Monthly Archives: November 2012

CeleBRAtion Time!

Finally have proper fitting bras to wear!

One of my biggest pet peeves is that once I realize I’m doing something wrong, and I’m unable to do anything about it, I get irritated with the situation. In this case, I was irritated by the fact I had to wait until Thursday to get a bra I purchased from eBay in the mail.. so I did some online exploring to see what my local department stores had to offer. After perusing briefly through the websites, I concluded that Dillard’s would be the best place for me to hit. So I left Ruthie and Oscar with my friend and ran over to the mall. I tried on EIGHT bras this time, and came home with three! Here’s a brief rundown.

Three of the bras were full coverage. The brands I tried on Whimsy by Lunaire, and two Modern Movement bras. The Whimsy was unlined and was too wrinkly due to it being a full coverage. The Modern Movement bras were full cups… which confirmed that I need to STAY AWAY from full cups due to my shape. They were TOO full coverage so I had a difficult time determining if the wrinkling I was seeing was caused by the cups starting too high for my stature, or the cup shape or a combination of the two.

The bra that I almost got was made by Wacoal, and was an unlined cup as well. I decided to not get it after pulling on my shirt over it and saw it was basically saying “I have a lacy bra on, look at the amazing texture!” I wasn’t exactly wanting to call unneeded attention to my breasts.. It was rather interesting though, because of how perky it made me look. Overall the bra was made with a lacy mesh, but on the inside, there was some stiffer fabric that was in place to give lift and perk. I liked the concept quite a bit, but the lacy texture was too much. Maybe it was the shirt I was wearing today, I don’t know. If it had been a smooth texture, I would have bought it.

The three bras I DID get are these:  b.tempt’d by Wacoal, Calvin Klein Customized Lift, and Calvin Klein Strapless Customzied Lift *.

*The 8th bra I tried on was actually the strapless bra in a 32DD. I had that sucker on for 2 minutes and realized it was incredibly tight. I toyed with the idea of getting it and just letting it stretch out, but after wearing it for 2 minutes and then taking it off, I already had red marks! So I went and scoured the rack for a 34D.. and luckily there was one! I tried that on and it felt so much better. And guess what, look of my breasts were the EXACT same! So I can verify that going up a band/down a cup (or vice versa) within the exact same brand/style is 100% correct!!

Now, you’re wondering about price, right? Both of the CK bras were $16.10 each, and the b.tempt’d was $14!! The CK bras came off the clearance rack, and the b.tempt’d bras are currently marked down (but not on clearance rack) due to some sale Dillard’s has going on right now. If you’re thinking of going to get new bras this week, Dillard’s is the place to go if you have one nearby! I did ask the gal what was their largest cup size that they carry in stores, and she informed me US H (UK FF) so if you find that you’re above that in cup size, then I wouldn’t try Dillard’s. I saw at Nordstrom Rack they went up to a US K, so consider going there (if you have one locally) or Nordstrom if you need a size larger than what Dillard’s offers.

Today’s Bra Adventure

So, today I decided to head over to Nordstrom Rack to try on bras in my new size. I ended up trying on 5 different brands. Here they are with links to the exact/closest in style bra that I tried on in my size of 32DD; and how they fit and my notes I made for myself in a spreadsheet. Below is the “sister sizing chart” that allows me to determine what bra size I would need to wear per brand if there was any variance in the fits of the bra. Keep in mind that when you try bras on, the bands have to fit properly on the loosest set of hooks. Over time Elastic will start to relax and lose it’s ability to go back down to it’s perky and springy self; so the idea is as the elastic NATURALLY relaxes, you move to the smaller hooks. Once you’re on the last set of hooks, and it becomes too lose, this means that your bra has worn out and you need to replace it. I also followed these instructions on how to bra shop (just do the measuring yourself at home, it’ll most likely be more accurate) and followed the two finger test when determining how tight to get the straps. Read them over before heading to the store.

Very Handy chart! Click on the picture for the full size.

