Ladies, this is something you have to hear. Recently, like many women in the A Bra That Fits sub-reddit, I had an epiphany. It was a revelation that dramatically changed my life. I’ve been living my life in general discomfort because I was told by lingerie companies like Victoria’s Secret and La Senza that I was actually a size 32A or 34B, depending who measured me, when in reality I’m a size 28D. My entire bra-clad life up to this point has been one huge lie. It started from the age of 12 when I donned my first brassiere, and continued so long I just thought the way my bra felt and fitted was normal. IT’S NOT. Every woman needs to try this system, especially those of us suffering from back problems and other muscle pains related to your breasts.
My epiphany began when I got sick of twisting my bras in the middle because the cups were never close enough together for my boobs. I was looking for a company who made bras fitted for what I thought was my bizarrely misshapen breasts, and instead found this blog. I gave it a shot and was astounded. It now literally feels like I am not wearing a bra, and I am lounging in comfort on a daily basis. I have never felt so comfortable, and it looks great to boot. I didn’t even understand the discomfort I was in until I experienced the supreme luxury and look this new system provided.
What you need: A fabric measuring tape (or even a string that you can later measure in inches with a ruler, although this is less accurate) and, of course, your breasts!
1. Ignore all measurements that you’ve been given in the past. It doesn’t matter who told you or where you went, just try this and see what all the fuss is about. Even if you get a bra from a website or store that tells you not to measure in this way, just completely disregard their bra measurement advice; they only know what they’re told to tell you.
2. A Bra That Fits recommends you don’t wear a bra when measuring, but Thin and Curvy urges you to wear a completely non-padded bra and measure – use your judgement here. If the bra is squishing your breasts at all, take it off, but if you think you can get an accurate measurement wearing your most comfortable non-padded bra (this is what I did) then go for it.
3. Bend over (make sure you do this), upper body parallel to the floor, and measure first around your nipples and back. Check that the measuring tape is completely straight, not angled at all, so you’ll need to either look in a mirror or get someone else to tell you if it’s straight all around, and adjust where needed. I can’t stress enough that the tape must not be angled at all; it should be in the exact same point on your back as it is around your nipples. Think of an imaginary straight line going through your body that aligns the part around your back to the part around your breasts. Write this measurement down as Measurement A.
4. Next, measure directly under your breasts. This time, you can be standing upright, and the tape should be parallel to the floor. Again, make sure that the imaginary straight line going through your body would align the part of the tape around your front to the part of the tape around your back. This measurement should be snug but not snug enough to inhibit your breathing, because you need that to live. Write this measurement down as Measurement B.
5. Now break out the calculators! Subtract Measurement B from Measurement A, so that’s subtracting your under-breast measurement from your breast measurement. You will get a number, it can be 0 or it could be 6 or higher. If you get a negative number you either have concave boobs (????) or did the calculations in reverse, so try again. Each number starting from 0 is a cup size. It generally goes: A,B,C,D,DD,E,F,FF,G,GG, H,HH,J,JJ,K,KK, etc. However, it can change depending on the company and country you are purchasing from, so it doesn’t hurt to double check their sizing system – the company could list your potential size as either DDD or E for example. This, combined with your band measurement, is your new and improved, ACCURATE bra size.
STOP! DON’T PANIC!
You might be thinking something like “How can I be a D? I hardly have any boobs!” or “Does K even exist?” This revelation is also going to point out a huge bra-related misconception we have even as women who may wear the things every single day of our lives:
Cup size has nothing to do with the size of your breasts. The size of your breasts is actually relative to both your cup size and band sized combined. So for example, the cups in a 32A are the EXACT SAME SIZE as a 28C. 32A and 36AAA would also have the exact same cups. So this whole double D = big breasts thing is one big lie. The difference between bras with the same cups lies in the way the cups are proportioned and how large the band is, which was where it made a huge difference for me, because in my new bra the band is much smaller so the cups are made closer together.
Now that you’re basking in the light of this discovery, the next thing you’re probably thinking is where you can get a bra in your new size? There’s a few suggestions on Reddit, but all I did was google my bra size and found the best, most affordable options and pretty much violently threw my money at them. Depending on which end of the spectrum your measurement goes will dictate the best place for you to shop for a bra. Some companies don’t carry below C or D cups, and some companies don’t carry above C or D cups. It also helps to read reviews to see if the particular brand you’re buying comes in a small or large make. If people review it to be extremely large make, maybe it’s best to size down, and with a small make you would be wise to size up.
This new system that seems to be helping so many people has left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I found that I never inquired what these stores told me my size was and just assumed they were the experts, but my eyes have been completely opened after reading other women’s positive experiences with this method and then trying it myself. Why is it that when we get measured for a bra, they add 4-6 inches to our band measurements? Underneath my breasts I measure 28 inches, so WHY a I getting a size 32 or 34 band on my bra?
The answer is relatively unclear. The current system is extremely outdated and is apparently still going off of the mid-1900s system when bras were made with non-stretchy material, and hasn’t been updated since, because apparently nobody cares to do any in-depth research on something that would increase comfort and alleviate pain and back problems for millions of women. And did I mention breast reductions and augmentations? What if someone realized they didn’t need to go to those lengths just by wearing a bra that fits? This is when I got mad. Why is it that women are resorting to surgeries because companies like La Senza and Victoria’s Secret are refusing to change their system, despite the overwhelmingly positive response to this new method of measurement, not to mention armies of women complaining about back problems and other related muscle issues caused by breast size? The only reason I can think of is it would be much easier to force women into making decisions about invasive and expensive procedures like breast reductions and augmentations – or expensive specialists, medication, acupuncture and massage therapy – that are funded by anyone’s pocket besides theirs.
There are other more standard and obvious signs of an ill-fitting bra of course, as shown in the above image, but sometimes the signs are not so obvious. My cup alignment problem is one example, and an additional unmentioned sign is fat gathered underneath your armpit near where your bra usually begins which is actually the fat from your boobs being pushed under your arms from years of wearing the wrong sized bra. Mine is starting to shift back where it belongs since I revamped my bra-life. Another good tip that won’t go astray is how to put on a bra properly – even though you’d think after years or decades of wearing a bra you would know, you might be surprised!
You may not find your current bra particularly uncomfortable, but I didn’t think mine was either until I bought one measured under this more logical system. Most people don’t have a point of comparison, so they may have just adjusted to the discomfort over time and became accustomed to it. Other women just live their lives in obvious pain and discomfort because of their breast size and the lack of support a band 4 inches too big gives them. I urge every bra-wearing woman reading this to at the very least give it a shot – it’s something your body will probably thank you for.