Skepticism

From Star Wars to Bra Wars

In my last post I declared that women are equal to men in at least one thing (sci fi appreciation). There is one area in which women are almost entirely alone, though. Bras.

Men don’t generally wear ’em, so there’s nothing sexist in my saying “hey ladies, getting the right bra, what’s all THAT about?”.

I was super skinny in my teens and a late developer to boot, so I didn’t have much in the way of boobs until my mid-twenties, at which point they suddenly decided to get massive. The brilliant thing about that was that the rest of me stayed skinny. The crap thing was trying to find bras which fit my 32D frame.

Look how happy a bra can make you!

Quick lesson in bra sizes for those who don’t know: the number (say, 32) refers to the ribcage size. So if you like being skinny, smaller is better. The letter refers to the cup size, the meat of the issue. So if you like big hooters, the later letters are better. If you like skinny women with big hooters, 32D is ideal. If you are a woman with that bra size, though, buying bras which fit both extremes is not so easy. I found that the cheaper end of the scale usually didn’t cater for me, so I ended up becoming fairly loyal to Calvin Klein whose bras not only fit me perfectly, but didn’t give me the pointy-boob look that I loathe.

The boobier among us are eternally grateful for the invention of the underwire, which gives us lift and support, until the day the wire starts to poke out from the fabric and lacerates your armpit. Also you can’t machine-wash underwired bras, so you end up trying to wash off the remnants of sweaty underboob and lint by hand. But still, underwire is a boob. I mean boon.

I stayed a steady 32D for many years, but once into my 30s I started to gain a little weight and moved up to a 34D (bigger back/rib size, same cup size). It became a lot easier to buy bras as 34D is a fairly common size. However, in the past 12 months I’ve gained some more weight, and realised I was starting to sport the dreaded four-boob look. For those not in the know, that’s when your bra cuts into your boob flab and creates double boob. It’s not nice to see and not really that good for your posture. Well-fitting bras are important. So in the past few weeks I took myself to several well-know bra fitters to see if I could find something interesting for Skepchick. Guess what?! I did!

Fitting #1 – John Lewis

John Lewis is a middle-market department store with an excellent reputation for bra fitting. I took myself to the Oxford St branch and although I had to wait 15 minutes for a fitter to be available, she gave me ample attention. First she measured my back/rib size (with my existing bra still on), then she measured the cup size and pronounced me a 34DD. This is one cup size up from my previous size, which didn’t seem entirely right because I was busting out of my existing bra. Busting out! Ha ha! Anyway, as part of the service she went off to find me some bras I might like. At this juncture I will explain that she was at least 65 years old, so when she came back with an armful of those buff-coloured bras that my nan wears, I wasn’t too surprised. I also noticed that she’d chosen the cheap bras, presumably because on my days off I am a scruffy git. Here’s where it got weird: having never had a professional bra fitting before, I didn’t realise that they actually put the bras on you. Lest any of the men reading are having some sapphic fantasy at this point, let me remind you that she looked like your granny. It was neither erotic nor useful, because she was fitting me for bras I had no intention of buying. Long story medium: none of the DD cups fitted and she pronounced me a 34E, which is correct, and also annoying because hardly any high street stores stock bras of that size. At this point I told her I’d be OK on my own, and I went and had a look at the extensive lingerie section. As predicted, nary a 34E in sight, at least not one I’d be seen dead in. Granny bras ain’t my style. Those of you who saw my 2009 Skepchick calendar photo will understand. So off I went to

Fitting #2 Marks and Spencer

M&S is supposed to be the last word in bra fitting. A slightly-lower-end-than-John-Lewis department store, they have an ancient reputation for underwear. Sadly, my experience proved that reputation means nothing if you hire miserable cows. The sour-faced matron who measured me clearly had better things to do – again I wondered if that was a result of my external scruffiness, or whether she just hadn’t had her breakfast gin yet. I asked for a bra fitting, she brusquely ushered me into a cubicle, demanded I lift up my top, measured my back/rib and said “thirty-four”, then measured my cup and snapped “C”.

