Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Holly Jackson: How to Deal with Cup Size Shock

I've recently managed to convince several people to get measured through Twitter and the power of friendship, and some of them have come back to me feeling very unsettled after finding out their new bra size. I can sympathize since I recently lost some weight and changed sizes to…a 32J (and by the way Internet, I have not yet collapsed due to the weight of my own breasts!)

Several of my friends used a good bra calculator and had similar revelations. A good friend of mine found out more about her bra size; she previously thought her bra size was 38G and she turned out to be a 36L. The calculator also gave her the American size translation which made her a 36R in US sizes, this seemed even more of a shock! She was understandably freaked out. Suddenly, her whole life was different. She asked lots of questions that I think about too. If she got pregnant, how would she find nursing bras? If she lost weight would her breast size go down or up? Where in the world did a person buy L cup bras anyway? She was truly upset. Her body, as she understood it, was different than it was before the calculator, and she was now in a category of cup size that can make life difficult.

I tried to be practical and soothe her, but honestly, I feel the same way sometimes. Life was much easier when I was a G cup (even if my bras didn't fit as well). I could wear all kinds of bras and felt like I had tons of choice. As we learn more and cup sizes increase worldwide, G is starting to be more accepted in terms of being a normal cup size. Unfortunately, if you're above that the market hasn't caught up as fast. I find myself staring at websites and wondering where I fit in now that I've found my new size.

If you're struggling with the acceptance phase of finding out you're on the larger end of full bust sizing, here are some quick tips to help you along.

1. You're not alone.
Many women are in the same boat, whether you know it or not. Happily, many women are also blogging openly about their experiences, and lots of wonderful communities have formed around these blogs. Find one you like, and join in. You'll learn things, and even make some like-boobed friends in the process.

2. Tell retailers that you exist.
If we want the market to change, this is what we have to do. In the age of the internet, people are easier to contact than ever. Use that to your advantage and contact retailers and ask why they don't carry your bra size. Small boutiques like Butterfly tend to be more responsive to things like this, but even big retailers have made changes based on widespread internet campaigns.

3. Speak with your wallet.
If someone carries your size, make sure you buy from them. Sometimes this means paying a little bit extra, but that extra is exactly like voting with your wallet. One of the issues that brands face when they want to make larger cup sizes is finding an audience, so make sure you're showing them they have one.

4. Don't be afraid to talk about it.
I once convinced someone to get measured and into a bra that fit on a train trip from New York to Philadelphia. It all started with her awkwardly asking me what my bra size was, and the fact that I was willing to reveal it helped her accept her own full bust figure. I'm not suggesting that you start walking around with a name tag with your bra size on it, but if we don't tell people that larger cup sizes exist people won't realize that they do. Most people don't know that J, K, or L cups exist! By getting measured and 'owning' your size we can change the mental image of full bust women and make bra manufacturers take notice of us.


  1. Love it! "Tell retailers that you exist" I think brastop Know I exist now, bought 23 new bras from them recently! Overkill yes, but all I have here in Australia is $90 CK bras or Bras N Things or it's very much too expensive!
    My support for the bigger busts is dishing out my cash to brastop so they keep restocking *hopefully* the beautiful bras!

    My friends were alarmed when I said I was a 34G/36FF considering this time last year I was a 38DD!! And it's kind of awkward to bring up but since reading the likes of FFFB I've been unafraid to show them off, so they're out there and people feel the need to bring it up. I put up with it, but it's actually freeing when most people know your size and realise that I don't care, i'm proud!

    ps keep up the awesome work, you do wonderful job!

    1. Thank you for your comments Nichola - I'm so glad you have discovered the joy of 'owning' your boobs! Georgina at FFFB does a great job of sharing shape celebration. I checked out your blog, nice work! You have some incredibly cute outfits!! xx

  2. This is a great post and I'm definitely reposting! And just so you know there are lots of awesome nursing bras that go up to a K and L cup sometimes. has the largest selection of nursing bras in the world and ship worldwide! Despite their awesome selection I've still found it hard to find nursing bras that are as nice as my regular bras so I have my normal bras altered so I can nurse with them. Sadly many many bra manufacturers seem to think that if you're a K cup or above in a normal bra you couldn't possibly ever want to nurse and only offer nursing bras to a smaller cup size. This frustrates the He!! out of me!! What do they think? Maybe that women with such big boobs would simply fold in two if they ever had a baby, or maybe that women with such large breasts must have had plastic surgery bc that size if just not natural! Well, I can tell you I'm totally natural, all 30JJ of me!!

    1. Hi Tami - You're so right that it's incredibly hard to find the support you need in a nursing bra over an H cup and under a 32 band. Milk Face definitely has a great selection. They use the American sizing system so their J cups are the same as UK H cups. You need a 30M in US sizing (this is the same as a 30JJ).

      Royce offers the best in 30JJ bras in my opinion. They cost a little more but the support and durability is excellent. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts xx

  3. Love the post. True, but sad that there are few options for large busted women. Even though companies think the amount of women in large bras is low, I don't think it will be changed any time soon unless more awareness can be brought to women. Thankfully, and I'm one of them, that those women who do get over letter shock grow and help out in their own way. I do still wish there was a polite way to approach women and tell them that they'd probably feel comfortable and look better in another bra size. >.>

    I was in denial for a good month that I could be a 30M(US) instead of my 34DDD, which was already hard to find in stores. It's hard coping with reality and realizing that you aren't odd or unusual.

    Great post, and definitely great advise!

    1. "You're not odd or unusual" is 100% true! Remembering that your body is completely natural and beautiful is the key. Feeling comfortable and confident is so much more important than the letter. Thank you for you insightful comments xx