Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Bra Matrix

The Bra Matrix is the world of false bra measurements and uncomfortable bras.

It is the world where busts are divided into A, B, C and D, and underbust measurements into 70, 75, 80 and 85.

It is the world in which you live feeling that you have a strange bust, and that adjusting your bra umpteen times a day is normal.

   I always thought that I had the right bra. I carefully read those little tables on websites, measured myself, and bought 75 c bras.
   I thought that it was normal to adjust the bra a couple of times every day. I believed that my breasts were spaced too far apart, and that was the reason that the underwire never went all around the breast, but poked into it. I thought that comfortable bras don't exist anyway, well maybe only if I had the money to buy a really expensive one. And I was sad that pretty thin bra straps were bad because they didn't offer enough support.

   Until the day I discovered I was stuck in the Bra Matrix.
I read and read, measured myself, and got a 65D bra. I was delighted ! For the first time I had a bra that was comfortable and made me look good. The band was tight, but contrary to expectations it was very comfortable. The underwire framed my entire breasts, so I realised my breasts weren´t too wide apart, it was the bras that had been wrong. >Pics of my breasts, before and after<

  So, what´y the Bra Matrix ? I discovered it on this blog. Since you probably don't read Polish, I'll explain.

The biggest misconception is that there exists a fixed size for each cup. For example, that the only difference between 70A, 75A, and 80A is the size of the band that is attached to it.
This is not true. The cup size changes with the band size.

Take a look at these photos:
DD cups are big in the NZ band size 18 (EU 90) and quite small in NZ 8 (EU 65)
Both the cups here are DD... but as you can see they are not the same !

The D cup in 65 and the B cup in 70 are very similar in size ! However, the 65D underwire is slightly broader than the 70B.

More photos and explanations *here*

The other big myth is that to get your under-bust measurement, you have to measure yourself under the bust, add 5 cm, and go up to the nearest band size.

This is absolutely stupid for the following reasons:
* The measuring tape is not stretchable. The bra band is, and it stretches up to 20 cm. Try it at home !
* It is the band and not the shoulder straps that should support the bust. To give good support, the band must be snug, not loose.
* Would you wear panties that are bigger than your hip measurement ?

A test if you are wearing the correct band size:

Do a jumping jack: Jump, lift your arms over your head, and clap. If your band moved, it's too loose.

Another test: if you can pull the bra band more than 3-4 cm away from you body, tie it tighter. Then bend forward and gather all your armpit and back fat into the cups (that was actually escaped breast tissue). Stand up, and you´ll see your cups spilling over.

Another way to check is to take a look at your back view in the mirror.
The correct band size should look like this: 

The band size is too big if it looks like this:

Reading for beginners: 

How to measure yourself and get your CORRECT size !!! Then read: How to buy your first right-sized bra. For later reading: complete list of my Bra Matrix Articles. You can also mail me with any bra question you have, but don´t forget to include your correct measurements !

♥ For examples of bra before and after shots, take a look >here<.

70B to 60E !!!
note the "quadruple breast" effect in the wrong size (70B)

note: I am using European measurements.
 Use this chart to convert it to the sizes of your country


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  1. Hi, really liked your info on "Bra Fitting" - thank you, thank you.
    I've been squeezed into the wrong thing time and time again. Even
    after going to a super upscale store and being "professionally"
    fitted... Now to find the bra...

  2. The so-called professional fitters often don't know a lot about bra
    fitting. I've even spotted lots of badly fitted models on bra ads !
    I'm posting a guide to buying bras online, be sure not to miss it !

  3. hi

    Where can you buy a bra size 60. I have only managed to find size 65

  4. Hello, you don't say where your are from. I have posted some links to online stores here: http://weblog.xanga.com/eternalvoyageur/652169948/buying-bras-online-a-short-guide.html
    If you live outside Europe, take a look at the brands in those stores, and then google to find online stores with those brands and bra models in your area.

    Then there's British Ebay, you might want to search for 28 (that's the same as 60). I got lovely bras there for quite cheap, but you have to hunt around a bit, and discuss shipping costs with the sellers (there is cheap surface shipping, then air mail, then registered shipping, then trackes... depending on how cheap / how secure you want the postage to be). And often you can't return the bra if it's incompatible.

    Hope that helped ! If you have any more wuestions, just let me know.

  5. I'm so glad I found this page! After wearing bras in high school that left red marks on my body and hurt, I had deemed them too uncomfortable and stopped wearing them. Ten years later I considered going in for a bra fitting and starting to wear one again, because I am sick of looking like a child (I look FLAT in most shirts without one). I wussed out of the fitting and started trying some on instead, and was so confused and upset when none of the B cups that fit my chest had big enough bands (they lifted up between my breasts) and going to bigger band sizes meant there was too much space for my breasts. I have a SMALL frame, I weigh 90 pounds, so why couldn't I find a tiny bra to fit me? Now I think my problem is that I actually need a C cup. I will go out again tomorrow and this time, not be too shy to try a larger cup.

    I'm still reading, but I'm just so happy to know that I might not be as impossible to fit as I expected. :) So thanks for sharing.

