Monday, August 18, 2014

When To Use A Bra Extender

Bra accessories are one of the easiest ways to tailor bra fit to your body. The most popular bra accessory we sell is bra extenders. This useful bra accessory is used to make your bra band longer. There are a few times when a longer band is helpful:

1) A brand new bra can be very tight but after a few wash and washes the elastic relaxes. An extender can be used in the early weeks to make the bra more comfortable while it breaks in. This way you don't lose the longevity of a band's elasticity and you don't have to suffer an excessively tight band while the fabric relaxes.

2) If your ribcage measures an odd number, 33 for example, then you might find that the band size up (34 in this example) is too loose or stretches out too quickly and the band size down (32 in this example) is too tight. The bra extender allows you to turn a 32 band into a 33 or 34. The extender can then be removed when the band stretches and you don't lose any life of the bra.

3) Lots of women experience weight fluctuation and bra extenders are an easy way to maintain a comfortable band fit without having to buy bras in a bigger band size.

4) Many pregnant women find that their cup size doesn't alter in early pregnancy but that their band starts to feel tight. This is due to the increase in fluids and sensitivity around the upper abdomen. Rather than buy new bras that will fit for a matter of weeks you can use a bra extender to give you more breathing room in early pregnancy.

5) Some of our customers have told us that they use their bra extenders on days when they have pain flare ups. From arthritis to fibromyalgia, there are conditions that can cause increased pain. On those days the bra extender allows for a looser fit while still retaining some support. The extender can then be removed for better support on days of lesser or no pain.

It's important to remember that your band is the most important foundation of good support. It needs to be snug so that it can support the weight of your breasts. Don't forget to remove the extender from your bra as the band loosens and you can use the bra's own hooks. Bra extenders are a great way to have more size flexibility without compromising on fit. Let us know why you use your extenders xx

Monday, August 4, 2014

3 Responses to Our Bra Size Calculator Explained

Last week I posted a link to our Bra Size Calculator on Facebook and it was kindly shared by quite a few people. I read some of the comments under the links and realized there are 3 consistent responses to the calculator and they are so telling about bra fitting as a whole. Here are 3 common responses and what they tell us about bra fitting:

1. "The calculator says I'm a 30H! That can't be right!"

When our calculator returns a size that is much smaller in the band than you're used to wearing or a cup letter that much higher in the alphabet it can be a shock. Considering that most stores and online boutiques fit women into bands that are too big for them so that they can sell them a size that they carry it's not surprising that many women don't know sizes like a 30H or 28GG even exist. The key thing that most people still don't know is that cup letters mean NOTHING without the band size. Lots of people still think that all F cups are enormous and all C cups are average. Georgina at Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust explains the myth of cup letters so well. She says "a cup letter without a band size is like saying it's half past without saying an hour" and she's so right. Half past 3 is quite a different time to half past 9, so too, a 30F is quite a different cup volume than a 40F (5 cup volumes different in fact).

Related Article: Not All D Cups Are The Same Size

If you're wearing a band that's too big for you but your cups 'fit' then your cup letter will be lower in the alphabet. For example, a 38DDD (or a 38F in UK sizing, which we use at Butterfly Collection) has the same cup volume as a 36FF, 34G, 32GG, 30H and a 28HH. If you measure 30 inches around your ribcage then our calculator will recommend a 30H and it looks like a big shock but in reality the cup volume is the same, only the band is more proportional to your body.

2. "This is way off for me, it says I'm a 40F and I'm a 42C."

This is rarely talked about but body fat and height make a difference to bra fit for some people. Here are some generalized correlation between body proportions and bra size:
3. "The cup size is way too big for me. It says a 36FF and I wear a 36E."

Taking two measurements can never tell you the whole story about someone's breasts. The most important things it can't tell you are the shape of your breasts or the shape of your torso. If you have a flared torso or have shallow breasts then the results of a calculator are going to be wrong. Very often if the results come back at a larger cup volume than you're wearing then your torso shape or breast shape plays a significant part in your bra size. Calculators are only ever a starting point, they are NEVER gospel, how could they be when women are so infinitely different?

There are lots of bra calculators out there and lots of them are rubbish and some of them are good (I hope ours is still on the whole good!) One thing is for sure; every single bra size calculator will be wrong for lots of women. They are one bra fitting tool that needs to be used in conjunction with other tools to arm you with the knowledge you need to understand your unique breasts and bra fit xx

Monday, July 21, 2014

Your Bra Past Doesn't Have to Dictate Your Bra Future

Today writer and Butterfly Collection client, Justina Luther, shares her experience of overcoming her bra past for a brighter bra future. 

