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bra fitting

I found this amazing explanation on Reddit for how to fit a bra- although I had to deal with formatting issues, so I hope this comes out. There's a chart that probably isn't going to crossover well. It's long, so I'll put it

"The guide is intended to get you really close to wearing the perfect size, but there is no alternative to actually trying on bras and assessing the fit. Ideally, every woman would have access to a well stocked lingerie store that carried everything from 24A to 50K, but alas.

You'll need a tailor's/cloth tape, a scratch pad and pen, and (if at all possible) a friend/significant other to help. You don't need a friend, but it's really helpful to have one as they can make sure you've got the tape lined up neatly and do the measurement for you.

First, here's the "Don't do this!" part of the program. Don't measure yourself wearing a bra, even a bra you think is a good fitting bra. You'll effectively be measuring the bra and not your breast tissue. Don't wear anything. You're not trying to measure yourself to wear a bra over a t-shirt or a bra over another bra or anything. You want a skin-to-tape measurement. Don't do any weird math, fancy over/under the boobs nonsense, or anything else you've ever heard about measuring for a bra

Alright, you're naked and you've got your tape and pen/paper. Now, let's get measuring! =) Lean forward so that your back is parallel with the floor. This is important. You want gravity to help pull all your breast tissue forward, even the breast tissue that your previously ill-fitting bra squished back under your arms (and even around onto your back). You may even want to take a moment to reach back and massage your sides, kind of pushing the breast tissue forward with a sweeping motion. Measure around your torso with the tape passing over the fullest part of your hanging breasts. Keep the tape as straight as possible (essentially perpendicular to the floor if you've done your best to make your body parallel to it.) This measurement should be loose. Tighten the tape just tight enough that it doesn't easily slide off the skin if nudged, but not tight enough to begin to deform the breast tissue. So! Upper body parallel, measure with a snug and straight tape, and write that number down. For the sake of this example, let's say 42 inches. If you have pendulous breasts you may wish to take two measurements and average them. You can measure yourself once in the hanging position, then once in the standing position and average the two numbers. I strongly suggest leaning towards the larger measurement. The majority of the “90% of women wear the wrong bra” crowd are wearing bras with radically undersized cups. Make sure there is room for your breasts and then work down to a snug cup fit!

Next we measure for the band. Wrap the tape around your torso, directly under the root of your breast. Wherever your breast tissue terminates into the torso, that's where the band should be sitting. Even if it seems high (because you're used to wearing poor fitting bras or you have breasts with a high root but significant slope) you want the band to sit at the root of the breast so that the breast tissue is laying nicely in the cups. You want this measurement to be very snug. Pull the tape tight enough that it feels really snug but not so tight as to be a corset or that it leaves a red mark in your skin. It's important you get a snug measurement; If you start with a band that is an inch or more too big it will not only fail to support you right from the start but it will rapidly get worse. So! Measure tight but not so tight that you leave a red mark on the skin. Write this measurement down. For the sake of this example, let's say the measurement was 34 inches.

Armed with those numbers: 42 inches over the fullest point of the bust and 34 inches snug around the rib cage, it's time to do some very minor calculating. You can do it manually or you can use a bra fit calculator. The big caveat is that 99% of bra fit calculators are absolute garbage; they're so bad as to be completely useless. bra fit calculator at Sophisticated Pair is excellent. Probably the best one online at the moment. If we plug in the numbers we got with our measuring, it suggests that our model would likely be comfortable wearing a US 34H or a UK 34FF.

If you'd like to calculate your bra size manually you need the band size and the difference between the bust size and the band size. In the case of our example the band size is 34 inches and the different is 8 inches. The cup size is determined by the difference (8 inches, in this case). These are the most common measurements used by bra manufacturers (scroll to the right to see the full chart): +--------------+----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-------+----------+----------+--------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Difference | 0" | <1" | 2" | 3" | 4" | 5" | 6" | 7" | 8" | 9" | 10" | 11" | 12" | 13" | 14" | 15" | 16" |
+--------------+----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-------+----------+----------+--------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| UK Cup Size | AA | A | B | C | D | DD | E | F | FF | G | GG | H | HH | J | JJ | K | KK |
+--------------+----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-------+----------+----------+--------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| US Cup Size | AA | A | B | C | D | DD/E | DDD/E/F | DDDD/F/G | G/H/J | I/J/K | J | K | L | M | N | O | P |
+--------------+----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-------+----------+----------+--------+--------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

You may notice that US bra manufacturers do not have their shit together. That would be an accurate observation. UK companies are almost completely standardized with a little variation in cut/cup size between companies and within their various lines. US companies are all over the map; part of it is a stupid fixation with not making bras bigger than "D", so G cups are sometimes labeled as DDDD. So stupid. To further compound the confusion, some US companies have thrown in the towel on the US system and are now using the UK system (because it's clearly easier to understand). Manually calculating your bra size using the US system is a complete crap shoot once you get above around a DD cup; US brands are ridiculously inconsistent.

