On Breasts, Bras, and Why I Hate Victoria’s Secret

Note:  This was originally posted on April 3rd, 2012 to thepreppypanda.blogspot.com

braLet me begin by saying that this is a topic very near and dear to my heart.

I started wearing a bra regularly when I was in the third grade.  Yes, it was terrible.  Grown men were looking down my shirt when I was 11 years old.  I was a C cup by sixth grade and a DD by the time I entered high school.  The girls in the locker room, with their little boobs and cute bras, filled me with envy.  I wore two sports bras to soccer practice and that still wasn’t really sufficient.  Bathing suits were painful- literally.  I was insistent upon wearing halter bikini tops, which really hurt my neck.  If you are full-busted, you know what I mean.

My mother told me that I needed an “industrial strength” bra every time the topic of bras came up.  “Industrial strength”?  Was I to feed an army of infants?  Or become a professional, full-time flasher?  What exactly was my “industry”?

I entered adulthood with the understanding that my chest was abnormally, unattractively, and disfunctionally large.  These feelings subsided in part when I got a bra that was properly fitted- more on this later.

But I recently had a revelation: my boobs are fine.

me and georgi 191
This revelation occurred after seeing this picture.

My boobs look fine!  They don’t look like they are consuming me.  They don’t look pornographic. They don’t make me look middle-aged.  Most of what I had spent my life believing about them wasn’t even true.

So what had me tricked?  Well, two things.  The first is that I developed at an age when other girls either had no boobs or small boobs so I began to define them as being “way bigger than everyone else’s”.  However, as a full grown woman with full grown peers, everyone else has really began to catch up to me (although I do still lead the pack in most circles).

The second thing, and the focus of this post, is the bra industry.

I think that the general American public thinks of bra sizes in this way:

  • AA cup: You have the chest of a little boy.
  • A cup: You have tiny boobs.  You should probably feel insecure and want a boob job.  If you get a boob job, don’t be surprised when people criticize you for being fake
  • B cup: Sufficient by some standards, too small by some standards, perfect by some standards.
  • C cup:  This is an attractive and sexually appealing, but still respectable, size.
  • D cup:  Your boobs are officially sexy.  And they are sexualized regularly by the media.
  • DD cup:  YOU SHOULD BE A PORN STAR! (I was told that I was well qualified for this occupation as a pre-teen)  Your boobs are huge and are overtly sexual.  Either this or they are too big and gross and have you thought about getting a reduction?
  • DDD cup and larger: Not hardly real thing.  Only great grandmas who shop in the full-figure section wear this size.  It is only available in band size 40 and up.

Let me reiterate, this is not what I think and it is not what anyone should think.  It is my perception of general cultural attitudes.  And they are wrong.

I would say that the only cup sizes I listed that are not viewed as “problematic” (too big or too small) are sizes B, C, and D.

So wait.

In order to have”normal boobs”, you have to be able to fit into one of only THREE cup sizes?  This is like saying that in order to have a normal looking body, you need to be a size 4, 6, or 8.  Size 2?  Way too skinny!  Size 10?  Fatso!  And unlike the rest of our bodies, you can’t “work off” your boobs through cardio (extremes aside).  You also can’t bulk them up through resistance training like you can your butt.  So unless you were born in the magic B-C-D range, your boobs are a problem.

 Now, band sizes.  Here is what people generally think about band sizes:

  • 32: You are skinny.  Maybe too skinny.  You are likely a teenager still who will grow more in the next few years.
  • 34: This is the normal size.  You are slender but not too thin.
  • 36: You are a bit thicker, but probably still attractive.
  • 38: Okay now you’re fat.
  • 40: Okay now you’re really fat.

 So according to cultural ideas about bra sizes, I think I would be a 36D-38DD (me being overweight with huge boobs).  This is what I wore for a long time.

Now, get this.

I wear a 34G.  That’s bigger than a DDD.  That’s bigger than an F.  That’s a G.  (Ain’t nothin’ but a G thing, baby…)  Before I was enlightened on this issue, I would have thought that someone with a 34G bra would look like two oranges on a toothpick.  Nope.  She probably looks a lot like me.

I had to go bra shopping at Nordstrom’s in order to learn how wrong I had been.  My first properly fitted bra cost $95.  (I have been able to find less expensive ones, but never less than $65.  It is worth it though, since I wear my boobs every day.)

Let’s play a game!  I will post a link to a picture of a girl in a bra.  Your job is to guess her bra size.  Ready?  (WARNING:  These really are pictures of girls in bras.  They’re not suggestive, but they are girls in bras.  If you don’t want to play, I understand.)

Photo One

Photo Two

Photo Three

Photo Four

Now for the answers:

Photo One: 28FF

Photo Two: 30E

Photo Three:  30G

Photo Four: 28DD

How did you do?  Comment and let me know!

I hope I have made myself clear:  People really are wearing the wrong bra sizes.  And why?  Well, when was the last time you saw a 28FF hanging on the rack at Target?  Or at Macy’s?  Even Nordstrom’s doesn’t carry many if any bras in this size in their stores.  All of these bras were probably expensive and made my companies that specialize in “special sizes”.  The problem is that these women have perfectly normal and perfectly attractive bodies.

A Bra-Fitting Guide That I Like

And now, the most villainous entity in the bra world:

Victoria’s Secret.

Okay, so they’re not really any more villainous than any other bra manufacturer, but I know of no other entity that has more power to define ideals of normalness and desirability in regards to bras in American culture.

