"My rib measurement is 26 inches, and not even Bravissimo sells that band size. What's your advice?"
I have a couple of suggestions for you:
* Eva Michalak´s Very Tight BandsThere is Polish producer that produces bras with very very tight bands. The site is ewa-michalak.pl and they start with band size 60, which is so sung that it´s actually meant for girls with 58-62cm (22-24") under the bust. The bras are very good quality and are very pretty,
The site has it´s own calculator (with a slightly different system), and according to it you´d find their band 65 a good fit. I don´t know your bust size, so you need to try their calculator yourself.
"obwód pod biustem mierzony ciasno" means "under the bust, measured tightly"
"obwód pod biustem mierzony luźno" means "under the bust, measured loosely"
"obwód w biuście mierzony w pozycji pochylonej bez stanika" means measurement in the bust, leaning forward, bra-less.The site is in Polish, but they do shipping all over Europe for ca. 5€ and worldwide for ca. 6€ (which is ridiculously cheap) so I´m guessing they do business internationally. I´d suggest mailing them at email@example.com in english, giving her your measurements and the bras you like.
The bras start at 70 zł (PLN) which is 17€. They offer free shipping if you want to exchange the item for another). They also accept Paypal. All of this makes it a hassle-free and very affordable solution.
* Tight 28 (60) bandsYou could try looking for very tight 28" bands. Many 28 (60) bands are so loose that you need to have 70cm in the ribcage to wear them. But some tight ones that stay tight do exist. Try: Freya Tia, Freya Rio, Freya Polyanna, Panache Tango, Panache Lilly, and Miss Mandalay Paris. The Freya bras will have narrower underwires and Panache has broad. You need broad underwires if your breasts are further apart, or if you have a broad back.
* Why NOT sew.I don´t recommend tightening the bra bands by sewing it up, since this distorts the bra shape. It usually pulls the underwires wider apart, and that flattens the cups. The underwires also may bend in strange ways, spoiling the whole fit and either poking or not lying flat on the sternum.
* Let manufactures know what you wantYou might want to write to bra producers telling them that you´d like them to produce small band sizes, and ones that are actually tight. Bra bands seem to be made stretchier every year. So it might be that if they do produce 26" bands, chances are that that they´ll fit only 28" girls. Let them know you need it snug ! Brands like Victoria´s Secret that cater to just a bunch of sizes anyway will not listen, but Bravissimo, Panache and the like might be worth a shot !
Photo via Szuflada Effuniak