I’d just like to take a moment to talk about bras.
Some see them as dirty, some see them as necessary, some see them as a sign of female oppression.
But I’m not here to talk about that.
Most of us U.S. women wear bras.
But guys, bra sizes are all wrong.
Victoria’s Secret lies to you. A lot of stores do. They give you a size that will get you into one of their bras in order to make a sale.
I’ll admit, I’ve never actually been measured in a store.
But I guess, until recently, I’d also never questioned the idea that my chest and boobs might not align with the sizing system and common size ranges that stores have so conveniently socialized us into.
I’m going to say this now: I’m a pretty skinny person, and my boobs aren’t that big.
But when you’re a small woman wearing a bra sized at 32D, that took you HOURS to find and purchase after searching SEVERAL different stores, and it’s STILL TOO SMALL to hold your breasts fully, there’s something wrong.
They define it for us. They say the band measurement is the number of inches around your chest, just under your breasts. And that your cup size is based on the difference in inches between the band measurement, and the number of inches around the fullest part of your bust.
This is an outdated system that I didn’t understand for a long time. And in that time, I wore a whole lot of bras that were a lot of different sizes. They were all wrong.
Band size is relative to bust size. I can’t articulate why this is in the most eloquent of ways, but women are simply different, and a simple subtraction formula for every woman doesn’t really work.
I remember one of my first bras was a 34A. I believe that was my freshman year of high school. Looking back on it, there’s no way my scrawny 14-year-old self was 34 whole inches around the chest.
As I got older and my breasts grew a little bit bigger, I started buying 34Bs. Eventually, I was at a 34C.
34C seems to be one of most common sizes worn by U.S. women. Any store that sells bras undoubtedly has plenty of 34C’s in stock.
I wore bras in 34C for about 3 years until quite recently. Though my bras made my chest feel a little stuffy, rode up my back a bit, and gave me back pain, I didn’t pay any mind. It didn’t seem like a big deal, and I just thought that’s how bras worked.
"And besides," I thought, "I have average-sized boobs, so I must be one of these really common sizes that they have all over every store.”
Late 2012, I found a little community on reddit called ABraThatFits.
Basically, after reading up on what they had to say, I realized that all of my bra choices ever were all wrong.
Bras that fit well are supposed to sit flat between your breasts at the center gore. The band is supposed to go straight across your back, and not ride up or constrict. Loose fat should be a minimum—that shoulder/armpit fat at the top and side of your boob is, in fact, displaced breast tissue. Your bra straps shouldn’t be falling and you shouldn’t have to adjust them to the smallest setting. Most importantly, well-fitting bras should be fairly comfortable.
I’ve had a combination of many of these problems over the years, mainly: the center gore was always slightly hovering above my chest, my straps were always at their tightest setting, the band was riding way up my back, and sideboob was ignored.
ABraThatFits identifies solutions to these problems. The raised center gore and the extra breast tissue meant I needed a bigger cup size. The band riding up and the tight straps meant I needed a much smaller band size.
I didn’t take a very daring approach, and took this to mean I was a 32D. One band size smaller, and one cup size bigger.
I went out and tried on a couple of of 32Ds, and they fit me much better than the bras I’d been wearing for years.
Weeks later, I’d been feeling like it was still somewhat off and a little bit small. And then I realized my mistake: cup size is relative to the band size. If you go down a band size, you have bring it up a cup.
It doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but I promise, and so do many other women, that it does.
This should’ve had me at a 32DD.
I haven’t had time to go to the store since I made that discovery, but I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve been having back pain lately. So I took another measurement of my band size just a few minutes before I started writing this. This time, I took a slightly different approach to accommodate my arched posture, and I measured 29 inches.
This means my band size is only 30 fucking inches. To think, as a tiny freshman girl, I was wearing a fucking 34 inch bra and destroying my back in the process.
Going down another band size means going up a cup size. So I guess I’m a 30DDD/30F now, guise.
And it’s actually not that uncommon. Really.
I highly encourage bra-wearers that are reading this right now to check out the resources on /r/ABraThatFits, or to Google this subject and try to find accurate measurement systems, or even just to go off of this shit that I just wrote, because you might be surprised with what you find.
I’m just upset because now I have another several hours of bra shopping ahead of me.