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Everything You Never Knew You Needed To Know About Bras

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm about to get as girly as this blog has ever been, guys, so fellas? Yes, you - I know you're out there! Yeah, look, unless you're a guy who likes reading about lady boobs and lingerie, you may want to skip this one. Although I promise to throw in some fun geeky bras every now and then, just to keep it interesting:


Handpainted Starfleet Uniform Bra, $35 from SceeneShoes

See?

Ok, so, the other night I was following a rabbit trail of web links - like you do - and I ended up on this fascinating Reddit forum about bras. And when I say "fascinating," I mean I stayed up until 3AM reading, because holy WOW how did I not know this stuff before?

You know how you always hear that something like 90% of women wear the wrong size bra? I'd heard that, too, but never thought much of it. Sure, my bra straps were constantly falling down and the wires were always jabbing me in the sides and I'd been convinced I was just shaped like a mutant for most of my life, but GOSH DARN IT I WAS ONE OF THE 10% GETTING IT RIGHT. Right?

Wrong.

Did you know that a bra's cup size changes with its band size? So a 34D's cup is a fraction of the size of a 40D's cup? This seems blindingly obvious now, but I promise you I HAD NO IDEA. I think I've just been programmed since my Barbie-playing days that D = ginormous boobs, so I never bothered to think beyond that.

"MARVEL-OUS in Black" Bra, $65 from MeganElizabeth31

More stuff I learned:

- There are something called "sister sizes," or bra sizes that hold equal amounts of mass. For example, a 34D is roughly equal to a 36C, in as far as how much boobage mass they will hold. Here's a handy visual guide of sister sizes, plus other band-to-bust ratios:


It took me about five solid minutes of staring at that graphic to make any sense of it, but once you get it, it's great info to have  - especially if you're in-between band sizes like me.

- If you bend at the waist to adjust yourself with the "scoop & swoop" method, you can INSTANTLY become at least a full cup size bigger. (Hit that link for some impressive, NSFW before-and-after photos.) I tried this, and I can assure you: it totally works.

- There are generally two kinds of breast shapes: full-on-top and full-on-the-bottom. If you're full-on-the-bottom like me, you may have been fooled into thinking a bra's cup size was too large for you, simply because it gaped at the top like so:


NOT SO. Some bras are simply made to fit full-on-the-top ladies, while others fit full-on-the-bottom or both shapes. Head over to Bras I Hate for the whole post explaining the two shapes, plus plenty of helpful visuals like that one.

This next one is one of my favorite bits:

- A lot of armpit flab and folds are actually breast tissue being smashed upward by an ill-fitting bra. Ditto for back folds. So a properly fitted bra could actually eliminate some or all of your arm flab and back folds. (Great example in the 3rd set of photos here.)

Here's the most important take-away, though:

- The vast majority of women are wearing bras that are too big in the band size, and too small (by far) in the cup size.

So after reading this excellent and easy guide for measuring yourself, I decided to measure myself. (It's just two measurements - easy peasy.) Then I plugged in the numbers to the bra calculator she links to and did a quadruple take. Then I went back and measured myself again because there was NO WAY I was the size it claimed. Then I did the numbers manually, using the graph in the same post. Same results.

After the third measuring & calculating I finally gave up and decided to just go bra shopping. The proof is in the pudding, right? (Or in this case, the padding?)

Ok, so now let's get nitty-gritty, girls. LET'S TALK NUMBERS.

For the past few years I've been bumping up my band size, even though my weight has been the same. I could tell something wasn't fitting, what with the wires jabbing me and the gore* floating off my chest, but since I've never had much in the tracts of land department, I figured the band size was the only thing I could increase. So, I went from a 36B to all 38Bs.

[*Technical term! That's the bridge between cups at the front. See? I told you I learned stuff!]

Today I brought home 4 new bras that fit me just about perfectly. They're way more comfortable than my 38Bs, and they look about a million times better, too. Guess what size they are?  

34D.

34 FREAKING D, you guys. And on some of those the cups are a smidge too small, but YOU try finding a 34DD at Ross or Marshall's. (The calculator actually tried to tell me I need a DDD, but since I'd have to order those online I think I'll start with these and reassess in a few months. According to the forum I might need a larger cup size then due to tissue migration, anyway.)

How did I go from a 38B to a 34D? Simple. I put the bra on, bent at the waist, and scooped and adjusted until everything was up front and in place. Then I stood upright and goggled at my new found acreage.

Believe it or not, I really was adjusting each time I suited up in my bras before - but not with the bending-at-the-waist, "scoop & swoop" method. That part is totally key. Turns out gravity is a powerful ally!

You're probably thinking I can't breathe in my new bras, or that they're tight enough to make a Victorian lady gasp. Nope! They're snug, sure, but I can easily fit several fingers under the band. I actually measure exactly 35 inches, so I have to wear the 34s on the last hook - but that's good! See, another thing I learned: you should always buy bras that fit on the *last* hook, so you have room to tighten them as they stretch out over time. Again, that seems so obvious now - so why wasn't I doing it before?!

(Because of the sister-sizes thing, I also picked up two 36C bras. They only fit on the tightest hooks, so they won't last as long as the 34Ds, but they're great for now.)

Another benefit of the smaller bands: there's not as much weight on my shoulder straps. I'm hoping that means the straps won't be falling down as much, although only time will tell.


 Rapunzel Bra Top, $48 by ElectricAveCreations

(I'm not usually one for frilly bras, but seriously: How cute is this?)

Ok, ladies, so now it's your turn: Go measure yourself using this post as a guide. DO IT. Do it now!! Then go try on whatever bra size the post's calculator or graph tells you to.

When you first try the new size on, it will feel too tight in the band and too big in the cup. DON'T PANIC. Just bend and scoop, baby! YEAH! (Sorry. Austin Power's moment.) And don't be surprised if your cups runneth over once you straighten up again!

Believe it or not, I've only scratched the surface of bra anatomy, so you should really head over to that forum, A Bra That Fits, to explore and learn more for yourself. Check the sidebar for all the basics and more helpful guides like what I've listed here. Then go learn about tissue migration, shallow breasts, how to spot a proper fit, and all the rest! I'm telling you, there's at LEAST enough there to keep you reading 'til 3AM.

Oh, and if you're curious how John feels about all this, let's just say he's the one who told me I HAVE to write this post, as a service to all mankind. Ha! He was as skeptical as I was initially, but after seeing my new sizes he's allll smiles.

Please share your own experiences/knowledge in the comments, ladies, and let me know if that measurement system works for you! Also, HUGE shout-out to all the lovely contributors and moderators at A Bra That Fits. I'm not a Redditor, so I'll just say it here: You guys rock! Thank you!

Posted by Jen at 11:30 AM Labels: , , ,

514 comments:

  1. holy WOW
    thank you jen!
    i ran to measure as soon as i read this, and now i have to go bra shopping!

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  2. Great post! i would strongly urge everyone to visit a lingerie boutique, especially one that is staffed by the owner. I had been shopping all over the place and had been measured by employees at several different mall stores and still was uncomfortable. I finally stopped at Queen's Lair in Knoxville, TN and she took one look at me and told me my size. My jaw dropped at the number but she was spot on. I haven't worn anything else since (although it does suck that my bras cost more than any other article of clothing I wear).

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  3. I was recently professional sized - so I assumed mine would be OK - but using the method described I am 1 band too high and 3 cup sizes too low. If that is correct I will be heading back to the 'professional' for a refund on the bras I bought from her a few weeks ago.....

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  4. Jen, you are so awesome! We love you so much for stuff like this. Also, that first bra is the best.

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  5. Bras that fit are amazing - going from a 36DD to a 30G or H almost entirely got rid of my roommate's back problems.
    Places like Victoria's Secret will pretty much always tell you that you're a size that they sell. Find a store that specializes in a broad range of sizes and get a proper fitting instead. Intimacy is a decent US chain with a pretty broad range of locations, or use Google to see what else is around. If you happen to be in or near Madison, WI, Contours Lingerie is amazing.

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  6. If you have a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack near you, they carry all the way up to 46 K. As a 38 HH (who'd been trying to stuff herself into 42 DDDs for far too long), I can tell you it's really nice to be able to go into a store to try things on instead of ordering online and hoping it fits. Also, you should know that the elastic in bras only lasts about 6 months, so if you find one you love, buy several.

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  7. I did the same thing. I was wearing the totally wrong size. I went to a Warner outlet store and happened upon a wonderful lady who looked at me and knew I was getting the wrong sizes. She did a little measuring and came up with a band a size smaller and cups 3 sizes bigger! But I tell you what, I have been so comfortable ever since. It's amazing how much better a bra that fits well makes your day.

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  8. I found that exact same forum and it changed my life too! I found my crazy new size at Nordstroms, thankfully, but since then, I've had good luck online as well. Not that I'll ever get something as cute as that Tangled one ;) My 40K is never going to look great in something like that!

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  9. I'm just going back into regular bras after nursing for a year, and don't fit the bras that fit great before pregnancy! It shows me as being a 30DD! I might try and 32D though since I can find it more easily in person to try on.

    Obviously I was a lot bigger in the middle of nursing, and I went to VS for a fitting to try and getting a pretty bra just as a change from the ugly nursing bras. The lady told me I was a 32A!!! I was BARELY cramming myself into a 36D at that point, especially right before the baby was ready to nurse. They are insane.

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    1. There's a whole thread over on the bra forum about how inaccurate VS is when they size you. Apparently it's become a running joke, they're so far off! So, yeah, I guess don't trust Victoria's Secret for custom fittings! :/

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    2. Speaking of VS, that's the only place I've ever gotten measured. I'm currently looking for my measuring tape.

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    3. I'm in the middle of nursing my second child and I can tell you that I've been bra shopping more in the last two years than ever in the rest of my life. Your size changes so stinkin' much between before getting pregnant, during pregnancy, while nursing, and after weaning. But I'm hoping that one of the many bra sizes I have now will work perfectly when I'm done with this little baby! :D

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    4. Definitely never trust a chain like that. I used to work in one, and they prided themselves in being bra fit experts, but never actually trained the staff. There was a single infographic in one of the store's binders, but it didn't work in practice and they had the same problem -- trying to sell what we had instead of making bras that fit real people. Not to mention that most of the time you'd measure someone, tell them what they measured, then they'd say "No way is that my size" and then we'd get in trouble if they didn't buy anything. Go to one of the specialty boutiques that actually wants to help people and where the staff knows what they're doing.

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    5. WOW! I am a 34A and I barely have any boobage.

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    6. I worked for Victoria's Secret in the mid 90's and it's really a shame how things have changed. When I started there were weeks of training on fittings and understanding what a client needed. By the time I left it was "ok, here's a pamphlet on how to fit somebody, make sure you push the featured bra."

      They're a retailer that has learned that you can get rid of all those expensive trained employees and hire 18 year olds who like the prestige of working there, and pay them 50 cents more than minimum wage. It worked as a business model too, which is sad.

