As you know, bra fitting is like our religion here at Curvy Kate and although some stats state that 80% of women are in the wrong bra, we’d say it’s more like 90%.
So HOW are we still going so wrong?
Well I'll tell you why...It's the curse of old-fashioned methods, the curse of the 34" back, the curse of ‘I have big boobs – so I must have a big back’ and unfortunately ill advice from bra fitters on the high-street that we are meant to trust.
Below I’ll explain some of the contributing factors and how they are single-handedly making sure 90% of women remain in the wrong size. So here goes, here are my theories...
1) From my bra fitting experience, 99% of the time women are in the wrong back size, normally at least 2 back sizes (or 4 inches) too big...."but why is that?" I hear you ask.
The ‘Plus 4’ Fitting method - 'Measure around your ribs, add 4 or 5 inches depending on whether the number is even or odd and then measure you bust and work out your cup size from the difference in measurements."
It was designed as a method for measuring way back in the 1950s when bras were made from silk and satin and did not stretch. The 4 inches extra allowed breathing room, something which in 2015 is completely redundant as all bras now have elastic and stretch in them. So scrap this old technique!
Today specialist bra fitters (that’s us included) ‘fit’ we don’t ‘measure’. Getting the right bra is an art not a science and takes time trying different sizes and styles to see what works for you – to see what your fit is. All boobs are different and everybody’s shape and size differ so learn what your normal is and fit to this.
2) My second reason links to the first point.
As women continue to be measured in the wrong size and therefore buy the wrong size, retailers in turn then continue to stock these back sizes. The demand for smaller backs, such as 28’s, never increases as customers aren’t ever fitted in these sizes.
And it’s a vicious circle – if the sizes aren’t available to buy, even most knowledgeable customers won’t be able to buy their true, ‘fitted’ size – meaning they often have to take something that doesn’t truly fit.
Many size 14/16 women wouldn’t dream of picking up a 32 bra for themselves and instead would opt for a size such as a 38. However the reality is that most size 16 women would fit in a 32" back as the bra should be fitted at your smallest back point.
The only time we’ll let you use a tape measure!
**If you’re struggling to find a bra fitting specialist you could take a tape measure and measure your ribcage, where your bra should sit - that’s directly underneath your boobs and horizontally all the way around your back. The tape should be snug around your torso but not pulled tight so it digs in or slack so it moves. Whatever the number says, take this as your back band bra measurement. If you have an odd number then try both sizes on either side and see which is most comfortable.**
Remember your bra back band should only just get 2 fingers under – it should be firm and when you drop your straps it shouldn’t move.
Incorrect back band - Too big so it rides up
Correct back band - Firm and no movement
3) WOW – you’re a Double D – that’s huge!
But is it really?
I’ll use myself as an example here: I wear a 30GG, however my boobs would also fit in a 40DD- that's the same cup volume but cup sizes are relative to the back size they are teamed with.
(For Example all the following sizes are the same breast volume 28H, 30GG, 32G, 34FF, 36F, 38E, 40DD).
The cup size is always relative to the back size it is teamed with. All of these sizes are the same volume but look bigger/smaller depending on the body they are on.
It’s harder to give a solution to this as it’s an idea’s that society, the media and fashion brands have instilled in people.
The advice I would give is to forget about the number or letter on the label of your bra and focus on what makes your boobs look and feel great. This goes for clothing too! If a size 16 looks great, fits you well and makes you feel your best – then wear that size. Don’t squeeze yourself into something that isn’t right - no one sees the label, so buy what’s right for you.
4) Dress size will give you an idea about back size.
I know a girl who is around a dress size 6/8 dress but wears a 32C. Virtually impossible. If she is a 6/8 then this means her waistband is around 26-28 inches, if that's the case then her ribcage must be 6 inches bigger than her hips…. Sound weird?! That’s because it is.
We need to learn to understand the proportions of our bodies, each person is individual but as a general rule (NOTE: this may not work for everyone), these are the sizes I would put women at in relation to their dress size:
Brief Size: 8/10 = Back size 28″
Brief Size 12/14 = Back size 30″
Brief Size 16 = Back size: 32/34″
Brief Size 18 = Back size: 34/36″
Brief Size 20= Back size: 38/40″
Overall there is a huge amount of work to be done to change the way women see their boobs, other people’s boobs and bra fitting in general, but it’s a challenge that Curvy Kate are willing to take.