My Bust is for Justice: Susannah says standardized fitting advice for all

“My Bust is for Justice” is a brand new soapbox for bloggers with a big fat drum to beat. First up, blogger Susannah Perez imagines a world with standardized fitting advice for all…

Playtex get it wrong

Playtex Bra Calculator = wrong

Both images taken from different Playtex bra calculators. Nice one, Playtex! – B4J

The Perfect Fit: Why the UK Should Have Industry Standard Fitting Advice, by Susannah Perez

There’s a scenario that most women have been through. You’ve trawled the high street up and down to find a lingerie department with a decent size range and not too much beige. Somehow, in a whirl of perfume, lace and neon panties, you end up standing in a badly lit fitting room, topless, while a lady with four boobs and too much fake tan wraps a tape measure around you and proudly proclaims that you’re a 38DD. When you’re a size 10.

Now, the ladies that frequent Busts 4 Justice would simply turn around and walk on out of there – clearly this so-called ‘fitter’ has no idea how a bra should actually fit. But what if you’re one of the many women out there who isn’t sure how a bra should fit anyway?

Most would take the advice of this apparent professional, potentially spending a lot of money on bras that they deem uncomfortable torture devices, because everyone’s bras are painful, right? It’s just something that women on a whole have to put up with. And most of these ladies will never know that the reason they’re always uncomfortable is simply because they’re wearing the wrong size.

This is why we need industry standard fitting advice.

Your Health and Your Bra

It’s not just discomfort that women get from wearing the wrong sized bra – this discomfort can actually be a precursor to health problems from mastalgia, to frequent headaches and migraines, to severe neck and shoulder pain due to strain put on the trapezius muscle, to chronic back pain. These conditions can be debilitating, and add hugely to healthcare costs – whether it’s regularly needing to buy ibuprofen or Deep Heat, or receiving physiotherapy on the NHS.

When you’re fitted, you’re essentially getting health advice. Think about it this way: you’d expect the girl manning the Pharmacy counter in Boots, your masseuse, and the personal trainer you sometimes fork out for at the gym to all be properly trained with sound, medical advice that is beneficial to you. You’d expect them to have had extensive training, and there to be a national source for this training – so no matter if you bought your ibuprofen from Boots, Superdrug or Lloyds, you would always be given the same correct advice about its use.

So why should your bra fitter be any different? They’re providing you with advice that can seriously affect your health if wrong.

Fitting Training Today

The amount of fitting training, and what the ‘proper’ way to fit is, is currently completely dictated by the store or company itself. They have complete free reign to decide how a woman should be measured, whether it results in a truly correctly fitting and comfortable bra or not. Also, the extent of fitting training in most high-street stores is generally completely inadequate, usually amounting to under an hour of ‘you measure here and here, add four, and then work out the cup.’

Unfortunately, many shops also unofficially train on cross-grading and encourage their staff to fit women within the store’s size range to make a sale, even if the result is a bra that does not remotely fit.

My Fitting Dream

Can you imagine walking into any lingerie store or department, knowing that if you choose to get fitted in there you’ll receive a comprehensive service and either walk out with a perfectly fitting bra, or a recommendation on where to go so you can get your size?

If industry standard fitting advice was introduced, this dream could become a reality. It could result in a world where all stores fit women by a set of guidelines that cut out inaccurate practises, like the +4 method and measuring over the bust for an under bust measurement, and promote visual assessment over what a tape measure says. A world where a two-day training course is mandatory for every bra fitter, examining every aspect of a fit, from fitting a first bra, to tacking issues caused by wearing the wrong fit for a long time.

That world would be a perfect one!

A Shove in the Right Direction

If an industry standard was introduced, it would also help cut down on the extent of variation between sizes in stores – not completely, but it would help form a solid idea that a 34 back bra should actually measure 34 inches and fit a 34 inch under bust. This could potentially make online shopping for lingerie a darn side easier too.

It might also help to expand the size ranges offered in high street stores, and convince lingerie companies that women don’t just come in a 32A to a 38DD – we’re everything from a 24AAA to a 28K to a 46F and everywhere under and over and in between. Women are not standard, but standard fitting advice would help highlight that.


What do you think? An underwired utopia, impossible dream, or recipe for total and utter disaster? Let us know below…


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10 Responses to My Bust is for Justice: Susannah says standardized fitting advice for all

  1. curvy57 says:

    No the size should be a 30 FF G. OR 32 if the lady finds the 30 too tight especially if she has been wearing a very lose back all this time. stop this silly add on its only to fit you into what they make rather than make you breast sit where they started growing that is what a good fitting bra should be doing wear the right cup size and back and start feeling how you should feel wearing the right bra instead of buying a name or a pretty bra that should be left on the hanger if its not your size there is lots of gorgeous bras out there for lots of shapes and sizes. do your homework the internet has got lots of bad and wrong advice measure your self and only add one inch if its an odd size and go up a back if it feels tight but only after you have got the cup size correct by scooping breasts properly into the cup getting the nipple into the center of the cup and if the larger breast is falling out keep going up a cup till they both fit well then adjust the strap to bring it close to the breast and smooth out the cup they are only to be used for that and not hold up those breasts the under band is for that holding up breasts .
    Women should learn to look directly at the mirror instead of looking down at cleavage you are the only one that sees that view everyone see your shape by looking straight at you..