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  10. Heyhey :)

    I learned about this some years ago in London. I alwas had problems to find a fitting bra here in Germany, because of my relativly large breasts.. so I took what I could find -> 34G as G is the largest cup-size some few producers are selling in Germany (most stop at D).. and they look like bras from my granny :(

    In London I hoped to find better fitting bras and visited a shop, where some really nice ladies helped me to find my size.. 32 I/J!
    And they had so many cute models up to an O-cup!
    I spent so much money for fitting underwear during that stay! xD

    I was really happy when I discovered some few models of two different firms with my size in Germany this year for the first time..
    So it is a slow learning process for women and the producers!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!!
    I hope more women learn about the topic and start buying the right size and feeling more comfortable.

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    1. Was that at Bravissimo?
      That place is awesome. My mother had been wearing 34DD's went in there, got measured, and voila! 30HH! Her waist looked tiny, and she could've put someone's eye out her boobs looked so perky! And that's at 53!
      The bend and scoop method is the best thing to do. Also, don't do your bra up and then turn it around your body. It can distorts the band, and increase the stretching. Do them up at the back, put your arms in the straps, then bend and scoop.

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    2. Oh my goodness I need to get to London. I want to try on all their bras!!!

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  11. Bras are one of the things that my mother NEVER taught me about. She literally told me that I should just wear the same bra size that she did, because share shirt sizes.

    A few years ago, my last bra broke at work. I went to the mall, and my mother tagged along. "She's a B-cup" she told the salewoman. Saleswomen looked me up and down.

    "I don't think so."

    She measured me. My size? 38 D! I'd been suffering in a 34 B for TEN YEARS. Oh, and I'm bottom heavy, while my mother is top heavy, so I'd also been picking out the wrong type of bras!

    Ugh. I swear, I'm starting a blog called "Every piece of advice I got from my family that was wrong."

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    1. If you could fasten a 34-band, then it's likely there's an even better fit out there for you than a 38D. You should really consider remeasuring yourself according to the guide above. I'd bet my lunch you're actually something closer to a 34G. :)

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    2. This post made me lol because I can relate! Please start that blog! :)

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    3. About the time I hit puberty, my mom received a bunch of hand-me-down bras from her sisters and told me I had to wear them. Luckily, I was enough of a butt as a teenager that I said "no way!" because they hurt too darn much (and they were, like, 28/30 B while I turned out to be a 34/36 B). Glad the lady at least said you were wearing the wrong size in front of your mother so you had someone to back you up!

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    4. My mom did basically the same thing -- SHE wore a B cup (which I'm pretty sure now is the wrong size for her as well, but she refuses to change, so her loss there). I couldn't possibly have been bigger than her, since I am smaller than her in general, so she told me I was a B cup too. 15 years later, I happened across the subreddit in question...and lo and behold, I am not a 36B, I'm right on the line between a 32D/DD (depending on the bra).

      The difference is absolutely AMAZING. Not only do my boobs look better (SO MUCH better), they FEEL better. I have been spreading the word about the importance of roper bra sizing ever since.

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  12. I agree that there's nothing like wearing the proper size! (34FF) It is a pain to find nice bras that fit in the smaller band and higher alphabets.

    You can also go up a cup size and down a band size with a band extender (it's like a 2 to 3 inch extra piece of hooks and loops) That can give you more to work with as the elastic stretches.

    One word of caution though. I find that with some the strap placement can be a bit too narrow though and not as comfortable.

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  13. I learned about the sister sizes quite by accident. I measure funny so I was "professionally" measured at a bra store and she ordered the size I measured out as. When the bras came in they didn't fit. too tight. So I ordered a larger band same cup...again no go. too much cup. So larger band smaller cup and ta dah we have a winner!
    and now I keep some larger band smaller cup AND smaller band larger cup bras because hormones make them each fit on different days. o.O
    I'm going to check out the sizer thing and see if I need to readjust.

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  14. Tonight! And my mom too!

    Bless you, Jen!

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  15. If you'd like to try on DD or DDD bras I'd recommend going to a plus size clothing store. I buy all my bras at Lane Bryant, they cary Cacique lingerie. They start at B cups and go up through DDD's. You can always go to a specialty shop, but those tend to be VERY expensive. Cacique bras can be expensive too, but I always buy them when they go on sale and get a good deal.

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    1. Unfortunately, Lane Bryant starts at 36-bands, which, while common in the incorrect +4 fitting model, are a little less common when properly fitted.

      That said, most women who do need that band size also have larger cups (again, properly measured) than a DD or DDD, which would reflect only a 5" or 6" difference in circumference between underbust and bust measurements (about 2.5" - 3" of tissue per breast). This is pretty uncommon.

      Lane Bryant will have a decent selection for plusher ladies with smaller busts, however. Just don't let their fitters touch you - corporate mandates the +4 method and the fitters will probably put you in the wrong size in the interest of making a sale. ;)

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    2. This is a great suggestion but I have found that Lane Bryant doesn't carry band sizes smaller than 36 so that can be a problem...

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    3. Wendy, yes, their bands start on the larger end, but that's because Lane Bryant caters to plus-size women. (And no, I would never let a saleswoman with a measuring tape accost you in a store - whose idea was that anyway?!)

      But Lauren, their cups go much higher than DDD, just not always in store. You can have them order your size and ship it for free if you know exactly what you want/need, but not everyone enjoys the cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best style of shopping. : Y

      That said, I love the Cacique bras. My other well-endowed family members made a convert out of me, and now I, too, work to spread the good news. ;)

      (I cringed a bit at the price at first, too, but mine have held up extremely well (given the burden they bear) - far better than the pitiful (cheap) things I used to get at Target or Kohl's!)

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    4. I'm definitely in the obese bmi category, (for clothing I usually wear size 18 US) but I can't wear Lane Bryant bras because their bands are too big for me. Go figure. I wear 34s and stretchy 32s.

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  16. You've never been bra-meassured? They'll do that in any lingerie-store. Of course the bras are ridiculously expensive in a place like that, but they FIT (and last for, like, ever)

    I always wear unfitting bras, because I'm cheap and never wear bras at home anyway, but I do have one nice one. It cost me about $100, but it's at least five years since I bought it, and I've used it ALOT (that was on purpose, just so you'd picture an alot wearing a bra)

    At the moment I use an elastic-type nursing bra, because wires and padding just seemed to much bother when I need to get my ta-tas out eight times a day to feed the baby.

    But when I'm done breastfeeding I'm totally getting a gazzilion nice new bras - breastfeeding seriously changes your boobies. Very handy with the size-chart-thingy, but I'll need to find a bra-size converter - I live in Denmark, and band-size is in centimetres and the cup-sizes are different (Just found a conveter - http://www.85b.org/bra_conv.php: I use(d) a 90D in European size, which apparently corresponds to a 40C in US)

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    1. Unfortunately, most fitters use the inaccurate and outdated method of adding inches/centimeters to the underbust measurement. Your size - actually the US/UK equivalent of a 40D. This is an extremely common incorrect size and a rare correct size. I strongly suggest you remeasure yourself according to the guide above. :)

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    2. It's the size of the one bra I have, that fits - and I assume it's the correct size, because it FEELS right. But it might be the particular brand, because the same size in the cheap supermarket variety doesn't fit. But I'll need to be remeassured anyway, when I'm done breastfeeding. It'll be interesting how much I've changed.

      And I thought UK and European were the same, only in inches in the UK and centimeters in standard European.

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    3. Nope, conversions are complicated. UK cups go up by 1 inch increments, while European cups are 2 centimeter increments. Two centimeters is not 1 inch (it's less), so as the alphabet progresses, European and UK bras get further and further apart. European sizes also don't use double letters, and do include the letter I, which UK skips.

      Then there's the band, which goes up in 4 centimeter increments instead of 2 inch increments. Most of Europe has a sort of "plus 4" built in. You will see a UK 34 band written as a 75 band in European sizes, but 34 inches is not 75 centimeters (it's closer to 85).

      To make matters more confusing, France, Spain, and a couple of other European countries use band sizes which roughly equate to the actual underbust measurement.

      And we haven't even touched on US sizing (like UK sizing, but it gets inconsistent after DD as each brand does their own thing) which doesn't double letters after D, or Australian sizing, which uses clothing sizes instead of inches for the band.

      Bra manufacturers themselves can't seem to do the conversions correctly; the only accurate size on the label is usually the native sizing for the brand.

      Since most large-cup bras are produced in the UK (or Poland), there's a reason many women stick with UK sizing.

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  17. Thank you for posting the link for the measuring method. I've measured once before, and thought I was getting close, but holy smokes! The method you linked to gives me the same band size, but a cup 4 sizes bigger than what I was trying! No wonder nothing has fit right.

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  18. I always wore a 36c for the longest time but when a friend got a gift cert from her bf to get a set at the specialty store near us she took me with her & I got measured too. Turns out I'm actually a 32ddd (f cup if depending on the make/store). You can't find these for love or money in any stores near me except the specialty store :p
    So ever since I've been buying 34 DD because the Victoria's secret near us doesn't carry that size - but they fit *nearly* perfect. I still have a problem where the underwire will snap in the same spot after a long time of wearing but that's just a need to go up a cup size. When I can afford a $100 bra, I totally will.
    I should point out that my fitter told me that the cups are either french (the full on top) or English (full on bottom) styles. That might be depending on the store too though.
    And for those of you who always fasten on the tightest set of hooks - apparently you're supposed to start at the loosest (if it fits the tightest it's too loose) and then as the fabric stretches you move it tighter, something I didn't know until that fitting.
    Hope this helps :)
    ~erin kristine.

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    1. Bras in the small-band, large-cup range aren't $100-expensive at all, even if you're buying them brand-new. I usually pay between $20 and $50 for my bras (28G), but I do order them online. Figleaves is good, Brastop.com is always having awesome discounts and sales, and ebay.co.uk has a ton of stuff for super cheap once you know what you're looking for. Getting the right size doesn't have to break the bank. :D

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  19. This is a post I never knew I needed, indeed. *_* I wonder if I'll be able to find a correctly sized bra at Ross?

    (I think at one point in the past I even had a correct size figured out through a decent calculator... but the band size sounded so small and the cup size so big that I ignored it. Oops.)

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  20. Jen, I discovered this a few years ago when I was nursing my son and learned that I wear a 34 G! (Not the 38 DDs I was trying to make work. While I now have to shop at specialty stores, I luuuurve the new fit. After I learned about this, I, also, had to tell everyone I knew to go get properly sized. Thanks for the breast post!

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  21. Hey, I've been a long time fan of yours and I'm one of the regular contributors on reddit. I'm SO happy that you found us, and you're endorsing us! It's UH-MAZING discovering your true size and wearing it! I've been doing the whole bra fitting dance since last Novemeber, and I apparently didn't get rid of all of my bras I was wearing before.. and I try them on and go "HOW ON EARTH DID I THINK THESE FIT?" One bra size I have is a 32C.. my actual bra size is a 30F UK/30G US, so that sucker is a whopping FIVE CUPS TOO SMALL. I guess my nip slip never clued me in...