C my arse (not ‘see my arse’. C-cup my arse. I need to clarify that for our partially-sighted fans who are using screen reader software. Although if you’re partially sighted I guess you can’t see my arse anyway. Sorry about that). I haven’t been a C-cup since I was 22. Before I could say a word, she walked off. Rude beeyotch! I wanted to do a gang sign at her but I don’t know any. There was only one thing for it. I would have to go straight to the top, to

Fitting #3 Agent Provocateur

I’ve bought their stuff before. AP are the last word in lingerie, but also bloody expensive so not really for everyday wear. I didn’t really intend to buy anything, but I wanted the fitting, and sure enough they had me pegged as a 34E before I’d even had chance to say “I know I look scruffy but really I’m a businesswoman and not a shoplifter, honest”. Although anyone who tags a sentence with “honest” probably is a shoplifter, or at least a cockney street urchin. Unfortunately, while the service was superb, they didn’t have any bras in stock in my size…at least, not the sort one could wear under a t-shirt.

In the end I went home bra-less. NEW bra-less, I mean. Tsk.

What I learned really bothered me. Clearly bra-fitting is not an exact science, and bras aren’t anything like standardised enough. Since the fitting, I’ve bought a couple of bras, some are DD and fit fine, and some are E and are only just big enough. I realise that boobs, like feet, don’t come in neat increments and are all subtly different, and also that bras, like shoes, get looser as time goes on, but this tape-measure-and-guesswork system seems woefully inadequate to me. Isn’t it about time we had something better?

Ten English pounds to the Skepchick reader who invents a boob-measuring machine, and a further 65 pence if you can persuade bra manufacturers to use its data as standard. I don’t have a neat boob punchline to finish with, so you’ll have to make do with this bizarre contraption I found on Google:

No idea what this is

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56 Comments

  1. ” Clearly bra-fitting is not an exact science”

    Nope, which is why it cannot be done with a tape measure. As well as being different sizes boobs are also different shapes, so never trust any fitter relying on a tape measure as their measurements will fail to take boob shape into account.

    Really good bra fitters do it by sight alone. Bravissimo is your friend here, and- if you’re feeling really brave- you could also try Rigby and Peller, whose staff use their well-trained eyes to measure the royal knockers.

  2. Agent Provocateur will never have anything in the E sizes since they specialise in using the least fabric to cover you up… just barely.

    Oh, and maybe US visitors will be happy with your 10 quid prize, since that is, like, a million dollars, but I cannot even buy a decent lunch at Greg’s for that! How am I going to even make a return on my investment in my quantum tunnelling bra measuring device?

    But now back to reality… as a man who happens to like the boobed kind of our species, I have noticed that too many women wear bras that are too small in cup size. If I read about your DD and even a C measurement experience I can understand why!

  3. I had an experience like this at Victoria’s Secret: a bunch of us went in for fittings, but once the employee measured my (probably 32DD) friend and declared her a 34C, we left.

    Half a dozen of my friends are wearing ill-fitted bras and won’t accept that they’re over a D-cup. I know most retail shops don’t sell under a 34 band or over DD-cup, but I don’t know why. It seems like most people I know can’t fit into retail-sized bras.

  4. @Dax: “Oh, and maybe US visitors will be happy with your 10 quid prize, since that is, like, a million dollars, but I cannot even buy a decent lunch at Greg’s for that!” COTW for accurate currency exchange.
    Oh, and I assume “Greg’s” is some fancy limey deli, or something :)

  5. I have had so little luck with bra fitters that I just pick up tons of bras in a variety of sizes and try ’em all on to see which one fits best. I find jumping up and down in front of the mirror helps me decide.

    My mum has a nightmare finding bras because she is a 42DD. She isn’t even that overweight, she is just really tall and broad. Very few companies sell a 42 back. Even Bravissimo doesn’t. Their bras seem to be aimed at slimmish women with big boobies.

