First things first. If you've never measured yourself for a bra today is the day you learn how. Don't run off to your local Victoria's Secret to get measured. They will just measure you over your clothes and try to sell you a bra that doesn't fit. They might tell you some lie like that all D cups are created equal or that you should begin by measuring over your boobs. No ma'am, you need to learn how to measure yourself! Get a soft tape measure and get naked! (Or, if it's too cold in your house for that, at least get topless.) You're not going to get a proper measurement in your badly fitting bra. The first measurement you want to get is your underbust measurement. Place your tape measure directly under your breasts, right at the fold and parallel to the floor. Your band should be doing 80% of the lifting so you need to get a snug measurement. Pull the tape so it is snug but not painful and write down your measurement. If you find it to be an uneven number round down or up to the closest even number. This is your band size. Don't add inches and whatever you do, do not measure over your breasts!
Your next measurement is going to be a bit more tricky. We're going to use it to find you're cup size. You'll need to measure around the fullest part of your breasts. Do your best to keep the tape parallel to the ground and your arms at your sides. Write down this number. Subtract the first number from the second and jot down the difference.
As you may know, the letter indicates the cup volume. (And it doesn't stop at D, or DD, or DDDDDDDDDDDD.) The UK standard sizes are fairly straightforward (with a few exceptions) and easy to understand. Until you get the hang of it you can use the graphic below. For every inch difference move to the right one cup.
If your underbust measured 32 and you have a 7 inch difference you're going to need a 32F. You may find that your boobs are a lot bigger than you thought! But don't let the sticker shock drive you away. Your boobs didn't magically grow overnight and there's no shame in being over a D. D really isn't as large as you've been made to think it is. Cup sizes are nothing without their respective band sizes and a 30DD is the same size as a 34C or a 36B.
In case you still don't believe me that D's aren't really that big, here are some photos of D size breasts:
If you're still not convinced, head over to Bra Band Project and type in your size to check out some of the user-posted photos of properly fitting bras.
Most women find that they have been wearing bands too large and cups too small and in their new size they find more support and less armpit boob. Some women even find they have to adjust their wardrobe to their new size. You may find that you dropped a dress size and your waist looks more defined because it isn't hidden under a low-hanging chest.
Now, you're probably wondering where you're going to find a bra in your new size. After all, we've just found that we can't trust Victoria's Secret's to get us into the proper size! Besides that, they only carry 36 sizes. It may seem like a lot, but when bra companies like Curvy Kate make over 96, it pales in comparison. Here are a few suggestions for shopping for your new bra:
In Store (USA):
Nordstrom Rack is a great place to pick up a properly sized bra. They carry some great brands like Freya and Panache and a large range of sizes. With locations in 32 states you can be sure there's probably one not too far from you.
If you can make it to Los Angeles you're in for a treat. Jennette Bras has a shop there and in Pasedena. Jennette Goldstein is a former movie star who is now a bra-fitting expert. She can help you get your bust under control and fit you into a gorgeous new bra.
In Cincinnati Ohio is a little place called Knickers of Hyde Park. They've been in business for 14 years and I can say from experience that they know their stuff! The shop is charming and well stocked and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. And the shop owner,Jenalyn, fitted me herself! I'd highly recommend them if you're not too far away!
In New York City you'll find Linda the Bra Lady. This chick knows where it's at. She carries over 50 brands in her shop and her bra divas are all trained for at least 3 months to find the perfect fit.
If you're ever near Burlington, North Carolina head over to A Sophisticated Pair. I spent an hour there with shop-owner Erica and she is well-versed in not only bra size but shape as well. She carries a great selection of bras from practical to beautiful and she makes you feel right at home.
If you know of any other great stores in the US send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add it to the list!
In Store (UK)
If you're in the UK you're in luck. With over 22 locations, Bravissimo is there to save the day. You will find 11 brands including their own in-house brand and at least 173 sizes to try on (take that Victoria's Secret!) Boasting gorgeous brands like Curvy Kate, Tutti Rouge, Panache and Freya, you're sure to find a bra that fits. Plus their house brand goes up to an L (UK) cup so you're not likely to be sized out there.
If you know of any other great shops in the UK send me an email at email@example.com and I'll add it to the list!
Once you know your proper size, shopping online isn't that scary. Click on the Bras tab in the menu bar above to find links to great online shops!
Once you find a bra in your new size give it a try and see how comfortable you feel with your new fit. You'll never go back to your old size again! And you might just get obsessed with bra shopping. Don't say I didn't warn you!
We'd love to hear your bra revelation story! Leave me a comment below or send me an email at TheCurvesHaveIt@gmail.com to share your story.