Following on from all the bra threads...AIBU in thinking the media skews our image of bra sizes?

(130 Posts)

I'm a recent convert to a properly fitting bra. I was wearing a 38C, but was measured and found out I'm actually a 34DD/E.

At first I thought there is no way that's right, but it is...I'm so much more comfortable now.

I was reading that story yesterday about the woman who had a boob job on the NHS (easy to find a link) and apparently she has 36DD boobs. I look at that now and think NO WAY ON EARTH are they 36DD. She's much slimmer than me so haw can she have a bigger back size? Plus the volume of boob is about twice that of mine!

AIBU in thinking no wonder so many women are surprised at their correct size, and will put up with bras that fit so badly because they think "How can I possibly be an E cup?? Look at Jordan, Pammy etc"?

Oh and thanks again to all the lovely bra women on here...the campaign is great grin

Excuse typos

CocacolaMum Thu 28-Mar-13 11:34:28

YANBU at all.. I ought to go get measured

Seeline Thu 28-Mar-13 11:39:11

YANBU. I measure much bigger than Jordan, but don't look anything like as big. Probably because mine are very saggy (but natural) rather than sticky-outy and false) blush wink

trikken Thu 28-Mar-13 11:44:17

Yep I was the same as you wearing thecwrong sized bra and thought thid way until I got the right sized bra. I used to think d would b massive, but actually its fairly average.

I commented on this to my bra-fitter, who'd been fitting bras for over 20 years (she guessed my size just by looking at me and was spot on), she said that from her experience glamour models always get their size wrong.

BreconBeBuggered Thu 28-Mar-13 11:48:36

No, YANBU. I weep for my teens and twenties when I had a tiny 22'' waist and blinding tits, but disguised them in a 36C because that was the size usually attributed to the glamour models in the papers and cups only seemed to go up as far as a D for the proper busty matrons. I'm a bit of a busty matron myself now, and the tiny waist has long gone, but I still only measure 34 under the bust. I wonder if it's still the same writers blithering about DD cups as though they're a freak of nature/surgery.

mummybare Thu 28-Mar-13 11:49:17

Yanbu. Turns out I am a G/GG cup these days, but to look at me, the idea that I have to seek out the few companies that make bras for my particularly large breasts is completely laughable.

I think glamour models can be extended to cover the stated size of almost every woman ever discussed in the press. when you read that halle berry is supposedly a 36 c it makes me want to throw things!

It is madness...I always thought a DD was HUGE...but I'm that now, and I don't think I have big boobs. They OK, but they're not massive. I still struggle to believe I have to shop in the "fuller busted" section....oh and I can't buy cheap bras any more <<grumble>>

You're probably right StatisticallyChallenged - its not just glamour's just you tend to hear their bra size before they tell you anything else about themselves grin

Eskino Thu 28-Mar-13 11:55:37

Well glamour models don't exactly look comfortable in their bras, all that orange flesh flomping out.

Morloth Thu 28-Mar-13 12:02:43

I wear a 32H.

My boobs are big, but not huuuge which is the impression you would get from the size. There isno way Halle Berry has a bigger back size than me.

I likes my boobs, they are just right.

I'm perfectly happy with mine too grin I must admit to being a bit MORE happy knowing they're a DD/E! I know that sounds silly though...but I had NO boobs until I was in my 20s

YANBU. A recent example which made me seriously hmm was the story about Jennifer Love Hewitt considering insuring her 36C breasts. Linky

So going by that info, this tiny woman is wider under the bust than size 14 me. Seems a wee bit unlikely.

Also, your hair is incredible envy

MooMooSkit Thu 28-Mar-13 12:17:32

YANBU! Are you talking about the girl who had the op on the NHS? No way is she a 36 back size! It's def the media 100%. For years I wore a 34E (I'm a size 8 ffs with a 27 inch waist!!) and now wear a 30H but I always compared my size to other people like Lucy Pinder is meant to be a 32F but I def think her back size must be 30 as she's quite small!

Thank-you Lebowski grin

I agree too - I'm a size 14 and a 34 back. I can't see how she can be larger round the ribcage than baffles me.

But I had no clue until I found out about proper measuring!

It reminds me of that bit on Gok Wan's show where he gets someone to put themselves in a line up where women are arranged due to size. They ALWAYS think they're a lot bigger (as in clothes size, not bra size) than they actually are.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 13:46:48

You are supposed to add 4" if your underbust measurement is an even number, 5" if it is odd.

Your underbust measurement by itself isn't your back size, no wonder everyone is so confused if that is the way you have been measuring!

Not true Duckworth.

All that adding inches is complete bollocks and is the reason why

1. most women in the UK are wearing the wrong size bras and

2. Why most shops are so shit as measuring people.

Your measurement in inches under your bust is your band size.

I thought that was out of date, they don't do it any more?

I think part of it is that there's so much variation in shape and position, the same sizes can look totally different on different people.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 13:54:24

Easter The following retailers beg to differ...

La Senza



Where did you get your info from?