You know the Victoria’s Secret Angels you see in the fashion show on primetime TV? The ones on the 10 foot posters hanging in the store window at the mall?  The ones  that fill the catalog that your roommate gets every month?

I think these women are beautiful.  They have beautiful bodies.  But their bras don’t fit.  The backs ride up.  The straps dig in.  Their boobs spill out ( I don’t mean in a sexy way, I mean in a quad-boob way).  The center gore is inches away from their breast bone (an indicator of a too-small cup size).  That girl wearing a 32C should probably be wearing a 28E.

Victoria’s Secret does not make bras that fit their own models.  These are women who have what is thought by many to be the “ideal” body type- the body easiest to fit and easiest to clothe.  If their bras don’t fit, how can their be any hope for the rest of us?

I went to Victoria’s Secret today to do some “blog research”.  I was planning on having them size me and try to sell me a 38D bra so that I could tell you all about just how ludicrous the experience was, but I chickened out.  Instead i just looked around.  They sell 32-38A-D. in store, with maybe a few extended sizes in certain styles, but nothing smaller than a 30 band, and nothing bigger than a DD.

Many women do not fit into their bras.  I would venture to say that most women don’t.  But we try to, because it’s all we have.

We deal with the aching back, the straps digging in, the boobs spilling out (sometimes the boobs even falling out…) and the boob loaf (UD it) because we don’t have much of an alternative.  Correct sizing and sizes are not widely available, and when they are available, they are expensive.  Plus, pervasive culture attitudes surrounding bra sizes keep us from feeling that going bigger than a DD should ever be an option.

Girl, I’m begging you, take off that 38D.  You are not a 38D.

I don’t really hate VS (although their body spray isn’t that great either, IMO), but my distrust and dislike of the mainstream lingerie industry gets funneled towards them because they are an easy target.  Women continue to buy their bras in the sizes they currently make, so I can’t blame them for continuing to do what pays the bills.

But I can encourage women to place a greater demand for more variance in the sizes of available bras.  And the only way to do that is to help women recognize the need.

If you have small breasts, this all may be meaningless to you.  You are probably wearing the “wrong” bra size, but it doesn’t really matter.  It’s comfy and functional. But if you are in the big boob group, getting  properly fitting bra can change your life.

My back doesn’t hurt.  I don’t have grooves in my shoulders where my bra straps used to dig in.  My boobs stay in their own cups where they belong.  And they look good.  And I feel good about them.  None of this was true when I was wearing that terrible 38DD (terrible for me- it might be perfect for you).

If you are wearing a DD but don’t feel like your bra is totally awesome, I highly recommend you get fitted at a shop carrying DDD+ cup sizes.

I want to make it clear there is nothing wrong with any bra size.  I talk a lot of trash on the wearing of the 34-38B-D range because a lot of women are wearing these sizes when a different size would fit them better, but I’m not talking trash on the bras, breasts, or women whom they adorn.  The only “wrong” bra size is the one that isn’t working as well for a woman as a different size would.  (And each woman gets to decide what “working” means for her).  And you might be one of the 3 in 10 women in America who knows her correct bra size (that is a made up statistic, but whatever, we’ll go with it).

You deserve to be in a bra that works well for you.  Finding this bra often takes work, but it is worth it, especially if you are well endowed.  If anybody is interested in more resources, contact me- I have plenty.  I am also happy to have bra talk and try to help you work out any concerns you may be facing.

I basically love any excuse to talk about boobs.

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63 thoughts on “On Breasts, Bras, and Why I Hate Victoria’s Secret

  1. […] writing Part 1 (which I thought was going to be the only part), it was brought to my attention that while I did a […]

    • Delisa Ketchum says:

      You mentioned that you went to Victoria’s Secret to be fitted for a bra. I tried to go there for the same reason. The stick figure that, supposedly helped me, didn’t. She asked me what size I wore….that’s why I was there: to find out what size I really wear. She could have cared less! And when I found the size that seemed to work, 36C…they didn’t even have it in-stock!! The ding bat said, “we don’t carry sizes that large in the store”. They carry up to 36B, only. They wanted me to pay for it in the store and then they would mail…MAIL…my bras to me. REALLY????? There’s really no place in Tulsa Oklahoma, to go and actually be sized for the correct size. The Ding Bat at Victoria’s secret was, I’m guessing, 21, if that. When I was a kid…every girl was fitted, properly, when it was time to get a bra. But stores barely have sales people running the stores, these days, let alone a properly trained woman to REALLY help ANYONE to buy a properly fitted bra. They only want their sales staff to be skinny, young and stupid!! I’m soooo frustrated. I left there and went to Sears….at least they had the the size I wanted and it was half the price. That was 2 years ago…I need new ones now, but have no freakin’ idea where to go. Oklahoma is not like NYC or Chicago or LA. We don’t have a Rodeo Drive or a Garment District. I don’t know what to do. I will never go back to Victoria’s Secret. The only secret they really have is….they aren’t gonna help you and you’d better be ready to be on your own.

      • Amy says:

        Do a google search for bra shop or mastectomy bras. Most major cities have specialty bra shops that cater to the 34H crowd. Usually they also assist with post op mastectomy fittings. Search that as well.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Hello there! I live in Florida and I went to Dillard’s (maybe you may have a Dillard’s in your area or any retailer that sells Wacoal), andI actually found a bra that I absolutely love and fits PREFECT!

