Pictures in response to the awful “bra fitting scam” post…

Edit: Bianca James did not intend to offend anyone with the post she wrote. It did, however, offend many people. The following post was written in response to what read as body snark and policing other women’s bodies.

You’ve probably heard of/seen this nasty little post about how “bra fitting is a f*cking scam” over at MsBehaved. No sh*t, it is a scam… except that the “scam” she is talking about is fitters who don’t add inches to the underbust. How is it a scam? “Vanity sizing”, she claims.

She tells the horrible story of her fitting at Nordstrom in which her 42DDD body was shoved into a 38H. It was, apparently, difficult to breathe. But most importantly,  “H cup was bra size no-woman’s- land, inhabited by porn stars with massive implants who looked like they might fall over from the weight of their breasts.” Oh, I must be a porn star! And I don’t recall getting implants… but I guess I did!

OF COURSE the 38 band felt too tight! If you’re used to wearing a huge band, going down even one band size will be a big deal. You need to take it in small steps. For example, I went through every intermediate band size on the way from 36 to 30. Had I immediately gone to 30 or even 32, I would have felt like I was being suffocated. (edit: this isn’t “corset training”. Big changes in band size just feel weird.) She should have started out with a 40GG. And she asks “How does one push one’s breasts back into one’s armpits, exactly?” Um… most people do it. If you’re wearing a bra that is too small in the cup, the breast tissue will migrate to the armpit. Look in a mirror. Is there breast tissue beyond the side of the cup? If so, it’s getting shoved into your armpit. It’s not rocket science…

It’s bs like that terrible post that made me afraid to try on bands smaller than 36 or cups larger than DDs. Even now, I still tend to buy the smallest cup I can cram myself into. I actually cried when I first read that post. I wanted to respond to it weeks ago, but felt like my words would fall on deaf ears. Perhaps images will be better?

So without further ado, I present two images in response to the infamous post:

36DD:

30GG (altered from 32G):

See the difference? (Hint: it isn’t just the colour of the background.) Hun, I’m not wearing a 30GG to flatter myself… I’m wearing it because it fits.

25 thoughts on “Pictures in response to the awful “bra fitting scam” post…

  1. I’m glad that you did make this blog post because as the end of “Why Bra Fitting is a F*cking Scam” it comes up as a track back so people can see how a bra should fit. I think the writer of of the article had no clue about fitting and really wasn’t to remain in the dark. It sad because women wear bras more than they drive cars or are on the computer yet they research their cars and computers cell phones ect. but not their bras.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, it’s strange that we’re so willing to blindly bra shop. I do a bit too much research on things, but I’d rather have too much information than none at all.

      Btw, I also commented on the post, but I’m not overly confident that my comment will show up.

  2. I love your post. I had to share it on twitter. I read that little blog post a while ago but was to angry to comment. And it looks like she has disabled comments on it. :/ I’d love to share my thoughts about it.
    “H cup was bra size no-woman’s- land, inhabited by porn stars with massive implants who looked like they might fall over from the weight of their breasts.”
    The entire post makes me angry, but this line is incredibly offensive to me. As a woman with implants that wears an H, I find this insulting. I don’t have “massive” implants and I’m not a porn star. I actually look proportional, not like I’m going to fall over. Body snark all over with this post, and it is just getting her more blog views. I think a little education and some more manners would go a long way with this author.

    1. That line really irked me, too. When I read that jab, I thought of you and was wondering how you’d react to the article. For what it’s worth, you certainly don’t look like you’re going to fall over… you look great. And I’m really happy that you found the courage to do something that you wanted to do. There is a general negative attitude toward plastic surgery, which bothers me, because I can think of many cases in which surgery (or otherwise altering one’s body) makes sense.

      But yeah… there’s just loads of misinformation coupled with a bad attitude in that post. Thanks for sharing this! I just hope that I can help balance things out by putting some correct information out there.

      1. If you have the time or inclination, you should get on twitter. I share posts and such, but I really use it to follow and read other blogs or to find things to share on my blog’s Facebook. It’s great for hints from brands, they’ll even help with fitting questions or share news. (example, news about Affinitas looking at expanding past a G.)

        1. I just emailed Affinitas about the size range- I really hope they add a few cup sizes (and maybe a 28 band). I’m considering Twitter… but I’m still trying to figure out how to make a facebook page without calling myself a business, a cause, or a public figure!

