D+ cupsizes, why you do not add four
I wanted to give a visual representation to the war on plus four. Many people do not understand what is wrong with adding four inches to your underbust measurement. First I want to point out that bra sizing is very subjective. It is highly individual and what works for one woman may not work for another. One woman may add 2″ while another subtracts inches. Remember to take the shape of your ribcage, amount of fat padding, muscle shape of your chest wall and lats into consideration.
The picture below is an old 32A bra next to my current 28H bra. I at one time have worn both sizes (one before breast implants) and can tell you that the bands are very similar in fit. I can still put the band of the 32A bra on and it is just as tight as the 28H bra. The 32A bra measures 24″ flat and 29″ stretched as much as possible. The 28H bra measures 24″ flat and 28″ stretched.
Crazy right? Those two bras, labeled with two different bandsizes measure exactly the same before stretching. So I wanted to do some research on bra measurements while unstretched. Due to the bad weather today I was limited in my shopping options. So I took some Hanes bras to the dressing room and did some experimenting. I had a 36 band bra hooked around my 36″ hips with out even really stretching it. Some measuring shows that the bra actually stretches more than 36. How is a person with a 32″ ribcage supposed to wear a 36 band bra that stretches more than 36 inches?
So I went to Bratabase to do a little bit of research. Just doing some looking I found some bras to show how stretchy bands can be. First was a Very Sexy push up with gel curve in a 32D bra has a band that stretches to 34 inches!! The 32B stretched to 33 inches. A Dream Angles push up in 32DD, stretching to 34 inches. A Body by Victoria in a 34DD, stretching to 38 inches. The Lined Perfect Coverage bra in 38D, stretches to 42.5 inches. A Hanes bra in 38B stretching to 43 inches.
There seems to be a disconnect with sizing across the board. A 34 or below in a C cup or less has a smaller band creating a tighter fit. Ladies in these sizes seem to be able to comfortably wear a bra with a +4 fit and still get proper support. A D cup and above or a 36 bandsize and above have much stretchier bands. Why would a 36+ bandsize be more stretchy than a 34? More fabric means more to stretch. Why is the bandsize on a D+ cup more stretchy than a C cup when you have a small bandsize? Why does the woman who measures 34″ in the underbust get put into a 38 band bra that stretches to 38 inches? None of these make any sense. Why there not be any standardization? Why must a woman fight through some much just to find a comfortable and properly fitted bra?
There is no 100% correct way to size. A brand should not provide a blanket calculator that misleads their customers. They should tell them how to fit themselves in a bra, what to look for in a good and bad fit, and provide them with images that show proper fit, not bad fit. This really is not too much to ask. Take a look at Bra Stop’s fitting video, A Sophisticated Pair’s calculator and fit guide, and Butterfly Collection’s calculator and fit guide for ideas for where to start.