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 13:55:37

No, you are still supposed to add on the 4 or 5". Perhaps you shop somewhere else that has different rules? confused

SuffolkNWhat Thu 28-Mar-13 13:56:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

You must be new round these parts smile

There is a bra revolution going on here on MN. Here you go

And all those guides are wrong. No question about it.

And precisely why I was wearing shockingly uncomfortable 38B bras until the MN bra mavens diagnosed me as a 34E (34 being my underbust measurement) and changed my entire relationship with my underwear drawer.

According to my bra fitter the measurement around your underbust IS your bust size. My 34DD (I measure 34" under my boobs) fits perfectly. If I added 4 or 5 inches it wouldn't fit at all - I used to wear a 38" band size and it was totally wrong.

80% of women don't wear the right bra, so I would say that most places don't know how to measure properly.

I've M&S are one of the worst at fitting properly.

Band size not bust size, sorry.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:02:19

With the greatest of respect, you might like to ask MN to pass on this info to the people who actually make bras?

Don't think this 'revolution' has left MN grin

Well, my bra fitter has nothing to do with MN. She works for a boutique and has been measuring people for over 20 years.

If I were to follow those guides you posted, I'd be a 38C....and that doesn't fit at all...I had no support.

I think it's just that M&S still does it the old fashioned way (and maybe Myla and La Senza too ... shows how much I know, I thought they'd gone into administration last year), but some other places don't.

Surely it is not difficult, you just ask the shop assistant or you click on the size guide on the site? confused

This isn't as good as the guide posted by Statistically Challenged but some good info here.

My fitter showed me exactly how a bra should fit, where the cup and wire should sit, how much give the straps should have etc. My old bra was so wrong it was laughable.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:06:26

That's rather my point, the way people are talking on this thread would suggest that the adding of inches is "complete bollocks" when the evidence (actual bra fitting guides) debunks that.

duck, there are shops that do it the newer way:

A lot of places don't like measuring you. Bravissimo got really snotty with me about it, but then also put me in the most uncomfortable bra I've ever had, which I pointed out didn't fit so their 'we don't need to measure' idea clearly was bollocks.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:07:42

Shall we split the difference and agree that bra fitting 'rules' depend on where you shop?

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:08:29

<<in conciliatory long weekend mood smile >>

It's hardly "evidence" when it's an arbitrary and outdated guide which leads to poorly fitting and unsupportive bras hmm.

Sometimes adding an inch is required. Say if you measure 29 under the bust then you need to try 28's and 30's to see which fits best. Adding 5 to that would lead to a narrow chested woman wearing a 34 inch band. Which is quite clearly not going to fit.

Get there in the end! grin

I will continue to follow my fitter's advice, which is to add no inches, as the bra she picked out for me fits far better than anything else I've ever worn smile

You only have to read the TENS of threads on here about this subject to see that so many women are fitted by places like M&S etc and are put in the wrong size, yet when they don't add inches and do it that way the bra fits perfectly.

The way my fitter explained it was that the back size number is how many inches it is round when closed on the loosest setting (so you can tighten it as it stretches). Surely that makes sense? Why add inches if that is the case?

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:12:33

Surely the manufacturer of the bra is best placed to determine what size woman it will fit?

Have you never wondered why M&S bras don't go below a back size 32?
By my (admittedly unscientific) reckoning, a 32" underbust measurement is approx a size 12/14? Do you not think M&S would cater for women slimmer than this?

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:15:01

Sorry x posts there, my reply was to easter

It's hardly 'arbitrary' when it comes from the manufacturer of the bra, is it?

Because M&S use the old system. And some other places use the new system. And some people think M&S bras fit badly, and others don't.

Is it suddenly rocket science?

You know clothing sizes vary too, right? And a UK 10 is a US 6, and so on? It's annoying but it's normal.

For me M&S bras are just the wrong shape, so I've never bothered to work out what would fit me best ... each to their own ...

A quick look at their site shows that isn't true. Starts at 28A

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:22:09

Look, just because someone has arbitrarily decided to use a different system from the accepted one, it doesn't make that system correct and the 'old' one wrong.

If I woke up tomorrow and decided that we should all drive on the right, does that mean it is automatically the correct way to drive thereafter? Of course not.

I will concede that the 'new way' is a lot simpler and easier to follow, but it is a significant departure from the accepted way of measuring women.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:22:32

easter The 'Angel' range are for children!

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 28-Mar-13 14:25:20

Ok I am wearing a 34b, in common with quite a lot of women. Got re-sized by MN to a 30b. Went into M&S today and tried two on at that size and they just did not fit in any way.
I think its pants that every individual woman has to shop, for ages for a bra that fits because it seems that the answer is just to try on millions, in millions of different sizes and styles until with any luck you find one that fits and is comfortable.

NomDeOrdinateur Thu 28-Mar-13 14:25:48

DuckworthLewis, posters up-thread have used logic and convincing examples to explain to you precisely why the old way of measuring is inappropriate for modern bras. Why not engage brain for a moment and think about whether what they are saying makes more sense than "but the manufacturer says..."?

