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DigitalBlue's avatar

Female jellies: do you wear a bra size that was properly measured? (Potentially NSFW)

Asked by DigitalBlue (6656 points ) August 25th, 2012

I have read that as many as 80% of women are wearing the wrong sized bra. I more or less know that I’m one of them, although I don’t have any of the telltale signs of a poorly fitting bra (sliding, falling, gapping, spilling out..etc). Today I decided that I would actually measure myself, and although I have my band size right, apparently my cup size is way off. I have heard that it is bad for your breast health to wear a bra that is too tight, so I thought I should look into at least trying a larger cup.
With this new (and daunting) information, I decided to look up multiple well known stores and websites that sell women’s bras, to find that none of them even come close to selling a cup size that would supposedly fit me…. and though I am busty, I am by no means in some extreme category. That leads me to wonder how in the world anyone could be wearing the proper bra size, unless all women with relatively large breasts are having their bras custom made.

Anyone with me on this? Have you ever found out your “official” bra size? Was it surprising? Do you buy bras in that size?

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38 Answers

chyna's avatar

Yes I have. I’ve been to Victoria’s Secret and to JC Penneys and been measured. I had been wearing the wrong size for years. I now buy the size they measured me for. Both places came up with the same size.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@chyna on today’s “adventure” I actually read that VS notoriously sizes women incorrectly for bras. (Not saying that happened to you, but apparently it’s common.)

chyna's avatar

@DigitalBlue Why would they do that? What would be the point? Like I said, JC Penney’s came up with the same size.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@chyna from what I gathered today, it isn’t “VS” that is the issue, it’s just US bra sizing in general. If you don’t have a ginormous bust, it’s more likely that you’ll assume you wear a “C” cup, when in actuality you may have an E or an F. VS doesn’t carry cup sizes like that, which are apparently not only for very large breasts. Who knew?

My mind is blown.

Coloma's avatar

I must have a dozen bras and they are all variable in size, from sheer, no support, pretty little lacy and beaded things, to underwire, hoist those puppies up!
Meh…as long as they are not totally squeezing out the sides I could care less about a perfect fit. I don’t like industrial strength bras, and will continue to stuff my girls into whatever looks pretty. lol

Aethelflaed's avatar

That statistic is deceptive, though. Bras vary as much as jeans and shoes; you can get measured all you want, but exactly what size you are is going to change depending upon the manufacturer and which line of bras from them you are trying on. Plus, most of us don’t hold a steady weight year-round, but most of us also aren’t going to go buy new bras every time we lose or gain 5 pounds. And, oddly, different people have different measuring math – is it that you measure the band size, and if you’re over 33’’, you add three, but if you’re under 33’’ you add five, or is it that you measure the band size and just add two no matter what? If you go in to really, really nice lingerie stores (nicer than Nordstroms), they don’t even measure you with a tape, because it’s deceptive and just a starting point. Your correct bra size isn’t what some tape measure says, it’s the bra you find gives you the most support and the best look while being the most comfortable.

I have been measured many, many, many times (in fact, I think some stores refuse to let you buy stuff unless they’ve measured you, even if you try to assure them you already know your bra size) and 90% of the time the size the tape measure says I should be is less comfortable than the one I pick and end up buying.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Aethelflaed I agree, and I don’t think that any women’s clothing will be consistent between manufacturers (maybe sometimes, if you’re lucky.) But jumping from a D to a GG is pretty major, and says a lot about my (many) women’s understanding about bras and how they are made and sized and meant to fit. It seems likely (even by just thinking of my own bras and the women that I know) that we find whatever we’re used to, which may not be best. Thinking of myself as a GG cup is so insane, because my boobs aren’t ”that big,” but just looking at the list of expected bra “issues” from wearing a band size that is a little too big, and a cup size that is (way) too small, I probably would benefit from making those adjustments, even though I’ve always felt that my bra is about as comfortable as a bra gets, and that life just sucks when you have too much going on up top. I’m assuming I’m not alone, because I always thought that my bras fit better than many of my female friends and family members, so whether or not the tape measure is correct or whether or not it’s actually “80%” of women, I don’t doubt that it is a common thing. The difference itself in suggested sizes is what was so surprising to me.

fundevogel's avatar

I’ve never been measured for my bra size, but I also quit wearing them a few years ago. My boobs just want to be free.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@fundevogel my boobs are jealous.

