Do you know how to fit a bra?

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  • Well, in case anyone cares, I will show you all my bra. I measure 32" ribcage and 38" fullest part of breasts and am currently happily living in a 34G. And any back fat showing through my shirt is, well, back fat and not due to any ill fitting bras.

  • You know... I was thinking about this thread and this discussion of bras fitting that I've seen over and over on 3FC and one thing struck me. People who tend to be vocal about it are those who are more endowed in the boobage area. And it is those of us who do have larger breasts that feel more passionate about it and sizing as we have received the short end of the advice.

    I truly believe that for women who wear a B or C cup that having a tight band or loose band really doesn't matter much. Or better stated, it doesn't matter as much.

    For someone like me who has very large heavy breasts, it matters a lot to have good support. I felt awful when I was wearing nursing bras and the back strap within an hour or two of wearing the all cotton bra was way up almost at my neck and my boobs were at my waist. What was the point of the bra? The cotton was too stretchy for my size breast and the band was too wide. She had me in a 44H. I went to a different store. She didn't have an H so she came out with a 46g. I wanted to cry and scream.... Didn't they hear me? The back strap was riding up my back. Why would I buy a bra with a larger band and why would she suggest it after I showed her my problem?

    I found the online site, talked with the lady who owned the site and she told me to try 40H and to skip the cotton. I wanted to kiss the woman through the Internet when the bra arrived. Finally a bra that fit!

    But Sum I agree most women have no idea what size to wear. My mom was one of them and it's probably why she came home and immediately took off her bra as she felt they we enormously uncomfortable. Well now I know why. She was wearing a 38DD when she weighed 280 pounds at 5'4" and she was evenly sized (big all over). That band was way wrong and too tight and so was the cup size.

    I see my mother in law who has a TINY rib cage. She recently bought a 38" band. I measured her rib cage after she asked me to. She needs a 30" and even with your adding 4" the most she would need is a 34", but she likes things to feel loose. She has a small C cup (was flat or an A most of her life) so she doesn't really need much support, so she returned the 38" band for a 36" band. I simply can't do that, even at 76 her breasts are perkier than mine and she can get away with it. And most shoppers at Victoria Secret are the average size woman - not those with very big breasts or the plus sized.

    Oh and you asked if the bra leaves marks? No, not really. And I get less problems with chafing and heat rash with a tight fitting band too - my skin is not touching skin in a good fitting bra. Before I had a tighter band, I would get terrible heat rash under my breasts as the bra didn't hold my breasts right.

    Anyway, I'm sorry you felt attacked. It wasn't intended that way.
  • Honestly, I should be having mine custom made.
    My left boob is a DD and my right is a C-cup. It's extremely frustrating. This may be ridiculous to some, but I'm waiting until I hit goal to buy all new bras. I don't think there's any point in sinking $100 every 4 months on bras.
    I plan on going to Dillards and having them fit me when I reach or get close to goal!
  • princessgina00 -- Can't open the pix for some reason.


    I truly believe that for women who wear a B or C cup that having a tight band or loose band really doesn't matter much. Or better stated, it doesn't matter as much.
    I was thinking in terms of plus size band size but maybe that is more accurate thinking in terms of plus size CUP size?

    Bigger boobage = heavier boob. Probably best not to add to the band when in large cups since 90% of the support is coming from the band.

    That totally makes sense to me. Esp since a lot of times, plus band is ALSO plus cup -- like I am!

    (Though not always -- there's large cup small band people. They'd want to not add to the band too.)

    tessendicott -- you don't have to spend $100... but think about keeping up with your sports bra needs at minimum. Exercise in too loose a bra is an "OW!" when well endowed. The girls need the support for high impact stuff for sure!

  • If you look at the total original post, you will see how I talked about finding the right cup size. I think cup size is where the term "art form" comes in. -- Most stores do not ask you to bend over to figure out all breast tissue.... again, it is an art form and only a suggestion.... ( I need to write disclaimers from now on; "Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice
    and no guarantee is made against accuracy".)-- I read some blogger's blogs; interestingly enough, one of the girls here who was quite vocal how wrong I was (I may be , not denying , gave me this blogger's link and the blogger herself advised everyone to measure cup size that way as well.

    It is very individual process. -- Obviously adding some inches seem to work for me, and I find it comfortable and supportive. Not adding works for someone else.

    I am sorry if I got so frustrated.... sometimes people are incredibly harsh when using computer. I bet if I had had this conversation in person, many would have respectfully disagreed

    I think at the end of the day, maybe we have helped someone out or even raised awareness. -- I am a huge snob what comes to right fitting clothes. -- I wore sweats for about a year because I was heavy and I did not want to spent the $$$ on new stuff...but I am a huge snob what comes to buying brand new clothes too small (well using them as a goal is a great thing, but intentionally denying what size person actually needs, is another thing)...anycase... I had a thread going about a muffin top...the awareness part here; there was one girl who said she was about to reach to her size 10 jeans that she knew were too small and showed bulges...instead she went for her 12's that fit perfect and looked good because she was part of the ill fitting forum....awareness

    I appreciate all input.
  • I'm coming into this really late but I'm someone who is a BIG, BIG, BIG advocate of starting with underbust (measured tightly)=band size. Here's why:

    - It's the best place to start. Yes, some women need to go up a band size or some (like myself!) need to go down a band size from what their underbust measures as. It depends on if your ribcage flair out above your underbust or not. Personally, I have a very rounded stomach and my ribcage is narrower than my stomach so it's impossible for me to get a tight enough measurement of my ribcage.

