In the past few weeks, I’ve read a bunch of articles in which we can see that the bra blogosphere has begun to infiltrate popular media, and it seems to really confuse people. See, for instance, this Jezebel article "Are Bras From Outer Space? Why Can't We Figure Out Bras?" The article was followed up as well.
The New York Times also recently ran an article about Jockey. I have to say the media blitz surrounding this frustrates me a little. Jockey is not a brand that I am super familiar with because it’s not one of the brands that’s ACTUALLY been quietly working towards better sizing for years. Okay, they created a new sizing system. Cool. But Freya, Panache, Curvy Kate have been doing it for years without ever getting this kind of exposure. Still, it's good to see bra sizes getting more exposure--one woman mentioned in the article wears a 32H, and there's no backhanded comment about that being a "huge" size. I'll try to find out more about how the Jockey sizing performs on larger cup sizes when I have more time on my hands.
But most frustrating are articles I'd characterize as "backlash." Check out this one: "Stop Telling Us We're Wearing the Wrong Bra Size."
It really upsets me when people seem to believe that proper bra fitting is “a scam” designed to fool women and drive sales. By all means, if you truly believe this is all a big marketing scam, just continue to wear the size you’re wearing—if you’re happy enough in a size that you're unwilling to question it, then I’m going to respect you enough to believe that it is a size that works for you. But you also have to accept that tons and tons and tons of people have NEVER had the privilege of feeling like that. When your boobs are actually too big for the standard 32-38 A-DD sizes, and you’ve tried on hundreds of bras and maybe found two that sort of work if you readjust constantly throughout the day, you’re going to be pretty predisposed to be open to questioning your size. Before I got fitted properly, my ill-fitting 36C didn’t really feel right. I didn’t BELIEVE in my heart that I could be bigger than a C, but when I read an article in Oprah suggesting that I go down a band size and up a couple cup sizes, I switched to a 34DD because I knew something was wrong. I was pretty sure that was the right size for me, but I still could hardly ever find a bra in that size that fit, because I was convinced that most bras just sucked. (That’s a symptom, folks! If you think bras suck, try a radically different size.) So then I allowed my friend to drag me to a bra boutique, which fitted me into a 30GG. Boom, life made sense. No more constant readjustment. It’s not a scam. Some people really do need sizes that are not served by mainstream companies.
As always, I enjoyed seeing the author of the backlash article get lampooned in the comments by like-minded souls:
"Maybe you're just cranky because your bra doesn't fit. Adding inches to determine band size is outdated and inaccurate."
"This is the dumbest thing I have ever read. I imagine the author does not have large breasts. The difference between a proper fitting bra and an ill-fitting bra is night and day if you have large boobs. The reason why so many women are wearing the wrong size is because the lingerie industry tries to squeeze women into a limited number of sizes so they don't have to stock large numbers of sizes. Many women don't even realize a better fitting size exists… The reason people need to keep hearing about this stat is because too many women think a bra is SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable and painful at the end of the day and they are NOT."
"A correctly fitting bra does so much more than "make elements of your life pleasant"! It improves posture, can improve the shape and firmness of the breast both in the bra and out, should not cause discomfort or chafing unlike the wrong size... it can heal decades-long insecurity issues about your breasts. It's all-around better for a woman physically and emotionally to wear the right size bra. It absolutely IS a revelation when you find a perfect bra. It seems you are yet to find your right size... when that happens, you will know what we all mean by "revelation".
Please don't write an arrogant article about something which you know nothing about."
Please don't write an arrogant article about something which you know nothing about."
--And yes, by the way. Getting the right bra fit can reverse aging because your boobs will get better shaped and less saggy when you’re no longer smashing them down against your chest in cups that are nine sizes too small. They’ll recover from the damage over time.
But I do understand that for your average woman who has never been exposed to bra fitting, it can be kind of confusing. I think the confusion often stems from the band size issue which so many bloggers (including me, of course!) are passionate about. But the biggest issue for people in the G+ range (especially those who don’t know yet that they are in that range) is really CUP SIZE. Going down a bunch of band sizes will accomplish nothing in terms of fit UNLESS the cups are big enough. If anything, sizing down in the band before you find big enough cups will make small cups seem even smaller, and make the subject even more confused.
