Friday, August 28, 2015

How Was Your Bra Fit Event?

This is a short post and will probably be the only one with the tag of "Review" but the number of comments is unlimited so, please, comment away.

Did you find something to fit your needs?  Did the event meet your expectations?  What would you make different (that is easily within my control to change)?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Why Is It Important To Find A Bra That Fits???

Why is it so important to get into a size (and style) that fits?  
In a nutshell, to change the world. 

The bra is a fairly young garment—when compared to the existence of other types of apparel.  Outer coverings—such as pants, shirts, and dresses—have been around for hundreds of years.  Maybe not in the shape or style that they are now but attire that served their purpose has been.  Without doing a poop-ton of my own research but going off this website--A Brief History of the Bra--the bra first came to be in the early 1890s, as a replacement (of sorts) for the corset.  Underwires came to be in the early 1930s and cup sizing came soon after.  It should be noted, though, that cups sizes from that time bear little resemblance to the cup sizing of today. 

The history, for someone with my passion to fit my clients and know where it all came from, can be quite distracting.  I nearly got sucked into reading from numerous websites rather than finish up the point that I’m trying to make on this post.  Please forgive me if it gets a little scattered because I may see a tidbit that I want to include and throw it in randomly. 
In the meantime, a little visual timeline of the evolution of the bra:
 Early 1900s


 1920s--when busts were flattened and squished

 1940s--note the age progression and how it relates to the length of the bra

 1950s--you could hurt someone with those shapes

 1960s--all about function, not flattery

Starting to appear in a much "softer" shape; far less structure

There are tons of bras to choose from nowadays.  I really think the style explosion began when Madonna started  the trend of underwear as outerwear—first in the 1980s when she first hit the scene in her lace bustiers...

and continuing into the 1990s during her Truth or Dare/Dick Tracy era...
 An extreme throwback to the 1950s.

Before that, bras seemed more functional than anything.  After that, they had to be “pretty”, “unique”, “eye-catching”.  Because of this paradigm shift, hundreds of choices became available, at all different price points. 

They no longer appear to be the *right* choices, though.  For decades, the shape and size of women was pretty stagnant and fairly small, even if we did get taller by a bit.  In the 1960s, based upon numerous sources that I could find, the average weight of a woman was 140lbs.  In the 1980s, there was a increase to 145, and by the year 2000, the average weight was more than 165lbs.  Yet, bra *sizes* remain pretty much the same.  Granted, it was a whole different sizing method then—one that I don’t know enough about to explain, I just know that it was different.

For example Marilyn Monroe was touted as a 36C but the *fullest* part of her bust was 37” so, clearly, the sizing system was different then.  (And a “32” might have worked for someone who may have had only 26” around their ribcage because the measurement was based upon bust proportion or whatnot.)  However, even with the sizing *method* change, they stuck with the same band size range: 32 to 38 or 40; and, pretty much the same cup range: A to DD or DDD.  And, in stores, that is the consensus of availability today.  Yes, there are exceptions but they are few.

20, 30, and 40 years ago, we didn’t have nearly the “insulation” that we do now so having that limited a range wasn’t as much of an issue.  With the increase in body weight and obesity, though, comes a variety of flesh distributions, for lack of a better description.  Band sizes have to take into account rib circumference as well as the flesh that covers it; which could be very little or quite a bit or somewhere in between.  Cup sizes are approaching their limit, in terms of letters of the alphabet.  The UK is up to L; the U.S. is up to N (which is actually *smaller* than the UK cup of L); yet the flesh that fills the cups continues to be more and more.

Despite these drastic changes, though, department stores haven’t really changed what they carry.  They just carry more options in the sizes that they already had, and have had, for years.  To some degree, having that small a band range is perfectly fine but is it the *right* range to have?  On a survey post on /r/ABraThatFits, where the majority of responders (646 of 909 or 71%) fall into an age range between 18 and 29, the perceived band size (774 of 895 or 87% ) does fall into the 32-38 range but, upon further investigation (i.e. inputting measurements into the provided bra size calculator) it seems that the majority actually falls into a range of 28-34 band sizes (714 of 895 or 80%).

The other disparity lies in the perceived and calculated cup sizes of survey participants.  Perceived cup majority (cups measured via UK sizing): B to DD (629 of 894 or 70%).  Calculated cup majority (again, UK sizing): DD to G (571 of 895 or 64%).  I should also mention that the perceived cup greater than G totaled only 34 but, when cup size was calculated, it totaled 192 above a G cup.
Why is this important to note?  Department stores, in general, are providing cups only up to F (U.S. size DDD) and the band size that is *married* to these cup sizes are TOO BIG for the customer—usually a 36 or larger.  Customers are forcing themselves into these mismatched sizes because it’s too tedious and labor intensive to get the band/cup combo that actually fits.  

The mode value of the perceived cup size is a B and the mode value of the perceived band is a 34.  So, folks are buying the 34Bs but are really needing 30Es (mode value of calculated band is a 30 and mode value of calculated cup is an E)—two band sizes and three cup sizes different, not even a “sister size”.

A sidenote: there wasn’t an alignment between age and bra size so that’s why there is the number differences that there are.  It *is* important to note the age of the majority, though, because this is the demographic that is a primary candidate for much of the well known bra marketing in the present time.

So, I go back to my original question but slightly rephrased…Why do we need to buy bras that fit?  So that manufacturers will listen and adapt.  They won’t change what they think works until their bottom line indicates that it’s necessary.