I'm not sure if anybody has given you the context but, in case they haven't by the time this post goes through, I'll try to explain to you why the manufacturers' guidelines are no replacement for common sense and trial and error. It's partly the development of stretchy fabrics, combined with the increased range of options available to modern women (due to the increase in disposable income for the general population, working women having more say on how much money should be spent on underwear, online shops making it more feasible to provide specialist products like the luxury of perfectly-fitting bras). High street shops haven't all caught up with the change yet, partly because a lot of their income is from "the older generations" who would baulk at the idea of switching from an ill-fitting 36B to something with a scarily-high size number that actually gives them support, and partly because it would be very bad for their business model because supplying a wider range of bra sizes would cost a lot due to different manufacturing techniques and the enormous increase in stock that they would have to accommodate. It's much cheaper for them to sell a small range of underwear, and "fudge" the fitting guidelines so they can cram any customer into something they have in store.

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 28-Mar-13 14:25:54

Got re-sized to a 30D!

Trills Thu 28-Mar-13 14:26:44

Duckworth. Work out your size without adding inches. Go and find a bra in that size. Try it on with the luffly bra ladies advice.

Reveal in a bra that actually fits in a way you never dreamed possible.

Bra manufacturers do not add inches when they make bras. Bra sellers sometimes do. This is why adding inches is wrong.

grin at TeWi

"Reveal in a bra" - front fasteners are good for that wink

grin grin

Ahem. You know what I mean!

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 28-Mar-13 14:31:13

TeWe patently untrue judging by this mornings experience.

I am wearing a Freya 32J today, it fits perfectly (thanks to the ladies on here) I am a size 16, in buttoned blouses I have to go into a size 20 because of my ample cup size. A 32 back does not mean a size10/12

Previous to my online measuring I was swinging around in a 40F, I have lost 2 inches because of losing weight, the rest of the band measurement has been lost because i was measured correctly and ingnored all the add inches advice. I no longer have a sore back, my boobs sit at the front of my chest and not under my armpit or resting on my tummy. For the first time EVER, i am comfortable all day in an underwired bra.

DuckworthLewis Thu 28-Mar-13 14:35:40

I'm laughing smile

The thing is, my 32" Myla bras fit me perfectly, because they are sized to fit my underbust measurement of 28" + 4" = 32".

I do understand that if I were to shop elsewhere, then I might have to not add the 4", and that a 28" back size in some shops will be the same size as a 32" back in Myla/M&S.

My point is that just because a few shops have decided to change the system, it has not been accepted as a 'standard' as some people on this thread are suggesting. It is dependent on where you shop.

greenhill Thu 28-Mar-13 14:37:58

duckworth I am 41 and have 2 children, so am hardly a child. I wear that range of bras.

I am a size 6 and weigh 8 stone. My rib cage is 30 inches, so now wear a 30b (rather than a 34aa from M&S which is just a loose pice of elastic and fabric that does nothing for my shape).

We are all different shapes and sizes, manufacturers should take note.

duckworth go to bravissimo and get fitted. see what back size they put you in. It will not add 4-5 inches because they understand how a bra should fit. major bra manufacturers like Freya and panache have openly stated that they agree with them. But many retailers are still using an old approach which does not account for the fact that bras are stretchy.

Your band takes 80% of your breast weight. It can't do this if you add inches.

There is a slight variance between bras/brands but not to this extent. The bra marks snd Spencer put me in did not fit-not on the basis of not being the same label size but on the basis it failed pretty much every piece of good bra fitting information. It rode up, the straps hurt, it sat on breast tissue, it offered no support.

Before you declare we are all wrong, give it a try. There are also some great and informative blogs around. chrvk out the butterfly collection, invest in your chest, bras i hate, sophisticated pair, fuller figure fuller bust as a start point.

The retailers know they are wrong. Some have already changed-John Lewis have, house of fraser in store fitters although their website is out of date, Debenhams are getting better.

Beksybob Thu 28-Mar-13 14:41:47

I measure 30" underbust and M&S 30DD fit.

I can't buy my proper size in M&S, if I followd there advice though I would be stuffed into a 36F with boobs in every place but were they are meant to be. Its not their bras that measure different to everyone else, its the fitters that are measuring wrong. I believe they measure you to fit what they sell

But the shops don't measure correctly for their own bras.

I have been fitted in mothercare for nursing bras which sat completely on the boon, rose up when I raised my arms,barely covered my nipples, straps fell down my arms, centerpiece not touching my chest etc... and been told I needed a bigger back size.


I needed a smaller back size and a bigger cup, but they don't sell nursing head in a 28 back so of course they aren't going to acknowledge that as a 28 underboob I need a 28 size back.

The fitters are not trained to correctly fit the bras they are selling in the vast majority of shops I have been fitted in. They do not know what a correctly fitted bra even looks like. They are probably not wearing the right size yourself.

Iam - it might be that m&s bras do not suit you, or you need to go up or down a bit. 30d is your guide, it still takes some trial and error to find what works imo

GAH, sorry about typos. Silly phone.

ChunkyEasterChick Thu 28-Mar-13 14:51:17

But do they fit perfectly duckworth?

