Last night I threw out all of my bras. I seriously considered burning them for dramatic effect but it was getting late and I don’t really have a fireplace or anything so burning seemed impractical. Still, emptying my drawer of bras and tossing the navy Gilly Hicks push-up, the rhinestone covered Victoria’s Secret demi and a handful of worn out, loose Pink t-shirt bras felt liberating.
Okay, so I’m not giving up bras for good. In fact, I’m not giving up bras at all.
Last night I met my friend Laura at the mall after work. We both swore we weren’t going to shop but we wanted to walk around and catch up even though it was pouring down rain outside. We found ourselves in Aerie, American Eagle’s lingerie store, and as Laura sorted through tee shirts I decided to ask to be measured.
A few weeks ago I had been measured quickly over a bulky sweater and told I was 30DD which seemed completely inaccurate. Plus, even if the 17 year old high school student’s measure had been correct-she informed me that the store did not carry my size. So I asked the sales associate in the fitting room if she could help me and she agreed with a smile.
I wore a baggy shift dress that she measured loosely around all sides. I didn’t feel she was measuring me accurately but I didn’t want to undermine the “expert” even if she was probably just a college student working 10 hours a week. Anyway, could I really urge someone to get in there and measure my boobs a little more up close and personal without seeming like some sort of freak?
“34 A” she declared. I smiled and thanked her as she tossed a few bras in my size my way. I wasn’t sure how I could be both a 30DD and 34A. I glanced towards Laura uncomfortably and tried on a bra the sales associate had handed me. I spilled out of it from all angles. I was frustrated but momentarily considered that I had absolutely no idea how bras were even supposed to look and fit before admitting the Aerie salesgirl had probably just measured me incorrectly.
I’m socially awkward though and didn’t want to accuse her of choosing the wrong bra size for me. After Laura purchased her tie dye tees I dragged us into Victoria’s Secret.
“Can you measure me?” I asked the first girl with a pink measuring tape I laid eyes upon. She smiled and measured over the top of my dress right there. “32 C” she declared. I felt a little more confident with this measurement, mainly because 32 C is the size I have been wearing for the past few years. Though I didn’t find most of my bras particularly comfortable I did feel like this size “fit” better than the 34A I’d awkwardly used as a weird sort of unsupportive boob loin-cloth at Aerie.
By this time Laura and I were cracking up. It seemed that every time I was measured I was told a completely different number. As an experiment we decided to try out the lingerie department at Nordstrom. If I heard one of the measurements a second time I would be more convinced. Plus, I desperately needed new bras and I didn’t want anymore that rode up or felt too loose after two wears.
Inside Nordstrom the salesgirl brought Laura and I both into the fitting room. She asked me to take my dress off and turn around as she measured me underneath my bust. I already felt more confident with her method. I waited in my underwear in the dressing room as she brought in two bras with the same band size and different cup sizes for me to try. The first was a little loose but the second bra fit perfectly. In fact, the second bra felt a little bit like magic. Who knew proper support could feel so good?
Before telling me a single size the salesgirl in the cute striped turtleneck and black jumper paraded in with at least a dozen bras. I looked down at one of the tags, then another, to my relief all of the bras were the same size as the magical one I was wearing.
“You’re a 32D” she said, then turning to Laura and asking if she wanted to be measured. Laura had been wearing a 34B her entire life and didn’t feel like her bra size was off the way I did. But, we were having so much fun and were so intrigued by the bra sizing process at this point that we felt it was only necessary she was measured too.
Repeating the same process I had experienced Laura was also declared a “32 D”. Laura and I were both shocked. Do the people at Nordstrom just tell everyone they’re a 32 D? It couldn’t be because these bras actually felt delightful. The straps sat comfortably, the underwire didn’t ride up through the middle of my breasts and the band wasn’t swimming around me.
For the next hour or so Laura and I giddily tried on every 32D in the store. We were both determined to replace all of our bras with sizes that properly fit and surprised by how the same size could look slightly different on two different people. Primarily we were both surprised by our preconceived notions of what a specific cut size should look like and in actuality what it really did look like.
We’d both always assumed a D cup was huge! As a fairly small person I had always thought anything other than a C would enter Playboy bunny proportions. Yet neither of us felt particularly playboy bunny-esque. Moral of the story, throw your preconceived notions of what any cup size should look like and get measured by someone who takes the time to properly measure you. I recommend Nordstrom.
I left the store with four shiny new bras (perhaps they weren’t actually shiny, but nevertheless you get the point) and a real glow about me. Laura and I both were determined to force all of the women in our lives to properly fit themselves for a new bra. Laura’s mom happened to call while we were in the dressing room and we could not help but squeal at her over the phone! She might have thought we were crazy as we loudly proclaimed our new passion for properly fitted bras.
So here I am, 24 years old and wearing a bra that fits correctly potentially for the first time in my life. If you haven’t been sized (or haven’t been sized since you were 14) I urge you to do the same thing! Maybe I’m the only weirdo out there who has had such a range of measurements and whose lingerie drawer was filled with an assortment of ill fitting sizes…but I don’t think so.