Bra One:

Natori brand.
Cup fit: Was good!
Band fit: Too loose on the loosest hooks.
Straps: I was able to adjust them appropriately.
Conclusion: Since the band was too lose, this means that I would have to go DOWN a band size, but UP a cup size. Remember, you need to stay within the proper VOLUME range to get proper fitting cups AND band! I have to stay within 590cc, so that means I need a 30E, or in the sizing system of the bra, a 30DDD.

Bra Two:

Calvin Klein brand.
Cup fit: Was good!
Band fit: Almost perfect. I like my bands with slightly tighter fit, if you’re into a moderate fitting band, then this may be a good option for you.
Straps: They were too loose even on the tightest setting.
Conclusion: If it weren’t  for the straps, I would have bought the bra. Just as a reminder, I’m 4’11” so I do have a smaller torso than women that are taller than me. Provided that your breasts are close set like mine, you may find that this is a good brand and fit for you if they carry your size. I was simply too short, so I ended up not purchasing it, I don’t want to deal with straps slipping down.

Bra Three:

Chantelle  brand.
Cup fit: Was good! But was a bit awkward at the same time.*
Band fit: Perfect! Snug but not uncomfortable.
Straps: I was able to adjust them appropriately.
Conclusion: *Out of the bras I tried on, this was probably the most perfect fit. However, according to this page on their website, my breast shape was not appropriate for the bra. I have shallow breasts, and the bra I think is more suited if you have a full bust. I will aim for a bra style that they recommend for my shape.

Bra Four:

Kensie Brand.
Cup fit: Was good! And due to the style of the cup, I loved how my cleavage looked; there was more of it.
Band fit: Too tight! I noticed the fabric was not as stretchy as most other bras are, and when I exhaled I heard a thread pop. WOOPS
Straps: I was able to adjust them properly.
Conclusion: Since they only had one style of bra at the store, I couldn’t see if their other bras were stretchier or not. Without factoring that in, I will need to go UP a band size, but DOWN a cup size. Which means that I would need to wear 34D in this brand.

Bra Five:

Josie Brand:
Cup fit: A tad iffy. Not because the volume was off, but because of a wider underwire. The bra is probably intended for women who have breasts that are ‘far set’.. which means your breast tissue starts more under your armpits than other women. Nothing wrong with this, and I think this is probably common with women for fuller breasts.
Band fit: Pretty good.
Conclusion: I was actually surprised to see that this was made by Natori. But this looks like its their “economical” brand; which of course has no bearing on the quality, but on the price. I think if you’ve got fuller breasts or your breasts are ‘far set’, then this may be what you’ll want to try. Not to say that Josie doesn’t have closer set cups or Natori doesn’t have far set cups.. I couldn’t tell you. It’s really dependent on the cut and style of the cups!

Conclusion? 590cc cups are spot on for me! This means that I would have to purchase a 30DDD(E) in one brand, 32DD in 3 brands and 34D in one brand based on the bras I tried on today. The band and cups change but the volume does not.

I hope with sharing my experience, I am able to instill more confidence to take the plunge -hahaha plunge bras are a style, get it?- and take matters into your own (or husband’s) hands and measure yourself properly and accurately! But there WILL BE DISBELIEF from the men and even yourself! You have to show them the chart above, and if they STILL don’t believe it, I’ve created the most un-sexiest visual I can come up with on why the bras I currently own are the WRONG size in the cups with.. RICE. I used this unit conversion calculator to quickly determine how many cups each cc number equates to, AND I put them in identical containers too!

Containers came from IKEA. Ignore my dirty stove, thanks!

On the left, that’s what my current bras hold. On the right, that’s what the bras I tried on today hold. That’s a significantly different amount of rice, and it’s INSANE that I was trying to contain that much ‘rice’ in a container that hold the amount of ‘rice’ on the left. It has to go somewhere, and in my case, quadboob (mostly this), armpit boob (mostly this) and under band boob (not too much), and back boob (less than underband boob). Yes breast tissue migrates to all sorts of crazy places.

Oh and I need to clarify something.. if you have ‘pendulous breasts’ (as in they dangle down really far due to age/pregnancy/nursing).. you may want to follow these instructions on getting your proper bra size.

