Friday, August 13, 2010

How To Figure Out Your Bra Size: A Useful Guide From A Qualified Expert

I worked for Victoria's Secret the summer after my Freshman year of college. People at church were shocked.

"A Kaiser Girl is working at Victoria's Secret??"

(I don't get it. You guys know me- of course I would work at Victoria's Secret.)

It was like they expected me to immediately start humping random strangers in the dressing rooms.

(Not that there's anything wrong with doing that.)

(Kidding, obviously. That would be immoral. At least exchange names first.)

I learned a lot of important things that summer:

1. How to stop a shoplifter in his tracks:

"Excuse me! Sorry, but that thong is falling out of your pocket. Would you like me to put it back for you?"

2. How to diagnose the problem in a bra:

"See how your boob is overflowing? That means the bra cup is too small. Nice tattoo, by the way."

3. How to make enemies of the other sales girls:

"Oh hey, it's time for my break! Have fun getting that guy out of her dressing room. She's moaning so loud, it's frightening the other customers."

4. How to reassure a cross-dresser with a perfectly straight face:

"You and your wife want matching lingerie? No problem. Do you two prefer lace, or leather?"

But my most useful life skill?

5. How to measure your chest, and determine your bra size.

And now I'm going to share that wisdom with you.

Before we begin

Take a tape measure. Or a piece of string and a ruler.

Put a bra on. One with little or no padding works best. This makes it MUCH easier to find the fullest point of your chest, which we will need for step 2.

Step 1. Determining Your Band Size

Tightly measure your ribs, right under your boobs. Your arms should be down. If this measurement is an odd number, round up to the nearest even number. Make a note of the inches. For me, it's 31", so I round up to 32.

That's your band size. I wear a 32 (but a 34 fits on the tightest notch).

A note about notches: The problem with starting on the tightest notch is that as you wear it, the material will stretch. If you're starting on the loosest notch, you can gradually tighten it.

If your band size is an even number, you may want to go up 2 inches. If I was a 34, a 36 might fit better. It depends on the stretch of the material.

Do not add 5 inches! That is an outdated method, which dates back to 1930. Back then bra design was new, and that system does not work with the stretchier materials used today.

Step 2. Determining Your Cup Size

Measure around the fullest part of your chest. Do this loosely. You should be able to fit 2-3 fingers between your chest and the tape measure/string. Make a note of those inches. For me, it's 38".

Now, what's the difference between the cup size measurement and the band size measurement?

Here is the equation, with my numbers: 38-31 = 7.

For each inch of difference, you have a letter.

1 inch = A

2 inches = B

3 inches = C

4 inches = D

5 inches = DD

6 inches = E

7 inches = F

And so on.

So yes, I am a 32 F. Try finding that size in a store.

Which brings me to my next point. What if you are in a store, and you fall in love with a bra, but they don't have it in your size?

If you are normally a 34C, you can try a on 36B. The cups will fit, because the cups on a 34C and a 36B are the same size. The band will be a little loose, but you can try it on it's tightest notch, or work some safety-pin magic (ghetto, but semi-effective).

Where most women go wrong.

Because the cup size is directly related to the band size, if you are fairly slim, you may need a large cup size even though your boobs don't look any bigger than average.

The pros of wearing the correct size:

Your boobs will get better support. Which means they will sag less.

(this is incredibly useful. I learned things, and I'm an expert.)

You're Welcome.

Disclaimer: Using this method will tell you what size to try on first. Bra size can be effected by distribution of body fat, back proportions, or a difference in the manufacturers sizing, among other things. There are many factors that interact with your bra size, and I can't predict them all.

 (all uncredited images used in this post have been purchased)



Unknown said...

So ... any tips on how to BUY from VS without crying over an empty bank account? lol

Julie S said...

This is great! I desperately need a new bra after recently having a baby and you know being a completely different (er bigger!!) bra size!!!! Cute blog, I'm following from NFF


Chantel said...

Very good tips! And if I ever work at Victoria's Secret I'm going to memorize the ways you handled problems.

By the way I gave you an award at my blog.

Kelley said...

Thanks so much... I never can seem to get a bra to fit correctly, this is really helpful.

Have a great weekend.

Unknown said...

This post is awesome. I really like your "how to stop a shop lifter" section. I can totally hear you saying that! :)

I swear that my bra's fit -when I was 20 lbs lighter. Now I have a very small quadra boob problem. Don't worry -I'm working on it.

Happy Friday! :)

Amber Dawn said...

I love it! Thank you...this was honestly incredibly helpful to learn! :) Happy bra shopping now to me! :)

Seaexplore said...

Great post but I have to say, Victoria's Secret did not fit me properly the 5 different stores/times I went in to get bras. They had me in a 36DD and when I got fitted at Nordstroms for a strapless bra (and subsequently bought 4 regular ones as well because they FIT properly) I was a 32G. Now, how can all the Victoria's Secret girls fit me WRONG? When I left the store with NEW bras having saggy boobs and thinking they large breasts were a curse because I looked HUGE and uncomfortable. I mean, seriously, I got some WONDERFULLY fitting SUPPORTIVE bras at Nordstroms and people were asking me left and right if I had lost weight. I think that the girls who work at Victoria's Secret are trained to fit people with smaller breasts and they need to just tell people whom they cannot fit that they don't have anything in their size rather than sell them illfitting too big bras that make the buyer look saggy and NOT hot.

Ok, rant over.

The Undomestic Mom said...

I so needed to read this!!

Helena said...

Tiffany, I think a lot of sales girls are trained wrong in this. That's why I wrote the correct system down, so you can see for yourself. I'm not sure exactly where they went wrong, but here are a few ideas:

Remember how the cup size and band size are related? A 32F and a 36DD are the same cup size. Since VS doesn't carry anything bigger than a DD, they may have just sized the band up, so they could still make a sale.

I know you are thinking "but I'm a G, not an F", but some bra makers do not use DD's, but rather go from a D to an E. So your G could be an F in another brand.

I'm not sure, but that would be my guess.

The Single Nester said...

What if the girls are pointing towards Venezuela? Does this factor into the equation :)

I have been professionally fitted and according to your directions, I am right on point.

Adam and Jess said...

Helena, I wouldn't expect LESS of you for working there and sharing the benefits with all of us. Gosh, it would be confusing trying to figure out if a 32G is the same size as 36DD

Alicia said...

I know this is kind of old, but I just found your blog (love it btw) and can't help but post. I worked at VS after my freshan year too. You definately have to learn tricks on how to deal with certain customers. My all time fav were the old ladys that wanted me to come check their bra and they don't even have it on. Gotta love saggy boobs. :D

Cathy Anderson said...

Most of my bras are from here. They fit well and last pretty long, NowI plan to order playtex wirefree bra

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