Hey, anyone know if most women wear the wrong size bra? I really need to read more about this, ideally illustrated with a photo of breasts – recently tweeted Guardian fashion columnist Hadley Freeman.
Reading her tweet, I recalled my first bra-fitting experience. It was my 15th birthday, and mom took me to a professional lingerie salon. At the time, I was wearing a 32B, the go-to size for all my not-quite curvy, not-completely-flat friends. It seemed to fit me well –at least well enough for me not to worry about my underwear and focus on wondering if the planet should be rescued or demolished. Which, in case you don’t remember, is what 15-year-olds spend most of their time thinking about.
And then I heard that I should throw it away immediately and get a 30D instead. I felt at once anxious (weren’t there enough things I was already doing wrong?) and flattered (like when you fit in a size 8 dress, before you realize it’s in American, not British sizing.) And I did as I was told: I walked out with a “specialist” D-cup, over twice the price of my good old Triumph.
Did it change my life? Not really. At first it was a bit too tight, but soon I got used to it and it felt normal. Which only meant that I could return to saving/destroying the world. Except that I would now do it in a D-cup, which sometimes put a little smile on my face. Good enough.
Now that I’m too old to be a superhero, I can get back to the topic of underwear fitting. Seriously, what is the fuss all about? Why do we always have to hear that we’re wearing the wrong size bra? Well, the media love to tell us that we’re doing something incorrectly. That the food we’re eating makes us fat. That the cosmetics we use will give us cancer. And, of course, that the clothes we’re wearing aren’t cool anymore. That’s how fashion works. Underwear, however, is more resistant to trends, probably because hardly anyone knows about our lingerie choices (and those who do are just about to get laid, so the number of bows on your bra isn’t their main concern.) Marketers had to find another way to make us buy new bras – and that’s how we learned we were wearing the wrong size. And which woman will protest when hearing that she’s thinner and bustier that she thought?
Why do we need professionals to tell us what we’re supposed to be comfortable in? Here’s some advice from a complete laygirl, whose all knowledge about underwear comes from common sense and an 8-year experience in wearing bras: go to whatever lingerie salon or high street store you like and can afford, allow yourself some time to try on different models and sizes, and go for whatever you feel best in. If you love it; it’s right for you.
And in case you wish to know what happened next to my boobs: I decided to stick to a slightly ego-busting (note the terrible pun), but still easily available 32C. Though I also have a few Ds, and my bikinis look best when they’re B. I don’t need a specialist to tell me that.