Editor’s Note: A few years ago we ran a funny guest post titled All I Want for Christmas is a Breast Reduction. Stephanie’s story about her giant Christmas card boob quickly became our second most popular article of that entire year. Demonstrating the true power of our community, an In the Powder Room reader commented that “a properly fitting bra would help Stephanie to eliminate most of her breast-related complaints.” I reached out to that commenter to see if she would share more of her expertise with us, and I am thrilled to present her wealth of knowledge to you today. Welcome, Jess!
Among those close to me, I have developed a bit of a reputation.
I carry a soft tape measure around in my handbag, bright pink and at the ready. I have approached strangers with visibly poor-fitting bras and lectured on the importance of wearing the right size. I have even removed my bra at a party so that a girl who was about my size could try it on. In short, I am obsessed with bras. Why, you ask? I have accomplished the impossible: I have found the perfect bra. So listen up ladies, because I’m about to impart some serious Boob Wisdom on all of you.
1. Know what a properly-fitting bra looks like.
Brastop.com’s Fitting Room is a great place to learn more about what a properly fitting bra looks like. I would also recommend taking a peek at Bras and Body Image, where gorgeous Anna shows how to put your bra on properly. Once you know what’s wrong with your bra, and what to look for in the right one, you can move on to step two.
2. Measure yourself.
The next step to finding the right size is getting your measurements. All you’ll need is a soft tape measure! Measure around your ribcage where your bra band usually sits, making sure that the tape measure is snug (but not uncomfortable!) and parallel to the ground. It is crucial that the band of your bra is firm, as the band is what supports 80% of the weight of your breasts. This will also prevent drooping breasts and a band that rides up. Ideally, your bandsize will be very close to your underbust measurement. Next, measure around your actual bust. It is best to do this sans bra, as you get the most accurate measurement. Done? I plugged my measurements into this Bra Size Calculator at A Sophisticated Pair (one of the most accurate bra size calculators that I have seen) to get my starting point.
Bear in mind that this is just a starting point and may not be 100%. Their calculator puts me at a UK 34E/US 34DDD.
As you can see from the photo below, I am not toting around gargantuan watermelon-sized boobs, but I am relatively well-endowed for my frame. In this instance, the bra size calculator was spot on, and I usually fit well into a US 34DDD, UK 34E. I’m sure a few of you are skeptical. “I wear a DDD cup, and I’m much larger than her! She can’t be an E cup!” Give this article a read, where the lovely Georgina of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust explains exactly how your 38DDD cup is larger than my 34E cup.
3. Know where to shop.
So you’ve found your starting point. The obvious next step on this journey to the right bra is trying, trying, trying! It can be a pain in the rump to find an “unusual” sized bra in stores, especially if you’re a U.S. based lady. I found that most of my luck lies in trying on bras at department stores like Nordstrom (one of the few places I know of that actually carry my size), and ordering them online. I am a huge fan of brands like Freya, Parfait by Affinitas, and Curvy Kate, which specialize in large-cup lingerie that is anything but drab! Unfortunately, these brands are more difficult to find stateside, so I turn to the Interwebs.
UK based website Brastop carries gorgeous lingerie at majorly discounted prices. I found that even with currency exchange and shipping, it’s usually less expensive than buying from the U.S. Figleaves and Bare Necessities have U.S. websites and more times than not, a coupon code floating around for extra savings! Do you have a difficult to find band size? (Here’s looking at you, 24/26/28 bands, I know you’re out there!) Polish bra retailer Ewa Michalak can make custom-ordered sizes, and offers some seriously gorgeous lingerie options for full-busted ladies! If you do decide to give out-of-the-country buying a whirl, read bra-fit reviews to soothe your nervous mind. The lovely ladies of Invest In Your Chest, Bras I Hate & Love, and Undercover Lingerista offer a wealth of fit information on various styles!
Having boobs isn’t always easy. However, it shouldn’t have to be a burden, and it definitely should not be something that makes a woman hate her body. The road to body-confidence for many of you could be as simple as listening to my advice and giving it a chance. What could it hurt?
Jessica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with specific fit questions. This original piece was written exclusively for In the Powder Room, a division of Hold My Purse Productions, LLC. Featured image © istockphoto.com/izusek.