Happy Boobs

by Brittany on February 5, 2014

in Fashion

Two days ago we went to the Sing-Along version of Frozen, because we still have money left in our retirement account and haven’t yet fulfilled our apparent moral obligation to continuously bolster the box office success of this cartoon.

I had just finished the reprise of For The First Time in Forever, I as Elsa and Gigi as Anna, obviously, when I bent down to grab my popcorn and *SNAP*

Second underwire snapped in a month. You know those medical miracle news stories where they show x-rays of dudes with nails in their heads that somehow missed every vital area, one day you will see my chest cavity on the screen with a u-shaped wire narrowly missing my beating heart.  That or one of those ohcrapwhatsinmyrectum x-rays. It could go either way.

I have been in an abusive relationship with my breasts.

At 8 bound them down with ace bandages, at 17 they hung below the table during strip poker, and at 28 they began to rest adorably in my arm pits when I lay down. I’ve spent over two decades hating them, cursing them, and stuffing them into ill fitting pretty things.

I want to be really poetic here and say, oh but they are beautiful vessels that nourished my children, but the truth is, they still fucking suck.

Would I like to wear tube or halter tops? Yes. Would it be nice to wear a strapless bra that doesn’t end up like a cummerbund by the end of the day? Absolutely. This isn’t in the cards for me. I have a large chest that requires thick annoying bras that I spend an infinity percent of my day adjusting every time I bend over or move around too much.

I’ve been measured at Cacique twice, and both times, I left with a bag full of expensive 36 DDD’s. Yet, I still had loads of over-boobs and wire snaps. Something wasn’t right.

I shared a really great how-to video last year, disputing everything you thought you knew about bra sizing, and after doing some extensive research, it turns out it was totally right.

You can watch the video in length for great discussion about how to properly fit yourself for a bra, but I’m going to break it down real quick below in three easy steps.

Now take your bra off.

1. Take a fabric measuring tape, put it around your rib cage where your bra band would sit, and exhale. Write down that number, it’s your band size. Mine is 38.

2. Bend over at a 90 degree angle. Yup, your boobs should be dangling and you suddenly remember why you always wear a bra during doggy style. Wrap the measuring tape loosely around your back and dangling bust, and write that number down. Mine is 49.

3. Now it’s time for some math. Take those two numbers and subtract them. (i.e. 49-38 = 11) Now take that number and check out the chart to determine your cup size. Tip: Most online ordering is done via UK Sizing, which is way more accurate than US Sizing, govna!

Bra Conversion Chart


*put head head between knees and breathes slowly*

In the spirit of giving zero fucks about the size of my pants and simply wearing what fits and feels good, I woman’ed up and ordered a new bra, you know, just to try it. A scientific experiment, if you will.

Finding a 38H was admittedly a little tough, but after studying reviews and shopping prices, I took the plunge on a Gia bra from Curvy Kate that I found on Amazon Prime for a great price. Tip: I also found cute options at FigLeaves.com, HerRoom.com and Bravissimo.com.

The difference is in the pudding… and by pudding I mean boobies.

Bra Fitting 101 CaciqueThis is a 36DDD, the bra Cacique fit me into. That stuff oozing out of the sides? That’s not armpit fat (okay maybe it’s a little armpit fat), that is actual boob. In Andy’s words as he took this picture, “That looks painful, stop wearing it.”

Bra Fitting 101 Curvy KateThis is a 38H Curvy Kate bra, purchased based on the fitting I did on myself in my kitchen. Opening it up, I scoffed at it’s size. No way my boobs are that huge. And then I put it on and spent the evening in it. No spillage. No armpit or under boob. Just happy 38H’s. I’ll take 10. Find it here!

Bra Fitting 101 Panache
UPDATE: The second bra in my boob-renovation came today, and man is this journey getting fun! This is the Panache Envy in 38H, and I think it may be my most favorite, yet! It’s really comfortable, sexy as hell, and the lace is stretchy so it sits flush to the skin. I’m in love! Find it here!

Jerry Springer Final Thought: As a woman, I’ve experienced virtually zero standard of sizing across any other form of fashion, why on Earth would I think bras would be any different? That fact is, the system I am used to might not be accurate, but rather, available.  I am being fit into what is available to me in stores based on what society thinks is an appropriate size to offer, and I accepted it because I was afraid of being abnormal or large or different… when the fact is, I’m not any of those things. And neither are you.

Ashley February 9, 2014 at 11:31 pm


Been following your blog for awhile, first time commented :)

So I’ve been wearing either a 32C or 32D for years but the band was SO loose! Like if I had to lift my arms up over my head, I would have to then tuck my boobs back into my bra after. Awkward.