          1. Feel free to shoot me an email if you’d like. :) I have my FB set as a personal blog so their is no ties to my personal facebook. I can easily access it, but it doesn’t show that I’m the page owner. Its under the category “websites & blogs.” There is even a limited access Pages app for some phone platforms. Like I said, if you have questions feel free to send me an email. I’ll gladly help out.

  3. I hadn’t read that post so thanks for linking to it. How incredibly out of touch that woman is. Since wearing properly fitted bras – going from a 32E-F to 28GG – I’ve had such better support and more comfort. I definitely don’t wear a GG-H cup for the fun of it because it’s not, you can barely find sizes on the high street apart from Bravissimo which means you have to shop online. People who won’t move with the times and accept how you should properly size yourself are the ones that make life difficult. The more people have that attitude, the less likely everyone else will get themselves a properly fitting bra. It’s sad.

  4. Thank you for the link to that awful post! That woman clearly didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, it’s that kind of ignorance that leads to women buying the wrong bra size, which then means it’s harder to find stock of correct sizes! I’m currently trying to figure out my bra suize, it’s an absolute nightmare! I was always under the assumption that because I’m a UK size 14, it meant my band size must need to be 34/36, leading to riding up backs and lots of discomfort over the past few years, and department stores are useless, telling me that bras which are clearly too big for me actuallyfit. When I actually measured my ribs myself they came up as 31 inches, so clearly a 36 band is a huge no go for me. I still haven’t figured out what size I am yet (I have a few bras being delivered today to try on) I’m just hopeful that when I do find the right size, I can stop feeling miserable about it. Thank you for your blog, it helps so much to know I’m not the only one who has so many issues finding decent bras!

  5. I’m kind of impressed by how…out of context people have taken my post. Hi, I’m Bianca. I wrote the post. I have big boobs. I am sick of salespeople shoving me into bras that don’t fit, and that most stores don’t sell shit that fits me, and that ordering online is an incredibly dicey proposition. This post was born out of conversations I had with many other women of various bra sizes. For what it’s worth I’ll clarify a few of what seem to be the most misunderstood aspects of the essay, which was, in fact, a bit of a snarky rant, and I stand by that. The question is, is anyone actually willing to have a dialogue with me as a human being who is generally speaking, not an asshole (even if I am prone to occasional ranting)? I stopped commenting on the essay a long time ago because it’s a shitshow of vitriol that I just find stressful. Give me the benefit of the doubt here, and we can talk.

    1. A lot of people took the “porn star” sentence as a personal affront. It describes more my visceral reaction to being fitted when a H cup when, I shit you not, it was the first time I had ever even seen a H cup sold in a brick and mortar store. Real talk: I am NOT a bra blogger. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about bras. Bra shopping is a very small sliver of my day to day life, I am not particularly well versed in the matter. I buy most of my bras at Lane Bryant, which only really carries up to a DDD, which is what I wind up wearing because I find online shopping tedious. The porn star thing was more shock at realizing that my boobs actually WERE that big when up until that point, the only individuals I’d met who’d copped to wearing an H cup were, in fact, porn stars. I have no doubt that real live human beings wear H cups- many angry commenters have pointed this out to me. Guess what, I wear an H cup too, and mine are real too. I’m allowed to have my personal emotional process around this ordeal. Consider it a teachable moment instead of a personal assault of my fellow big boobed ladies.

    2. My comment about vanity sizing is more in reference to women who wear 34 Ds when a 36 C would fit better, because the former size DOES sound more flattering, and it’s swapping a band size for a cup size. I am not saying that 34J or whatever is a vanity size. My point was that commission hungry salespeople at places like Victoria’s Secret will do a quick and dirty switcheroo to stroke customer egos and or sell you more shit in your “new” size. If you have a legitimately competent salesperson, this should not be a problem. Unfortunately, I haven’t encountered any in recent times.

