Friday, July 22, 2011

Why do I advise women to measure themselves?

 To many of you, this might seem like a ridiculous question: Why do I tell women how to measure their bra size? But believe it or not, many people are in favor of giving up on measuring tapes entirely.

You see, the best way to get the perfect bra is to go to a highly experienced fitter. This fitter can generally "eyeball" something close to your size, based on the bra you are currently wearing. It can often be a sign of inexperience if a fitter reaches for a tape measure, because it probably means they will be fitting women according to a formula, and not have a true knowledge of how a bra should fit. It doesn't matter if you measure a 32F or 30G or whatever, if the bra is giving you 4 boobs, it doesn't fit. Not to mention that sizing is going to vary a little bit in different brands and styles, and a good fitter know their inventory and can save you headaches by only bringing you styles and sizes they know will work for you.

So, it's much better if fitters simply know how to tell what a bra that fits looks like. Then we don't even need to deal with messy measurement algorithms and if you are a different size from what your measurements suggest, there's no problem with trying to shove women into a predetermined formula.

And then there's the fact that measuring is difficult and often quite inaccurate. It is especially hard to measure a woman's cup size with a tape measure, because cup size can vary so much based on the shape of your breasts. Plus, measuring over a badly fitting bra can lead to a very inaccurate measurement, often because the woman's boobs will be smashed down by the bra.

It's also really hard to fit yourself totally correctly at home. The importance of putting the bra on correctly is vastly underestimated and a too-small cup size can seem fine until you really pull your breasts in from the size. And even a really bad bra can seem great compared to an even worse bra that you might have previously been wearing.

Also, bra measurement methods are somewhat controversial- some people, like me, are opposed to adding inches to your underbust measurement, and say you should take roughly that as your size. Many places tell you to add between 4 and 6 inches to your underbust measurement. A few places, like Victoria's Secret, even tell you to measure above your breasts to get your band size! You might as well measure your foot...

Many online stores, like Bravissimo, refuse to even put a bra size chart on their website, instead describing how a bra should fit and suggesting you visit your nearest fitter.

It's clear that telling people how to measure is pretty problematic. So why do I do it?

Because I want you to be informed customers.

Even if you have what appears to be a great bra fitter in your area, if you know your measurements and the basics of how a bra should fit, then you can tell if the bras you are being given come close to fitting or not. Then you can tell if the fitter is doing their job.

A lot of times, a great bra fitting can be a wonderful prevention for a breast reduction. I, and other advocates of bra fitting, work very hard to get the message across that a good bra fitting can make surgery unnecessary.  A reduction might be an ok choice for some women, after other options have been exhausted. But I firmly believe in preventing unnecessary surgery.

But when women take that message to heart, and go to a fitter who does a bad job? They then assume that bra fitting won't work for them. They're just too big. They're weird, mutants, diseased. They need a cure for this horrible disfiguring disease they must have. Their boobs are so big they give them such pain and even an "experienced bra fitter" can't help them! They must need to chop those things off. All too often I hear from women who say "I got fitted, but I still have back pain/straps cutting in/4 boobs/ whatever. They think that they have already tried bra fittings and that bras must just suck... or that there is simply no hope for them.

For example, a friend of mine is getting a breast reduction in a month. I told her to try getting a better fitting and suggested where she could go. She told me, "[Mutual friend] already took me to get fitted. They told me I'm already in the biggest size made." Doubtfully, I asked what size they put her in. The reply? 34G. They told her 34G was the biggest size. I tried to explain that the fitters did not do a good job and that I could tell she needed a different size. Sadly, she did not listen to me and is still going through with the surgery. (I think she really just wants her boobs to be smaller for other reasons, and has to have "back pain" to get her insurance to pay for it.)

Also, the vast, vast majority of women in the United States simply do not have access to good bra fitters. It's easy for Bravissimo and places like that to say that you should just go get fitted. If you are one of my many British and Polish readers, you may not appreciate just how impossible it is to find a bra fitter. Most women in the United States are probably hours, if not days, drive from a fitter who isn't utterly worthless (ie Victoria's Secret or some such.) And if they can't even tell if that fitter, if that shop, is good or not... it's no wonder most people are shoving themselves into increasingly large band sizes+D.

But even if you are completely unable to make it in to see a fitter, and you order your bras solely online based on measurement and fitting advice, you can still get a great fit. Even if you don't do perfectly, it's likely that the new bras will be a vast improvement.

