Online stores carry a way much better selection of sizes than most stationary stores do . Unless you are living in bra heaven (the UK), the salesgirl at most stores will look scared when you ask her for 60E, and a request for 110J might make her faint on the spot. Of course, she will tell you that your real size is 75C, because whoever heard of such strange sizes ? Online stores did hear of them, and they do store huge selections of sizes in many beuatiful models. However buying online makes a lot of people uneasy. Here is why it aint so hard !
Q: I'm scared of buying bras through the internet !
A: Actually, buying bras online can be easier and more comfortable than buying it in real stores.
Think about it: you can really try on the bra 20 times, prance around the bedroom in it, think about it, ask your boyfriend's opinion... do you get that freedom in the stores ? You can even order a couple of different sizes in the same model, and keep only the one that fits best. According to the law, if you are not satisfied, you can return the bra and get the full refund (cost of the bra + even postage costs in many countries). (In Britain, you just need to repeat the formula "the bra is not as it appears to be in the picture") Brastop.com even gives you a 10% discount when you send back a bra and buy another size in the same model. Think of it as paying caution money to try on a bunch of bras. You pay only if you are satisfied.
Secondly, you won't have to listen to stupid comments of ignorant saleswomen: "My dear, you don't wear 60DD for sure ! Why, your boobs are quite small ! Here, try this 75C" or "Whaaaat ? J cup ? Such monstruous sizes are not manufactured !"(these are real lines heard in bra stores.) Most women working at lingerie stores are stuck in the Bra Matrix and don't have a clue about proper bra fitting. And finally, how many of us buy stuff just because we feel uncomfortable to say "no" to persuasive salespeople... and when you buy online, you have the time to think about your purchase, and you don't have to offer any explanations if you are not happy with it !
If you don't live in Europe, try googling for online or stationary shops in your area that sell the following brands: These brands offer a wide selections of band sizes and cups, going up to 90 different sizes for each model !
Then there is, of course, British Ebay. The bras there are much cheaper, but not all sellers let you return their wares. So I suggest doing your first buys in e-stores (or on Ebay shops that let you return or exchange items.) Once you know your size well, and have bought a couple of bras, you'll be much better at buying on Ebay. Read my guide >Buying bras for the broke: "unusual" sizes on Ebay<
Q: Are bra sizes the same with all manufacturers ?
A: Unfortunately no.
Some companies may have slighly smaller or bigger cups, the band may be more or less stretchy, and the underwire may be narrower or broader. I have yet to find an english-language size or forum that discusses this stuff., although figleaves.com has some customer reviews that may be sometimes helpful.
Check out the tables of cup sizes in different companies: AA to H, H to R
Elle Macpherson bras are very tight, and the cup size is smaller. So, if you want to buy a bra from them, look for a band size that is close to your under-bust measurement (no need to substract 5 cm). And don't forget to adjust the cup size accordingly. For example my correct British bra size is 60DD, But I look for 70C in Elle Macpherson bras.
La Senza and other Aussie brands make extremely non-stretchy bands. So, buy bras from them that have the band size the same as your underbust measurement (for example, I have 71 cm under the bust. Normally I would wear EU band size 60, but I'm buying a La Senza in 70. Otherwise I won't be able to breathe !)
Sometimes certain models or even different colous in the same model may have some quirks in size and stretchiness.
Q: I'm not 100% sure what size to get ! Help !
A: Order a couple of sizes, and return all but the best fit. Most online stores give 100% refund to unsatisfied customers (in Europe they even refund shipping costs, but do check for laws within your country). For example you might try 50C, 50D, 55B and 55C.
Q: I'm not sure I want to spend that much on a bra, so far I've been buying bras at the bazar fora dollar or two.
A: First, bras are perhaps more important thing we wear. The bra you wear shapes your breasts in a good or bad weay. Secondly, you can find good and cheap bras. So, I advise you to invest in a good bra, and scrimp on clothes and shoes if you have to. A bad bra will flatten or squash your breasts, and after some years of that you'll end up hating your bust or considering spending lots on surgery. And remember, a great shaped bust makes you look much better in anything you wear ! Once you've determined your bust size, tested a few bras and found a compatible brand, you can buy great and cheap bras on Ebay (here's my how-to guide). I've got some beautiful new Panache bras from there for less than 10€, and that's including postage.
You are saying 'For example you might try 50C, 50D, 55B and 55C' Are any of those sizes being manufactured though? I'd love to get my hands on 55E or F (I'm 63cm under bust). I only have come across Jeunique brand that makes 26 underbands. Too pity from what I gather they give really ugly shape and look just plane ugly (think of rocket launchers our grandmothers used to wear).