Coloma's avatar

Boobs like to be free, but..I haven’t worn underware in the last 35 years, the other parts need to breathe for maximum health. Aaah, us old hippie chicks. lolol

fundevogel's avatar

@DigitalBlue I highly recommend it if it’s something you can do comfortably and without getting in trouble at work.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

@fundevogel you may be one of the lucky ones who can afford to. If some of us do that we may just be sweeping the floor with them as we go along.

augustlan's avatar

I’d been wearing a C cup for years when I finally got measured. Initially, they sized me as a G! As it turned out though, F cups fit me perfectly. I had no idea I could have been that far off.

What cup size are you looking for? I now have lots of sources for gigantic bras. ;)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I finally broke down and went to a lingerie shop. The sales woman asked me what size I was looking for. When told, she said that it was incorrect. She didn’t even measure. What she brought to the dressing room was several inches smaller and a cup size larger. It was magic. The back pain being experienced disappeared within a week.

Come to Memphis girl friends. I’ll introduce you to the woman who works miracles.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@DigitalBlue It’s a big jump, but not impossible. Cup size is relative to band size, so 32Ds don’t really look that big, despite being Ds, and 40Bs are going to look much bigger. And a GG might be an F in another brand.

JLeslie's avatar

I used to be the person measuring, so yes, most of the time I have a properly fitted bra on. Most women are wearing the wrong size, usually too large around the back. My husband can now spot women in the wrong size bras from behind.

When measuring cup size, getting the right cup size just based on the measuring tape is much less perfect, less easy measure, the back size is good the majority of the time. Every so often someone meaures oddly around the back, which usually is they measure smaller than they are.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, I meant to add Victoria Secret generally sucks, measuring and the actual bras. I am assuming people realize G is the same as F and D4 in some brands?

Since you are large breasted you are unlikely to have a lot of the “symptoms” of the back being too large, like straps falling down, but probably your breasts are not supported well, and possibly the wire moves too close to your breast and you can damage the breast tissue, the wire should be against your chest, not your breasts.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@JLeslie yep, I fall into the typical category of my band being too large and my cup being too small. I didn’t think my band was too large, but it makes sense that if I have additional pressure on the cups in front, the band is going to try to make up for that. My biggest frustration with bras is that the center never lies flat on my breastbone. Now I understand why, but I look at how my bras fit compared to some women that I know, and I was really surprised at how far off base I could be without many “obvious” issues. I have definitely heard that it is common to not have the proper size, but I am surprised by how dramatic the differences can be.
I learned a lot today. Hah.

It definitely seems to be a societal issue, too, though. I think that most people (women and men) think that they have a visual idea of what a cup size looks like, but it isn’t as cut and dry as it has always seemed.

JLeslie's avatar

@DigitalBlue When you measured did you measure around your back where the band should go and add 4 inches for your size?

I don’t know what you mean by additional pressure.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@JLeslie I mean that if my cup size is too small and my band is too loose, my boobs are going to create tension in the band.

JLeslie's avatar

@DigitalBlue You mean tension so the straps don’t fall? Your cup might fit right, but the loose band causes the bra to slip, move, not lay flat, that’s the real problem. The band moves because it is large, and hence loose. Women with a cups who don’t even need bra support can have their bras slip around if the band is too large.

Did you add 4 inches to the actual measure?

