Everyone deserves a bra that fits.You may have heard that over 70% of women are wearing a bra that doesn't fit. It's true, but what you never hear is the reason: Bras of the right size are simply not available.
Most lingerie stores in the United States offer a limited size range that only fits about 25% of women, and on top of that, they use an outdated measuring system that automatically generates a poor fit.
It doesn't have to be this way.
European bras come in much more variety and cover a full range of sizes. In America, they're all but impossible to find. This is where we come in. I will open a body-positive shop where everyone who walks in feels comfortable and walks out feeling fabulous. We'll have attractive styles and colors in a full range of sizes so we can get you a good fit – not just based on measurements, but also your individual shape.
I need your help to create this space. With your backing, I can secure the location, obtain inventory, and all the other things that go into starting a new business. Together, we can raise everyone's bra consciousness. Please help me to change the world – one bra at a time.
Why Bras Don't Fit and How I Will Fix It: FAQ
How do I tell if my bra fits?
You can read an in-depth fit analysis on my blog. Here are the basics:
- Does the center front (known as the gore) lay flat against your chest?
- Does the cup fit smoothly across the top? If it wrinkles or digs in, it doesn't fit.
- Is the band straight across your back well below your shoulder blades? If the band rides up, it's too big.
- The underwire should neatly define the underside of your breast. If there's space between it and the bottom of your breast, the bra doesn't fit.
- Does the cup enclose your whole breast, or just part of it? If the side of the underwire is sitting on breast tissue, you need a larger cup.
What does a bra that fits feel like?You know when Gandalf finds Shadowfax, his perfect horse? It's like that.
No, really.It feels good! You feel supported and comfortable. The straps won't dig in and you won't spend all day adjusting the band and tugging it back into place. A bra that fits will stay put and boost your confidence.
Why doesn't my bra fit?Most lingerie shops use an outdated method of finding your bra size. They measure your underbust (around your ribcage just under your bust), then add four inches to find the band size. To find the cup size, they measure around the fullest part of your bust and subtract the band from that. The difference is the cup size, so 1” of difference is an A cup, 2” = B, and so on.
For example, if you measure 30” around your underbust and 36” at your bust, it will put you in 34B. (36 – 34 = 2 = B.) Almost every bra calculator you'll find online uses this same method.
This method is, quite simply, wrong. Adding inches automatically puts you in a band that's too big and a cup that's too small.
An alternate method of finding the band size is to measure under your armpits and over your bust. I don't know about you, but that's not where I wear my bra.
How are you supposed to measure?The better way to do it is to use your underbust measurement as your actual band size and find your cup size from there. Using 30” and 36”, I would start you off in a 30E (not 34B!), try some related sizes, and work with you to find a style that suits your shape
If the standard method is so wrong, why does almost everyone use it?That is a complicated question! There are historical and economic factors, plus a healthy dose of resistance to change.
Let's talk about the history of bras. Bras came about in the early part of the 20th century when fashion was changing dramatically. Women stopped wearing corsets, and the new styles of dress dictated a new kind of undergarment, and ultimately that was the bra. It started out like a simple camisole that provided no support; separate cups and underwires came later.
In 1932, S H Camp & Co. developed the letter sizing system. They used A – D, and the letters were not linked to band size; the cup sizes were only meant to give a rough approximation of your bust size. It's worth noting that Camp & Co. did not go out and do empirical research to find out what sizes women actually needed; they were winging it. Remember, this was a brand new undergarment, and it was nothing like the familiar corset, so they were just guessing.
Other companies soon adopted the letters. At some point, numbers were introduced, but the number meant your full bust size, not your band size, and the letter indicated your approximate degree of bust size. For instance, if you measured 36” around the bust and you felt like you had large breasts, you might wear a 36D. If you felt like your breasts were small, you might wear a 36A. Keep in mind that the letters did not correspond to inches as they do today, so a 36D in 1955 was not the same size as a modern 36D.
In the 1970s, there was a push to standardize bra sizing, since by this point it was all over the map and every company was different. Out of the standardization came our modern sizing method, in which you measure the underbust to find the number, which is now the band size instead of the full bust, and use the full bust to calculate cup size, as outlined above.
Now we come to the problem. In order to ease the transition from the old method to the new method and not confuse people by giving them entirely new sizes, bra companies decided to tell women to add 4” to their underbust measurement, which would effectively keep them in their old, familiar size. A bit patronizing on their part, and you can see where this might go wrong.
Almost forty years later, we are still stuck in that transition.
Why don't bra companies fix this obvious problem?Some have! British companies like Panache, Freya, Curvy Kate, and others make bras in a full range of sizes and don't recommend adding inches. American companies have not caught up. Why that is, I can only guess. Along with inertia, one reason may be that it's more economical to only offer a small range of sizes. It's more expensive to develop more sizes, and it's more expensive to stock a full range because you need more space. Why should American companies like Victoria's Secret change what they offer when they already have a huge market share? It's much cheaper to convince people to settle for a poor fit than it is to invest in pattern development for new and better sizes.
One effect of the +4 method is that it magically expands your size range. For instance, if you measure 30” and 38”, your likely size is 30FF, which is nearly impossible to find in the US. However, if you add 4”, your size becomes 34D, and poof! You "fit" in the standard American bra matrix. If the difference ends up smaller than 4”, well, that's no problem, they can just stick you in an A cup and be done with it.
These sizes you're talking about sound absurd! I've never even heard of a 30FF.We've been stuck in this A – DD myth, but it doesn't reflect actual bodies. The general conception of cup sizes goes something like this:
DD: Even bigger.
Anything over that: Porn star.
This is completely wrong. Women come in more than just five sizes. We're stuck in A - DD because it maps nicely to small / medium / large, but it's an artificial construct; it doesn't cover the range we actually need. A true range would look more like 24-50 A - M.
One survey of about 2,000 women found that the most commonly reported bra size was 30F.
You can also check out the wonderful Bra Band Project to see what well-fitted bras in almost every size really look like.
Who are you and how do you know so much about bras?
I am a professional corsetmaker, which means I'm passionate about properly fitting undergarments. I know how crucial it is that your foundation garment is comfortable, supportive, and makes you feel beautiful. This isn't just true of corsets; it counts for bras, too.
All my life I have been a "hard to fit" bra size. By the time I was 25, I'd been buying my bras from England for years. My interest in costuming led me to get my BA in costume design, and I've been making custom corsets and wedding gowns since 2007. I've seen a lot of women in their bras, and helped many of them move into ones that fit.
What sizes and brands will you carry?
Revelation will carry sizes 28 - 46 A - KK from Panache, Avocado, Freya, Ewa Michalak, Curvy Kate, and The Little Bra Company.
What about binders?
Yes! Revelation is a trans-friendly shop. I am still researching brands. If you have one you like, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where will your shop be?
I have a location on Piedmont Avenue in beautiful Oakland, California.
This is a great idea, but I live nowhere near your shop. Will you have shipping options?
Yes! You will be able to order from my shop no matter where you live.