Bra help for yet another confused person please?

(9 Posts)
yetanotherbraconfusedperson Thu 26-May-16 17:48:12

So I've read various things here on this, but it doesn't make sense...

The theoretical thing I'm confused by: links like Bra Guru say that your underbreast measurement is your band size. But when I measure the band of the bra I bought this morning, from eyes to hooks giving it a gentle stretch, there's a full 10 inches of difference between that measurement and the "band size" on the label. No way would the actual physical band stretch to be the same as the size on the label.

That's consistent with what I find in practice: if I take the standard instructions literally and try a band corresponding to my actual underbreast measurement, and believe that if only I get a big enough cup it'll be fine, this theory does not withstand contact with reality. I can't do up a bra in that size with it round me anywhere near the bottom of my breasts, even if I do it upside down so that my cup size doesn't come into it. Either I'm really not understanding what I'm reading or the bra intervention emperor has no clothes...

If that wasn't blasphemy enough to drive everyone away, here's the real question: I need a low back bra (doesn't absolutely have to be strapless) for a new dress, hate lace and frippery, and have drawn a blank on the high street, so I'm going to have to do it online. This one looks fine for example (if anyone has great recommendations, though, please pass them on). But what size(s) should I order, to get a decent chance of a fit? This scares me!

Bra size history: my most comfortable bras in recent years have been 36B and 38B, but I'd been aware for a while that I was probably wearing too small a cup. Have quite a bony ribcage, expanded by pregnancy and perhaps also by playing a wind instrument; am in my 50s with many years of breastfeeding behind me. Have tried on many many bras in shops in the last few days and bought the most plausible which are 36DD and 36E, and M(12-14) in a croptop style. As I said, tried on a couple of 34s and couldn't do them up, so I'm fairly confident the band size must be 36, but then feel at sea because that's Wrong according to the modern way of thinking, because:

Measurements: underbust standing 33", or 32" round the actual bottom of the croptop style bra which is a bit lower than I'm used to a band going, but not sure what's right. Round the fullest part standing in that bra is 37"; round the fullest part bending over can be up to 40" but that's a saggy breast effect: looks ridiculous :-(

My feeling is to order the 36D, and regret that the 36DD is out of stock, perhaps. Otoh, I've lost weight recently and am still losing, so too small is perhaps a better bet than too big, other things being equal - the bras I bought this morning were very cheap ones I don't mind throwing out soon if I must, but this one being more expensive I'd hate to have to throw it out in three months after losing another half stone - but can't wait to get the bra, need it in a few weeks. I guess what that says is that I'd particularly appreciate a recommendation for a cheap low back bra if anyone has one!

Thanks if you read that essay and thanks in advance for any help!

yetanotherbraconfusedperson Thu 26-May-16 17:54:49

Should have added: on the basis of those measurements, Ultimo's own size guide says I don't exist (and looking close by, explains why I ended up in a 36B I suppose) while size guide at Debenhams where I first saw this on sale would have me in a 38A or perhaps a 36B or 36C... so maybe I should be getting 36 B, C and D and hoping one of them fits? 38A I do not believe - I do have breast tissue!

Clayhead Thu 26-May-16 17:57:56

It's not a modern way of thinking, I was measured like that in 1992!

yetanotherbraconfusedperson Thu 26-May-16 18:02:17

1992's only a few years ago, right? Oh. grin

Clayhead Thu 26-May-16 18:07:09

grin I thought the ladies who did it were REALLY OLD at the time - they were probably in their fifties wink

Sorry I'm not much help.

most bras when stretched absolutely do measure the same or greater than their band size in inches though. bands need to be stretched when on togive support

what bra is it

yetanotherbraconfusedperson Thu 26-May-16 19:00:21

It's from Sainsburys, no wires, cross style. Size 36E. Can stretch the band to 33 if I pull but definitely no further. (Which is consistent, given that I measure 33, it's very snug, next size down wouldn't do up.)

OK. The thing is that, just like with normal clothes, bra sizes vary between brands (and even within brands) - there's small brands, big brands etc. There's also the issue that cheaper bras including those from supermarkets are often extremely inconsistent with their sizing as they don't have the same sort of quality control as the better brands. A 36 band should stretch too, and beyond, 36. If I look at one of my 30 band bras it will normally measure somewhere around 26" unstretched but fully stretched it will go to say 31 or 32"

If you are measuring 33 under and 40 over (we all look ridiculous bending over!) then you want to be starting with something in the range of 32F/FF or 34E/F - but I would suggest looking at bras from brands like Freya, Fantasie, Curvy Kate, Panache, Cleo, Bravissimo etc who have much more consistent sizing. Even within those Panache and Cleo tend to be tighter than with Freya or Fantasie - it's just like buying jeans.

But on average, you don't add inches as a starting point.

yetanotherbraconfusedperson Thu 26-May-16 21:27:58

Thanks.

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