And most importantly, having online demand for more diverse sizing will send a powerful message to manufacturers, store owners, etc that yes, customers do want theses sizes, and they do want proper fittings. Bra fitting is increasing in popularity, and women are starting to make it known they won't settle for less than a perfect fit. And the industry is responding. Soon, more and more private bra boutiques will open up, making fittings accessible to more and more people. Perhaps larger department stores will rethink their fitting policies and size inventory. Even Victoria's Secret is rumored to be introducing larger than DD cup sizes. When well done bra fittings are available to everyone in the US, then yes, I will suggest that you toss aside that measuring tape and go get fitted. In the mean time, I'm doing the best I can to spread proper bra fitting.


  1. "You might as well measure your foot..." LOL.

    I agree that measuring can be the only practical option if you can't go to a reliable bra fitter, although I feel that even the best measuring formula can only be a starting point. At the German forum Busenfreundinnen, the bra fitting team (some of whom are professional fitters IRL) ask for *five* different measurements, a description of breast shape, plus details like age, height/weight, past pregnancies... and after taking all that information into account, they usually recommend several different sizes to try. There's clearly an understanding that no one formula works for everybody.

    I'm saying all this because after working out my correct size, I found that lots of bras in that size still didn't fit properly - needless to say, this was frustrating, and I did wonder if my body was the problem. It took me a long time to understand that some brands/styles won't fit me in my usual size, and some won't fit me in *any* size; that's just how it goes.

    That aside, it sounds like some fitters (however well-intentioned) are just making things worse for their customers. If your friend was told "34G is the largest size we carry" or "34G is the largest size in this particular brand", that would be different, but anyone who thinks 34G is the largest size in existence should not be working as a bra fitter.

  2. I have always been large breasted. Even as a tween I was large for my age. When I got to age 16 i had start going to a specialty stores cause the sears near me stopped at 32DD. I tried a bra store near me called Lady Grace, they had nothing that was pretty in my size.

    When talking to an older female fitter, I mentioned that my button down tops were gaping and is there anything I can do about it. She pulled out this huge minimizer. As soon as i put it on I could tell that I was gonna get under boob sweat. It didn't give me any lift at all, instead it held them down and gave me no shape. I was 16 and had the silhouette of a 70 year old woman. I still bought the bra because I thought she knew better then me. Up in til a few years ago Lady Grace was the best place I could go to buy bras so I basically place I could go and i got poorly fitted everytime and after that first time buying a poorly fitting bra I didn't buy from them again i just got fitted and walked out.

    For years i just wore a sports bra. Until I went to Intimacy and got a good fit. But they don't have a good selection of bras in my size. It's just Panache and until recently I thought the fit was good but I have noticed that the bridge of the bras does not go all the way to my breast bone and under wire doesn't fit under my breast root. I have about an inch separation. I'm not sure if that is supposed to be there or not.

    I measure myself using your method and I came up with 50 36. but then i tried with bra to do my but measurement and I came up with 52 36. So now I would like to try a KK or and L but I haven't yet. I'm also considering just learning how to sew to make my own clothes and bras.

  3. Angela, I understand the idea of just giving up the hunt and go sewing your own bras, believe me, I've been there too. I've ended up sewing my own clothes, but bras, well they are a whole different thing.

    First, you still won't be able to find a ready pattern for your size, so you will have to construct one on your own, or, copy a bra that fits. Then, it takes a lot of tweaking, and to get that right you need to know how a good bra fits. That is something you won't be able to until you've found something that fits.

    Secondly, most stuff you need to make your own bras are not made for the heavy duty stuff I need, less the stuff you probably need. There is a lot of stretchy cups (not good), wires that can't take the pressure and well, it just doesn't work.

    Where do you live? I either suggest you try to hunt down some Panache, or try Bravissimos own brand, the later one is available in a L-cup. Anyway you will hopefully be closer to something that fits.

    Once you've made it there, feel free to experiment. There are people that knows this stuff, the girl's at bra makers blog could be good to ask.

    And, I do actually make some bras myself today, but that's just wire free onces that is integrated into pyjamas tops. I've never felt as it's actually worth it, and I have never seen a bra made from someone without years of experience that can measure up with Panache or Bravissimo. Sorry. :/

  4. Well Helena I haven't seen that many good bras made by regular people either. I have bought books and read and watched a few bra sewing blogs and know that even the people that know what they are doing don't make good bras. It's sad but true.

