Happy Boobs

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

I am a 38H. AAAAAAAAAAA-CH.

*put head head between knees and breathes slowly*

(Yes, I am using UK sizing, as many of the larger quality bras are sized using UK sizing. You can find that information by looking on the bra maker’s website.)

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!

Panache Plunge
LOW CUT UPDATE: While all these new bras are amazing, and I love them, one difference I am definitely dealing with, especially in the summer, in being able to wear these with low cut shirts. Big boobed girls need some V-Necks, and the support these bras offer often means that it’s coming up higher between my breasts. So the hunt was on for a low cut bra that also offered me support and no spillage. Found it! This is the Panache Porcelain Plunge Bra, and I found the cup to run large in this and had to size down to a 38G, which fits perfectly. Find it here!

sports bra

SPORTS BRA UPDATE: Sports bras have always kinda been a bit of a joke for me. I’ve tried quite a few, and they always result in creating one giant, sweaty ass crack down the middle, and it’s useless. My workable solution became wearing two bras. One regular cotton underwire bra under a sports bra. Talk about swamp boobs. So, a friend recently recommended the Glamorise bra, and I am pretty hard core in love with it! It’s basically a double layer bra. The first layer resembles a cotton bra without underwire and a back closure (OMG THANK YOU. Getting stuck in a sports bra is like drowning in quicksand.) With a top layer that you can adjust to tailor how close you want your boobs strapped to your chest. There is no bouncing and no boob-butt crack. I AM BACK TO ONE BRA AT A TIME, GUYS! Because I’m used to sizing down in sports bras, I ordered this in a 38DD, and it’s very snug around the band. The next time I order, I will size up one size to probably a 40DD. Find it here!

Glamorise Cami
Okay fine, I’m officially a Glamorise addict. This Glamorise No Bounce Cami Sports Bra offers the same sort of boob control as the bra above it, but the chest coverage is built it, which is awesome. I actually like it even more than the previous bra and I won’t run or do any cardio without it. Going with a 40DD worked great for me (in normal bras I wear a 38H in UK sizing), and I love love love that it hooks in the back and I’m not pulling it over my head, which is zero percent fun, especially when I’m sweaty and trying to pull it off and temporarily afraid I’m trapped and going to die. 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.

Not wanting to be a certain bra size is not the same as not being that size. Give it a try. I promise you, I can never guess what your bra size is in a well fitting bra, but I can tell what size you aren’t in a bra that doesn’t fit. 

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  1. Ilona says

    Hey there! I was scrolling through Pintrest and came across your bra fitting blog and sneered at it, actually. I have to be honest. I work at Victoria’s Secret and I have made it my personal mission to put every woman that I help in a bra that makes her feel comfortable, sexy and that gets the job–not only done–done right. And to me, that means making sure that her bra fits perfectly. And not just giving her one that kinda works. If our store doesn’t have her size or a bra that fits her perfectly, I don’t hesitate to recommend something else. Or, I even like to invite her back in when she has more time to literally play dress up in the fitting room and try things on until we find something that she really loves. I don’t make commission, I just made this vow because for so long I was put in bras that weren’t my correct fit, and by the end of the day would have terrible back aches and could not wait to tear the terrible boob strangulator off of me.
    ANYWAY, so, I clicked on the link and read your advice and actually found it really quite handy! I really appreciate the post. I suppose I was so put off by it at first was sheer selfish self defense. So many times I get women that come in that refuse to take my recommendation and I can’t understand why. But I always tell them the same thing: “I’m not going to tell you what to and what not to wear. But I will suggest something that I believe you will be happy with and that fits your body best.”
    Now, with that. I have a question…
    About the “bend at a 90° angle and measure your bust” that way rather than in the upright position. I’m wondering…what if a woman has more low-hanging breasts? Wouldn’t that give for an inaccurate measure? So, what’s your opinion on how to measure that client? I just thought of my mother. Who had a C cup and if she were to bend over her breasts would sag significantly–forgive me mother for sharing this without your consent. Anyway. Let me know! And sorry for any typos. Typing this quickly on my phone!

  2. Alex says

    I currently work for a plastic surgeon and surprisingly the correct way to measure the band size is to measure directly under the arm pit above the breasts. Then measure around the breast at the most protruding point and the difference is cup size. The band underneath almost never measures the correct inches to compare to actual bra size. That’s how plastic surgeons are trained to measure in medical school. Obviously bra shops aren’t being taugh to do it that way so it might not correlate but I thought you might find that interesting.

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