I bought a 34F bra - my 34Es were too small (am bfing) but not that much, and the 34 is my 30+4 as you suggest. At first glance, they look ok. However, if you look closely & follow the fitting advice from statistically et al, it is a very badly fitting bra. And its uncomfortable after a while. But I bought them because I thought they were ok & they're def better than the 36Fs I had...

Before having my 2 DC, I popped into John Lewis to get more 34C bras. The lady in there said 'try a 32DD' just from looking at me in a jumper. That size was never a great fit (again using the good fitting advice touted on here) but it was a better fit than the 34C. My DH was thrilled at me having DD boobs despite them clearly not having grown one jot between changing bras

What I'm trying to say is this "new" fitting advice isn't new, its just that nobody really seems to know what a good fitting bra looks like except statistically et al particularly M&S etc.

FWIW, I'm roughly a 30G now I think...

So, no OP, YANBU. I think there is a massive misconception about boob sizes and it is perpetuated by the media.

Lueji Thu 28-Mar-13 14:59:30

Duckworth, I also measure 28'' under bra.

I am wearing a 30DD, which is just right. The 32s do stretch a bit further back. I do have a 32D that is really tight, but it's a strapless bra.

A 28 for me will be too tight because I have virtually no fat around the ribcage.

If you are like me you may have to be in a 30 rather than a 28, and you can live in a 32. But the 30s give better support.

Lueji Thu 28-Mar-13 15:01:24

The problem, Duckworth, is that many shops/brands simply don't have larger bust sizes. Most stop at C, possibly D, and definitely not much larger in the sizes 28-30. So, they try to sell you what they have.

Velve Thu 28-Mar-13 15:09:45

Totally YANBU.
I hate the whole "anything larger than a DD is freakishly big" myth perpetuated by the media.
I'm a G/GG cup, and my boobs, although being larger than they normally are due to breastfeeding, are by no means huge. At all.
I also hate seeing bra guides where the bra doesn't fit the model right. Not just bra fitting guides, actually. Most websites that sell bras have the wrong size bra on their models.
And seeing pictures of poor Christina Hendricks always falling out of her bras.

CelticPromise Thu 28-Mar-13 15:40:04

M&S don't fit their own bras correctly Duckworth. I went in recently wearing a 32H (that was actually too big in the back, and I'm a size 16). They fitted me in a 38E. It didn't fit at all. I could have put a friend in it with me. But for years I did wear a 36DD/E because I thought that was the best I could do. Then I went to Rigby & Peller and was put in a 32G, and looked as though I had lost a stone.

Try the MN way, you never know!

showtunesgirl Thu 28-Mar-13 15:42:36

Marking my place, simply to witness the scales falling from Duckworth's eyes...

ScrambledSmegs Thu 28-Mar-13 15:43:28

Hah. The worst fitting bra I have ever been bought came from Myla. According to their system I was a 32C. M&S agreed with this measurement. Bollocks. I was a small size 8 at the time, and quite frankly I should have been in a 26/28 back and a DD/E cup. It was beautiful, and I did wear it, but OMG it was uncomfortable.

Just because they charge £££ does not mean that they're any better at sizing you. I'm now a size 10-12 after two babies, and wear a 28-30 back with G/GGcups shock. It's difficult finding nursing bras in that size but at least I'm comfy. And I have a fantastic embonpoint in them too. That's French for 'a great rack' btw wink

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Thu 28-Mar-13 15:44:03

I measure 28 under the bust (when not pg as I am atm) and tend to wear a 30 as otherwise it feels like it's squeezing my ribcage. I don't think that's too disastrous, and I find it more comfortable. I remember walking in to Bravissimo wearing a 34C and coming out wearing a 30G feeling like a different woman!

cassgate Thu 28-Mar-13 15:45:21

I am the same as Lueji 28" under bra but also wear 30 because I have no fat around the rib cage and found that when I tried a 28 it felt way too tight. I had been used to a 32c (using the m&s measure and add 4) so this could also be a reason why a 28 felt way too tight. Through trial and error I now have a couple of 30ds and 1 30dd bra which have made a massive difference to the way my boobs look and they are really comfortable. Now that I am used to a 30 band I am going to order some 28s in different styles and see how they feel.

if you are very slim and have very little padding you do sometimes need to go up one back. But it can also be down to size change shock! The opposite can be true for ladies with very squishy torsos who often need a back size which is smaller than they measure to get sufficient support. your back measurement is the best place to start though as it is normally very close to the true size.

MyNameIsLola Thu 28-Mar-13 15:56:28

It's not a 'new fangled' system at all, I was measuring this way in 2002 when I worked on a lingerie dept in a well known store.

If you measure 34 inches, then you should be wearing a 34 band size. Easy peasy. A properly fitting bra make a massive difference to your posture, how your clothes fit, the way you look, your personal comfort and your joints. The MN campaign is doing a great job.

NotAQueef Thu 28-Mar-13 15:56:41

Also marking place to see if duckworth tries the new method and what the results will be we all know what they will be alread

If you measure 30 inches around your underbust, why would you wear a brad which measures 34 inches?
No one is suggesting that the manufacturers are getting the sizes of the actual bras wrong (ie that the measurements of material etc are incorrect), more that the information they give on fitting and finding your bra size which is then used by some retailers is in fact what's incorrect.

