Bra Band Sizes Question

I’m sure the lady Dopers here know the drill for when a new bra is needed. “Measure around your rib cage right below your bust and add <blahblah> inches. This is your band size.” (continue on to measure the actual bust area).

The thing is, depending on the bra manufacturer, the number of inches you add varies. Cacique bras at Lane Bryant tell you to add only 2 inches, others tell you to add 3 inches, others 5 inches, and some say “if your ribcage is under 33”, add 3", if it’s over 33", add 5"."

Why?? Why don’t bra manufacturers just use the rib cage measurement as the actual band size? I have a 32" rib cage, bam! I should look for a 32ABCDetc bra. It’d be a lot easier. Instead I can be anywhere from a 34 to a 38, apparently.

[sub]And don’t even get me started on the bra-sizing calculator that said with a 32" ribcage and a 39" bust (that’s 7" difference, folks!), that I should wear a 38A. Ahahhahaha![/sub]

Do any women’s clothing sizes make sense? The odd number system for juniors and the even numbered system for “women’s” clothing? The shoe sizes? The sock sizes which don’t correspond to shoe sizes? Underwear, which only comes in sizes 4-9 and doesn’t have any correlation whatsoever to clothing sizes? How come my shoe size ranges anywhere from an 8 to a 9 1/2 while my feet are relatively stable? I think it’s all a plot to drive women insane and convince them to buy more clothes…

(OK, rant aside, I suspect the real answer has something to do with “but we’ve always done it that way” and there isn’t much logic behind it.) :dubious:

Actually, you’re supposed to measure ABOVE the bust, just under the armpit, and that’s supposed to be your band size without adding or subtracting anything. It’s kind of hard to do accurately by yourself, though, so we get these weird instructions instead.

I’ve seen women’s undies in sizes to 16…but I used to work in a women’s plus size clothing store.

Theoretically, womens, missy, and junior sizes are constructed for different body types and heights. A size 14W SHOULD be constructed for a shorter woman with a fuller body type than a size 14 (missy size). Junior sizes are supposedly short and slim, with a high bust and generally youthful cut. Missy sizes are supposedly cut for the “average” figure. Women’s sizes are supposed to be for a shorter heavier set woman. Note all the supposedlies and theoreticallies I have put in here. I have rarely found that junior or women’s sizes are short enough for me, and I was/am supposed to be the target consumer!

The whole industry went through a resizing craze a few years back, and they SAY that they have made sizes more consistent. Coulda fooled me.

Different manufacturers will cut their clothes to a loose fit or a tight fit, depending on the manufacturer and the designer.

I have no information about shoe or sock sizes.

I didn’t know you were supposed to measure to get your bra size. I wonder how I figured it out? (I’ve always worn the same size, regardless of store and never noticed a size variation between brands.)

Guy interjection. Did anybody ever consider fastening the back of a bra with velcro, rather than those weird hooks you have to be left-handed to undo? Think about it.

I can see why the band size would be the measurement above your bust/under your armpits, that makes sense (that’s what the Maidenform calculator I tried said to do). But if the “under the bust and add <blah> inches” is trying to get an estimate for the ideal under-pits, why do companies use different numbers of inches to add to the measurement? I mean, I’d think that if you’re trying to add inches to one measurement to approximate another, the number of inches would be standard, so what’s with adding anywhere from 2 - 6 inches?

Not In Anger
There are some bras which fasten with velcro. They’re mostly jog bras, nursing bras, bras for elderly women who have difficulty with conventional hooks, and bras designed for women that need a lot of support. Various reasons for non-velcro bras:

  1. Bra designs date to a pre-velcro era.

  2. Velcro sometimes degrades in the dryer.

  3. A velcro closing requires FOUR layers of fabrics and doesn’t lay flat under clothes.

  4. A secure velcro closing requires a cetain amount of surface area. Bras for for the not excessively endowed have thin bands. This is why you see velcro used on the wider band styles of bras.

  5. The sound of velcro ripping open is about the unsexiest sound in the world and would probably totally kill the mood and wake up your kids and/or your parents…:slight_smile:

Okay. I see all of that. Then, why not just switch the hooks to the right side, and the things they hook into to the left side? That would facilitate their easy removal by right-handed men.

Bras are generally removed by the wearer, THAT’S why.