    Again, thanks for writing about our awesome community!

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  22. Holy crap! 36J? who knew that was even a size! Guess I might have to do some shopping :)

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    1. Just a suggestion, check out the blog "Fuller Figure Fuller Bust". She's reviewed lots of bras in the 36GG/H/HH range, you might find them helpful! :)

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    2. Hey boob twin ;) If that J is the US sizing, meaning you're a 36H UK - I *highly* recommend Elomi bras - especially the Caitlyn side support bra - it is my One True Bra.

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    3. Little correction, a US 36J is a UK 36GG :)

      In case anyone is confused by US/UK cups, after A, B, C:
      US cups are D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K... (all single letters).
      UK cups are D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ (all letters are doubled, but skips EE and I).

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  23. HOLY BALLS. I am a 36G?!?!?!?!?! This is insane (and awesome). I've been rocking a 36B for, well, most of my life. I don't even know where to get a G bra in my town, but I certainly will be ordering one online and perhaps trying out a sister size if I can. AWESOME post Jen! I will be sharing with everyone!

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  24. What the heck is a 32G and where on earth do you find one??? LOL. I've always known my bras fit incorrectly, known it for years! I knew I was a 32 or 34 band, but they didnt have cups big enough in those small band sizes...

    so, back to my question. Where do you find these?

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    1. Head over to A Bra That Fits - they've got lots of shopping threads and links for hard-to-find sizes, and I think I read that some start as low as $30. (I didn't look too closely since I'm fortunate enough to have options nearby!)

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    2. Thank you, but I also forgot to mention that I need them to have trap doors for breastfeeding...... I've never seen anything, anywhere above a DD for breastfeeding.

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    3. 32band shouldn't be too hard to find - I wear a 28band and, no, not super skinny and lots of pretty bras in my size :P Make sure to use your UK bra size shopping as US bras are quite in consistent and often sell a very small range. As Jen said, check out all the shopping posts we have in the forum but some examples of stores and online stone to look at is Nordstroms (particular their Bra Rack for sales), Bravissimo, Figleaves and BraStop. Good bra companies includes Freya, Panache, Cleo, Fantasie, Bravissimo, Ewa Michalak, Curvy Kate etc.

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    4. Online stores are fantastic for this - Bravissimo, Figleaves, Her Pair, Butterfly Collection, Sophisticated Pair, ebay, ewa michalak. You can buy right from the companies too- Panache, Miss Mandalay, Freya, etc (ewa and bravissimo have in house brands)
      Best place (and pretty much only for this sort of info) to compare bra fit, measurements and even a small marketplace is Bratabase. It leans towards the full bust market but they've been growing and it's just great.
      There are also a number of full bust bloggers out there - Hourglassy has a pretty good blogroll of them: http://hourglassy.com/blog-roll/

      For reference of how inadequate mainstream underwear companies are when faced with a full bust: Jockey tried to put me in a 34C... I'm in reality a 28H/30G-GG in UK sizing (that's 30I in US).

      Jenn- you might want to try using UK sizing instead of the weird US A, AA, B... D, DD, DDD, DDDD, DDDDD, etc. I believe Butterfly Collection has a conversion chart. It'll open up more options for you (and I find UK/European bras more accommodating anyway)

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    5. The store I visited in London was Bravissimo http://www.bravissimo.com/
      But in Germany they sell Pandora and Freya in large sizes.. a little bit expensive but totally worth it's price! =)

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    6. Whoops! I combined Fresh Pair and Her Room (though they have a weird universal size thing that is a bit off, ignore that)

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    7. The whole 'they sell them online' is kind of part of my problem... The only way to really know if the bra fits is to try it on, but then if it doesnt fit I'm stuck paying to ship it back and hope the next one I try fits better.

      I went to a 'large size' specialty bra store, but the problem was they only carried american brands, which as it's been said are horribly inconsistant, so each brand was sized different and after an hour of trying on different sizes in different brands I gave up!

      Plus, I'm sure my comment about breastfeeding was moderated after the following posts were submit, but that's pretty much what has stopped me dead in my tracks for bra shopping these days. I've only had luck fitting into more of a 'sports bra' or 'sleep bra' style nursing bra because as I've said - I've had no luck finding anything over a DD in a 32 band for nursing.

      Delete
    8. If you live in the US, Nordstrom.com has free shipping and free returns if you're not near one of their stores.

      Delete
  25. Nordstroms carries bras in cup sizes up to at least G (which is a blessing, since I like to try on my 36Gs before purchasing them. AND! The larger cup sizes come in colors! and patterns! AND ARE CUTE!I no longer have to wear just nude bras! it's WONDERFUL!

    Figleaves.com also has great deals and a large variety!

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  26. OK. I'll try it. But only because you said so. I've been solidly in "D" land (wish it was Disneyland) since high school, which was a very long time ago. Last bra calculator I used said I was a B. !!! But I believe you. You're Jen. You wouldn't lead my boobies astray.

    But at least my mom has never tried to say we wear the same bra size... I passed her up in Jr high. Wow. Kcunning- my mom never really taught me either. After training bras, my sister took me shopping so that I wasn't wearing my grandmothers hand-me-down bras anymore.

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  27. This is such great advice - as is the advice to get a professional bra fitting (free anywhere I've ever gone) at a real lingerie store (not Victoria's "no one is bigger than a DD" Secret). I just wish more US manufacturers/retailers would wake up to these facts. I'm 36H (UK sizing - so that's a J in US though I have never in my life seen a US J cup bra) and online or specialty lingerie stores are my only options. I bring extra bras on trips because if one ever broke or got lost, I'd be up the creek.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I stumbled across "A Bra That Fits" on reddit a few months ago, and WOW what a change! 38C --> 34G (in UK sizes, which are more standardized than US sizes). My approximate US size is a 34I. Now, while it's not a bad idea to go to Nordstrom or a specialty boutique and get fitted, I do recommend measuring yourself before hand. I believed the Nordstrom lady, who, because of my shallow shape (breast tissue is spread across my body, not projected forward from it), broad shoulders, and wide ribcage, put me in a 36DDD. After a couple weeks, the straps started falling down, and I realized that I wasn't getting all the "stuff" into the cups. Band too big, and cups too small. So, 34G it is! I do have to order my bras online, but there are websites with great deals (brastop.com), and ebay is pretty awesome as well. I used to pay $45 for bras at Victoria's Secret, but now I'm spending less than $30 per bra, on average, and I have a much better fit.

    Also of note: band size = underbust measurement. Don't add anything to it. If you're in between band sizes, you may have to experiment with going up or down, depending on the brand and your body type. Women who are slim and/or muscular may feel more comfortable going up, while women who have some squish around the ribs and back may prefer to go down. I fall under the latter category.

    One last thing: You may be wondering how you could fit into a smaller band if what you're currently wearing feels way too tight. If your cups are too small, they will pull on the band. The band will trap breast tissue underneath - breast tissue that should be in the cups. So, yes, it will feel too tight. Plus, the smaller band can take some getting used to.

    I seriously cannot say enough how awesome it has been to find a properly fitting bra. For real this time, after poor fittings at Intimacy and Nordstrom. My bra straps, which have always fallen down ever since I started wearing bras, stay put. My breast tissue stays in the cups. I look like I've lost weight. It's awesome!

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  29. Re. thinking D was big: I know! I was always told that. My mother and sister have breasts at least twice the size of mine, and a more slender build (weird thing, genetics), and have always been convinced that they're 36Ds, despite the fact that I'm a 32DD. I've given up trying to get them to listen. I know they don't buy underwired bras, which must be the only way they can get their chests into that size At All.

    Re. getting measured at a shop: the big problem is that they'll tell you that you're a size they carry, regardless of whether it's true, isn't it? Average cup size is about a D, I think, and that's usually the upper limit of what stores carry, for some freaky reason.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm definitely going to have to try this. I have pretty small breasts, and was last measured as a 36A (probably not as hard to find as some of the larger sizes mentioned on here, but still not readily available). But all of my bras are so uncomfortable at the bottom of my breast tissue and don't fit the top of my breast snugly enough, so I'm going to have to resize when I get home tonight and try the scoop and swoop trick, and figure out what kinds of bras I'm supposed to be buying for whatever shape I may have. This will be interesting.

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  31. Thanks so much for this post! Wonderful information!

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  32. Where was this post on Saturday when I gave in and went bra shopping, just to get measured improperly and cut in half upon wearing it yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My husband came downstairs and told me I "had" to read Epbot today. And, oh, by the way, just a heads up: you might want to take your shirt off first. So then I went up to the computer and he hung around waiting as I read :-)

    So you see, your post *is* for the gents, too.

    After we'd measured and plugged into the BraCalculator I was somewhat hornswoggled: For a very snug fit: 34D. D??? But then for a moderate fit, it gave me 36C and a loose fit 38B which is the size I actually wear.

    I first learned to "scoop and swoop" at a Bay Area renfair trying on the pretty medieval corsets they sell (Ye Olde Bras.) There was a skinny little Scots gal beside me watching the old hands demo the trick, and after she tied hers on, and finagled the maneuver she took one look at herself in the mirror and just squealed: "Mum, mum, I've got CLEAVEage!!" I never would've thought to try the maneuver for everyday underpinnings though.

    The things we learn in Skiffy-dom, eh? AK(really)ICIF.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I made this same discovery a couple years ago.

    Two pieces of helpful info.

    By all means measure yourself but if you want help some stores will do a bra fitting for free, I went to Nordstrom, I didn't even make an appointment. Also if you are on the larger side (I discovered I'm a 34FF) Nordstrom actually carries those sizes so you can try them on. I'm not saying you have to shop there just some info for the larger busted lassies out there.

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  35. I was measured once, but when they brought me the bra it fit all wrong. The shape of my breasts are not average perky ones (and never have been), and I usually just life my boobs in to fit over the band and call it good. But bending at the waist? Really? That's all I needed to do to get the right bra? Apparently my 36B's are really 38 DD's! Now I really want to go bra shopping and make sure all my sisters are properly fitted too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're comfortable in a 36 band, and you can pull it about two inches away from your body, you probably do not need to go to a 38 band, but can instead wear the 36 band with the same volume as a 38DD: 36E (UK size).

      Delete
  36. The "Scoop & Swoop" method is what my mom taught me when I went with her to get my first bra. In my family we grow over night so I was already a B (according to the old lady at Sears). Since then it's been hard, because I found I only got a good fitting if I went to a store with a little old lady doing the fitting, preferably with some sort of accent. The funniest was when I went for a foundation garment and the little old lady told me to lift my arms, felt around my chest and declared I was a 38C. Which shocked me at the time, how did I get so big? It must just be for the corset thing I was buying right? Turned out C was my cup size but even so I had to try bras on to see if they worked, any bra wouldn't do.

