For my entire bra-wearing life, from the age of 9 or 10, I wore a 34 back. My mum put me straight in a 34A, then a 34C by the age of 12, a 34DD at 13, then a 34F at 14, and I carried wearing a 34F/FF from then on. That is, until about a bit over a year ago, when my breasts decided to start growing again, to the point where they were barely in the cups anymore. Despite it being clear that I needed to go up about 3-4 cupsizes to perhaps a 34H, I put this off. The main reason? The +4/5 method.
As long as I remember, I was told that to find your bra size, you take your underbust, add 4 if even, 5 if odd, and then count the difference to find your cupsize. Taking my measurements of 29/39, this gave me…a 34E. One cupsize smaller than the 34Fs I was already cramming myself into. The sad thing? I didn’t once think that these calculations could be wrong. That’s how everyone tells you to do it – how could it be? What I did know was that I had empty space in the bottom of the cup (which I now know actually happens when there is too much breast to get into the cup), but despite the fact that I was falling everywhere, I honestly thought this meant that perhaps the cup was too big! So, confused, I kept wearing my 34Fs (to the right, my way-too-small bra with vest top combination at download – argh!) for another 6 months, until my mum couldn’t stand it anymore and practically dragged me out to hunt for anything over a G cup.
What we did find was a small bra boutique, where I was put into a 34J, then a 32J, which was declared to be my size. My mind was blown. I’d gone from thinking I might need a 36GG, to wearing a 32J, and that was life changing. I immediately went searching for more bras and information on fitting, discovering a plethora of amazing blogs and shops, giving me the knowledge I have today. What became clear was that the life changing bras I had been fitted into…did not fit. The central gores pulled away and sat on my fairly close-set breasts. The bands still rode up. The straps gave me red marks. Through trial and error, I found my size to be more along the lines of 28K/30JJ.
And that brings me to now, and why I’m writing this at all. For as long as I can remember, I have hated my breasts. I have loathed how hard it is to find bras and clothes, how they make me look bigger all over, the attention they get, how impossible it is to find something for summer without 4 inches of cleavage on show. But getting fitted changed that. It hasn’t changed how hard it is to find bras – that’s gotten much harder! And finding clothes can still be quite hard, especially considering how high up soft-cup bras tend to be cut. But it still turned my worldview upside down. Finally, clothes hung nicely. If anything, somehow my breasts look smaller. I realised that I have a tiny ribcage, that I am not fat. I realised that for all this time, my breasts have not been the problem – they are not “freakishly big”, and there is nothing wrong with them. The fact of the matter is that I was failed, as many other women were and are, by bad bra fitting methods.
The reason I’m writing this is that today I was talking to a friend about big boobs, and I commented that I love mine and my body (it was relevant, I swear!). That’s when I realised: I would have never said that a year ago. Over the past few months, from a combination of bra fitting and body positive blogs, I have gone from absolutely loathing, to absolutely loving my breasts and my body, and that is a truly amazing thing. That is the reason I have this blog, and the reason I spam my facebook with stuff like this! If I can make just one person feel in any way good about their body, if I can help one person to find their size, I’ll have done some good.