This is Keshia, the daughter, again, my last post was about a Dairy Farm, but this post is going to get much more…personal, and in-depth…it’ll be fun, lets dive right in!
So I used to hate bras, I mean utterly LOATHE. My shoulders and neck hurt constantly, the band would always be riding up. I always had to make sure I had a camisole with a shelf bra in it to try to keep my bra in place. I just figured this was just how it would always be; that I must be the problem, not the bra. Then I stumbled upon a blog post one day and literally spent hours reading all about bra sizing; and let me tell you, there is so much out there. I had to completely change the way I thought about bras and bra sizing. There will be a lot of links in this post, so follow them! Do your own hours of digging, trust me its worth it! If you are ever unconformable with your bra, I recommend you keep reading, and prepare to have your mind blown!
The first thing I had to change was how I thought about bra sizes. Maybe I just didn’t put enough thought into it, but I always thought of the letter (A, B, C, D, etc) as being the sole factor in the cup size. It probably doesn’t help that many stores set up their displays grouped by cup size. But actually, the size of the cup is determined by the difference between band and bust measurements. And do you know what was frustrating? I could never find a bra that fit well, at all! This graphic helps to explain:
As you can see on this graphic, bras with different cup sizes can actually have the same cup volume, while bras with the same band size have different cup volume. Some people may already know this, but it’s crazy to think about. We are so programmed to view letters farther down the alphabet as being ginormous, but really the cup volume is completely dependent on the band-to-bust ratio.
How to Measure
As I kept digging, I also learned a different technique for measuring yourself; its honestly super simple! This way may seem weird, but once I did it and bought some bras based off this measurement I’ve been converted! Usually women wearing the wrong size bra have a bra that is too big in the band and too small in the cups. I used to always think that the shoulder straps were what was supposed to hold everything up, but that is seriously underestimating the load-bearing power of the band. With a proper fitting band, the load is taken off of the shoulders. I’ll explain the gist of it, but if you want more detail, check out this post.
- Supplies: Cloth measuring tape and something to record your measurements.
- Set up: Now, this is absolutely key, you have to be completely naked on top when you measure, if you have a bra or shirt on, you will be measuring the clothing, not you!
- Band Measurement: For this measurement, take the measuring tape around the base of your breasts, you want to measure exactly where your breast meets your torso.
- The tape should be parallel to the ground the whole way around your body.
- This measurement should be snug; you want it tight enough that the band will do it’s portion of the job of holding things up, but not so tight that it is like a corset. Make it not so tight that it leaves a mark on you.
- Make sure the tape is flat and touching you the whole way around.
Alright, once you have that number, write it down.
- Bust Measurement: Alright, now this is where we are going to break from the traditional measuring technique. The goal of wearing a proper fitting bra is that you want to make sure that ALL the breast tissue fits comfortably in the cup. You don’t want any of it smashed up against your body by the band, bulging out of the top of the bra (not in the push-up bra way, but in the “you now look like you have four boobs” kind of way), forced towards your armpits, or even migrating to your back; we want it all in the cup. So to do that, you have to bend over so that your back is parallel to the floor; we want to use gravity here! Once you are ready to measure, take the tape across the largest part of your bust.
- The tape measure should be pretty much perpendicular to the floor.
- This time we don’t want to pull the measurement as tight; we want it to be loose. Again, the goal is to stop squishing the breast tissue. The tape should be loose enough that it doesn’t change the shape the breast, but tight enough that it doesn’t slide easily on the skin.
Once you have that number, write it down.
How to Calculate
Okay, now you have your band measurement and your new actually-use-gravity-to-your-advantage bust measurement. Now what? Now we calculate! Here is a link for a great calculator. But, if you’re like me, you might want to do the math yourself to confirm the calculator, because I couldn’t believe what the calculator spit out. Maybe I should have titled this post something like “Learn How I Gained Five Cup Sizes In One Day With This Simple Trick!”, but that just feels too gimmicky, right? Anyway, but I seriously did gain 5 cup sizes just from measuring this way. But remember, it’s not just about cup size, it’s all about the band-to-bust difference. Before my bra enlightenment, I wore a 36C. This was what I was able to find in stores that somewhat fit my cup size.
- Helpful Hint: I always had to wear the band on the tightest hooks right away which is another thing I have learned. If you can, buy bras that fit on the loosest set of hooks, that way as the fabric of the bra inevitably stretches out, you can extend the life of the bra by moving to the next tighter set of hooks.
So, what did the calculator say I was? 28FF UK or a 28H US.
- Rant Time: Okay, before we get back to how ridiculous of a bra size I measured at, I am going to go on a little side rant. While I was digging through all of this, a lot of sites were using UK sizes, not US bra sizes. Just like most women’s clothing in America, there is no consistency of sizes between brands. This makes it even more difficult to find a well-fitting bra. Basically, you are much better off going by the UK sizing, which is actually standardized, than you are the US sizing which is basically a crap-shoot.
Anyway, I digress, 28FF…I literally had no idea this size even existed. So how am I 28FF? Let’s do the math! My band measured at 28 inches, my bust at 36 inches; that’s an 8 inch difference, so I just go to 8” difference on the chart, and there is my cup size.
A lot of people choose to be measured in a store. I would only recommend going to a store that offers a wide range of bra sizes, such as an independent boutique, not a department store. Not only do many of these stores not measure using the bend-over method, the employees are also taught to only measure you at a size they sell in that store.
How to Put on a Bra
Now, does your bra fit you? Well for some people, it may feel as though their bra fits, but they aren’t putting it on in the best way. I’m sure you’re thinking “Really? I’ve been putting a bra on for years; I’m sure I know what I’m doing”, but just bear with me! Have you ever heard of the “Scoop and Swoop” method? Well, remember how we measured our bust? We want to make sure that all of the tissue is sitting in the cup; the “Scoop and Swoop” makes sure all the tissue is in the cup. It is very simple: when you put your bra on, bend over so that you are parallel to the ground, and pull all the tissue into the cup.
- Make sure that the band is sitting directly at the root of the breast.
- Hold the bra in place with one hand as you use the other to gently pull all the tissue in to the cup.
Here is a great post that goes into more detail on the “Scoop and Swoop” with before and after pictures using this method. Check out the video below to see it in action. Since this method pulls all the tissue up into the cup, this is also a good test to see if your current bra fits properly. Go ahead and test your current bras. You may be surprised how a bra you thought fit before, may not fit these new standards.
I have just scratched the surface of this bra topic, I highly encourage you to follow the links I have provided and go down this wonderful rabbit hole. It may sound dramatic, but finding the correct size bra has seriously changed my quality of life. I am much more comfortable day-to-day in my bra. I don’t have to adjust my bra constantly, and my shoulders aren’t holding as much tension which has reduced the headaches I have. I highly recommend measuring yourself, checking your current bras with the “Scoop and Swoop”, and investing in some bras that fit correctly. It can be a little expensive to get these bras, but a great way to start is to look at sister sizes that may be offered in a department store, just be sure to not go more than 2 sister sizes away, or the bra won’t fit correctly. To use the chart, find your size, and then move diagonally to find sister sizes.
My favorite website that I order from is Bare Necessities; you are able to shop by bra size, which makes it so much easier than wading through all the wrong sizes.
I encourage you to give this a shot. I know that it has helped me immensely, and I would love to hear your story of how it helped you. What has your relationship with bras been like? How has using this information helped you? Let me know!