87 Comments

  1. Deborah Pressimone

    I saw the way Victoria Secret wants you to do your bra measurements and it is no wonder that a lot of women are walking around in the wrong size and saying that it is to big in the band, to small in the cup or vice versa or just plain uncomfortable.

    • Erica

      The most egregious error is how much of your breast tissue they are including in that band measurement, particularly if you are fuller-busted. Even with the dreaded +4 method, I only go up two band-sizes . . . not 4!

  2. This is delightful beyond all reason. I’m sharing it with everyone! The highlighter made me giggle. What a great, informative, clear explanation of good fit!

    • Erica

      Thanks, Sweets! I was staring down at the gap between my chest and the gore and said aloud “I could drop a highlighter through there.” So my business partner said: “Well, add that to the video!” :-D

  3. Shelbs

    I was wearing a VS bra in 38B before I used your online bra calculator (which came out to a 36D!). I nixed all my VS bras, went to a Belk/JCP here in Boone, and I can’t believe the difference. I feel supported and I’m not tugging on my band all day. I thought I was tugging my band because it was too small! Turns out, it was too big! (And who knew I had THAT MUCH cup to fill!) Confidence = Through the roof!

    • Erica

      Shelbs, I am so happy to hear the calculator worked for you and that you were able to find some fantastic bras in your correct size. It really does make a difference!

  4. Laurie

    I see the difference…but how do you keep the cleavage?? It’s all gone in the proper fitting bra…and I love cleavage!

    • Erica

      Hi Laurie! The bra I wear in my proper size is a balcony bra not designed for cleavage, but there are some super cute plunges and padded half-cup bras that give amazing cleavage. Try the Freya Deco, the Parfait by Affinitas Casey, or the Curvy Kate Elegance!

      • I think it would be better if you could show a proper fitting plunge or push up bra, because lots of women want to have the plunge effect, not the separation. And it would be more fair if you compare the same style.
        But besides that, I love your video. I have to say you are very confident in from of the camera! You speak loud enough and clearly.

        • Erica

          Hi Paulina! I did get a few comments along the lines of “Where did the cleavage go?” with the video. At the time of shooting, I was using a bra I owned and could show had proper tacking. However, in retrospect, a secondary section showing a proper plunge would have been fantastic to prove that you can find a bra that gives cleavage AND fits. Thanks for commenting!

          • I’m waiting for that! I’m from polish brafitting community and I know that it is possible. I also think the topic of brafitted cleavage is a bit immited at all communities. It would be great for you to make something new, as for now there are lots of guides how to fit the bra, but less about the styles and options offered above D or G or J cup.

  5. Hey there,

    Great video! I guess trying on a t-shirt with both bras would show exactly how good / bad it looks.

    I always ask my clients to put on their top (blouse, shirt whatever they are wearing) to see the bra “in action”. You can spot immediately a muffin top, rolls under the armpits, but most of all, the difference between where their boobs stand.
    As I joke often, “Girls, between your boobs should stand your heart, not your belly button”

    Thanks for the info and keep it going.

    Hugs from Mexico.

    • Erica

      Ale, that’s a great idea about the tee shirt! You’re so right that once the tee shirt is on, you can really see the improvement. Sometimes it is easy to focus on your flaws when you’re in the bra only, and it’s easier to see the big picture with the top. Also, I love love love the joke about boobs and belly-button. Glad you enjoyed the video! :)

  6. What struck me most about your post was this: “…however, what saddened me the most was putting on a 38C bra and remembering all the years I spent thinking this was how a bra was supposed to fit.”

    When I went to do my fitting for my last Bratabase post, the bras they “fit” me into looked like a good enough fit to the average person. Good thing that I knew more than the fitter :) Once a woman gets a proper bra fitting, it’s like the heavens open up.

    • Erica

      Tamara, you’re so right that unless you know better, than you don’t always see the signs of a bad fit. With more awareness about proper fitting techniques, hopefully they will follow suit soon.

  7. Stacy

    Awesome video. I also notices you had soooo much spillage over the sides of the bra too. I’m also the fan of throwing on a snug shirt over my bra when I try on, because it really shows the problems in fit.

    Victoria’s Secret thinks I should wear a 40D. Uhhhhhhh. Even when I was wearing the wrong sized band, I was wearing a 38DDD. I”m actually a 34GG. So 3 bands too large, and 2 cup sizes too small….

    I can accept being sized into a 36 band by somebody, as I actually measure between 34-35 underbust, depending on the day, and my waist is bigger than my underbust thanks to my post-kids weight gain. But a 36 absolutely doesn’t fit me once the bra is on.

    Last time I was there they tried to put me into a 38DD or DDD. It was ridiculous.

    • Erica

      Stacy, I didn’t even notice the side spillage until I went to edit the video, and then I felt like I missed yet another area where the fit was off! :-D When I went there as a teenager, they tried the 38DD route too, and it really is ridiculous. In fact, when I hear someone say they wear a 38DD or DDD, my bra senses start tingling, and I’m bit suspicious about whether they really are this size. Most aren’t, so I always try to encourage women to get fitted. I’m glad you were able to find your correct size though because no one should have to suffer in bras that do not fit and support!

      • Stacy

        I’m actually pretty suspicious of anyone who is clearly a smaller clothing size than me (since I wear about a 16) who says they wear a 36 band. Now granted, I have a small back so I wear a 34 band, but when I see people who weigh 30+ pounds less than I do wearing a 36 band I really don’t believe they’re in the right size.

        I made my size-10 coworker go get sized. She was in 38 (and sometimes 40) DDDs. I don’t remember what she ended up sized as, except I’m pretty sure it was a 32 band.

      • Kit

        Oh man this cracks me up. I’m wearing a 36DD right now because it’s the only size I’ve ever found at Target that does ANYTHING like hold up my boobs. But I KNOW it doesn’t actually fit correctly–the gap between the front of the bra and my chest is incredible. According to your calculator I’m a 30DDD/F or 28G depending on how tight I want the band to fit. (Although this confuses me because the band on my current bra doesn’t ride up or hurt or bother me in any way, even on the largest hook. My ribcage is 28 inches, but maybe my current bra is lying about that “36”!)

