a pretty good fit on me. As you can see, I’m starting to get a little curve of riding up in the back middle of the band, but the sides are stable. If my boobs were just a little less heavy, I would probably love to wear a size like this.
Here’s a 32-band Freya swimsuit.
It rides up a little. I wouldn’t wear it for a full day because of the slight riding up, which decreases support, but it works great for sunbathing because the little dimples from the band cutting in have diminished in this size. I’m not active when I go to the beach so I can get away with this. I still believe some people can comfortably wear a band that is 4 inches bigger than their tight measurement, but it’s probably going to be smaller-busted women who are most comfortable doing so.
This is the band size Victoria’s Secret would put me in, 34. I've modeled it with a Panache bra, though, to make sure that major brand differences don't come into play. Here’s where it starts to ride up to the point that I lose some meaningful support. (And yes, the cups are too small on this bra. It's not mine.)
A bra band in this size is way too big for me, and I think +6 will result in a band that is too big for just about everyone. A lot of larger-busted people who haven’t had their bra epiphany yet are wearing a band size that’s six inches bigger than their measurements because in an A-DD store that’s usually the only way you can get a cup size to fit. As you can see in the difference between my +6 (34 band) and +4 (32 band), going down even one band size will make a HUGE fit different to these women.
You gotta admit though, the +6 (34-band) totally gets rid of my back bulges! But it creates waaaay too many problems in the front for that to be worth it.
I don’t have a 36 band bra anymore, so I’ve added an extender to the 34 to create a 36 band.
As you can see, the band starts to ride up pretty absurdly at this size. My purpose in showing this level of riding up is to distinguish between what I consider a pretty decent fit in +4 (the 32-band, which is just a little big on me) and the way fit totally collapses with a band that is truly too large.
Just for kicks, I added a second extender to the 34 so it now mimics a 38 band. I probably don’t need to say much about this one as the image speaks for itself!