*Image taken from Bravissimo site*
Most women are wearing the wrong bra size. Drastically so. Out of all of my friends who I quizzed, only one was wearing the right size, or had any clue what was involved in bra sizing. Most women will pop into a high street store like Ann Summers, La Senza, or M&S etc and just pick up a bra they think looks okay without even questioning that their size might not be in stock. Some may ask the shop assistants for a fitting, but this is futile, as *most* high street shops are notorious for lying to consumers, and doing anything to perpetuate this misconception that boobs only exist in sizes 32A-D, that a D cup is ENORMOUS, when in fact this could not be further from the truth. Sadly most stores do not stock a decent enough range of sizes to suit real women, and so will obviously endeavour to sell them whatever they do have in stock. A lot of stores also measure using a ridiculously outdated ‘add four inches’ method, where you take the ribcage measurement, and then add four inches, to ‘get the band size’ which is horrible and wrong, and originated at a time in I believe the 50s when vanity sizing was used because the ‘ideal’ proportions were considered to be 36″-24″-36″ , and so inches were added to the labels, when in fact they measured much smaller, so that a woman who really measured say 32″ could feel more ‘ideal’. These days bra sizes display the correct inches, but for some unknown reason many bra fitters still ‘add four inches’. Bravissimo or other specialist stores are far more reputable.
This is a subject that, if you know me personally, you know I get quite worked up about. I have been known to drag friends into bathrooms in pubs, and proceed to remove items of clothing to prove to them that an E cup is NOT enormous, and there is no way in hell that my slim friend with lovely large breasts is a 36C (or indeed a 36 anything, what the hell??).
If you have any space between the edge of your bra and your armpit, you are wearing the wrong size. If your bra band is arched, in any way, you are wearing the wrong size. If you suffer from shoulder, neck, or back pains, you are probably wearing the wrong size (medical reasons aside).
I think the biggest misconception of all, is that cup size = bigger breasts, so if you are a D, you will be bigger than somebody who is a C, when in fact this is completely untrue. The ONLY thing that a cup size means, is that your breasts stick out X number of inches further from your body than the measurement around your ribcage. So depending on the back size, a C cup wearer could have larger breasts than a D cup wearer, because the ribcage of the person wearing the C is larger. I have a friend who is the same cup size as me, but because she is several inches bigger on her band size, she has fantastic large breasts, while mine are fairly modest.
In fact, your band size is an absolute measurement of your ribcage in inches, and this is not negotiable. The whole point is that your bra stays in place by the band sitting snugly beaneath your breasts. If more people understood this, there would be more women looking for the right size because a petite woman would realise that she does not measure 36 flipping inches around her ribcage, and would get out the tape measure.
Many women are scared of the sound of ‘huge’ cup sizes, so are happy to remain in denial, in ill fitting bras, not making the most of their assets. Which is a shame, because it’s possible that this is actually ‘deforming’ their breasts. If you wear a cup size that is considerably too small, you are squashing down the breast tissue, and pushing it out of the bra, which means you probably have a whole lot of what SHOULD be breast hanging out somewhere underneath your armpit. Attractive. The truth is that a larger cupsize (if correct, obviously) only means that all of your breast tissue is nicely supported, and placed where it is actually supposed to live on the body. Once you do find the correct size (and indeed, before) it is actually important to be sure you are putting your bra on correctly, to avoid this ‘squashing out’ of the breast tissue. Cheryl at Invest In Your Chest has a much more detailed explanation here, but basically you need to actually pull or scoop all of your breast tissue into your cups from underneath the band, and under your armpits. Over time you can train it back into place this way, if it has moved, and it’s something you should be doing anyway to ensure your cups are filled properly.
I know I have mentioned slim and petite ladies quite a few times simply because I am one, but ladies who are larger than I am are just as likely to be wearing the wrong size. The fact that they may naturally have a nicer cleavage often means it’s harder to tell that the bra being worn is completely wrong. It is really important to find your correct size, no matter what shape or size of lady you are!
My bra quest started a couple of years ago, when I was convinced that I must need something smaller than a 32B bra, because why else were my bras actually coming OFF, and heading for my neck when I moved? I must need to find an A, but surely that couldn’t be right? The sad truth was that it wasn’t my breasts that were wrong, but the fact that I was trying to get a 32 anything to stay put on my ribcage, which was a decided 28 inches around. That’s 4 inches too loose, and that’s a LOT of loose. I got so so frustrated, I never had any sort of cleavage, I felt unattractive, and highly uncomfortable. At this point I wasn’t even AWARE that a 28 backsize existed, I’d never even seen a 30 before. So I thought there must be something wrong with ME.
After much ranting about how much I hated my tiny boobs, and searching high and low for the most padded bras I could lay my hands on in a bid to ‘rectify’ the situation, I came accross a post my friend made on an online community about how most women are wearing the wrong sized bra. I found out that 28 back sizes existed. I found a bra calculator and measuring guide which has changed my life a little bit. I urge everybody to go and read THIS post, follow the instructions, and at least give the results a try. I am now a happy 28E, who can get amazing cleavage WITH NO PADDING. I didn’t even know this was a thing. And I thought an E was ‘big’, which it absolutely isn’t.
*Image from Amazon*
My favourite bra that I now own is my Curvy Kate Tempt Me Plunge bra. I adore the look of this bra (although I removed the bows because they disrupted outfits, sorry Curvy Kate), the colour is gorgeous, and it’s so nice to be wearing something lacey and did I mention the cleavage? So much cleavage. I also love that the straps are fully adjustable, so you can push them all the way to the cup if you need to.
Sadly I was completely unable to find a 28E bra on the high street, (although I have heard that M&S do 28 backs, I have yet to see any in the wild) but don’t let ordering online put you off, www.figleaves.com, www.leialingerie.com, and www.bravissimo.com to name just a few offer free returns, so there is absolutely nothing to stop you from ordering one and giving it a try. If it doesn’t fit, simply send it back, and try a different size! I have actually bought bras from Amazon before as well, and their exhange service was exceptional, my replacement arrived before the one I sent back could possibly have arrived at their end!
I am going to cut this rant short (not even that short, this post is massive), because I fear I could literally go on all day. I haven’t even TOUCHED upon breast shape or bra shape yet, and this is often a large factor in how a bra fits, but I am going to leave you with links to a couple of great blogs which go into so much more depth than I could, and already have great posts on these subjects. http://brasihate.blogspot.co.uk/ actually did a post on breast shape the other day, which I urge you to go and check out, and I already mentioned http://www.investinyourchest.co.uk but I highly recommend giving her blog a read as well for lots of great posts on this subject.
Remember girls… the one thing that is non-negotiable is the size of your ribcage! Go grab a measuring tape and find out what that size REALLY is!EDIT: Due to weight loss, I am now a 26FF. Try finding THAT size, I dare you. But it does exist, and it fits like a dream. Thank god for Ewa Michalak.