        …so all that remains is for me to find a $20 bra that is a 28G that I can try on in person. Does that even exist? I’m kinda tired of wearing the least of the evils, but it seems like it’s all I can afford. :(

        • Erica

          Hi Kit! You may be one of the women who prefers to size up in the band for comfort. What about starting with a 32DDD or E cup first? You may be able to find that size a little easier, and it would at least alert you to whether you could wear a tighter band. For cheaper 28/30 band bras, I recommend Cleo or Parfait. Most of their bras are under $55. It’s no $20, but with sales, you may find some.

  8. Excellent Post! Ill never forget the pain I endured in the 36A/34B, then you took care of me and got me in the right size (which was at least two cup sizes and at least one band size off). Thank goodness that you are blogging about this. I really wish for every Victorias Secrets shop in America, there was one like yours right next to it.

  9. Alex

    I go to Victoria’s Secret to buy their plumping lip gloss or some body spray, and in the past I had bought some sexy undies there. I’ve had them ask if they can help me; then, when I told them they had nothing to fit me, they expressed disbelief. Looking at me, in clothes, I suppose I don’t look that “big”–I’ve had others say exactly this to me. But I think that’s because THEY DON’T KNOW PROPER SIZING. Many people don’t have a clue. They think the biggest size is DD, and a bust which is big in circumference is a 38. That’s it–that’s the biggest size there is. What do they think that people outside that range are wearing, anyway?! I tell them I’m a 32G, a 30H, or a 32GG (depending on the bra), and they think I’m a crackpot, I guess. “But you don’t look that BIG!” (I showed one woman the tag on my bra.) What does that mean, anyway? 32 around ISN’T “that big.” And a G really isn’t “that big” … especially in a 32. It’s the same cup volume as a 36E or 36F (DD or DDD for those who are used to the sizes stopping at that letter of the alphabet), depending on the sizing convention. Of course, that leads to the fact that sizing isn’t consistent from one manufacturer to another, and that sizing of one’s breasts can’t be held to some sort of standardization. There isn’t such a thing. No one is the same size in every bra, and there isn’t one STATIC, UNCHANGING SIZE METRIC. It annoys me no end when people talk about breast size as if there is a standard somewhere that breast volume can be measured against. If there is such a thing, I have never heard of it. That’s why I wouldn’t say “I’m a *blank [number/letter]*.” It’s a false idea. I gave three sizes, because I can fit all of those, perfectly.

    • Erica

      Alex, I hear ya on people not believing you about bra size. When I went to our local hospital’s baby fair for their birthing center, I started to have people guess my bra size because they were convinced Ds were huge. When I told them the real size, they raised their eyebrows and fell back on “It must be vanity sizing.” Education can be a slow going process sometimes, and it’s a shame that we’ve had this misinformation ingrained into us from a very early age. Also, I like how you give a range of sizes since we often need to adjust depending on the manufacturer or style!

  10. KT

    I used your bra size calculator and it came out to a 32C which I actually own as a relic from my early teen years and I tried it on just for fun and it is laughably too small for me in all areas–the band was already leaving marks in my skin and the side spillage was ridiculous. I think I’ll stick with the 34DD that Victoria’s Secret says I wear, thanks.

    • Erica

      Hi KT! As I have mentioned before, no calculator can expect to be 100% accurate and will never substitute a proper fitting from a professional. I appreciate your valuable feedback so I can continue to modify the design in the future. Furthermore, I encourage anyone using the calculator to also view our The Right Fit page and use that information in conjunction with the results obtained from the calculator.

      However, Victoria’s Secret continually propagates inaccurate information about bra fittings which leave far too many women wearing the wrong size (as demonstrated in the article and video). I’m glad you were able to find the size and styles that work for you, and thanks for commenting!

  11. Lee

    Almost every comment in here resonates my own experiences. One day I got tired of my bra no fitting and so I did a little research and figured it out on my own, and not to toot my own horn but it felt like common sense to me–I guess there must be a bra size ‘conspiracy.’

    Anyway, I had been saying for years that Victoria’s Secret bras did not fit me and it wasn’t because they weren’t lovely bras it was because of errors in the way they measure. I had many debates with friends who said that they fitted perfectly, but this was with smaller cupped friends who maybe didn’t notice how uncomfortable the wrong bra could actually be.

    Also, the friends who agreed with me seemed to also have a very full breast and lots of breast tissue and even some extra fat in and around the area so I reasoned that measuring over the breast for a band size drastically changes the measurements. In the Victoria’s Secret bras they would say I was a 36DD or 38DDD (US) in that ballpark, but according to this and the bras I have bought I am a 32E (UK).

    I find that with my larger breast, support is so essential that you need the right band. I joke all the time that I want to sue the other company for giving me the wrong band and living with sagging, unsupported breasts for years–I am only 27 and have the sagging stretch marks of a granny.

    I also would go into the other store and buy panties and other products and when approached I would them they did not carry my size and they had the same incredulous reaction.

    I have been wearing the correct size since 2010! I moved to England and they seem to understand that women with a 30-34 band can have large natural breasts and need the support. Where I could hardly find them back home in the States.

    And a few months ago I found a very unique bra that was a god-send. I had never worn a strapless bra that could contain my breasts and support them until now. It’s called a wonderbra–It’s the miracle bra for larger breasted women! It is literally like you are holding yourself up with your own hands and without those chicken fillet/padding underneath the breast that just pushes my breast tissue out and makes it a jiggly mess–it has these plastic fingers in them which wrap the boobs and contain them around the side. I had to go up in the band to a 34 as it is very tight and does not allow for any sliding at all so putting it on by yourself with the old sliding it around back trick is difficult. Not sure if you’ve looked into it but it’s work a look.

    I got to wear a strapless dress for the first time in my life! And it works under my other dresses too!

    • Erica

      Lee, I am happy to hear you were able to fit yourself and finally start wearing the proper size! Years of wearing the wrong bra size definitely takes its toll on the breasts and back, and it’s such a wonderful feeling to finally buy a bra that fits. The UK companies do seem to be more interested in a variety of sizes, but many US companies are (finally) starting to warm to the idea of branching into higher cup sizes and smaller bands. Affinitas and Natori deserve special applause, and hopefully, we’ll see more changes in the lingerie market.

