Something that gets discussed often (and for good reason!) is how BREAST shape affects how bras will fit, but I haven’t seen much discussion on how BODY shape can affect bra fit.
I started thinking about this after a trip to Nordstrom while I was in Atlanta this weekend. Nordstrom is one of the few stores in the US that carries extended sizes and UK brands, but even they don’t carry my usual size of 28J. However, I am always wanting to do more bra research, and I was with my sister, who wears around a 30G and therefore DOES fit into their range, so I popped in to check out the selection.
At first I thought that perhaps I was in a not very good Nordstrom, because I couldn’t find any UK bras anywhere! I was getting ready to give up and leave the store when a mannequin hanging on the wall caught my eye – it was wearing the Freya Piper set, one that I really love! The sales girl on the floor saw me looking at it excitedly and pointed me and my sister to the correct rack (only one in the whole store!). I know that the Freya longline bras start at a 30 band and only go up to a G cup, but I am so in love with longline bras that I was determined to try it on and see just how bad the fit was anyway!
I first tried on a 30G, whose 30 band was actually a perfect fit, even though I measure 28.5″ underbust and often find that Freya’s 28 bands are too large for how I like my bands! Unfortunately (and predictably), the cups were too small, and my double boob was too great to mask under a shirt. I decided to try on a 32G, to see if that was better.
The cups on this were a much better fit, I think a 32GG would’ve been perfect cup-wise, but alas, this bra ends at a G cup.
Obviously the 32 band was too big, but it was totally doable on the tightest hook! Not what you want from a brand new bra, but it does indicate that it would be alterable! My only concern about buying this bra (or any Freya longline) with the intention of altering is that I often find taking in the band exacerbates double boob in any cups that are even slightly too small.
I am in love with this bra. I love the really round shape it gives me, and it gave me a decent amount of projection. My only complaint is the lack of cleavage, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t an issue for most people, I just have a personal preference for the way my boobs look smushed together 😛
Now on to the original idea behind this post…
How Does My Body Shape Affect My Bra Fit?
Realizing that a 30 band was a perfect fit in this bra was very confusing and unexpected for me. I always wear 28s. Freya 28s have always been too big for me, even! So where did this bra surprise come from? I decided that it’s because I have this weird fat roll right below my boobs. I’m not overweight, (5’3″, 130-135lbs, usually), but my stomach is sort of weird shaped, and my underbust measurement is smaller than my ribs, but (slightly) larger than my waist. It’s like I go out-in-out-in-out instead of the usual hourglass out-in-out. This means that when I’m trying on something that comes down below where a normal bra band would sit, I can comfortably go up a band size without compromising support! My world has been opened!
Unfortunately, while my body shape has helped me fit a bra in this instance, I hear more often about women whose body shape makes bra fitting difficult for them. For instance, women with pectus excavatum, “the most common congenital deformity of the anterior wall of the chest” (according to Wikipedia) will have a very difficult (or impossible!) time finding a center gore that sits flush with the chest. This means they often won’t get the same level of support that a women without pectus excavatum would be able to achieve.
Sometime body shape just means that using the usual underbust-as-band-size bra fitting method won’t work. Thinner women will often find bands this tight uncomfortable since they don’t have as much padding on their ribs as someone heavier. Muscular women may have a more triangle shaped back and also need a larger band size than their underbust measurement would indicate.
How does your body shape affect what bras you can and can’t wear? Also I can only really speak with experience on how my own body affects what bras I can wear and relate things that I’ve heard other women say before, so if any example above is incorrect or not your experience, just let me know and then bra knowledge will grow everywhere!
I have an oddly shaped ribcage that flares right underneath my underbust, so that my measurements are 31.5″ underbust, 34″ high ribcage, 32″ waist. This unfortunately makes all of my bra bands look excessively tight, even when they’re riding up! I swear though, it’s not a fat roll, it’s definitely bone.
I went to the same Nordstrom yesterday – the Piper is now on the clearance rack for $42. It’s gorgeous! Largest they had on hand was a 36G, but I’m a 36H/38GG, so it did not work at ALL. A shame, because I really loved how it could have looked on me. I may buy one, dissect, and build my own, but wouldn’t it just be better if Freya carried our actual sizes in these lovely bras?? They stop *just* before my cup volume needed in several lines.
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I’ve been thinking of getting a longline bra,the new one from Rosie for Autograph,it is gorgeous.It only goes up to a DD,and while I am still figuring out my size,I’m pretty sure I’m at least an E.But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of padding in the cups,and they have it in a 40DD,which is a sister size.Normally I would wear a 36-38″ band,though I measure 40″ with inhaling.But I was thinking since it’s longer,I would need a bigger band for my fat.lol.
I have a kind weird ribcage,though I’m overweight,if I stretch out or am an at certain angle you can see it a bit and you can feel it fairly well.It’ll be interesting to see,if I do lose a considerable amount of weight,how that will affect how tight of a band I wear.
I have quite a small underbust, measuring exactly 30 inches at current, I often end up wearing a firm 32 band… I have quite a bit of “back fat” or padding 😛 so even when my bra band is properly adjusted it can give me an exaggerated bulge at the back. I also seem to have a slightly flared ribcage– or maybe it’s just deep? They protrude a lot, especially when I’m lying down. It doesn’t really seem to affect the fit of any bras that I wear… Except I do find that I have trouble finding a bra that sits firm against my chest *at the front*, often I can lift away the gore quite easily even if the back band is very firm. I can only put this down to the bra shape/material & the fact that my ribcage is quite deep/flared.