This is a post about bras.

I’m breaking the saga of my housing situation (looking to be ending anyway) to get back to what I feel like I do best, advise. Today’s topic isn’t something one of the young people I mentor asked, nor was it something brought up in discussion with a colleague. No, my friends, this post was brought to you by my bra size and how hard it is to really find a good fit.

Feel free to skip this post if you want, but if you’re a woman you may want to read on:

To begin: cup size is not a static measure, it’s variable depending on strap size

 Amazingly enough, I didn’t realize this at all. I assumed that my slight, 33″ bust meant that I was an A or a B cup and that was all she wrote. Little did I know that cup size isn’t some standard inch measure at all. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with the size of your bust line at ALL except in relation to your ribcage.

To measure yourself for a bra, the first thing you need to do is measure your rib cage just under the bust (for me that’s 27 inches). Now, all calculators say something different here, so this is where your trial and error for the perfect bra begins. SOME say add 2 to 3 inches to get your band size. Some say just round up to the next whole number because band sizes don’t come in odd numbers. YET ANOTHER SOURCE says if you’re very slim you may want to measure ABOVE the breast, just under the armpit.

For me I figured I’d first try to measure above my bust (30inches). This leaves me assuming I’m between a 28″ band and a 30″ band. Next, I’m off to measure my bust, that’s simple enough, run the tape directly at the center of your breasts, snug, but not too tight, you don’t want to leave a mark on your chest. My measurement was 33″ as I mentioned above.

To get your cup size you subtract your bust measurement from the band size. For me that means either of the following

33-28 = 5; OR 33-30 = 3

Chart from HERE

This part here is where it gets tricky. Every bra company seems to have a different idea of what these numbers really mean. As an example, here are the sizes that I was told I COULD BE by different companies:

36A, 32B, 30C, 28D, 32E, 30F/30FF, and 26G

Technically, all of these bras will fit okay because they all will have pretty much the exact same cup size. The reason is CUP SIZE IS ENTIRELY VARIABLE ON THE BAND SIZE. “You can’t be a [insert cup size] because you have a small bust” is not a valid response. Yes, yes you can. It’s all in relation to how big your rib cage and frame are. That’s all a cup measure IS. The problem is that while all of these will fit OKAY, only one or two will actually fit comfortably, and we’re going for comfort here.

This part is where most women throw their hands in the air and doom themselves to adjusting constantly. BUT NEVER FEAR! Remember that the first number is basically your inches around your rib cage. Why would you buy something that is 8 inches too big around and wear it? Similarly  why would you buy something that’s too small and try to wear it? Band size is key to your comfort level in a bra, it’s where 90% of your support should come from! Still using myself as an example (27 inches under bust and 30 inches over) I’m going to assume that my band should be 28 or 30 inches. This left me with two close guesses 28D and 30C.

Every company that has these sizes may be a little different I noticed that in one company I’m a 30D, in another the 30C should be fine. Sadly, this whole process is one of trial and error, once you find what works, however, you will never be sorry.

Before someone gets on me about those band sizes not being real, yes, they are. just not in a brick and mortar store usually. Salespeople at these stores want you to buy from them, usually they get commission. They’re not going to tell you that you can go elsewhere and who can really blame them? If they see that there are enough women wising up and getting bras that actually fit then maybe they’ll widen their selection.

Here is a good video of a bra fitting that is pretty SFW

Hopefully this has been helpful.


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