I just went and got sized at a specialty shop and finally bought bras that for real fit me!!!! 30D and 30DD! Say what?!?!?! And to tell you the truth, I’d really like to try a 28 band too now that I tried measuring myself at home with your instructions. My under my boob area measures just under 28 inches, and my over the nipple area is 34.

But I am now on the hunt for more bras that actually fit as I can’t possibly go back to wearing those bras that clearly don’t fit! And 2 fitting bras isn’t quite enough!

And oddly enough, my bf commented when I got home and did a quick fashion show (obviously!) that the new bras made me chest area look thiner and narrower. If that makes sense? And I totally see it. My boobs are actually in front of my body now! Instead of, strangely out to the side?!


Brittany February 10, 2014 at 6:15 am

WOOHOOO! I am so excited for you, and also, I know exactly what you mean. Here I am wearing a BIGGER bra, and instead of my fear of looking huge, I look thinner and more narrow. It’s amazing. AMAZING.

Catherine February 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

I bought a better fitting bra and someone asked me, “How much more weight have you lost?” I hadn’t lost any since he’d seen me last, it was just that my tatas were where they were supposed to be!

Stephanie February 20, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I wear 28s, and it makes all the difference! I’m actually a 26, so I buy 28s and get the bands altered. Gotta get crafty sometimes!

Ashley March 14, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I just bought a 28 now yesterday, OH MY GOSH! So excited! Fits absolutely perfect! Feels like a million dollars. I am now wearing a 28E. What the shit. Oh well! Looks and feels great!

Catherine February 10, 2014 at 9:54 am

Zulily http://www.zulily.com/invite/soonergirrl3020988 has Curvy Kate’s on sale today up to 80% off.

tracey February 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Is there a way to tell what sizing guidelines the bra you’re looking at is in? I would be a 38K in US or a 38H in UK but there is also an “H” in US sizes that will not fit me :D

Catherine February 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

Herroom.com using “universal” sizing. You put in what size you wear in what brand bra and it will then tell you your “universal” size. Like I’m a 34D3 which is either a 34E in UK sizes or 34F US.

Sidney February 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I’m 18 and a 28 HH and ALWAYS had ill fitting bras until I discovered Bravissimo. It’s a company in the UK but they are absolutely amazing, saved my life!

Sidney February 10, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I’m 18 with a 28 HH! Bravissimo saved my life, and even thug the bras are expensive they are so worth it!

Karen Hammes February 10, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I have a question. I clicked on the link for the Curvy Kate’s bras and if they are supposed to be for curvy girls that are buxom, why do they have a model that basically has no boobs? I did myself a huge favor about 11 yrs. ago. I had a breast reduction. Its the BEST thing I have EVER done for myself! And my insurance covered it so its NOT considered a cosmetic procedure.

Trix February 11, 2014 at 7:08 am

I had a reduction too, and for me as well, BEST thing ever. No more neck adjustments every month or so. No more shoulder pain. No more tits wildly disproportionate to the rest of my body.

Some women love having an enormous rack, and that’s great. But for those of us who are less comfortable with our self-image, or who have physical problems, a reduction doesn’t make you flat-chested. It just looks natural.

Catherine February 11, 2014 at 10:20 am

They probably use models with sizes at the low end of their range, but the ones I saw were a decent representation of me and I’m a 34E in Curvy Kate’s.

Heather February 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I just want some pretty bras and I don’t want to pay a fortune for them! Apparently I have been in the wrong size for years. I am a 46h . I never thought of myself as having huge boobs :(

Lauren February 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I just upgraded to a DD and thought, “Hot dog, now THIS is the bra for me!”
According to this, I should have upgraded to an I.

Oh lord.

OK, am I the only one who hates to order a bra I haven’t tried on first?
Are you ladies ordering from the formula, or are you ordering a couple sizes?
(I just can’t seem to leap from DD to I, in my head.)

Janet February 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Wearing an underwire bra makes my boobs feel separated from my body – I feel as though when I move they might not follow. Gave them up a LONG time ago!

I will look into these bras you recommend; hopefully, they will come in a non-wire option.

Thank YOU for the measuring tip! Maybe someone should let Lane Bryant know they are measuring incorrectly – I’ve certainly been one of their victims!


KellyK February 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I have the sads these do not come in my size!

Brittany February 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

They may not have your size on Amazon, as the sizes are sometimes limited there, but on the main sites CurvyKate.com and Panache-lingerie.com, they go up to a larger size. Worth a check!

