First of all, let's dispel some myths:
Myth #1: I got sized at Victoria's Secret, so I already know what my correct size is.
Victoria's Secret and most department stores measure you using an outdated system of measurement, where they go around some part of your body (it varies widely) and then do some crazy math like adding 4 inches to get your band size. When I was "fitted" at Victoria's Secret, they measured me over my shirt and over the bra I was wearing. The thought occurred to me: "If you're just taking a measurement over my current bra, aren't you just going to tell me what size that bra is?" Sure enough, that was usually the outcome. Other times they would just seem to make up a random size, usually either 34B, 34C, 36B, or 36C.
The reason that they use this strange system of +4 inches is because bras used to be made with less elastic materials. Since the bands and cups wouldn't stretch as much as they do today, they would just add inches. Victoria's Secret likes to put women into band sizes that are too big, with cups that are too small. Sure, that gives some awesome looking cleavage. But it also hurts like heck.
|None of these bras fit. Good job Victoria's Secret.|
Myth #2: Most women fall within the A-C cup range, and D cup or larger is freakishly huge or implant size.
Do you know what a 32FF looks like? Probably like a porn star, right?
|Properly fitted 32FF. Image from brabandproject.com|
OK so that's not freakishly huge. What about a 34G? That's gotta be like Courtney Stodden level implants, right?
|A properly fitted 34G. Image from brabandproject.com|
Alright so maybe now you're seeing that these "big" letters aren't actually freakish at all. They look pretty normal. Let's go the other way.
32C...that's like the Victoria's Secret Gold Standard, right? Cleavage everywhere!
|Properly fitted 32C. Image from brabandproject.com|
Myth #3: There is a standard looking "B" cup or "C" cup or even "D" cup
Completely remove from your head the idea that there is such a thing as a "B" cup sized chest. Cup size cannot be separated from band size. They are intertwined.
Example: Here is a 28D:
|Image from brabandproject.com|
|Image from brabandproject.com|
The band size affects the cup size. This is why a 28D looks completely different than a 34D. So stop looking at yourself as a "C" or a "D." The letter cannot and should not define how you approach your breasts.
Myth #4: Bras are just uncomfortable, whether properly sized or not.
My shoulders used to hurt every.single.day. By about 2:00pm. Burning, aching pain. I would rush home to take my bra off. When I'd arrive home, screaming cats or need to use the restroom be damned! I needed to take the bra off before I did anything else. And oh the relief! The sweet relief of taking off a bra.
Now that I've figured out my actual size, this is all a thing of the past. No more "I'm home, now get this damn thing off of me." I don't even notice that I'm wearing one. I actually slept in one accidentally the other night. That would have been unthinkable in my old bras.
How do I figure out my bra size?
I used the extremely helpful and well thought-out guides on www.reddit.com/r/abrathatfits in order to create this post. I cannot overstate how helpful the ladies over there are, so I would definitely recommend that you make a free account!
You've got to measure yourself! The process seems daunting written out, but it takes all of about 5 minutes.
You'll need a soft tape measure. If you don't have one, grab some ribbon or string that isn't stretchy and a hard measuring tape or a yardstick (you can lay the string against the measuring tape to get the numbers in inches). You'll also want a piece of paper and pen to jot down your numbers. It's best to do this in front of a mirror.
1) Remove your shirt and your bra.
2) Measure your snug underbust with the tape measure (or ribbon or string). You want the tape comfortably snug against your skin, being sure to keep it parallel to the ground (hence, the mirror). Check out this picture if you aren't sure where to place the tape measure for this or any other measuring step. Write down the number as your Snug Underbust.
3) Measure your underbust with the tape wrapped as tightly as possible. Like you are trying to break the tape Incredible Hulk style. Be sure it's parallel to the floor. Write down the number as your Tight Underbust.
4) Measure your bust while standing. This means you are placing the tape measure comfortably around the largest part of your chest. Be sure to keep the tape measure parallel to the floor. Write down the number as your Standing Bust.
5) Measure your bust while leaning over. Your face will be looking at the floor and your back should be parallel to the ground. Keep that tape measure straight! Write down the number as your Leaning Bust.
6) Measure your bust while lying down. Lay down with your back on the floor. Keep the tape measure straight, and write down the number as your Lying Bust.
Now that you've got your measurements, plug them into this calculator.
The calculator will give you a good starting point, but now you need to go try bras on. Don't be discouraged if you can't find the precise fit right away. You may want to check out how to determine your breast shape, because shape definitely can affect fit! And of course, you need to know where you can go to buy a bra in your new size, because Victoria's Secret probably doesn't carry it!
Please let me know in the comments if you try this out! I would LOVE to hear stories from your gals about your bra journeys! Thanks for reading!