Monday, September 24, 2012

The Women Who Need to Add Inches to their Bra Band

As regular readers will know, the Plus Four Method (adding inches to your band size) is the epidemic causing so many women to be in the wrong bra size. Given my dedication to eliminating the ubiquitous Plus FourMethod you may be surprised that today’s post is about the women who NEED to add inches to their band size for good fit. 

There are two groups of women who need to add inches: Those with little flesh around their ribcage or who have a muscular ribcage and women who have small, close-set breasts.

Small, close-set breasts don't apply to my customers because we only sell D-K cup bras. But some women with AA-C cups will have breasts in a position that means they need to add inches. Most women, and almost every woman with a D+ chest, will find that their breast tissue begins right at their armpit and ends somewhere around their sternum. 

Like almost every D+ woman the breast tissue on our lovely 30FF model Victoria, begins right next to her armpit
Why women with small, close-set breasts need to add inches
For some women, however, their breast tissue doesn't begin at their armpit, it begins further into their chest (usually parallel with their ears rather than their outer collarbone). These women need a longer band to literally reach where their breast tissue begins.
You can see that the breast tissue on this model starts about two inches away from her armpit.
It's the space between your breast tissue beginning at your armpit and starting farther into your chest that dictates if you need to add inches. If the woman in the image above didn't add inches to her band then her cup would start too close to her armpit where she doesn't have breast tissue. If your breasts start about 2 inches in from each armpit that's 4 inches extra that have to be added to the total circumference of the bra band.

This image of Scarlett Johansson and Christina Hendricks illustrates the different band lengths needed for woman with small close-set breasts and women with full cups. 

Despite the fact that Christina is wearing an horrendously ill-fitting garment you can see that her breast tissue actually begins right next to her armpit so her band doesn't need to be so long, she needs more cup and less band. On the other side Scarlett Johansson's breast tissue doesn't start until much farther into her body so she needs a longer band that will reach her breasts.

Women with skinny or muscular ribcages
In a recent post I wrote about how women with squidgy torsos need tighter bands to get great breast lift and support. One reader asked “I’d love to see a follow up post about bands for women with very little body fat around their torso because that too is difficult.” 

Body fat creates a natural cushioning between your ribs and your bra band (or more specifically your cup wires) which makes everything sit comfortably. If you're skinny and/or you're particularly muscular around your ribs then the lack of body fat can make your bra painful. If you're busty with a skinny/muscular ribcage then you need a tight band to support the weight of your breasts but you don't want to be in pain with your band 'clicking' against your ribs.

Here are some tips:
1) Increase your band size by one size (if you usually wear a 28 but find you get painful clicking try a 30 band and come down one cup size). If the compromise in lift and stability is too great then this isn't a good enough solution for you, but for many, wearing one band size bigger is a more comfortable fit.

2) Look for bras with deeper bands. When you band is deeper the weight of your breasts is spread over a greater area. This means the bra can't click against your ribs so longline bras are ideal.

3) If all else fails it's worth investing in the oh-so-sexy bra liners. These are usually marketed to absorb breast sweat, however, they're ideal for giving some extra cushioning between your bra and your ribs.

No Hard and Fast Rules
I say to my customers that I can give you all the science in the world about how your bra fits and why but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. If your bra is comfortable and you are happy that is the most important thing. I hope these tips shed some light on why some women need to add inches where others need to deduct inches from their band size. xx

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Do Cup Volumes Get Bigger As the Band Gets Bigger?

One of our most popular blog posts is ‘Not All D Cups Are The Same’ which explains that the volume of D cups (all cups in fact) gets bigger as the band size gets bigger. This is why a woman wearing a 32E can also wear a 34D because the cup volume is the same, only the band is different.

This chart from the 'Not All D Cups Are The Same' blog shows Sister Sizing - bra sizes with the same cup volume
Lots of women were interested in the topic but asked for some more explanation. Today's post goes into more depth about why the volume of the same cup letter gets bigger as the band gets bigger. 

What Would We Look Like If All Cup Sizes Really Were The Same Volume?
As regular readers will know, cup sizes simply acknowledge the difference between a woman’s ribcage measurement and her full bust measurement. So for example both these women have D cup breasts because they both have a four inch difference between their ribcage and full bust measurements:

Woman A is a 30D (Ribcage = 30 inches, Full Bust = 34 inches)
Woman B is a 38D (Ribcage = 38 inches, Full Bust = 42 inches)

So why does Woman B with a 38D bust look bustier than Woman A who has a 30D bust? The answer is that Woman B's bust is PROPORTIONALLY bigger than Woman A.

