Putting your bra on properly

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of comments in online communities where someone has bought a new bra after following a modern measuring guide, and they believe it doesn’t fit. Usually, there are complaints that the bra is too big in the cups and too small in the band. Quite a lot of the time, one of the main issues in seeing whether a bra fits is that it hasn’t been put on and adjusted properly. For this reason, I thought it would be useful to show how much of a difference you can get in how a bra fits using the scoop and swoop method (shown here). Scooping and swooping de-squishes your breast tissue so that it isn’t being smushed into your armpits or compressed in the cup. It also makes your boobs sit properly in the cups, so that they are being lifted rather than just covered.

Charnos 34F before

This bra is a Charnos 34F. The wires seem to be encapsulating my breasts, the band can’t be stretched too far, and there is no overspill – in fact there is very slight gapping at the top. If I didn’t know better, I would think that it fits, or that I maybe need a 34E. However, the wires are not sitting at the root of my breasts – they are a good inch too low down. If I scoop, swoop and align…

Charnos 34F afterThere is now very clear overspill. The band can now be stretched out extremely far, as my breast tissue is no longer taking up the band space. It is now clear that a smaller band and larger cup are needed.

EB George 34F before

EB George 34F after

This is a George 34F. Once again the band seems fairly firm, and the cups gape slightly. After adjusting, it is very much too small in the cup and large in the band.

DB George 34F before

DB George 34F after

Another George 34F. Once again, a seemingly too-large cup and firm band, when in fact the cup is too small and the band too large.

Ewa 30J before

Ewa 30J after

Ewa Michalak HP Fuksja, 30J. As the cup is much bigger, it appears to gape significantly more than the 34F bras, and the band appears slightly small. After scooping, it is clearly too small in the cup and good in the band.

Freya 32J before

Freya 32J after

Freya (worn to death) 32J. Once again, cup wrinkling changes to slight overspill. The wires are slightly too wide for me in this bra, resulting in cup wrinkling at the side/bottom after adjusting. The band is also slightly too big.

Alana 30K before and after

I had originally made a video for this post, but I had technology troubles :p This is the Bravissimo Alana in a 30K, screenshotted from the original video. The far left is before, showing obvious wrinkling. You can also see, as there is a sheer section, how the underwires are sitting too far down. After adjusting, it is just about a perfect fit.

Cleo 30J before

Cleo 30J after

Finally, Cleo Alexa in a 30J. As before, there is gapping at the top and the band seems too tight. Afterwards, ignoring the fact that I’m leaning forward in the last picture, it seems to fit well. There is wrinkling at the bottom of the cup, though this is actually because I hadn’t adjusted fully – I may have gotten impatient toward the end, oops.

DIAGRAM
This is a quick diagram showing what is happening in a too-small bra vs a well-fitting bra, with the red representing where the band sits, the blue showing where the band should sit, and the green arrows showing where the bra is pushing breast tissue. In an unadjusted bra with a too-small cup, the band sits well below the underbust. The cups compress the breast tissue, and push it down and towards the torso. More often than not, this provides very little support, and the bra is acting more as cover. The breasts are unlifted and “squished”, and often tissue migration will occur. In a well-fitting bra, the wires are at the breast root, the band is horizontal at the same level, and the cups lift the breast tissue up and forwards.

To put your bra on properly, lean forwards so that your breasts fall into the cups, then fasten the band behind you (you can put the shoulder straps on before or after this part). Then, still leaning forwards, hold either the shoulder strap or the end of the underwire with one hand, and reach into your armpit with the other. Gently scoop from the armpit into the cup. Next, hold the bottom of the underwire with one hand, and reach into the bottom of the cup with the other. Use one hand to align the underwire to sit at the root of your breast, and gently lift your breast up into the cup with the other. You might prefer to align the underwire and then scoop from the armpit, but either way should work quite well. You may find that you need to scoop and swoop a couple of times before you are fully adjusted, especially if you have larger breasts or migrated breast tissue. If after doing this, you find that you have overspill, the cup is too small – try a bigger cup. If the cups seem to fit well straight after scooping and swooping, but then your breasts seem to move back out of the cups when you move around, this suggests your band is too loose to keep your breasts enclosed in the cups – try a band size down and a cup up (e.g. 34D -> 32DD).

