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The battle of the bra size

February 3, 2013
Tape measure

Getting the measure…

It may seem odd given the content of this blog, but if you’d asked me yesterday what bra size I am, I’d have struggled to give you a straight answer.

For such a simple question, it’s deceptively complex. Bra size can change depending on weight and hormones, while brands (as with clothes) can be maddeningly different in their sizing. Even getting a straight answer from bra-fitters in shops can be a struggle.

It’s often said that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra, and even though I’m fairly sure that stat is pure urban myth, I wouldn’t be surprised if a proper study showed it to be correct.

Personally, I’ve always been on the large size given how little I am (5ft height-wise, but annoyingly, not quite so small around the torso). Google ‘bra size calculator’ and you get over a million results, yet different fittings in bra shops over the years have put me at anywhere from a 34C to a 32D to 34DD to 32F. Um, what? Add that to changes in my weight, and my own changing tastes in the kind of bras I like to wear, and I’m doubly confused.

Has it really got to the point where I have to measure myself every time I want to buy a new bra?

Just as many do with clothes, it seems you could just find a brand that works and stick to it. But retailers like Bravissimo often source bras from many different manufacturers (such as Figleaves or Freya), as well as making their own ranges, all with subtly different sizing and fits. Am I alone in wanting a solid, ‘ballpark’ figure to work from when choosing new styles?

It seems not, since browsing the interwebs for something to help, I came across a random, but seemingly accurate, bra size measurer. While I could go to any number of shops offering bra fittings, that’s time consuming, and as we’ve seen, I’m sceptical.

Size calculator.

Size calculator…does what it says on the screen!

This little thing, however, promises to calculate your bra size from two simple tape measure readings, and give you the size in UK, general European, French, US and Australia/NZ sizes (who knew there were so many different kinds?!).

Bravissimo fitters claim not to use tape measures and sort you out by eye. And while I’m sure that if you spend your days looking at boobs and bras, you can size up a woman’s wonderbags in no time, if it were that easy to figure out at home, I wouldn’t be having this problem in the first place.

So, worth a shot at least…

I take two quick measurements: one of my ribcage underneath my boobs where the bra usually sits, and another of the widest part of my breast. And yep, according to this, I’m a 32E, which sounds distinctly sensible and plausible. Smack bang in the middle of what I’d been measured in the past, but a whole cup size smaller than the bra I was wearing (32F). Clearly, then, I’ve been right to wonder whether there was something amiss.

Just for comparison, I also tried this calculator, also found via a quick Google. Using exactly the same measurements as before, it found that I was a 36A.

Which I know from experience to be entirely, disgustingly wrong. Trying to stuff my bosoms into an A cup would, I imagine, be not unlike trying to get toothpaste back into its tube. Sigh.

Is it any wonder such a simple question seems to have such a complicated answer?!

But with a ringing endorsement from the lovely, big-boobed beauty over at the fantastic curvy girl blog Fuller Figure Fuller Bust, who discusses bra sizing at length (here, for example) this little calculator is still the best one I’ve found. I’m not ruling out in-shop fitters altogether, but for the moment, I reckon this nifty little gadget is enough.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy some new bras. And this time, I think they might actually fit…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2013 2:24 pm

    I’m still a bit confused about what bra measurement I should be going by… At the moment I just go by the brand. There never seems to be a concrete answer to this!

    • February 7, 2013 2:42 pm

      The calculator is apparently quite accurate, and busts (pun..!) the myth peddled by some that you should measure your back size, and then add 4 inches. Eg, if your back is 30 inches, traditional measurements would put you at a 34 back size (with the cup size correspondingly smaller, e.g. a 32B is a 34A). YET this apparently results in very badly-fitting bras, and a back size that is closer to your actual measurements is said to be much more comfortable, supportive and give you a better silhouette under clothes. So if you’re measuring 30 inches around the back, your size is likely to be closer to 28, 30 or 32, rather than 34 or above. Try the calculator – it worked for us! 🙂

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