I’m sure many of you have read this blog post before, since it’s been around for a while. This is something that I’ve been thinking of for the past few days, prompted by me ordering a new Ewa Michalak PL bra in a 28K. I try not to have letterphobia, and just buy what fits, and according to my experience with the PL Lilia, a 28K should either fit, or be slightly too large. Either way it shouldn’t be far off the mark. But every time I go up a cup size, I worry, am I falling victim to reversed letterphobia?
In case you were too lazy to click the link above to the fantastic blog post by Drueber und Drunter, reversed letterphobia is when women, frightened of wearing too large a band and not getting proper support, begin to wear bands that are too tight with cups that are too large.
This phenomenon was first pointed out to me by a comment on my early review for the Curvy Kate Emily. The woman pointed out that the wires were being bent too far back and being distorted, which was causing my problems with the shape in the front. I’d noticed this before too, as I’d tried on a 30H Romance in Breakout Bras whose cup shape I was much happier with, but the band was much too large. Even on the tightest hook, it rode up in the back and had to be adjusted after just a few minutes.
So today what I’m thinking about is this: How many women wearing small bands are actually falling victim to reversed letterphobia, and how many are just suffering from bras with wide wires? Are there women out there who are having problems with cup distortion even in brands with narrow wires? Because I have never seen such a case!
Writing out this short post while constantly adjusting the band on this 30H bra has calmed my mind, at least when it comes to wondering if I’m falling victim to reversed letterphobia.
But now I really have to wonder, how many women wear a 28 or 30 band and fit well into the wires of, say, the Panache Tango II balconette bra? From Bratabase, a 30JJ Tango II has wires that are 8.5″ wide, and a band that stretches to 30″. This means that, if these wires fit well, the root of this woman’s breasts take up over half of her torso, assuming she measures 30″ around. I know that there are women who need wide wires, but how many? I feel like I see almost all women struggling to find narrower wires! Women love Ewa Michalak for this reason! Looking at the reviews for this bra on Bratabase, the only time people complained about the wires on the Tango II being too narrow was when the cup was too small all around.
I guess what I’m trying to say, in this long winded post, is why is it that wide wires are the norm, and not the exception? I know that it’s hard to find wires narrow enough, but do any of my readers struggle with finding wires that are wide enough for their shape?
Oh, and one more thing, that I’ll probably address more in a future post, but this is where using the same underwire for sister sizes doesn’t make sense to me. Why in the world would a 28J woman need the same width of wires as a 40F woman? Can anyone enlighten me? Am I just filled with bra naivety?
I do struggle with finding wide enough wires, so I have to skip all the Evenden bras, EM and even Cleo. I think it’s more common to sizes under G.
I know this is an old entry, but I just wanted to say that there are some Eveden bras with wide wires. The Fantasie Lynsey has the widest wires of any bra I own. And there is also the Freya Antoinette and the bras based on it, they tend to be wide. I say so just in case you might be having a hard time finding bras that fit, this might offer more options for you.
For me it’s that I have trouble finding wires that aren’t too wide in large bust sizes
I struggle to find wires wide enough. I cannot wear Ewa Michalak bras (cries bitterly). I can forget Kris Line, too. Bravissimo’s half cups fit me effortlessly, but their Lola Luxe basque’s cups in the same size left out roughly a third of my boobs! It was very sad. I’m also struggling to find a non-sports bra Freya that will work for me. I can’t wear the Figleaves house brand because the wires are too narrow. (Their live chat specialist told me their wires are closer to Freya’s than Panache’s.) I’m trying to figure out if bending the underwires of my Miss Mandalay Paris will make the cups fit better. Right now just enough boob is left out to wrinkle the cups.
I think my problem is not uncommon in my 28F/30F size range but rare in the 28J range. In fact, from the reviews I’ve seen, once you get to the 28HH/30H range, underwires simply go wide. I don’t know why.
😦 Out of curiosity, what size do you wear? nothingeverfits commented that she thinks that wires being too narrow is more of a problem under a G cup, and after looking on Bratabase, she seems to be right! For the Tango II, most women under a G cup complain about the wires being too narrow, but above a GG complain about wires being too wide!
Oops, ignore my previous comment! I replied before scrolling all the way down 😛 I was just so excited to respond!
Actually most women in the 28F/30E size range seem to have your *problem*. This is due to the fact, that breast roots grow only to some degree and while smaller breasts seem to be wider than deep, with larger breasts it’s the other way round.
Good choices seem to be most half cup styles (for example by Masquerade, Cleo, Freya or Fauve) – other brands that are often spoken about at Busenfreundinnen.net are Change (scandinavian brand/lingerie chain), Audelle/Lepel and OnlyHer (polish brand by shop of the same name). 🙂
I agree about the half cups. I tried a couple of the more common Freya styles and they always had a strange combination of oddly placed wrinkles in the cups and indentation of breast tissue unless I went up to a size that was dramatically big all over. When I tried one of the longlines (which should have a similar shape to the half cups), though, the cups seemed to fit just right (also for the Cleo Juna). An Alegro bra also used to work well for me.
Hi there! *waves*
I’m really happy my blog post is still being read. And thanks a lot for the compliment. 🙂
I guess it becomes more difficult to find bras with wires that fit your breast shape perfectly the closer you get to the “end of the alphabet”. Simply because of the fact, that above G-cup there are not that many styles and even less that will work properly.
It’s of course much easier to construct a cup that’s shallow than a rather deeper one. But then breast roots also tend to get wider the larger the boobs become.
