Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why you should go get a professional bra fitting

I realize I just told you all about how to measure yourself for a bra. But really, the very best way to make sure your bra fits is to go to an experienced fitter.

Not only are they skilled experts in ascertaining the fit of your bra, but they can tell you what styles might work best for you based on the shape and placement of your breasts, what your needs are, etc. They should also know their stock well, and, just like clothes, fit will vary from brand to brand and style to style. So they will be able to tell you, “you would normally be a 32F but this brand runs loose in the band, so I would suggest that you try a 30FF.” And it is invaluable to be able to try things on and see which ones you like the fit of the best. They should also show you how to put on a bra correctly. This can make a HUGE difference in the size you need. In addition, if you have been wearing a style that's vastly wrong for you, then you won't be used to the feeling of a well fitting bra and so anything that's better than what you have could seem perfect at first!

However, sadly, an experienced bra fitter is hard to find, especially in the US. I have heard all too many stories of women going to an “experienced bra fitter” only to have them try to convince the woman that they need the wrong size, just so they can make a sale, or because they weren't so experienced on fit after all.

This is why I told you to measure yourself. You have to go informed. See what size you think you need before you go to try on bras. Be informed on how a properly fitting bra should look.

It also might be the case that you simply cannot get to a fitter. If this is the case, I encourage you to make this a priority. However, in the meantime, you may wish to measure yourself and order online. Even if the size you get isn't perfect for you, it will probably be a big improvement!

I would suggest you research online for the best fitters in your area. If you travel, make it a habit to look and see if there are any well reviewed or recommended fitters in the place you are traveling to. If there are no fitters in your home area then this may be the only way you can get a fitting. If there are, then a second opinion never hurts anything!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to measure your bra size, the correct way!

Ladies, this isn't something there is more than one right way to do. There are many, many sites (Even manufacturer's websites!) that will tell you the incorrect way of measuring. Many will tell you to measure your band size above your boobs, or to add 5 or 6 inches to your band measurement. This is absolutely, positively, NOT CORRECT. Don't do it. Just don't. I don't care what they tell you. It's not correct. Here's how to do it right.

It would help if you can enlist somebody else to help you measure. If you can't I find it helpful to measure in front of a mirror so that you can tell better whether you are holding the tape straight or not. You will need a cloth, non stretchy, inch tape measure.
  1. Put on your best fitting bra. It shouldn't be padded but a bit of molding is probably fine.
  2. Measure around your rib cage, right under your breasts. Keep the tape as straight and parallel to the floor as possible. Measure this tight! You don't need to be straining to pull it tight as a corset, or leaving marks on your skin, or anything like that. But you should measure this much snugger than you would normally measure another part of your body. Write down your rib measurement.
  3. Measure around your breasts. Measure loosely this time. It might help to lean forward, especially if the bra you are wearing isn't particularly supportive. Write down this measurement.
  4. The rib measurement you wrote down is your band size. If it's a fraction, just round to the nearest whole number. If it's an odd number, say 31, you should try both band sizes around this (A 30 and a 32.)
  5. Now take the breast measurement you came up with. Subtract your band size from this number. (For example if you measured 29.5 and you were going to start with a 30 band and you measured 36 inches around your bustline, then the result would be 6.)
  6. Each number is a cup size. It generally goes: A,B,C,D,DD,E,F,FF,G,GG, H,HH,J,JJ,K,KK... But, brands can be slightly inconsistent. Some brands might skip some of those, or substitute DDD for E, or something, so double check to make sure that you are buying the size you think you are! In addition, some brands or styles may run large or small and you may have to adjust accordingly.
  7. If you thought you were a 36DD, and you come up with something like 30H, don't freak out! You aren't weird, I promise. So many people are wearing the wrong size that we have a really distorted idea of what a “normal” size is. Just give it a try. It's only a number!
    **If you want to know my recommendations on where to buy bras in a large range of sizes, click here.

    Once you have figured out our size according to the above methods, remember that it's only a starting point. If you try that size and you are still seeing signs of a poor fit, it may because you need to go up or down in the band or cup. Or it may even be because that style or brand of bra is incompatible with your body or breast shape. Keep trying until your find the perfect fit!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    My Story

    I am hourglass shaped, although I didn't realize it until recently. My research into clothing for the hourglass shaped woman began three years ago. At the time, I just wanted a bra that didn't dig into my shoulders, giving me painful welts and blisters. I wanted to not be slipping out of the bottom of the cups. I wanted my breasts not to hurt all of the time. I also wanted to help my mother, who suffered from the same problems I did. What I found was shocking. Everything I thought I knew about bra sizing, everything all of my friends and family thought they knew about bra sizing, was wrong.

    Wearing the right size bra is truly life changing. You look much better and your bra isn't uncomfortable! After I began wearing the right size and realized how much better it was, I began to wonder about clothing. I could pretty much only fit into stretchy t-shirts. But when I wanted to dress nicer-like for a job interview- It was challenging. Besides, I was (am) young, and I'm an artist. I wanted to wear things that were fun. I wanted to wear styles I couldn't fit into but knew would look good on me if I could, like halter necks, empire waists, anything with underbust detailing. I knew there must be clothing that would fit me.

    Finally, after much research, I have found companies that cater to thin, but curvy women. I want to share them with you. But first, I want to talk about bra fitting. Trust me, the most important part by far of your wardrobe is going to be your bra. But most places, especially in the US, will tell you the wrong size out of ignorance or a desire to sell you a size they stock. What to do? You will have to take charge of becoming your own fit expert! So, in my next post, I will tell you the correct way to measure for a bra.

    Sunday, October 24, 2010

    Why I'm making this Blog

    The hourglass. Possibly the most misunderstood body type. I have seen it used to mean plus size. I have repeatedly heard references to it being the body type that all clothing is designed for, or the body type that fashion models have. Some people think that if you are chesty, that automatically means you are hourglass shaped. Some think that curvy hips means you are an hourglass. Even the most conscientious of body image writers will say things like, "everybody has body issues, unless you are tall and thin and hourglass shaped," or "I aim to help those who are not hourglass shaped find flattering clothes." When you look up fashion advice for hourglass shaped women, you almost always read, "If you are hourglass shaped, you have the perfect body type. You can wear anything." This, as you know if you are curvy, is very untrue. Clothing companies almost all create clothing designed for a B cup!

    To add to the confusion, the word "curvy" has been taken over as a euphemism for plus sized. While I mean no offense to larger women, this is incorrect and leads to confusion. I wish to attempt to reclaim the original definition of curvy: a woman of ANY size who either has large hips in comparison to her waist, or large breasts in comparison to her waist, or both.

    I am hourglass shaped, and at this point I have done literally years of research on bras, clothing, and body image issues surrounding women who have curves, particularly women who have large breasts. In my research I also read hundreds of comments and forum posts and yahoo answers posts and more, from women and girls of all ages who were just as frustrated as me. Many of them hated their bodies and their large chests. One very young teenager vividly described wanting to take a chainsaw and cut off her breasts. It was heartbreaking, and many of these women never received answers. I couldn't answer them all individually. So that's why I want to start this blog. I want to share my findings with as many frustrated, curvy women out there as possible. I want to help them to love their bodies and feel respected and comfortable in their skin. I want to help them feel beautiful.