Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bra Awareness Campaign

There is an issue all women face at some point in their life: how to find and buy a good bra for them. Unfortunately, somehow (I haven't the slightest clue) the stores are packed with sizes that don't fit the majority of women. Now, clearly the market has something to do with this. Companies produce (and stores buy) what they sell the most of, and if they sell most of a 34 band size, that is what they will produce, or else (now that I think of it) they are trying to scam people by forcing them to buy bras more often. Now, please, let me teach you fellow women the important facts about bras (or perhaps the men can teach their future wives). Unfortunately, most women don't know and never learn how bras work. The truth is, it's not as complicated as people may think. I want to raise awareness for women so they can be their happiest with their bras and get the most out of them.

Things to know about bras:

Your bra should not be uncomfortable. If it ever is, there is a good chance it isn't your size or shape.

There are many things that go into what can make a bra fit or not fit correctly. I won't go into all of them here, but other than the obvious bra size, breast shape also can play a big role in whether a bra fits comfortably like it should, and knowing your shape of breasts can be very helpful in picking out and finding a bra that fits you best. Obviously, there are resources on the internet, so I will let you research this one on your own if you are interested.

Sizing

Bands:

Know your band size first. If you live in America, your band size is just the measurement in inches around your ribcage right underneath your breasts where your bra band would sit. This is the most important measurement and where people always go wrong. For smaller women, your band size is likely anything from 28 to 32 inches. Note that in a store, bras are always listed in band measurements in multiples of 2. For example: in a store like Target, Fredmeyer or even Kohls, you will likely see band sizes: 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48 etc.

When you put on a bra, it should be quite snug around the band when you have it on the loosest clip. Your bra band is what keeps your bra supportive. You need your band to be snug if you want the bra to serve its purpose. The reason it should be snug on the loosest clip is so that it has room to stretch (and it will over time) and when it does, instead of having to go out and buy another bra in order to get support, (where my thought of stores scamming you into needing to buy more bras comes in) you use the clip second to the loosest and so on. So, periodically you are tightening the bra based on the clips except you aren't because it is stretching through wear. Resulting, you will always have a bra that is your size and fits well until it is even loose on the tightest clip which should take a while. I hope that makes sense.

Cups:

After you know your band size, finding the correct cup size is relatively easy. It should fit. No extra space here or there and nothing falling out the sides or front. Now, here is something I know a lot of women run into when they aren't big on bra shopping. "But isn't that too big for me?" People are afraid of the numbers. For some reason, D is glorified as being for big-breasted women and A is labeled as being for small-breasted women. But that's not the case. A bra cup is relative to the band size which is why you never want to start with the cup size. A 34D bra will have a larger cup than a 32 D bra and a 38 D bra will have an even larger cup than that. And contrary to popular belief, DD is nowhere near the largest cup size. There is also E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ all the way up to N (in Europe it just goes from A to Z without the doubles)

Sister Sizes. There is a thing called "Sister sizes" and what that means is that someone who, when wearing the correct band size is a 30 DD, can also "fit" into a 32 D, 34 C... etc. because the cup sizes increase with the band size. In order to keep the same size, you have to decrease the cup size with every increase in band size. Now, I am not a fan of "Sister sizes" because I really think that everyone deserves to be able to find an affordable bra in their correct band size.  But often, we are stuck with buying and wearing sister sizes because what they carry in stores is more often than not what your correct size is. Especially, for some reason as many of us find, the extremely cute bras (which are always 34 B, C & D)

The issue:

The majority of bras found in stores are 32 A, 32 B, 34 B, 34 C, 34 D, 36 D, 36 DD..  and stores are providing sizes assuming that as our breast size increases, so does our band size (or that if we have larger breasts, we will also have larger band sizes or larger rib-cage circumferences) This is garbage, and so if you want to buy a bra from any mainstream easy-to-find clothing store, you are more often than not going to be forced to buy a sister size or instead go to a specialty bra store like Soma, Nordstrom, or Victoria Secret which have much higher prices and even then, if you are really skinny or you have really large breasts, you may be out of luck because very few places seldom sell anything in a 28 band size, or in a cup size greater than DD, and remember, when your band size gets smaller, your cup size gets larger because the cup sizes are relative to the band size.

So many women live their lives wearing poorly fitting bras. Not only are they uncomfortable, un-supportive but they can often be very unflattering as well. Some people don't know how bra sizes really work, others claim they don't care and others even still start protests against the need for women to even wear bras (in the name of feminism of course). Genuinely, this frustration is completely understandable because of how ridiculous it is to have to go through the simple process of buying a bra when you get stuck with having to wear something uncomfortable and unflattering or leave with a single bra and an empty wallet.

How much better would it be if things changed for us women and the bras you find in stores. What if all it took was a little more education and a little less settling for less than we deserve. Who really knows. What I do know is that it doesn't hurt to try, and it certainly doesn't hurt to take a stand and start the conversation and education. Bras are a part of being a women, and they can be stressful, or they can be a lot of fun. I hope that if you are a women, you go away from this post feeling a little more inspired to take action and find something that works best for you. You deserve it!

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