    Flash forward 10 years and I just lost some weight and my bras were falling apart, I was having constant back problems and stopped into a Maidenform outlet store, I couldn't fit into any of the bras I thought were my size so the clerk measured me. She said I was a 40DD or a 42D. Wha? no way? I'm way too small to be a D, not possible. She ran around the store, grabbed me styles of bras that never fit me before but in this size, all of them fit and all of them worked! (So I lost 30lbs and gained a cup size in my mid thirties?) My back pain went away and I haven't snapped an underwire, yet. My straps stay up better too. Oh and no getting poked by the wire either.

    I love maidenform, when you have the right size you can order and they all seem to fit, you can get them for $30 or less sometimes and they are made really well and will last forever, you can also get pretty colors. VS is garbage.

    Thanks for the extra info, Sister Sizing I didn't know, or understand why the clerk was giving me two sizes. And the visual guides for where the underwire belongs is so helpful, I really thought I was wearing a bra that was too big because it looked wrong (but continued doing it because my back didn't hurt), but it's right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you lost weight, your band size should have gone down, not up (from a 38 to a 40-42). Remember that the band size should accurately reflect your snug underbust measurement, and with plusher ladies, sometimes they even need to go a little smaller. I'm glad you're comfortable now, but you might be able to get an even better fit in a different size. Check out the guide and measure yourself - you might be surprised. :)

      Delete
  37. I count myself very lucky in this respect. 1. My mum has a lot of boobage (like I do - 30F, skinny but big!) and took me to get professionally measured when I was 17. And 2. I'm British and it's been a lot of years since we realised most women are bigger than they think (at least in cup size. Most also wear far too big a band size) and started to manufacture accordingly. So, yeah, my bras cost more than the supermarket versions but a decent lingerie store one is from about £25. Which is what. 40 usd? Worth it for the comfort, slimming effect and boobular enhancement provided! And they come in all the colours of the rainbow!

    My top tips? If you find a bra you love from a lingerie place, buy it and then go home and search for the same one on ebay. Save some pennies! There's a huge chance you'll be a different size before/after/during menstruation. I have period bras! And sometimes the same bra in a different colour is made in a different factory and can be subject to size variations so try them on if you can before buying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have "period bras", too! They get so HUGE the week before; it's PAINFUL to wear my regular size.

      Delete
    2. I know, right!? I go up a full cup size in the days leading up to a bleed!

      Delete
  38. Having a bra fitting last year changed my life! After nursing a baby and then losing some weight, all of my bras were basically hanging off of me. I was sure I was going to have to go down a band size AND a cup size, but I went from a 34B to a 32C, and it was amazing how much better everything looked with a well-fitting bra. Sadly, bra manufacturers seem to think that women who wear a 32C are disappointed in their small breasts and want gigantic padding in all their bras (I'm looking at you Victoria's Secret!), so it's hard to find non-padded bras in stores in my size. But now that I know a few brands that I like, I can get them online.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Welcome to the converted club!
    If any woman is confused, I'd Highly reccomend a professional fitting at a store like intimacy. Do NOT got to victorias secret. They carry a very small range of sizes, and will convince you to buy the wrong size because it's what they have in stock.
    I wear a 30F for reference.

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  40. Jen I can tell you aren't a B cup just looking at pictures! We are pretty similarly sized. Ouch, that must have been awful! I have one good bra from Victoria's Secret (I like their cotton ones for summer) and a few from True and Co, an online service that tells you what size to buy based on your current best bra and how it could fit better. They are well priced for the quality. They'll send you a box and you only keep the ones you like, so you can try all kinds of different shapes (racerback etc). I promise I don't work for them :)

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  41. I got myself fitted at a lingerie shop about a year ago and I went from uncomfortably wearing 34B to snug as a bug in a 28D. I like to think that even though I don't have huge boobs, I am still Queen of the Tiny People! Mwhahahaha!

    It feels so much better to be in the correct size, and it took so much weight off my shoulders. I've heard that 90% of support should come from the band and only about 10% from the shoulder straps. I will never go back to wearing poorly fitted bras again; it feels awesome.

    Thanks for bringing this topic to light!

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  42. I was already wearing a 38 F/G. I did the measurement thing... 36 I. I may just break down and sob. Do you know how hard it is to find *affordable* (read: not over $100!) bras in the size I was already wearing??? Where in the heck am I going to find a friggin' I cup (OMG, I just realized I'm a third grade boy's joke. Fabulous!).

    However, I want to interject that thanks to Monday night's HIMYM, I have my new favorite term for my, um, endowment: WBD: Weapons of Bra Destruction. Little did I know how accurate that would be... sigh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have much better luck finding bras if you use your UK size instead (which would be a 36G). Most US companies simply aren't on the bra fit wagon yet.

      Anyway, the best places to get 36Gs waaay under $100 are online. I recommend Figleaves, Brastop.com, ebay.co.uk, Bravissimo, and, if you want something super cheap and don't mind if it's slightly pre-loved, Bratabase.com (awesome bra support site with trading) and reddit.com/r/braswap.

      I wear a 28G for reference, and I've never paid more than $50 for one of my bras. :)

      Delete
    2. I second Bravissimo. Pre-reduction, I wore a 32J in US sizes, but a 32G (iirc) in UK sizes, and even with shipping, Bravissimo was FAR cheaper than a US company. FAR.

      Delete
  43. I have been fitted in many high street stops, who have all told me I was either 36 or 38 band and B or C cup in various combinations.

    I had a proper fitting last year, and found out I am actually a- get this- 30G! My boobs aren't huge, but I'm skinny and in relation to back size, yes, I have large cups. The fit, the feel and the comfort now are incredible!

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  44. Change of plans - I'm going to have to do this tonight. And then tell my sister, my mom, and anyone else I can because I'm pretty sure we've all been doing it wrong!

    Side note: on my screen, the part where you announce the 34D size is perfectly lined up with your Lady Vadore picture for the cosplay entries. It may have made me giggle a little bit. Nice placement!

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  45. My giddy aunt this post is amazing! I'm currently wearing a 36A after doing online calculators (some said 36AA). It's so hard getting bras this size I'm actually wearing an adolescent bra. I just followed all the advice in the links and apparently I should be wearing a 32E or a 34DD! There aren't enough exclamation mark in the world.

    I know what I'm going shopping for tomorrow :)

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  46. I had seen this post on Reddit when it happened, and just like you I measured way different than the 38B's I normally wear. I haven't done anything about it because I'm trying to lose weight and hoping I'll need a new size of bra.

    The scoop and swoop thing was also new to me, and I have been utilizing that. I can't believe it took me until the age of 30 to find out how to properly place my breasts in a bra. I've also found a variation of this method works well for settling your tush in a pair of skinny jeans. Much less gaping in the waistband this way. Who knew?

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  47. I gotta say that the expensive bras are totally worth it when you get up into multiple Ds. It took me a while to admit it, but I'm a 34 G, and it works so much better than when I used to try for a smaller cup. Now I go to nordstrom to try on some bras (that is where I finally got measured properly and I LOVE the ladies there, they are so helpful!) and figure out which brands and styles work for my shape best, and then I got to herroom.com to order them, especially when I can find them on sale!

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  48. I always thought I had freakishly large boobs because I could never find bras big enough until I learned all about this. I haven't seen anyone recommend it yet, but if you want to try buying online I like Her Room (http://www.herroom.com). They are really good about returns if something you order doesn't quite fit the way you thought it would.

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  49. The scoop and swoop method, though, is great. My Aunt taught me about that when I was younger, and it definitely helps your bras fit right!

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  50. I really might have to buy a measuring device on the way home from work so I don't have to wait til this weekend (although I'm sure BF would love to help!) My straps fall down ALL THE TIME even though I do NOT have great big tracts of land by any means. I have doubted my VS measurement all along because I told the girl I was wearing a padded bra at the time and she said it "didn't matter." ?! I'll let you know if it changes!

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  51. YES! I had a proper bra fitting a few years ago and was amazed at how much better I felt (and looked)! I need to re-fit myself, though, since my breasts are COMPLETELY different post-pregnancy than they were before and I've got no idea what size I am. Thanks for the link, I'll try doing it myself this time since I don't know when I'll have time on my own to go to a shop (and I am NOT dragging my toddler to a bra fitting)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found post-pregnancy that I was the same size but a different shape. I'd lost all my top tone and had to start wearing a different shape of bra so remember and try on styles that weren't right before!

      Delete
  52. Even within a given bra size, and even within a given brand, there can be huge variability! Stupid women's clothing, ridiculous. But there are so many different boob shapes, so even two women that are the same size on paper will have different bra needs. Not to mention, I just used 2 different bra size calculators (neither associated with a brand), and one said I was a 38H, the other said I was a 44E. And I've been wearing 40DDD (Cacique/Lane Bryant).

    My husband & I joke that my boobs are where my brains are, because they grow with each level of education I get. B in junior high, C in high school...now I'm DDD/E, and my husband is still in favor of furthering my education ;)

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  53. Pretty sure there is no such thing as a 26D or the 28C they suggest. I have to work to find a 32B. On the upside, I'm relieved to find out that I'm not nearly as flat as my bra makes me seem. I'm just narrow and more of a full on the bottom type.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There totally is! Given that you're clearly pretty slim, it's probably best to round up to 28C. You can get 28C's from The Little Bra Company: http://www.thelittlebracompany.com/; I'm also a big fan of FigLeaves.com.

      You are right that 26-bands are fairly rarer -- they're out there, but usually you have to order them from Poland or East Asia where average rib cage measurements are smaller than the US.

      Delete
  54. "Only girls know the great feeling of coming home and FINALLY being able to take their bra off! <3"
    Bras: you're doing it wrong.

    Really great post Jen! For any of you guys in the UK, Bravissimo helped me find the right size - from a 34B to a 32D!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Right on! I recently got fixed at The Pencil Test (Portland) and found my girls are not 40Ds, but 32HH/34GG. Woot.

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  56. I've been frequenting that sub-reddit for a couple months now and am homing in what is likely my correct size. Turns out it's one band size down, and 3-4 (yes 3 or 4) cup sizes up from what I've been wearing. What? Yes. Glad you're getting the news out there I really do believe every woman should know. And while we're at let's bust the "D cup" myth that only the enormous boobs are above a D cup.

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    Replies
    1. "And while we're at let's bust the "D cup" myth that only the enormous boobs are above a D cup."
      This times a MILLION!

      Delete
  57. I got professionally sized at a lovely lovely boutique shop when I was 20. The lady gave me some good tips for tits including "let the band do most of the work"; "start on the largest hook"; and "get sized about twice a year". Since then I haven't got sized that often, but every time I have I've gone up a cup size, from a 34C through a 32DD and on to a 32E (UK). The lady I spoke to in Bravissimo said she's definitely noticed a trend in the 20 years she's been sizing of smaller band sizes and larger cup sizes. Now we just have to wait for manufacturers to catch up!