Quit buying the 36Cs that work “okay”. 
Invest in the 30F that makes you feel fabulous!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Join My Group on Facebook, If You Like.

Over on the right sidebar, I've attached a link to my "If The Bra Fits..." group on facebook.  It's an easy way to be notified of the newest post and discuss the topic at hand.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Short Explanation About Immediate Projection*

*edited Sept 2016 to state that Immediate Projection is interchangeable with Bottom-of-the-Cup Projection and Immediate Depth.*

I received my new bras today.  Not the ones that end my ongoing Perfect Fit journey but the ones that are going to get me through while I continue that journey.  The ones that fit Oh My Goodness so much better than the ones that I’ve been wearing up until now.  They’re not perfect though.  They’re a bit too shallow.  You may ask: What does “shallow” mean in the context of bras?  Well, it’s quite similar to what it means in the traditional sense: not enough space for the item that it must contain.  It becomes readily apparent when you put on a bra and even more so if you have what is known as “immediate projection.” 

Here is my attempt to duplicate/illustrate immediate projection (***edited to add: as it pertains to me and my "girls"):

It’s different from being pendulous, even if there is a bit of breast tissue below the InfraMammary Fold--where the underside of breast tissue meets the ribcage.  
My illustration for pendulous:

So, when you have immediate projection, if you put on a bra that is too shallow, the portion of the breast tissue that “projects” the most from your ribcage is going to, essentially, seek out the deepest part of the cup.  This often results in a bit of bra flatness between the bottom of the breast and the underwire.

See that flatness here (my index finger is actually resting on it):

So, that is why these new bras aren’t perfect but, if you’ve seen my original bras, you can see they are infinitely better than before.

I have to say: It feels odd to not be adjusting my breasts constantly.  They're no longer in danger of falling out the bottom (because they've pushed the bra too far from my ribcage) or popping out the top (because they worked their way up and over).  It's rather nice.  :D

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Swoop and Scoop

As much as it's important to be familiar what kind of shape your breasts are or whether they're Full On Top (FOT) or Full On Bottom (FOB) or whether they have wide roots or narrow roots (or tall or short roots), the best place to start for getting the right fit is to Swoop and Scoop.  Reach into the cup and bring forward all that breast tissue that is hanging out under the armpit.  Those of us who've been wearing incorrectly fitting bras for years...hell, decades even, may have more than others; same if you're a bit heavier than say someone who may be in a 32 band.  Bring forward all that tissue.  I have to hang on to the outer edge of my underwire to really get a good swoop and scoop but, let me tell you.  It makes all the difference.

Here's me before Swoop and Scoop (in the bra that has been my "go to" bra for about a year now):

In the middle picture, above, you can see the migrated breast tissue that is just hanging out there.

Now, here's after I've Swooped and Scooped:

You can see how my cleavage is "popping" and so not in a good way.  I've got four boobs aka "quad boob" like crazy.
When you've got a bra on, Swoop and Scoop.  Does it still fit?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Buttercups, A Local Lingerie Store With A Convenient Location in Delaware

I had the best visit to this local Delaware lingerie store.  I really couldn’t wait to visit Buttercups when I heard that there was a store that carried band sizes 28-50 and cup sizes A-K.  And they don’t just stock the smaller cups with the smaller band sizes or the larger cups with the larger band sizes.  If you’re a 28G or a 44B, you’re more than likely going to find something.  If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll order it so that it’s available in the store for you to try on.  They’ll order anything for any of the brands that they carry.  On with my experience…

Lemme just say: the first great part is that it’s right near a Starbucks.  J  But, when I got to the store, the “great” continued.  The two sales ladies—Victoria and Stephanie—greeted me immediately upon entering (always a plus) and asked if I’ve even been in the store before and what they could help with.  I really just wanted to browse to see what they had.  I did ask what fitting method they use.   I think I threw them a bit when I asked if they used a two-, three-, or five-point measuring system—they use the same as where I work, a two-point system: underbust and fullest part.

The store decor is painted in a bright, sunny yellow on three walls and one wall painted in a royal blue and white pattern—very regal.  It has a good layout with most stuff on the walls and a few racks on the floor.  Some of the wall racks are front facing, some are side facing, so the variety is good.  It doesn’t look like a department store but is set up in a way that makes you want to browse.
Read about their impending opening in an article from a year ago, spring:

They carry most of the high end, well known brands: Panache, Elomi, Cleo by Panache, Freya; and the owner, Christy said that she’s looking to add other brands such as Chantelle and the like once they see what is available at the trade show this weekend.

I told them what I had already tried and they suggested a few others, which I tried—didn’t love them, though, so I didn’t buy anything.  However, my plan is to find what fits through various online retailers but purchase at THIS store.  I’m such a huge advocate for shopping small business that I don’t mind driving the distance to get there, especially since they’re willing to order anything that I’d like to get just so that I *can* buy from them. 

They have a facebook page as well as the website that I linked above.  They’re very easy to get to.  From Route 1 in Delaware, you take the Middletown/Odessa exit and head west towards Middletown.  You need drive just over a mile (passed the High School) and turn left when you see Saladworks at the corner of E Main St and Silver Lake Rd.  If you miss that turn, you can take the very next left (Dickerson Blvd) and then double back through the shopping center parking lot.  The storefront faces Acme grocery store and shares a very large parking lot with it.

From Dover Air Force Base, it’s less than 30 minutes via Route 1 and less than an hour to take Hwy 13 if you wish to avoid tolls. 

Well worth the drive if you’re looking for a bra that fits.  Tell ‘em you read about them on “If The Bra Fits.”  :D