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Getting Abreast of Bra Sizing
A sizeable issue
Have you ever tried to work out what your actual bra size is?
Let me tell you a true story.
A few years ago, I walked into Mothercare, eight months pregnant feeling very heavy and miserable. My already ample-at-pre-pregnancy bosoms were fighting their way out of the only maternity bra I owned that was so tight, 'left' now had the word "Triumph" permanently engraved on it and 'right' was sobbing into my belly button.
I was uncomfortable, boiling hot (it was the middle of summer), in constant agony and my back was screaming,
"Please, NO more milk today!"
I quickly advanced to a greater discomfort zone after flashing two melonous sandbags to a rather shocked looking shop assistant - who breathed, "Oh my goodness," before hurriedly ushering me into a changing room to be measured; and not before giving her bemused colleague a "did you see those apples?" look.
Fast forward to a memory from three years later, when I walked into Ann Summers as Valentines day approached and whispered sheepishly to the shop assistant,
"Do you have anything in a 38FF?"
To this day I will never forget her response, which was loud enough for the raincoat parade outside licking the windows to hear:
"38 DOUBLE F?!?"
If, like me, you have, ahem, jumped the queue when God was handing out bosoms you will find it embarrassing, but extremely necessary to find your correct bra size. And you would rather consult the Google Guru than face dropping your melons out to a pretty 20 something girl called Nicky in a lingerie shop.
You would think some online research might be a godsend for the likes of us, wouldn't you? Well, here's another true story. Today I entered the search term “how to measure bra size” and this is what happened...
The Top Search Results:
1) M & S
Marks and Spencer advises us to "measure overbust and underbust and simply cross reference the two measurements you have taken.”
OK.. The first thing I notice is that my overbust (amplest part to you and I) measurement of 46 doesn’t even exist on the chart. The second thing I notice, is my underbust measurement of 39, doesn’t even exist on the chart. The over bust measurements only go up to 44 and all the given figures for underbust are in fact, in measures of .5.
Therefore, my self-concluded bra size is gleaned from the not-really-there axis result. Basically, somewhere between the 37.5 and 39.5. Follow this with making a guess at what comes next after the largest oversize measurement on the chart - 44 (have you lost the will to live yet?) I conclude I'm either a 42H or a 42G.
This site has the most simple to follow instruction of all – throw away your tape measure. Done.
Now it continues to say that “years of experience of working with you to find your perfectly fitting bra means we believe that tape measures don't help when it comes to finding a bra that fits properly.” Makes sense. But then, how exactly do I find out my size as per the teasing “Getting The Perfect Fit” article title?
What Bravissimo goes on to tell us is how to check that the bra you are wearing is a perfect fit or not, which presumably it isn’t or you wouldn’t have entered the Google search term “how to measure bra size.” Would you?
Bravissimo’s approach does seem to make sense, but the website advice rather cleverly (or not as the case may be) only leads you to the single conclusion that you need to go into the store and get measured. Clever because instore customers can’t simply switch websites and would be less inclined to go buy a cheaper bra elsewhere after they've been measured. Not so clever when, in my case, I have a meagre bra-buying sum in the bank, live in a rural area miles from the shops, don’t drive and want to buy one online today. So not today Bravissimo. Next…
3) An international bra size calculator from 85.b.org
Hurrah – this looks nice and easy. A simple online calculator to input underbust and overbust size and also, added bonus of above bust/chest size. Different. OK, where did I put my measuring tape? Ah yes, Bravissimo told me to put it in the bin..
After taking my measurements I input the results, click enter for result: 44B
As the pesky-yet-curiously-funny meerkat says, "Simples!"
Another simple calculator asking for above, below and across the bosom measurements. And this time, I find I am a 40C
Curiouser and curiouser – as Alice in Wonderland said. Probably when trying to work out her bra size...
After wondering why I never raced to buy this domain name, I read the concise list of instructions:
- Measure under your bust and:
add 4ins. if the measurement obtained is an even number of inches or
add 5ins. if the measurement obtained is an odd number of inches.
So, 39 +5 = 44
- Measure over your bust and as my bra size is 2” over my cup size, the site says I am a C
Ample Bosom conclusion: I’m a 44C
And last (yes it is nearing the end) but by no means least:
Under band - If the measurement is even, add 4"
If the measurement is odd, add 5"
39 + 5 = 44
Full bust measurement, i.e cup size = 46
Finally, to work out my size I subtract my band measurement from my cup measurement
44-46 = -2
This means, my standard cupsize is below AA – it isn’t even on the chart!
I think - therefore I am(!) - minus 2 minus AA?
Excuse me.. did I just reach the elusive size zero they all talk about in the US?
It's only fair to stress that all of the above sites have a disclaimer advising us they only aim to provide a general indication of your bra size and 'the best guide is a bra you already wear which is comfortable.'
But then, chances of finding the bra that is comfortable is greatly reduced by massive differentiations between how to measure your bra size online!
So I'm off to shop. Anyone know where I can buy two parachutes?
© 2011 Heather Hill