    I found one site that looked promising but the bras would be about $200(123GBP)a pop. No thank you. Well maybe if it look and felt like a Aubude bra.

    Although a few years ago i did try making a corset It was coming along well but then my sewing machine pooped out on me. I couldn't even put the plastic rods in that would have held it up. I think it would have ended up looking nice had I been able to keep going lol. Maybe not.

    Right now i have and old Panache Sienna bra that is suppose to give me cleavage. The underwires have long since poked out. I'm gonna get some plastic corset casing and some orange felt and see if the plastic will work as a underwire substitute. hope it works.

    Sorry to say like Brittney I live in the US. So I have to order everything I want.

  5. Thanks for this posting, Brittany! I think you 're absolutely right - measuring yourself is helpful when you do not have the option of a proper live fitting. This is the main reason why Germany's Busenfreudinnen exist. Still it is immensely difficult to guess a size from only two or even from five measurements; most of the time it gives you more of a rough idea where to start.

    @Angela: What size and bra are you wearing at the moment? Despite the fact, that many women in the j, jj, k-cup area swear on Panache (especially Ariza and Harmony/Melody-FullCup), there are also many, who are better served with Bravissimo bras, bras by Elomi or Fantasie's Kara.
    The wire should indeed enclose all of your breast tissue and the center part lay flat against your ribcage. Even if this seems improbable, this is possible! Often it's just a question of cup depth in relation to wire width. Since it's more difficult to construct into depth instead of width, big cups often do not fit larger breasts properly. But there are bras on the market that are pretty well built, so don't give up too easily. :)
    If you find a 36-band-bra is tight enough but there are no fitting cups, you could also choose a 38 or 40-band and stabilise or shorten it. This is a whole lot easier than sewing a whole bra!
    I keep my fingers crossed for your bra quest an hope you will find your perfect fit soon.

  6. Wonderful post! The nearest boutique that carries my size (34H or HH... even 32J is some brands) is four hours away. And I only know of them from doing online searches and reading the fitting recommendations on Darlene's blog, Hourglassy. Most of the women I know have never been properly fitted.

    As a teenager, I had NO IDEA about the vast resources that are available. To be honest, I didn't even understand how bra sizing worked. As my breasts got bigger, and I was sized out of the few DDD bras available at regular department stores, I just kept going up in band size until I found something that kept them somewhat contained. And then I usually added a tank-top with a "built in bra" for extra support. It has only been through online measurement guides, blogs, communities, etc. that I have been able to figure out my correct size and locate the many manufacturers and retailers that carry bras in my size. Its amazing to think of how far I've come... I truly didn't realize that my breasts could be supported, even flattered and shown off, in the same way that my 34B sister's breasts could... Yes, I was one of those people considering a breast reduction. And so many people in my life were encouraging me in that direction, including relatives and doctors. Now I wouldn't dream of it. Thank you, Brittany. This information is much needed, especially for those of us in the United States!

  7. @ Helena and Angela....Wow! Just wow! You both say that basically anyone with experience sewing can't even make a bra as well as Panache or Bravissimo?? I am both shocked and appauled!!! Although I cannot prove it because I never took pictures of them, and they are 1 cup size smaller than what I fit into now so I no longer can wear them (I also no longer have them), I have made bras myself (I currently sew and knit my own wardrobe) and they came out VERY well! The quality of them was far superior to any *European* bra I've ever owned, the stitching was intact and nothing fell apart. Aparently you two just don't know a good seamstress from a bad one. I've been sewing most of my life, I know poor quality from good and, excuse my boasting but I'm a damn good seamstress! This is just disgusting to hear!! >=(

    That being said...if you are in the New England area, my husband was recently reading an article about a company called Zyrra, a man based out of Boston, MA was on a misson to get women fitted and hired several fit specialists. They take 10, yes 10 measurements to find out your correct size and make your bra to fit. I have yet to try them as I just found out about them yesterday, and they're also in the process of making more styles available.

    You might ask, why don't I make my own size now? Because I have not found a bra that I like the cups of to take apart, iron, sketch a new pattern from, cut, sew and try on. (And yes, that is EXACTLY what I did with the few bras I've made in the past - mind you, a Victoria's Secret bra from the Glamour collection in a 32D sized down to a 28DDD!) I guess a couple of the above posters are more used to hand sewing of inferior quality....Ha!

