The Bare Facts

Bra Fitting
BeautyFashionHealthHistory 6 Comments

It was Mark Twain who said, “the clothes make the man”, but us women know that it is what’s underneath that really counts. Oh, it’s not what you think… we are talking about the BRA!

If you are fighting your own battle of the bra, don’t despair you’re far from alone. This battle is a long one, with generations of women tackling it in their own way. Urban legend has it that the bra was invented by a man, but the truth is we have women to thank for these contraptions.

After decades of stuffing themselves into corsets, women around the world finally began to get fed up. It was in 1913 that Mary Phelps Jacob, a 19-year-old, New York socialite, bought a sheer evening gown for an occasion, but at the time, the only undergarment available to her was a boned corset. The bones of her corset were sticking out around the neckline of her new dress. So she, along with the help of her seamstress, took two silk handkerchiefs, pink ribbon and some string, and fashioned herself the very first modern bra.

Jacob-brassiere-patent-1914Almost immediately, friends started asking Ms. Jacob to create these “brassieres” for them, too. Sensing that she may be on to something, she went ahead and patented her design. The patent was granted in November 1914, and the new Caresse Crosby bra was born. Although Jacobs did not invent the first bra ever, her design was the first one to be widely used, and is the basis for what is in nearly every modern woman’s drawer today.

Not surprisingly, over 90% of North American women wear a bra, but almost 85% of us wear the wrong size. In the past several years this statistic has started a revolution of sorts, to get women into the right size bra. Oprah staged a national intervention urging all women to “rise up and get a proper bra fitting”, and there’s even a book…The Bra Book: the Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra by Jene Luciani and Ann Deal.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, according to experts, a well-fitting bra is first and foremost healthier for your breasts, it can also eliminate sagging, is important for your posture, can make you appear slimmer and even take years off your looks.  These experts also suggest that women be professionally fitted for a bra at least once a year. It seems as though our breasts can change in shape and size more frequently than we change our hairstyle.

If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like to go into a lingerie shop and have yourself fitted by one of the “bra ladies”, there are plenty of tips and how to’s out there making it easier than ever to find your right size.  If a good fitting bra is all that it takes to look a little thinner and younger, why the hell not?

The battle of the bra is definitely not over, we will always be searching for just the right one that makes us look and feel terrific, our suggestion… if you find a bra that you like, and it fits, buy yourself a big supply!

Find Your Perfect Bra Size – by Maidenform

Most women measure their ribcage under their breasts to get their band measurement. Double check this measurement by wrapping a tape measure snugly around your back, under your arms and across the top of your chest above your breasts. Because your ribcage expands and contracts as you breathe, taking both measurements will help you find your most comfortable fit.

CUP MEASUREMENT (the letter)
With your bra on, wrap a measuring tape around your back and across the fullest part of your breast. Don’t pull too tight! To find your cup size, subtract your band measurement from this measurement.

If the difference is…

1 inch, you’re an A cup
2 inches, a B cup
3 inches, a C cup
4 inches, a D cup
5 inches, a DD cup
6 inches, a DDD cup

For even more information on finding the perfect fit visit Bare Necessities
  • Anne

    Thank you WYSK for this very interesting and important post. I tried the Maidenform “Find Your Perfect Bra Size”, and now I know what size I should be wearing! Of course, this means that I’ll have to buy new bras, but what woman doesn’t deserve new sexy underthings every now and then!!!

  • Thya S.

    I am headed out to the store now! They discontinued my favorite bras and my assortment is in a sorry state. I am afraid, very afraid. Thanks for the “support” WYSK!

  • Dorn

    Maybe the WYSK owners will ban from posting this shop-biased comment, but Intimacy on Madison Avenue, NYC, does the best fit in all my years of bras! Others try but fail.

  • I absolutely LOVE the above article! It is full of VERY important information and cites one of my favorite books: The Bra Book: the Fashion Formula to Finding the Perfect Bra by Jene Luciani and Ann Deal. However, women who are following the instructions above for finding their perfect size will NOT have much luck. There is a formula for adding inches to the rib cage measurement. This is the number that SOMETIMES, however very rarely, equals the measurement they recommend double checking….the one taken around the back and above the breasts. And after all is measured and “computed” the tape measure often only provides a starting point for trying on bras…it may not be the exact bra size you need. I am a Certified Bra Fitter for a home based business, Essential Bodywear, and have fit thousands of women!! I HIGHLY recommend women get fit by a Certified Fitter. A professional can fit you while you wear a blouse, and make the proper checks for an accurate fit with out you having to compromise your modesty. Unless, of course you threw modesty out the window ages ago and WANT to be fit sans shirt. A great Bra Lady can do that too!!

    • charlotte cave

      where does one get certified?

  • Elisa

    Thank you for this very informative post! I am thrilled to find it. At a recent, annual breast examination by my M.D., I complained about chronic breast pain. Her best advice was to find “better support”. Your tips definitely give me some ideas that I have never tried. In my opinion, wearing a bra should be a perfectly enjoyable experience while giving us the support we need. They SHOULD be “sexy underthings” as Anne mentioned, and give us a better sense of self-esteem by how they make us look and feel.