  6. Welcome to my personal hell, Tracy.
    If only you could know your size and browse the internet for the perfect bra and order it in your pajamas with cheetoos stains. (ok maybe that is just my fantasy) But no, the fates are against it. Because each bra is different in both sizing and style. Not to mention personal comfort.
    And worse, after many many trials, you will find a bra you like that will not force you to mortgage your home. You will buy them and feel like, OK this is over. But no…
    You see the bra industry has a conspiracy going. If you like a bra, they will discontinue the style. And you will have to go through this entire thing again in a couple of years.

    But no matter how desperate you become, DO NOT WEAR the black caps. I’ve never seem them before, but they have turned her boobs into toothpaste tubes. Not attractive…

  7. Ah yes, bra shopping for me is a panic-attack inducing tear-filled nightmare. It’s gotten a little better over recent years thanks to a fairly popular New Zealand lingerie company making large sizes. But I still have to pay about 50-70NZD for a bra. Fricking sports bras are even more and they never fit right.

    I have had many traumatic experiences with the bra-fitting crone as a teenager, who would get frustrated because none of the cup sizes were big enough, as if that was my fault. They only went up to DD in those days. Now you can get up to G, if you go to a specialty store (department stores are pointless) but I still feel gross and ashamed every time I go bra shopping. Which is way too often because of the underwire poking through, or the back losing elasticity or some other thing going wrong. I had to special order maternity bras from the USA. That’s how crap it is to have a big bust in New Zealand. Talking about this makes me want to eat cookies and cry.

  8. For those Skepchicks in the Washington, DC area, there is “The Full Cup” in Old Town Alexandria.

    http://www.thefullcup.com/

    The next time I’m home for a good chunk of time, I’m totally making an appointment. Because I have an asymmetry. Not a “oh, I *think* my left boob is a bit smaller than my right boob”. I mean a two cup size difference. Bra shopping – for me – is an ordeal. I’ve just learned how to dress to hide it and avoid swimsuits at all possible costs. Thank god I married a ginger guy who isn’t a big swimmer :D

  9. I have had variable sizes over the years. When I was 16, I was 12B (34B). Then I gained weight and this shifted from 12B, to 12C, and then to 14D and 14DD. I’m now back at 10-12B. What this means is that I’m pretty much an every-size, so when there is a sale, I always miss out, because this is the popular (common) size. And I still end up paying anywhere from $50 – $90NZ for a bra because I’m bra-fussy. My go-to brand tends to be calvin klein. They’re comfortable without being granny, and they support my complete lack of boobage (i.e lift & embiggen). I’ve also never had a problem with the wires poking through with CK.

    Bra fittings are weird though. I get mine done @ smith & caugheys, and it’s usually some old geriatric granny who then makes you try them all on. It’s good though, they give really constructive feedback on how they sit, and whether the size is right.

  10. The brand I always rely on is Panache, specifically the Tango II bra which is popular for a reason. If you know what size you need and which brand fits you best then I would also recommend the Figleaves Outlet where you can search by size, and then buy a bra without having to remortgage your home.

  11. I gave up with bras years ago. “Normal” bras, no matter what size, always led to upper back pain. I tried tons and tons, and the only ones that actually seemed to support the weight of my chest all seemed to be made of the same super-itchy fabric. I don’t know who decided that undergarments didn’t need to be made of the softest stuff available, but they ought to be shot.

    So now I just go with sports bras. All the time. I can actually move (bonus in a job that requires a lot of jumping up to fetch coffee for the bosses, ugh), my back doesn’t hurt that much, and I can stand up straight without feeling like the skin on my upper chest is about to rip open. Hoorah!

  12. I discovered the Wacoal brand by accident. My boobs thought they’d died and gone to heaven. Once I established that I was a 36C in their line, I began buying them on eBay, where they generally run around US$30, rather than US$70. They make bras from a 32AA to 48G.

    First bras I ever owned that fit well and were pretty.

  13. @Metagnosis: And a vote from my wife for Bravissimo too, who also shops at the Manchester store. Good bras in the bigger size that she needs, and they provide plenty of support. They look pretty damn good too, which is a bonus from my point of view!