        I can’t stress enough how happy this bra makes my feel and mainly provides support and is attractive. I am 23 years old more and on the thicker side and I purchased a 36DD and the sales associates helped me every step of the way by measuring me and assisting in finding the perfect bra. It was amazing, she found the perfect bra for me on the first try, AMAZING!!! VS associates have NEVER, I mean NEVER been able to do this. I normally have been in the need to try out, 2, 3, and 4 bras to find something that some what fitted.

        Honestly, I have purchased bras from VS and they never seem to fit me right, the strap is to tight, cuts into my back, separates from my rib cage and sternum, etc. The Wacoal “Le Femme” bra does none of this (I am in no way affiliated with promoting this product but I am so happy about this that I need to share the news!).

        I find that department stores like Dillard’s and Nordstorm seem to have a woman that are educated in the subject of bras and sizing.

  2. tina says:

    their bras are made properly the cataloge girls may wear ill fitting bras for clevlage sake

  3. Alli says:

    Hey, as a member of the small-breasted community, let me just say that properly fitted bras make a difference for us too! I wore the wrong size bra for years and had to deal with straps that fell down all the time, uncomfortable underwire poking, and just general discomfort. Sure, I probably had less back pain than some more “well-endowed” women, but improperly fitted bras are still an issue for those of us with smaller chests. This post was so great, but saying that smaller women don’t need to worry about wearing the wrong bra size is patently false. The wrong sized bra is not “comfy and functional” on any woman. When I traded in my 34As for my true size, 30C, I noticed an immediate difference in comfort and fit. My straps stayed up, the breast tissue fell properly between the underwires, and though my breasts still look small, they have a much nicer shape. All women deserve comfortable and flattering underwear, whether they are busty and beautiful or members of the itty bitty titty committee.

    • Silly Willy says:

      I TOTALLY agree with you, and was tempted to comment something similar. I am currently stuck on trying 32-A in every style bra. But I am now at the point where I feel helpless! Nothing seems to fit! Either they slide out the bottom gradually or spill out the top – well, during parts of the month, anyway. I definitely have small breasts that are not where they used to be (after having a child who is now 8). I wear a dress size 2-4 depending on how they run. I am at my wits end. I need help, bad! I wish I could have a conversation with you about this! Thanks for saying what I wanted to say (except that I have not found my true size, yet). 🙂

      • MIchelle says:

        Silly Willy — Without knowing where you live, it is hard to recommend a store. But check online for a store called, “Intimacy.” It was my first fitting store, they have them in major cities. In the Southeast I found “The Fitting Touch.” Both stores have bra fitting experts who do not just rely on the dreaded measuring tape (unlike VS!) and they carry UK bras of high quality, with a wide range of sizes. They will fit the bras to you 🙂

  4. inkedupgril says:

    where do you buy your DDD+ bras? I find the larger the bra, the uglier and more uncomfortable they are. I also dread the thought of being fitted. ugh. anxiety inducing for sure. I am probably not wearing the right size myself. and even when I could fit into VS sized bras, they fit horribly.

    • Andrea says:

      Amazon has a nice selection. Ebay is another. On reddit, there is /r/braswap where people sell new or gently used bras. Also on reddit, /r/RandomActsOfBras where people give away or sell at a very deep discount usually used bras. Figleaves is another website, or Gossard (but their sizing can be a bit wonky, be careful. It’s usually good to go up a bandsize and down a cup for their bras).

      /r/ABraThatFits is a great resource for finding out what size you should be wearing

  5. alli guerra says:

    I am a larger breasted woman (32 DD sometimes DDD) and I just wanted to say I really like Victoria’s Secret.
    If I were to go to a store that has the “specialized bra sizes” that you mentioned they never fit properly and they are sooo expensive. I always shop at VS and yes, I always have to try on their bras before I buy them but I do find bras that fit me well. Most of the bra specialists that are employed at my local VS are actually very well informed. They know about the dreaded quad boob and about how a proper fitting band size should be. Now, this has not always been the case. I used to shop there when I was younger and it was terrible. They had me in a 34 D because it’s a “sister size”. The band was way too big and the cup was too small but they used to tell me that was a good fit. They have become much more educated in the past years and now carry sizes 30 DDD – 38 DDD in most bras. I understand that is still not sufficient for some but honestly it’s a lot better than most lingerie stores.

  6. Kate says:

    Hi, I would love to know good places to buy bras, I have never had a bra that was comfy or fit right and I have been wearing bras since 3rd grade also (19 years wow!), I am on a mission, to find something hopefully kind of cute (sexy would be awesome), and also something that I won’t have to dig in my shirt to adjust my boobs every time I move even a little bit! Any help would be much appreciated!! Thanks 🙂

    • Andrea says:

      For a brick and mortar store, you’ll need to do some googling based on your location. For a standard store that usually carries extended sizes, Nordstroms, Nordstrom Rack, and occasionally Dillard’s, will be your best bet. Online has a lot more options, Amazon is great (lots of extended sizes, with prime and free returns!)

  7. […]  In case you haven’t gotten the memo about my boobs, read this.  Now, if you think that buying a bra to fit a set of 34Gs is hard, you’re in for a world of […]

  8. Z says:

    Im a bigger boobed girl… And im slowly starting to dislike victorias secret.. I have been measured several times, by different sales associates there, & i am always told i am a 34 DDD… Somehow, a 34 DDD bra at victorias secret is cut too small. My breasts fit a 36 DDD (full coverage style) which brings me to believe they make their bras for the “look”, & for the woman that cares for having pushed up cleavage… And NOT for support, which is what i thought bras were supposed to be made for.. This blog was funny, and i can totally relate. Thank you.

