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The Gravity of a Properly Fitted Bra

June 20, 2006

It's widely said that in America, 90% of women are wearing bras that don't fit. I believe it.

Do you ever watch that "What Not To Wear" on TLC or BBC America? Why, for the love of Mike, don't the hosts make it a point to, BEFORE they send the victim out to spend $5K at uppity shops, INSIST that the woman get a professional bra-fitting? Of course that first day (when the woman is supposedly unsupervised in the shops) will be full of bad and nasty choices for the poor shopper!

I recall a conversation I had with a co-worker where we discussed the poor-fitting bra epidemic (on a Friday). On Monday, she comes into work, elbows nearly touching behind her back, chest thrust out, saying, "Look! Look!". She'd gone in over the weekend to be professionally fitted. Turns out, she though she wore a 34B. She was fitted into a 36-DD. Yes, that's right, a thirty-six DOUBLE DEE.

I am not a thin person. Not a walking building, either, but not thin. When I see much-larger-than-me women in public, frequently I can't help but wonder if a) these women have ever had a real bra-fitting and b) are they even wearing a bra at all? Just because you're not a size 10 doesn't mean that you can let your boobs turn into fat pancakes that sit on your belly, ladies. I don't assume that because you're large that you've just Let Yourself Go (heaven knows there are all kinds of reasons for someone to be plus-sized and I am not the one who'll judge), but if you are wearing a large t-shirt and a pair of stretch pants, the appearance of fat pancake boobs gives me the impression that You Don't Care.

Okay, so especially large people might need to shop at a specialty store. I'm sorry, truly I am. JCPenney, Wal-Mart, Victoria's Secret only go up so far (in the case of Wal-Mart, it's about a 42 DD, Victoria's Secret is 38 DD). In my opinion, though, it's worth the extra drive and probably the extra $. You'll FEEL better, I bet.

And about these professional fitters. I'm guessing you won't find one at Wal-Mart, though I could be wrong. Victoria's Secret? Well, they SAY they are, but even if you are larger than their 38 DD, I can say from experience that they'll TELL YOU that you're a 38 DD. The place I've found the best and most accurate fitters is the Leggs-Hanes-Bali shops at the outlet malls.

And don't freak out that you'll need to stand in a little room and bare the girls to a total stranger . You're measured OVER your existing bra, or even over your t-shirt-covered bra if you're SO shy. These girls/ladies have seen it ALL before. Consider them as you would your doctor. Get over it already.

But wait. If they measure you over your existing bra and you're wearing the WAY wrong size (as my co-worker was), how accurate will they be? After my experience at Victoria's Secret, I came home and 'researched' bra sizes on the web. I found a spot online that was from a UK department store that for the life of me I can't find again to share with you, but if you go to Google or your favorite search engine and search for "bra fitting" "bra sizing" , etc., you'll find all kinds of info.

I pulled up the page I found, then asked Mr. W. to join me in the bedroom (up go the eyebrows). I stripped off my top and my bra (eyebrows disappear into the hairline and a glint of hope in his eyes). Handed him the tape measure (the cloth one, not the one from the shed!), held up my boobs so that they were at about the level I thought they should be and said, "Here. Measure me." Imagine his disappointment. Anyway, he did, and I went back to the puter, measurements in hand. Oh. I put my clothes back on first.

Why did I go through all of this, and put my husband through this? Well, you see, Gravity Works. The whole bit about finding your cup size is determining the difference between your around-the-ribs measurement and your around-the-nipples measurement. Well, geez. If I were to let the girls just hang there like Ubangy-boobs, I'd have been looking for a bra that just let them hang there, too! NOT the plan. I have a friend who found that out, too - she went into JCPenney, got measured and was told she wore a something-Acup. Well, duh. When she got fitted at the Leggs place (girls at attention), she was put into a C or D cup.

Gravity. Gets you every time.

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