@fundevogel Bras healp keep the breast tissue healthy. Muscles can be strengthened and built back up, but the tissues in the breast can’t. Once damaged it’s damaged. Large breasted women if they go without a bra will sag more and more over time, keeping them supported helps them stay up better longer.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@JLeslie no, all of the sites I read today said that they don’t recommend adding any more than 2”, now. I have no idea how accurate that is, but I haven’t actually tried any new bras on yet to test it, either. :)
I know that in the past (like 10 years ago past), I tried measuring just my band size to see if that helped, and I added the 4” and I was swimming in the thing. Just by everything I’ve read today, a lot of the issues I have relate to having the band too big.cup too small combo, so I suspect that is definitely part of it, but I’m not confident in my measurement. I am confident, however, that I need to go try some stuff on because I know that I’ve been doing something wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@DigitalBlue And, you measured around your back right? Not crisscross across your breasts. Most manufacturers, especially the better ones that have good breast support and use quality fabrics add 4. Manufacturers like Calvin Klein that are very fashion oriented add 5 inches. I have read online advice about 2–3 inches, but have never seen a manufacture recommend that. In the bra business we measure, and then when we help you into the bra we can tell by how taught or lose the strap feels when we hook it if it feels like the right size. If you go to the website of the brand you like, they should have the recommended amount of inches to add for their brand.

Usually people are only off by one size. So, if a women walks in wearing a 36C, most often, not always, she really is a 34D. I have a feeling you are a double or triple D (E or F), and one bra size down from what you wear. Only way to know for sure is to try on bras.

Better bras make a huge difference. If your bras are less than $45 they are not giving you good support most likely. The better ones last much longer, the strap won’t stretch quickly, while the cheaper ones do, and then your bra is slipping around again even if you bought the right size to begin with.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is Wacoal’s fit calculator.. I worked for them their bras are excellent. Their direct competitors size similarly.

JLeslie's avatar

You’re welcome.

A little more info:

You said years ago you measured and added four. You measure around your breasts, or around your back where the band goes? The size of the bra is the back size, not the breast size, I think you know this, but I am just trying to make sure. What size do you wear now, and what were your actual two measures of your back and breasts? Did you measure your breasts with a bra on? You should figure the cup with a bra on. You don’t really need to measure your breasts at all though. If you know the back size you just go up or down in the cup size relative to what you wear now.

Come back to the Q and let us know how you do at the stores, what size you wind up with. Do you have a store near you that has salespeople who can help you find the right size? Very few stores have salespeople who know how to measure. Specialty bra stores are usually trained, and Nordstroms is good about it, and other department stores it can be hit or miss if you get someone who knows what they are doing. The better stores are better about it, like Bloomingdale’s and Saks. Macy’s has fit events where the vendors come in and measure, and so do other department stores. Also, individual vendors, like Wacoal, have their own fit events at the various department stores, or the staff in the store may know the next time the vendor is coming to merchandise and they can set up an appointment for you (make sure they call the vendor though, so the person knows there will be someone with an appointment, or she may change her date to visit the store without any thought).

downtide's avatar

I got properly measured once and was told that an AA-cup would be too big. I never wore a bra at all after that.

cazzie's avatar

I have a certain brand of bra I like and that was professionally fit on me and told ‘this is your size’, but often, when trying on other brands, I don’t/can’t go by the size on the thing. Usually, the cup will gap funny in a B cup and be too tight in their A cup. I am something like a 36B, but depending on the make, I have to really try them on.

ucme's avatar

I want this job!!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@ucme Simple. Go apply for a job at the nearest Ann Summers store.

Ayesha's avatar

Yes I have been measured several times. And I know my size very well now.

ucme's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer This is a most excellent suggestion.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I guess I better get measured. Not by @ucme tho!!

ucme's avatar

Good gawd no @Dutchess_III…...I can’t be doing with “spaniel ears” anyway!!

deni's avatar

Yes and I routinely, while bra shopping, try a few different sizes just to make sure. I find the sizes do fluctuate though…sometimes I try on a bra that is my size and it just entirely does not fit. I also have trouble with the length of the straps not being adjustable enough for me. Ugh. Bras are such a nuisance for me. But I would never go out in public not wearing one. You’re just asking for it.

chyna's avatar

@deni Good point about the straps. It annoys me that some bras have the strap adjustment in the back. That means I have to take it off, adjust, put back on, take off, adjust, etc. I will only buy the bras with the adjustment in the front.

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