Danielle February 11, 2014 at 5:54 pm

In case you haven’t found this yet.


Chrisor February 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm

This must be the time of year to buy bras. I wrote a blog post about it last month when I picked up 6 of them. I sized myself on just how they fit and got 42B. For shits and giggles, I just tried measuring your way and I am 41 3/4″ around the ribcage and 47″ when I bend over. I put it on very loosely when bent over. So according to the chart you have, I’d be a DD. That just won’t work for me. I do “fill” the B cup without running over/bulging out. All the C’s I’ve tried on, the cup is half empty on top. It looks and feels terrible! It’s obviously too big. I’m not saying you or the chart is wrong but I also think you have to go by what looks and feels good. I’m not confident enough to take a picture of me in my bra and put it on my blog (or anywhere else). I so admire you and your efforts to help women get clothes that fit. Now if someone would help me get shoes that fit without trying them on. I have a high instep, a high arch and WIDE feet. I’d love to order from Zappos.

Nuala Reilly February 11, 2014 at 8:13 pm

Haha! My teenaged girls and I just whipped off our tops and measured ourselves. We are all in the wrong bras!

Danielle February 11, 2014 at 8:52 pm

I just ordered a bra by curvy kate today!!! Thanks to Amazon Prime it’ll be here Friday!! Can’t wait to try it on!!! Love the Panache bra that you found I have it, and love it!!! I checked out http://www.Bustygirlcomics.com and can’t stop laughing!!! Happy shopping and thanks for your amazing blog!!!

Carolyn Maszczak February 11, 2014 at 10:41 pm

So…I’ve always considered myself flat chested. And then, post-kids– I considered myself ….uh…flappy-chested? I don’t know- bras look gross on me.

Then I tried this. I was kind of bowled over…32 E?? Really? I’ve been wearing 38 B for YEEEARS. Everyone would laugh at me. I look like I have nothing. My tummy sticks out more than my boobs.

So I went to Bloomingdales. I found a 32 E. I went the the fitting room and the attendant stopped and said, “Oh, maam? This is a 32 E…is…that what you wanted?”

I described the fitting theory and my findings. She kind of laughed and shrugged, and I blushed and shut the door. I looked down at the bra. To look at it, it wasn’t as big as I would have thought. I put it on. The band was tight. And I really shook my “flaps” into the cups and closed my eyes as I stood up.

You could have knocked me over.

I had boobs. They were real boobs. Not flaps. No sludgy overhang. No weird protrusions in the back.

And then I told people. Immediately my busty friends and my busty sister in law jumped all over me. “Have you ever even SEEN a bra that big? How is that possible?”

HA! Bitches.

Anyway. This is great. Thanks for giving me real boobs. :)

Brittany February 12, 2014 at 8:51 am

This is…. AMAZING! I am so excited for you and your boobs! ROCK ON!

Colleen S. February 12, 2014 at 12:51 am

Why, if I’m a 34D, do my breasts look so small under clothes? That’s what I want to know.

Sara February 12, 2014 at 1:54 am

Hmm I’ll have to give this a try. I’m skeptical though because my band size is such that the bra makers assume I have ginormous boobs when I don’t. I wear Avenue because they come in a 48, but only if I get a D, which I don’t *quite* fill out. I fill out a 46C with no spillage, but then I get stabbed in my arm flab because my side/armpit boobage pushes the wires that way. Thanks for the info!

Colean February 12, 2014 at 11:15 am

The funny thing is, I remember when I was like really young, about 20 years ago I was told this was the correct way to measure, but then as I got older and got “professionally measured” none of them used this so I guess I just assumed that they knew what they were doing. Ha.

Tia February 12, 2014 at 11:56 am

A proper fitting bra is a girls best friend, I just discovered the goddess bra line from freshpair.com. Added bonus one that fits well totally makes you look 10 lbs lighter

Tia February 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I just tried the formula and found it didn’t work for me. I wear a 36F which fits everything in nicely and doesn’t ride up my back but my measurements were 40 and 49, standing upright they were 40 47 which does give me the right cup size in uk sizing but I would reccomend downsizing the other measurement since there’s nothing more annoying than having to pull down your bra all day long.

Catherine February 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm

That’s odd. A 36 should be 4 inches too small if your ribcage is measuring 40″.

Tia February 15, 2014 at 10:26 am

Oddly enough it fits well if I get one larger it rides up in the back. So that’s why I reccomend getting one snug when u try it on cause they tend to stretch out a bit .