    I get why people (who are across the board people in the bra blogger community, which is not my deal) are offended by this. Bras are your lifeblood. They’re not mine. I don’t take them all that seriously- I am pretty happy with the bras I own currently, and didn’t find that getting sized changed my life for the better. I imagine that if you are running a bra blog, it’s because it HAS changed your life for the better, and that’s wonderful.This piece was based on observations on my own journey and similar experiences I’ve heard from other women. My experiences and observations are mine, and you are welcome to take offense/disagree, but I confess I’ve been taken off guard by the sheer hostility I’ve encountered, and the unwillingness see my perspective or understand WHY I feel the way I do about this. But hey, it’s the internet, drama drives blog hits. I’d rather sit down and talk about it like mutually respectful adults, though.

    1. I can understand if you’re uncomfortable with the negative responses, but if you post offensive things, people will be offended. Perhaps the post lacked context, since it came across as a broad, generalized attack against anyone who opts for a smaller band/large cup. You probably didn’t intend to insult people, but there was no indication of that in the post itself. Many people who read the post, myself included, were deeply hurt and offended. Bras aren’t the most important thing in life, but it really hurts to be accused of self-flattery, particularly when the accusation is totally false.

      I am willing to talk about this and would like to respond to a few things:

      1. I understand how frustrating and, occasionally, horrifying bra shopping (or even clothing shopping) can be. I even understand thinking that an H cup is porn-star land (I thought that too!)… but in the post, you just left it at that, which simply reinforces the stereotype. People took it as an affront because you did not clarify that H cups aren’t actually porn-star land.

      2. Victoria’s Secret fitters are trained to add 4-6 inches to the underbust measurement. Someone who comes out of VS in a 34D instead of a 36C, probably measures a 30DDD, anyway. Victoria’s Secret definitely does engage in vanity sizing (their cups run very small), but it has nothing to do with going smaller in the band and larger in the cup.

      3. A lot of people are horrified upon hearing that they are above a DD cup. Many people actually refuse to buy bras in the proper size because of this. If a salesperson wants to sell bras, they would have better luck saying that the cup is smaller. There may be some “vanity sizing” in A-D cups, but once people hit the DD “barrier”, they don’t want to cross it.

      4. I agree that the salesperson at Nordstrom didn’t do a good job when you went there for a fitting. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in the bra. She ought to have listened when you said that the band felt painful. It may have been the “right size”, but jumping down two band sizes at once is often not a good idea.

  6. If you cried after reading the original post, then you have more serious problems than just finding your correct bra size. Many many more problems. If one’s opinion on bra sizing upset you so much that tears fell from your eyes may I suggest an anti-depressant or a good therapist?

    Because it’s preposterous that someone’s blog post about….bras…could do that. Or maybe I’m an adult and not a thirteen year old.

    Amirite or amirite??

    1. Have you ever been harassed about a physical feature? The post was not just an opinion on bra sizing… it read as an attack on many women and their bodies. In fact, I really don’t care if someone disagrees with me, about bra sizing or anything else. I do care, however, when people say nasty things about other people. It’s not all that strange that it would make me cry.

      So no, you’re most certainly not right.

  7. I’m going to come out in support of Bianca James’ original post AND as a former employee of Victoria’s Secret and Cacique (way back with it was stand alone lingerie and before it became part of Lane Bryant). I can tell you that though we tried, as sales people, to get women in the right sized bras: 1) VS bras in particular have a huge range of variation within sizes and styles.

    2) a lot of our customers didn’t give a rat’s ass that they really measured at (and we didn’t carry) a 42 H, they were going to by the 38DD because that’s what we had and they liked the pattern. On the other side of things, I have a good friend who I’d estimate at a 28A/B (5’10”, 105 lbs, very slender frame), who insists that she’s a 32D because that’s the add-two-cup sizes bra size Victoria’s Secret fit her into. As someone who wears a 32DD myself, I know she’s in the wrong size bra, but she has a closet full of the VS 32D because she can then say “I have big boobs!” (despite that the bra practically hangs off of her, she was “fit” into it). There’s a lot of pressure to put bodies into sizes that are available rather than sizes that fit. She hates the stigma of having “small” breasts and is willing to do a lot to convince her self and others that they are “big”.

    3) We were instructed to try to sell women into new sizes in order to increase our own sales. It was really common to “fit” 36C women into 34Ds, or 38C into 36D. Women thought they lost weight AND grew a cup size. Just like fitting into a smaller size of jeans, that type of sell worked wonders.