So if you don’t have a clear idea on what size you are, you’re reading blogs and think 36DDD might not really be your size—focus first on cups. When you finally try on a bra with cups big enough, you will realize, if you haven't already, why bra fitting is so important to women in the blogosphere. And then, with that figured out, you can go down in the band until it feels stable and doesn’t ride up.
Here are the signs that you need a bigger cup size. Keep going up, up, up until ALL of these disappear!
1. Obvious visual signs like a bulge where the bra meets your boobs.
2. When you press the center gore (the part between the cups) flush to your body, the cups start to seem smaller, even if they “fit” otherwise.
3. You’re wearing the largest size you can *find* because it’s the largest size you could find, rather than because the next size up was too large.
4. You have to readjust or tuck your boobs back in often throughout the day.
5. When you reach into the bra and lift your boobs up into the cups, the cups suddenly seem smaller. This process is called “swooping and scooping” and is meant to make sure all your breast tissue is inside the bra cups.
6. Your boobs look or feel somehow out of proportion, like they don’t really match your body. This is a more personal one for me, and I’ve heard other women mention feeling like this as well before they got into big enough cups. Wearing too-small cups, especially with a too-big band, can cause your boobs to sit lower on your body, which can obscure your waist and make you feel like your body is hidden.
7. If you feel like your boobs are a huge hassle and are kind of taking over your life—try bigger cups!
To ensure that you’ve found the proper size, keep going up until you find a cup size that is too big and wrinkles even after you scoop everything in and adjust the straps. Once you’ve found a cup that’s too big, try one size smaller. That’s your cup size!
As for band size, try measuring your underbust. Add 2 to that measurement if you prefer a less-tight band, add 0 if you want a tight band. Voila, that's your band size. If you change your band size after figuring out your cup size, remember that every time you go down a band size, you have to go up a cup size to get the same cup volume, because cups are proportional to bands. This limited conversion chart will help you get the idea. (E is the same as the American size DDD.)
What if you are at the top of the range for nearly all brands, and are having a hard time finding large enough cups? Most of the brands I have seen that go to an L or M only do so in small band sizes, which means as a 38 that even if I got one of these sizes and used an extender, it might still be too small in the cups.ReplyDelete
I agree that is definitely an issue that needs addressing, and we need bigger cup sizes in more bands to better serve the market. I was more aiming this article toward those who are completely new to bra fitting and are wearing DD cups and so on--hence why I didn't specifically mention that issue.Delete
34FF-G fits one side, other side is a 34F. Big side really is better in a G, plus grr, I'm not going buying crazy because I know I've got migrated tissue from stuffing into a 38 cheap compression no cup sports bra for years.ReplyDelete
But, biggest grrrrrrrrrrrr - that 34 band. It's tight but mostly comfortable in my three Curvy Kate's. Once I tack the pokey bottom edge up, they're fine. Nice and level across my back on the loose hook. 32 right now just isn't close to closing, plus my migration is to the sides, I really don't have anything to push up, it's in from my armpits and back. But 34 in Freya and Cleo are uncomfortably tight, yet pull up horribly in back, then jab me with the wires.
If I'm slouching something awful, I'm at 35.25 inches. If I sit up straight, I'm at 34 even. If I stand up straight, I go to 33.75. I do not have rib padding. Despite being heavier, I'm just "sturdy". Even at scary low body fat, I wear 12 in pants.
So, I visited the specialty store. Still only found two bras that fit, so I bought one of one style and two of the other. Still feels like I'm beating my head into a wall. If not for the tissue migration, I'd just get more bad sports bras.
I think the problem with your Freya and Cleo bands isn't the tightness--it's the terrible angle they put their bands at. So even if it's the right size or even too tight, it will still sit at an angle like it's riding up, because that's just how it's sewed onto the cups. Drives me CRAZY! It's especially bad with Cleo.Delete
I'm glad you found some bras that work for you. Don't give up! Bras with some stretch in them, like Panache Andorra (which has a much nicer, lower band than most Panache) can really help with fitting asymetrical boobs. Panache Jasmine also has a stretchy top of the cup, but I haven't tried that one so I'm not sure what the band and wires are like.