    - For big breasts (especially) like berryblondeboys, it's very, very necessary to have a tight band. The problem is that many, many women are D cups and above and don't even realize it. So they would benefit from a tight band and they have no clue. They might think they're a C or D cup when in reality they're not. There's a great post of a former A cup who is really a D cup here!!

    - There's a difference when it comes to firm and soft breasts. Firm breasts can get away with a poorly fitting bra more easily, especially if they're small. It's not that they necessarily couldn't benefit from a better fitting bra BUT they might not as get as much pain as an older women with softer breasts.

    - Many times you can get the right cup size with a too big band and underwires can dig into your breast tissue on the side. For me I look like I need a smaller cup when I'm wearing a too big band. However, this leads to pain in my breasts while wearing them because the underwires dig in.

    - It's important to put you money where your mouth is. Many women NEED smaller bands than are offered in stores. Personally, I wear a 28HH at the moment and I may get into the 26 band territory when I'm done losing. I'm not going to spend money on larger band sizes even if I could get away with it because manufacturers need to see that 28 bands sell and there are those of us out there who need them!!! If women continuing to buy bras that don't fit well, bra manufacturers will continue to sell a very limited selection of sizes (cough Victoria's secret cough).

    - Realize too that while adding may work for you that one big reason that manufacturers are so reluctant to change it is that adding more sizes makes it more difficult for them. If they can squeeze more women into a limited size range (and that's exactly what adding inches does!) then they can stock a smaller size range and spend less money.

    Ultimately, it takes practice and patience. Sure, there are some women who can go with adding inches to their band but in my experience women with D cups and above NEED a tight band. The friends/family of mine who get away with too big bands all have very firm breasts so they don't get the same pain issues.
  • I also want to add...

    the reason so many of us are very, very passionate about this is that we've but pushed our whole lives to wear the wrong size, we've been told that we look slutty because of our breasts (and how freaking hard it is to find tops that aren't too low cut!!), we couldn't find clothes that fit well, we were told we were fat when we were not etc.

    I remember going to Victoria's Secret once and was made to feel like I was a huge fat cow by the sales women because they didn't carry my size (or anything even remotely close to it!). She was extremely, extremely rude to me. There needs to be a whole lot more sensitivity and knowledge when it comes to bra fitting. Now a days the most common size sold is a 36D/DD. Most of those women could really benefit from going down at least 1-2 back sizes and going up 1-2 cup sizes but retailers are not offering those sizes so instead women make do with what they find meanwhile feeling crappy about their bodies. This was mean FOR YEARS.

    I can't tell you how much a life changing experience it was for me to have a well-fitting bra. However, starting off the bat with adding inches is so, so wrong for many women (esecially with a population of women with larger breasts!!!). It's fine that you need it but please, if you work in lingerie, start with the underbust measurement and then go up if needed.
  • Quote: Okee ladies... I am on a mission I went to Vicky's and had myself sized. Perfect 36D....

    I asked the associate if I possibly could be a 32 and she said no way...I asked her to bring me 32 band just to try on; and I nearly died how tight it was. There is no way I would wear a torture devise like that each and every day! BUT I am an open minded person, so I will keep looking for answer and if I am incorrect, I have no problem yielding I will do Nordstrom and MaidenForm later on this week, and perhaps JC Penny. I will report back.

    To those who measure under bust; do you get marks? A bra is not supposed to leave an indentation.
    I'm reading through everything here but in case nobody mentioned this... a 32 band will feel too tight if your cup size is too small. The equivalent to a 36D cup is a 32E (UK sizing) and I know VS doesn't carry that. If you try on a too small cup the band is going to feel too tight too.

    Realize too that bands stretch out fast and they vary from brand to brand (especially depending on the material type). Another thing, how are you putting on the bra? Do you twist it around your waist or do you lean forward and hook it that way, scouping your breasts into the cups? I used to hook in the front and twist and tight bands were impossible doing that! However, once I started hooking it in the back, I found that they fit much more comfortably.

    Materials matter!!! I have a lot of skin sensitivities and things with itchy lace DRIVE ME NUTS. When they stretch they're just not as comfortable and feel tighter. However, bras made out of nicer materials (Ewa Michalak bras are HANDS DOWN the best ones in this sense!!!!) are so soft and comfortable that you don't even notice that you're wearing one.

    ETA: I get marks on the itchy/lacy bands. The Ewa Michalak bras don't leave marks.
  • Quote: Totally agree with the comments not to add inches!!!