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  58. I need to plug herroom.com (not affiliated with them, just a happy customer). They have a great "Know your breasts" tool that covers every imaginable thing - from how much space between your boobs, to how they hang, which direction they point - and then analyzes it not only for size but what styles would work best. I also love that for each bra they show what it looks like under various neckline styles, and also notes about fit such as "this bra tends to run large, you may want to try a smaller band"). You can get bras for under $100 - trust me. Under $50 probably not, but the most I ever paid for a 36H (that's J US size) was $58.

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  59. I just measured myself as well (at work hehe) and similar to you, I had been wearing 38B, the chart told me 34D. I can't wait to buy a few new bras and go home and brag to hubs that my boobs aren't shrinking due to nursing nor with age!

    And not to go all tangential, but it would be really nice if insurance companies actually helped women with that axillary breast tissue. With both of my children, that stuff swelled up to the size of softballs under each arm. Try carrying/nursing an infant with that "tumor". Too bad it's considered cosmetic because it doesn't cause back pain.

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  60. Thanks to /r/abrathatfits, I've gone from a 40DDD (Lane Bryant) to a 34HH (UK sizes are more consistent, that would be an L cup in US sizes)! That's post-migration. With better fitting bras and scooping my underbust measurement has gone down 2 inches. My bust measurement is the same, but my breasts are more full and firm now, even when I'm not wearing a bra!

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  61. I worked in a lingerie store for four years and I was constantly surprised as to what size people thought they were!!! I fitted bras so often, I could just *look* at someone and know what size they were. Almost everyone wore the wrong size. I think that people just don't know what the number and letter mean to really understand what they are buying. There is also a lot of vanity, and a lot of women don't want to purchase any band size over 36. I really cannot believe you were buying a 38! You are too tiny for that!!! It must have been riding up your back constantly :/

    There was one brand that we sold that did half sizes: playtex TGIF (thank goodness it fits). they have half sizes up to a C cup.

    ReplyDelete
  62. The bra size conundrum is a struggle I've been dealing with since college. It has been over a decade since I've been able to fit into a bra from a typical department store or Victoria's Secret or what have you. My band size is fairly average, but my cup size is the problem. As such, I'd been ordering bras from online catalogs. I'd buy from reputable catalogs with trusted name brands, but the problem with buying sight unseen is that you're pretty much taking a shot in the dark, even if you pick a size that has fit in the past. How does the material stretch- or not stretch- to fit your breast shape? How wide are the underwires? How high are the underwires? And so many more questions you can't answer from a couple of photos of models. It turned into a vicious cycle of ordering, trying on, and frustratedly returning ill-fitting bras until I found one that wasn't AS ill-fitting as the rest and settled for it (and a couple of duplicates) until it wore out, then starting again. This culminated a little over a year ago in a 10 minute crying-from-frustration-on-the-bathroom-floor incident, after which both my mother and a good friend who is similarly endowed encouraged me to visit Nordstrom's for a proper fitting. As hesitant as I was to go as I was feeling completely hopeless, it was some of the best advice I've ever followed. The woman who helped me was totally polite and professional and listened to what I wanted in a bra, and when I left, both my breasts and my spirits were properly lifted and supported. I know that Nordstrom's bras are typically on the pricey side, but this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for, and it does make a difference. And I firmly believe you're paying for the service too. I've yet to have a bad experience bra shopping there, and I think every woman, especially those with bra troubles, owes it to herself to make that trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe you might like to look at Bratabase, which is trying to answer many of the questions you're asking, such as how wide the underwires are, how much the band stretches, and so on. It's a database where women enter the measurements of their bras so that we can all make our purchases with a little more knowledge about what we will be getting.

      Delete
  63. Um....that site is telling me I'm a 38G. DO NOT WANT. I'm currently wearing 40DD I got at Lane Bryant and they seem to fit pretty well (the band is a bit loose as I can only wear it on the tightest hook though.)

    I HATE my huge boobs. HAAAAATE. I do not want to go up to that ridiculous cup size! Seriously, I'm about ready to cry here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In an ill fitting bra that's too small cups/too big in the band, you're doing yourself a major disservice. Not only that in the larger band/cup range your breasts are going to look larger than they really are. My friend went from a 38DD from Torrid to 34K in US sizing.. and the transformation was INCREDIBLE. A proper fitting bra for her ended up making her look about 15 lbs smaller, and her waistline has a much better definition.

      The measuring tape did NOT magically add inches to your breasts. All a 38G (I assume this is a US size) means is that you have a 7" difference between your underbust and bust measurement. I wear a 30G (US) myself and while my breasts are smaller than yours -since that means I have a 7" difference between my underbust and bust measurement just like you do- even at my size range a proper fitting bra makes a WORLD of a difference. My neck pain and back pain is GONE GONE. My shoulders have actually relaxed and I'm no longer walking around with my shoulders tensed up and scrunched up.. I didn't realize I was doing this! My posture is way better and I feel MUCH better about myself.

      Don't hate your breasts.. love yourself and your breasts and give yourself a treat and try on bras in your measured size. In the US, we're stuck in the "bra matrix".. and places like Victoria's Secret have caused SEVERE body shaming and body issues in women everywhere. Don't let them keep you in that trap!

      Delete
    2. I hear you, but isn't it better to wear a bra that fits and makes you look good? Who cares what the size tag says?

      Delete
    3. Mandie,

      I have large breast, too (same size as you), and can understand your feelings. Clothes never fit right; either the bust is too tight or the lower body is too roomy. Even plus sizes don't always fit because the clothes makers make the belly area more roomy, but not necessarily the breast area. Those cute designs that have the band or seam directly under the breasts? Can't wear them unless I like having that band cut straight across the breasts or letting the girls hang out the top of the blouse. I've come to realize that there are good fitting, cute clothes out there, I just need to know where to look and what to look for.

      Anyway, this post was to reassure you, not go on and on about my troubles!

      I would go and try the 38G. Your breasts are the size they are. Wearing an ill-fitting bra is not going to help you and possibly hinders your relationship with your breasts. If your foot is a size 8, would you insist on wearing a size 6 because you hate big feet?

      Maybe take some baby steps. Go to a good store, get measured, but don't look at the size. Tell the clerk not to tell you what size it is. Wear it, see how it feels. If you love it, then you can check the size so you can order another one!

      Good luck.

      Andrea

      Delete
    4. Man die, I hear you. I have a very generous bust and hate it too. Last week I had an MRI and the radiologist asked me about prior surgeries. When I gave my history, he said "don't forget about your boob job". I frostily informed them they were all mine, no boob job, but I don't think he really believed me until he saw the films. I am a smaller gal, only 4' 10" and about the same size as you, maybe a little bigger. I hate my breasts but they don't cause me any back pain and I have a bleeding disorder so I will never qualify for a reduction. However, I have to agree with the other gals, it's just a number in the tag. I've never in my life had a properly fitting bra that was comfortable to wear for more than an hour. If this measurement means comfort, I'll take it, and just snip off the tag so I don't have to look at the number

      Delete
    5. Mandie, I'm a 36 G, so I hear you. And I'm only 5'3" so it's a lot of breast. But trust me, it is so worth it to wear a proper bra. I look much thinner and more attractive wearing a bra that fits. It's awesome.

      Delete
  64. Totally true for me too. I always considered myself more or less flat, although my lovely husband tells me I'm not, and for the longest time I wore a 36A (or 36AA) and it was just never comfortable. I saw this information on a show once, I forget where, and decided that I needed to get some help. I went to Victoria's Secret, swearing they only fit Big Girls, and they measured me, found several different styles of bra (demi versus full, padded, not padded, etc) and found out I fit perfectly into a 34C (C?? um, confidence boost?) and a demi is the best style for be because the cups don't come up quite as high, so there's no gapping. Needless to say shirts look much better and I feel amazing!

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  65. I think I did something wrong, nothing changed for me when I did the scoop & swoop. And I doubt that my girls would really feel more at home in a D than a B. Oh well.

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  66. Okay, for one thing, I've known a lot of this for a while =) Also, motherhood and nursing can really change your size! Once I was back in regular bras, I had to try on a lot to find what fits - I ended up with a 36B, wishing I could find a 38A but those are almost impossible to find. The 36 fits well, better with an extender, a 38B is way too big in the cup. But I tried measuring, and the calculator is telling me while my band size is right, my cup size should be like two sizes bigger... but I fit my cup size fine now! I'm willing to go out and try, but a certain temporary body condition is probably an indicator that my size might be changing again and I will need specialty bras soon enough ;) I will try this again when that temporary condition is over! (Also, Kohls has great buy one get one half off bra sales, along with a 20% off coupon, might be a better price than Ross or Marshalls, maybe better size selection too)

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    1. congrats on the condition! Aren't nursing bras a nightmare? At least they are for me, trying to find a 32DD (or up, depending on my milk supply)

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    2. Oh my gosh yes! Last time I got some cheap nursing bras to start, then one good one - told my husband this time I know where to go from the start! And thanks =)

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  67. I've not been professionally measured since I was mid-teens, I've just measured myself ever since, currently wearing 34C. I just tried this method and it's telling me I'm a 32F! I have to go trying bras on asap to check this out, thanks for sharing Jen.

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  68. I HAD to jump in on this convo for 2 reasons:

    1. As a bellydancer who often needs custom bras, I endorse this entire post. Bra fit is SO IMPORTANT. Even though I've always taken extra care to make sure I'm properly measured before every costume fitting ('cause sometimes the gals are moving at high speeds... ;)) I was totally guilty of wearing the wrong size under my everyday clothes. Why? Laziness. Frustration at being between sizes. It was so easy to go shopping and just pick up the size I've always picked up. But once I started applying those costuming rules under tees shirts? BAH. BAM. ;D

    2. I literally *just* received my customized Rapunzel bra from ElectricAvenue. She is AWESOME and came to my rescue when I needed a costume piece in a jiffy. So cosplayers, dancers, ravers, etc... definitely check her out!

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    1. TNTina, thank you! As a bellydancer, I also have trouble finding bras for making into costumes, and even more trouble finding premade Egyptian costumes that fit. I will check out that Rapunzel bra!

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  69. I had a bra fitting two weeks ago, and it was life-changing. Life-changing, I tell ya.

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  70. Great post! I took my mom bra shopping a few years ago and made her buy a better fit - it's amazing how much a good fitting bra can look like weightloss! Did the same with my sister and made her ignore the numbers and only look at fit. Glad you are educating everyone. =)

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  71. This is fascinating! I've always heard women have it wrong too, but I thought I got it right. Reading about the scoop and swoop, I wonder... I'm going to have to measure tonight!

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  72. When my mom learned that she needed to start buying Bras of Unusual Size, she was really worried about the expense... so worried, in fact, that she phoned my dad from the store. The store's owner just about died laughing when she overheard my dad's answer: "Don't worry, we'll just take it out of the entertainment budget."