The Andorra was really odd on me. I think the issue was more related to how my boobs fill a cup. Andorra looked like I was sagging badly, by the time I got something big enough, I wasn't close to filling the top. The band was ok, the Curvy Kate line however was nicer.Delete
Jasmine was vile. It had a very, very tight band, I had to go to a 36 to close, and then the fitter couldn't get her hand under at all. But it pulled up horribly in back, and the wires were too high.
The Tango II actually fit pretty nicely, but the store didn't have any in the model and color I wanted, in my size.
I got the Smoothie in their nude and black, and an (I think) older Thrill me in aqua. I trimmed the top ruffle off, it's perfect. Just hoping those will fit in my final size. Smoothie in 34G, Thrill Me in 34FF.
I agree with you about Freya bands - but those Cleo ones fit me very well! Just goes to show how every shape needs something unique.Delete
"40F=38FF=36F=34GG=32H=30HH=28J" -> the 36F should be 36G ...ReplyDelete
I think there's a typo in your chart. The cup for the 36 band in the top row should be a G, not an F.ReplyDelete
Am I the only one who finds theres a bit of a job between sister sizes I wear a 28GG or a 30G if its tight enough but I find I volume wise I fit 32F/34E/36D/DD/38C/D is that normal? I am deffinetly a 28GG however? (Btw love the blog)ReplyDelete
No sister sizes doesn't remotely work for me eitherDelete
I love this post - not least of all because it completely encapsulates my own perspective on the plethora of backlash posts I've read lately. What is it about Jezebel? I've been reading that blog for years (and it really is the model for Joan of Snark) but it seems to be getting ever more miserable and sarcastic about everything lately.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for the information on band/cup size. The next time I go bra shopping I'm going to try on a 36DD or 34E and see what happens! This was a very helpful post!ReplyDelete
Slightly off topic, but I just watched a Herroom video and saw they were using your method sortofReplyDelete
Last time I checked they were doing the +4 thing o.O
I actually had a close friend accuse me of lying to her when I told her that I had finally bought a bra that fit me and it was a 30F. Since we're roughly the same size cupwise she thought that because she was a 36DD I had to be a 30DD. Tried to explain the down a band size/up a cup size thing to her but she was still skeptical. Great to see that I wasn't crazy after all :)ReplyDelete
Hey, I just had a question. Do you happen to know where I can find a chantelle 1660 bra? Please let me know, thanks so much.ReplyDelete
I am so glad to have found this blog. No, proper fitting is not a scam. I was fit into a proper size about 5 years ago and life has never been the same. My wrath is reserved for stores like Victoria's Secret who purposely size you into the bra sizes they have. This happened to me. For years I wore a 36DD because that is what the woman at Victoria's Secret fitted me into. That is also the largest size they have. I suspect she was doing this so she could sell me a bra or several. Perhaps this is where the scam thinking comes from. Several years later I went to get fit and was put into a 32H or 34G. That was in 2008. After ordering some 32H bras online that didn't fit, I went for new measurements today and am now 32I or 34H. My biggest problem is that I literally can't afford my boobs. :) Fuller figure bras are expensive. Where have you had luck finding affordable bras? Because of cost I have never really owned more than four bras. I actually found your blog after Goggling "How many bras should I own." I went to Macy's this afternoon and the frustration of not being able to find a bra that fit reminded me of why I never go bra shopping. The only place I have ever gone is a speciality boutique where I've paid $60 or more for one bra. The ones I own are old and stretched and are not serving me well anymore. I was wearing Le Mystere and Chantelle. I have a Freya bikini that I love, but have never worn their bras. Sorry this is so long, just glad to find some fuller busted sisters who understand. Thanks!ReplyDelete