"What was your first experience with bras? Was it happy, sad, comical or humiliating? For me it was the last option. Thankfully the past doesn’t have to dictate your future. When I was ten years old my chest was developing without my knowledge and I was surrounded by bra ignorance. A scenario with which I’m sure many of you are familiar.

I was a tomboy who took choir and drama classes. During a drama class in the midst of friends, and my crush, my drama teacher called me to the front of the group and told me everyone could see my boobs and I needed to go put on a bra. That was my first jarring and humiliating introduction to my developing bust and the world of bras.

For a long time I wore a bra because it was necessary but ignored it as much as possible. My back hurt, my band rode up and my boobs spilled out as I continued to change sizes but because of my drama teacher’s harsh words I was intimidated by bras and was scared to address the issues or ask my parents for help. I continued with this attitude for years.
Two years ago I decided something had to be done, so I went to be fitted. While the fit was somewhat better, and the bras were nice, I quickly realized the size was again wrong. Being the research hound I am I decided to search the internet for better information. After learning a great deal about bras and breasts I realized bras were not devices contrived to torture me but were actually there to help me.

I stumbled onto Butterfly Collection’s online boutique and decided to do a Skype Fitting with Claire. She was so kind and quickly saw the issues I knew I had, but hadn’t understood what caused them. She suggested a size for me but told me to try 2-3 sizes around it because what was comfortable to me might be different from the size a tape measure recommended. This was the first time someone consciously told me I had control over saying what fit was right for me. That thought was empowering.

In my journey to love the body I have there have been highs and lows and the highs have always been the result of seeking knowledge and taking control over my body image. The first thing I did after I dared to find my right fit was to find a bra (in the right size) I wanted to wear because I thought it was cute! Claudette has some beautiful designs in 30FF and so does Fantasie.

I used to hate my bras, and to an extent my boobs, but our past doesn’t dictate our future and the lies we’ve been told can be overcome with wisdom. Every woman, no matter what’s in her past, deserves a bra that brings her confidence and comfort."

Justina Luther is a lifetime author with a passion for people. Whether it’s her current work, a suspense titled Would You Have Believed Me? or her personal experience short story titled GED=OMG, which was published in Beginnings XIV, she puts her heart into every word she writes. Justina believes words can change the world. She is currently an author on the exciting new blog When Readers Write. To read more of her work, visit

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sternum Shape and Bra Fit

Cora over at The Lingerie Addict asked me why the gores tack on her 34C bras but only tack at the top but not the bottom on her 32Ds and don't tack at all on her 30DD/E bras. This sounds counter-intuitive to most fit information because we learn that when your band is too big the gore stands away from your breast bone so why would Cora's gores tack in big bands but not smaller band sister sizes? The answer lies in ribcage and sternum shape.

Band Size and Ribcage Shape
Let's start with the band. When we measure around our ribcage (the parallel line directly below your breast root) it tells us the circumference of only part of our ribcage. Bra bands are several inches deep and wrap around a greater depth than the single ribcage measurement we can take with a measuring tape. I want to make it clear that the underbust measurement is well worth taking because it's a great starting point but for lots of women it needs to be taken in conjunction with other bra fit factors.

If you have a broad back or a flared ribcage (it's worth reading my article on torso shape and bra fit) then your band has to stretch around large and small circumferences simultaneously. The measuring tape measurement probably tells you the smallest circumference that your bra band will stretch around which is why someone like Cora can measure a 30 around but find her best fit in a 34 band because her ribcage might flare out into a broader back or acute angle which is better suited to a larger band.
Cora, The Lingerie Addict, in a shoot by Old School Pinups wearing Kiss Me Deadly Sirena Corset
In a 30 band Cora's bra is staining over a wider part of her ribcage which lifts the gore away from her sternum at the front. In a 32 band the strain is less so the gore is tilted and fits either at the top and not the bottom of vice versa. In a 34 band the strain is relieved and the gore can sit flush against the sternum. Women with flared ribcages sometimes find that they get some hollow space just below their gore where they can fit several fingers underneath their gore - the is quite normal and in general doesn't detrimentally affect fit.

Breast Bone Shape
The other fit factor to consider when a larger band fits you better than a smaller one is the angle and shape of your breast bone. When you measure around your ribcage it cannot take into account the shape of your breast bone (sternum). When your sternum is acutely angled or protruding you often find that you need either a very short gore than sits below your sternum or you need a larger band to accommodate the shape of the breast bone. You may find that your breast bone hollows where your gore is meant to tack, or that it protrudes more at the top than the bottom. This shaping of your sternum affects which band size and gore height will work best for you.

The band number and cup letters are far less important than finding a fit that feels right to you so don't worry if you measure a 28GG but find that a 30G or 32FF fits you better, it could very well be that other aspects of your torso are affecting your fit. xx

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bra Fit Tips for Women with Active Jobs

I'm so thrilled to have this guest post by The Lingerie Detective's Avigayil. Being busty and having a very physically demanding job can be made more comfortable with some bra know-how and Avigayil has fantastic experience and tips on staying comfortable and supported at work.