  14. In the UK, I’d actually recommend hitting up Debenhams – they do a good line in +DD bras (as I recall, they do GG and up too). I’ve a Jasper Conran and a Gorgeous bra from there, and they fits like a dream. Also, decently priced.

    I’ll always buy bras and underwear from M&S, but I don’t bother with their fitters any more, as they seem to have been trained by innumerate cack-handed monkeys.

  15. Lane Bryant is my store of choice. I don’t always like their clothes, but it’s the one place I can go and know I’ll find bras that fit well, and not boring tan granny-bras either. And they often have 2-for-1 and similar sales, so I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for a bra there.

  16. @stevenroy: Oh man, I’m so embarrassed. You’ve caught me out in a massive lie. You are totally right to be skeptical, a blogger using her real name who has spoken in front of hundreds of fellow skeptics and posed twice for the Skepchick calendar is almost certainly lying when she discusses her body shape in a frank article, particularly given she has a reputation for just making stuff up instead of writing the truth.

    So yeah, you got me. I never had a 32D bra size. I don’t even have breasts. I’m a 50-year old man named Clive. Everything I’ve ever said about myself online or in person has been a lie. It’s actually because I have a very small penis, so felt the need to create this exaggerated skinny-with-big-hooters alter-ego to make up for it. Because, y’know, there’s as much truth in ‘men act a certain way because of their penis size’ as there is in ‘women who write blog posts about their body size are probably lying’.

    Unless you’re not actually saying you’re skeptical of MY claims? You were just throwing a random comment out there, maybe? Because if you are saying that you believe I am lying, I would like very much for you to confirm that so we’re all clear.

    Yours, Clive.

  17. After hearing a story about this on NPR my wife went hunting for a good bra fitter. Fortunately her first experience was delightful. She came back with a bag full of bras that she says are the most comfortable she as ever had. I learned a couple of things from her experience and Tracy’s. There is a certain stigma attached to going up into D, DD, and E cup sizes. My wife would have sworn she was a C and it took some arm-twisting by the fitter to get her to try on some Ds. Maybe big boobs == more fat == fat or something like that. The thing that really surprised me though is that to a certain extent chest size is complimentary with cup size. A 36-C doesn’t fit my wife all that differently from a 34-D. The fitter explained that this is fabric and flesh we are dealing with so there is some, um, wiggle room. The difference to my wife was a bra that is comfortable for a few hours as opposed to comfortable all day long.

    My wife’s biggest challenge now, also as Tracy points out, is to find stylish, attractive bras that fit. This is proving not so easy. She thinks I’m weird (in so many ways), but I find sports bras very attractive. Am I alone on this?

  18. http://www.breakoutbras.com has one of the best selections of larger cup bras on the internet, as does Figleaves.com, and biggerbras.com.

    Panache, Elomi, Fantasie, Cleo, and Freya are the best names, although they are expensive.

    Tracy, Breakout Bras.com almost always has your size on sale, as the 32D or DD is rare. It is rare to have women who are slim, small rib cage, and large cup size, but it does happen. My co-worker is that way. I call her stealth boobs, because until you look at, you would not imagine someone that thin would have big boobs.

  19. @davew,
    The thing you mention about a 36C not fitting very differently from a 34D is *exactly* the reason so many women are wearing the wrong size bra. It’s incredibly common for a woman who thought she was wearing the right size to get fitted and find out that she should go down one band size and up one cup size. This happened to me and I was stunned at how comfortable bras can be.

  20. Is there anybody out there who can find a damn bra that fits well (of my two boobed mates, one of them can’t find anything in the right size and the other has tits so large a bra causes pain)? If not, then who the fuck are the manufacturers making them for?

  21. Sometimes, though I read almost every post, I just don’t have much to add. This is one of those times.

    So … with that I’ll conclude with I thought Tracy’s retort was biting clever , “YAY boobs,” and may you all finally find success in “getting the right bra.”