    There are also a couple of other places in the New England area that do fittings. Zoe & Co. in NH and RI, Intimacy in Boston, MA who will also alter your bras if you still have a bad fit, and Bedroom I's Boutique in the Cape. Personally I have never tried any of these as I see no sense in spending $30+ on a bra and they're not exactly right outside my door, but I have contacted them numerous times in the past regarding odd sizes.

  8. To George I'm currently wearing a 36K but I think that might want to try a 34 Band or a KK or L cup. I'm not really sure where to go from here.

    To miss Anonymous please email me I live in the Boston area and I would love to know where I can get a good fitting at.

    I have been searching for years for attractive bras that really fit well. Maybe my standards are too high because I'm not really impressed with to many bra companies, Curvy Kate, and EM are the only brands that make larger busted bras that I want to try at the moment. Freya is nice and so is Fantasy, but hey don't always have a K cup. I kinda wonder if my bra size is that rare or If more women knew their true bra size would there be even larger sizes.

    I have been to both Zoe and Company and Intimacy Boston as well as a few other small stores. I would not recommend that anyone go to Zoe and Company. I the bra fit was the selection in my size range was not that great and when I found one liked and ask for the panties in medium they said they only had a large left. I would have bought the bra anyways been the girl kept asking me are you sure your not a large. I told her I had the exact same bra in different color and the mediums panties to go with them and they fit.

  9. @Anonymous: I really do not understand why you feel insulted by a statement saying, that's its extremely difficult to sew a bra in a say 36K-cup, as this is the size we were talking about with Angela. Of course there are people who can do it - no one would deny that - but you have to have a lot of experience to get it right.

    I am like Anna a 32HH/34H-cup and I already tried on a lot of bras by famous brands who just would not hold by breasts properly. I'm studying the market for a while now and how slowly some regions develop, like the Jplus-sizes, the 40plus-sizes with larger cups, strapless bras for larger busts for example, and I just came to the conclusion that it's very difficult to come up with a construction that is stable, that looks good, that is comfortable etc.

    I'm happy for you that you find your perfect fit and can even make your favorite, best fitting ever-bras yourself. But I don't think this can be the solution for everyone.

  10. I took offense because to me it was like they were saying anyone that has made bras does not make them good. I'm sure there are people out there who have attempted it and maybe failed, and they're probably not good at sewing anything to begin with. But for those of us who sew for a living and are not in an assembly line...sorry, but I don't think sweatshop quality should be held higher than a custom job.

    Angela said, "even the people that know what they are doing don't make good bras." - I beg to differ. It's generalizing that someone with experience in something makes crap. They don't. As long as they continue making what they are. If they slack off, yeah they'll lose their touch.

    Helena said, "I have never seen a bra made from someone without years of experience that can measure up with Panache or Bravissimo." - Again, I disagree. You think the sweatshops in Sri Lanka, China and everywhere else bras are made hire people with skill? And yet these are the types of bras people are holding with such high regard. I have never bought or tried on a bra in any brand that didn't have some sort of inconsistancy.

    @Angela, Intimacy does alter bras to size, I have contacted them in the past for myself. Have you asked them about that, or just if they have your size in stock? As for Zoe & Co, I read both good and bad reviews on them, just like every other company out there. I haven't tried them for myself, but a lot would depend on the customer. If you go in a store thinking you won't find something and are bitter about it, chances are you probably won't find anything and suggestions given you'll turn down. Perhaps they've changed their sizes. I know when I go for pants, even within the same brand and style size can vary. I might take a 4 one year and a couple years down the road with the same measurements require a 2 because they've changed the scale of their sizes. I will say, I find it odd that you would only take a size Medium in panties when your hips are most likely above 36" judging by your bra size...unless you've got some super narrow hips. Mine are 37" and I take a Medium. So what if the girl thought you were a large? Is that really going to detract you from buying a bra in your size, and tell people not to go to a certain store? I've gotten snide remarks from disgruntled employees at Macy's when trying to find a 32DD, which is not hard to's just the employee being a retard. Tell the manager.