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  73. I should have known - there's a subreddit for everything. Thanks for sharing! I will definitely check it out. And now I'm thinking I really need to check my measurements...

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  74. Thank you for this post, Jen. I've been bra shopping before, gone to a store where they measure you and tell you what size you are, but still have found it sort of hit or miss on finding a well fitted bra. Many times I have found that a bra feels good and looks good in the store, but after a day of wearing it, the back pulls up and the girls droop in the front, pulling the straps into my shoulders. I will absolutely be checking out your links! Huzzah!

    Side note: I did find some bras that I love at Ross that are either 38 or 40 DDs (they were a gift, I forget the band size), so it is possible, and they are super cute.

    Andrea

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  75. Thanks for sharing this! I used to work at Victoria's Secret (I know they can be obnoxious because their size range is not very large, especially for larger or smaller women.) and we would give people this information all the time and they would not believe us. Spread the knowledge! :-)

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  76. I've been wearing a 36A for a long time (actually, one of my bras is sized "nearly A"... I was not happy the day I bought that bra!). But according to the calculator I'm a 30D. Which seems kind of impossible... but I'm gonna try it out! The chart explaining the sister sizes is fantastic! I live in a small town, so I'm going to go see if I can try a few things on tomorrow and then make some online purchases...

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  77. GREAT POST! You might be able to find a bra shop in your area that carries your actual size (usually these places have ladies that work there who know how to fit girls with boobs!) In Los Angeles my favorite is Jeanette's Bras (not sure where you are). Also, once you find a brand / style you like, you can order from figleaves.com they have a great selection & an excellent return policy!

    Take it from me - bra shopping at the department stores & Victoria's Secret is painful (I'm a 34F - who always thought she was a 34 D - but had 4 boobs!)

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  78. Two weeks ago, my friends and I went to Atlanta to see a Braves game, and the girls went to Livi Rae Lingerie beforehand (the home of the cable show "Double Divas" -- super fun, go watch!) We all got fitted, and we all had the same problem -- too big a band, too small a cup. I had been wearing a 42C, and I tried on three bras that fit perfectly (a 40D, 40DD, and 38E). We were all in shock and awe.

    She said the reason I needed a tighter band to hold the bra in place lower on my back. That will stop the straps from slipping. Also, the majority of your support should be from your band, not your straps, so you want to make sure the band is staying in place.

    Also? If I hadn't just spent $140 in bras there, that Starfleet bra would be mine today!

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  79. Now if only there were a solution for wildly uneven "tracts"....

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    1. I'm actually right there with you on that one, Elissa! And it didn't seem as noticeable in the wrong sizes for some reason - maybe because I was being smooshed so much by the too-small cups. I did see one thread asking about it on A Bra That Fits, and the consensus seemed to be that you should buy to fit the larger side, and then use an insert to make the tracts match. Now to hunt down a comfy insert...

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    2. Some bras by Ewa Michalak come with removable pads that are made to help with uneven-ness. Just take the pad out of your larger side. http://www.ewa-michalak.pl/?lang=eng

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  80. I've been meaning to get measured for awhile now....I wasn't sure I had done it correctly a few years ago when I tried it myself. I'll have to try the "bend over" approach to measuring and see what that says. I hate most of my bras, lol! Thanks Jen! I'll have to report back after work tonight, if there's a change in size for me!

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  81. So here's another challenge: I have chronic swelling where I had ribs broken 8 years ago, right where bra bands need to go. Some days this is a minor, easily ignorable discomfort that I really only notice when I take it off at the end of the day. Other days, like today, it's distracting and borderline painful. I mostly wear sport bras because of this (today, luckily, I'm wearing one a size larger than usual [38 vs 36], and have pulled the band down to the bottom of the sternum to relieve the pressure over the damaged ribs). I never know, when I get dressed in the morning, if it's going to be a good day or a bad day for my ribs. :/

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes a band with more hooks (such as a longline) can help with these kinds of issues, because the pressure will be distributed over a larger area. But maybe some of the other people over at abrathatfits have some other suggestions.

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  82. Marks and Spencer all the way for us in the UK - I always get fitted round there every time I need to buy a new batch of bras, just in case I've changed shape again. My Mum used to tell stories of how people would come on holiday to the UK and the women would delberately stop at M&S's lingerie department, their bras are that good. Certainly I've nevr gone anywhere else and they also have a bra fitting guide on their webpage too :)

    Oh, and just checked - for larger bra sizes, they also deliver outside the UK too, and they don't charge extra for bigger sizes (thank God!)

    Mini Mammoth

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  83. Hooray!! I'm so glad you've posted this! I had a "European-style" bra fitting about 6 years ago, and it literally changed my life. I went from saggy boobs, sore shoulders, and back fat, to perky-looking (but only in the bra, ha!) boobs, happy shoulders, and flat back in 30 seconds. It actually changed the way I walk, the way I pose for photos, and how I look at myself in the mirror. Of course, it also changed the clothes I can buy. Thanks for spreading the word!

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  84. I'm coming here from /r/abrathatfits, and I just want to remind people that breast shape is important, too. You won't always fit a bra, even if it is the right size for you. I know that was mentioned in the post, but I want to stress it because it is so easy to get discouraged if you're trying bras that don't fit and you haven't yet seen how well a well-fitting bra works. You can try to identify your shape from links in the sidebar, and ask for recommendations for your shape, or you can post a fit request once you have tried a few bras. We'll try to help you find something that works not only for your size but also your shape.

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  85. One resource I don't think you linked to but which I think is really important is the Bra Band Project (it's on the sidebar of /r/abrathatfits). This is an album of non-airbrushed women who have been correctly fitted. It's a good way to help reset how you think about things like what "a D cup" looks like.

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  86. I have had 5 kids in 3.5 years. I had spontaneous triplets when my 1st was only 20 months old and then my 5th was born when the triplets were only 23 months old. Before kids I knew I was wearing a band size too large because of acid reflux. I hated the feeling where the bra hits between your bust. So I was in a 36B. After kids I was in a 40D. My bras just weren't working after #5 was born though. My 40D fit, but wasn't supportive enough. I went to a specialty store that sells larger bras and does fittings. I went from a 40D to a 34H. Also about the only company that makes nursing bras that large is Anita. If you go to their website and do a store locator, I bet you can find a specialty bra store near you. http://www.anita.com/us-en

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  87. WOW, thank you, Jen!

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  88. I want to add that women who have never been professionally fitted at least once in their lives are doing themselves a major disservice. ALSO, it is COMPLETELY worth it to invest in two or three expensive and well-made bras. If you are good about hand-washing (It only takes like 6 minutes, and it will save you HUNDREDS of dollars over time in replacement bras and water) and never wearing the same bra two days in a row, your skivvies will last you years!

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    Replies
    1. Never two days in a row? Why not? I have never heard this rule!

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    2. Giving your bra a break between uses lets the elastic return to some semblance of normal, which makes it last longer. Bras are like almost anything else: Constant use puts the material under a lot of stress, which cuts into its lifespan.

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    3. Thanks! I have worn the same for like a week before, but I will stop now!

      Delete
  89. Just bought a 42M bra on Ebay, on your account (I mean because of you, not that I hacked into your Ebay account). I am never going to find a push up bra ever again at that size. If anyone can find one for me, I'll draw them a llama... in a bra.

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  90. Any ladies looking for nursing bras in actual sizes, check out Figleaves.com - it's been mentioned a bunch of times on here already. They have a section devoted to maternity and nursing, both wired and not. Although I'm pregnant with #2, and was never sized during my first breastfeeding time, I've been sized since, and I can even find my current size (34GG UK - AHHHH!) in nursing bras on Figleaves! I'm going to wait to order until after I give birth and engorgement goes down, though, for a more accurate measurement. Plus free shipping and returns - who can beat that?!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for this. I've on occasion found my size in nursing bras online, but the shipping (and return if it doesnt fit) has always stopped me from buying.

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  91. I want to repeat another poster: Bravissimo is brilliant for UK based girls. They don't use tape measures, they use eyes and hands. Their catalogue notes when bras are larger or smaller than usual, suggesting you get the next size and they do great sales too.

    I tell everyone about them since they took me from a 34D to a 30FF; my old housemate went from a 36B to a 28E. Talk about wrong sizes!

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  92. I got measured for my sister's wedding. I was wear a 42DDD but i tried on the 38H that the women gave me and oh my god, it was unreal the change. My boyfriend, now hubby, made me throw out all other bras and buy all new in the right size. Now i am pregnant and my size it out the window but the right bra really does make the difference.

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  93. There's been a few comnents about ill fitting clothes, too. You know, when you're curvier in the boobage zone. When things are big enough to fit over the boys you have 2 feet of excess fabric round your waist. Bravissimo not only do a great range of bras but they also make clothes for girls with big boobs!

    http://www.bravissimo.com/m/pepperberry/#

    I love their strappy vests. They have an in built bra (a proper one!) so no annoying strap hiding issues! Their tailored shirts are fab and I have a couple of their dresses for weddings too. Finally a LBD that fits beautifully!

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  94. Another options for affordable bras that come in a broad range of sizes is Change Lingerie; they're European firm. I go up to Toronto to get my bras from them! (I discovered I'm now a 36DD, thanks to them)

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  95. I have always heard if you need Ye olde Swoop n Scoop, you are wearing the wrong size.
    I am perfectly happy with how my bra fits. Very comfy, no pinching, wrinkles etc. Perfect.
    34C
    The calculator suggested here told me 32DDD!
    No way.
    Went to the store, I coulda added softballs in there with me and I still would have had extra room!
    I'm calling shenanigans.
    ...but I'm glad yall are happy.

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  96. Oh gosh, measuring like the links you've posted say tells me to go from my 42DDD to a 40N! I guess I wasn't too far off on band size, but finding that cup size is going to be interesting, to say the least. D:

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  97. Dang it, now I need to go bra shopping. As with others, I was "professionally" fit for a bra a while back when my sister conned me into it, but after looking at the page you linked to about how to recognize a good fit, I noticed that I've had EVERY SINGLE ISSUE they mentioned at the end as indicative of too large a band and too small a cup.

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  98. This is so important! And I want the Marvel bra. BADLY!!
    Bravissimo is amazing for any UK people reading this, they measure you for free, and they dont use tape measures, just how the bra actually fits you!!

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  99. How in the world am I am 30 I/J/K? I am so not stacked. But now I have to try to find one and see if it fits! Thanks, Jen

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    1. Cup size is relevant to band size. I'm a 30G (US size) and while that letter brings to mind 'huge' or 'ginormous' breasts, but because my breasts are only 7" bigger than my underbust measurement and I have a small underbust measurement, they are rather.. underwhelming. Your size in UK sizes are in the 30G/30GG/30H range.. look here to see other women in similar sizes http://www.brabandproject.com/gallery/search/band/30/sister_sizes/0/page/2/

      There's another thing to consider.. there's breasts that stick really far out but are kind of not wide on the chestwall, and then there's breasts that don't stick out but are spread across the chest wall. The latter is called having 'shallow breasts' and sometimes if you have shallow breasts they appear smaller than what they really are because they don't stick out very far. Here's a blogpost about shallow breasts.. http://www.venusianglow.com/2012/09/small-breasts-with-broad-base.html I have by definition shallow breasts and so that contributes to them looking rather underwhelming. But they are mine and I LOVE THEM!

