Recently, I took my friend shopping to find her a bra that fits, and I’m appalled at the general state of American bras. It has been 13 years since I went bra shopping myself, so while I knew it was bad, I didn’t know it was THAT bad. (As discussed in my previous post, I resized myself in 2000 and I’ve been ordering bras from England ever since.)
My friend is not an unusual size! I measured her at 32DD – she’d been wearing a 34C, which isn’t too far off, but was definitely too small. 34C is equivalent in volume to a 32D, so she was only one cup volume off. Still, the center front, also known as the gore, on her 34C would not lay flat; she could easily stick a finger through the gap. That usually means that the cup is too small. The solution in American stores is to size up the band, not the cup, because we have such a small range of cup sizes. Sizing up in the band does increase the cup volume, because cup size is relative to band size, but it doesn’t solve the problem of a floating gore. It’ll just create different problems, such as the band riding up and forcing the wearer to shorten the straps in order to get any support.
We went to the mall to visit JC Penney, Frederick’s, and Kohl’s, and good god the selection was awful. Molded bras as far as the eye can see! I had to really dig to find bras made of fabric, not molded foam, and a lot of those were full-cup matronly styles which don’t work for my friend. Every single molded bra was terrible; she is full on bottom, so even when the cup volume was mostly correct, the top of the bra gaped badly. I don’t understand why molded bras are so popular! It seems like they’d fit only a small number of women who happen to have breasts that are already the shape of the molded cups.
Also, there were zero bras in a 32 band, let alone 32DD. I may have seen one 32A, but that was it. Kohl’s doesn’t even carry anything in a 32. ARGH. There are so many people who need 32, 30, and 28 bands! I wear a 32, and there are lots of people smaller than me. By far the most common bands were 34, 36, 38, and 40. You could find 42 and 44 in the “full figured” section, but even those are rare.
I would have loved to put her in a 32DD, but it was nonexistent, and she doesn’t have a Nordstrom nearby. We even considered going to (sigh) Victoria’s Secret on the theory that they might go down to 32, but we were pretty tired at the end and it was on the other side of town. She did find one bra in 34D that fits pretty well; the center front is flush against her ribcage, which none of the other couple dozen bras were. It’s a proper seamed bra, not a molded cup, so it conforms to her shape and there’s no weird gap at the top. It’s boring and beige and not pretty like a lot of the molded cup bras, which have attractive false corset seams and exciting colors and trims, but it fits, which makes all the difference. Still: ONE BRA out of more than two dozen. How does that make sense?
Seriously, this should not be that hard.