To put this into context let's take the 30D breasts from Woman A and put them on women with 32, 34, 36 and 38 bodies to see what it looks like.
You can see that if all the women had exactly the same volume and size of breasts as Woman A then by the time you get to Woman B with a 38 body the breasts look pretty small (and quite far apart). In reality as our bodies get wider, so too do our breasts. The extra width doesn't just happen to our backs and band size, extra width applies to our breasts too.

Breasts Get Wider as Our Band Sizes Gets Wider
Here is the same diagram of 30 to 38 size women but this time the breasts increase in size in the same proportion as the body increase. You can see that the breasts get wider as the body does.

All these women are D cups because the difference between their ribcages and full bust measurements is four inches. To see why the breasts get bigger as the body does but the cup letter doesn't change let's take an aerial view of the breasts.

What Difference Does A Wider Breast Make to Cup Volume?
This diagram shows 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 band women who all have the same depth breasts (this depth of breasts is always a D cup):
You can see that as the breasts get wider (but not deeper) the number of dots (i.e. volume) inside the breasts increases. The 30D breasts have 14 dots in them, then as the band size increases each breast increases by one dot. By the time you get to the 38D breasts they have 8 more dots inside them than the 30D breasts.

This is why the breasts on a 38D woman look much bigger than the breasts on a 30D woman, basically because they are. They are ALL D cups because they're all the same depth but their cup volumes are different because as the band size increases so too does the breast volume.

I hope that these posts and explanations of breasts helps you understand yours and other women's breasts better so please let me know if you find the explanations helpful or just plain confusing! The important thing to remember is that cup sizes don't say anything about the size of your breasts without the band size. xx

Monday, September 10, 2012

Smaller Bra Bands Are Better for Squidgy Torsos

A flesh indent caused by your bra band at your torso is completely normal

I'll say right off the bat that there is no way to be completely delicate in this article so let's lay it out on the table - we're talking about body fat. Fat can be a prickly word for some people but the reality is we've all got it and some of us have more around our torsos than others. If you carry weight around your mid-section then you might decide that you're a 'plus size' girl and discount yourself from wearing 28-38 bands and this could be your biggest mistake.

As you know at Butterfly Collection we use the +0 measurement technique as our base point for finding out your band size. For example, if you measure 34 around your ribcage then we recommend starting out with a 34 band. What may surprise you is that about 1/3 of our customers wear a bra band one, two or even three sizes smaller than their raw underbust measurement. What's even more interesting is that lots of these ladies carry extra weight around their mid-section.

Your band should be as snug as possible to give your bust the lift it deserves
Weight around your torso is spongy so if your bra band isn't tight enough it may just be bouncing around on your flesh and not getting close enough to your frame to keep your bra completely in place. It may sound as though it would hurt to squeeze into a bra band that is technically smaller than your body, however, the sponginess of the flesh around your ribs makes it ideal for wearing a supportive but breathable band.

Your best band fit depends so much on your body shape. If you compared 10 women with the same bra size they would differ greatly in height, body weight, physique and most flattering bra style. So many of us have fixed ideas in our heads about what bra sizes look like and in reality one bra size can be right for lots of different shapes of women. I have lots of customers who measure between 40 and 44 who wear a 36 or 38 band size. In a 40 band the bra simply isn't firm enough to lift the breasts at the front (which is after all what your band is doing).

How to tell if you need a smaller band
You can whip off your top right now (I take no responsibility if you flash a co-worker - use your discretion!) and your bra will tell you if it's the right band size or not. If the center part of your bra is lying flat between your breasts (no matter what body size, shape, type you are) then you're in the right band size. If there is any gap between your body and that center panel then you need a smaller band size. If you're concerned about trying a smaller band size I recommend investing in a pack of reusable, washable bra band extenders that gives you some extra wiggle room on a smaller band and peace of mind while you get used to your new bra fit.

Don't let your preconceptions about size keep you from finding your best bra fit. If you know you're not comfortable then consider trying a smaller band. xx

Extra Resource from XL Hourglass about bands for bigger bodies Click Here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Shopping and Happiness for Busty Teens

Last week we looked at the role of family members in supporting their teen girls about bras and breasts. Thank you to everyone who got in touch to say that the piece struck a chord with their own experiences.

