Sizing Discrepancies: The tale of a girl who doesn’t know what size she is.
Sizing discrepancies between brands, or even between ranges within a single brand, can leave you feeling confused and make the bra trying-and-buying process almost hellish. With the sub-32 band and D+ market well established on the net with outlets such as Brastop and Leia Lingerie, things can get even more daunting with the thought of having to buy several bras simply to send some, if not all, of them back because they’re the wrong size. So, as a girl who has no idea what her actual size is (I thought I was a 32F until about 6 months ago when I got measured properly in Bravissimo- I now own and wear 28/30 F/FF/G and in some brands could easily go up to a GG/H), I’d like to show you that you’re not alone when it comes to utter sizing confusion, and hopefully shed some light on how various brands tend to fit in relation to your ‘true size’ (if, unlike me, you actually know what it is!).
So, starting with the smallest bras I own- my Freya Deco in nude, Freya Arabella in black, a pink padded and a blue un-padded Debenhams bra, each in a 30F:
Like the majority of us girls, I am ever-so-slightly asymmetrical, and find that this makes the slight gaping on the Deco even more obvious- I find it to be absolutely huge in the cup. It was the bra I first got measured into in Bravissimo; after going in wearing a La Senza 32F (which I still own and wear- but let’s not even go into how badly that fits!) that was beginning to get small in the cup, the lady presented me with a 30FF Deco to try. The natural progression, right- one band size down, one cup size up? It seems not- the 30FF Deco was so embarrassingly huge in the cup that even my fairly ample rack seemed dwarfed! So we settled on the 30F, which was still a little big as you can see, but downsizing again to the E would have meant the breast tissue under my arms would not have been entirely encased within the cup. The Arabella is similar (excuse the make-shift censored bar, trying to preserve some dignity with those beautiful sheer cups)- it’s a teeeeency bit big in the cup, but going down to the 30E would have meant that not all of my breast tissue was encased within the cup.
Then notice the double-boob from the blue Debenhams bra- the same size, but painfully small! I find Debenhams own-brand bras to come up fairly small in the band most of the time (this one leave marks all around my ribs even on the loosest hook), but this one seems to be anomalously small in the cup, too. Compare it, for example, to the pink padded bra, also from Debenhams- despite wearing this one on the middle or tightest hook, I consider this to be one of my best-fitting bras.
Still following? Getting confusing, huh?!
Next are my 30FFs- another un-padded Debenhams bra and the Freya Pier bikini:
I bought the Pier in a 30FF because there was no 30F in stock, and prayed it would fit! But alas, it fits almost perfectly, which is strange considering the Arabella and Deco in 30F run slightly large in the cup; I put it down to the ties around the neck allowing for tying it as you like, creating as much uplift as you like.
The Debenhams un-padded bra is without a doubt one of my favourites- the pattern is divine and it’s just so comfortable! It fits like a dream, although like the pink padded 30F Debenhams bra, I wear this on the middle hook.
Finally, my Curvy Kate ‘Tease Me’ in a 28G:
I originally tried this in a 30F, thinking that it was my ‘true size’ as it’s what I wear in Freya. I found it was too small and ‘flattened’ my boobs, while still gaping around the edges of the cup; I attempted to remedy this by swapping for a 28FF. This fixed the gaping yet was still painfully small in the cup- so alas I ended up with my 28G. Even this is slightly small and I very occasionally find I get a bit of cheeky nip-slip but swapping for the GG would have left me with gaping again. I find the entire Curvy Kate Showgirl Collection to run large in the band (I’ve tried the ‘Thrill Me’ a couple of times and find I can stretch the 28 band a good few inches away from my back) and very small in the cup- I’d suggest trying at least a cup-size bigger than you’d usually wear. Cheryl’s written a brilliant review of the Showgirl Collection which gives some fab advice on the fit.
So, you can see that I’ve gone from a 30F that’s too big, right up to a 28G that’s too small- that’s bordering on 3 cup sizes between one band size- sheer madness! The moral of the story is never judge a book by its cover- always try before you buy! When it comes to bras and lingerie, it is imperative that you try various sizes to find your perfect fit- like Cheryl says, a poor fit can lead to not only aches and pains, but depression and even breast cancer. Read her fitting guide here to find a ‘ballpark figure’ around which to begin. I do hope this has helped somewhat- remember everybody struggles with the same problems when it comes to fitting!