      Thanks for the recommendation! I have heard good things about the wonderbra, and I will need to see if they are something we could carry in the store in the future. :) Thanks for commenting too!

  12. Bri

    I went into VS yesterday at the mall, and after doing a LOT of research of bra sizes, I knew they wouldn’t have anything that would fit me (just had surgery in August for my augmentation) I was turning to leave, and someone asked if they could help. I explained that I just had surgery, and told her my measurements (from measuring myself at home) and I was about ready to slap her! She sat there and giggled, smirked, and laughed at me! I was absolutely livid, how rude of her… And she just sat there and stared at my boobs like, No way you are that big! (which is true, I don’t look that big, especially dressed! I look like a full C/Small D)

    For years I was wearing a 34B, then eventually a 36A (which I couldn’t even fill out!) but it would pinch the sides, the wire would dig in… it was awful… but I was so small, I couldn’t imagine going bigger in a cup size for the width! Anyway, I had surgery, finally got my boobs, and started researching! I had bought 36D, and they were too small… measurements are 30″/31″ underbust, and 37″ across the nipples. which would put me in a 30G or 32F… (according to proper measuring) I have yet to find bras that size in stores to try them on!!! So far no luck, the closest I have been able to find is 36DD (which is a sister size of 32F) and that fits the best… I am searching online to buy some, but am nervous to buy without trying them on! Especially with how expensive they can be!

    But after yesterday’s disaster, I don’t think I will ever step foot into another VS store again…

    By the way, according to their measuring technique, they would put me in a 36″ band, and with a 37″ bust, that would make me a 36A! LOL yeah, that’s gonna fit! no thanks, I think I’ll shop on my own, without their “professional advice!”

    • Erica

      Bri, what a terrible experience! It’s one thing to not be able to help someone, but to outright laugh at them is appalling. I hope you consider writing corporate a letter to talk about your experience because that kind of response should not be tolerated. I’m not sure where you are located, but have you tried visiting Panache Lingerie’s website and searching for a retailer? Nordstrom will often carry those sizes, but there may be a boutique nearby which could help you too. If you have any questions or need advice, feel free to email me at sophisticatedpair[at]gmail.com as I may be able to help you narrow down the search!

      • Bri

        yeah, I was absolutely appalled! I hadn’t thought of writing a letter to corporate, just because I don’t want to get into an argument with them about their “sizing techniques” lol I am in Southern California. So I am sure there are plenty of boutiques around, but they are closer to LA, which I try to avoid at all costs, the traffic down there is ridiculous! hehe Anyway, I have been looking online at Panache, Freya, Alegro, Affinitias, Curvy Kate… etc. And I think I have found some I am just going to order and try them on at home. There is a Nordstroms about an hour away, but with 3 little ones at home, I don’t get to go shopping myself very often!

        Anyway, thank you for your response :) I don’t usually comment on my experiences with stores, but that one just blew me away!

  13. Thalia

    Today, I went to victoria’s secret for a “fitting” I have a 31 inch under bust, and 38-39 over bust depending on the day. They told me I was a 36 B. I decided to humor this idea. So i tried a convertible 36 b. With the straps on, it was much too tight in the cups, I was spilling out EVERYWHERE! Then, I took the straps off, and it literally FELL OFF!!! That’s how big the band was. I told this to the “advisor” and she sweetly told me, “Oh, well maybe you’re a 36C. facepalm….
    Worse, I went with a friend to do this, and now she is convinced that I’m a 36 b…

    • Erica

      Thalia, it’s stories like this which really sadden me because there are so many women out there who would take the recommendations from the “fitter” and never be the wiser that they should be in a 30FF or G instead of the 36C or D they buy. :(

  14. Lisette

    I hate to break it to you but when we’re properly trained they have us measure MUCH tighter than what you’re doing here. I could have gotten you down to a 34 easy with the way that they trained us to measure the bras.

    We’d probably have put you in a 34 DD or DDD if the associate was doing their job properly, though it’s a shame we don’t carry E’s. Sorry you had that kind of experience.

    For some people, how we fit works across the board. Others find that their measured size works only at Victoria’s secret and they have to fiddle around with other brands. I’m sure that we are taught our way so that we can get more people into more of the admittedly small range of sizes, or we use sister sizes.

    I was told when I was 18 that I was a 32 C, and 32 C bras generally fit me or were even too tight in the cup at other stores. However, when measured how I was taught to measure on women who are more substantial than me, I measure at a 28 band. My actual rib cage directly under the breast is 25.5 inches so I’m not even sure what to go for at this point! A 32 C tends to work fine at Vicky’s, though I alter them sometimes after they stretch more. Honestly, I’m confused. It’s difficult to know whether or not to use the old add four method though this is usually recommended with underbust measuring. I ordered a 30 D and it fit perfectly (despite measuring 25 inches), even a bit too snug, but I’m much smaller than you so I’m confused as to how we have the same band size! Any ideas?

    • Erica

      Hi Lisette! Out of curiosity, I took some measurements this morning, and you are right that I can get down to a 34. However, in order to do this, I cannot wear a bra (with a bra, the lowest I go is 35.5″), and I need to expel all the air out of my lungs, curl my shoulders in, and pull the tape as tight as possible. Not only would I not feel comfortable with a fitter doing that to me, I don’t know that they would be trained for that kind of extreme manipulation. More than likely, they would put me in a 36 or 38. My ribcage is shaped like a v that narrows at the waist and expands across the shoulder, so this measurement literally captures some of the widest parts of my body. Plus, quite a bit of breast tissue sits up there too. Even at a 34 though, the band is still two sizes too big for me and wouldn’t be comfortable. :(

      Usually, the women I have seen for whom VS fit techniques work have straighter ribcages, thinner bodies, and smaller busts. For them, the old “Add 4 Inches” technique can work quite well because the bands of their proper sizes (26, 28, 30, etc.) would feel too snug. Both the Lingerie Lesbian and the Lingerie Addict add 4″ to their band size to find a bra size which fits the best. And that’s the most important thing: The bra should fit you. The size on the tag is inconsequential to the fit on your body.

