Here’s the scenario: you’re browsing the lingerie section of (insert department store here) and you find that you must try on all sorts of bras that strike your fancy. So, you grab a sexy red style from one brand and a frill-less everyday style from another, all in a size 34C. As you try on the different bras under those awful fluorescent lights, you start to find that while you’re a 34C in the everyday bra, the same size is too tight in the sexy red style! Does this scenario sound familiar? It should!
Little did you know, that even though you may have a standard size you always stick with, it doesn’t mean that it will be your size in every bra available on earth (you could be a 32D or a 36B, etc., etc.)! So why does your bra size differ between brands? Let’s shed a little light on this bra shopping mystery…
As much as we would hope and dream otherwise, bra sizing isn’t very consistent across brands. Most of the time, bra sizing is close to U.S. standards, but you might have to go a size up or a size down depending on the style and brand. When you add the Brits to the mix (many of your favorite brands are from the U.K. like Freya, Panache, and Fantasie), you’ll find different sizing options, which makes bra shopping that much more challenging.
However, not all hope is lost! There are a few things to consider when you look at sizing across brands. Many will release their own brand-specific sizing guides so when you shop you can get the correct fit when purchasing a bra (we actually take care of this for you at brayola… we tell you what size you are in each style, no fuss, no muss). If a brand does not have it’s own sizing, they normally use U.S. standards.
So you may be asking yourself, “Okay, I understand the idea of standard sizing, but what is the difference between American standard sizing and British standard sizing?” Generally speaking, the band sizes are the same, but the cup sizes are different. When you start to get into bras over a DD cup, you’ll find that U.S. sizing includes DDD and goes to G, but British sizing spans from DD to E, then F. Simply, the sizing uses a different letter for every cup size beyond DDD (For example, an American G is a British F). Here’s a size chart for the case that you’re having a bra sizing emergency and don’t know how to convert between American and British bra sizing.
Another point to keep in mind is that style and structure also play a key role in the differing fits between brands. For example, a full coverage bra will fit differently than a demi-cup style. If you’re looking for an underwire, not all wires are the same–they can come in different shapes and lengths depending on the manufacturer.
While it would be much easier if there was a global standard sizing, unfortunately that is not the case. To ease your pain a bit more (besides becoming a brayolista) there are a few tips that will help you find a more perfect fit:
1. Straps: Adjust your straps according to each shoulder (one can slope more than the other), so you don’t need to have them at the same length.
2. Underwire: If you press on the underwire of your bra, it should be on the bone, not the breast tissue and without digging.
3. Cup: When you look at the cup you shouldn’t have any breast spilling out the top, nor should there be an gapping.
4. Back fit: You should be able to fit two fingers under the band while still feeling snug (maybe even tighter than you’re used to), but not uncomfortable. If the band is ridding up it means that it’s too big and you should go a size down.
5. Front band: (As mentioned before) The middle should sit against the breastbone. If it’s pulling away from the skin at all then you’ll want a larger cup size.
After reading this exciting bra sizing bulletin, we would love to hear your thoughts on the matter! Join the discussion on our Facebook page.