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Do you know how to measure your bra size?
I have asked all the "stupid" questions about bras and bra sizes - so you do not have to ask!
For some strange reason, it can be very complicated to find the right bra size and therefore buy the right bra, it is actually one of the most complicated processes EVER! So I made it into my mission to locate and ask only the very best experts within the underwear business, and thereby get as much information out of them as possible.
So, please scroll on, and get ready for some serious bra-size talk! First thing first:
How will I know if my bra has the right size?
"Your bra tries to talk to you – that’s how I see it” says Carina (my first expert victim).
"First of all you have to notice what it is about the bra that bothers you throughout the day. So once home, after work and the moment before you pull of the bra – which most of us most probably do (guilty!) – then stop and notice what it is that bothered you today (and here I am only talking about the bra and not Claus from Accounting, who is oh SO annoying). Do the bra hooks push into the back? Is the bra itchy? Does the bra underwire cut into the skin? Where does it cut into the skin – on the sides or between the breasts? Do the bra straps slide down all the time (that was my problem)?
For sure you know that you are not entirely happy with your bra, but most of us women are quite often too busy with all kinds of things so that we do not get around to do anything about the problem, and then we face the same issues the next morning.
Now that we have recognized the problem – then we are one step further along the road to success.
Okay got it!
Do you have a quick trick to identify what is wrong with my bra?
”You can always do the t-shirt test." Carina suggests. "When you put on a tight white t-shirt, you can easily see your problem.
The problem could for example be that the upper part of the cup is open. It could also be that the bra straps or underwire cuts into the skin – none of which looks particularly nice when wearing a white t-shirt." She says.
Awesome! I can clearly see which problems I have and I’m ready for action. Moving onto my next victim - Natalie.
How would you – as a professional – measure my bra size?
”Typically I would measure you under the bust – around the ribs and across the bust. That gives me your band size as well as your cup size. But I do more then just measure you. I also look at your body shape, your breast shape as well as how far apart your breasts are from each other. " Natalie explains. "I notice which bra brand you are wearing and as well as the size you think you are..”
Are there different breast shapes?
Yes, there are 7 breast shapes – actually there are many more, but for simplicity we only work with 7.
Slender breasts are quite often fuller at the bottom and more flat at the top. Slender breasts are sometimes also longer then they are wide. It can therefore be difficult for girls with slender breasts to find the perfect bra. My advice is to buy a bra with a slightly bigger cup. If your bra has a moderately larger cup, then it’s possible to ’cradle’ the entire breast when adjusting the straps, and thereby your breasts will look more full!
Bell shaped breasts
Bell shaped breasts are very similar to slender breasts, but larger and therefore more voluminous.
Your breasts are round and they are equally full at the top as well as at the bottom.
If your breasts are round, then you can more or less choose whichever bra takes your fancy! Lucky you!
Your breasts are even and symmetric and perfectly place. You are so incredibly lucky that you don’t even need to wear a bra!
Girls that have their breasts done, quite often go for either round or teardrop implants.
Do your nipples face outwards? Then you most likely have East-West breasts.
It does not only have to be your nipples that point outwards – most often it is the entire breast that points in different directions.
The breasts of most women are actually asymmetric – both when it comes to the size and shape. But it is rare that the difference is so large that one needs to invest in special bras.
Should you think that your breasts are visually asymmetric then a great tip is to buy a padded bra and remove one pad, thereby providing additional fill to the smaller of the two breasts.
Teardrop shaped breasts
Teardrop shaped breasts – are shaped like teardrops. The breasts are round and less full at the top. That is also a typical implant model when having the breasts done – but that’s a whole other story.
Side Set breasts
Is there a wide space between your breasts? Then they are called side set breasts. Side set breasts are typically fuller then the East West breasts and the nipples are normally not pointing outwards.
Okay... so my breast shape does mean something?
"People are always very focused on the sizes written in the bra – band and cup size – and yes, obviously those two things means something" says Natalie. "But the breast shape and the bra type is equally as important to take into account. ” Pew, it’s not exactly getting any easier…
Natalie continues “Just as an example, some women with East West shaped breasts or side set shaped breasts have a large space between the breasts and cannot wear a bra with long underwire that is made to support the entire breast. They can on the other hand quite perfectly wear a bra with a short underwire.
Let’s go back to the bra size again!
I use a 75B, but I find the band size too loose, should I then go for a 70B?
"No. There is this concept that we call the ’sister-sizing’. A concept that no one really knows – or when it comes down to it - understands." The expert tell me(!)
