Monday, July 30, 2012

Breaking the 34 Band Barrier

Back in October I wrote a piece about how social stereotypes and lack of choice keep women from accepting and embracing cup sizes over a D cup. The idea of being 'big in the cup' is just too daunting for some women but for some reason the opposite applies to band sizes. We don't want to be small in the band. Why?

I find it a very odd contradiction that it's not OK to be big in the bust but it's more than OK to be big in the band. I don't know how many women are shopping for dresses and saying "this size 16 really swamps me but I should probably wear this rather than a well-fitting size 10". After our piece in the Huffington Post went out last week we have been inundated with Size Consultation Requests and a whopping 95% of the women were wearing a band size that was between 3 and 10 inches too big for them. This problem is so epidemic is got me wondering why we're so keen to be in bigger band sizes.

The most common band sizes available in stores is 34 and 36 (thanks to the Plus Four Method). If these are the most commonly available sizes then we get conditioned into believing that anything not readily available must be abnormal or specialist. You see commercials for Victoria's Secret with supermodels who are apparently all 34 bands, because that's the most common size they sell, and you tell yourself you're not slimmer than them so you can't possibly be a 32, 30 or 28 band. Unfortunately many Victoria's Secret models are wearing bras that don't fit them (every one above is wearing a cup that is too small and/or a band that is too big) so the foundation of the sizing is completely misleading.

I know that making the mental leap to being a 32GG is tough when you've spent your life in an agonizing but familiar 38DDD, but it really is essential for your physical and mental well-being. I would like you to take one step on the road to that better bra right now. You don't have to worry about cup sizes but I want you to find a tape measure, wrap it around your ribcage under your bust so that it's parallel with the floor all around your body then note the measurement in inches. If you are wearing a bra that is more than two inches bigger than this measurement then you need to reconsider your bra size (as always this applies to busty women, this doesn't work for all small busted ladies). That's all right now, just find out whether you are in a band that is good or bad for you.

Three telltale signs that your band is too big:
1) Your straps dig into your shoulders
3) Your straps slip off your shoulders
3) You band rides up your back and you have to pull your bra back into place

You can literally drop a couple of band sizes in seconds and discover that your figure is far more amazing than you thought so what do you have to lose? xx


  1. About a year ago, I switched from a 32DD/34D to a 30FF. And then a few weeks ago, I finally measured myself (not sure why it took so long...) and realized my ribcage is 27". I bought my first 28G and it fits so much better than the 30 bands did! I have to say, it was pretty label shock-y to buy a 28G, especially since I don't look very busty, but I am so so happy I made the switch. My bras fit even better now. :)

    And I agree with your comment about department store sizing being physically and mentally crippling. I feel almost ashamed to say that my self esteem was so damaged by wearing the wrong bra size, but it really was. When I was a teenager/early in college, I used to HATE my body, to the point where I would sob and wish it to change. I remember walking through the hall in my dorm, catching sight of myself in the mirror and starting to cry because of how "deformed" I thought I was. I was so blinded by my body image issues that I missed out on all the other factors that contribute to my self worth. Thankfully I've now moved past that, due to the combination of finding the right size bra and a few more years of life experience. Now I pursue living my life to the fullest, without the burden I used to have, and have never been happier.

    1. Dearest Erin - thank you so much for sharing your moving and personal story. There are so many women who will find comfort and inspiration in your story. I am thrilled for you that you have discovered the right bra fit for you. I hope the rest of your life is spent celebrating being you! Sending you huge hugs xxx

    2. I too used to feel like there was something wrong with me because, even if I had no idea how a bra should fit until recently, I knew the 36/38 DD bras I was wearing were no good for me. I was wearing that bra size because it was the biggest cup I could find (in stores in my country) on a band that didn't look ridiculously big on me. I spent 14 years of my life wearing badly fitting bras and feeling "not normal" and defected, wishing my boobs were smaller so I could buy lingerie that didn't look like something my grandma would laugh at. It didn't make me feel very feminine.
      I learned to walk with my head up high long before I found a properly fitting bra. Now I'm happy that I got the chance to learn more about bras and wear one that actually fits me, a 30GG.

    3. It's such a common experience when the options available to you are limited. Thank you for sharing your story and letting other women know they don't need to languish in the wrong bra forever. xx

  2. This post couldn't have come at a better time for me. I got fitted a month or so ago and came away somewhat dissatisfied with a 36FF (down from a 40E though so some improvement...). It wasn't really the right size but it certainly sounded like the right size and I trusted Bravissimo so I bought it and figured that's just how my boobs would always look. I just couldn't believe that as a size 18 I could ever be smaller than a 36 band size.

    Then I read this post and a few other bra blogs talking about how tight a band should be, got fitted on Tuesday and I'm now wearing a 34F (or FF in some) and have had to order some Curvy Kates in a 32 as the 34 wasn't tight enough.

    Whilst I'm not one to blow my own trumpet, my boobs now look awesome and I feel so much more confident, thank you!

    1. I love that your boobs look 'Awesome' Hayley! It's wonderful that the right bra can make you discover the amazingness of your figure. I'm so glad you're in the right size to rock your figure xx