      Delete
  100. IttyBittyFinishTheSentenceApril 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    The problem I have with all of these websites and threads is they all discuss underwire bras as the only option. I won't wear underwire. I don't like it and I don't need it, as the girls are not exactly large and don't need any additional support. I wouldn't wear a bra at all if it were not for the nipple issue.

    Can anyone recommend a wirefree bra (or even a brand) that is not a) a balconette bra aka no coverage b) a sports bra aka squash em flats or c) hideous and looks like I just got it out of the training bra section?

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  101. Jen (and all the pros answering questions), you are so wonderful for supporting womankind.
    I'm getting back into the workforce after being laid off and going back to school, so I've been shopping for an interview suit to help boost my self-confidence. The princess seams on jackets were all sitting too high for where my bust was. I knew I needed new bras, but none of them were fitting right. My confidence was rapidly sinking. Now I know it's the wrong size bra! But I sure don't look forward to finding something to accommodate my uneven sides.
    Here's an idea for an informal survey: If your breasts are uneven, which side is larger? Could it have anything to do with the side we carry babies on?

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    Replies
    1. My right side has always been bigger, and since I got pregnant it's WAY bigger. I always assumed it had to do with muscles. I'm left handed, so I don't know what it all means.

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  102. I had a mastectomy and wear a breast prosthesis. The best mastectomy bra source I've found online, Park Mastectomy Supply, identifies bras by profile (high, low, average) which really helps find the right one. That said, even similar bras by the same manufacturer don't always fit the same way. And, btw, mastectomy bras would be comfortable even if you don't need the prosthesis pocket, and most are designed for great support and fuller coverage (& don't all look like old lady bras).

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  103. Thank you so, so, so much for posting this! Thanks for being the impetus to get off my bum and feel better! I was going to skip my therapist appointment this afternoon, but said to myself, "No, you're going to go, and then you're going to buy yourself a bra afterward. Because you deserve to feel better in mind AND body!"

    I've been wearing Coobie bras which are one step up from a built-in tank top. I measured, and holy wow, 40DD. I went right to a bra store after work (Catherine's) and I am just loving the support and comfort of a bra that ACTUALLY FITS.

    And I had a great session too :) Thanks again!


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  104. I am a 38 HHH and HUGELY experienced in bras. I make one more suggestion: Hand wash them in a no rinse solution between EVERY use and they will last much longer ( I use Eucalam). also try to let them rest in between uses, but the washing is key. If you machine wash they can get damaged, and if you do not wash they will lose their shape and support quickly.

    If you want to be all "high tech" use a salad spinner to mostly dry them or also for the washing part. I simply follow the directions on the soap, pat dry with an absorbent towel, and hang them by the bridge (never straps!) over a wide banister till dry. drying flat is best.

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  105. When I was...18 I think, I finally got measured by professionals, and to my astonishment I was a 32F instead of a 36DD.

    And five years later I'm at least a 34 H. Probably an I cup.

    Things I haven't seen mentioned yet:

    1. If you're going from the too large band, too small cup problem to your actual size, your shoulders will probably feel better, but the area where you bra band sits on your back might start hurting. A LOT. Suddenly all the weight of your breasts is there. Your muscles might adjust on their own, but if not, start doing back exercises and stretching.

    2. The "take your underbust measurement and add four inches rule" still applies to most US bra companies in my experience. I do not wear a 30 band in any US bra I've tried. I can barely close the 32 bands anymore. In the US bras, I wear a 34. The best thing to do, is follow the measuring directions of each individual bra company when you're buying their bra.

    2. All the calculators and measurements you do will only give you an idea of where to start looking for a good size. I currently own anywhere from a 34-36 DD-G. All of which are slightly too small (clearly I need to go shopping). Measurements are, to quote Captain Barbossa, "more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

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  106. OMG, Jen! I could have told you that you're not a 38!

    There are a thousand comments above this, which I haven't perused yet, so I don't know if it's been mentioned yet: Nordstrom Rack is great for non-standard (as in, not 34B to 38D) sizes. When I weighed a little less, I wore a 32C, which was hard to find -- except at the Rack, where I had a dozen styles to choose from. (I'm now back up to 34B, which is super-common and I can easily find bras everywhere. The one advantage of gaining weight.)

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  107. Thank you for this post! I'm so glad so many people are contradicting the Victoria's Secret fitting method. If you fit into their bras, great, but so many women don't and are forced into them by people who just want to sell their product... and that can cause such discomfort! I wore 34DD's for a long time, because "DD = big," right? Wrong. Like you point out, not all DD's are created equal! I'm now a comfortable and happy 28H/30GG.

    Also, I cannot believe I haven't come across your blog until now... it's great!

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  108. I turn 37 this year, and I have never been fitted for a bra besides measuring myself with a fabric measure. I'm wearing bras that are years old, and the last time my Sweetie took me out to eat, I leaned sideways to pick up my purse from the floor and the loud TWANG of my snapping underwire scared us both! Luckily I was not stabbed to death by my bra at Longhorn. But I am a nerd who must read and study before trying anything, so your post has probably saved me. I am terrified of this "tissue migration" thing--sounds terminal. But my old high school bras are going to be holding up my garden tomatoes this year because I'M GOING BRA SHOPPING! No more jokes about whether I am coming or going! THANK YOU, JEN!

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  109. Sweet mother of mary! I've been wearing a 34 or 36D for as long as I can remember (err, I was measured BEFORE I had my son, who is almost 10) and I'm acutally a 32E! O_o

    thank you for this.

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  110. I thought I knew a lot about finding the proper fitting bra - but after reading this - Nope! I didn't! Thank you for sharing - I've sent the link to my sisters and my mom. Not every day you can send a legitimate email to your mom with the subject line "BOOBS!!!". ;)

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  111. Dave Barry linked to this article about a study this week: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2307278/Women-better-bras-say-scientists-took-FIFTEEN-YEARS-inspect-womens-breasts.html Those wiley French...

    I doubt I would go that route, but I have found that bra shopping varies by manufacturer, and for those of you who are weening your nursing babies, you best be budgeting new bras every 3 months because your boobs are not done changing for at least another 4 years (from my non-scientific query of friends and personal experience).

    Has anyone had any experience with True? They talk a big talk, but I haven't been able to pull the trigger yet on them. My bra issues stem from skin issues more than support, so my grail quest is for a few bras that won't aggravate my reactive psoriasis, but not sports bras. I'm about three more purchases away from taking up sewing just to get the right fit. (Though if those French researchers are right, maybe I just need to find a place where going commando isn't frowned upon).

    For your geek link, though, Jen, Wapsi Square (web comic http://wapsisquare.com/projects/wapsi-girl-info/) links to a lot of full figured bra resources. I'm wondering how many links I can put in here before I get flagged. His "Friend" list has "Thin and Curvy", Jenette Bras, Hourglassy, and Fullerfigurefullerbust, all good resources for larger and comfy bras.

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  112. Jen, thank you SO MUCH for posting this! So many women really DON'T know what size they are, because they trust in department store or Victoria's Secret clerks to measure them properly. I know I did for YEARS! It never occurred to me that there were larger bra sizes; I thought I was maybe malformed. The problem is not many of the stores carry sizes past D, and NEVER carry band sizes smaller than 34 and most of the chain stores that carry bras in the US are unfortunately more interested in selling you a bra from their store than they are concerned about what bra size you ACTUALLY wear.

    Vicky's told me I was a 34 DDD for YEARS and I used to be so self-conscious about my large breasts. I hated them and I wished there were some way I could get a breast reduction. I could never find clothing that fit me properly, or I could only get a skirt and shirt because a dress that fit across the girls would be baggy everywhere else, and FORGET about anything strapless, because a bra in that size would just fall down. Well a few years ago I went to a local bra shop that happened to specialize in larger (and much smaller) sizes and WHAT A DIFFERENCE! My true size is a 30G (in UK sizing - I find it's more accurate and there IS a difference so if you're shopping online make sure you check). I can wear "regular" clothes now, in the correct size, and I have several strapless bras that I can wear too! Although I can't truly say I'm "in love" with my breasts now, I am happy with them and happy with myself.

    The only way more stores in the US will carry bigger sizes is if there is a demand for them. I just wish we ladies could blame the CLOTHING industry in America instead of OURSELVES for the fit of our clothing and bras. All you wonderful, beautiful women out there please do yourself a favor and buy yourself a correctly fitting bra!

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  113. I know all that and it's amazing the difference a well fitted bra makes! You actually don't feel like ripping it off the minute you walk in the door!

    My problem is that I'm loosing chest circumference and my band size keeps going down. I've gone from a 34 to a 32 and now those are getting loose too quickly. 32's are hard enough to find and forget about a 30C. I'm going to end up in a lingerie store paying more than I want to.

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  114. This post was great!! My friend and I have been obsessing over it today! So many great ideas from everyone, and I will be going to a special boutique very soon!

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  115. Here's a great article about how it's harder to find these "new & improved" sizes in America. It would be great if we could start a movement to make these sizes easier to find in person. Thanks for writing, I love preaching about the myth of the "larger band smaller cup)."http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/09/large_breasts_small_waist_and_looking_for_a_bra_good_luck_.html

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  116. I am neither particularly thin nor particularly well endowed, but through measurement, education, and failed experiments, I have discovered I am a 30 E our 30F, depending on the brand. Www.breakoutbras.com is my best friend. No,they aren't paying me.

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  117. This is a seriously awesome post, and something that more women really need to know about! I am a 34DD and it is no cake walk finding reasonably priced bras that actually fit. For any ladies who are a 34DD and live near a Kohl's I have found that they usually carry that size in the Bali bras and often run specials on them as well (buy one get one and such). That is now my go-to brand since I find it way too scary to buy something that expensive and hard to fit online.

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  118. Ladies, it is *not* as tragic as it may seem when you get a "weird" or "huge" size! I am a UK 34J (or US 34O...though find me a cute one of those and I'll give you a cookie), and know of what I speak.

    There are many wonderful retailers online, particularly in the UK, that sell discounted bras. Figleaves, Brastop, LoveBras, Bravissimo, and Asos, just to name a few. You can even find great bargains on ebay. Worst case scenario, it doesn't fit, and you can return it or sell it on to someone else. And they don't all look like "granny" bras! Curvy Kate, Freya, and Panache are UK manufacturers that put out gorgeous bras up to quite large cup sizes. Also check out Ewa Michalak from Poland (if you don't see your size on the site, you can email them and they will most likely make one for you anyway, they just don't keep all the sizes in stock). No, you won't be clawing through the $10 bra bin if you have huge knockers and want the right size, but saving yourself back, boob, neck, and shoulder pain has got to be worth a bit more money spent, eh?