      With your measurements, a 26 would be the equivalent band size; however, given that you are thinner (and thus probably have no body fat around the ribcage), bumping up to the 30 band is within reason. If you have to alter 32s frequently, I suggest trying the 30 more often and being open to sizing down a 28. My ribcage measures 30″ on the nose, and 30 bands fit me great because I do have that extra bit of padding to cushion the band. Not to mention, my breast tissue is heavy and larger, so that I need a tight band to keep it anchored. Otherwise, the weight of the tissue will pull the band down in the front and up in the back. I have some customers who measure 30″ as well, but their shape is different from mine. They ultimately end up taking a band size or two up from me just because that is what fits them best and feels the most comfortable.

      At the end of the day, no one fitting technique will work for everyone, but I recommend at least starting with your actual ribcage measurement and sizing up from there depending on personal preference. In my experience as a fitter, only about 20% of the time will people size up from their ribcage measurement one band size, and only about 5% will they size up the full two band sizes. For the other 3/4, their band size or even a size smaller tends to work fine. :)

  15. Just a used to be sales associate that enjoyed her job and store

    Hi, I’m sorry your bra fitting at Victoria’s Secret didn’t go so well. The sales associate attending you sounded inexperienced.
    I want to point out that you tried on 2 very different bras. All bra styles will not fit the same way just by the size and do not do the same thing as another bra would, not just at Victoria’s Secret, but anywhere you go. Many factors come into play. At Victoria’s Secret there are 3 secrets for the perfect fit. style, swell, and size (of the woman) This means not all the bras at Victoria’s Secret in YOUR size will fit you. each collection is designed for a certain breast shape and what you want that bra to do for you.
    for example: I measure at a 30 B so I use my sister size which is a 32 A because there is not so much of a big difference and it’s more common. I fit well in it depending on the bra style. Since I have a petite frame and small bust it would make no sense to put me in a 30 B or 32 A perfect coverage bra. why? Gaps in the cup. Bombshell bra is also a no no even in my size it won’t give me that lift because there’s not much to lift in the first place.
    for my size and frame I wear demi bras. the perfect collection for my size and frame at VS is Body by Victoria.
    because of your size you have more options there! only it wasn’t properly introduced to you.
    I used to be a sales associate at one of the the top Victoria secret superstores in Florida and I have helped many women who were in their incorrect bra sizes find their true size where they ended up being comfortable in and more than happy! :) Don’t give up due to one bad experience

    **About the measuring, the biggest mistake is that when measuring the bust you’re supposed to leave a space about the size of your fist BEFORE subtracting.

  16. ProudAdvocateForVS

    I believe you should do another video and maybe try on a Victoria secret bra in it because clearly the 38C bra you tried on in the video was not from VS. Also before you start bashing VS bra fitting techniques you should know that their techniques are designed to help you fit into THEIR bras . just because you measure 38c there does not mean that in any other lingerie store you’ll be the same size. And lastly bra measurements are a guideline , they are not 100% accurate that is why we always encourage our customers to go into the firing room and try on bras in order to get an experts advice . you must all take into consideration that their are many factors can affect your bra measurement , so I suggest you all go into a VS store and actually get the full experience of a bra fitting !!!!!!

    • Erica

      Since I have had a few VS fit specialists tell me that the bras VS sells are significantly different than other manufacturers, I am willing to experiment. However, when I was smaller busted than I am now, VS fitters gave me a 38DD (the largest size that store carried) which was a poor fit. Then they rather rudely sent me to Lane Bryant, so I do have experience with the brand. In an effort to be fair, I will visit a VS store for the fitting experience and report back on whether my opinion has changed. I am not overly optimistic as Bratabase has measurements for several VS styles:

      This 38C has a band which stretches to 41″, meaning I could just about clasp it around the fullest part of my bust:

      http://www.bratabase.com/browse/victorias-secret/sexy-tee-demi-bra-248-702/38C/

      A Dream Angels Demi cup in 38DD also has a stretched band of 40″ (10″ larger than my ribcage) and the cup depth is only 10″. I need at least 12.5″ to fit:

      http://www.bratabase.com/browse/victorias-secret/dream-angels-demi-219061/38DD/

      Ditto with a 38D biofit:

      http://www.bratabase.com/browse/victorias-secret/bio-fit-uplift-demi/38D/

      Body by Victoria is a little more promising with the band, but still not deep enough in the cups:

      http://www.bratabase.com/browse/victorias-secret/body-by-victoria-full-coverage-506721/38D/

      I’ll report back when I sample them in person.

    • Christina Christina

      ProudAdvocateForVS, you obviously didn’t read the post. She says she had been fitted by VS. And VS bras, even if it is THEIR bras, do NOT go up to a H/HH nor have bands as low as 28. Visit bratabase and look at the measurement comparisons.

      What I would be interested in knowing is what IP addy your post comes back to. I’d venture to say you are more of a VS drone than Advocate. But Erica is too classy to release that info. to us. And I suggest you go get a proper fitting!!!!!!! (hey exclamation marks are fun to use)

  17. Ne'Angela Scott

    Your article was helpful but I did my measurements using both methods and I basically got the same measurements. Using your measurement technique I measured myself at a 28D (29/33) when I counted down the cup sizes like you said that is equivalent to 34A/32B which is the size I wear. Then I used the Victoria Secret method and I measured which would be a 34A/32B (34/33). Maybe I’m crazy but they sound the same, this could just be because I have small breast.

