Usually when you think about bra fit, you think about cup size. But what many people don’t realize is that the bra band and frame is just as, if not more, important. They work together, and you can’t have one that fits correctly without the other. That is why sister sizing doesn’t work.
Sure you need the cups to encase all your breast tissue, but what if the band is too loose? Your breasts, no matter how well they fit in the cup will not get adequate support. This will cause the band to ride up, your breasts to droop, and probably lend to some poor posture.
One of the major issues with band sizes 40 and above is that they are graded (sized) incorrectly (in my humble opinion).
First of all, the sizing standard is completely off. Theoretically, if your underbust measurement is 36 inches, you would be in a 40 band. That is not always the case. With the bigger band size usually comes more ways for which the body tissue to be disbursed. Some make have a large or wide back, while others may not. There is more room for error in the 40+ band sizes, and I see that happening very frequently. I believe the sizes after the 40+ band need to have more options when it comes to the band length and the frame.
The Frame and Gore
The cradle is the front part of the bra where the cups rest. There are three factors in the cradle that must be on point for a proper fit.
- The gore (fabric centered between breasts) must tack. That is, it must be flush up against your chest wall, or as close to it as possible. The tacking is related directly to the cup size. If the gore does not lay flat, then chances are the cups are too small.
- The shape of the breast root. This is the crease under your breast where your breast and rib cage meet. There is a shape to this. That shape must conform to the underwire of the bra (actually, the resting underwire will be about 1 cm smaller, as it will splay when the band is fastened.) Again, this is directly related to the cup.
- The area between the side of the underwire to the side seam must be the proper length. From band sizes 32-38, this is pretty standard; however, any size past a 40, and I would venture to say the sizing standards we have now will not work for most ladies. This is something I am working on and will address in the future for 40+ band sizes.
While this may seem like an obvious factor, you’d be surprised by how many women overlook this little adjustment. The perfect fitting cups and band still need help from the straps, as they are supposed to carry 20% of the load.
So you see, it’s not just all about the cups. It’s about the whole bra working together, each part depending on one another to provide support. Keep this in mind next time you are shopping for a bra, and please, PLEASE, stay away from the sister size. She is not your friend.