    The larger the size, the more structure it will require. When a larger cup size is needed, bras that have several vertical seams in the cup will provide better support than your traditional 3-sectioned cup, because that style is more for small-slightly above average sizes as the support in the cup will rely more on the largest seam - that would be the one running diagonally across the cup. Fabric with diagonal seams or anything cut on the bias has too much give, therefore your support is lost. You can't rely on the band to provide all the support for you, especially the larger your cup.

  11. @ Anonymous- Clearly you don't know anything about
    larger cup sizes. anything a smaller cup sized women have, can be made for a larger cup sized women, using the same principals. Why do I make such a bold claim? A bras basic design is based on a suspension bridge. As long as the girl has an underwire large enough to hold up the cups and band that is tight enough to hold and distribute the pressure then that bra will not fall apart.

    I'm currently wearing a traditional 3-sectioned cup. And the cup is lifting me up. But does the under wires lay flat against my breast bone? nope. Does does the underwire go directly in the crease under the breast root no. Does the underwire go a little to far under my armpit yes. Is my bra sexy or matronly? It's Matronly. But the cost is the same as a bra bought at Victoria Secrets so it's not expensive.

    So your point of about larger than DD cups needing some special design and fabric that is only for them is moot. Your attitude does reflect the same attitude that most bra brands have. When the truth is that is just lazy thinking.

    If you want to prove that a seamstress like yourself can make a bra that is great looking, not Panache good looking, but Aubude good looking or Agent Provocateur good looking, that will fit me? I might seem like I'm asking for the moon here, but Man has landed on the moon, and dones tons of other amassing things. Yet I can't get a bra that's sexy.

    If you have never been to Zoe and Company why are you defending it. Zoe and Company is just like any other bra store around. They want to make money and they want to sell you something. They don't care if it fits well they don't care if you like it.

    The only reason I found out about Zoe and Company was because I was on the Intimacy website. I called before I went to see what they had and I made an appointment.

    Unlike you I don't live down the Cape so I don't need a car to get around. I use the T to get around to every where I need to go. So to go to Waverly RI. I took the Red line to South Station then the commuter rail to Providence then the Amtrac to Waverly station. So that was a bit of a hike. Then I tried every bra that put in front of me. I wanted to something that fit and with panties that matched. i would have bought something attractive that was too small as long as it looked good. The only thing they had that looked good was the Panache Supra Bra Sienna in mint green. The bra was a 36K. I was about to buy the bra by itself no cute panties when for the umtenth time I was asked are you sure you want don't want the large panties.

    also in order to get a bra that would fit me well from Intimacy I was told that i need to stretch out the bra. So I would have to wear a bra for about 2 months straight everyday to get it to the size that it needs to be so they can alter it. This was from the Intimacy Bra Specialist that I talked to in person and on the phone when I called the headquarters. Then I would need to buy another on and do the same thing for 2 months straight, and a third time just so I could have 3 bras that fit well. Does that sounds like madness to anyone but me?

    One more thing I would like to point out the woman that is the Guinness Book of world records holder for largest Breast ever recorded has some bras and they look very much like mine. The woman is hell of a lot bigger then me.

  12. @Angela: First of all, no plastic ever in corsets. They can't stand the pressure and will mould after your body instead of the opposite. Would you like soft bendable plastic wires in your bra? :)

    @Anonymous. I've seen a lot of well made bras, that looks just like something bought from a regular store, however, even those bras are crap for a Brittish 36KK/L. Bras are engeneering, and it takes a whole lot more knowledge for those larger sizes than for a small 32D/30DD/28DDD. They just aren't comparable. I've made bras for those sizes and quite a bit larger too, but you just can't compare it. Where do you even find wires large enough and steady enough?

    When it comes to the world record holder, I cannot seem to find a single picture of her where she is wearing a good bra.

    Don't get me started on sweatshops. First of all, to be a skilled industrial sewing machine operator takes a whole lot of training. These people are specialised in that. They also have specialised pattern-makers, and they are hunting down supplies in a whole different way than we are able to do. I really do doubt that you have the experience of 3 different long proffesionals. I've constructed patterns from scratch for quite some time and can make perfect fitted clothes, corsets and well, most stuff for almost everyone. I still don't even measure up to what you call "sweatshops". I would really suggest you take your time to read some on

  13. Angela, the Sienna in black/aqua is pretty small / shallow in the cup and the wires are incredibly deep, so it's no surprise it does not fit properly. I own it in a 32J (usually I'm wearing a 32HH) which is a little on the small side (cupwise), even if I use an extender. Other users of our brafitting forum reported of similar experiences, so I think it's not only me. ;)

    Probably other bras by Panache might be a much better fit. I'm a great fan of Ariza which is incredibly tight in the band; Harmony Full Cup is a good fit (Melody is said to be slightly looser in the band) and there are people who swear on the Tango Balconette. Admittedly all these bras are not very pretty, but they do their job well and that's kind of important too.
    Should Panache cups proove to be too shallow still, we (Busenfreundinnen) generally advise to try Fantasie Kara and bras by Elomi (like Caitlyn) which are slightly deeper in the cup.

