I’m (Mostly) Back!

I spent the past two weeks on the opposite coast and am now back… though I am currently a bit preoccupied with things like moving into my dorm and working on my thesis. :)

While I was away, I got into quite a few conversations with people about bras and bra sizing (I mean, of course I did). I quickly realized most people have no idea that UK sizing doubles D+ letters and, thus, they assume that an H cup is only a few cup sizes larger than a DD (like, DD, F, G, H). And when they hear something like GG or HH, they have no idea what it means. Given this confusion, I’ve decided to start using my US size (28L… I think) when talking to people. And no, not because it makes me sound larger, but rather because it emphasizes the fact that an L-cup isn’t comically huge.

I have more thoughts on US vs UK cup sizing and I’m working on a longer post about it. While I’m working on it, though, I’d love to know of any reasons that people prefer the UK cup sizing system. Thoughts?

C’est Parfait?

It’s time for a happy post!

A little over a week ago, I posted about my hopes to find a Deco-alternative. I had been curious about Parfait by Affinitas, but was nervous to try them out, since I couldn’t find anywhere to try them on and I’d heard that sizing was a little difficult. Chrystal of By Baby’s Rules (which is an awesome blog that you should follow, if you don’t already) left a comment offering to send me two Parfait bras (30G Casey and 32G Anna), which she had won, but which did not fit her. I took her up on the ultra-generous offer, and the two bras arrived in the mail a few days ago.

30G Casey:

Sizing: Parfait bras are all available in sizes 30-40 D-G. The sizing is a little strange for some bras, though. Parfait would do well to extend their bras to at least an H cup and down to a 28 band.

Fit: I’ve heard a lot of people say that the band and cup run tight. Oddly, the 30 band feels a bit loose for a 30 band (my ribcage is 30 inches now) and the cup seems only slightly tighter than the 30G Deco. With that in mind, I’d say the cups fit like a 30G/GG. At the moment (given my current “inflated” state), the cups are a tiny bit too small. If I jiggle back into the cup, it isn’t too noticeable. A 28H or 30GG would be great if they made it, but I’d have to buy a 32G to get a good fit in the cup… and I’d have to alter the band.

Comfort: The band is my new favourite band. It’s sturdy without causing any back flub, which is amazing. It’s probably because it’s wider than average. The fabric is also about as tense as the elastic, which helps. The straps are also comfy, but not as amazingly comfortable as the straps on the Cleo Lucy. The cups are fine, but obviously less breathable than a sheer material.

Looks: The lace is cute and the colour is rather yellowy, which is good for my skin tone (flash makes me look pink). Obviously, I’d prefer if it were paler, but I can’t expect people to cater to my ghostly skin. The cups are a little more low cut than the Deco, which I like.

Shape: The shape is very similar to the shape that the Deco gives: round and cleavage-y. It’s a bit less round, though, and center gore is much lower than the Deco, so there is more cleavage.

Overall: I’d buy this in a 32G (and take in the band), but I wish they offered a 30GG or 28H. I wore the 30G out today, though, and it was fine under clothing. Sizing aside, this might be my new favourite moulded cup bra.

32G Anna:

Sizing: Available in sizes 30-40 D-G.

Fit: Again, I’ve heard a lot about the band running tight, but this seems like a fair 32. Maybe 31? I can stretch it to 34 inches, and easily to 32. For some reason, this bra appeared to be 3 or more cup sizes too small, but I think it’s a shape issue, rather than a size issue.

Comfort: Again, I love the band construction. The 32 is probably a little bit too large for me, even though this band does run a bit tight. The straps are also very comfortable. The cups seem like they might get a bit itchy, but I didn’t have it on long enough to judge.

Looks: The Anna bra is a demi sheer-cup bra. Parfait also makes a half-padded version of this style. I’m not usually into pink, but this is cute. The tassel and lace are reminiscent of the Masquerade Persia. The strap details are a really nice touch.

Shape: Eek. I can’t say what shape it actually gives, since this one just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t seem like a sizing problem as much as a shape problem… for this bra to work, the cup would need to be more open at the top. I love demi-cup bras, but since I’m top-heavy, they need to have open tops in order to accomodate my shape. This one just doesn’t work on me. If you’re bottom-heavy, this is probably the style for you!

the mega quad-boob:

Overall: I love demi bras, but the shape of this is just wrong for me. Since Anna doesn’t fit me, I’d like to continue the bra karma chain by giving the 32G Anna to someone who needs it. I’ll be listing it as a “giveaway” on Bratabase, but I wanted to give y’all a heads up before I do. Once it’s up, you can message me via Bratabase if you’re interested! (But seriously, if you’ve got top-heavy breasts, don’t even think about it.)