Silverstar2 Thu 28-Mar-13 16:31:24

Marking place (I have no shame).

poppypebble Thu 28-Mar-13 16:38:15

I was wearing a 38B and thought it was right. The lovely ladies on the other thread suggested a 36D or DD and they were right. I'm wearing a lovely 36DD bra that fits perfectly, is super supportive and makes me look like I actually have boobs.

HesterShaw Thu 28-Mar-13 17:02:38

Duckworth, you may need to accept you and M&S are wrong in this issue. I measure 30 underbust and 34 round the boobs. According to M&S and you, this would make me 34AA, which is pretty absurd and does nothing whatever for me. Due to limited shop availability in my area, I actually ended up in M&S and tried a range of bras and styles. I bought a 30D. Despite my extreme skinniness it is D cup because there is a four inch difference between my band and my boobs. 31, 32, 33, 34- that's a difference of four. A, B, C, D - easy.

It's not a "new" way and bras aren't being made differently. It's simply a more logical way to measure.

HazleNutt Thu 28-Mar-13 18:12:07

YANBU, of course, was just thinking the same about the "36DD" story. Especially when I read some comments about well yeah she might have had issues but didn't have to go to DD which is freakishly large..
No, it's really not and she's no DD.

Yup, imagine being a DD, how absurd

<looks down at own HH's and wonders what Daily Mail readers would say about that!>

StuntNun Thu 28-Mar-13 18:17:42

I went into Tesco yesterday to get a cheap sports bra to keep me going post-pregnancy, tried on my now accustomed 32 and it wouldn't even do up. Same for a 34" bra. I had to get a 36" band so in Tesco you really do have to add four inches.

StuntNun - that's more likely sports bra syndrome. They are all ridiculously small in the back. Don't know why - maybe down to the bands not being very stretchy compared to normal bras. But I have to go up at least one back size in every single sports bra I have ever tried.

StuntNun Thu 28-Mar-13 18:36:16

D'oh this bra business gets more complicated all the time.

Champagnecharleyismyname Thu 28-Mar-13 18:36:55

Am loving my 32DD after wearing a 34B for 20 years. When I look down I see boob not belly.

Yay for the bra ladies!!

Well I have been wearing 32 back for 15 years, since pretty much the last time I bought a bra on the high street. My two pregnancies were a nightmare as no one made 32H 7 years ago in a soft cup.

This is not a new fangled system. It is the correct system and I have been successfully buying bras from rigby and peller and John Lewis and figleaves in all that time.

The UK's identikit high street is an abomination if you ask me.

ToothGah Thu 28-Mar-13 18:48:57

I've gone from wearing a 38B to a 34E after learning how to measure myself properly. I can also no longer see my belly feet and I don't consider myself to have big boobs at all.

The +4 inches method is a load of arse, just measure yourself properly and you'll see Duckworth smile

I've not been as long as you Shattereddreams - I discovered Bravissimo about 7 years ago although John Lewis for about a year before that weren't a million miles off with a 32 back rather than the 30 I actually wear. But it's certainly not new - it's just more people are becoming aware of it. Unfortunately some shops are particularly slow on the uptake. Ok, that was giving them too much credit - some shops are just carrying on with a nonsensical method.

Those with faith in M&S - please look at this size chart. Actually look at/analyse it.

In a 28A, we have someone measuring 23.5 underbust and 30 overbust. So in an 28 back, according to M&S, an A cup has a 6.5" difference between their measurements. Think about how big 6 inches actually is and imagine how much the breasts on someone measuring only 23.5" underbust would protrude. That's no A cup!

In a 34A , it's 29.5/33 - so we now have a 3.5" difference.

In a 38A , it's 33.5/35, so we are down to 1.5" difference

Or maybe we should consider the 46C. This lady, according to M&S, measures 41.5"/41". No, I have not got that the wrong way round. According to M&S, the lady who wears a 46C, that's a C-cup, has inverted breasts. A 46D has a half inch positive difference.

It is utter nonsense.

Silverstar2 Thu 28-Mar-13 19:27:42

Go Go Go StatistcallyChallenged !!!

Thanks for backing me up ladies...I was hoping you'd show up grin

IAmSheWhoMustBeObeyed Thu 28-Mar-13 20:01:19

grin M&S size chart may be bollocks but yes finding a bra that fits is a minefield!

When you say John Lewis are good does that mean their own brand?

Their fitting service is OK - not super and a bit hit and miss but probably about the best of the department stores. I'm afraid I haven't fitted in their own brand bras for many moons though!

Do you want some help? There is a bra intervention thread over on S&B or you are welcome to ask here (Sorry scarlet, thread hijack!)

No, I'm glad it may have alerted more people to your campaign. Luckily for me I was converted before I saw it, but I'm still amazed how many posts those threads get, so it's still a long way to go.

My Mum is a recent convert and as a breast cancer sufferer (for want of a better word) with a mastectomy she hasn't felt good in a bra for years...she actually cried when she got properly fitted.

Aww Scarlet that's lovely, I am so pleased for her.