    • Erica

      Thanks for commenting Ne’Angela! Even though you prefer to wear the 34A/32B produced by VS’s measurements, there’s still a difference in the measurements themselves. Some women with your exact measurements do not feel comfortable in 32Bs/34As and would be better suited by that 28D. However, with the VS way of measuring, they may never realize they should try that size. Instead, they’re left saddened by bras that never seem to fit properly. For women with v-shaped torsos or larger breasts, the difference becomes progressively more pronounced (e.g., my measurements producing a 38D but bra size being a 30HH now), which is why the technique is so troublesome. :(

  18. Anna

    I wish I had read this before my Vickie’s trip today….but so happy to have found this nonetheless. My old vs bras needed replacing, they were 34c, others 32 b, I decided to get sized today and was told 32c…. Sadly in my mind I’m thinking great, loss some weight. Try on 32c and popping out. I asked the associate for help…finally settled on 32dd, but after this post i think a 30 would be better. Anyway I was freaking out thinking how can I go from b to dd…..I even worried am I pregnant or what?!
    Then I felt embarrassed thinking how can I be a dd, if you see me I’m pretty petite, not flat chested but it was an interesting moment of truth…I realize how much power I gave “the number” instead of the fact that I bought beautiful bras that fit.
    I really appreciatene dialogue going on in these posts.i realized there are so many prejudices around bra size…either being too small, or too large connotes porn star in my old way of thinking but really it should be about you and looking and feeling good.
    Example my mom is in great shape, but when she tells other women how much she ways they are shocked and say “oh you don’t look that heavy”…ridiculous because she isn’t! I realized today I need to let go of the “number” like oh I worn this size jeans before the baby or weighed x in college, etc-that is arbitrary. I wish that message made it out to more girls and women.
    Also I realized since I grew breast I’ve been embarrassed of them, hunching my shoulders, picking boring bras that hide them…..and now my younger sister is going through the same thing, she is mortified that boys will see a strap. Ok I can see the short sleeve line of the tshirt men where under their button ups at work, are they mortified? I’m guessing not…so, today I bought fun colors not my normal bandage coloreds, and if a bit of lace makes a small bump under my shirt I am ok with it.
    I will say, the associates at VC were very helpful and I’m happy with my purchase, but knowing ow the sizes run small would have saved me a mini meltdown, and made the shopping session much shorter instead of over 3 hours.
    Also I asked girlfriends if they had similar experience….so, I think size isn’t just waist and bust, but breast shape…naturally mine sweep outward, so to Erica’s point my old bras were stopping still on breast tissue, I have a friend who is spot on a VCs but hers ome to more of a point and don’t swing outward. So, it could be another factor.
    Thank you for the sizing in and confidence. At the end of the day, my boyfriend prefers no bra so I’m just shopping for what makes me happy and feel beautiful :)

    • Erica

      “I realize how much power I gave “the number” instead of the fact that I bought beautiful bras that fit.” Anna, this is the heart of the struggle I have seen many women face in the fitting room. As long as the bra fits, flatters, and feels comfortable, who cares what size you bought? Only you know, and you an always cut out the tags. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and that you found some great new bras! :)

  19. Cheyenne

    Hi, I just got measured at VS. To be honest I’ve never been measured anywhere before yesterday. I always wore a 32A because i assumed small breasts, small bra. She measured me a 32B which was a tad surprising. I decided to try on one of the VSPINK bras since they have less padding and it actually fit. I probably won’t buy many due to the price. I guess it depends on everyone.

    My question is your calculator told me to try a 28C. I estimate that’s equal to a 30B. I would have no where to find a 28C, but from trying on 32B bras they fit my small chest well. I guess if they get bigger in the next few years then I’d have to find a solution.

    But I did enjoy your post!

    • Erica

      Hi Cheyenne! Thanks for the comment and reporting in on your experience. I don’t have enough experience with the VS bras to say whether you may still be able to try a 28C or 30B successfully, but have you ever visited the Little Bra Company? They have some gorgeous bras available, and the prices are comparable to VS:

      http://www.thelittlebracompany.com/bras.html

  20. Tiffany S

    Thank you so much for this video! I broke away from vs last year and feel so much better about myself! vs had been telling me i wore a 42dd, after finding an article from a small local bra store i measured the way you suggest and switched to a 34 G, I can’t tell you how much better I fit!
    I no longer get comments from family suggesting I get a more supportive bra, and i don’t fight sagging bras all day long.
    This video is wonderful!

  21. Cassie

    Oh my lord. I’ve been wearing Victoria’s Secret bras for years now and always knew they were the wrong size, but haven’t really known how to correctly size myself or where to buy my correct size from. They had me in a 34DD, and both the band and cup sizes were off. Just for kicks, I measured myself according to their website specifications, and it told me I’m a 32B! I actually collapsed from laughter. If a DD cup is too small in a 34 band, how on earth could a 32B even dream of fitting? According to your sizing, I’d be about a 28G. That sounds much better, though I may have to size the band up for comfort, as you said. The difference between what I was sized in person and on their website is hilarious to me though. They don’t believe me now when I tell them they don’t carry my size. What a joke!

    • Erica

      Hi Cassie! If you have been wearing 34DDs, I’d consider starting with the 30FF only because the band on a 28 will feel so tight in comparison. I’m glad you’re on the road to figuring out your proper size and that you enjoyed the post!

  22. karissa

    so for years ive worn 34/36 C depending on the style of bra. so recently i noticed my bra were to tight, so i thought id go get new bras. i went to VS they measure me and girl tells me im a 38 B. i humour her and try it on very well knowing it won’t fit. so the band was way too big. the girl who measured me was very snotty, told me their no way i could be bigger than a B. i was quite annoyed by her attitude. so i decide ile go measure at 3 different stores they all came back at 34 D. my band was no where near 38 im actually 33.5 but i round it up obviously. i still like VS bra however their bra fitting are ridiculous. so glad i came across your video it was very informative.

    • Erica

      HI Karissa! I am happy to hear the video helped you and that you know your size now. It makes such a difference in how we feel about ourselves and our boobs to get a bra that fits. :)

  23. Daniela

    Hi!

    About a year ago I went to VS to buy two new bras. The woman said I was a 38C and at that time and for a long time I thought she was heaven sent. The band was finally not overly tight and I just felt comfortable. However, now that I’m starting to realize it, and after purchasing four new bras, I started to notice that there is a space underneath the bottom of my breast and the underwire of the bra. These are plunge bras. So (if you could imagine this) rather than my breast sitting upright (essentially perky?) it kind of folds over itself (because I guess the cup is too big?) my main question is to you think it would help if I switched to a 38B? Great video by the way.