If you have pendulous breasts, you may wish to take two measurements. You can measure yourself once in the hanging position, then once in the standing position, and average the two numbers. However, your best bet is leaning towards the larger measurement to start, to make sure that there is room for your breasts, then work down to a snug cup fit.

Well there you go! Let me know how it goes for ya and if you have any questions.

Mythbusting the Bust

Image source: shioshvili of http://www.flickr.com

For those on facebook, my status update of “Today I’ve learned something very important and life changing about myself. Wow is all I have to say.” is talking about this.

I’ve been wearing the wrong size bra my entire life. I know it’s a weird thing to talk and blog about, but I feel like I need to. I was on a website called reddit, and there was a discussion about bra sizing. Of course, I got curious and read it. And I wasAMAZED. Someone went through a lot of effort to figure out the science -yes it is Science- behind bra cups and band size. Since I was out in public, I wasn’t able to measure myself, but once I did that, discovered that in fact, I’m not a 34B/ 32C that I thought I was, but I’m actually a 32DD. Most of you are going “But Amber, you’re so tiny, that’s not possible, you must have done it wrong!” No, It’s not impossible, and no I did not. The instructions are pretty easy. The number one thing is to NOT go to national chain stores to have them measure you. Here’s why: 1) When they measure you, they measure you over a bra and shirt. Unless you’re Maw-Maw from that show “Raising Hope” you don’t go around wearing a bra over a bra and shirt. 2) They are sales people and rather than tell you “Sorry we do not carry a bra in your size” they throw a bra that will ‘mostly fit’. They are salespeople, they want you to buy their product.

So what do you do then? Grab a soft measuring tape, paper and a pencil, and possibly your husband. Tell him what he’s helping you with, and I can promise you he’ll want to *wink*. You can do this yourself too of course. Follow these instructions:

  1. Lean forward so that your back is parallel with the floor. This is important. You want gravity the help pull all your breast tissue forward, even the migrated breast tissue that your previously ill-fitting bra squished back under your arms (and even around onto your back).
  2. Reach back and massage your sides, kind of pushing the breast tissue forward with a sweeping motion.
  3. Measure around your torso, with the tape passing over the fullest part of your hanging breasts. Don’t bend the tape into your cleavage; keep it running straight, touching your breasts in a straight line. Moreover, keep tape as straight as possible along your body (essentially perpendicular to the floor if you’ve done your best to make your body parallel to it). This measurement should be loose. Tighten the tape just tight enough that it doesn’t easily slide off the skin if nudged, but not tight enough to begin to deform the breast tissue.
  4. Write that number down. For the sake of this example, let’s say 42 inches. Write it down.

(You’re supposed to strip down so there’s tape to skin contact; however I do realize that there are a number of LDS ladies reading my blog. Just measure yourself how you’d normally wear your bra.

For the band size you’ll need to do this:

  1. Wrap the tape around your torso, directly under the root of your breast. Wherever your breast tissue terminates into the torso is where the band should be sitting. Even if it seems high (because you’re used to wearing poor-fitting bras, or you have breasts with a high root but significant slope), you want the band to sit at the root of the breast so that the breast tissue is laying nicely in the cups.
  2. Pull the tape tight enough that it feels really snug, but not so tight as to be a corset or leave a red mark in your skin. It’s important you get a snug measurement; if you start with a band that is an inch or more too big, it will not only fail to support you right from the start, but it will rapidly get worse as the bra wears out and loses elasticity.
  3. Write this measurement down. For the sake of this example, let’s say the measurement was 34 inches.

At that point you’ll want to go to this bra fitting calculator and input your numbers, select how tight/lose you want your band and then click enter. This will not only give you your bra size in UK bras, but US sizing as well.

Here’s what I put in, and here’s what I got:

That sounds reasonable. If I’m 31.5″ inches around my ribcage, then it makes complete sense to round up to the nearest band size and wear that. This has been reputed to be the BEST and MOST accurate calculator on the internet.

