On Breasts, Bras, and Why I Hate Victoria’s Secret (Part 2)

After writing Part 1 (which I thought was going to be the only part), it was brought to my attention that while I did a a great job at pointing out the problem, I didn’t do a very good job of helping people find a solution.  This is what Parts 2 and 3 are for.  Part 2 focuses on bra issues and finding your correct size.  Part 3 will focus on resources for actually getting you into an awesome bra (they can be hard to find).

First, let’s talk about what’s going on with your bra.  Here are some common bra problems and what they probably mean:

1.  Your band rides up your back:

Your band is probably too loose.  Most of the support from your bra should come from the band, with the straps being supplemental.  It’s important that your band fits snugly enough to stay put.

2. Your straps are on the tightest setting:

(This girl’s straps look fine,  I just needed a picture of bra straps…) Your band is probably too loose.  However, this might not be the case if (a) you are very short (I’m talking under 5′), (b) have an exceptionally short torso, or (c) have exceptionally high boobs.  Bras are designed to be worn with the straps at their “medium” tightness, but are adjustable to allow for differing body types.  But if you are in the average height range with averagely placed boobs, your bra straps should be around their medium length (not all the way tight, not all the way loose).  If you are shortening your straps all the way, you are probably doing it to try to give your boobs a boost, but what is probably going to happen is that your boobs are going to stay where they are, while the back of your bra (without the weight of your breasts) is going to ride up.

3. Your straps dig into your shoulders:

This is probably caused by number 2.  Again, it probably means that your band is too loose.

4. The center gore does not sit against your breastbone:

Believe it or not, the middle of your bra (between the cups) is supposed to fit abreast (I crack myself up) to your sternum.  It might float maybe 1/4″ to 1/2″ away from your body, or it might be up against breast tissue that is not fitting into your cups.  It is usually caused by too-small cups, but a too-large band can also be a contributor.  On a side note, my original search for “floating center gore” gave me this as one of the top results:

5. You have “boob loaf”:

Almost always accompanies number 4.  This is when there is not enough room for each breast in it’s own cup, so they begin to run towards each other, looking for refuge.  What you end up with is two squished together boobs that look like one mass instead of two.  I guess that this might be alright if you are going for a sexy cleavage look, but it doesn’t do anyone any favors under a regular t-shirt, and it’s even worse under a knit.  Your band might also be too large, otherwise you are more likely to get quad boob.

6. You have “quad boob”:

This is similar to boob loaf, except instead of having only one boob, you have 4.  You can see that the (pretty) scalloped edges of her bra are digging into her flesh (it is kind of reminding me of cutting through a loaf of bread with a serrated knife.)  Again, the cups are too small.  The band could be too small, too big, or just right.

6. Your cups are too big:

Your cups are too big.

7.  Your bra band hurts:

This means, clearly, that your bra band is too small.  It is very important to keep in mind, hoevever, that your bra band should be tight.  And the larger breasts you have, the more important this is.  The support of a bra comes (or should come, at least) from he tightness of the band.

8.  And the most important one, you just don’t feel happy with your bra:

Not to worry, sad little C-cups, the Preppy Panda is here to help.


Now, let’s try finding your bra size.  I really love this guide.  You will need a tape measure and a few moments of privacy (unless you’re fine with taking the girls out to meet the neighbors.)

Now, my guess is that you are going to be a little bit surprised at your bra size.  You may have measured yourself at a 30F, even though you have been wearing a 36D for years.  I know it can be a bit shocking, but don’t please don’t immediately discount your findings.  There are two very important things to keep in mind right now:

1. Cup size is not a measure of volume, but a ratio of band size to full chest size.  So an E cup does not mean “monster boobs”.  All it means is that your full chest circumference is 6″ larger than your band circumference.  For example, I have gone from wearing a 36F to a 32G, but even thought my cup size is bigger, my breast mass has actually decreased, since the F was relative to a 34 band and the D is relative to a 32 band.

2. Sister sizes.  “Sister sizes” are different sized bras that have the same cup volume.  Three women with the respective bra sizes of 30C, 32B, and 34A all have breasts quite similar in actual volume.  When going down a band size, you must go up a cup size to maintain the same cup volume, and vice versa.  Both US and UK sister size charts are available on the fit guide.   So, if you have been wearing a 38D, don’t be surprised if you fit yourself at a 28F.  Your bra cups may have not felt too big or too small, but you may have been experiencing one or more of the above listed bra problems.  Using sister sizes can help you feel like your bra fits more “just right”.

What did you come up with?  Were you surprised?  Comment and let us know!

You may have measured yourself at a size that you didn’t even know existed (like a 26H) and now you’re thinking, “great, bras in my size don’t exist.”  Oh they exist, and we’re going to find you one in Part 3.

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5 thoughts on “On Breasts, Bras, and Why I Hate Victoria’s Secret (Part 2)

  1. Kaela says:

    I’ve always had the opposite problem of too-big boobs. Having small boobs isn’t that big of a deal in and of itself, but having smaller boobs to a really broad rib cage in comparison causes all kinds of bra-fitting complications. I haven’t done the measurement thing, but for a long time in my life, I was a 38 A. They don’t make those. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a 36 A in the style you like, but usually they’re 34 or 32. Because people that wide MUST have bigger boobs. So I would wear a 38 B in order to find something wide enough to fit around me, but the cups would be half empty. (BTW, even finding a 38 B was sometimes difficult. They existed, but not always in the same style that looked good on my body. 36 was most common.) Thankfully, I went on birth control before getting married and my boobs happily grew into a comfortable size C, and now finding bras that fit has become much less of a hassle now that I am more “normal.”

  2. Rob says:

    Thought you might appreciate this VS spoof from the front page of Funny or Die:

  3. Kim Slawson says:

    Anxiously awaiting part 3!

  4. Kim Slawson says:

    Anxiously awaiting part III!

  5. Shae stringer says:

    Wow 36C to a 28 I

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