  9. N. Gellhaus says:

    Where is the best place to get fitted for a proper bra of a big chested chica??? Whenever Victoria secret measures me they place me in a 34 DD or DDD. Please help

    • MIchelle says:

      Look for a store online in your area, try searching for “bra fitting” if you can find a store called Intimacy or The Fitting Touch they are great examples of this.

  10. Cassandra says:

    Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and would really
    like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If
    you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an

  11. Nai says:

    I was lucky and after only a year of wearing crappy bras from target discovered Soma. Sadly they are discontinuing the bra style I wear, the “Rachel”. Most amazingly comfortable bra ever! no uncomfortable under wire poking, the straps are amazing and wide, with a nice little bit of padding. I am a 34D and I could probably run a mile in just this bra and be comfortable. My biggest pet peeve with bras when you ave a larger bust size is how awful the straps tend to be. Does it tick anyone else off when you find a super cute comfy bra and the straps are just pathetic strings that don’t function?

    • Andrea says:

      The straps usually serve to hold the cups up. They are about 10% of the support. The straps really don’t matter (unless the position is terrible), it’s the band that matters.

    • shelly says:

      I am having the same problem. I finally found a bra that fits from Soma, the Rachel bra. Have you found a bra that is comparable? I need new ones asap, but do not want to waste anymore money on ill-fitting bras!

  12. Nads says:

    I totally agree – I’ve worn an Australian size 10DD (US 32E) as that’s the best the mainstream stores stock here. I have since found that there are brands out there like Panache (who do a great “Cleo” range), Curvy Kate and Freya who do a variety of really cute, not-grandma-like bras and bikinis. Only since going to an independent retailer who stocks “fuller bust” bras did I find out that my true size is a 6FF (US 28H). Now that I know this I can safely buy online through sites like ebay and figleaves and feel confident that my boobs aren’t going to flop out – plus it’s heaps cheaper 🙂 Yay for big boobs and online shopping!!

    • Steph says:

      You made this comment ages ago so you’re probably not going to see this, or you’ve already done what I’m going to suggest, but if not, you should really try Bras n Things, they have quite a nice range in larger sizes with smaller bands. I’m a 10F-10G depending on the brand and they’re the only place I’ve been able to buy from.

  13. Christine says:

    Oh, cry me a river. I have a broad, strong back – sometimes, and I mean after breaking them in for about three months, I can fit in to a 36B. My waist is about 28 inches. Am I as hard bodied as I was when I was swimming many hours a day? No. That means that any of the pretty little frilly bras out there DO NOT FIT and make my back look terrible! Indeed, I was told by a snotty, TINY little wenchita that they did NOT have my size, as in, no 38B’s in a lot of their nicer, trendier brands at Nordstroms. Wacol sometimes has some good stuff, so does Donna Karan and Calvin Klien (awesome push up bras for chicks like me, by the way, that occasionally work) I was welcome to look at the Spanx stuff by that same little tomata at Nordstroms, though, which didn’t work, either. So I have two options – wear bras that don’t actually fit my boobs but fit my back, or bras that fit my back but don’t fit my boobs, such as they are. My other option, I suppose, is to get a boob job (and I have been asked a few times on dates if I have ever considered that – my rebelliousness and being allergic to most pain killers tends to keep me out of the operating room as much as I possibly can) Spare me about the agony of having your boobs looked at, or suffering through the whole sizing thing for your big bazoongas. I was walking through Dillards today and saw many, many rows of pretty, lacy, larger sized with wide straps. I hate it when big boobed women tell me how lucky I am to be a B cup.

    Interestingly, LaPearla had THE NICEST sales ladies and the MOST comfortable stuff that was really, really pretty with out my back overflowing or my boobs looking like after thoughts. At $450 a set (on sale), well, it’s not something you necessarily want to pick up to wear every day.

    If I sound bitter it’s because I am!

  14. Lo says:

    I know this article was probably directed toward large breasted woman, but those of on the opposite end of the spectrum have quite a lot of trouble too. I can fit into the cup of a 32A bra if I sacrifice breathing, as my band size should is about 34. But when I try the 34A, there is a significant space between my breast and my bra. I assume I’m most likely a 34AA, but these are not carried anywhere, except as “training bras” (bras without underwire, cups, or even a space between your breasts, so basically half of a tight undershirt.) I’ve even been in the kids’ section to look for bras, and the straps are so tight it’s ridiculous (I’m also a tall woman, so my torso tends to be longer than the average woman’s.) Of course I want to find a bra that fits me! While my back may not hurt in my 34As, my boobs certainly don’t feel good bouncing around and not being supported. I think that might have been a rude assumption to make.

    • Andrea says:

      A band that feels too snug is often a sign that the cup is too small. You might have a shallow shape, or very tall breasts (tissue starts high on your chest).

  15. Maxine says:

    Try this for a custom bra fitting. http://www.mybrafitting.com/online-bra-consultation -There are no strings at aced and you get immediate results. I went down a band size And up 2 cups sizes. Then went to one of those expensive lingerie whole and they told me exactly the same.