Prawntoast Thu 28-Mar-13 20:32:07

M & S do not measure for their bras properly. A few months go they kitted me out in a 38e, I gradually realised what an awful fit it was, 4 boob syndrome and the band riding up at the back. Having gleaned a lot of info off the MN threads I went in and fitted myself, 34GG, most comfortable I have been in years and completely altered my shape. The only problem is my branch doesn't have much choice in this size!

GinOnTwoWheels Fri 29-Mar-13 08:00:51


I saw a link on FB about the woman who has had a boob job on the NHS. The article stated she had gone from a 32C to a 36DD - did they also expand her ribcage while they were at it?

I have seen Victoria Beckham reported as being a 34DD, Katie Price as a 36DD. Slim but busty celebs, who are probably 28F+ are constantly reported as being 34/36D or DD. This really annoys me <petty>.

Current gripe is Kelly Brook branded bras in New Look available in 34/36C-DD only, when again she is probably more like 28/30H.

That's a fair point about expanding her ribcage, I hadn't thought of that....rather impressive surgery!!

sherazade Fri 29-Mar-13 10:15:04

Please can someone tell me what bra size i should be wearing? My underbust measures 26 inches , bust is 29.5 inches. I currently wear a 30b

Lueji Fri 29-Mar-13 10:26:00

Try a 26D and a 28C and thereabouts?

It's interesting that after being on 32s mostly, initially the 30s felt really tight, but either they have gone a bit loose or I've got used to them.
If I put on a 32 now it feels really loose.

Sherazade, i think (complete novice) you should be wearing a 26D, but 26 are like hens teeth so I would be looking for a 28C. Make sure you follow the fitting advice that I am sure is posted somewhere on this thread.

(I apologise to all the experts on here if I have this wrong, its my first go)

badbride Fri 29-Mar-13 10:31:09

Going back to the question in the OP: I think a lot of women are surprised by their bra size, because the sizing system is as arse-backwards as hell.

Can anyone explain why some of the cup sizes have random double letters, while others do not? AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E...WTF???? Why not just go for sequential single letters? There are 26 of them in the alphabet, FGS, you're not likely to run out.

To me, DD sounds huge, because it sounds like Dx2 (twice the size of D), therefore GG must be well into eye-poking Zepplin territory.

MooMooSkit Fri 29-Mar-13 10:31:11

My underbust measures 27-28 inches though, I find it REALLY hard to find shops that don't start stocking at 30 underbust so I do usually make do with them or spend a fortune online for a 28 underbust sad

ineedclothes Fri 29-Mar-13 10:31:23

I just read that article in the sun earlier and it said she went from a 32A to a 36DD did she get a back enlargement as well then hmm

Lueji Fri 29-Mar-13 10:33:31

I'm on DD and it's definitely NOT 2xD. grin

Maybe there were single letters initially and then people noticed they needed intermediate sizes?

Lueji Fri 29-Mar-13 10:34:17

And at 30 DD, it's definitely NOT huge. smile

Sherazade if they were available you would be around a 26D. Unfortunately, there are no manufacturers doing off the shelf 26s at the moment.. There is one company (Ewa Michalak) which will custom make them (not pricey, just under £30 a bra)

Normally the option I would suggest would be ordering a back size up, cup size down and taking the back in but unfortunately 28Cs have been described as the "unicorn shit of the bra world" and are pretty hard to find. Ebay and M&S are about the only places so far that do them.

Have a look at Ewa - here. The 26d won't appear on the dropdown but look at the bras that are available in a 30B as it will have the same size wires so these are the bras they should be able to custom for you in a 26d.

CelticPromise Fri 29-Mar-13 10:35:25

sherazade you'd be a 26C or D but 26 band is not available unless you get custom made so you'd be stuck with 28B or C. You can adjust the band if you're handy (google for instructions) or you can buy a thing called a Rixie clip to tighten it.

badbride Fri 29-Mar-13 10:39:24

I didn't mean to insinuate that DD IS huge Lueji, so please don't be offended smile . Just trying to think why women often think cup sizes are bigger than they actually are. "D and a half" might be a better way of putting it, I reckon (like shoe sizes)

I'm sure you're right about the need for intermediate sizes, but am still puzzling why there are no BB and CC sizes if this the case. Perhaps women were resistant to the idea of being E, F or G in days gone by?

sherazade Fri 29-Mar-13 10:46:42

Where on earth do i buy 26 or 28 size bras from? Finding size 30b was difficult enough!!!

And don't forget the humble AA which violates all the double letter rules by being smaller than it's single counterpart.

The thing is the doubles (AA excluded) aren't intermediate at all. They are a full extra cup size - I think a lot of places originally did up to D, then added "dd" which was a bit like when companies do small, medium, large and then just start sticking X's on the front cos they've run out of descriptors! Then some bright spark probably went "ye know, we could maybe go up to F" so they added E and F. Everything from F onwards has a double in pretty much every UK company.

