|VS Fit Errors: Left: Band riding up, Center: Gore not against body, Right: Band not flush with the body|
Related Articles: The women who need to add inches to their band size
Butterfly Collection carries over 60 sizes) and over 148 other sizes available through specialty manufacturers. So you can see that the number of women for whom Victoria's Secret really can offer great bra fit is very narrow. The +4 measuring technique is appropriate for some of the women who can wear the limited size and style range from VS so that's how they can justify using the +4 technique. The problem is, Victoria's Secret will never tell you if their bras and bra fitting technique is not right for you (and let's face it, that's most of us). They'll never concede that your band size is smaller than those they carry or that your breast volume requires a cup size they don't have. Nope, they'll just use the same fitting technique on a full-busted woman and send her away in a bra that will causes a myriad of fit issues.
This is my greatest grievance with Victoria's Secret. Their lack of honesty about their fitting method's effectiveness leaves women feeling that their bodies are wrong, which doesn't make you feel 'as sexy as an Angel'. With their brand position in the market Victoria's Secret could be a hugely empowering influence on improving bra education and diminishing breast stigma in North America, but unfortunately they are part of the machine that perpetuates the idea that bra sizes outside of the 32-38 A-D paradigm is alien and that bra fit is secondary to looking sexy.
No matter how dominant a brand is it's up to us as consumers to decide whether a product is right for us. Your breast health is too important to blindly put your faith in a gigantic marketing machine that tells you bras are just about push-ups and pouting. We need to be savvy shoppers who understand what good bra fit looks like and then decide whether Victoria's Secret bras offer us that fit (for many women the answer will be yes, but for the vast majority of us the answer is no).
How I Recommend Finding Your Band Size
I maintain that getting your band size right is the most important part of finding great bra fit because your cup size is determined IN RELATION to your band so without knowing your band size you can't begin to find the right fit.
Related Articles: Not all D cups are the Same and What Sister Size Bras Look Like
I recommend a good starting point for working out your band size is to wrap a tape measure around your ribcage directly under your breasts, against your skin where your band should lie. There's no need to breathe out or pull tightly, simply put the tape measure flat against your skin so that it is parallel with the floor all around your body. This measurement (in inches) is the best starting point for finding your band size (if you're an odd number then simply round up one to the next even number as your starting band size).
Related Tool: Bra Size Calculator
This is a starting point from which you might add or subtract inches depending on your physique. The reason that +0 is an impartial starting point is that as many women will need to add inches as need to subtract them so starting at zero means there's no weighting in either direction. As a very general rule of thumb, if you have a muscular, toned or just firm ribcage then you might have to add inches to your band size to allow for flexibility. If you have a fleshy torso or a springy ribcage then you might find that you need to subtract inches to find your band size because your band can't anchor to fat which moves up and down your body as you move so you need a firmer fit that account for the wobble of our middle bits (I wear one band size smaller than my ribcage measurement as my torso is squidgy).
I hope this helps you figure out whether your body and breasts fit one of the 36 sizes available at Victoria's Secret. If you are then you'll probably find that their over the breasts measuring method works for you, and if you're not then you've got another 300+ bra sizes to choose from! xx