  16. Kate says:

    Thank you thank you thank you !!! I could not agree more ! Wow ! I just started a new job – new wardrobe… And I felt just incomplete ! I need some help !!! Your write up brought me such joy ! I look forward to hearing from you !


  17. Julia says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, I can relate so much. I’m in 8th grade and I was feeling insecure about my boobs and this helped so much. I’m growing a cup size every 3 months or so and I don’t want to go bankrupt bra shopping! I’m also worried that by the time I’m an adult, I won’t be able to fit into Victoria’s Secret bras, which would be very inconvenient. I’m just in the wrong bra size right now because I can’t afford 2 new bras every 3 months. I feel your pain!

  18. Emily says:

    I’m criticized all the time by my peers. I’m 11 years old and in 6th grade. I wear a snug 32B on the first hook. I wear skinny double zero jeans and XS shirts. I wear top and bottom black eyeliner and mascara. I’m a size woman’s 8 1/2 shoe. And I am 5’4″. My advice is to just love who you are no matter your size or shape. I get called sluttly and a hoe all the time. Sometimes by close realities but I don’t listen cause I know I’m neither of those. You shouldn’t listen either! People are probably just jealous. I’m also accused of starving myself because I’m so skinny. But I don’t, and you should never not eat. I am underweight, and I know it. But I can’t go higher than 105lbs and am currently 96lbs. ITS OKAY! Just be yourself. You’ll be judged no matter what, but in the long run nobody is really going to care if you wear a 40DDD or a 34A, or if you wear 00 or 8s.

  19. Normally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great article.

  20. Amber Phua says:

    Part of the problem with VS is that their sizing is mega small. Most 32D’s have so much padding that they really would only fit a B cup. So you have lots of smaller breasted women wearing DD’s and DDD’s. I’m guessing they do this to boost small- medium busted women’s confidence. Well, that’s great if you have a smaller to medium bust that needs wads of padding. I’m guessing it makes these girls feel great to buy DD cup bras. However, the problem becomes: what do you do when you actually have a real DD, DDD+ bust. There is absolutely no space in Victoria’s secret bras for your real boobs 😦
    Another thought, even for smaller busted woman… surely hanging bras from your shoulders that are made of huge padding is not good for your back. Doesn’t this vanity defeat the purpose of wearing a bra in the first place.

  21. Liv says:

    I love this post for many reasons. You’ve covered all the bases and it’s so well-written! Also, I’ve had the
    EXACT same experience. I’m even a 34G that had to go to Nordstram to find out, at the age of
    29, after wearing the wrong bras since I was 12! (Hopefully most of you wise up and get fitted at Nordstram

    One thing I would like to add is that I’ve been able to find affordable (30-50) dollar range bras (by
    legit manufacturers like Freya and Panache) when they go on sale on sites like BareNecessities and
    HerRoom. I always buy my bras on sale now and am able to afford them because of the miracle of the internet.
    Of course, this only works if you first know EXACTLY what size you wear in that brand by trying on that brand at
    a department store that carries it first. I’ve been able to save alot of money that way:)

  22. Jess says:

    It is really all about the knowledge. The smaller the band the smaller the cup. If you say your a D cup doesn’t mean anything since a 32 D is a lot smaller than a 36 D. This is coming from someone who is a 36DDD and loves VS. You need to know or stuff or be willing to listen to someone that does. Not all bras will work for everyone we all have different shapes so clearly I am not going to expect every bra they sell to fit me. If you don’t want padding don’t get a push up, get a Demi or unlined bra. Like every company they sell product to their customer base. They tried selling size 40 bras and they didn’t sell so they stick with what works for them. Also knowing every place is different I fit into my VS bra with no digging or gapping and no uncomfortable straps and then if I go to a specialty store they measure differently and say I am something ridiculous like an H and I am sure I am n their style bras but I am not dropping $100 to find out.

  23. Emilee says:

    I have a friend who was sized 34GGG at Victoria’s secret, and they only had sample sizes to try on, but referred her to the website to order more in that size. She ordered one for every day of the week, and was so happy with them when they came that she couldn’t even handle herself. She was jumping around and running and just not in any pain or anything. She’s gone to other websites for women with bigger boobs and smaller rib cages, and they give equivalent sizes that almost always work for her.
    I’ve always been frustrated with regular stores because they don’t carry a big enough cup size for my 32. I’ve been buying a 34C or something similar because it was the closest available to me. When I was sized by Victoria’s Secret I was a 32DD which only seemed one size up. I was pretty sure I was a D. The thing is, is that while it may or may not be an ego boost or whatever, as long as it fits I don’t really care what size it is. If someone sells a 32B that is the same size as a Victoria’s Secret 32DD, I’ll wear it if it fits the same. So I’m not sure why it’s such a big deal if people size up or down. Take a good look at the cup and you can tell if it’ll fit or not — or at least pretty close. If you try it on first, and it doesn’t, DON’T BUY IT. Why is it such a big deal if someone sizes up or down, if in the end, something fits?

  24. Stacy says:

    Wow! I could’ve written this! I too am a 34G and didn’t find out my true size until I also got fitted at Nordstrom. Most of my bra purchases however have been online especially overseas across the pond with Bravissimo.com. I don’t care for VS for the same reason as Amber. Thank you so much for writing this!

