The Bra Manifesto
I have had at least three types of boobies (pre-implants 32A, augmented 32D/DD and post-explant 32AA) adorning my crooked breastplate in my lifetime, and throughout it all it's been an absolute crapshoot finding bras that fit properly.
Sometimes it's been thanks to horrendous "fitting experts" at mainstream stores telling me I'm the wrong size. Sometimes the same brand's bra size fits for one bra and not for another. Sometimes the wire gouges, the band pinches or the cup underfloweth. What gives?
The whole problem is bra sizing in general. A woman's beautiful breasts are hardly described in such simple terms as underbust diameter and cup size. Most bras come with a little adaptability thanks to adjustable straps on the shoulders, but let's face it: a single number and a letter is not enough.
Boobs have their own diameter or width. Then they have how close or far they sit next to each other on the chest. There's how far the nipple is located from the collar bone and how much volume sits above or below the nipple.
Boobie diameter is important, especially if your breasts are of the wider and flatter sort like mine are now. Underwires in a 32A (smallest I can usually find) have a wire width the size of a tennis ball or about 20% too small for my petite pancakes. Even with my implants some cups had the right volume but not enough width (or even too much, leaving the wire edges to poke me in the armpit).
A bra's gore (that width between the two cups) is incredibly important too. Even if the cups are the right size, if the gore tries to pull them together or push them apart too much it becomes too uncomfortable. Fortunately product pictures and a little experience can help you guess whether or not a bra's gore will work for you, but it's just that - a guessing game.
I'll admit that the adjustable straps tend to give me enough play on the collar-bone-to-nip category, but that is not necessary true for women with higher- or lower-sitting breasts. And occasionally I've tightened those straps all the way only to wish for just a little tighter fit.
Finally volume variations. Now that my 'upper pole' is no longer propped up with silicone I have a very flat upper breast with the majority of my mammary tissue puffed up just behind and below the nipple. The ball shaped cups of most formed bras was perfect when I had melon shaped augmentation, but they never fit me well before or after implants. I typically opt for wireless bralettes in the smallest sizes but even some of those leave airy gaps and extra fabric serving no purpose.
I only use my own fitting to illustrate the larger problem: Women's breasts are not simply an underbust and a cup. We look and feel our best in well-fitting clothes that fill us with confidence and fail to distract us. Isn't it time for better bra sizing?
In the meantime, I'm using the exquisite and iconic Colette by Edge O' Beyond to illustrate the level of customization possible with lingerie by a designer who pushes boundaries. She has straps and adjustments everywhere to ensure the best of fits for the widest range of body styles top or bottom, not to mention her delectable lace and fiery attitude. Smitten.