So it is crucial to determine how much wider the wires are than the breast root. Is it one or two centimetres? Or more? What breast size are we talking about? G-cups? H-cups? J-cups? K-cups?
How many different sizes, styles and brands has a woman tried before having found “her size”?
The whole concept of “reversed letterphobia” is based on a combination of factors, as I explained in the blog post mentioned above: crucial is that the cups are actually too big, which means: the wires are significantly too wide for the breasts, so a large quantum of the cup volume is wasted to an underarm area where there is no breast tissue anymore. The lack of stability then is made up by an extra tight band and straps that are shortened very much so the result is a “turtle neck bra”.
There are, however, bras you’ll have to wear like that to get a reasonable fit because the style does not match your breast shape.
For me this is the case with unpadded Curvy Kate styles. I have to wear them a cup larger than for example Panache bras and then they reach pretty high up under my arm.
And then there are bras (for example the overwhelming part of all Freya bras) that are not working for breasts my size. I usually fit into a 32J and while I prefer to wear some bras with an extender until they’ve stretched a bit, I guess I’d need most Freya bras in a 30 to 28 band to get any support out of them. (BTW: I measure 33 inches underbust – conventionally measured, not as tight as possible. And I wear 32K-Ewa Michalaks and the wires are even a little narrow for my taste…)
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I’m still confused about the whole wide vs narrow underwire issue. How can you tell which one is right for your shape? I’m still struggling with finding the correct size bra. I measure 33-34 under bust (31 1/2 if I pull the tape very tightly) & 45-46 over bust. I’ve tried on 36H, 36HH, 34 H & HH & 34J in several brands. I’ve yet to find a bra where the center gore lies flat. All of them bend away from my sternum by at least a half inch, if not more. The closest one has been the Panache Ariza, in 36HH which has a high center gore. I also have 3 of Ewa Michalak’s PL styles, 80HH, which fit comfortably on the tightest hook, the center gore pulls away & yet I get some gaping in the top part of the cups which makes me think the cups are too big. I have to buy all of my bras online and since i’ve started looking for my “correct” size, I’ve bought & returned over $400 in bras!
The whole sister sizing thing is confusing to me as well. I mean, won’t sister sizing only really work if the cup you’re sizing up from actually fits in the first place?? For example, say the cups on a 36HH are too small & the band is too big. The next size you try is a 34J, right? But if the cups are too small to begin with, won’t going to the sister size still put you in a cup that’s too small?
I’d say, you don’t sound like “reversed letterphobic” to me. I think a 34 band would be the right choice to begin with since your bust needs proper support. Probably a J-Cup is still a bit small, so have you ever tried a JJ or a K-cup?
The Panache Ariza is one of the best supporting bras around, so if you’re okay with the wires (which tend to be pretty long under the arms), then this would be a good bra to experiment with. Also great is the Jasmine which is also available up to a K-Cup. It’s not as snug in the band as the Ariza but still pretty firm. And the wires are a little shorter.
In my experience Freya and Fantasie (except for the EOL style “Kara”) do not work very well in your size range. Curvy Kate seems to be smallish in the upper cup so you often have to go up one or two cup sizes, which is difficult when having already reached the end of the alphabet. Then you could also try Elomi. They’re built for full-figured women and tend to be rather stretchy in the band, but they’re very well constructed and always worth a try.
If you need more help you can always ask for advice at Busenfreundinnen.net. We’ve been thinking about establishing a subforum on the message board called “Bosom Friends International” which is under construction at the moment, but don’t hesitate to register with us and tell your story. There are many friendly and experienced women around who are happy to help out.
All the best to you and happy holidays. 🙂
(Of course to you too, Robin! BTW: Your blog is really great. I’m looking forward to new posts!)
Hi George! Thanks for the great advice! I’ll definitely be checking out the Busenfreundinnen.net. for more advice!! And I’m so glad that Obsessed With Breasts fabulous blog posted a link to your reversed letter article!
Thanks for the compliment, and I’m glad that George was able to help you! Especially since I wasn’t exactly sure how to help! The community surrounding the full-bust blog scene is the best and so helpful 🙂
I’ve been reading your blog and this really stood out to me as I have a problem finding bras narrow enough. My breasts are high set, full on top and close together, meaning I need narrow short wires. In a 28J. I wondered about reverse letterphobia with me. I measure 27″ and 39″ bending over and 36″ standing up, so technically a 28G-28HH should fit, possibly even a 30 as I have no padding on my ribs. I have a 30H bra, and it is so painful to wear. In a 28HH I get quadboob. I’ve come to realise it’s because my breasts start really high and so the extra tissue generally isn’t measured, but in a bra gets squeezed out. If that makes sense. I don’t think many people have reverse letterphobia, I mean, I would LOVE to wear a 30 band! So many more options.
Honestly, I have never seen a real case of reverse letterphobia. An otherwise very nice and helpful person on a forum suggested that I might have reverse letterphobia, because I mentioned having my bras altered to be smaller in the band, and because I dipped from a 34 band to a 32. The thing is, she was suggesting this based ONLY on those factors! She did not ask if my body had changed (which it had, I had lost 60 pounds) or how my body compresses, etc. She suggested that I just had some kind of fetish for having a smaller band size regardless of how it fit me, which was pretty insulting tbh.
Now, I *have* seen people advised to wear “the tightest band you can fit around your body” and with that I disagree. Rather I think we should wear the tightest band we can comfortably wear, with emphasis on the “comfortably.”