The cover of Cosmo so often shows women whose cups runneth over, but that is not the way they were meant to look all the time, especially not under a button-down shirt or (horror of horrors) a tight-fitting sweater. There is nothing sexy about double-boobs under a sweater.
Anatomically speaking, your pretty girls are glandular tissue with very little natural support (connective tissue). As the breasts mature, they fold over and their lower surface lies against the chest wall when vertical. Unfortunately, this maturation is referred to as "sagging" or "drooping", although plastic surgeons refer to it as ptosis. Wearing a bra can offer relief of breast pain, particularly when women are performing strenuous physical activity or exercise (sex not included). So you need one, right?
Well, keep in mind that many of the statements about the benefits of bras are actually situations where they can make things worse, because the vast majority of women wear bras that are ill-fitting. For instance, rather than keeping the breasts away from the chest wall, bras that are too tight can actually compress them against the chest even further. This also pulls the upper thoracic and cervical vertebrae forward and down, interfering with back, shoulder and chest movement. When the shoulder straps transfer most of the weight of the breast, a deep groove can be seen over the shoulder. Use of thin straps, such as spaghetti straps, can exert pressure on the trapezius muscle, resulting in temporary symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain; numbness and tingling in the arm; and headaches.
So, without further ado, here is the proper way to determine your bra size once and for all.
You will need:
- Tape measure
- A calculator if you really suck at math
Now, if your measurement is under 33", add five to that number. If this number odd, round up to the next even number. If your measurement is over 33", add 3 inches. If this number is odd, round up to the next even number. This is your body size. Which is to say, the number in front of the cup letter in your bra size. If your body size does not add up to a standard (which is to say, even) bra size, round up to the next even number.
On finding your cup size: your cup size represents the difference in measurement between your body size and the measurement around the fullest part of your bust. To take that measurement, you want to do something similar to what you did for your body size – wrap the measuring tape around your back and over the fullest part of the bust – this is usually around the nipple area. As with your body size, again you want the tape to be just snug, and not at all tight, with no bulging. This will ensure a correct fit. Take that number down in inches as well.
So, here's what we've all been waiting for – determining your cup size. Take your bust measurement and subtract your body measurement. What is the difference? For each inch of difference, that is a cup size. One inch would be an A, two inches a B, three inches a C, and so forth.
Example: Your rib cage measurement is 33". If you add five, you get 38". Your bust size is 42", for a difference of 4". This means your cup size is a D. Which means you are a 38D. So stop squeezing into that 36C already! (Imagine my surprise when this exact scenario happened to me. I quickly ran out and bought myself the proper bra right away.)
However, bra sizing systems differ widely between countries, between manufacturers, and between brands and designs, so remember that you need to try every single one on that you are interested in. Some warning signs to look for are:
- Bulging anywhere. Check yourself in the mirror from the front – you should not be spilling over the tops of your cups.
- The bottom of the bra should run along the bottom of your mams, not be pulled forward (I've made this mistake – convincing myself that it fit when it really didn't).
- The straps should not cut into your shoulders in any way. Anything larger than a B cup and you really need a more substantial strap.
- Check your side view. Make sure there isn't an extra bubble of boob over the top of your bra. If so, go up a cup size.
- Check your back view – if your back looks like butter being cut by dental floss, the straps / body of the bra are too thin or too small. If your bra fits properly in the back, your shirts will look better and you won't see back fat.
As with any other piece of clothing, buying the first one you try on is usually a mistake.
And if your gals want to send me a thank-you note, they can feel free to do so.