For affordable bras, check online! Asos has free shipping to the US, but uses a weird conversion to "US Sizes" so double check my conversion chart (http://brasihate.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-quick-note-about-buying-bras-from-asos.html). Brastop.com has a lot of great sales so you can find bargains, but shipping is from the UK so you can end up losing a bit of money if you have to return. Largecuplingerie.com has free international shipping and a good sale/outlet section and has mostly Freya/Fantasie bras and swimwear available. Figleaves is another good place, as they sometimes have very reasonable prices on fashion colors (not always though) and if you sign up for their emails you'll get a 20% off code emailed to you once in a while, which can help a lot. Finally, check eBay! There are tons of reputable sellers that sell Brand new with tags bras on there. Just search "Bra 34H" (or whichever size you want) and set your search parameters to "Worldwide". Then sort by Price Lowest-Highest! Lots of the sellers accept returns, just check their policy before you order.Delete
I am new to your blog. Love it, btw. My thoughts exactly on the whole larger chest/bra buying experience. I have a few questions. I'm in the US, but I can't figure out if you're in the US or the UK. And do you have a conversion chart for sizes?ReplyDelete
I don't know if my last comment went through bc I wasn't logged in. I'm new to your blog. I love it. I have a couple questions. I'm in the US, but I can't figure out if you're in the US or the UK. And do you have a conversion chart? Thanks!ReplyDelete
I'm in the US, but I use UK sizing because it is currently the only really reputable system of sizing and is used by all the brands that go to higher cup sizes. There is no real unified standard of "US Sizing" so UK sizes are definitely more logical to use at this point. However, in my post on ASOS (http://brasihate.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-quick-note-about-buying-bras-from-asos.html) you can see my best attempt at a conversion chart for those sites that do use US sizing.Delete
Hi! First of all, I love your blog. I'm new to the real bra sizing world and I am super happy I found all of you girls, you're being really helpful. :) I know it's been over a month since a reply was left in this thread, but I just have a question about cup sizing and I figured this was the best post to write it on.ReplyDelete
I found out I'm comfortable in a 34G band, but I really need to go up at least one cup size. Do I try changing just to a 34GG (probably even H) or should I also change the band size? I understand the sister size concept regarding band sizes, but my brain isn't woking it out on cup sizes. (I'm using UK sizing although I'm Spanish. Sorry for any mistakes in my writing BTW) THANKS A MILLION!!
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I love chantelle bras but I've recently been trying to find chantelle bras on sale. Does anyone know where I can find some?ReplyDelete
With 6 & 7, I am in the correct size. But my boobs can look out of proportion if I'm not careful about matching shirt to bra. I gave up and marked tags with different markers - bra Granimals or whatever that children's clothing line is. It's from build, my boobs start pretty high up, but I'm FOB. If I wear anything that shoves me high, I can't wear any top lower than my collarbones or I'm all boob. Which has it's time and place, but not daily.ReplyDelete
But, they do impact my life. I wear a small band with big cup (32HH/J) and those are hard to find. So, I have to buy pricey bras THEN fix them. Some lines that claim big boob friendly have such poor design concepts, I can't go near. Most UK lines are annoyingly shallow at times. Curvy Kate is hideous for that, then uses bad support fabric so I slump down during the day. Hello, these are heavy, support shouldn't be a game. Next is the blasted 2 hooks. My dream world would outright ban those. Even in my friend who has small boobs (34B with proper measurements) gets weird rolls and lumps, then straps have to work too much. Cleo has adorable bras, all with 2 hooks, so I don't have that option.
Now with my $70 bra, I need big boob friendly tops. But purchasing is impossible because I'm 6'3". So, back to fixing everything. Which is expensive and a lot of time.
Now add in regular chiropractic appointments. Because the straps holding up 15% are still digging in, even if they do 5%, straps dig. Plus, the straps frequently are in the exact same spot. So my neck and upper back are pulled off all the time.
So, yeah, they've been in control for a while. Well fitting bras are actually more. In a 44D, I could buy cheap bras in most stores. I could find shirts that didn't gap, rather they all closed. Granted, those were 2X and I wear a small or medium now. Fit was bad, but it was simple.
Hi Darling! the girls at Double Scoop appreciate your blog and want you to know that we have a bra gap filler... for those days when you're feeling a little extra sassy... check it out at www.double-scoop.com. mwah...ReplyDelete