My Journey: Why Shape Influences Bra Fit

by Becky Connolly
The Freya Beau set – a perfect fit!

As a wearer of large cup, small back bras it seems funny how it wasn’t all that long ago I unwittingly believed I was a 32DD. Adamant my boob bulging was a natural symptom of being busty, my ignorance represented the reality of a poorly educated nation on bra fit and the subsequent problems arising from it. If it weren’t for the jaded misinformation provided by the media and the archaic fitting methods recommended by some lingerie manufacturers, I may have known better; that the bra scale doesn’t stop at DD and that band sizes below a 32 band not only exist but can be rationally worn by a woman beyond puberty age.

When my interest in lingerie brought me to the online bra blogger community, my eyes were opened. I had been squashing my poor boobs into cups too inadequate whilst my band lay at an angle up my back. To discover there were many more cups beyond a DD that didn’t look that big blew my mind and when I was fitted into a 28GG, I could have laughed in the face of it if it didn’t make so much sense. In essence, my new size bras didn’t look much bigger to what I had been wearing, it was just the ratio had been corrected.

Bra size isn’t the be-all. A little part of me didn’t believe that my new true size was in fact right. Have you ever struggled with a certain bra and thought: this isn’t my size at all? Well, that’s where I found myself. Being affirmed I was a 28GG left me baffled when I tried bras on only to fight with disagreeable wires and flappy fabric. Wearing these strangely fitting bras with their gaping cups and wires that dug in between my boobs, I realised it wasn’t about what size I was or wasn’t, it was about shape. Bras that are the correct size and suiting to your shape? This was totally new to me.

Boux Avenue - too small cups.

Boux Avenue – too small cups.

Bravissimo's Paradise Plume - too wide straps & wide central gore.

Bravissimo’s Paradise Plume – too wide straps & wide central gore.

Curvy Kate Princess – wide straps.

Curvy Kate Princess – wide straps.

So, it seems our boobs are exactly like our butts, or our tummies or our long legs; they’re as uniquely formed as the rest of our bodies, and that means we need to stop thinking solely in terms of numbers. My dress size is a 12, but I need a curvy shape. Jeans are a nightmare because they can gape at my narrow waist to wide hips ratio. Bras are exactly the same. Now I’m a 30GG, I know I need to consider much more than my bra size when lingerie shopping. Plunge bras and those with narrow central gores fit my close set bust best, and full on top balconettes leave my bottom heavy boobs lost in gaping fabric. I now know what styles do and don’t fit me, the bras that would fit me like a glove and what collections are only worth admiring from afar.

If you’ve recently had a life changing bra refit, or just had a fitting that leaves you doubting your true size, remember good bra fitting is more than a number. Next time you see yourself in the mirror, have a good look at what your bust shape is, as it will help you recognise your most suited bra styles.

Becky Magson

Author of Becky’s Boudoir

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Anonymous August 14, 2011 - 7:14 pm

Love the Freya Beau, you look great!

Jesse C. January 6, 2020 - 1:25 am

Thank you so much for this article! “A poorly educated nation on bra fit” is absolutely correct–at 34, I’m only now learning that not all bras are designed to provide full cup coverage (!), and as a full busted woman, I’ve always struggled with sizing. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you come to be sized in what you wear now? I’ve lost weight over the past couple years, so most of my bras don’t fit the way they used to. But when it comes to trying different sizes, I’d be shooting in the dark in terms of where to start.

Estelle Puleston January 6, 2020 - 1:06 pm

Hi Jesse! Becky doesn’t write for the site any more so I’m jumping in to ask if you have had a professional bra fitting? That is where I’d recommend starting, and preferably at a boutique that stocks a wide range of sizes (stores with a narrow size range have been known to just fit people into a size they sell, rather than the size they really need). The fitter will be able to measure you properly, recommend ideal brands and styles for your size/shape, and check that bras you try on really are the best fit for you.

But if you don’t want to get fitted by someone else, you can measure yourself at home (there are lots of guides online on how to do this), or just go to a store and try on a bunch of bras in different sizes yourself! Here’s a guide I wrote for Parfait on checking if a bra you’re wearing fits, and what to change if it doesn’t: If you have any questions, you can pop them here or email me 🙂

Oh, and remember that it is normal to need a different size in different brands 😉

MISS A HOM-CHOUDHURY April 29, 2020 - 8:54 pm

I have the same problem. I am a large busted lady who wore the wrong bra size for years! I thought I was 32/34DD now it turns out I am a 30FF/32F!