Thursday, May 17, 2012

ARCHIVE - Is Your Professional Fitter Giving You The Right Bra?

From time to time I'll re-post an old blog that struck a chord with readers. If you're a regular reader you'll know that I don't like the stat "80% of women are wearing the wrong bra" because it suggests that this is the fault of women when in fact I firmly believe that it's mostly down to the amount of dreadful fitting advice that is given out by manufacturers and boutiques alike. You should know how to measure yourself so that you can tell whether your fitter is giving you the bra that's right for you or just right for their commission. This blog from last year talks about how fitters can let you down if you don't know what you're looking for.
One of my smaller busted girlfriends told me she hasn’t been for a professional fitting in years because in her words “fittings don’t make a difference, bras just hurt”. I rummaged through her exhausted looking bras and they all read 34A. Just by looking at her I knew she wasn’t a 34 band so I showed her how to take her measurements and she quickly discovered that she is actually a 30C.

My friend went through the usual process of disbelief and laughter at the idea of being 2 cup sizes bigger then she looked at me and said “do they make bras in that size?” She didn’t know it but she hit the nail on the head as to why she’s always hated bra shopping – not enough stores carry her size so they put her in a size they carry regardless of the fact that it will be ill-fitting and painful.

Without boring you with the science, the cup on a 34A is the same volume as the cup on a 30C because cups are relative to the band size. How these two bras differ is that a 34 inch band gave no support to my friend so her straps were taking all the weight of her bust and the band was riding up her back. She was generally uncomfortable and in pain.
The bust volume is the same on all three women but their band sizes are different - cup size is proportional to band size.
Lots of stores only buy the most ‘common’ bra sizes (32-38 A-D) because it’s most cost effective. This may make retail sense but it doesn’t make you more comfortable in your bra! This is why I encourage every woman to measure herself before she goes for a professional bra fitting. It’s even more important for big busted women to know their band size because a loose band can wreck your posture, health and silhouette.

Almost 40% of the women who call me because they are unhappy in their bras, are wearing a DD cup. This is because a DD cup is the biggest they can find on the high street. To get a DD cup big enough they are wearing band sizes that are WAY too big so they end up dreadfully uncomfortable and very undefined. You can see from this chart that the volume on a 38DD bra is the same as the volume on a 34G bra but the support and shape are totally different.
Wearing a bigger band to accommodate your bust volume leaves you very uncomfortable (remember a Canadian DD=E).
When you measure yourself at home take particular note of your under bust measurement. If your bra fitter starts to put you into bras that are more than 2 inches bigger than this measurement your alarm bells should start ringing. A lot of stores use a fitting method that adds Four or Five inches to your band size. This method is out of date (and in my opinion dangerous!) and only serves to get women into readily available bras rather than correctly fitting bras. Check out the wonderful Thin and Curvy blog to see what a difference it makes being in the right band size.

There is a lot of bra information out there that is confusing and designed to keep you baffled about your boobs (so you don't know when you're getting bad service!). Knowing your size is incredibly empowering and can put an end to poor quality fitting services and painful bras. So grab yourself a tape measure and take back control of your boobs!!!


  1. Great post Claire. As well as knowing your own measurements, it's also important to consider that every bar fits differently, so you may be one size in one brand and a completely different size in another brand.

  2. I went into a store I had not seen before - I probably knew they didn't carry my size, since all but one store only goes up to FF around here, but I had hopes. I went in wearing a 34HH, to which they quickly responded that simply couldn't be the case, and handed me a 38E. Though quickly discovering that the cups wouldn't do, they did not listen when I showed them how far I could pull the band. Trying to scoop me into a 38FF did not work either, so they said they would order some 42FF's. If I was anywhere near a 42, I doubt I would even be able to close the 34HH Ewa Michalak bra I had arrived in. They audibly scoffed when I reminded them that my comfortable fitting bra was 4 sizes smaller than that. I was in tears when I left. I haven't been fitted since I was 16 and told I was out of range (by an honest fitter, at least)

  3. Sorry to spam your comment section, but I am just so upset about that bra fitting, especially because that is very typical for bra-fittings I've been to. I am pretty content in my body, but experiences like that make me feel like such a freak and a fraud - a whole team examining 'the problem', not taking my word for anything, neither fit of the bra they gave me, or the fit of my own bra. To think that a 42FF would fit me, they must have assumed I outright lied about wearing a 34HH!
    I am so glad that there is at least an online bra community to see that it is perfectly all right to be D+, and that there is good bras and fitting advice out there!

    1. You're not spamming at all - your story is so common and so important to share. I think of every young woman who has been treated like a freak or disregarded by an ignorant and downright unkind sales person and it makes me want to scream.

      Busty women and girls need sensitive, educated and empathetic advice that allows them to be empowered about their physical and emotional well-being. The women you encountered in that store should be ashamed of themselves and good for you for rising above their ignorance to share your story, stand your ground and celebrate being busty. Giant hugs to you xx

  4. Love your blog! The adding plus four to band size fitting never worked for me and I was always frustrated thinking maybe it was just me. The band size is just be way too large. Nobody would ever think of adding four inches to waist size when buying a pair of jeans, so why do it with a bra. Who ever came up with this bra measuring as a standard?

    1. I'm so glad you've found out that you don't need to add inches to your band size. There is definitely nothing wrong with you! Bras have changed so much since this measurement system was created so it's time we move on to better methods xx

  5. I am not fitted prroperly. I measure 30 under bust. The fitter put me on 30th while I was nursing, I am only five foot. The wires were so high it gave me black marks on both under arms, from getting poked and it isn't years the black marks are still there. The straps digged and fall off. Not to mention thw back fat from tight straps.Then, after
    that, I was fitted for 30 J,32H,32HH,all these give me back fat, books are not completely in and when I walk , the top of the breasts shake ,But when I measure mysslelf I am 30 underbrush and the bust is 43. And, the fitter said , I have back, which I do not, I know it is the bra. I went to the other store, at least . They put on 30 which again had the same issues but at least the lady said you are breasts are bigger than we think or look . Then I said, not to mention the wires going almost to the back. So ,I made little research online and I myself decided to get 28K on Panache tango, online the center laid flatten chest but the cups were big, the waist was perfect. Then, I sent it back and ordered 28 JJ, there is still little gapping in sides, but the center sits flat on chest but all the breast is in the cup a making .even feel breath better and giving me good posture and the back fat is barely there,or should I say no back fat. My back do not hurt .And, the top of my breast do not shake as much,or should I say it doesn't at allstill the straps fall of and there is little gapping non the top.I am think 28K or 26Jj might fit better. I am fed up of.stores saying they will fit us and do not fit the customers but ripping if their money, or just trying to sell the bras that they want to get rid off. I am thinking may be 32 I cup would be ok. But 26band and I cups are difficult to find. I am even thinking wireless bras would solvw.problws.of gapping the cups.