Bra Blues


No one wants a chorus of “Ears Hang Low” sung in their direction, but, unfortunately, 80 percent of women deserve such a serenade for wearing the wrong cup and/ or band size.

Wearing an improperly-sized bra will offer poor back support and increase back pain. In addition, the weighed-down effect will trickle into a hunched-over stance and dig into your shoulders. In the long run, your posture will suffer and you will be transformed into the hunchback of Notre Dame, minus the happy Disney ending.

Conversely, the right fit will give the illusion of a trimmer waistline and ultimately, make you feel more comfortable.

Before we go any further, consider the following questions: Do the bras you wear leave red imprints? Do you feel a load of relief after removal? Is removing your bra the best part of your day? Yes? Then let’s proceed.

Band size: Use a tape measure to go around the part of your rib cage right under your bust. Add between three and four inches to that value. Keep in mind the band will stretch after a few uses, so you don’t want to start off with a size that’s semi-loose on the last notch.

Cup size: Circle the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust so that it is snug but comfortable. Round it to the nearest even number and subtract it from the band size value. 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, 4 = D and so on.

Follow those steps to kiss your bra blues goodbye. Have you ever suffered from bra blues, Clutchettes?

-Nadiah Rodriguez

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  • The biggest problem is that we continue to believe anyone over a DD is a freak of nature/wanna be pornstar/has implants/fat. It is very difficult to find a properly fitting bra if you fall out of the mainstream sizes. I wear an 34H. Or more in some bras. It doesn’t look out of proportion. But tell it to the lingerie shops. We could use more education on a properly fitting bras and way more options.

    I remember bra shopping with a friend. She tried on a bra, in a C-cup. She was popping out but it was a really flattering design and shape. I told her to try on the D and it would look great. She freaked out. “There is no way I am a D cup.” And didn’t buy the bra because of the “D” stigma.

    I have gone bra shopping, told the clerk my size and she were incredulous. One, because my cups were “huge!” Obviously I can’t be an H. And then because was my band was smaller than she perceived (I am a size 14/16 in clothing). She assumed I must be a 40D or something like that. The same thing happens at Victoria’ s Secret.

    Once we can address the size stigma, it will be a lot easier to get women into properly fitting bras.

    • shoot sofia vergara just revealed that she is a 32F!

    • MDA

      Yeah, what people don’t understand is that the volume that a cup holds also depends on the band size of that bra. I wear a 30D, but it’s not as big as some people think. Yes, my breasts are still a bit bigger for a woman my size (size 0/2, jeans 24/25), but they’re not super huge, which is what people think when they find out my size involves a D CUP. A well-trained lingerie specialist can explain this better, but the sister sizes to my size–36A, 34B, 32C, and 28E– actually hold the same amount of breast “volume.” The biggest difference among those sizes is the size of the upper body, the length of the band–not breast volume.

      Basically, it’s like this:

      30DD = 32D = 34C = 36B = 38A
      30D = 32C = 34B = 36A
      30C = 32B = 34A = 36AA

      …and so forth. ;-)

    • Whatever

      I feel your pain! I am a 32H and I end up spending $50 and up for my bras. I go to Intimacy and Linda the Bra Lady (both have online stores as well). There is also Bravissimo as well for bigger cup sizes. I hate that it is just assumed the average woman is an A-D cup. That is false and forces many women to walk around wearing the wrong size bra and spilling out the cups. Victoria Secret is a joke, I don’t even go in there. I can’t believe after all these years they only go up to DD.

  • Every time i get measured i come out as a 35 D and a half.

    really what am i supposed to with that. so 36 D it is.

    • nona

      Yes, apparently my bust is 31″, but bras don’t come in odd sizes. So I usually just go with a 32B if it’s a good quality bra, and 34B when i get them from forever 21, lol.

    • MDA

      I wear 30D. Bras do come in “odd sizes” but popular chain stores like Soma Intimates and Victoria Secret along with discount and midrange department stores like Macys, Target and Khols don’t carry the brands that make those sizes.

      You have to go to a real lingerie shop if you live in a major metropolitan area or high-end store like Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue. There’s also Intimacy. Of course, there’s always online sites like Fig Leaves, Bare Necessities and Her Room. I love Her Room the most because customers get a $20 certificate for every $100 they spend + free standard shipping or discounted expedited shipping (i.e. $2 for USPS Priority!) But all of them are good because of the sales, which leads to to my next tip…

      Be prepared to spend more money if you wear an “odd size” because brands that make those sizes tend to be European based and more expensive. My favorite brands that make my size are Chantelle, Simone Perele, Huit and Le Mystere. I love the colors Cosabella makes but they don’t make my real size, so I might buy the 32C, which sometimes fits decently, depending on the brand.

      On average, I spend maybe $80 per bra if it’s not on sale, which is the cause of my bra blues. That, and the fact that I don’t care for a lot of the designs that are out there.

    • Shanetta

      Go to a department store, Nordstrom, Saks, or bloomingdales and get properly measured, Vitoria Secret Measuring is awful

  • I worked at Victoria’s Secret for a while. That’s where I really learned the importance of the right bra. We also were trained on how to measure a bra size. Thanks so much, VS! Because of that job, I’ll always wear the right bra.

  • Politicalguineapig

    I wear a very small size (A B, maaybe?) and I still can’t find non-sport bras that fit well. I don’t have a lot of money, so I just wear the same set of bras until they wear out. I’d wear sport bras all the time, but I don’t think constant compression is good.