This just in from Gossard. I’ll leave you to pick through this and my reply. It’s frustrating to say the least (I don’t get paid for this, ya know?) – but there it is. Stubborn, uncontrolled, and flawed – this is our cat, and we need a new way to skin it.
So if you too would like to conduct your own highly scientific bra calculator experiment, visit your local Gossard stockist and compare the two methods yourself. Either post your results here, or e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be collating the findings and presenting them back.
Yesterday we had two models come into the office for a general fit. The first was the model we used last time. First off I would like to confirm that the last time we used this model we should have used the 32G, as you suggested, rather than the 32FF that we tried.
So, the model measured 31.5 inches under band and 42 inches over bust. This meant that we measured her as a 36F (which is also what our fitting calculator measures her at). The model prefers to wear 34FF as she prefers a snug fit. This time we asked our model to try the 32G, however the bra was digging in significantly around the back and the underarm area. Our model said it felt as though the bra would snap and that she couldn’t breathe, and would not feel comfortable wearing this. The model also commented that she believed the garment would leave lasting marks. In addition, when the model wore her fitted t-shirt on top you could see where the bra was digging in, creating visible bulges!
If we use the +0 method the model would be a 32 back, and assuming that you are measuring the cup by calculating the difference between cup and band (you weren’t clear on this) then she would be a H cup = 32H. Gossard’s sizes go up to a G cup, which means we would have to work towards the largest cross grade that we carry, which would be a 36G. When wearing the 36G it was clear that the bra was too big for the model. As the model was used to wear a tighter fit she felt as thought the 36back and the G cup was too large, however we could not reduce to a 34 back as we do not stock 34GG.
The second model measures 32 under band and 43 over band. The Gossard bra calculator estimates that she would wear a 36FF. Our model in fact wears a 36G, which is an excellent starting point considering we do not guarantee the accuracy of the calculator on sizes above DD.
Using the +0 method the model would be a 32 under band and a J cup (again, which Gossard do not stock). The nearest size on the cross grade would be a 38G, which as we saw when the first model went up back sizes, does not offer support.
The experiment shows that Gossard, and the standard way of measuring, is in fact closer to the actual bra size than the +0 method. In the first instance Gossard (and the calculator) measure the model exactly as she is, where as the +0 method is off by two cup sizes. In the latter model Gossard was one cup size larger in measurement then what she wears – which, as stated before, is a brilliant result considering it is hard to use formula to calculate sizes above DD. The +0 method was once again two cup sizes different, showing that the +4/5 method is in fact a better starting point for measuring women’s bra sizes.
Gossard understands that the +0 method is difficult to test in larger sizes as we do not stock sizes above G cups, meaning the theory unfortunately becomes redundant once you start cross grading sizes. We would like to thank you for bringing this alternative way of measuring to our attention, however after testing both theories we are more than satisfied with our measuring system and will be continuing to use it.
I know, kids. I know. This was all I had the energy for:
Thanks for the e-mail. As ensuring Gossard customers get the best fit, support and service is not my job, I’m not going to spend too long on this message.
What I will say, however, is that I would never recommend cross-grading like that: you cross grade to find the perfect fit, not to find a size on sale (of course a 38G did not fit that woman – it may well be the same ‘volume’ but it is not the same bra. Why should a woman have to compromise on fit because you don’t carry her size?). If you don’t carry a woman’s size, be honest about it. Much better to send her elsewhere than sell her a bra she’ll hate. Unless that’s your business model – it may very well be. However, we must discount her results entirely.
And as for the first woman, it’s also worth pointing out that you measured her as a 42 overbust this time, but a 40 overbust the last time. Which is either a dramatic hormonal flux, or indicative of inconsistencies within the experiment (and indeed, measuring in this way at all! That’s why the visual prompts are so vital). Given that she was happiest in her 34FF (equivalent to a 32G), I’m going to put money on that original measurement being closer to correct. But we can agree to disagree there.
Inconsistencies aside for a moment, all we have proved is that – for this particular woman – +2 is the best fit in that bra that she tried (and I’m not surprised – in my experience Gossard bras are snug). If we conducted the same experiment using me and another brand, say, Curvy Kate; you could be ‘more than satisfied’ that -2 is the best starting point. The whole point for using +0 is that it is neutral – you are not sending anyone in one way or the other. It’s starting point that actually starts at the start.
Vitally, this experiment also proved that that calculator alone does not provide accurate fitting advice. So I would once again urge you to look at the visual advice you give (both with your fitting advice and with your models) to ensure you’re giving women the right cues. At the absolute core of the technique I recommend is logical and clear fitting education (above any calculator). We can disagree on starting points, but we cannot disagree that Gossard is lacking on that front.
While a sample of one I’m afraid is not enough to convince me that the calculator has merit, I’m happy to defer that you know your own products. In fact, myself and a number of other lingerie bloggers (including Fuller Figure Fuller Bust and Invest in your Chest) are very much looking forward to continue to review Gossard products – following your fitting advice to the letter, of course.
Best wishes, and have a lovely weekend.
Busts 4 Justice