Mall Store Experiences and the Real “Average” Size Range

Part I: Mall Store Experiences

I feel lucky every time I walk into a mall bra store and a clerk doesn’t try to force-fit me… or give me weird looks.

Today, it was probably over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the apartment, so I decided to check out what the mall had for sports bras. I stopped in a few stores: Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret (mostly to see if they carried DDDs in store), Target, and EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports).

  • Surprisingly, Macy’s only had a few sports bras, mostly sized S-XL, so I didn’t try any on. Instead, I asked about what cup sizes were available in store. The clerk told me that they carried up to a (US) G cup and looked at me incredulously when I looked disappointed. G CUPS ARE NOT GIANT! I really can’t stand it when people give me looks like that… ugh.
  • Last week, I mentioned that Victoria’s Secret had started making some of their more popular styles in a DDD cup. When I stopped in and asked, they said that only some locations carried the DDD cup, but they were all available online. They asked what size I wore and the fitter gave me one of those looks. She asked if I’d humor her and try on a bra, since she wanted to at least try. She handed me a 36DD. I put it on… even on the tightest hook, I could pull it at least 6 inches away from my body… and the center gore was about an inch away from my sternum. I pointed these things out, but she said a 34DDD would be fine. Thinking I’d been unclear, I said that the 36 was very loose even on the tightest hook, but I got the same reply. I tried once again and gave up. The cup was a little bit too small, but the band was giant. It was clear that she just really, really wanted me to fit into one of the available sizes.
  • No one bothered me at Target, since I was just wandering around and there were no clerks present. I found a 38DD sports bra, which would fit in the cup, but not the band.
  • Eastern Mountain Sports had a limited selection and also only went up to a DD cup. The clerk was very nice and suggested some other stores. Oh, and she didn’t look at me like I was crazy, which was a plus.

On a slight side note, I found this awesome bra at Victoria’s Secret:

It’s a push up bra for the “gorgeous” collection. The shape of (or perhaps lack of) the center gore would give the most amazing push up effect. Sadly, it only goes up to a DD. If I find a really, really cheap 38DD, I might consider buying it and altering it.

Part II: the real “average” size range

But seriously, what is WITH the incredulous looks? First of all, a G cup isn’t “giant”. Second, I’m not saying that I’m a (US) 30J compared to their 34D… I’m a 30J and they are probably a (US) 30G (or a 30F, if they aren’t bulging out of their bra).

Which reminds me of something that needs to be said: 32-38 A-D are NOT “average” sizes! I am sure that there are people who really are within that size range, but they would have larger than average ribcages and a very small difference between underbust and bust measurements. For example:

  • 32A: 32 inch ribcage, 33 inch bust
  • 32D: 32 inch ribcage, 36 inch bust
  • 34C: 34 inch ribcage, 37 inch bust
  • 36B: 36 inch ribcage, 38 inch bust
  • 38C: 38 inch ribcage, 41 inch bust

Not many people have these measurements. In fact, these, if any, could be considered “specialty” sizes. Assuming they are wearing the correct cup volume (and no more than +4 band), they should probably be wearing:

  • 32A should be 28C (or maybe 26D)
  • 32D should be 28F (or maybe 26G)
  • 34C should be 30DD
  • 36B should be 32D
  • 38C should be 34DD

So the “average” size range should probably be something like 26-34 C-G (UK C-F). It’s still not very inclusive of larger cup sizes… but it’s certainly better than carrying bras that very few people actually fit! The only difference here is that the bands have shrunk… the cups have stayed the same. But if we consider all of the 28Js and 30Ks that are squeezing into terribly ill-fitting bras, sometimes going up to 38DD to get a bigger cup, I think it’s safe to expand “average” up to a K cup. A US K cup is equivalent to a UK H cup, which is still well within the bounds of “not-huge-looking”… I border on a US K cup and I am frequently mistaken for a D or DD cup (carried in most stores), so I think it’s fair to include at least a K, since most brands make up to a DD. Anyway, if the real “average” is 26-34 C-K, stores should be carrying those sizes.

That range doesn’t include bands smaller than 26 or larger than 34. It also excludes cups smaller than C or larger than K. Don’t get me wrong, people DO need these sizes and I’d love to see every store carry every size. However, if the argument is “we stock what there is a market for”, then 26-34 C-K is a perfectly reasonable size range for a regular store to carry. Now we just need to convince bra companies that you shouldn’t add inches to the underbust measurement to get the band size…

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