Another thing I've noticed is that Freya's cups are tall, as weird as it sounds they don't work on my short torso. :( I might try to alter Freyas in 60DD, since at least their underwires seem to fit me ok. I've given up on Panache all together: cups way too wide set for me, their 60DD underwires almost reach my back.
And about La Senza, it's funny how people from different countries think it's their national brand. Canadians think it's Canadian, people in Britain think it's British, etc. I also have noticed they come with different lines and size ranges in different countries, so is that possible all these La Senzas are completely different brands? In Canada underbands start at 32.
Thank you again for putting all that very useful information up in one place!
You are right, band sizes 50 or 55 are hard to get, although a lot of slim girls should be wearing them ! I know that the online store Melissa at http://www.melissa.com.pl/english/index.php make them for you by order, you can mail them at email@example.com However you need to send them your measurements: they have their own sizing system, so telling them 55F might be confusing. That is the only option I know in Europe, but maybe there are some others in America ? You can try looking for band size 60 in models that are very tight. Most Freyas are very stretchy though, so you might have a lot of altering to do... remember that shortening a very long band can stretch out the underwires, and that will distort the bra fit. So, it is best to shorten bands that are slightly too loose for you.
The best way to tighten a bra band is: take a piece of elastic tape, and stretch it as much as you can. Sew this stretched elastc to the non-stretched bra band (you might need someone to help you, to keep the elastic stretched !). It´s easier if you first sew just the two ends of the elastic, then strech everything and attach the middle part. This method is great because it tightens the bra band evenly. I hope that I explained that clearly ! Do you mean that the underwires of the Freyas are too high, and end too high in the armpit area ? I don´t have much experience with this brand since I have a typical Panache bust.
I researched La Senza and it is actually Canadian ! But they have branched out worldwide and have several branches worldwide, so I suppose that their offer differs in different parts of the world.
Thank you for the great tip on tightening bands! I am researching what's there available for custom made route, but for now I think I'll try to alter what I already own. Freya underwires seem actually ok for me, but because I'm petite, top part of the cups (where cups attach to straps) sit higher on me, and place where a nipple should be is above of where it is. I was surprised to find this out since I haven't had that problem with other brands.
@wantabra - Ah, I understand now with the high cups. I suppose that it's mainly a problem with full-cups, balconettes or demi-cups probably fit better ? I'd love to hear from you how your altering goes !
Wow, so helpful! I've been trying for years to figure out how to do bra shopping online decently...
I'm small all around, so I've been hunting down a 28B (US) bra for awhile... sadly, in the US and Canada, they think women that size don't exist. :/ So, I've been upset and disheartened for many years on that front. Sometimes I've been called flat chested and stuff like that from my mom, when, in actuality I do have something there! It's a B, I look good when the bra actually fits, and I'm glad there's someone here that actually understands what I've been trying to tell her!
Sadly, I'm sorry to report that in Canada La Senza is dumping the 32's. :( That means their bands will start at 34's!!
I'm confused, however about the band/cup sizes for EU and UK dispite the chart. I'll keep trying to understand... but I think I'm a 60, if not smaller.
Boo to La Senza... I do like their bras, in spite of the not so big size range....
As for the UK and EUR measurements, I used to think that the US/UK 28 band is 60 in the EUR, because 28" = 60cm... but actually 28" is 71 cm !That´s why if you´re using the EUR band size, you need to subtract so much from your underbust measurement.As for the cup sizes, it´s more complicated. Anyway, if you´re not buying any European bras, just don´t bother about it
In Singapore, La Senza has a few 32's but usually only for the models aimed at teens. But they don't seem to sell any strapless bras in band sizes smaller than 34 :\
I'm living in Melbourne now though and have been hunting for some Australian online bra shops that stock 28Ds (or 6D aus size). Thought I might just share some of them for any others. http://www.misse.com.au http://www.biggerbras.com http://www.thebrashop.com.au
I've got permanent armpit rolls even though I'm only in my late teens! They stay there even when I take off my bras. Probably because I've been squeezing them into the wrong size for way too long. I'm ordering two 28Ds to replace my 32Bs so hopefully the lumps will migrate back!
I might have to start looking. I heard the UK is a great place and bf understands how difficult it is and he was from there originally and told me we may have a visit in the future... I'm going to buy a ton of bras when I'm there...
But in the meantime, as Eurpoean lines have more sizes, it may be wise to try... So, I'm a 28B in US sizing... what would I be in European sizing?