    • Erica

      Hi Daniela! I’m trying to visualize the issue in my head, and am I correct in assuming that the underwires are not really resting on your ribcage but instead there is a gap? If this is the case, it could actually be the style of bra is not quite right for your body, but it can also mean the band is to big for you. You may want to try a 38B to see, but it could be worth trying a 36C or D as well. Finally, try a few other styles and see if maybe this is not just an issue where the underiwre shape and the shape of your ribcage are not compatible. I’d be happy to help trouble-shoot the issue with you through email if you’d like!

  24. Thanks for posting! I was also fitted at VS at a mere 18 years old. I was sized at a 38D, which seemed right, so I tried on & purchased 2 bras. They were comfortable in the fitting room the whole 30 seconds I had them on, but after working a 10 hour shift while wearing one, I was in so much pain. The band had literally started cutting into my back & my girls were spilling out the top. Upon trying to return/exchange them for a larger size, I was told that 38D was the largest size the store carried. Either the person who fitted me didn’t know what they were doing, or they conveniently improperly fitted me to make a sale. It’s been 10 years & I’m happy to say that I haven’t been back!

    • Erica

      Amanda, I’m sorry to hear you had such a poor experience! One of the things we like to do here is to encourage our customers to come out of the fitting rooms and move in the bras. I actually don’t want a customer to make a buying decision until they’ve bent over, moved their arms, and sat down in a bra. It’s hard to tell if the style will suit you without giving it a thorough testing. Of course, this takes more time, and sometimes we need to order a bra for the customers, but it’s worth it in the long run. I hope you have found the correct size and style for you now though!

  25. I was there today looking for a 32 dd in a bikini and the sales person measured me at a 32B! She then asked where I had been previously sized and handed me a 32 B to try on. I laughed and said there’s no way that will fit me. In the end I found their 34 D fit me since 32DD weren’t in bikinis and made sure they new how ridiculous there sizing is.

    • Erica

      I’m glad you ended up finding something which fit! I feel like their fit tactics are getting called into question so frequently that they should really examine how they train employees. But, then again, it’s easier to wrongly fit people into 25 sizes and have fewer SKUs than it is to properly fit people into 100+ sizes and deal with inventory overhead. :(

  26. Holy Moly. I got out of bed at 1 am to put a bra back on.The last time I went to get fitted at VS they tried to tell me I was a 40DD (or was that 42DD? I forget) and I flat out refused because hello… highlighter! I tried on several and settled on a 38D.. which while I wasn’t to thrilled with seemed to work. After reading several posts on here and various other blogs I just got out of bed at 1 am and tried on every bra I own that I could get my hands on. Turns out that if I actually swoop and scoop, I can use the last set of hooks on my bras and while the cups are a wee bit full, a 38D actually fits pretty well! The center bit sits against my body for the first time ever – amazing! This weekend I’ll have to see if I can find a couple of 36DDs I own that I stopped wearing a while back because I didn’t think they fit right. I’m willing to bet that they might just fit now that I know how to put a bra on properly. I think however that I might still need to go up a cup size or two to get the perfect fit.

    Part of me is thrilled that I finally found HOW to get a bra to fit just right. The other part of me is dreading the rounds of having to try on bras to find the right brands and sizes again.. especially given the fact that my local shopping options are Walmart, Target, and Kohls.. and my budget is exactly zero – I’ve already been putting off replacing the bras I currently own due to lack of fundage! And then there’s the fact that this will probably affect how my clothes fit! I wonder what the effect will be on the button down blouses I love but constantly struggle with as far as gapage! Please please let it solve the problem on the ones I already own rather than exacerbating them. I can’t afford new bras AND new blouses!

    • Erica

      Glad you enjoyed the post! If you’re on a tight budget, have you considered altering your bras? There are some simple tricks for tightening a band that could make those 38Ds wearable for a while until you can snag some new ones. Check them out:

      http://www.boosaurus.com/2012/04/bra-alteration-tightening-30gg-deco.html

      http://www.venusianglow.com/2010/07/tutorial-tightening-bra-band-without.html

      And here is another link which has a bunch of comprehensive guides:

      http://www.bratabase.com/knowledge/bra-alterations/

      • I came across both those links in my late night reading and plan on trying them out as I have some bras that the elastic is well stretched out on, AND I actually have a couple of packs of lingerie elastic that would be perfect to use to tighten them back up a bit.

        I was thinking this morning that I usually skip over walmart bras because the ones in my size stretch out fast and never fit right. I’m now wondering if I can find any in the right cup size and alter the band to shorten it just enough to fit better. I bet if I had them fitting me correctly, they wouldn’t stretch out of shape so quickly either! I already -semi-handwash all my bras to help them lasting longer. For anyone who hates the idea of hand washing a bra, try my method. Start the washing machine as if doing a small load of laundy, add a bit of detergent or preferably a no-rinse wash such as Eucelan or Soak. Once the washer is filled with water, turn it OFF, and dump all bras in there for a nice long bath. There’s no scrubbing needed. Remove and rinse in the sink under running water, then roll in a towel to soak up as much water as possible before hanging to dry. I use a clothes hanger that has several clothes pins attached to it and use them to clip to the bit between the cups so that there is no weight being put on the elastic as it dries. As for the water in the washing machine? Don’t waste it – toss a load of laundry in there and run as usual! You could use the same method in a sink, or a bucket or whatever, but the washer is handy and easy, and takes no real extra work!

        Now.. the question is if I alter my bras, do I dare post about that on my blog – it would be sewing related and my blog is about my adventures using thread in any of the many ways I do!

        • Erica

          I like the way you recycle the water with your method! Typically when I do mine, I use the sink, but then the water goes right down the drain. This way, I could throw a load in afterwards and conserve water/soap. Thanks for posting this! :)

          If your blog focuses a lot on sewing, I think it would be worth chronicling the alterations. A lot of women need to do this because they have issues with fit, and I’m sure budget-conscious shoppers would love to know how to prolong the life of their bras.