    It is - by the way - immensly important to pay attention to the wires. They should enclose the breasts as closely as possible since they are responsible for the stability of the bra. It's not only too narrow wires that are problematic - wires that are too wide would cause you to lose a great deal of support.

    In our earlier days of online fitting we experienced a phenomenon we call "inverse letterphobia".
    "Letterphobia" is defined as the fear of bigger cupsizes, like "A G?! Oh my god, my boobs aren't THAT big!" (DD in Germany generally is synonym to a supersized and possibly artificial breast.) As a result, women wear bras that are too small in the cup and too wide in the band.

    The "inverse" version usually occures after finding out about the great variety of sizes there acutally are on the market, so women - afraid of repeating old mistakes - choose *The larger the cup and the tighter the band the better.* as their new credo. Unfortunately enough you can think of the largest cup as too small - due to the short band wires tend to be nearly touching at the back while still the breast is spilling out of the cups because the roomiest part of the cups is somewhere under your armpits and not in front where its supposed to be.
    I do not imply this is the case with you; on the contrary I don't think it is - I just wanted to mention the possiblity and therefore recommend not going below the 36 inches if you're really measuring 36 inches underbust because a 34-bra might stretch too much. Often it's a better idea to look for a bra that's tighter in the band.

    All in all, the best way of finding a proper fitting bra is trying different styles and sizes. Maybe it would be a good idea to order some bras from Bravissimo since they tend to have the largest selection of K-cups I know of.

    If you need further help, check out - you can either read it with help of the google translator or just ask your question in English. I think there are some people who can give great advise. :)

    All the best.

  14. To George:

    Sorry if i didn't make it clear the bras I'm
    wearing now a Panache Full cup bras. The Panche Supra Eila and Tango II in black and i got both from Intimacy. In order to buy from Intamacy you have to be fitted and they don't currently go above K in any brand. When I first went to the one in Boston they offered KK and I tried it on. The top part of the bra was loose Indicating that it was too large. When I went to Zoe and company I tried the Panache Melody, and it was very stretchy. I didn't think that it was lifting me up at as much as I needed.

    Thank you for your suggestion of Bravissimo they do have the best selection of Attractive bras for larger sizes.

    To Helena:

    Thank you for mentioning all that things what I wanted to say.

    When it comes to soft plastic wires I guess I would like to try it and see. I have looked up underwires for my size and there are none being sold commercially that I know of. Of course like a bra it would be best if I bought a few and tried on. The only other option is to have Underwires made for me to fit me.

  15. @Angela, you assume I live on the Cape because....? I live on the North Short closer to Gloucester and don't have the privilege of taking the T because that requires me to drive down to the Orange Line in Melrose as it's the cheapest way. A half hour trip plus the gas, plus the parking, plus the money for the T, all of that is if I can even get a car to go down there. And I really don't appreciate your personal attacks. I find it funny you're able to post a comment like that, yet I'm reading in the description above that "[Brittany] may not publish comments that are rude, hateful, personal attacks, racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate". I'm not going to respond to you any further and I'm certainly not going to help you since you're taking such a sour attitude. You are insulting and are taking my comments the wrong way. It's wrong for me to stand up for myself as a good seamstress and make a defense on behalf of those of us who know what we're doing when we sew, but you can insult me? Who do you think you are? I also was not defending Zoe & Co. If you read my comment above correctly, I said I've never been there but have heard both good and bad reviews about them (that's actually one of the reasons I'm hesitant about going too). You missed the point I was making that the criticism by an employee shouldn't be your deciding factor in choosing them over someone else. You should go with the experience of how their products work for you. If you have a problem with the employees, then complain to someone higher about their lack of being professional. You need an attitude adjustment. Good day to you!

