Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bra Statistic That Just Won't Die!

"85% of women are wearing the wrong bra." If you're even remotely aware of bra stuff you will have heard of this stat. It's been around for almost a decade and I am sick to death of hearing it. Has no one stopped to ask the question why this statistic is still being churned out? There are two explanations, either;

a) Not one single woman is listening to the endless parade of boutique owners and 'celebrity' fitters on TV and in magazines who advise women to get fitted regularly and we're all just running around choosing the wrong bra sizes for the hell of it,

OR

b) The boutique owners and celebrity fitters churning out this advice are then putting you in THE WRONG BRA and perpetuating the cycle all over again.

I wrote to The Doctors show about how bad this fitting advice is (bands start at 28 and even lower in some brands!) - no reply. Watch Here
Why are Stores Putting You in the Wrong Bra? 
This statistic has been around for such a long time because about two thirds of lingerie stores and boutiques are not driven by fit, they're driven by sales. If you're driven by sales then you want to get as many women into as few bra sizes as possible and this means using the Plus Four Method. Getting 85% of women into 32-42 A-D size bras rather than the 40% or so who they actually fit makes a lot more profit at the expense of good fit.

There are around 250 individual bra sizes and that's a lot of stock to have available but rather than say "I'm sorry we don't have your size" many stores will simply put you into a bra that covers your breasts but does not support you in the band. Your band is the most important part of your bra so if it doesn't fit you're in trouble before you've even left the store.

Alison Deyette seems to have no problem advising women to wear the wrong bra size for Playtex. I got in touch with her to ask if she understood the dangers of adding inches - no reply. Watch Here

I know that adding inches to the band size works for some women, but they really are the exception and not the rule. For busty women the rule never applies, in fact you're more likely to wear a band size smaller than your ribcage measurement than one four inches bigger.

Every time I see a video of 'expert bra fitter explains how to find your bra size' I hold my breath to see if they're going to give out the right advice. Almost every time I am disappointed to hear them adding inches, denying the existence of 28 and 30 bands, measuring over the top of breasts, or saying things like "Some bras even go up to an F cup" as though it's revolutionary and the end of cup sizes.

Here are two of the worst video offenders I've found:
Measuring over the breasts and using the full bust measurement as your band size.

This video is from a HUGE company and they try to sell Plus Four as a 'fun story'. They add inches, advise expelling all the air from your lungs - common sense tells you this is a daft idea - and insist that the fuller bust model is a 36DD when she's clearly around a 32G. FYI, I would put the first model in a 28G or 30FF.

 
Be Bra Smart
Over the next few months you'll see some pieces from me that will all be marked with BE BRA SMART. This is my new campaign to empower consumers to demand more from the bra industry and boutiques. Your breasts are important, delicate and beautiful and deserve to have well made and properly fitting bras.

As you can tell from the image at the top, I want to turn the tables on the industry and shine a light on exactly how much bad bra knowledge, advice and fit there is out there. Our primary concern at Butterfly Collection Lingerie is that you can enjoy and feel comfortable being a busty woman. This means fit and knowledge are the main priorities. We're going to arm you with the basics you need to know about your breasts so that no matter where you shop you will know if you're getting the best service for your boobs. If you're not, then ask for better. It's only when consumers start to demand better service and product choice that we'll see a change and we can ditch this tired and meaningless statistic. xx

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I'm so tired of the self-perpetuated cycle of badly-fitting bras. Ugh. Four cheers for the truth!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement and support Jen. It really is time to put an end to the cycle of badly fitting bras. xx

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  2. Thanks for posting this =) I hear time and time again: 'Why are you telling me to get measured AGAIN?' as if they got measured correctly the first time, I tell them ;)!

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    1. There's measuring and then there's measuring. The first is a sales ploy and the second is a comfy bra!! Thanks for posting Emily Jane xx

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  3. I took a look at that video by the HUGE company. I had it on mute and was just watching. My husband, naturally, knows very little about bras, but he was walking by me and he noticed the part where the lady was measuring the first model. He watched for ten seconds and then noted "I don't understand.. if the chest is 30 inches, why is the band 34 inches? That doesn't make any sense." And he walked away. The funny part is, he wasn't even talking to me; he was talking to himself, but he seemed genuinely baffled. As am I by this crazy method of measuring.

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    1. Common sense totally tells you that adding inches doesn't work, your husband can come and work for us!! ;) xx

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  4. I finally found an article on the Cosmopolitan magazine website that gives out THE RIGHT ADVICE! I was so happy to see this, because like you, I tend to hold my breath and wait to see whether any "advice" will be good advice! Feel free to share.

    http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/fashion/how-to-find-a-bra-that-fits?src=nl&mag=cos&list=nl_chg_fsh_non_011813_bra-that-fits&kw=ist#slide-1

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    1. This is such a great link, thank you Rachel I will definitely be sharing this! xx

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  5. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! As a 32G size, I have for years been buying off the rack bras that don't fit and thinking the problem must be ME - that I am weirdly shaped, my ribcage is too small but my boobs are too big, etc etc, and I'll just have to put up with discomfort. When I did find a bra in my "unusual" size (which I am coming to realize is actually not at all uncommon) the price tag is always over the $100 mark - even more if I wanted something attractive as well as well-fitting. FINALLY, at the age of 32 and after one kid, I have found your site and I know the problem is not me, but the corporations who are only interested in maximising profit at the expense of women's comfort and self-image. (Yeah, because we really needed more of that sort of crap from corporate America). Thanks so much for this post!!!

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    1. Fantastic to read this Abi - you just made my day! There are a lot of messages working against busty women but if you can cut through them then you can start to enjoy your body and well-fitting bras! xx

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  6. Brilliant article and very clear.
    I recently lost weight and decided it would be sensible to have a bra fitting.
    I was measured at a well known UK department store, and advised I was 36B. Bought new bras. Still felt uncomfortable/scratchy/backache so went to M&S who advised I try 32D or 34C!
    Now have bras that fit, no backache and a lot of nearly new bras that don't fit!
    Those that don't are off to Smalls for Africa.
    Still want to know why they all have such scratchy labels!

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    1. I'm so glad you got a second opinion Jane and found the best fit for you! Fantastic idea to send your lightly used or new bras to Smalls for Africa. We're seeing a lot of men's underwear with laser printed labels directly onto the material so maybe that will start happening on bras! xx

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