I am a busty gal. I know I definitely don't look it, but I have a larger bust. When I was younger I used to wear a 34 band size, but it just seemed off. The back kept riding up (one of the signs that you are wearing the wrong size), and one day it sort of clicked that maybe I needed a smaller band size. I always wear a size small and the bust measurement for size smalls are usually 32 inches, so I sized down to a 32 band size on my own without getting fitted or anything. It fit better, but still the bras I got seemed too small to support me. You may have noticed that when you go to a store to shop for bras, they generally only carry cup sizes A-D with maybe some DDs peppered in. Furthermore, they do not carry bras that have smaller band sizes with larger cup sizes. I ended up always having to order online because I couldn't ever find my size in stores. At this point, I was wearing a 32D.
It wasn't until about a month or so ago when I ordered a bathing suit and tried it on to find that it was way too small that I finally decided enough was enough. I needed to figure out my real bra size, especially since I've been experiencing a lot of upper back pain. I wanted to know once and for all. I did a little research and found some specialty stores in my area. The first one I went to wasn't too much help. They only confirmed that I was wearing the wrong size, but they didn't have a big enough selection of sizes for me to try to find out my size. Again, I did some more research and tried a different store in the area and this one was extremely helpful. They had all of the sizes that I wanted to try based on my sizing research. The woman there measured me and brought in about 10 different bras for me to try on. They stay in the dressing room with you which is a little weird at first, but you get over it. She stayed in there and was able to let me know what she thought about the fit as a professional. Finally, we determined my bra size. I had the band size right, but the cup size was too small. I needed something above D and DD. A size that is not sold in most stores.
I felt so relieved that I had figured out my bra size and could finally get the support I need, but as a consumer, I feel really neglected. Why aren't stores carrying more sizes? Why is there this misconception that smaller women can't have larger breasts? Bras can go from AAA-J cups and 28-52 band sizes, yet you really only see A-DD cups and 32-40 band sizes in stores with anything below 34 band size being only A-C cups. At least this is what I've encountered my entire adult bra shopping life. Why are some women being ignored and forced to shop online, unable to try things on? It seems pretty unfair and inconvenient to me.
In my top-notch super high-tech Googling, I found some great resources that better explain bra sizing and how to figure out your real bra size. Here is a summary of what I learned with some links to where I found them out:
- Did you know that not all D cups are alike? The whole larger cup size thing is somewhat of a myth. Cup size is dependent on your band size. A 32D is not the same as a 36D. I'm pretty sure a 32D would be equivalent to around a 36B, cupwise.
- However, some sister sizes do exist. Again, it depends on the band size which one will fit better on you. This chart is a great and quick little summary.
- Here is what different bra sizes really look like on different people [May be NSFW]
- Your bra should not need the straps adjusted too much. It should not ride up in the back, but remain parallel to your body all the way around. There should be no gaps between your rib cage and the part of the bra that rests between your breasts. Your breasts should not be spilling out of the cups, nor should they be swimming in them with huge gaps of space inside.
- Try a measurement technique like this if you feel like you might be wearing the wrong size.
- If you go down a band size, you need to compensate by going up 2 cup sizes.
- Some brands (such as French brands) may have slightly different sizing
- If you have trouble finding your bra size in stores, try online shops like Figleaves or HerRoom. Bare Necessities carries a lot of sizes, too.
- Try this Reddit guide for more info!