  22. I actually have what is in some ways the opposite, but in many ways the exact same problem, being a 36A. At my very skinniest, I was a 36AA; there’s no getting around my big ribcage. Whenever I find a bra that fits well *and* looks good, I buy three or four, because they’re few and far between. I also find myself shopping (and getting a lot of dirty looks) in the overweight little girls’ section. On the plus side, I have a bra with rainbow hearts on it, and another with frogs.

  23. Although fashion trends tend to recycle themselves, I am grateful that the pointy boob look hasn’t made a huge comeback (apart from Madonna and Mad Men). I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable making the girls cone heads.

  24. @Bjornar Oh THANK you for that link! I have been looking for a big girl sized strapless backless bra ever since my breast reconstruction last April http://boobcast.net
    As far as bras in the US go, my favorite, although each bra is the equivalent of a car payment and their customer service is the WORST, I LOVE http://myintimacy.com They have the most stunning plus sized bras. They also do VERY good fittings and they don’t use a tap measure!
    For full coverage I like Lane Bryant bras.
    And if you already know your size, I can’t recommend http://herroom.com highly enough.
    No, bra fitting isn’t an exact science, but Intimacy really did the best, most accurate bra fitting I’ve ever had done.
    Mind you, this WAS three months after my reconstruction so they were fitting brand new (no implant) boobies. I don’t know how they do with original equipment but if you live near a store, get a fitting done there. They’re good at that and the product is great. Their customer service is (or was) horrific.

  25. @ Clive aka Tracy King. I was actually just making a joke and didn’t mean to say that your claim of 32 d was suspicious in anyway. Just a little internet humor.

    I’m not even the type of guy to judge a woman by her bra size.

    I’m an ass-man. (drum snare)

  26. Ah yes, the mysterious bra fitting. A few years ago, I walked into a Change store in Vancouver and it changed my life (haha). I was promptly fitted into a 34E, which I had envisioned as 2 garbage sacs connected by industrial-strength bungee cords, but which was actually very comfy, thankyouverymuch. My question is, I’m not a huge person, and I don’t think I have a huge rack, so the 34E thing really took me aback because I don’t even think the mainstream stores like La Senza and La Vie en Rose even sell E cups. So if I’m an E, then what the hell are all those other women wearing?? Anyway, Change is wonderful because they offer a full range of sizes in pretty styles, many of which won’t bankrupt you. I have several t-shirt bras from there that were in th $40 – 60 CDN range, and a few fancier ones that run up to $80.

    For the unitiated, or the poorly fitted, I’ve learned that the underwire of your bra cup should lie flat against your breastbone in the middle, and point straight into your armpit on the outside if it fits correctly. Many women buy larger bands and smaller cups, with the result being that you squash out the side or top of your cups, and the underwire digs in. not comfy, not pretty. While Change stores aren’t really widespread in Canada (they’re a Scandinavian company), if you find one, get in there and grab as much as you can afford. They’ve always had great fitters, and it’s worth every penny.

  27. Bra fittings for me have ranged from the terribly useless to the absurdly ridiculous. (I am a rotund 26C. (Aussie size, yo!)). I have had people claim that I am everything from a DD cup to a G cup just at a glance. …really? These gazongas could live in a G cup TOGETHER with some kind of creepy, empty hat looking lump thing off to the other side.

    One store clerk correctly sized me at 26C only to find that the store had no such size in stock (indeed, fat chicks aren’t allowed to have smallish boobs). Her solution was to insist that I try on every 26 DD and E in the store just to see if they’d fit. I felt tempted to take away her license to own boobs. Anyone who has them should know that if your band size is too small, bigger cups ain’t making up for it. I tried one on just to show her and I looked like a 5 year old trying on her mommy’s C-cup while playing dress-up. All I needed were some gigantic, clown-shoe sized high heels and some Harlot Red lipstick and I’d fit the look extremey well.

  28. Reading the comments, I’m starting to wonder if perhaps the bra sizes have been slowly changing (like the dress sizes have) so that women who used to be a C, say 15 years ago, would nowadays be sized as a D or up?