Strange, no? I was totally expecting the 32G to fit better than the 30G bra, but I guess the rumours about their strange sizing are true. I’m really glad I’ve had the chance to try on Parfait bras before guessing and ordering. Since I’m so unsure of how the different shapes fit, I think I’ll stick to Parfait’s moulded-cup styles for now. I really like Casey and wish it were available in more sizes (sub-30 bands and G+ cups!). The best news is that I’ve found a moulded cup bra that I like more than the Deco! Oh, and the prices are very reasonable ($40-$60ish) and they occasionally pop up on zulily for much cheaper ($12-19).

Thanks again to Chrystal of By Baby’s Rules!

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.

Reading Recommendation

I’ve included the Butterfly Collection blog in my list of US and Canadian D+ bra blogs, but I want to draw special attention to it for a few reasons. Every time I pop over to look at new posts, I am amazed at the work that Claire is doing. Her posts frequently cover matters of body image, fitting, and feminism… three of my favourite topics. She manages to express things that I’ve struggled to find a delicate way to phrase. For example, her post on topless sunbathing deals with our culture’s oversexualization of the female body, which is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. The most recent post is a guest post by her sister-in-law about the amazing things that a well-fitting bra can do for one’s self-confidence and overall body image.

Her posts are really uplifting (pun intended) and I’m really excited about the work that Claire is doing. Check out the Butterfly Collection blog here: http://blog.butterflycollection.ca/

Butterfly Collection

I realize how lucky I am to live in the Boston area when I hear that some people don’t live anywhere near a store that sells D+ bras. When I’m at college, I’m pretty much out of luck… but at least I can try things on when I’m home for holidays. The scene in Boston isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than other parts of the US. I’ve been trying to think of solutions for people who really need a good fitting, but who live nowhere near a good bra store.

A few months ago, I stumbled across some reviews of Butterfly Collection. They are a fairly new company (started in 2010), but seem to have their stuff together. They carry a pretty good selection of brands (including Alegro, which is fairly new on the scene) and appear to not airbrush the lumps and bumps out of their models! Wow! My favourite part is that their models all wear snug bands, and the slight indent that accompanies a snug band isn’t photoshopped out. I cannot overemphasize the importance of showing what a well-fitting bra looks like!

(Back view of Cleo Lucy)

Fitting services:

As though the images of well-fitting bras were not enough, they also have a fairly accurate calculator. Their instructions to wear a thin bra while measuring the bust are BRILLIANT. When I measure without a bra, I get an absurdly huge measurement, due to the shape of my breasts. When I measure with a bra on, the measurement is a lot closer to the size I actually wear. Most calculators put me at a 32HH or 32I (UK). Since their calculator doesn’t accept half inches, I rounded up. Their calculator puts me at a 32H (UK), with options of 30I or 34GG. I wear 30GG (in non-Deco bras), so that’s the most accurate result I’ve seen form a calculator! Their “bra school” is also pretty informative.

I noticed their online “free bra size consultation” and gave it a go! I took measurements wearing my 36DD Aerie bra and listed it as my “best fitting” bra. The online form asks a few questions: underbust and overbust measurements, dress size, best fitting bra, high, current bra problems, and what types of bras you’re interested in. Less than 24 hrs later, I got a lovely email suggesting that I try a 32H (UK). Since the questions they asked didn’t quite leave room to explain how small the cup was, the suggestion wasn’t too different from the calculator.

But not only was the email friendly and reassuring, it was also educational (why a smaller band would keep straps from cutting in, etc) and quite helpful! The fitter suggested a few styles of bras, based on my current problems and the types of bras that I’d said I was interested in. If you don’t usually have issues with bra calculators putting you in absurd sizes, I’d definitely recommend their free bra size consultation.

[Their email name is “Butterfly Support”. How fitting! (so many puns here)]

They also offer Skype bra fittings, which I find quite awesome, since it’s really difficult to find stores in the US that stock small band/large cup bras! A Skype fitting, perfect for people who live nowhere near a good store, seemed almost too good to be true. I decided to try it out, again with a terribly fitting 36DD. Why the 36DD? Because, realistically, stores like VS would try to put someone with my measurements in a 36DD (or 38DD)… and people wearing ill-fitting bras are the people who need a good fitting the most!