  27. lucy

    First of all u didnt measure correctly on the fullest part of ur bust thats why you didnt get the correct size. Victoria secret bras dont run the same size charts as other stores. When you go into victoria secret they give u a bra to see ur fit and show you different one you can try on to see which fits your type of chest better.keep in mind all us women have different cores which not all bras fit the same. Victoria secret does offer bras bigger than a 38 band as well.

    • Erica

      Hi Lucy! Actually, I followed the VS fitting instructions on the website to the letter. I’ve also had many VS fitters tell me that I should try a 38D or a 36DD instead, and I have also heard that the VS bras are allegedly different than other manufacturers. In the spirit of fairness, I went to a VS and tried on the sizes suggested by the fitters, and wrote a follow-up post: http://sophisticatedpair.com/blog/?p=10434

      As you can see, the bras do not fit, and the advice would have put me in a size that was not comfortable to wear. While I do not criticize the VS products, I do take umbrage with their fit advice because I feel many women are done a disservice by the measuring technique. Thank you for commenting!

      • lucy

        Hi erica, try a 36ddd bra from victoria secret try a body by victoria bra in a demi ..and a full coverage. Indeed the 36 dd and a 38c are way too small for u..also make sure you adjust the strap they arent suppose to fit u as tight as it shows on ur pictures..

        • Ex-VS POW

          @lucy, you do know that Erica is a professional bra fitter with a brick store as well? I’m pretty sure she knows what fits and what doesn’t. She also has videos of the terrible fits that VS give. I’m sorry sweetie [lucy] but you are in the minority of people that think VS has good sizing guides. I have a recommendation for you. Stop by a true local boutique and get a proper fitting. If you don’t have one, go to Nordstroms. Stop drinking the juice that VS is serving. =)

        • Erica

          Hi Lucy! I have to respectfully disagree here. There’s no way one cup size up would give me enough space, and the band on the 36 is hopelessly too big for me. I wear a UK 30HH, and without that firmer band, I spend the day tugging it back down. Not to mention, I start relying on the shoulder straps for support, and my breasts are too heavy for this. It creates neck and shoulder problems. The VS way of measuring often forces women into bands that are too big for them and cups that are too small. Other bra bloggers have seen similar practices with in-store fittings too. It leaves far too many women in uncomfortable, ill-fitting bras.

  28. Christina Beall-Schmidt

    Thank you for showing this video, until now I couldn’t figure out why I can never find a bra that fit. I knew about the way sizing was figured, but I didn’t know how a bra was supposed to fit or that there were other women, normal women, that needed one’s that weren’t offered at most major retailers. I am a 32G and I know I’ve NEVER seen that size listed. Up until two hearts ago, it was even worse, I was a 28K, so needless to say my bras haven’t fit right in almost 25 years. I am so glad to finally be vindicated, those sizing people were always so condescending and treated me like an idiot when I tried to disagree with them.

    • Erica

      Christina, I hear frequently from women like yourself who were treated poorly and feel so much better to know they weren’t crazy for thinking the bras did not fit properly. Getting into the right size bra makes a huge impact on how we feel about our breasts and ourselves, and I’m glad to hear you found the size and styles which work for you!

  29. Thank you for such a wonderful blog post! I know I’m rather late to the party, but I just HAD to contribute!

    First of all, I have been termed “busty” since I was 9, when I hit puberty and went straight into a C cup, although I wonder now if it wasn’t really a D. I never wore a training bra or smaller cup, and by 12 was getting hit on by 18-20 year olds who thought I was at least 16 because of my chest.
    By the time I started working retail at 19, I constantly was asked if my breasts were fake, and started wearing looser fitting tops or cardigans to hide my bosom’s size.

    I keep hearing people on here claiming “Victoria’s Secret bras don’t fit like other bras, so it’s ok that they measure differently,” but that is, at least in my experience, NOT true. About 3 years ago, I tried one last time having them fit me, as for some reason my chest grows .5-1 inch every year despite no weight gain or even losing weight, even at my age of 28. They proclaimed me to be a 32DD. I tried on several bras, and didn’t feel comfortable at all in them. I have very narrow shoulders, a 27 inch rib cage, a 38-38.5 inch natural bust, and a 24-25 inch waist. I also tried the SAME exact size on in other brands I found at Macy’s, which is where I worked at the time. The 32DD in almost every brand there fit about the same as the ones V.S. had tried to stuff my boobs into. The smallest band I found at Macy’s, a 30, only went up to a D cup and EVERYTHING hung out over the top. Dejected, I ended up buying a few 32DDDs and tightening the straps completely, leaving the band to ride where it would on my back. I was always told that the pain I experienced was due to having small shoulders.

    The previous year, I had been fitted into a 32D and purchased several 32DD bras instead due to overspill, so since I had experienced the same issue twice, I gave up on them. (I did find my 32Ds and 32DDs a good new home-I measured my best friend and they fit her almost perfectly, though she’s getting used to wearing a smaller band, and could probably even take a 30 once she’s used to it, if she feels comfortable enough.) I have nothing against their bras, they just don’t fit, and they have always been very rude and insistent when I tell them so.

    Then, I had a hip injury in September 2012 that resulted in a mismanaged surgery last year, leaving me with a lot of pain. I decided that I should give finding a well-fitted bra another chance, since I already had enough issues with back problems due to walking very differently than I did before, and did a little research.

    Now, I comfortably wear a 28H/HH UK size depending on the cut, and yes, it still startles me sometimes when I notice my bra cups are as big as my face, but I feel SO much better. My husband (we just married last month) doesn’t have to massage and pop my back every night, my posture is SO much better, even on my cane, and I look better, too! I still have to tighten the straps a bit more than others sometimes, but that’s just because of my narrow shoulders. I realized that my chest has sagged a little from years of too-big bands!

    Just the other day, I tried on a lovely 32DDD (that’s the US size on the tag) from Freya that I bought last February and realized just how wrong it is. The cups are only a bit too small as it is a very full cut DDD, but he band-oh, lord, the band! I can not only fasten it on the tightest hook, I can get both fists and then some between it and my back! How did I ever think that was working?!