  29. I didn’t have much in the way of boobs until my mid-twenties, at which point they suddenly decided to get massive.

    So, there’s still hope for those of us with flat chests at 23? I’ve never had breasts – a 36A is comfortable around the ribs and mostly empty in the cup. This summer I said “Screw it,” and tossed them all in a basket in the nether regions of the closet, their use sustained indefinitely. I’m tired of trying to find a comfortable bra that I’ve never really had a use for beyond trying to fit into a preconceived (abet of evolutionary origins) notion of beauty. Maybe American women will start padding their hips, and I’ll feel better about the lot of genetics I received. Until then, I’m fighting to be comfortable being me, au naturale.

    Also, nippies/pasties are *awesome*.

  30. @Neg:
    Also, nippies/pasties are *awesome*.

    If you’re tossing your bras away, those are kinda required I suppose.
    Then again, sometimes us guys have to remain seated for a while hoping not to draw too much attention to the fact that’s what we’re doing.
    You could keep your arms crossed (or wait for the ambient room temperature to rise again or whatever else caused it to pass …)

  31. Underwire is not always a good thing. My wife’s best friend was a bra-fitter, and determined that my wife was one of the handful of percent of women who can’t wear underwired bras comfortably. (It has something to do with ribcage shape.)

  32. You aren’t supposed to machine-wash underwires?

    My mother always put mine in the hot machine wash with all the other underwear, and I kept doing it, but I suppose that might have something to do with the fact she doesn’t wear underwired bras at all herself.

  33. As a 36G, I swear by the internet. Namely, brastop.com and herroom.com. I can occasionally find something satisfactory at Dillards (which you probably don’t have), but the internet is where it’s at.
    I think the real issue isn’t that finding your actual size isn’t exact, but that designers FAIL at making things true to size. But, there are also more variations on size out there than are accommodated by the sizes available. Herroom.com has some good tips about sizing tendencies and lots of comments from buyers about fitting.

    My biggest boob-related fear is this. The last time I lost a lot of weight, I went from a 36D to a 32DD. I’ve gained quite a bit since then, but you can see what my size has done. I am afraid of what may happen when I lose weight again. Will I be a 32G? FSM help me. Boobs are weird and do not behave in predictable, rational ways.

  34. I have seriously considered just getting them taken off for a whole host of reasons, but having said that, the only place in L.A. to go if you can’t get fit anywhere else is the Wizard of Bras in Monrovia. These folks know their tits.

  35. Shopping for bra’s is the bane of my existence. Not only is it hard to find one that fits but it also brings to attention my insecurity (lack of boobage.)

    Over the years I have gotten a lot better in this reguard and have learned to really like my boobs, especially since they will always be relatively perky and I can get away with going braless in certain outfits.

    BUT I HATE bra shopping. It’s almost impossible for me to find a bra that fits. Usually I grab a handful (harhar) of 34 A’s 36 A’s 32 B’s and 34 B’s and try them all on in various brands/styles until I am a crumpy, sweaty mess.

    So far I seem to be good in the current 32 B I am in now. It’s the only bra I can wear that doesn’t pucker open when I bend over and position my arms like I am picking something up (any other bra and someone is getting a free show.) I thought that this was a problem with cup size but when I tried an A, they were too uncomfortable and I bulged out of the side. I really need to go to Macy’s or Dillards (my Mom has had good luck with their fittings) but I forget any time I am in the mall (on that rare occassion.)

    I honestly think that most bras don’t fit the actually shape of my boobs and that’s the main problem. Also, now that I am mostly comfortable with some 32 B’s nobody ever has them. Grrrrrr.

  36. From the other end of the spectrum, even a B cup can be painful if not properly supported. And the last time I went in for a bra fitting (at Intimacy, which some other US commenter also recommended for bras that actually fit) I spent half an hour trying to convince the fitter that I did not want their weird giant push-up inserts. These things were seriously larger than my breasts! I want a bra that fits me, that lies smoothly under my clothes and supports without pain, NOT a synthetic cutlet that was larger than my actual breast so that I could “compete” with all the other girls, thank you very much.

    There is nothing wrong with my body. There is something very wrong with our culture and clothing if such a wide range of women have this much trouble finding bras that fit so they can get dressed in the morning.