    If only I could get my hands on a 28F bra, I'd be in business *grumble* none of my current bras fit correctly and they're all fitted per the old advice. I wanna burn them!
    Again apologies if this has been mentioned but check out my resource page!!! I wear a 28HH so I know all about 28 bands and where to find them, PM me if you have any questions.

    Check out in particular:

    Ewa Michalak
    Ebay UK

    I'm too lazy to find all the links but they're on my resource page.
  • As for proof of the plus four method failing:

    Check out that blog, in general, because they're currently having a series on the perils of the plus-four method.

    Look at any of the blogs linked to my blog. Thin and Curvy is great as well as Fullerfigurefuller bust to see a comparison of women with different body types too. They're all women not adding four inches. Personally, I don't have any back fat (my underbust measures as 29", I wear a 28HH but in some brands I might need even something smaller).

    Back fat is typically comes from not leaning over and scoping your entire breast tissue into the cups, they you have breast tissue migration (this can also happen with underarm fat). My bras don't show up underneath my shirts (well, unless they're the wrong color!! ) and you can see any of my clothing pictures on my blog to see that. I don't post pictures of myself in my bra because I know my husband would be less than thrilled with that but there are lots of ladies out there who do. Curvy Wordy is another great blog where you can see how well the bras fit her.
  • I'm glad you weighed in, RunningFromFat! I placed an order at Figleaves and can't wait for it to get here!
  • Okay...Here it is.

    I went and bought the suggested size, and I was in utter misery for 8 hours. My cup size felt great, but the band cut into me and left marks that lasted for 2 days. So, going by under bust measurement is obviously not meant for me. Maybe it is my body type? -- I tried on at least 10 or 12 different ones, and bought the one that felt the "best" out of the bunch. In general, I had hard time even hooking them.

    I also bought the next "right" size up 34G, I am giving it a go in a few days. I need to heal from my 32 bruises and TOM is here.

    I will report back.

    What I am learning from this; I may have given "wrong" advise, but I am starting to think there is no right advice. The "old" advice has been to add 4-5 inches to this measurement - perhaps, adding 2-3 inches may work for some women, maybe adding all 4 will work for someone else or not adding any to the measurement may work wonders yet for another....

    A some mentioned; the band is elasticated, and because the bra band needs to fit snugly so it can provide about 80-90% of the support for the breasts - and then the straps (shoulders) only carry about 10-20% of the load. I think I would have been able to pull off lacier version in size 32 without serious bruising, but I wanted to experiment with durable everyday kind of a bra.

    What I definitely learned; one can not be pig headed I will never tell another woman that she has to fit into a certain size. I learned my lesson

    ETA: Advise vs advice? --Pun intended
  • Quote: I'm glad you weighed in, RunningFromFat! I placed an order at Figleaves and can't wait for it to get here!

    I hope the bras fit perfectly!!!!
  • Quote:
    What I definitely learned; one can not be pig headed I will never tell another woman that she has to fit into a certain size. I learned my lesson
    I think that's the big lesson here. Ultimately, when it comes to fit it's best to look for the following rather than a certain number (which can vary from brand to brand):

    - You should be able to fit two fingers underneath the band, but not an entire hand
    - The center gore is flat against the sternum
    - the cups enclose all of the breast tissue
    - there is no underarm/back fat (and you make sure you to lean over and scoop all the breast tissue into the cups)
    - you should always try on bras on the loosest hook because the bands stretch out with time.

    Like I said before ribcages do vary so it might be that your ribcage flairs out (if you can try to look at yourself from the back in the mirror you may be able to see that. For me I can clearly see that I widen as I go down and that my back side behind my breasts is quite a bit smaller so it makes sense that I need to size down in bands). What brand of 32's did you try? Are you 100% sure the cup size was correct (as in you scooped all of your breast tissue into the cups, there was no back/underarm fat etc). What material was the band made out of? Like I said I have sensitive skin and for me the material really matters when it comes to marks on my skin.

    Another thing to consider. Some brands work better for different breast shapes. For instance, I have long, narrow breasts so I purposely seek out bands with narrow wires (freya, fantasie, ewa michalak etc). Whereas younger women tend to have wider, shallower breasts and do better with Panache or Curvy Kate. However, I can wear those two if I bend the wires to make them more narrow (but the bras aren't as comfortable as my Ewa Michalak bras).

    Oh, and good call not trying a new bra during TOM! That always messes with your size.
  • Just wanted to update this real quick... Had been wearing a 36D and then a 34DD and having all sorts of problems.

    Ditched the old methods and ordered a bunch of bras on Figleaves.

    I'm sitting here in a 30G and OMG. It forces me to sit up straighter, my shoulders don't hurt, there isn't boobage spilling out all over. I tried all my tops on and they even fit better! My boobs are up higher than they've ever been .

    So thanks for this thread, it gave me the motivation to try again and not keep settling on bras that didn't do anything for me .