    4) The sizing training, frankly, sucked. I was regularly listed as a “top bra fitter” in my 4 years in lingerie, only to find out about a year ago that I had been doing it all wrong. Heck, I had been wearing the wrong size bra (I was in a 36 or 34D, I’m actually a 32DD/DDD) for probably a decade.

    5) As for the tone and “porn star” comments: 1) It’s snark/funny, and 2) it is a perception held by the non-bra wearing/expert public. Americans have really skewed views of breast size. They are largely shaped by bra retailers like victoria’s secret continuing to shove big busted women into D cups, and saying things like, “oh, we don’t really have a call for that size” if you ever ask to see a DDD, much less and E, F, G, or H. Hell, we were even instructed to believe that a 34B was the “average” size of women in the US. The comment was not to say that big breasts are unnatural, but to call attention to a general consensus in the US that if you have breasts bigger than a D, that it is so unusual and extraordinary it’s only seen in the absolute extreme form like Dolly Parton and porn stars. More to the point that the author, a very body-savy person herself, had also internalized that mind-set, despite fighting sizism on all other fronts of the clothing war.

    6) The point of the entire piece was not that bra fitting is bad, but that mass-marketed Victoria’s Secret-type bra fitting IS poorly done. I’ve even had problems getting fit at Nordstrom’s. I actually finally figured out my own size after a lot of time reading sizing guides online and grabbing my own tape measure. But measuring yourself, and being honest with your measurements is a scary thing for a lot of women – especially if it means that being honest means no more cute, easy to buy, relatively inexpensive Victoria’s Secret bras.

    1. Thanks for the information. It is really sad that Victoria’s Secret would actually instruct fitters to do that, just for sales. As with any store, it’s pretty hit-or-miss with fitters. I am still impressed that a fitter was once honest enough to tell me that I was out of their size range. But that company policy of changing sizes to sell more is rather sad.

      I would, however, not agree that Victoria’s Secret is putting women into too-small bands and too-large cups. By VS standards, I still measure as a 34DDD or 36DD, both of which I tried on in store, just to see if they happened to fit. The bands were riding up and the cups were overflowing. It’s definitely intended as vanity sizing, but it might actually be getting women into more supportive bras. Adding inches isn’t as much of a problem for smaller breasts, but once they get heavy enough, it makes a difference.

      I do think a lot of people do believe that their breasts are somehow larger when they swap out a 36B for a 32D. Clearly, the only thing that has changed is the bra. A lot of it has to do with the “H cup = huge” kind of stereotypes in our culture. Bra shopping and fitting would be a lot simpler if the focus was on fit/comfort and not the size on the tag.

      Per the “porn star” comment: The tone of the porn star comment would have made me chuckle if she had clarified that H-cup breasts weren’t just for porn stars. The clarification was not there, however, which is why it was so offensive to people.

      1. Here is the context you are most likely missing: I am a large-busted, 250 pound woman who writes extensively about body image (as well as other loaded topics like sexuality, gender, and my academic field of public health) for Ms. Behaved and my personal blog. And believe or not, I am on your side. The thing is, most of the people who are taking issue with what is essentially a snarky personal anecdote, don’t read Ms. Behaved, or any of my other writing. Most of the people who are taking issue with my essay are, like you, bra bloggers (a demographic I didn’t even realize existed until the past few weeks that this months-old essay suddenly became a hot topic), and most likely people, who like you, are sensitive about perceived criticism of big breasts. I absolutely know what body shaming feels like, because I am supposedly “morbidly obese” by BMI standards. Your feelings are valid, because everyone is allowed to have an emotional response based on their personal experiences, and in this case, my visceral reaction to a bra fitting (which as you say, was virtually identical to yours, which should give a sense of context in and of itself) triggered emotions related to feeling judged about your body in past. That’s ok. But own that your reading of my piece is informed by that. Everyone has triggers, you don’t have to justify them. But resorting to name calling and general nastiness without attempting to reach out to me first, when I am actually on your side, strikes me as a bit sad and unneccessary. WRT pictures above, you don’t need to prove to me, or anybody, that you’re wearing the right bra size. If you say you are, I believe you. My primary concern was that Nordstroms might be using the same shady tactics as Brighid describes above- I do believe they could have put me in a bigger band size and a smaller cup and I’d still be groovy. The porn star thing was less an attack on big breasted women and more a commentary on what is wrong with bra shopping in America, and the dearth of options for bigger breasted women. No, I didn’t spend a lot of time analyzing my reaction to being fitted as an H cup, because that isn’t the point of the article, and for me, it IS contextually clear that it isn’t meant as an attack on anybody. I think it’s easier to misread things into the written word, especially when you know very little about the author, as opposed to if you were a regular reader of my work, or we were having a face to face conversation.