Top Five Things Busty Women Wished They'd Known as Teens
I asked our lovely readers on Facebook and Twitter what they wish they'd known about bras when they were growing up. Here are the top 5 things that came up:

1) How to figure out my size
2) That bras don't stop at a D cup
3) The right size bra doesn't hurt
4) Your bra size changes throughout your life
5) Not to be ashamed of being busty

In this conclusion to the Guide for Parents of Busty Daughters I want to share some practical tips about shopping for bras with your daughter and preparing her for a life with big boobs.

First Bra Shopping Trip
Lots of girls won't realize that they need a bra and so it's important that parents are paying attention to the physical changes in their daughters and don't shy away from the subject just because they can't believe they're growing up - ignoring it won't make it any less true.

Buying bras will possibly be part of her life forever so her first bra shopping trip is a rite of passage. Use this significant event to bond over the 'occasion' of your daughter growing up. Make time for the trip, don't throw a Wal-mart training bra in the cart while picking up groceries. Giving your daughter a sense that her breasts are worth taking care of properly (not as an after thought) will set the tone for her bra shopping attitude.
Viva is a great option for school as it's supportive, pretty and discreet

Age Appropriate Bras
Unless your daughter has a very sudden growth spurt it's unlikely that her very first bra will be a D-K cup. However, don't underestimate how quickly your daughter's bust can change. Many teens need 28-30 backs with D+ cups. I know these are harder to find (which is why I set up Butterfly Collection in the first place) but teaching your daughter that finding the right fit is worthwhile is a great gift. Keeping your daughter in great fitting bras through her breast development will also improve her health and self-esteem.

Bras for teens is different from lingerie for women, in my opinion. Buying sexy, fun and exotic underwear is something wonderful for adult women, however, 11, 12, 13 etc is a time you should still be able to be a kid and have the right support so that you can be active and confident. Here are some tips about age appropriate bras.
Lucy from Cleo is a wonderfully supportive bra that is fun and teen appropriate

Colour/Pattern - For school it's important to have something that is supportive and discreet so basic colours like black, skin-toned (this can be tough to find for all skin-tones but things are changing) and white are useful. Being young doesn't mean your underwear can't be fun. Fun is different from sexy. It breaks my heart to see 12 year olds in leopard print plunge bras because you have so much time as an adult to consider your sexual side, but you have so little time to just be a kid. I think Cleo has some great age appropriate bras in bright colours, fun pattern and mostly importantly, good support.

Stretch lace panels like this one on Faye from Freya allows for some size fluctuation as your daughter develops

Shape - When your body is changing you need as much support as you can get. To make your dollar go further look for bras with a quantity of stretch lace in the cup. This will give your daughter some growing room. Three part bras (bras where the cups are made of three pieces of material rather than one) are good for increased support.
A good sports bra, like this one from Enell can keep your daughter participating in sports. A great investment in her health.

Sports - EVERY girl should have a sports bra. I know these can be a little more expensive but you are investing in the longevity of her health and that's worth it. Ensuring that your daughter has the right support to participate in sport is vital for a healthy body, mind and relationship with her breasts.

Preparing Your Daughter for Being a Busty Girl
Whether you were a busty teen or not you probably have memories of kids teasing you. Busty women remember being teased or leered after by boys and being called names and teased by smaller busted girls. Being busty can make you feel like an outsider. Giving your daughter the right bras will eliminate the physical discomfort many busty teens experience but you also need to give her the emotional tools to deal with the other stuff.

I asked my Mum how she prepared for having busty daughters (with her own award-winning bust it was highly likely that my sister or I - or both - would have a larger bust). She said "You can't stop other people being idiots, you can only prepare your daughter to know how to spot one." This is the key. Your daughter needs to know that if other people feel the need to comment on her bust then that's their problem and not hers.

This is one of the most important things I write about. If you feel happy, confident and worthy then it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks of your shape. Self-esteem is the bedrock of allowing your daughter to concentrate on being her rather than searching for a manufactured way to fit in. If she's busty the chances are she'll always be busty so the sooner she comes to love her body, the longer she'll be happy.

One of our readers once commented "I am proud to be me because of and despite of my bust." I love this comment because it sums up great self-esteem. You don't have to hide your bust and you don't have to be defined by it. Helping your daughter to love the uniqueness and beauty of her body alongside the fabulousness of her actions, thoughts and talents is the key to balance.

I hope these two blog posts have given you some ideas for making life easier and happier for your busty teens. Boobs are a life-long journey and as with all things, if you get a good start the journey is so much easier. xx