  2. The only thing I have to disagree with in this article is the “24AAA” bit… unless there truly is a bra for a woman with concave boobs…

    • curvy57 says:

      I can’t believe you have this size of breast AAA means you don’t even have a nipple if you have breast tissue then you have more breast than you believe you have you do measure 24 then you should be looking for a bra in a 26 or the least 28 back lots of company’s do the molded and soft cookie design with would be great for you and especially a balcony not a plunge with soft cookies would be ideal for you, and you should be lifting your breast and sit it on top of the cookie not put the bra and cookie on top of your breast as its a step to sit the breast on, most people wear these bras the wrong way.
      and please note that when they have a cookie uplift in the bra you should be trying a cup size bigger as the cookie insert is a cup size already.
      you won’t have the bra sat closely against your sternum breast bone but it should be fitting comfortably along the under-bust and back under your shoulder blades is the correct fitting not above them and it should move around or swing like a hammock either.
      I find a few company’s saying their back sizes are 30 32 take a tape measure and you will find they only measure 23, 24 inches back sizes for the smaller petite lady and I find my lady’s with not a lot of body curves don’t want the bra tight on their small boned bodies.
      I think you should have a look at the affinitas range as this is great for the smaller bodied lady and a good range too with cookies already made in the bra.

  3. Zoggi says:

    It’s a dream, but naive to think that any industry will ever change their standards in a way that will be less profitable. That’s not how capitalism works. The average customer cannot afford to spend any more on bras than they already do, so how will companies justify the extra expense of manufacturing their products in three times the number of sizes? Rather than lobbying the mainstream industry, we should be learning how to make our own bras and supporting independent (preferably local) designers who can specialise in a particular size range

  4. This surely is a wonderful dream I would like to see some progress toward in my lifetime. I believe it’s somewhat possible while there are standalone stores out there carrying their own brands past a DD+ cup in even 32 and 30 bands. I’m shocked that the Canadian La Senza doesn’t operate even remotely similar to the UK La Senza. I would love to see even a modicum of interest for a store as basic as say Boux Avenue introduce itself into the rest of the world market *cough* USA/Canada *cough*. A-H cups and 66 sizes? That sounds like baby steps in the right direction. Wouldn’t you agree?

  5. Mags says:

    Something that so few of us “oddly sized” women do is go to an actual physical shop and educate the fitters using our own bodies. I genuinely believe that if more of us who know how to size ourselves – and therefore know that a 28GG or a 46F are not uncommon sizes at all, only hard to find due to the marketing strategies of box stores and misinformation in sales – go to shops and get our figures into their market records as “not buying” then there may be change. If there is ever going to be industry standard, or an adequate range of available sizes, then we have to change the board of directors’ minds with sales numbers. We’re invisible on the internet buying from Her Room or Fig Leaves or whatever. Go get fitted wearing your best fitting bra and educate the fitter about what sizes really look like. Try on the bra they recommend that doesn’t fit and show it to the fitter or manager. Then show them your best bra and how it fits. Don’t buy anything. Tell them where you buy your bras and how much you spend per year on them. You may not like it, they may not like it; but maybe if we stop being an invisible market things will change. I think that’s the only way. Beckie has proved that you have to make a fuss if you want to effect change; and she’s really on to something.

    • curvy57 says:

      Sadly women being stripped to their bra don’t feel confidant enough to say anything to someone who believes they are fitting correctly as they have been told to fit by many company’s and you can’t change the mind of someone who isn’t wearing the correct size themselves .
      I have been fitting correctly for over 6yrs and I struggle with these company’s still fitting the add in inches to the under-bust they will always have victims to convince when they sells bra;s cheaply as women thing if their breast are covered with clothes it doesn’t matter it will be a long struggle indeed

  6. Sharon says:

    I’d love to see bras sized with the band x cup measurements, like 30×36. Measure your underbust and full bust, look for bras in that size, done. It wouldn’t be perfect, but there’d be no more fooling with vanity sizing or different brands having different progressions of lettered cup sizes (like D-E-F-FF-G in one brand and D-DD-DDD-G in another).

  7. sama says:

    Mags, you’re right, us who do not easily find a bra in the physical shops, do not show up as customers there and they can keep on talking about “the little demand for this and that” and ignore us. Maybe we should always leave a note at the shop stating what we wanted and was not found?

    On the topic of sizing, there is already a European Union industry standard (EN 13402), but the British brands do not use it since it’s based on the metric system and the French and Italian do not use it because… well because they are French and Italian, and won’t do anything the Germans do, I guess 🙂

    Some companies might want to cling to their own vanity sizing as a marketing gimmick.

    Also, what Sharon proposes sound rational but does not always work: all women 30×36 aren’t created equal, one might fit the 30 bra, another would need a looser band in 32 and so on. The same 30″ girl would take a 28″ when the material is more stretchy and a 30″ bra if the fabric is more sturdy.

    Not to mention the difficulty in standardizing cup sizes – apparently the method of measuring is wrong: the diameter of the chest does not equal the volume of the breasts (which the cup size should be)?

    The bottom line is that a customer not well-versed in the art of bra-fitting will need a well-trained sales person to help her and a variety of bra sizes and styles to try on.

  8. stargirl says:

    This would be great but I don’t think it would work 😦 I mean even if we had standard sizes they wouldn’t fit the same on people and that’s because although people might be the same size we aren’t the same shape and of course we need a bra that’s also comfortable for our shape! I prefer bras that are very elasticated unshaped and unmoulded like this: but for women with smaller boobs this may fit but wont give them the support they need. I think it’s just one of those things we’ll have to live with, I’ve begun to disregard size and just try on and buy what is most comfortable to wear!

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