"Lingerie style and fit is important when your job is physically demanding. I was an in-home caregiver for a wheelchair bound client for seven years. In my daily job I performed a standing transfer wherein I supported the full weight of my client to move her in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, and in and out of the shower. Given my highly active career, I had to find lingerie that was comfortable, supportive, and flexible. Here are a few tips for what kind of lingerie to look for if you also have an active job. 
Panache Sports Bra has wicking material and a J hook to turn the back into a racerback style

Look for bras with breathable or moisture-wicking fabrics. Breathable fabrics allow air to flow towards your skin and sweat to flow away from your body. Moisture-wicking fabrics draw the sweat away from your body and cause your skin to dry quicker. If you are prone to heavy sweating or your active job requires you to be in close proximity to people while still performing well, then a moisture-wicking sports fabric would probably be a good choice. Natural fibres like cotton are breathable and can be a good alternative to synthetic if you have sensitive skin. I am also a fan of mesh: even though it is made of synthetic materials, the perforated design allows for a good exchange of air between the world and your skin.
Basic Beauty by Wacoal has a V back strap design to keep your straps firmly in place
When selecting a bra, look for designs with a t-back, racer back, or J-hook on one of the bra straps that allows you to convert the bra. This back style serves two purposes. First, it redistributes weight that would be on your shoulders and places it closer to your core. Secondly, it moves your straps farther in on your body so there is less of a chance of a strap falling down when you lean over, reach for something, or contort into an interesting position while at work. On the same note, look for bras with straps placed farther in on the front. Even if you do not have narrow or sloping shoulders, active work often means our shoulders are in a variety of different positions. When the bra straps are positioned closer to the core, they move less and require minimal (ideally no) adjustment throughout the day.

Two styles I suggest for an active job are the dependable sports bra and a non-molded cup bra. I think the sports bra is a no-brainer as most sports bras are about containment. They offer great support, reduce breast bounce, and tend to keep larger breasts closer to the chest. The materials used in sports bras either have moisture wicking properties or are breathable. This Panache Sports Bra has a couple other features that make it a great bra for work: the moulded cups offer extra padding for sensitive chests and it is cut lower under the armpits to prevent chaffing. While it is not a dedicated racer back bra, it does have the racer clip for conversion.

Dessous is a mesh range full cup bra that's ideal for shallow on top breasts and narrow or sloping shoulders
Now, just because you have an active job it does not mean you cannot wear pretty bras to work. I recommend trying a full soft cup bra (underwire) with straps that are set in a bit. If you have shallow on top breasts, then I recommend the Dessous line by Claudette. I could probably skydive in my Dessous and my breasts would not escape the cups. The coverage of a full cup along with the underwire offers the support your breast tissue needs. The closer set bra straps will keep you from having to readjust your bra throughout the day. The soft cups are also useful for work where your chest may encounter objects or people on a regular basis. Whereas a molded cup bra keeps your breasts acting as one, a soft cup allows each breast to move independently. Therefore, if I get an elbow/box/etc. squished against my one breast, it will not try to adjust my entire bra or push my breast out of the cup. My one breast will just “go with the flow,” while still encapsulated in the bra, and then settle back down. I found soft cup bras the best match for my work as a personal caregiver.


The world of lingerie does not stop at bras so I would be negligent not to mention their common counterpart: underwear. Wear comfortable underwear. If your underwear likes to ride up or give you a wedgie, then leave them in your underwear drawer (or throw them out). While underwear style is going to mainly come down to personal tastes, I found high-rise full coverage bikini style briefs the most comfortable. Again, your moisture-wicking or breathable fabrics are going to be vital. There is nothing like the discomfort of overheating between your legs because the synthetic pair of underwear you purchased for $5 does not breathe. Do not be deceived by the cotton gusset: if there is a layer of fabric on the outside of the cotton gusset that does not breath that means that your crotch is not getting proper air circulation. Try out a pair of 100% cotton underwear or performance underwear. Mesh is also an option for the aforementioned reasons.

No matter what lingerie you choose to wear, fit is always imperative. Always buy underwear in your current size and get bra fittings regularly. Wearing proper fitting underpinnings will make a world of difference to both you and your skin."

Avigayil Morris is a full-time wife and a full-time student about to graduate with a BA in English. A long time deal blogger for Bargainmoose, she has recently started her own lingerie blog called Lingerie Detective as a creative outlet for her overwhelming obsession with underpinnings and as a place to exhibit her ever increasing collection. Her other obsessions include animals, water, nature, food, fashion, and earth friendly living.