Now for the sake of interest, I went to another website that actually carried my proper bra size, and followed their instructions to measure my bra size, and the video instructions told me to measure my bustline like this:

To see the video that this clip came from, go to this link and click on “Watch Now”

 

If I follow the video’s instructions to hold the tape measure in a triangle, this results in the bustline measurement you see bellow of 41 inches. It seems so counter intuitive. First they already have you measuring over a bra that mashes and distorts the ‘girls’ and wearing a thin shirt. Then they have you doing that? NO THANKS. And last time I checked, we don’t have one triangle shaped boob that’s smack dab in the middle of our chests.

WHAT?!?! Now, why on earth would I wear a band that’s 4 inches too large? The cup sizing is correct, but there’s NO WAY that I could fit into a 36 inch band. NO WAY.

There’s a webpage that further discusses the science behind bra sizing and explains why you’re most likely going to get a significant difference between the bra size you’re currently wearing and the bra size that you’ll get when measuring yourself with the lean over at the waist method. More importantly there’s a chat that discusses the volume of bra cups based on the band/cup ratio. If it sounds absurd, here’s a link to a forum post on a website that is dedicated for medical information and support regarding breast health. http://www.breasthealthonline.org/cgi-bin/mwf/topic_show.pl?tid=48932 that verifies the information on the chart. Further research has me to be able to determine when a woman has a mastectomy where one breast is just removed, they take the volume of their remaining breast into consideration and this allows a woman to have a prosthetic that closely matches her remaining breast to look as natural as possible. In this case, a proper fitting bra is CRUCIAL. I’ve never experienced having a mastectomy, but I think I can assume there’s a level of extreme self consciousness involved. And plus, why get fitted for a prosthetic, and then wear a bra that’s not the right size? It’s probably gong to make it look that more obvious that one of your breasts is not attached to your body and cause even more self esteem issues!

To further determine if the chart on Bustyresource is correct, I actually did a experiment that involves water displacement to determine volume. (Don’t know what that is, the science is explained here.) So, yes you read that correctly.. I stuck my boob in a bowl of water. And you know what? It was pretty close. The CC volume was actually 535, so it’s actually smack dab in the middle of two ranges; but it’s best to go up because I do have displaced breast tissue that should eventually settle back down into it’s normal place and fill up the cup of the bra. My displaced breast tissue is under my armpits as well as across my upper chest under my collarbone a bit… essentially when you have ‘armpit fat’ it’s most likely displaced breast tissue! Eventually with a proper fitting bra the tissue will migrate down to it’s proper place. Considering that my current bras are all 34B and 32C, I’ve been wearing bras with cup volumes 200 cc’s too small! Or in easier terms to, there was an over-spillage of 3/4 cup plus 1.5 tablespoon of tissue! That’s significant.

I decided the best course of action for myself was to purchase a UK branded bra from eBay. I did that instead of  a US brand, because there’s a pretty tight consistency between the various bra brands that are offered in the UK, versus the massive inconsistency seen in US sizes between brands. An excellent and affordable website of UK bras is called Brastop.com, but I wanted to purchase a bra stateside with lower shipping rates -and so it will get here faster- and try that before committing extra time and money for shipping internationally. Even then, the the price difference wasn’t bad at all, it was $4 less on ebay than on their website. Plus I’ve got a feeling they have flat rate shipping, so it will be cheaper to buy more than one bra at a time.

Maybe some of you have experienced this already, but studies have shown that ill fitting bras can cause a plethora of physical pain.. sore back, shoulders even headaches. I know personally I suffer from tension headaches that seem to originate in my neck and shoulders. I’ve actually been diagnosed with suffering from tension migraines and was actually given a prescription to have occupational therapy done to help release/reduce tension. I never did the occupational therapy, but maybe wearing a bra that’s actually my size will help reduce my neck and shoulder pain and headaches!

Well, that’s my public service announcement. Take from it what you will, but hopefully this will give you insight.. don’t settle for a bra that mostly fits, get one that ACTUALLY fits. Your “girls” will thank you!