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I am 6 + 3 and my knockers are in need of some new scaffolding. I am just about fitting into my existing bras (not the padded ones, they haven't fitted since I POAS).
I consider myself to be reasonably bright and I sew a lot, so I am handy with a tape measure. But I am totally about the measurements.
It doesn't help that Marks and Spencer and John Lewis seem to have two completely different systems. I usually wear M & S bras and have generally found them to be comfortable. I don't want to go to the John Lewis near here tomorrow, which is small and has mostly expensive stuff in it, to spend a fortune on a bra I will grow out of again in two weeks.
Does anyone have a definitive answer on how to measure and, therefore, what size I will be?
If you're getting back fat with a 34D, then try a 34DD or E.
Measuring Measure under your bust (hold the tape tight) to get your band measurement. Do not add on any inches to this measurement. Then measure across the fullest part of your bust. Each 1" of difference between the two measurements equals a cup size. So, lets say you measure 30" underneath and 35" across? That would give you a starting point of 30DD.
Usually you should take the across bust measurement whilst wearing your best fitting bra (preferably an unpadded one although slight padding shouldnt make too much of a difference). If you think that your bras are fitting so badly that you'll get a distorted measurement, then measure without a bra, but lean forward so that your boobs are hanging towards the floor (attractive!). The cup size is always harder to get right by measuring than the band size.
Testing the band and cup To test the band size, put the bra (in this example a 30 back) on back to front on the loosest hooks. If you can breathe but if feels tight and you can only fit two fingers underneath the wire at the front, then that's the correct back size for you. If it's so tight it's unbearable then go up a size.
The cup will differ much more between brands and styles than the back. Turn the bra round the correct way, lean forward then take your right hand and put it inside your left cup. Reach right round under your armpit/towards your back and scoop all the backfat/escapage forward in to the cup of the bra. Repeat at the other side.
Then put the shoulder straps up and adjust as necessary (not too tight as it's the back that should be doing most of the supporting work). If for example, you've started with a 30D, you will probably find that after scooping, you have some bulging over the cup and four-boobage going on! This means you need to go up one or more cup sizes. Keep going up through the cup sizes until all your breast tissue is firmly in place.
That should be the other way round, subtract back from boob. A 34DD is worth a go if the D Is too tight. A too small cup will make the back feel too small. I would have said there's no way I was a 32 back before I was fitted into one! I'm a size 16 too so not small.
There is loads of brilliant info on the long running AIBU thread, worth a look! It also covers back fat...
Still as long as you're comfy who cares what size you wear?
You don't need v expensive drop cup bf bras yet, you will change size when the baby is born, wait for those until 38wks+. I went from 34B to 36G Get a sports bras, no wires, reduces risk of mastitis, plenty of support not too expensive AND ABSOLUTE REVELATION strap extenders. M&S sell small pieces of strap with extra hooks and loops in 3 colours for £5. I had bought a v expensive Sweaty Betty sports bra for running. Only managed to get it on once, then gave in and conceded back was too tight. Gutted as I'd spent plenty and couldn't return as I'd worn it. Found bra extenders, made SBetty sports bra 32D into 34D.
CelticPromise is correct, the sizing charts are ALL wrong. They go by a very old method. If you go in to John Lewis, they won't use that method to fit. Neither will Bravissimo, Rigby and Peller etc etc. On your measurements I would start with a 34D. A lot of people who are between measurements (like you) actually fit better in a smaller back size (so around a 32E would also be an option) but as you are pregnant you may be better with the 34.
A 38 just won't give you the support you need, especially through pregnancy. A 38B is actually about the same cup volume as a 34D so the wires won't be cutting in, but it will be a lot more supportive.
The charts are wrong, seriously! They add four inches, which is outdated.
I got properly fitted at Rigby & Peller a while back, I went from a 36DD to a 32G and I looked as if I'd lost a stone. I'm much better supported now and I'm a bra sizing evangelist!
The support should come from the band, not the straps. The cup volume of a 34D is the same as a 38B but the band will fit better and support you better! Check out the long thread for lots of helpful info from very knowledgeable mners.
Well all the charts make me a 38 and, having tried about a gazillion on this morning a 38B fits best and is most comfortable - its got underwires but they're well clear if cutting in anywhere and the sift up ones provided absolutely no support whatsoever.
I found John Lewis had a cheap un wired number when I was pregnant 7 years ago. Is it worth looking online or phoning them as they are always shockingly helpful. Unwired are a bit more forgiving on cup sizes as you grow. Or try sports bras? I ended up in them for most of the time but then I was a 30-32 back and M and S didn't go that small at all and there was little choice in other ranges. Be careful as well as everyone says your back size increases and fits you accordingly. Mine decreased so I ended up doing my own thing largely.
Any el cheapo soft non underwired will do. Do a tour of Primark, Peacocks, Matalan etc. I got some horrible old lady ones from M and S, the ones in boxes! But from their clearance so they were about £3 each iirc. They probably lasted less than a month. And obv size up a bit each time you buy - I was surprised by how much my back measurement increased.
JumperHer exactly, I don't want to be forking out £30 every fortnight. There are lots of maternity bras around, but ££ and they all seem to all have drop cups - very useful I am sure, but it seems a bit premature [illogical superstition emoticon]
Please don't spend much! I went from a 32B to a 38G and a year on I'm a 30C. If I'd bought nice new bras every few weeks during pregnancy I'd not have furnished the nursery! Primark and Peacocks etc and go for unwired bras.
<has learnt lesson from buying so pretty Elle Mac nursing bra in a 32B - wtf was I thinking?>