Except M&S. But we already know they're nuts!

badbride Fri 29-Mar-13 10:58:53

Right. So double letter cup sizes are double the single letter size, except when they are not. And calculating the correct cup size involves measuring the band size and either adding some magic extra number, or not. Meanwhile, different manufacturers are more or less stingy with their sizing, meaning that much the above is moot anyway.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from the above is that any "expert" who moans about women wearing the wrong bra size should be told to sod off.

They aren't double the single letter, they are just one cup size up. Unless they are AA ;)

Basic rule (starting point only)

Measure underbust in inches. This is your back size. If you are an odd number you will want to try the even number either side. Most people get on with the lower one better IME

Measure overbust - do this by bending over at the waist with no bra on so you are "dangling" and measure round.

Each inch difference between the underbust and the overbust is a cup size. Cup sizes go


A "AA" means you have less than one inch difference between the measurements.

Twattybollocks Fri 29-Mar-13 11:03:06

I actually think we should have a boob census. Everyone to measure round their back and round their bust and post measurements. We can then calculate the real average bra size of women today. I'll bet it isn't a d cup! Everyone I know with one exception wears larger than d cup bras yet finding nice ones in big cup size is very very difficult in the average high street shop. Most larger cup size bras are hideous industrial white/black jobs that are about as attractive as a slapped arse.

But yes, trying to actually find your true size when there is so much bollocks information being peddled by retailers is a right PITA.

badbride Fri 29-Mar-13 13:04:56

Thanks for the info statistical, good to know there is some kind of logic behind it all. I have previously taken my measurements using this method, but find the results have little bearing on what I find (eventually ) in the shops.

This is why I honestly prefer a trip to the dentist over bloody bra shopping. It's less painful, and you generally know what you're going to get. My bra shopping expeditions usually go as follows:

1) Go to shop
2) Quail at sight of endless jumble-sale-style rows of bras, all poised to fall off their stupid little hangers the second you touch them
3) After much rooting around, find the least worst bras. More rooting around to find them in my "proper" size, plus size below and size above
4) Stagger into changing room clutching a bazillion bras, simpering apologetically to the changing room dragon who points crossly to the "3 items only" sign
5) Struggle into bras under the unflattering glare of the fluorescent strip lights, end up looking like an unbaked Cornish pasty that's lost a fight with a rubber band
6) Want to cry
7) Go home

I hate hate hate bra shopping. Hate it! AIBU? smile

Not even remotely. I do the vast majority online. For some reason every time I bra shop in person I end up a sweaty, messy, blotchy looking blob.

It has become easier for me now that I know what works and what just doesn't. These days in person shopping takes the form of: walk in to Bravissimo. Pick up bras in appropriate shape which will be either Bravissimo own brand or maybe at a push the odd Freya. Request my "base" size from the nice lady at the fitting rooms. Try it on. If it fits, great. If not - hang little tag on door, nice lady comes, takes one look at bra and judges which bras to bring instead

Leave shop with lighter bank account smile

Minimal running, faffing and fighting required. Tis the only way smile

specialsubject Fri 29-Mar-13 13:33:56

bra sizing is as random as all women's dress sizing - although it is supposed to be standardised, that is nonsense. That's why buying a bra that fits takes bloody ages, even if you can find any that don't have itchy lace or are in ridiculous colours. (pet rant alert)

getting excited about your bra size is as tragic as being excited about the label in your knickers, or thinking that anyone else cares.

the kind of newspaper that mentions bra size is fit only for lighting fires.

timeforathink Fri 29-Mar-13 16:44:45

I always was told that you measure your underbust ,thats your Size ,then measure your bust if its a difference of 1,2,3,4,5,6,etc then that equates to AA,A,B,C,D,DD,E,F,G H etc cup its an approx way but nearly always works out correct , with minor adjustments etc,was told this by someone who used to work for gossard and berlei xxxx

badbride Fri 29-Mar-13 16:46:00

Sounds like a much better shopping experience, Statistically! Sadly, I'm not a candidate for shopping in Bravissimo. Maybe I should save up for a trip to Rigby & Peller grin

Are you sure about that badbride? Not being rude but maybe take your measurements just to check - if you have 4 or more inches between them you are in Bravissimo territory.

(only mentioning as we get a lot of ladies on the bra threads who think they couldn't possibly go to Bravissimo because they are an A or B and they turn out to actually need a DD/E/F etc)

Lueji Fri 29-Mar-13 19:49:45

I was once proclaimed to be a something A by a Triumph shop assistant who measured over my clothes.
This because I was not familiar with European back sizes and asked about it.
How I laughed. grin
Thankfully, I had already been initiated at Bravissimo, otherwise who knows what I would have ended up with.

SorrelForbes Fri 29-Mar-13 22:18:09

I'm very late to this thread [waves at SC et al] but OP, YANBU!!!

The way the media portrays a DD as big busted gives me the rage. I'm currently battling with my DSD who is currently wearing a 32F but refuses to go bigger because KP etc aren't that big! She probably needs a 30H bless her.

sherazade Sat 30-Mar-13 07:13:10

Excuse me if this has already been addressed but, if this is the correct way to measure bra sizes (and I believe it is), then why on earth do bra manufacturers not make these sizes and why do retailers not sell them (ie, 26/28 back)?Zccording to this way of sizing, a 30 inch back would also be very common yet even that is very hard to get hold of in most shops and ranges.