  6. [Earlier today, I commented on your old Xanga blog to thank you for enlightening me on correct bra sizes. After I hit the 'Comment' button, I realised that you had moved your blog. To save you the trouble of moving my comment, I have copied and pasted it here. :-)]

    Hi there, after stumbling across your blog in a search for how to get rid of armpit fat, I remeasured and discovered instead of the 34A I always thought I was, I am actually a 32D! I am in my mid thirties, and after years of pushing my poor breasts into bras that don't fit, they are quite misshapen. It seems that they are permanently quads!

    I am wearing the correct sizes for about 2 months now, and they have improved a bit. I guess all that mistreatment over the years just doesn't get undone very quickly. What I think happened was that I was an A cup (I was underweight), but after putting on weight the fat just grew around my boobs instead of being incorporated into them. But thanks to you, my bras fit better now, I feel more comfortable and my breasts look really great! Like Boob Girl I am really happy to be a D cup too

  7. Hey, thanks for making the effort and copying the comment here !
    I´m glad I could help ! Do remeasure again after a few weeks, it´s possible that after the fat gets back into the breast you´ll need a DD cup :-)

  8. Thanks for your posts! I finally learned how to properly measure and went from a 34B to a 30FF. Here's my before and after:

  9. I've given up measuring and go by fit; there's a lot of shipping and returning, but I went from a 36C to a 65/70 F-GG (depending on the bra and manufacturer). It all started because I was sick of the wires sticking forward between my breasts. It angers me that so few women are actually a B but so few bras go above a D - it makes 85% of the population feel like their breasts are "wrong" instead of the bra manufacturers! Bravissimo.com has some great fitting tutorials and pictures, and gives phone support.

  10. Lauren
    I love Bravissimo, and I think the ladies in UK are lucky. I didn't know they give phone support --- I think that's great, especially for people who aren't that crazy about the internet.
    I totally get your anger, it was from similar feelings that my personal "bra crusade" began. I believe that us customers can gradually make manufacturers change things.

  11. Hi :D This is very helpful info. I finally have bras that fit right!
    The only sad thing, that if I want to tell other women (cause we were talking about it anyways and why not help them?) they often resist. I tell them cupsize is relative to bandsize and they just don't want to believe me, they are like: You can't be wearing a C-cup (70C), that's too big! Once I even show this site sometimes with the pictures and they (my mum and grandma) are like: "That's not possible! Ok, maybe it's true, but not this extreme.." I've actually stopped telling women. It's really strange how this idea about cupsize is so incorporated in society :S I didn't really have an any goal posting this, I just wanted to rant, sorry :P Love you site though, keep up the good work :D

  12. Hey Charlotte
    I know! Women are often hard to convince! You could try sending them links with before and afters (on this blog, or the videos from Maheda, some bra store also have nice videos). In the case of family member measuring them and then gifting them a bra often works. Or a demo on a more cooperating family member might also work.

  13. First of all, I would really like to say this is an amazing site. I had a discussion with my mother a while back, because she thought it sounded so strange for me to be a 34F (75G in Swedish measurements) - which means there is no "regular" store in my hometown who sells bras my size. She thought, as well as many others, that this is way too big.
    Lastly, in case it is not listed on your blog, a great site which ships (for free!) to almost every country in the world, is asos.com.

  14. Hi, I appreciate your info on playtex 18 hour bras fitting. I've been squeezed into the wrong thing time and time again. I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!!

  15. I am so glad I stumbled onto your blog! Even though I discovered what you call "the bra matrix" a couple years ago, you have so much detail and info that I still did not know (such as all the info in other posts about padded/push-up bras, links to a few e-tailers I didn't know about). I am trying to do a bra-intervention on my sister right now, I am sure she needs a smaller band/bigger cup, but she is very resistant to the idea. So I sent her the link to your blog, hoping all the information and before/after pics, pics of different band size bras with "same cup" sizes next to each other, etc., will convince her.
    I was wearing some very nice bras from The Little Bra Company (TBLC) (the padded/push-up Lucia was my favorite) for a little over a year, then I discovered the Timpa Duet Lace (non-padded lace underwire) and have mostly switched to those especially during the hot summer. I was already looking at trying TLBC's Georgette, their first underwire soft bra, when I read your info about why a good fitting soft-bra with underwire is really the best bra. I have to say, I believe this because I am so comfortable in the Timpa Duet, and hardly have the urge to wear the padded TBLC bras anymore! And this is coming from someone who is STILL only a 32A-30B in a properly fitted bra!
    Thanks so much for all of this information.

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  44. I live in a country where most of the bras' band sizes are 75, 80, or 85 when women who should wear 70 or 65 are extremely common, and the cup sizes are mostly A, B, or C. The funny thing is, when they import foreign bras, they only sell the sizes that are commonly sold here. Glad there's a foreign brand landed here that sells bras of band sizes 65 to 80, and cup sizes of A to H. I used to wear 75A for years when I was in middle and high school, but when I entered high school and knew what size should I wear, I bought a new bra that fitted me just right. Bra companies in my country should wake up and see the reality.