My fitter, Claire, the owner, was incredibly nice and informative. She helped me measure myself accurately (it’s difficult to do alone!) and managed to size me at a 30H just based on my underbust (30.5) and bust (41) measurements and my standing infront of a webcam while wearing a 36DD. A 30H is within my current size ballpark, though I only wear that size in bras that run very small. Had I worn a less inaccurate size for the fitting, she would have probably suggested a 30GG… but I was trying to stick with the limitations that most women have. From the looks of their return/exchange policy, had I bought a 30H, I would have been able to evaluate the fit and then exchange it for another size.

No fitting is “perfect”, but given the limitations of a) skype (vs in-store) and b) only one really ill-fitting bra to try on, this came incredibly close. I was also really impressed with how informative Claire was. She explained US vs UK sizing, why fitters tend to just go up band sizes to get the cups to fit, and how a well-fitting band can totally change the fit of a bra.

(Also, I’ve now had another person suggest a 30 band, which makes me feel better about it.)

Products:

Their selection is a little more limited than some larger stores, but the styles they do stock are great and they are working on expanding their selection. They carry wired, wire-free, strapless, nursing, plus-size, and sports bras… as well as matching panties. They also carry a few bra accessories (band extenders, nipple covers, etc) and “soak, which appears to be this nifty bra wash that was originally developed for knitters.

Not every bra is available in every size. You can, however, search by size and spare yourself from the pain of falling in love with a bra, only to find that your size has sold out (you all know what I’m talking about). I am a pretty big fan of this search feature.

Another neat feature is the explanations of how each bra fits. There is nothing worse than ordering your usual size only to find that a certain bra defies normal sizing! With most online bra stores, I have to cross my fingers and hope that someone decided to review the bra and mention how it fits. I’ll still probably double check with Bratabase… but the “how this bra fits” section is a great feature!

Pricing: 

The prices are higher than what I normally go for, but I believe that they are fairly normal, as far as D+ retail pricing goes. Luckily, they have free shipping to Canada and the US. I wouldn’t list them as a place to go if you’re looking for a super cheap bra, but their stuff is great quality!

Overall: 

The bras are a bit pricey, but I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen so far from Butterfly Collection, both in terms of their selection of products and their fitting services. I’d recommend them especially to those who don’t live near stores that sell D+ bras.

Oh, and in honour of how awesome Butterfly Collection is, I’m starting a list of Canadian D+ bra blogs(If you know of any, let me know!)

Assorted Updates

1) I’m trying out Bratabase’s listings. I just bought a 30G Deco! And I’m thinking about selling there as well.

2) zulily’s Parfait sale is over (sad, but they will have it again). They currently have Elomi. If Elomi makes your size, check it out!

3) I snagged a really cheap 30G Tiffany Plunge (Masquerade) on eBay. I got it in the mail yesterday and am on the fence about the fit in the cup.

4) I keep seeing terribly misguided articles on bra fitting and it’s making me really sad. There is so much correct information out there! It’s just being smothered by not-so-correct information…

30 Band and Under Project

I went to try on bras (and bathing suits) yesterday and, much to my surprise, a 30G was much too small in a few bras! So I guess I’m a 30G/30GG now.

Image

(Freya Lagoon)

The Deco, known for having large cups, fit perfectly in a 30G. But the best fit in Freya Lagoon (bikini) and Cleo Lucy was a 30GG. The adorable Freya Patsy was so small in the cup, that I may have even needed a 30H, but that bra stops at a G cup.

I’m officially out of range for many large-cup bras, which is strange to me, since I don’t feel like I have a tiny ribcage or a huge bust. According to the “add 4” (or 5) method, a woman with a 25 or 26 inch ribcage would wear a 30 band. A 24 band would supposedly fit a 19 or 20 inch ribcage. But for women with heavy breasts, adding 4 to 5 inches in the band results in an unsupportive bra. There are plenty of women with 24-30 inch ribcages (or 31, as is my case) who need bands smaller than 32.

A group of bloggers, including BoosaurusBraless in BrasilStackDDBy Baby’s Rules, and Bras I Hate, has created the 30 and Under Bra Band Project. The goal of the project is to raise awareness of bands smaller than 32, so that companies will start producing and carrying bras in smaller band sizes. If you wear a 30 band or smaller, you can help out by adding your photo with the form in Boosaurus’ post about the project. I just uploaded a photo. :) If you’re above a 30 band, you can help out by spreading the word about this project.