Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Supersize Me

Occasionally, friends (or even salespeople) ask what size bra I wear.  I tell them "whatever size I want."  At least for cup size, that's true.  I can go from 0 to 60, so to speak.

I think since I've been going out I've been wearing a 38C.  My favourite bra is from Bali.  It has good coverage so the forms stay in place, room for a little "extra" pad I sometimes put in, and it gives me a nice curve, I think.  I was wearing it in the photo to the right.

I've always appreciated and striven for that curve out at the side of the breast, but I'm still not sure how it gets there.  I see it often, but don't ask the owners, for the obvious reasons.  Is it because of the bra style?  The owner's size?  Because the band is too tight/loose or the cup too big/small?  If anyone wants to enlighten me, please do so.

Anyway, I went to Victoria's Secret as Meg a few months ago and was told I should be wearing a 42B but "we don't sell that size.  You can probably find a 38B that would fit."

When I was at Alice Rae's in Tucson, I was in drab.  The saleslady measured me anyway (and I told her I wear "whatever size I want to" but usually a 38C) and she suggested maybe I should try a 36D.  I haven't been bra shopping since (I have, like other items, too many).

By the way, can anyone explain why a form that works for a 36D works for a 38C works for a 40B?  I really don't understand that one!

Then a special friend sent me a gift certificate covering the cost of a bra (thank you!), and pointed me at the specific bra she thought I should buy ~ she has one and loves it.  Cool.

Except now I didn't know what size to get. The bra comes in 36D, 38C, and 42B ~ all of the suggested or current sizes.  It comes in everything from 36C to 44DDD, in fact.

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I was looking for a bra that wouldn't cost much, just for trying out.  I looked without success.

Friday, I found myself in a mall with a little time to kill.  This particular mall has a Target so I thought I'd look there and see what I can find.  I was hoping to find two bras in the same style, 36C and 36D.  I wanted something with full coverage, and not too expensive.

It seems $17 is the going price for bras in Target.  That meant a $34 investment, which is the price of a blouse or skirt or dress at Marshall's or a similar store.  And I could probably find a bra for less there, but it would be less likely that I'd find two of the same style in the sizes I wanted.

Bra Labels
I looked around a lot.  I finally settled on the Barely There rack.

There seemed to be three different styles of bra there.  One was sized in Small-Medium-Large which (a) kind of defeated the purpose of my experiment and (b) didn't cover 36D anyway.  The other two had little catch phrases on the tag and hanger.  The one I bought said "What Goes In Stays In."  I don't recall the other's catch line.  I didn't prefer one; I was looking for an almost-matched set.  (By the way, would guys buy something that said "What Goes In Stays In" on it?  I doubt it.)

So I spent the $34, bought the two matching bras and went on my way.

On Saturday, I had a chance to try them on.  I pulled out a favourite pull-over top and the two bras and my pads.

I have a set of forms I purchased from GlamourBoutique and I love them.  I can't say enough great things about them.  The only problem is, they're a bit concave and I am not at all convex.  I wish I was ~ just a bit ~ so I could wear the forms directly.  Sometimes I do, but the size difference is pretty dramatic.

Obverse side
So I fashioned a couple of different "underfalsies."  The one that works best involved buying a Styrofoam "egg", cutting it in half, cutting up an old stocking, putting each egg half into the stocking and putting that behind the form.  The stocking keeps the very coarse Styrofoam from irritating my skin.  It stays in place fairly well ~ it has been known to wander.

So I had four combinations to try: each bra, both with and without the extra pad.

That's when I discovered that there were actually at least four styles of bra on that rack.  I thought I took a good look at the labels but I was wrong.  I scanned the tag from each bra for this post.  One side is side-by-side above to the left.  They look the same, no?  I thought so.  Now that I take a look at the bottom drawing, I can see the bottom edge of the bras is different.  Look at the other side of the tags.  They sure look the same to me, except the script at the bottom on the 36C says Underwire while the 36D says Wirefree.  It turns out the 36D has three hooks and the 36C has two.  I don't know if the difference is cup-size-related or wire-related.

I think they're close enough though.  The 36C didn't cover the form well and was very tight with the extra pads in.  The 36D looked pretty good, gave me the curve I wanted, and felt good.  I usually close my bra to the tightest hook size; on this bra I used the loosest.

I know every brand is a bit different, but I feel I can finally take advantage of my friend's generosity (did I say thank you before?  Probably, but not often enough) and get that bra in 36D.


  1. Good ideas... thank you for sharing...

  2. Meg,

    A very nice post that seemed to bring the computer software technician into the lingerie department to apply a scientific approach to the typically touchy/feely practice of bra selection.

    I always like to see how the several different parts of my personality merge and intersect. Over the years I have used multiple approaches to create breasts. I also have some great forms from Glamour boutique but continue tweaking the top to achieve the proper form under each outfit.

    Like you, and like pantyhose, 'one size fits all' is a misnomer regarding my breasts.


  3. Meg:

    All of us gurls have similar problems. You should check out the on line catalog's fitting guides to better understand how band and cup sizes are determined and vary in relation to a change of either. A good site (that also has many bras to choose from) is HerRoom: http://www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,901,30.html. Can't shop there enough!

    Generally, the shoulder straps should support the weight of the breasts (glue them on some time with Hollister's medical adhesive #7730 for a sublime change of pace), and the band should be snug, but without pressing into the flesh to create bulges. Many women are in the wrong bra size because of improper fitting and never adjusting for changes in body.

    By the way, the best feature of HerRoom.com is the ability to overlay different necklines and strap configurations over every bra type to get a good idea of coverage. It's excellent. Midnight shopping sprees are easy with them!


    Rhonda Darling

  4. You are right - getting a bra that is just right is a real problem. You should see the stores here in the UK - there is an insanely large range of styles and, as my wife will attest, almost none of them in the size you are looking for.
    My approach, for what it's worth, is to go for basic 'tee-shirt' bras from Tesco since they are cheap, well made and have some cup support to define the basic shape. I took a while to figure out that I was buying them way too tight - but having got the size I like I can now buy more expensive items with a degree of confidence.
    As for the extra padding you mention - I find good quality upholstery foam popped into a wig cap to be the best.


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