    @Helena, I've only made bras for myself. But as you're most likely aware of larger sister sizes, I was looking at one website who sells bra making supplies, they list their underwires from sizes 32-48 I believe, but give the cups for each one. For example they have 42FF which would be the same as 34L if you're using USA sizing without any doubled letters. Unfortunately this websites patterns do not have such extreme sizing on either end, but a good seamstress can make a pattern using more than just one size, adapting it to fit. I make clothes for my friends who are all different sizes, so I don't just use a basic pattern, I do alterations, I make my own patterns. Of course, me just saying this to any of you is not proof. What do you want from me? You guys make statements and I try and bring out a different point and all you seem to want to do is argue with me? You ask me how I do something, I give you an answer and you are not satisfied. There is no point to any of this.

    I give up on reading this blog. I thought it would be helpful, and have continually been suggested to check this place out by fullerfigurefullerbust, Busts4Justice and InvestInYourChest...I have yet to get any help, and not just from Brittany, I'm sure she has a busy schedule just like the rest of us. All I get is sour women. So long Thin & Curvy...but if the people participating in this blog were not so full of hate I'd stick around longer...

    (I've given my comments on this blog from my personal experience as a seamstress and as someone who wears bras. But to have people telling me I know nothing because their experiences differ? That is just pathetic. No one person is going to be a cookie cutter like someone else. So you can either accept what I'm saying, or continue to be sour and rude. I accept that we are all different shapes and sizes, but I don't accept those of you bashing a seamstress who knows what they are doing when you have no knowledge whatsoever of their work.)

  16. Anonymous- If I did publish these comments, then imagine the ones bad enough that I wouldn't publish them! :-P I'm kind of kidding but seriously, I don't want to cut off a discussion/debate. However I believe feelings are getting hurt so I would ask everybody to please either end this conversation or change its tone considerably. I want this to be a place people can turn to for help, so please try to help each other and remember that what works for one person might not work for another, and we all have the same goal: great fitting bras!

    Thank you. :-)

  17. I also live in Boston and got fitted at Intimacy. I had done a ton of research on my own previously and figured out that I could do much better than the 34D/DD's I was wearing. I guessed 30F/FF (maybe 28FF/G) and I was fitted into 30FF by Intimacy. However, they had no bras in a 28 band, so I still haven't figured out whether 28FF/G would be a better fit. Second, their bras in a 30 band stopped at F (I did buy two bras in 30F because they were so much better than what I already had). Finally, they only carried Freya and Panache with bands 32+. I understand their decisions from a business standpoint, however, the person fitting me was never upfront about it. She kept bringing me bras in 32 and saying they could be altered, or pretending they were fitting properly... I was glad I knew what to look for.

  18. It's so unfortunate (and true) that women in the US may not have good access to experienced bra fitters. I had to ask my husband to help measure me, went to a fantastic bra site that had a bra fitting hotline, and called them. They recommended my bra size and the size Freya swimsuit I should be wearing, and they were right (about the swimsuit, haven't tried a bra in the size yet).

    The nearest experienced bra fitter (Intimacy) is three hours from me. I keep swearing I'll go one day, but without the money to buy bras in the size I need (what is up with bras in unusual sizes being so expensive!?!), I have to hold off.

  19. I'm so glad I found your blog. I've been reading your reviews and I have to say that I am totally agreeing with you on so many issues. I live in Finland and because of my boobs finding a fitting and gorgeous bra is a mission impossible to me.

    Few weeks ago I visited a quite expensive lingerie boutique and the lady attacked me with a measuring tape...well she decided that I am a size 42F which is total BS, because my regular bra size is normally 34G/36FF. Needless to say I left the store without the bra...

    Luckily I have been able to find nice bras from online stores such as lasenza, figleaves and bravissimo. I've also tried their clothes, but have to admit that they don't usually fit as well as one might hope...especially with prices like that.

  20. This is a great blog, just found it! I'll be sure to share it around. I've been on a mission for what seems like years to find a well-fitted bra, and recently (since May) I've been relatively obsessed. Always thought I was 34DD, but through a discussion forum at, learned this may not be the case. I'm in the northeastern US (Maine), and the nearest lingerie store is an hour away and doesn't have a very wide selection in the small band/large cup sizes.