Melissa February 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I have a question about the black bra. When I have anything that’s remotely lacy at the bottom it rubs my skin raw because my boobs are big and so is my belly. So, my question is, is that lace soft enough that is doesn’t rub against your skin and make you sore?

Suzanne February 12, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I measured using your chart, which would make me a 42I or G European. There is NO WAY I would fit into an I cup, it would never happen. In some bra’s I’m a 42D and in others I am a 42C. I just ordered a Glamorise bra in a 42D and the cups were too big sending my breast tissue under my arms. IF you have very large ROUND breasts, this would work, you obviously do so it works for you. If you do not have “round” boobs, and not everyone does, then this will not work. I am far more top heavy than bottom heavy and your way of measuring puts me at a 9″ difference, but wearing a bra without padding and then measuring the difference I’m only a 3″ difference than my band size when all tissue is in its place. Conclusion? This only works if you have picture perfect boobs like yours.

Valerie March 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

Before measuring myself this way, I was wearing a 36D. After measuring this way, I bought a 36F (UK sizing.. that’s a G in US sizing).
The 36F fits so much better, and what seemed like armpit fat before is securely in the bra where it belongs, as boob.

Maybe it’s worth trying on in a store.

Callie February 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I tried this and got a 36D. I normally wear a 38C. I have one breast that is quite smaller than the other. I have a lot of empty space on that side and the other fits the side as it should. I dont think I could fill out a 36D but willing to try it out for shits and giggles.

Catherine February 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

It’s about volume and the volume of a 38C is very similar to that of a 36D. They are considered sister sizes.

Sherri February 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Just ordered 3 new bras from different brands from Amazon to test out. Come on Friday!!!!! My boobs and I thank you so very much!!

Emma February 13, 2014 at 1:21 am

Just bought two 34 D bras online (after always being teased for having small boobs). One fits perfectly, the other one is too small. They look exactly the same when you hold them up together – weird, but it’s great to be comfy in the one that fits. Thanks B.G.

Catherine February 13, 2014 at 10:41 am

It could be that one is using UK sizing and the other is US? Different styles will fit differently, too. Hopefully you can return the one that’s too small.

Maley February 13, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I was cramming myself into a B for years, finally went to a C. Well, I just found out I’m a 36 F. EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. I thought it had to be wrong, but I ordered a 36 F with a free return policy from Amazon, and what do you know, it fits. WHAT THE EFFFFFFFF.

Brittany February 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Welcome to the F side.

Charlene Gibbons February 14, 2014 at 1:29 am

So… I measured myself 32H (or 10G in Australia). I put down the tape measure and laughed and laughed. I waited 3 days and measured myself again, yep still the same. I trundled through the shops with nary a size to be found. I stumbled over a website http://www.HeavenlyCurves.com.au where they had some Curvy Kate bras for $20 on clearance, into the cart they went. Fingers crossed !

Natalie February 14, 2014 at 2:18 am

Well, out of curiosity I gave this a whirl. I’m a petite girl, and my boobs follow. I usually wear a 34 A or B depending on the bra. We’re talking itty bitty titties here. Well, it turns out my band size is 30 and my “boob” measurement is 35. So according to this chart, I’m a DD? Damn, do I wish that were true! Hehe, thanks for the helpful hints though :)

Catherine February 14, 2014 at 9:23 am

It is true! When you go down in band size, you go up in cup size. Instead of just blowing it off as BS, you should go try on a 30DD. When you do that, then come back and say Hehe it wasn’t true. I think you’ll find that you’ll fit just fine into a 30DD and that your bra will stay put better and hold you up and out better.

crystal February 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Ok I just measured myself a few times that came up with the same measurements… I find it next to impossible that I would ever be that size but I kind of want to try it out just to double check. That would blow my mind!

Kari February 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

This was so helpful. The way I was taught to measure is the same for band size, but involved no leaning over for the cup size measurement. It makes a big difference, let me tell you. I’ve been wearing 34C because the 32 C just didn’t fit everything in there, even though my band measure was a 32. Turns out I’m a 32DD!! I’ll give that size a whirl.

Sarah February 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm

This is a great post. I sing the whole Frozen Soundtrack to my daughter too, haha. But seriously, I had no idea how wrong my bra size was until I got fitted for a nursing bra. It’s really hard to figure out which is insane considering a lot of women wear bras daily. You’d think we’d know how to find the right size, but it’s hard! So thanks for making it a bit easier.