    Check out my bud Georgina at the blog "Fuller Figure Fuller Bust", she has great videos on fitting and bra reviews galore. Also "Curvywordy" has lots of reviews of the Ewa Michalak bras I was talking about.

    As much as everyone is plugging Nordstrom, I'd honestly just go in for a fitting and to try things on. Their price markup is off-putting for me. And even the fitting I'd take with a grain of salt...I've never had them give me a tight enough band/big enough cup.

    One last thing, I just want to stress that a calculator can NOT be taken as the end all, be all of your size. Sizes vary between brands, boob shapes vary, body frames vary ("squishier" women sometimes need a band size that is smaller than their underbust measurement, for example, myself included). There is a trial and error process involved for certain, but the Sophisticated Pair calculator provides a very good jumping off point. Oh, and for the ladies with very heavy and/or saggy boobs, you might be like me and get a better estimation from the calculator if you take the over-your-bust measurement while you are leaning over parallel to the ground so your boobs are allowed to hang and you make sure to get all that breast tissue measured.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Jen for spreading the bra fit awareness message! As I said on fb it's a subject I feel very passionate about!

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  119. Just tried it out of curiousity...I've been wearing a 20D (Australian) and I know it doesn't fit well...according to the measurements and calculator, I should be in a 22F. So I will have to try and find somewhere that stocks that size and doesn't charge a fortune and see if the fit is better.

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  120. Holy cow, Lane Bryant had me in a 42DDD. According to the measurements, I should be a 38N or a 40M. O_O Time to go looking...

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  121. Thank you! This post could not have come at a better time. I need to go bra-shopping anyway since my boobs have shrunk back down to their pre-pregnancy/pre-breastfeeding size (sadly). I've always been small-breasted, typically wearing a 34A/B, but with this method, I measured at 30DD. Can that be right?! I'll definitely have to go try some stuff on this weekend. Thank you again for posting! (And for your honesty/candidness! Takes guts!)

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  122. I just measured myself and got that I should be wearing a 42P. That is quite the jump from my current 44G. I didn't even know P existed as a bra size!

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  123. This post is so well timed. I'm about to make a big bra purchase, and as someone who wears an odd size, that tends to be an expensive purchase. Just to see, I did some measuring. I figured I'd be down a cupsize since I've lost weight. Nope, I'm measuring up - at a 36G. Put on my best fitting bra, looked in the mirror and... yeah. That's not wrong. These bras have some spillage. I can get away with that under bulky sweaters, but not under summer weight tops. New bras and perky breasts, here I come!

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  124. At least you could finally find something that fit. I'm overweight and none of it is breast. (I'm working on it, but it took me a long time to pack it on, and it's taking even longer to shed it.) Even the sites that the nice folks above suggested (figleaves, herroom, bratabase) were of little help.

    I had one bring up a sports bra. I have fraking sports bras. Sports bras are a dime a dozen. I want something that I can wear with a neckline that doesn't come all the way up to my neck! Other sites bring up the same ~three that are made for fuller at the top shaped women. I'd almost consider them out of sheer desperation, but they have... shudder...lace. Holy. Frelling. Cow that stuff makes me want to rip my skin right off; it causes that much irritation.

    Oh, and then there were a few that flat out lied when I click on a Google search. I'd click on a great option that wasn't actually available in my size. Rat bastard finks, the lot of them.

    Now I'm full of anger and self-hatred again. This is why I've been sticking to sports bras and men's t-shirts. This shit just makes me so fucking woebegone. Maybe I'll give Band-Aids©® etc. a go.

    I am happy for you, though.

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  125. Next time I go shopping for bras I might give it a try but I'm having a hard time going along with the measurements for this. I wear a 34-36 A cup and I seriously do not fill that. I even went ahead and did the "scoop and swoop" and nothing changed with my current 36 A cup like in the photos how they were spilling out over their bras, I looked the same as I did before.

    So I did the measurements and I'm looking at about 36 across the bust and then 31.5 for the band. It's telling me a 32 D. I've seen D cups and held them up to me for funsies and that would take up my whole top of my torso they are so big lol! Not saying that I won't try one on next time I go shopping but I'm having a hard time thinking this is correct for smaller sized busts.

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  126. So my apparently 36A chest is actually a 36DD. What???!!! That seems impossible, considering how small my boobs seem. But the post on breast shapes maybe helps explain that, as I'm more full on the bottom and on the sides.

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  127. I saw that thread a while ago, but was too lazy to measure. I've always done the swoop-and-scoop anyway--it's the only way to make them look reasonably normal--although I daresay I'm wearing the wrong size. Well, I KNOW I am right now; I've annexed considerable acreage since I got pregnant and am still squeezing into the same bras. And worse, it's concentrated on one side of the kingdom. Sigh.

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  128. According to this I am a 38J. I kind of knew that, but I know for a fact that I fit great in the right 38DD t-shirt bra. Considering that I definitely don't need any padding this works for me.

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  129. GAH! Thank you for this post! I've been wearing 38B for years. According to that I'm a 34E. YIKES!

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  130. FYI: I believe JC Pennys carries up to DDD in-store, I think Victoria's Secret does too, and I believe Wal-Mart does as well. Nordstrom's is a fantastic store that carries extended sizes (above a HH cup!), and the discounts at Nordstrom's Rack are good enough to justify the drive from my house.

    I spent years wearing nothing but sports bras because I was too fed up with the whole bra industry to deal with it, but my husband finally convinced me to figure out my correct bra size after our son was born because he was worried I'd hurt myself if I didn't. Believe me, it took a lot of research, a few double-takes, and ordering bras from an online store with a wonderful return policy (breakoutbras.com) to try them on before I believed it - because the size I measured was still two cup sizes too small.

    I now spend a small fortune on bras every year, and the ones I have get extra-delicate washing treatment, believe me.

    Anyway - breakoutbras.com has always been a fantastic place to order hard-to-find sizes, I especially like the fact that every style has notes about how it fits. I like them enough to justify the double shout-out!

    I also love bravissimo.com, although ordering from the UK is slow and expensive.

    I'm also heavy on bottom, and Panache and Freya are the brands that fit me the best.

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  131. Awesome! I found that calculator a few months ago, and similarly, it said instead of the 36A's or B's I was wearing, I should be a 32D. So I went to the store, and using that as a starting point, procceded to spend an hour and a half trying on most of the store. In the end, I ended up with a 34D (and a 34C at a different store, so keep in mind that some places might be using vanity sizing to further throw us off!), and a much more comfortable fit :). I haven't been adjusting quite that way though, so we'll see if it changes again now that I'm going to start! Thanks for sharing with us, both the info and those awesome nerdy bras. I already had my eye on the starfleet one, but the others rock too :).

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  132. I'd had at least half a dozen women in stores measure me, and they told me 32DD. I just measured myself. . . . Seven sizes. They were SEVEN sizes off. 30L US size, 30HH in UK! My jaw dropped to the floor. T

    HANK YOU!! I can see a light at the end of the tunnel that does not include back pain! FINALLY.

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  133. I'd always thought I was a 34A, but after doing the measuring test it turns out I'm 30H! I didn't even know bras came in H! I've never been interested in bra shopping-I usually just snag whatever looks closest at Walmart-but now I think I'll actually look into finding the right bra!

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  134. Oh, my gosh! After a few years of thinking I had eczema where my bra ran underneath in front and on the sides (ouch!), replacing all my pretty lace ones with plane-Jane-smooth ones, and generally hating life, I wandered into Victoria's Secret and was told I was about to be measured. Ha! I thought. I know what size I wear, duh.

    Nope. I was wearing the wrong size. Turns out mine is the same as yours now, and I never would have imagined I'd be a D! It blew my mind.

    Funny thing, no more rashes, no more bruises (yep, I'm really slow).

    I'm not sure what other people's experiences have been with VS, but the girl who helped me was wonderful. She gave me numbers of bras to try on after we determined my size and then not only helped me find them in the store, but wrote down the ones I liked. Sure, I've lost the card, but the point is, I felt so pampered.

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  135. I've been going off about this for the past 20 years. See my web page at:
    http://ugcs.caltech.edu/~cat/bra.html
    (last updated some 10 years ago, it's time for another update)

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  136. Hi Jen! Just wanted to thank you for posting this. I'm a redditor who has a hard time figuring out how to present that information to folks, and I've been sending your article out all over the place because it perfectly puts everything together and makes it easy to read! Now my friends don't have to be overwhelmed by me just directing them to r/ABraThatFits.

    About a month ago I was fed up with my bras and I found the subreddit, and went through EXACTLY what you did. I've been wearing 32As my entire life, and have been incredibly uncomfortable. I ran through the steps and it came out telling me I wore a 30C. Being a little smaller up top, I thought there was absolutely NO WAY I could wear a C cup. I ordered a bra to test the size, fully expecting to return it. And lo and behold, it fit! And it fit better than any bra I've ever had. I think my boyfriend is getting sick of hearing how great my boobs feel, but I can't recommend this information enough. It's amazing! And thanks for putting it together and making it easier for me to share with my gal pals!

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  137. Thank you for posting this!! I've been keeping up with r/ABraThatFits for a few months now, and it really changes things!! I am SO, SO happy to see this getting a spotlight on a blog like yours. All women need to see it!!

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  138. Thank you so much! My sad, sad confession is that I've been wearing the same size since my first "real" bra from Victoria's Secret as a teenager... I have needed to do this for a long time, and now I am armed with knowledge! Going from 34B to 32DD/E as per the calculator makes mathematical sense based on my situation, and I am off to try one now. Sweet relief!

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  139. Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful information! The first time I was fitted by a "professional" (back in 2000) I was told that the "gorge" would never lay flat for someone like me with very large breasts. She also told me that the bras in my size were only made overseas and that the US had limits on the number of bras they could import so I was stuck with these horrible itchy and stiff bras. Unfortunately I believed the BS and continued to buy the same bras for 5 or 6 years before I wised up. Since then I've gone to other professionals who fitted me properly (and even told me that the "professional" who measured me at the first "boutique" was notorious for not sizing correctly). Thank you for sharing!! I plan to pass along your post to every woman I know!.

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  140. ...this is so well timed with an article my little local paper put out this evening regarding creative bras on display.

    Lots of good info. I'll have to try this out when I feel that I can stand naked in the cold house for more than 5 seconds.

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  141. So, I LOVE this post!! I started looking at some of this information a few months back because I got fed up of unconsciously always fiddling with my bras! It looks really unprofessional and people just don't appreciate you fiddling with your boobs like it's no big deal haha But I mostly didn't even realize i was doing it. Wires poked me in the wrong places, my bands rode up and down like a rollercoaster. It was awful :)
    Your links are great!

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  142. This post is mind blowing. I need to go bra shopping!

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