    I finally got myself to Nordstrom's and was "fitted"... Over two hours of trying things on and I went home with the single bra that fit (Panache Andorra 32GG). They mailed a Chantelle 30H that fit much better. Both were extremely uncomfortable at first, but the Chantelle got better after a couple of wears and washes. The Andorra, though, continued to make me cry about it all... painful on the ribs, way too jiggly and out front. So I sold that one.

    Then just a week or so ago I got myself to Boston (a 3.5+ hour car drive; it was 104F/40C that day!)to Intimacy. They pretty quickly fitted me into a 32G, and nearly all of the bras I tried on were more comfortable and fit. Granted, some were better than others, and a few were really awful, but I came home with a few good selections (mostly Prima Donna), including FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER matching panties for 2 of them, and also for the first time ever a bathing suit (bikini!) that fits.

    I think that it would have been better to have tried an assortment of 30 bands to compare some of these, but overall I am happy (though my wallet is a paycheck lighter).

    Like I said, I've been obsessed... telling lots of women (and blogging a bit about it) how most women are in the wrong size bra, yada yada yada, and sharing links to great sites that talk about proper fit. I will definitely include yours when I talk about this issue.

  21. I just found my true bra size thanks to this blog and I can't thank you enough. It's not just a comfort thing - it's an overall confidence thing. I thought I was a mutant or that I was missing out on something important about knowing how to be a girl. I didn't even wear bras regularly until I realized I was wearing the wrong size and now I'm amazed at how great I feel (and look!) Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    P.S. I think "I give up on reading this blog" Anonymous came in here looking for drama and that nobody was rude to her.

  22. Great post, I've shared it with a few others. A measuring tape at least gives one an idea of where to start!

    You are right about American fitters. The best I've found are Nordstrom's, in person, though they rarely have enough bras, especially pretty ones, in the "odd" sizes (I wear a 30DD/DDD/E/F, depending on the brand—but that's a whole 'nother topic!). Linda The Bra Lady has a B&M in New York, but she also has a good fitting calculator on her site. Unfortunately, the majority of American bra shops will fit you only to what they have in the store.

    I feel terribly for your friend, being told that silly lie in the shop and even undergoing surgery. If she'd been properly fitted, as you note, she probably wouldn't have been in pain!

  23. Bra fitters did me no good. I went to Victoria's Secret. NONE of the bras they fitted me with fit. In fact, I don't think any bra has ever fit. After nursing nearly 10 kids, my girls were deflated. My breasts were WIDE, but not voluminous at ALL. I could wear a C for the width of my breasts and all my arm fat, but it would NOT fill in the cup. My cup was literally half empty! My rib measurement was correct though. I got a breast augmentation and now I fit a 38D perfectly. It's like bras were made for implants.

    1. I think you make a good point there, it sometimes seems to me that a lot of the nicer bras for larger cups are made for implants i.e. they don't offer enough support and are the wrong shape for natural breasts but would work really well on someone whos had implants.

  24. @Anonymous: Okay, so you think that bra fittings have failed you, just because nothing at Victoria's SEcret fits? Dude. I had a breast reduction and lift, not even I can wear a bra from Victoria's Secret. Victoria's Secret is not there to sell you something that fits, it's there to sell you cheap quality bras that just happen to look cute. Ever hear anyone talk about fit and support during a Victoria's Secret fashion show?

  25. Victoria's Secret caters to the thin and raily as well as women with ample sized breasts. Some even go to the route of opting for breast augmentation sydney for those bras to fit and look picture perfect.

    1. Not all, I have 24 in ribcage...I don't think VS is going to do 26 bands anytime soon, up to a D isn't really that big in the grand scheme of things...

  26. I'm terrified with how impossible for american woman is to get the right fit. I'm from Poland, I usually think it's the Third World Country, that we are delayed/retarded or so with so much things. For example i get properly brafitted ca. 5 years ago and the brafitting trend in Poland begun ca. 6-7 years ago. For now i can't imagine how long woman can wear wrong sizes (it's going to be 100years soon) and how long woman have breasts (it's going to be several thousands years ;p). I thought we, polish woman, were retarded to not figured it out earlier. AND you are saying we are in the better situation :) WOW. I feel like we have to do something. That all of you who feel confident have to make their shops, brands etc to change lives of americans breasts :)


I always love to hear your thoughts! Please remember to be respectful. I may not publish comments that are rude, hateful, personal attacks, racist, sexist, or otherwise inappropriate. Dissenting opinions are fine, as long as they are respectful. Thanks!