    I cannot thank all the people on all the websites and blogs like this one enough. Certainly, many doubt my “new” bra size, and say it isn’t “a real size,” but I have helped educate others as well, to the best of my ability, in the retail shop I work in, despite the fact that we have a VERY limited size range in bras as that is not our main commodity.

    Thank you for letting me share my long post!

    • Erica

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Rachel! When I went into the VS store to test theory, I found the same thing as you. The bras are cut no different than the manufacturers we carry here, or at least not substantially so. Like you, I found that getting into the right size, particularly a tighter band, improved my posture and back significantly. I feel much better even after a long day on my feet wearing a tighter band and bigger cup than if I tried to make do with the 38DDDs I was buying before my first real fitting. To that effect, I am so happy to hear you have found a size and styles which work for you, and with the explosion of new colors and brands, it’s becoming a lot easier to find gorgeous bras that actually fit and flatter. Thanks for commenting!

  30. I had my first bra fitting at Victoria Secrets a few days ago. I almost laughed the first gal helping me out of the room. Prior to being pregnant/nursing, I’ve been a barely A. Two kids later and the girl said I was between a B and a C. Oh, she did my measurements outside my shirt while I was wearing a bra that did not fit. Anyways, I showed her what it looked like with the B on. She said the underwire wasn’t going out far enough and that if the C was comfortable, to get that one. I waited to buy it just due to the cost being so much more than I’m used to paying. I went back again later that day and a new person helped me. She did not measure me, but when I showed her the C that the other girl had thought would work for me (granted she had not seen it on me) she said I actually needed a smaller band, but that meant moving up a cup size to a D. I can’t tell you how hard my husband laughed when I told him he must’ve given me implants in my sleep because there was no way I was a D cup! Anyways, I did buy the D and wore it for all of one hour before having to take it off due to the discomfort, not to mention the marks it left on me. Ugggh, and here I thought I was finally going to get a bra that fit me right. Nope, not so far. So glad to hear I’m not the only person whose had a problem with their bra fitting system.

  31. laura

    I’ve had them try to incorrectly size me too. I used to work for them a long time ago (only a short while in college) and I thank heaven I wasn’t in their bra room.

    I am now around a 32-34DD and they always try to give me a 34D saying it’s close. If they do, I walk away.

    My issue is that when you get to a DD cup, suddenly, they add like 4 inches of more fabric and the bra looks like a grandma bra. It’s definitely not sexy. While they may have pretty fabric and pretty colors, it’s still way too much coverage on the top. Do you know of any good balconet bras that support well underneath but doesn’t add so much top fabric? That’s pretty much the only reason why I cannot stand the typical 34DD. I am a 30-something single woman. I don’t want a granny bra!

    • Erica

      Hi Laura! Have you considered branching out from VS and going to a department store or boutique? Josie by Natori and b.tempt’d are two brands which focus on gorgeous lingerie in various colors and designs, and they are priced comparable to VS. Beyond them, check out Affinitas and its sister line Parfait, and you may be able to wear the Freya Deco too. It is my answer for people who are used to VS bras but need a better fit. The shape is rounded and high, and the cleavage is awesome. Plus, it comes in tons of colors and prints too. Hope this helps!

  32. christi

    This is how Lady Grace measures too. The scary ladies working there insisted I was a 40 D when I had been measured at Nordstrom as a 36G. I’m thinking they have more stock of 40D that might fit a lot of people compared to the few who need a harder to find G.
    I was frustrated recently when I went to a Moving Comfort event and was also put in a 40 band. Why do they add 4″ to the band??? Especially in a sports bra when compression is so important?http://www.movingcomfort.com/en_us/howWeMeasure.html

    • Erica

      Christi, that’s a pretty terrible size transition! I think some of why stores use that +4 is precisely because it allows them to carry less sizes but more colors/styles. It’s a big challenge for us to carry so many sizes and then meet the color expectations, but at VS, if they’re only carrying 35 sizes, it’s easy to stock multiples in every color. Also, sports bra measuring is like a horse of a different color. Every brand does it differently. I remembering buying a 32 band Shock Absorber because it was the lowest I could find when I was wearing 30 bands, and that darn thing was TIGHT! It still is after years of wear too. So some companies may actually build in a +2 or a +4 to their bands. Kiss Me Deadly and What Katie Did are two great examples of this.

    • Erica

      It’s true Victoria’s Secret does not carry higher than a 38DDD, but the problem is they try to use incorrect fit advice to get people who *are* a 30H (or 28DD, or 34J, or whatever) into what they do carry. That’s the part I take issue with because you have a lot of vulnerable girls and women who suffer for years because a retailer they trust is feeding them lies. I am a 30H (or thereabouts) even at Victoria’s Secret; they just don’t carry that size in store.

  33. Bkm

    I got the same size measurements from VS and your calculator 32D but even VS doesn’t carry much of a selection in that size I have one bra from there because the ones I do find aren’t my style or are the ones with a double strap where you can only adjust the upper straps that makes straps loose on me no matter what hate those, but I’m kinda 2 different cup sizes the one of the twins fill out the 32D cup well with a smidgen pinch of room, but the other I’m pretty sure is still closer to my former 34C fit I had been wearing since the 12 1/2 13 I asked at VS would it be better if I went back to the 34C or stuck with the 32D and she told me the to go with the bigger one as in the 32D but I hate having to adjust my one side to look like it fits the the other seems to fill at the brim like, but would it work if I went a 30D instead to have a more comfortable fit? because I think going beyond on a D the cup size would just then end up way to big. (also department stores are not my friend never can find a 32D because of odd size) :(

    • Erica

      Actually, a 32D and a 34C are cup size equivalents, meaning it takes the same breast volume to fill both of the cups. The main difference is a 34C will fit looser around the body. When you wear a 32D, does it fit comfortably snug on the loosest set of hooks? If it does, then you may need to try different styles of 32D or even size up to a 32DD depending on the brand. I’m not sure where you’re located, but if you can’t find a boutique nearby, check out Nordstrom, Belk, Dillard’s, or Macy’s. They often have those sizes. Great brands in that range include: Wacoal, Natori, b.tempt’d, Affinitas, and Felina. Hope this helps!

What are your thoughts?