A Collegiette’s Guide to Your ACTUAL Bra Size
I love lingerie. It’s pretty evident: I have an entire drawer devoted to Hanky Pankys, my door handle is a hanger for nighties and slips, and I own over 30 bras. My love started in high school when I got a job at a local lingerie boutique, Trousseau.
But sadly, a lot of women don’t love it. It’s awkward, sometimes uncomfortable, and made up of a bunch of weird numbers and letters as sizes. But the key to starting to love lingerie comes with this little bit of information: you’re wearing the wrong bra size.
Collegiettes, you’re not alone: 80% of women are. But it’s making you look short and fat. Women wear bras too big in the band and too small in the cup. It might be hard to wrap your head around, but DD is not the largest bra size there is. It goes up to about an L cup now (yes, I said L, don’t panic). And all cup sizes are not created equal. A 34C and a 36C are not the same. To avoid confusion, I’ll break this down, starting at the beginning:
The first thing to do is measure your band size. Wrap a measuring tape underneath your bust and take note of that number. Then add five (you might have to subtract one to make it an even number). Surprised? Skinnier than you thought? You should only be able to fit two fingers under the back of a band. Your support actually should come from the band (not the straps), so it needs to be tight. A general, general, way to look at this is a size 4/6 is a 32, a 6/8 is a 34, a 10/12 is a 36, a 12/14 is a 38, and so on. But everyone is built different, so pull out that measuring tape and then try something on!
Moving on to cup size…let me debunk the biggest myth. There is no way to measure cup size! You cannot measure if you are an A, B, C, etc. by subtracting a measurement from your band size number! Everyone carries her weight in her chest differently. This is also because each cup size is specific to its band size. A 36A is a 34B is a 32C…get it? If you fill a water balloon and put it in each of those cups it will fill the same amount. So, if you’ve been wearing a 34C and have to go down in the band size, welcome to the D cup!
Because you cannot measure it, the only way to know if it fits properly is to put one on and check it out. First, check if the center part of the bra lies flat against your breastbone. (Wow, it’s actually supposed to sit there!?…Yeah.) Next check if the underwire on the outside lines up with your armpit. Check if any of your girls are popping out over the top—no one should have four boobs. Then raise your arms over your head. No underboob? You’re probably good to go!
For the ladies who have been blessed with a little more (sadly I cannot join you…), you have to venture now into the “scary” world of what comes after a D cup. In the US, it’s a DD. But as many of you probably know, that just doesn’t cut it. (Note: never go up in band size to make room for more DD’s…that doesn’t work!) A simple way to look at is like this: A, B, C, D, E(DD), F(DDD), G(DDDD), and it goes up. Careful, though, this is for French companies like Chantelle, Simone Perele, and Aubaude. British companies like Fantasie go like this—hang on: A, B, C, D, DD, E, EE, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ….
Wow, right? A lot to take in. But it is a fun process once you get the hang of it (living proof, right here!). The best thing to do is try it out and try things on. Take some friends and go figure it out. Unfortunately, Blacksburg and Christiansburg do not have much more than a Victoria’s Secret, and they do not accommodate many sizes at all. Look around for boutiques or specific departments in department stores.
If you’re majorly struggling, come find me. Seriously. I love this stuff. A fun fact to leave you with: The average American woman claims to be a 36C, but when properly measured, she’s a 34F!