  25. DDtop says:

    Hi well you think you have it hard? as a male that’s had gyno since 12/13 waiting for tests to see if XYX? and have illness/Fibro that causes a hormone/gland problem with low T also ive been blessed or unblessed with female breast type tissues endocrinology said so with it making gland things very sore/painful got recommended to wear a bra which i do now every day but when looking got some awful sizing info 50 back etc etc but worked it out myself go from 44DD/E to 46D/DD depending on brand etc find Elomi/goddess/Fantasie generous in back sizing plus nice straps which are comfortable have many brands from those above to Rosa Faia/Panache and Empreinte Thalia which is really nice so very happy/comfortable now so don’t take rubbish offered to you if they won’t help or are not upto the job take your cash else where as many places are very helpful/good plus try Her room etc or Linda’s on line/shop if in USA or uk we have other places Also check Elisabeth Dales web blog explains a lot to you in sizing areas re back/tissues. she also has a post for men that have to wear and say’s many ladies could learn from us way we buy them as one guy had to wear from medical/drug problem and once got looked at his wifes and took her shopping as she was wearing some dreadful type’s so said not wearing them and got her nice one’s which made her feel better.
    but we both have B’s just that some have less and some have more!
    And remember if it don’t feel right then it probably isn’t a right fit so go and get fitted properly as esp if blessed your whole posture will improve.

    But places like Victoria’s secret are well avoided as mostly tat/low quality.
    I only buy main maker bra’s so get one’s that are designed correctly not some chain store made to there cheap price and remember you can get end of line deals plenty out there at the moment as season change.

  26. ️Sissi says:

    Girl, this was lovely written! Had my giggles and I so get what you mean. Growing up in Germany but living since 10 years now in the US I still order my swim suits from Germany as I find it a true struggle to find swim suits that look cute and modern (not porn or grandma!) AND cover my breasts! So I just found that Victoria Secret had this mix and match thing but I’m terrified the bra in DD might still be too small. (Even though my bra size is actually a D- but my guess is that VS stuff is smaller fit as everything seems tiny lol). And that’s how I found your post: I googled: is VS true to size lmao!!! Anyhow thanks for the giggle! 😘 ️Sissi

  27. Miss says:

    There is a brand that is a good fit for smaller breats and a decent price, Gilligan and O’Malley, I always bought their bras and they always fit perfectly on me and lasted years, my 6 year old bra just gave out the other day (the stiching came compeltely undone and I could have restitched it but I fgiured it ran a good life). But I’m now 23 and have realized where their bras used to be amazing for me I’m now pushing the highest size they make and have to look elsewhere. I went to Victoria Secrets to get fitted and every time the women would tell me to just try on bras until I found one that worked the problem was if I tried on a 32 it was far too tight, if I tried on a 34 (my normal size) is would fall down and put lots of pressure on my ribcage even on the tightest setting. I could try a C cut and it made the quad boob and side boob effect (ewww), I could try a D and it would create the quad boob, I would try a DD and it made my boobs nonexistant and gave no support except through the straps. I appreciate your article as it seems my breats have gotten larger and I’m now struggling a lot with finding a well fitting bra in my size.

  28. Melissa Kurner says:

    Hi! I live in Wheeling WV. I believe I am a 34g also. I have to order my bras online and try them send them back! I am very frustrated, I just want a bra to fit me and feel comfortable and even make me look nice! I don’t have any stores that have bras my size so no fitting is right. A few years ago I went to VS and they fitted me in a 38d which is way too big in the band! I need to order bras again and it is so stressful so much money in shipping! If you have any suggestions please help!

  29. Shawna Myers says:

    I agree completely when you said that VS is not the end all be all. My friends all adored it and one day I let them drag me there for a fitting and a bra. The lady, (who had to be like a year older than myself, so about 19) ran up to me and measured me in the front of the store over my clothes. I was a bit embarrassed as she spoke out loud where others could hear. “Okay, you’re a 42D.” Um, okay, how do you know that from one measurement??? Then she proceeded to say, “Okay, so we’re going to put you in some 38C’s with extra padding so it can correct my breast shape.” Wait, didn’t you just say I was a 42D? And what do you mean correct my breast shape? What’s wrong with my breasts? Anyway, I got the stupid bra to appease my friends (despite the fact my cups runeth over in every way possible, the fit wasn’t very comfortable- I had to keep readjusting it, and it gave me the boobloaf) and within a freaking month the thing was tearing/wearing out. I got on the internet today to search if others had similar problems and I was so glad I found this post.

    • Laurel says:

      I’m sorry that you were pressured into buying a bra that didn’t fit- that’s the worst. I have met VS workers who do that (technically only the ‘bra specialists are supposed to be able to size you and they don’t do it over your clothes), but then again, there are crappy employees everywhere in retail- in it for their name on the sale. I’m sorry that your experience at the store was like that. Mine was the opposite the first time I went, but a subsequent time I did meet one of those. She measured ne over my clothes and told me I was a 40B. I’ve gotten slightly bigger, but my ribcage at the time measured just under 28 inches under my sweatshirt at the position of my band. Less than five minutes later, my little big sister, who’s a 32A and a spitfire, had me with the bra specialist and was calmly explaining to the employee- who we found out later was only on her third month of employment and already thoroughly disliked by her colleagues- that she was acting as a misinformed representative to the women of the world and that the tape measure she had taken from the fitting rooms should be confiscated until she could prove she had enough brain cells to count to forty, yet alone fit someone without training. It was terrifying even for me as a witness to see Emily in all of her glory. But she was right. And I’m sorry you experienced the crap that is a bad fitting as well. I hope you have found bras and a size that make you happy, comfortable, and beautiful.

