Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Response to A Post on Fitting

I'm fuming a little after reading this post over at MsBehaved.  Bianca makes a valid point about bra fitting: when all is said and done, only YOU know what is right for your boobs and body to get proper support from bras.  It sounds like her fitter at Nordstrom's did not listen to her feedback about wanting a looser band, especially given that a 40 inch underband is not asking too much and they could easily have fit her into a (probably more comfortable) 40G.  I think it an absolute shame she had to go through this experience, and I hope that it hasn't turned her off from finding a proper fitting bra.

However, my bone to pick is her attitude toward larger cup sizes and fitting in general.  Most women do wear the wrong bra size, but they don't do it knowingly.  I'd love it if all women knew their correct bra size, and then used that as a starting place to find the right bras for them.  I was also appalled at the attitude toward the so-called mythic cup sizes (i.e. F-cup or larger) in both her post and in the comments.  H-cups are not freaking unicorns.  I do not have a pair of centaurs strapped to my chest.

I do believe that finding a proper fitting bra absolutely changes your life.  However, the one your fitter hands you in the changing room at a big box store may not be it.  In fact, it is likely to not be "the one."  If it is, great.  Go ride off on a horse with your fairy bra charming into a vivid sunset, knowing your breasts aren't going to jiggle too much or fall out when that horse rears dramatically.  If the bra is not "the one", be a (polite) dick. You are their customer.  Find the right bra for you - try on lots and lots of bras, apply swing sizing, and remember not all brands are made the same.  You might leave empty-handed and that is okay.

My other big bone to pick has to do with Bianca's claim of vanity sizing in the bra industry.  Fabrics used in bras and bust support systems have changed dramatically since clothing sizing was standardized during WW2.  (Fun Fact: the modern short brassiere was developed in the early 1920s.)  Fabrics used in bras today are significantly stretchier than fabrics used during the 40s and 50s.  Adding inches to an underbust measurement made sense back then because most people like breathing.  The added inches gave women literal breathing room in a garment that did not stretch.  Today, bras are made with fabrics that have lots of natural give.  Sizing has consequently changed, and is different from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Adding inches to the underbust measurement is often unnecessary, and may dramatically reduce the support you should receive from the band.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, only you know what is right for your body.  I do believe that fittings change lives, but I also believe they shouldn't dictate them.  I wish the statement that "most women wear the wrong size" was all bullshit.  Blogs like this wouldn't exist.  My so-called unicorn boobs would actually get recognized as actual unicorn boobs.  Maybe they'd grow horns... hmmm...  Large cup small band bras wouldn't cost so much and "be a scam" if there was more demand and a competitive marketplace.  Where might this come from? Oh, maybe from more women learning their real bra size and not wussing out because current culture tells them that having a smaller band size and larger cup size is a bad, slutty, fat shaming, and impossible thing.

Embrace what you got, ladies.  Get fitted by someone who knows their shit.  Trust your instincts, and realize that finding "the one" will probably take time and money.  Then you will hopefully get your own glorious sunset horse ride moment, and be able to not worry about your breasts falling out when the horse rears in the sunset.


  1. I read that post at MsBehaved and almost cried. It took me 2 years to get down from a 36 band to a 30 band, and at each step, I thought I was "lying to myself". The process would have been a lot easier without people saying things like "oh, you're WAY too large to be a 34/32/30 band" or "you're breasts don't look any bigger than a DD!". It's people who talk that way (without any actual knowledge of bra fitting) who make us think that we're "vanity sizing" and that a H cup stands for "huge".

    But as terrible as that may make me feel, I can't argue with results: I was in a 36DD, my band was at my neck, and my breasts were at my stomach. Now that I'm in a 30GG, my band stays put and my breasts are actually supported. I'm not wearing a 30GG to flatter myself (I was actually terrified to be such a "huge" cup size) I'm wearing it because it fits and it feels right.

  2. Hey, thanks for your feedback on my post. My describing an H cup as mythic was not intended as insulting or marginalizing, especially considering that IS what I wear at Nordstroms. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm describing it as mythic because you almost never see that size sold at brick and mortar stores- it seems to kind of exist on this alternate universe of a few online retailers. It's possible that some places do vanity sizing in the opposite direction too, given I can fit a DDD with a larger band at Lane Bryant.

    Furthermore, I trust you that your bra fits according to the size you say you are, and that sizing can vary from brand to brand. The vanity sizing at Victoria's Secret is very real, though, and I've heard experiences of many women not getting proper support because the saleswomen was eager to squeeze them into a more "flattering" cup or band size.

    Hope that clarifies a few things, but of course you are welcome to your dissenting opinions on the matter! Everyone deserves a bra that fits well, regardless of what the band says, I just think that bra fitting is not done as well as it used to be, and that salespeople do sometimes use manipulative tactics to drive sales.