With that in mind, I'd strongly suggest you start with UK brands first, to avoid frustration. Brands like Panache, Freya, Fantasie, and Curvy Kate are all great brands to start with. You can find lots of UK brands for dirt cheap at BraStop.com--we're talking bras that cost $75-120 in the US for a mere $20-30 USD.

The real test is actually trying the bra on. I'd suggest ordering a few bras from a few companies, around the size you think you are. Once you get the bras, try them on (making sure to use your hand to gently scoop your breast tissue from the sides and armpit area into the cup) and assess the fit. You must get in the habit of doing the scoop-and-swoop move. It enhances your bust, it smooths out armpit and back bulges, and (for larger chested women especially) it helps the breast fat that crappy bras have savagely smashed into your armpits and around your torso, migrate back into place. For women with C cup breasts and larger, it's not uncommon to go up a cup size after a few months of wearing the right size bra because all the previously smashed-around-"chub" has settled back into it's proper place: in the breasts.

As far as the cups go... You want the breast tissue in the cups. None bulging out in the arm pits, none being pushed back against your ribs, and none spilling out over the top of the cups (the dreaded quad-boob). The band should be snug (you should be able to slide a finger or two under it comfortably, but no more), it should be parallel to the floor, it should touch your chest all the way around (if the band doesn't sit flush to your breast bone in the front, that means the cups are too small and your breasts are lifting the band/gore away from your torso).

Here's a quick trouble shooting list:
1. Breasts spill over cup either on the tops or out the sides (like into the armpit area)? The cup is too small, go up a cup size.
2. Bra cup is wrinkly? Either the cup is too big or the style of the cup isn't suited to your breast shape (i.e. the cup is shaped to compliment a woman with upper pole fullness and you're more of a lower pole kinda gal).
3. Underwires are digging into your sides/armpits or aren't flush against your ribs? Cup size too small, go up a cup.
4. Band too tight? Increase band size.
5. Band rides up in the back? (i.e. curves towards your neck, not parallel with the floor?) The band is too big, go down a band size.
6. Gore doesn't tack? (the center of the cups, where the underwires form a little bridge of sorts isn't touching your torso?) Cup size is too small, go up a size.
7. Straps painfully digging in? Loosen the straps to a two-finger tightness. Do your breasts sag? Then you were using the straps to over support them. You most likely need a tighter band.

Remember, the cup and band are not independent. If you make an adjustment to the cup or band size you need to make an adjustment to the other element. For example, if you're wearing a 34H and you feel the band doesn't fit well, your next stop should be a 32HH not a 32H (unless of course you're attempting to diagnose a poor band. Most of all, it should be comfortable and flattering. Even if it meets all the requirements: breasts in cups, band flush, should straps not digging it... if it makes your boobs pointier than you'd like, gives them a weird shape, or otherwise doesn't make you feel awesome... send it back. You've spent too much time wearing the wrong size bra to settle at this point in the project."

Not surprisingly, according to that probably none of my bras *actually* fit me. Also I found it interesting about the breast tissue migrating around and being able to sort of mush it back into place. I'm going to try this measuring method, then perhaps tomorrow with the car go try on some bras. I'm planning to do the Salem stuff SUPER fast, although disappointingly the really big/cheap apartment seems to be close to the site of a recent quadruple murder which is... you know... bizarre. Also the lady's answer about my question was unclear (at least to me). But the rent is probably $625/month, for 1120 square feet, which is significantly cheaper overall than $575/month for 700 square feet. But again, the smaller is located RIGHT downtown. As much as I want to get a car, it'd be totally unnecessary there, and more necessary near quadruple-murder-ville. But, bigger place would also take 2 cats if need be ($400/per cat though). The move-in costs are almost exactly the same, interestingly.

And my face broke out in two horrifying protozits- the kind that linger under the surface getting wider, not coming out in heads. Every time I get up I'm putting something on them to try to clear up the bacteria and dry 'em out a bit because I don't want to meet Fabio with a lip zit and an extra chin. But it makes sense; I'm having cramps so it must be That Time and all.

So, the bra thing... very intriguing. And now to lunch, back to work, and to make detailed maps and a plan for everything I gotta do with a car within 24 hours.

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