  30. Jenna says:

    Thank you so much for this article. It was funny but talking about a serious issue to a T. Being a big chested woman is an amazing thing (if only the prices of bras weren’t so high)

  31. Amy says:

    Thank you for your article. I wore a 36C for years and after gaining a few pounds I started buying 38C’s. I recently lost 35 pounds and needed new bras. I was SHOCKED to find out I should buy a 34DD. What?? I just assumed my band and cup size would go down. I tried the 34DD on and it fit like a glove. I still though left the store feeling embarrassed about needing such a “big” bra. Since then, however, I have done some research on the internet and now realize I knew very little about how to buy a bra and that DD and higher doesn’t mean your big or heavy. My new bras are giving me the best support I have ever had.

  32. Laurel says:

    It’s funny- while grown men may have occasioned a glance down my shirt, my interactions with people in my life was still more often dominated by the fact that I was “lucky” to have big breasts- or at least, the people in my life to whom I would bother listening. I understand the halter pain- I had to write off wearing those when I turned eleven- but much of the overstating of the importance of letters or bands seems foreign to me. People don’t actually care usually, at least if you’re a confident woman ready to be more than your boobs and they’re not shallow pricks. This isn’t the crucible. Also, Victoria’s Secret does carry triple Ds. But it’s not about the letter. A 36C cup is the same size as a 32DD cup. Sister sizes. The two variables are cooperative. Before I graduated to a 32F, back when my breasts were still developing, Victoria’s Secret was the first place someone said: “Honey, there’s no way in hell that you’re a B. Let me measure you and then we’ll try some on until we find the bra just right for you. ” After that I had no more headaches or neck pain. So yeah, I can’t shop there anymore. I can’t shop most places. But I won’t generalize breasts or villify a single company for the perceptions of mainstream media. I also won’t let myself be cordoned off because of my boobs. I was lucky in a way- I skipped two grades and grew six inches and four cup sizes in a single summer. I also had sisters and cousins. So I learned early on that I would need to never give a shit about someone else’s view of what I should be or what someone else could bully me into; actually, breaking my nose on a bully’s fist at six was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I know I’m rambling, but what I’m really trying to say is that we all have our own journey to the perfect size and self-acceptance, and it’s important to recognize that you can’t make a person a cup-size or a company a monster. There’s more to it than that. To all of the women who are still growing into or searching out their size- good luck! Big or small, with a bit of confidence and a smile, I know you’ll rock that look. And I won’t judge you if you do decide to be a 32A or 38F porn star. Most pornstars are fabulous. Just be safe and be happy in whatever you do.

  33. Tiff says:

    I’m not part of the bigger group, but my sister is, we vary greatly in size. I know of some dangers in the smaller group, I guess you’d call it.

    When we go shopping, she insists that I can find a size that fits me easily, but I can’t. I’m a 30 D after I measured myself. In your commentary a size 30 wasn’t even on the list! I can’t find a store that carries a 30 in any cup size, resulting in the fact that I have to buy a new bra in the third (Tightest) Setting. It’s not good to buy a Bra that dosen’t fit snug on the loosest setting; the tighter options are for when your bra loses elasticity over time. So my Bra is worn out, my Straps are on tightest and they still fall off and my chest dosen’t even fit into my cups, so I’m not even getting support. I had to throw my last Bra out when I realized this.

    it’s not fun having an ill fitting bra, I’ll try a 32 C but 32’s are not easy to come by either. 😦

  34. […] bra I have a full bust of 39″. Per a new way to measure I found here, through a blog by Preppy Panda, I took a second measurement of my full bust by bending forward at a 90 degree angle, back parallel […]

  35. Maria says:

    I’m so happy to read this! I’m naturally a 30GG, and at 5’7 I’m 135, so I’m by no means over weight. I’m 21 and I want to wear cute bras but that’s hard when they cost close to 100. The closest I’ve ever gotten to cute was finally finding a mocha colored bra the day. I also have found it annoying that many sites advertise larger bra sizes as plus size, and grouping them in with people who may be heavier (which is perfectly fine, it’s just annoying to be stereotyped). I wish more stores would offer bras in a variety of sizes. I understand they won’t sell as many, but they still could sell a few at stores. I’ve worked at Nordstrom and we carried over and under sized shoes (under 5, over 10) and a good amount of customers came in for these sizes.
    Anyway, to end my very long rant I am happy to read this and know there are other women out there who feel the same way!

    P.s freya has a good selection of larger bras and bathing suits 🙂

  36. Patty says:

    Yes!!! As a retail 38DD(not properly fit) I felt either too overtly sexy in a sweatshirt or fat and like an octopus with breasts falling out everywhere. Yes you nailed what my perceptions were of cultures perceptions of my chest. Now my daughter is coming up and is beautifully shaped. I’m taking her to Nordstrom’s to get a proper fitting and no VS for all the reasons you mentioned. Great post.

  37. John says:

    Hi, I’m a man and find that current VS Angels have smaller breasts than the ideal. Of course they are beautiful but for me are not the ideal. Some random girl you find walking the street can totally beat them in beauty. Models are often choosen by women or gay stilists that have different ideals than men. Let me say that (despite what i’ve said) I prefer small natural breasts over artificialy enlarged, unless it is an extreme case and it is really needed. And finally, to be fair and expose myself too, in school sometimes they laughed at me for being a too thin freak ;-).

