I am by no means a fashion plate. I enjoy looking good, but like to do it on a budget, and my style can best be described as ‘colorful eurotrash.’ I shop at H&M, Macy’s, Old Navy, and an assortment of other department stores. I admit plenty of my clothes also come from Mom because she likes shopping for me.
For several years I shopped at plus-sized stores like Lane Bryant and Ashley Stewart for tops. Not slacks or skirts- I was wide-waisted and slim-hipped. After I lost weight, I am still wide-waisted and slim-hipped, with a black hole back where my butt is supposed to be. Pants fall off without a belt, and still look odd and saggy in the back. The solution I’ve found so far is men’s pants, which fit my figure closer. Anyway, the size charts usually say 16 or 18 for what’s up top (41″) but then the waist (31.5″) and hips (38″) look exceedingly awkward.
However, clothing shopping is still easier than underwear shopping- it’s easier to take something in at the waist than tweak a bra. After a lot of trial and error, plus fittings at Nordstrom, Intimacy, and the Skinny Cow event, I’ve found that the most common size I wear is a 32FF. Of course, this varies, as a 32G is not uncommon, and 34F/FF will happen for companies that manufacture firmer bands. Perhaps the reason I’ve become so interested in it is that I’ve had to put so much time into the search!
To get a band size right varies- some people measure over the top, some directly under the breasts. I had to do the latter, as I am quite broad-shouldered, and taking the measurement there would lead to a big band that rides up. I measure under, tightly, and exhaled to get the tightest measurement. 31.7″ is a starting point, round up and go from there for band size. 41″ (the biggest measurement around the bust) minus 32″ says FF or G. In my case it turned out to be pretty accurate, but I know this isn’t always the case. It may give you a good starting point, though.
Why such a tight band? Does it feel uncomfortable when I first buy a 32? Yes, but a few wears stretch out the band. My ribcage fat comes out the side of the bottom, and there are marks when I take the bra off. However, I can still comfortably get two fingers in the back for space (more than two and the band’s too big), so that’s the accepted measurement. Many women wear bands that are far too large, and I hope this can be fixed a body at a time- it results in tissue damage and can encourage poor posture.