"But please, let me explain, using your bra size as an example; a 75B is equal to a 70C. The only difference is that the 70C has a shorter band. Should you wish to move in the other direction, and go for a bigger size, then an 80A could also be a B cup – it just has a larger band."
… okay, now I am really confused! Please would you explain that again - and maybe even paint me a picture ;-)
”To cut it down to basics, the B cup is not the same size for a 70B and a 75B. The size of the cup changes, depending on the length of the band.” A very patient Natalie tells me.
Ahaaaa! That means that I should actually try a 70C – i.e. go one size down in the band and one size up in the cup. Then the cup would be the same size as my 75B?
Okay, now let’s test the expert.
Lets imagine that you need a cup size smaller then 80A. Then what?
"If you use bra size 80A, but would like a smaller cup, then you need a size 80AA."
- wow she has the answer to everything!
But wait, double letters means that the cup is smaller? I thought it meant a larger cup – like DD.
"If you use an A cup and want a smaller cup, then it is double, triple, quadruple – the more double, the smaller the cup.” Natalie says and continues ”But in the other end of the scale – it’s correct – a DD is twice the size of a D.
This is very confusing and actually the DD and DDD do not even belong amongst the European sizes – they are American, but have recently managed to sneak into Europe. Very likely because of the increase in internet shopping.”
But what is DD and DDD then in the European size charts?
”DD is the same as our E cup and DDD corresponds to our F cup." – she’s good, no wonder they call her an expert.
OK, now let’s try with another expert, Louise - and see if she can help me solve my bra problem.
My problem is that my bra straps keep on falling down. What can I do to stop this?
"One of the reasons why your straps are falling down could be that you either have narrow or slightly slanted shoulders" Louise explains. "If that’s the case, then I’d recommend that you use a halterneck bra or a bra with detachable straps – so that you can cross over the straps at the back. That should solve your problem.”
“You can also try to adjust your bra straps for at tighter fit and see if that helps. The bra straps do get looser the more you wear your bra and that’s why you must remember to adjust them from time to time."
Louise also explains that many women buy bras online and never adjusts the straps to their own measurements when receiving them.
How many bras do I need?
"You probably have around 20 bras lying in your drawer, including the ones you bought 10 years ago. You do not need that many" Louise explains. “I recommend 2-3 neutral t-shirts bras – in the colour that is the closest to your skin tone. They are the ones that have to work for you on a daily basis – the ever-day bra. Next my recommendation is a black or coloured t-shirt bra – to get some variation. You also need a nude and black strapless bra and a soft and comfortable bra without underwire - a bralette – for the comfy moments. That is a total of 7 bras which makes sense to have in your underwear drawer.”
Okay, Louise then totally forgot all the beautiful and sexy bras that are a MUST have, but we only wear once. And how about all the impulse-bought bras?! Hmmm, I’m not sure I agree with the number 7 – but OK maybe we can meet halfway at 14…
Can I wear the same bra day after day?
Please don’t! Accordingly to Louise, when wearing your bra you stretch the elastic material from which the bra is produced. The bra needs a break of at least 24 – 48 hours to retract back to normal.
If you wear the same bra over several days, it will not be able to keep the shape for more than a few months. That’s why Louise recommends that you have at least 3 everyday bras to alternate with.
I hate laundry… How often should I wash my bras?
"That really depends on how often you wear your bras. If your wear them several times a week, then you for sure need to wash them once a week. If you do not wear them that often, then you do not need to wash them very often." - Okay, that makes sense. "But it is very individual, and if you sweat a lot, then I would recommend that you wash your bras more often. We are all different and so are our bodies." FIY – the more often you wash your bras the more quickly the will get ‘worn’ and go out of shape.
How do I best wash my bras?
I heard that it is best to wash your bras by hand – but is that really necessary?
"Technically - yes. But we all know that we don’t get around to doing that – the bras end up in the machine with the rest of the laundry." – OK – busted. I’m not saying anything, but just keep on listening.
"The next best thing is to put the bras into a laundry bag when washing them in the machine, that way you’ll avoid the bras getting stuck or entangled in other clothes."
I have heard that you under no circumstances can put them in the tumble dryer – why?
"Heat is the bra’s enemy no 1. All bras have a bit of spandex in the material – that’s what makes your bra elastic and keeps the shape – and heat ruins spandex."
Thank you so very much to the 3 girls, their time, advice and guidance!
I am now much wiser on how to find the right bra – next step for me is to buy the perfect halterneck bra so that I’ll get around my ‘sliding strap’ problem, Yay!