Many women chide about "the bra" being invented by men. In reality, women have played a big role in their production. The bra, brassiere or as Bette Midler sang in Beaches, "the first over your shoulder boulder holder" have been around since the late 1800s.The sources vary slightly but in the late 1800s corsets started to lose their appeal as the outer garments began to change. The first breast holder was patented in 1859 by Henry S. Lasher (Brooklyn, NY). A French Corset designer called Herminie Cadolle invented another version in 1889. Marie Tucek patented the first "breast supporter" in 1893 and Mary Phleps Jacobs is credited with the patent of the first "brassiere" in 1913-14. Many sources want to claim the invention but the bra has really been a progression from one device to another. Even today the bra is under metamorphosis.
You would think after 200 years we'd be able to take charge of the industry, pool our resources and design something comfortable and affordable for all women. In a lot of cases it isn't just the design. It's the fit. Being plus-size and having extra rolls in all the wrong places doesn't necessarily make plus-size women great candidates for bra fittings. It's important to know what is involved in being fitted for a bra and if necessary take things into your own hands.
Fitting a Bra
Go get your soft tape measure out and if you can, get someone to help you. Do it in front of a mirror so you can make sure the tape measure is level. During all the measurements it is important to make sure the measuring tape does not droop in the back or is not held too tight.
Measure under your breasts (a). If the number you get is under 33" then add four or five inches to give yourself an EVEN number (i.e. if you measured 31, add 5 inches to make 36. This number gives you your band size (I know weird).
Next measure above your breast but still under your arms (b). You might have to include the flesh at the top of your breasts to keep the line horizontal.
Lastly, measure your full breast (c). Subtract the under arm bust total from the full breast total (c-b) and you will have your cup size. Wasn't that fun?!
So your cup size will be:
If less than an inch difference you're an AA (lucky you).
1" - A
2" - B
3" - C
4" - D
5" - E or DD
6" - F or DDD or EE
7" - G or FF or EEE
(for a description of international bra sizes.)
Notice the variance with the bigger sizes? This is where we get into a grey area. Then you have the variances with the different manufacturers. Now bear in mind this is only a guideline. Have you been wearing a bra in and around what you calculated?
These guidelines were not designed for us but they are a good starting point when trying bras on for the first time. It is important when trying on your bras to set some time aside so you can try the different cup sizes and manufacturers. Once you find a bra that fits, note the size but be warned if you switch manufacturers or styles it is possible you may have to change sizes. Not fair is it?
Now learn where to Buy a Plus Size Bra.