  37. I swear by Wacoal…pricey, but worth it (36DD, for the record). Also, I machine-wash mine in a lingerie bag, on a gentle cycle, and hang them to dry. No damage evident so far. :)

    @whatbluedot: I hear you. I so, so, annoyingly hear you. Sixty pounds ago I was a 40C. Sigh. Boobs, however nifty, are shape-shifting alien appendages.

  38. BTW, the bras at Victoria’s Secret are labelled high in the cup size – a friend of mine, who’s a 34D, learnt this from a sales assistant, who warned her the VC 34D probably wouldn’t fit. It didn’t.

    Evidently, the sexy lingerie-buying crowd wants to be able to say they have bigger boobs. Strange.

  39. I hate to be a one-upper, but try finding a bra in 34H. They do not sell any cup sizes above DDD in any chain or department stores that I have ever been to. I’ve even been to high-end lingerie stores that don’t carry bigger cup sizes. The specialty websites that sell larger cup sizes only have band sizes of 38 and above. The thing is, I’m not even skinny. I’m fat but I just don’t carry my weight around my ribcage.

    For those of you that grab a bunch of sizes and try them on, I don’t have that option. I would have to buy hundreds of dollar’s worth of bras from a catalog, wait 4-6 to try them on, then return all but one or two, possibly paying a 25% “restocking fee”. And the odds finding any underwires, interesting colors, or just comfortable ones at that size are basically zero.

    So I guess it’s a grass-is-always-greener thing. For those of you with smaller ones, count your blessings. Or else start up a bra-manufacturing line and make some comfortable, supportive, sexy, well-fitting, easily-available underwire bras for those of us bigger than DDD.

  40. @Stevie:”It’s the only bra I can wear that doesn’t pucker open when I bend over and position my arms like I am picking something up (any other bra and someone is getting a free show.)

    I reckon your definition of “a free show” is probably slightly different from that of most guys.
    Not that we wouldn’t enjoy the view if the opportunity presented itself, but I hardly think you’d actually be exposing yourself or have stuff popping out unexpectedly, but more likely just showing a tad more skin than you’re used to.

    In fact, I think any girl bending forward while wearing a low-cut neckline is going to experience that kind of problem, regardles of the bra they’re wearing.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m saying you shouldn’t be allowed to feel uncomfortable with that …

  41. @exarch: LOL — now, I have no problem with nudity, which is why this doesn’t bother me too much (aside from the bra not actually fitting) but when I mean free show, I mean free show — as in, my chest is modest so it doesn’t fit snug in the top of my shirt and if I bend over in a v-neck, you can see my nipples.

    Not just extra skin — nipple and areola action.

  42. I’m happy to see all the bra source possibilities. My bra of choice is from Decent Exposures (a US company): http://www.decentexposures.com/bra.shtml

    They’re very comfortable, and come it great colors. The cotton/lycra blend provides enough support for most activites (I’m 38E) without underwires. Their customer service is fantastic, and they do custom work. You want the armholes cut a bit deeper? No problem! Their sizing goes up to an L cup.

  43. I had a fitting at Bravissimo in London: found out I was a 38, not 40 (Yay, more & prettier bras!). I came out with 4 different styles. Two were FF cup, one was F and the other G.

    If I want any other styles, I’ll have to be fitted again… anyone else have variable cup size?

  44. Fascinating; I have to confess I’ve never given the problem of braziers much thought. According to Wiki and EN13402, size is determined by an over bust – under bust measurement; but that is presumably just a rather crude measurement of volume, surely? The logical thing should be to define cup sizes by volume and then work from there, and volume could be measured – perhaps a little messily, but quite definitively – using good ol’ Archimedes’ displacement method.

    And then the fact that cup size varies with strap size while retaining the same size designation is just bizarre, and perhaps explains the 36C/34D issue mentioned above (see here). I mean what the hell – everybody knows you should never vary two parameters at once!

    It is quite clear: there are not enough women engineers. In the meantime, have your mother buy your underwear – they just know I tell you, they just know.

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