Jess February 17, 2014 at 11:12 am

I (finally) just got around to doing this and I’m in complete disbelief.
There is NO FREAKING WAY I have been wearing a 38DD and going to a 32GG?!
Do you PROMISE this works well?! (i know you’re right… I just can’t!)
I’m scared…….

Brittany February 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Don’t be scared. Once you find a bra that fits, it could be a 49Z for all you care, it’s THAT comfortable.

You’ll never wear an ill-fitting bra again.

Valerie March 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm

My new bra just came in.. and I am completely amazed! I LOVE it! It fits SO well!

Valerie March 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

My new bra just came in.. and I am completely amazed! I LOVE it! It fits SO well!
Also, I went from a D to a G (Or F, in UK size)

joanne February 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

I was very upset to find my self going from a 38C to a 36DD but dammmmmmmm this fit is fantastic. Having a bra burning and new bra buying partay! ! Thank you

Stephanie February 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm

OMG – I had this revelation a couple of years ago! I had even gone to a plastic surgeon to talk about breast reduction. Luckily my boob-loving husband heard an ad on the radio about a store in our area that did custom bras. I was a 28G, not a 32DD!! What a difference!! And honestly, no shame about sizes. Who cares?! Wearing the right size bra is just the most amazing feeling, and worth every penny!! My physical health and body image have improved so much.

Catherine March 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

I am a 34F. No question about it. I’m in the market for a strapless bra and found one on eBay that looked interesting. Knowing that US and UK sizes are different, I went to wonderbra.com to see what they say I should be wearing. They say I should be a 38A. Hah!

Petal March 6, 2014 at 7:21 am

Hi. I’ve been a reader here for about a year now and have admired much about you, mostly because I can relate to a great deal of what you’re going through, as a wife, mother, and woman of the world. I had to comment on this to thank you. Thank you.

Nirina March 12, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I just measured myself… I buy/use 32D or DD depending on the maker (Fredrick’s Of Hollywood = DD, Soma Inimates = D). According the the measurements I am supposed to wear 30I?! I have a really hard time believing that, because with my recent weight loss I feel slightly loose in the cups with my Soma 32D bra (Full Coverage). And with my Fredrick’s Of Hollywood (push up) bra I very slightly spill out at the cleavage while the fabric near my armpits feel like they folding because that part may be too big. Bras are so confusing.

Catherine March 13, 2014 at 10:38 am

Bras ARE confusing! I wish they would standardize sizing. I wear a 34F in Curvy Kate and Panache, 34G in Wacoal, and 34DDD in Chantelle. It’s enough to make a girl want to scream!

Shelby Z March 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm

So are you saying that when I take a measuring tape and wrap it around my ribs, and I get the number 29, that is my actual band size??? Because I’ve been wearing 34′s for years….

Brittany March 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

Yes. And that is quite a big difference, I hope this pans out to a great fitting bra for you!

Jennifer March 17, 2014 at 9:03 am

Hello! I love your post!! I had been having spillage issues with my bra for a while and needed new ones. I shop at lane Bryant for my bras. So I ask for a fitting. I was currently in a 40 DDD. They remeasured me at a 36-38 F. Yes, they fit better but I’m still adjusting all the time. I’m gonna try your measuring guide and see if it helps. I sure hope so! Thanks!

Melinda March 18, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Took the measurements today and was a 37 band size and 47 while bent over. Question (sorry if super obvious): I assume when buying a bra I would go up to a 38 (since ive never seen a 37 bra size), but would I use the 10 to determine my cup size or 11 since i would have to go up a band size?

Brittany March 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm

From what I have read, they recommend actually sizing down to a 36 because the band WILL stretch. I am curious about how it works out for you.

I would also apply that sized down number to your cup math.

Melinda March 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I will give it a try using a 36/47 measurement making my # an 11. ( To bad I didn’t check my math one more time before sending my question!) I will let you know how everything turns out!

Melinda March 18, 2014 at 9:55 pm

Good grief I still don’t know how to subtract! I guess you can disregard the part about checking my math in my previous comment! Apparently I did know what I was trying to ask after all.

Wynette March 19, 2014 at 12:40 am

Do the under wires fit comfortably? I gave up under wires because they hurt.

Catherine March 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

If it’s a proper fit, it shouldn’t hurt.

Lauren March 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

I have a serious question ladies, and I need your help.
When you’re sizing up your cups (I needed to – thanks B), are you finding he wires are bigger/longer too, and digging in to your pits?
I am.
Has anyone found a brand that works for this or some kind of hack? I’ve got some Elomis ordered, and I’m hoping they will work.

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