        The thing is, no matter what I write, I am liable to offend someone. It’s an occupational hazard of being a blogger. My way of coping with this is to respond with a request for a productive, mutually respectful dialogue. I am willing to listen to dissenting opinions, and I also reserve the right to respectfully disagree (which is where I stand on the “porn star” thing- I respect that it offended you, but I think it’s clear that what I’m describing is a recognizable visceral reaction very common among women with bigger breasts that is a result of the ways we are socialized to view larger breasts). The problem I’ve encountered is it seems like most people who are “offended” by my writing would rather objectify me as a bad guy than treat me as a complex human with actual feelings. I don’t claim to know everything about bra fitting, just my personal experiences and information I’ve gleaned from people like Brighid. I actually approached a blogger who was railing against my ignorance to give a more complex perspective, and I told her that she was welcome to write a response, or give me a post about bra fitting to run on Ms. Behaved to give a balanced perspective on the issue and share whatever know-how she had that I lacked. And the irony is, that stopped her dead in her tracks. There was nothing left to fight about, she got bored and walked away. And I don’t do fighting for fighting’s sake, but I do try to promote education and communication.

        1. I was curious as to where all the sudden views were coming from, and then I found the link to my post on your facebook. I’d be fine with this and your “calm” comments, except for the fact that you also said this: “I’ve finally found a form of trolling that works for me: respondly calmly and kindly to spazzy people. It freaks them out badly.”

          I’m trying to understand where you’re coming from, but I’m frankly not buying what you’re saying, after reading what you just posted on your facebook. If you want to talk about this maturely, then do so.

            1. a) It’s public and b) I only came across it while trying to figure out where the views came from.

              If you want to have a mature conversation, then I ask that you show me the same respect that you are expecting. I am more than happy to talk about this, but it seems that you’re only interested in “trolling”. I’m sure that it amuses your followers, but it’s pointless and rude.

              I wrote the post not because I’m “spazzy”, but because I was angry that you had hurt so many women with that post and didn’t seem to care even enough to publicly clarify. It’s not about bras: it’s about bodies and body image.

              If you have anything sincere to say to me, I welcome it. Otherwise, I’m not interested in the banter.

              1. a. my privacy settings are set to friends only. I appreciate that you brought it to my attention that the privacy settings were not working, because what I write on my facebook is between me and my friends when I’m frustrated and need to vent, and I’m frankly exhausted by these flamewars. b. I discovered this blog update about my “nasty” blog piece when I was wondering where the hits were coming from. 3. My use of the term “trolling” in that update was a deliberately ironic commentary on the ways people respond when I react to online attacks with calm honesty. More over, while I do find the assumptions you lay out in this blog post upsetting and misguided (which is WHY I responded at the length that I did), that particular update was neither intended for you nor in reference to you, but regarding the blogger who no longer wanted to talk to me once I offered let her write a guest post on the blog. You were the one who chose to take it personally.

                Everything I said to you was sincere. I put a lot of time and thought into my responses, and frankly, I don’t think you *get* me or my sense of humor at all. That’s fine, what you think of me is none of my business ultimately, but I still think I have the right to defend myself against inaccurate assumptions about my character. I’ve said what I needed to say, and I’m finished.

                1. Without any clarification, your post is nasty. Even if that’s not what you intended, it really just sounds like body snark. Many people commented, letting you know that your words had hurt them. If it is a simple misunderstanding, then it can be solved by simply adding a clarifying paragraph to the post.

                  If I hurt someone because something I said was unclear, I’d simply apologize and clarify. For example, I added a paragraph explaining that this post was in response to your post as it reads without what you explained in the comments.

                  I am also frustrated with “flamewars”. I have no interest in fighting with people and have simply tried to speak amicably with you and be as generous with you as possible. Of course I don’t “get” you… we don’t even know each other. My issue here has nothing to do with you personally, but with the fact that you still haven’t publicly clarified the points that hurt so many people.

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