Fitting anything on top of our ample accessories seemingly requires engineering and physics to get them locked, loaded and looking great in an outfit. Why full-busted women are treated like second-class citizens (at best) or freaks (worse) is baffling. When it comes to bras and clothes, those of us in the Big Boob Club get screwed. We’ve got great assets! (and we look great naked.)
We’d love to sell our Front Room clothing by bra size but we can’t, for a variety of reasons.
- Most women are wearing the wrong size, because
- Bra sizing isn’t standardized and is seriously effing (and unnecessarily) complicated above a D-cup. We’re going to refer to UK sizing here because US sizing is even more screwed up above a D (DD, DDD, DDDD – because anything above a D is unusual??).
We wish bras were sized by volume! As in, how big of a handful are you? A navel orange, a grapefruit, a cantaloupe, a watermelon? A navel orange would be a navel orange, no matter the band size. But nooo, a D cup is a different volume of boobage depending on the bra size. A 32D is MUCH less breast volume than a 38D, which is why you hear about “sister sizes” = equivalent breast volume across band sizes.
Not all DD’s are equal
We’ll start backwards. You’re wearing the wrong size bra if:
- The back of your bra rides up (that is, it isn’t horizontal at the back). Your band size is too big and you need to size down.
- The centre front of your bra pulls away (that is, it doesn’t sit flat against your torso). Your cup size is too small and you need go up.
- You’ve got chubby armpits or “back fat”. Quite often this is compressed breast tissue that has been squished backwards by wearing the wrong size.
- You’ve got quad-boob: the tops of the cups are digging in to the upper part of your breast. Definitely a sign for a bigger cup size.
- Stand up with your arms at your side. Bend your arms to form an L. If your boobs are more than halfway down to your elbow, you need a new bra with more support to hike those girls up. You’ll thank us when it looks like you’ve lost 10 pounds instantly.
Like finding great fitting jeans, the right size (leg length and waist size) is only the beginning. Your shape plays a huge role as well (boob shape influences bra fit, just as bum shape informs what style of jean look best on you).
Bra fitting 101 – what size are you?
Bra fitting 102 – understanding “sister” sizes
Bra fitting 201 – what shape are you?
How to find the right size for your big boobs? It takes two measurements* to get started.
You’ll need a tape measure, a notepad and pen and to get nekkid from the waist up.
- Bend over with a flat back, measure your bust at the fullest part. Write this number down (we’ll call this A).
- Now stand up, exhale and measure snugly under your boobs around the ribcage. Write this number down (we’ll call this B).
- Subtract B from A. Write this number down. The difference in your full bust circumference and your underbust will determine your size.
*Remember, this is only step one. This measurement will tell you what postal code of full-busted bra country you should be looking in. Perfect fit takes a little more investigation.
Don’t be shocked if you get a number in the high 20’s. That is your proper band size and just because the local mall doesn’t carry it doesn’t mean it isn’t legit.
Prefer video? Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jk55ep4XUQ
Enter your numbers here: http://www.butterflycollection.ca/bra-size-calculator/ or use this chart
Chart source: http://www.brasizecalculator.tk/
Don’t be shocked if you’ve gone up in the alphabet. This is your proper size. I’m not exactly sure where we got the idea that DD’s are huge, but they’re not.
And shame on major magazines for continuing to perpetuate the myth of bra sizing, as recently as Elle’s July 2015 boob issue (their title, not ours) noting bra sizes on celebrities Alessandra Ambrosio (34B), Kim Kardashian (34D) and Kate Upton (34DD). I don’t know what their actual sizes but there is a very slim chance teeny tiny Alessandra has a 34” underbust measurement, much less Kim or Kate. Think about it: Alessandra maybe wears a size 26-ish jean – if she were a 34″ at the ribcage, she’d be shaped like an inverted triangle (she’s not). BTW – Kate Upton’s agent touted her size as a 34C when I spoke to him just over a year ago. Um, no.
Back to sister sizes. As with all clothing, bras fit differently across brands and even between styles. You may need to go up or down depending on fit.
If the 34FF is feeling snug only in the band, head up to 36 and down to an F (bigger band, same bust volume). Snug in the boobage and loose in the band? Head down to a 32. (smaller band) The sister size for 34FF is 32G so you’ll need to go up to a GG to get the extra room.
For extra credit, do the quiz at bratabase to learn if your boobs:
- Have a small root or a large root? Certain underwires may be too wide or too narrow.
- Close together or further apart? You’ll need to watch the width of the centre front (gore).
- Off to the side? Bras with side sling can bring them front and centre (slimming!).
- Fuller on the bottom or the top? If you’re full on top you’re often prone to the quad-boob effect while full on bottom has a hard time with puckering.
- Narrow or sloped shoulders? That strap slippage may not be due to fit. Balconettes will be problematic due to their wide-set straps.
You care because these differences are what makes certain styles fit better than others. (Just like knowing if you have a full bum or a flat bum will determine what fit of jean works best for your shape.)
We’ve just skimmed the surface here. For a robust discussion (couldn’t help it), see this reddit
Our favorite places to buy full-busted bras (not affiliate links):
- Butterfly Collection – they know boobs. Just ask for help if you have questions.
- Bravissimo – great service, even from afar. Ask questions about sizing via email and they’ll help you out. Have their own line of lingerie and swimwear.
- Herroom – a somewhat helpful universal bra sizer (getting back to the boob volume idea) across brands. The fact that it stops at D (D7, D8, etc.) is beyond idiotic but we applaud the idea.
We’ve started a Pinterest board of our favorite bra styles. Check it out here: https://www.pinterest.com/morefrontroom/lingerie-love/
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