I think the problem is that currently, it doesn't look like there is a particularly big demand. 28s and 30s have become a lot easier to get in recent years (honestly!) and I think companies like Bravissimo have played a big part in that as from what I understand they really pushed the manufacturers to start making more of the bras they could see that their customers needed.

But - the majority of women don't go to Bravissimo, Rigby and Peller, John Lewis or the few other places who are getting it right. Most either don't get fitted at all and wear "the size I've always been" or they read about women wearing the wrong bra and go to M&S for a fitting. Who tell the 26 that she's a 30/32 and therefore find zero demand for 26s or 28s. If the retailers were measuring properly then the demand would suddenly exist and companies would start making them (I reckon anyway)

Also, from what I have seen on these threads a lot of the women who need a 26 are in need of a relatively smaller cup size (i.e. they are currently wearing sizes like 30/32 AA/A/B and in reality need sizes more in the range of 26C-F. But these women don't, as a rule, go to places like Bravissimo because they perceive their cup size to be too small. I suspect Bravissimo doesn't see a lot of the customers that need 26/28 backs because they think their boobs are too small for the "big boob shops" and therefore go to M&S and get put in the wrong bra.

Until more retailers start measuring properly or more women find out about how bras should fit and start demanding their sizes it's not going to get any better.

This is all vair interesting. I am a dress size 6-8 and I've been wearing 34b bras since I was 20. Am now 32, maybe it's time to get a bra that fits smile.

Will measure today and report back

TheSmallPrint Sat 30-Mar-13 08:15:27

When I was getting married I used to wear a 36A bra which never fit properly. I put this down to having no 'proper' boobs to keep the bra in place. I went to get wedding underwear and was finding it very difficult so went into Selfridges and the moronic woman in their bra dept, put me in a 38AA. It was awful and I was very depressed. I then went to Rigby and Pellor who were a revelation, the woman just looked at me and said 'you're a 34 C, try these' they were a perfect fit. I left the shop on a high as I now had beautiful undies that fit like a glove and I'd gone from an A cup to a C in ten minutes! wink

sherazade Sat 30-Mar-13 08:24:34

But - the majority of women don't go to Bravissimo, Rigby and Peller, John Lewis or the few other places who are getting it right.

How are Bravissimo getting it right? they are perpretating the myth that a D cup is for big women by advertising themselves as a big boob brand- you only need to google that to see it. Wheras in reality, d/dd plus are not big!
I need a 26c or a 28 b bra
Bravissimo- starts from D cup, nothing for me
Rigby and Peller- aside from the fact that close to £100 quid for a bra , starts from a 32 inch like most retailers
John lewis- no 26 back, 28 only in teens section and I do not want to buy a teen bra.

So please tell me where I can walk into a shop and find a 26c/28b bra that fits!!

Under boob measurement: 29 1/2. Top of boob measurement: 32 1/2

What size does that make me?? 30B? confused

HazleNutt Sat 30-Mar-13 08:29:03

in some countries you can barely find anything except B-cups and even in the US, anything over DD is rare. Does that mean that women in other sizes don't exist there? Of course not - just that as bras in correct size don't exist, women don't know what a correctly fitting bra looks like and squeeze themselves into whatever is available. I was a 36DD myself for many years and though it fitted fine - well, the best I could find from the selection. I'm a 32F.

So yes, there should be way way more women in 26-30 back sizes and big cups than you could guess based on the availability. I am pretty sure the average woman is in fact not a 34B - a size almost all manufacturers and sops will offer.

OK, rephrase - from a fitting perspective Bravissimo are getting it right. That was what I meant - the shops who are fitting women properly. When Bravissimo started up getting bras above a D-ish was almost impossible so they filled a niche at the time. Until we got a Bravissimo in town I could not have walked in to a shop, any shop, and got a bra in my current size. For many sizes (anything above a J cup and 28s) they are still the only option available around here.

So I do completely understand the frustration. Those who fall outside the typical high street 32-28 A-D range have a much harder time. But I'm not sure Bravissimo are the right people to blame

TakingChances how did you take that overbust measurement? based on the sizes you have given a 30B or 30C but I would expect your 34B to be gaping quite a bit (does it?)

Did you do the overbust measure bending over with bra off?

I was kneeling on the bed. Just read the bit about bending over...will do that now

Ok. Under bust standing up straight:29 1/2. Over bust bent at the waist: 33

So a 30C?

Sometimes my boobs explode out of my 34B bra, when I am premenstrual for example. Other times there is a big gap between me and the bra. I think I fluctuate by around 2 cup sizes during my cycle. Today is a small-boob day, if I measured in 2 weeks I reckon the bent over boob measurement would be 35

That makes sense - I fluctuate quite a bit too. On today's measurements yes, start with a 30C (which is volume wise one cup size smaller than your 34B) but you might want to consider two bra buying trips - one at small size and one when premenstral if the difference is that big. I'd guess based on what you are saying you probably need anywhere between a 30C and 30DD on any given day

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