  38. Rudy Carter says:

    I went to Victoria’s Secret yesterday and was asked to be measured by a woman, who was not a “stick”nor was she a “ding bat,” when she saw me walking into the fitting room with some bras I’d already picked out for myself. She was very sweet and actually had a very ample bosom. I thought I was a 36D and once measured the employee told me I am actually a 34DDD. I had no idea. She was so incredibly helpful and went around picking several different styles for me to try. I tried on the bras there and they were wonderful. Who knew I’d been wearing ill fitting bras for so long? I shopped around the store and purchased 9 bras in my DDD size. I totally understand what the author of the blog is saying about VS’s sizing, what I don’t understand is some of the comments from people who want to villify the store and the employees who work there because they don’t sell bras that fit them. It’s a store. They sell very specific merchandise in order to make a profit, believe it or not. They are not your friends. If you hate the store that much, you never have to step foot in it. It is not a law that every woman has to get their bras from VS. If you already know their bras aren’t made for your size, why go there? There are plenty of clothing stores whose sizes run small and I have just learned over the years that I just cannot buy my clothes there, so I go somewhere else. I am not mad at Forever 21 because their larges still aren’t large enough for me. Some of these comments sound like people went to the store, just to get pissed off, in order to publish their grievances.

  39. My 14 year old granddaughter is already wearing a 38d. Her dads aunts who she takes after wear just as an example 38ff. So her future looks like she will be big too. Can you recommend a good place to take her to get proper fitting pretty bras. She wants to go to your most hated place. Her sister has the perfect figure, and Makayla has the barrel torso with long thin legs. No waist and boobs galore. Sad to be 14 and in school where looks are everything. I would appreciate any help you give. Thanks sweetie.

    • Nordstrom is my top suggestion. Mostly because they are everywhere in the states. Herroom.com, bravissimo.com, and curvykate.com are all good online shops. I actually doubt that your granddaughter is wearing a 38D- she probably has a smaller band size and a larger cup size. A 38D cup is actually not a very large size.

  40. […] of the glamour of the runway, the VS models aren’t as Boobiest as you may think. Heck, they may not even know their own proper bra size. In fact, a good push-up bra can easily give you the same supermodel […]

  41. Debbie says:

    My problem in most store is that they don’t have 32 band with any cups size unless you are a A or B. Sometime Jcpenny will carry a 32 c. But that is the highest they went. After I had my children my cup size went past a C, but my band is still 32.
    I went to Victoria’s Secret and a girl measure me and found my correct size.32DDD. They had it in stock. You can get it in perferct shape or perfect coverage.

  42. Ocyla says:

    I gave Land’s Ends an earful on a survey they sent me recently where it asked what cup size I was, and only had the letters listed.

  43. Samantha says:

    I’ve been wearing a 36 D or DD most of my adult life because that’s what I always assumed I was. My bras never fit great honestly; I would def. get spillage even with full coverage bras and bunching on the sides. I went into VS recently and the attendant was surprisingly extremely helpful – spending almost 45 min with me trying to fit me into the right bra. Turns out I am a 34 DDD (which i was initially reluctant to try bc TRIPLE D!) Though honestly the ill fitted bras were more comfortable, my boobs look amazing in a size that actually fits.

  44. J.H. says:

    Wow, it’s like you took the words (and insecure feelings society has led woman to believe), right out of my mouth! Kudos for shedding some light on a topic that many of us struggle with ofteno times in isolation. Let’s face it ladies, boobs are a beautiful thing! Small, medium or large they have captivated attention since the dawn of man. Thanks to the writer who empowers us to embrace our size and beauty, regardless of what that letter or number on the tag may be. I don’t know about the rest of the readers, but I feel motivated to find that perfect fitting bra so I can tackle the world in comfort and with confidence!

  45. Melissa says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this post!!!!
    The whole time reading it I was nodding my head yes in agreement!!! Your story is my story!
    I’m glad someone else has the same views on VS as me, they have NO love for the big boobies girls. Needless to say I’d definitely hop on their bandwagon and drink the VS kool-aid if they made bras to suit DD+.
    Thank you for putting out there the real struggles with bras and boobs! Much love sister!

  46. Rei Hino says:

    I am a 34DDD and I shop VS bras online (we don’t have stores here). I find their fit and quality to be the best. I prefer them over Chantelle bras which never lasted long and weren’t as good when it comes to fitting. I guess I am an exception :).

  47. Tara Coulbourne says:

    I just came from VS and was told I was a 36B, though the bra was tight and my sides were bulging out. My boobs are small but I have a wide back.

    Before this measuring, I was told I was a 38B. But found to have the same problem, my sides bulge out from the band and I don’t fill the cup.

    I pretty much have given up wearing bras, because I can’t find any that fit me properly.

  48. […] is the “normal” cup size, so DDD must be some weird swamp monster. And when it comes to band size, 32 is “a little too skinny”, 34 is “normal”, 36 is a little thicker, and […]

  49. Lark Avery says:

    I thought I was a 36B, but I got actually fitted and it turns out I’m a 32DD. I hadn’t even considered that I was even a C because my boobs don’t look that big to me at all, but the 32DD bra fit better than the smaller cup/bigger band ever had. I was grateful about that but also mildly annoyed that the sales girl gave me a bunch of heavily underwired bras to try on when I already specified that I wanted as little support and confinement as possible. Apparently anyone with DDs must need to be completely strapped down? I just bought some bralettes and called it a day XD

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