Putting your bra on properly is a very simple thing that can have a huge difference, and (as I learned first-hand) is often not taught by high-street fitters. Hopefully this has helped showing how a bra should fit! And once again, there is a great video showing how to scoop-and-swoop on Busty Resources :)

Update: 17/04/13

The scoop-and-swoop should be done by everyone, not just those with conventionally large breasts. Here are some comparison pictures by reddit users, shared in /r/ABraThatFits. Huge thanks to these ladies for letting me add their pictures!

32B together

These pictures were made by reddit user “brafitthrow” and shared here. In these pictures she wears a 32B, which, though it appears to fit before adjusting, is actually too small in the cups and too large in the band. She in fact needs a 30D.

30A-B together

By the same user. In these pictures she wears a 34A, altered to be about a 30B. Once again, to the untrained eye it would appear to fit. However, after adjusting, it is clearly too small in the cup.

32AA together

These pics were taken by user “esoomcol” and shared here. This is a 32AA Aerie, before and after. As expected, though it looks like a good fit in the cups before, it is actually much, much too small.

30C together

The same user in a 30C Lepel Fiore. Though the cups look much too big, after adjusting, it appears to be fairly spot-on.

I hope these pictures have helped to show that scooping and swooping is a vital part of putting your bra on for everyone, regardless of size. If anyone else has before/after pictures that they think would be a useful addition, please get in touch!

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Founder and main author of Bras and Body Image. Anna is a Maths student, feminist, and bra-fitting enthusiast based in the UK.

79 thoughts on “Putting your bra on properly

  1. great post :) I am currently trying to find a bra that fits (ordering online and having to measure by myself sucks!), and I knew about the scoop and swoop method, but I had no idea it made such a huge difference. Thanks!

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  3. This is an amazing post! I had a friend sure she was a 10B into 10DDs after I taught her how to put on her bra properly. I can’t stand to have a bra sitting too low, so I started pulling it up naturally but if I hadn’t, this would have been so helpful to me.

  4. Omg. I thought I knew what scoop and swoop method was. Now I realize that I was scooping only from the bottom of the cup, and then actually tucking in breast tissue on the top o.O
    No wonder my back fat is getting worse. I just ordered a bra 2 cup sizes bigger than I’m wearin right now, sO I hope it does the trick :( ((( i feel like such a retard now.

  5. This is a great article! Your photos are very informative and helpful. This seems to be a hot topic as of late. I recently started wearing my bras a bit higher, my breasts are smaller though so it isn’t a big problem. A lot of ladies I know don’t wear the proper bra size or scoop. This should be enlightening :)

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  8. Wow! Thank you so much! I always thought it was odd that sometimes my bra seemed to contain everything and sometimes it didn’t.. now I know why! The times I actually got all my boobs in there they were spilling over, so I’d just smoosh it back in… yikes. You and reddit are giving my a bravolution!

  9. I scoop and swoop, but I put my bra on differently. I hook it in the front and then I rotate it around the right way and put the straps on. I can’t reach around to my back to put a bra on. Okay, maybe I can, but it seems like added work.

    • For a larger bust, a band that is big enough to be spun around the ribs is often too large to provide necessary support. If this works for you, that’s great. For many women it will not.

      • Seriously? Crap, I can’t even imagine it being simple to clasp it NOT on backwards. My life is getting way too complicated with all this proper-fitting-bra stuff, pffft.

      • From my experience, a band that absolutely can’t be spun around the ribs is painfully too small. I’m a 34HH (creepin’ up on J), and I’ve never had a problem due to lack of support from a band that can be rotated around my ribcage. It doesn’t have to rotate easily, per se — it always takes me a little bit of dancing, but it spins around eventually and fits comfortably. The band doesn’t ride up, it stays in place, and it’s parallel to the ground. I think it’s different depending on the shape of one’s ribcage and one’s personal preference.

  10. Ladies please help I am desperate!! I am turning 20 in a few days and I have decided to become a lady and get proper fitting bras haha but after reading this and several other blogs I need help. All the bras I have do not fit at all, I used to think I was a 32A and never changed my bra size from middle school through high school ! I measured myself last year and an online calculator told me my size was a 32B so alas I got new bras! However the straps fall off and they gape at the top and after trying the scoop and swoop method I am in desperate need of a new bra. It seems they don’t cup far enough over into my armpit but the top gapes and no style bra seems to work. I remeasured myself and I am a 30 around the ribcage and 34 around my bust. Another calculator told me this was a 32 D holy crap! Yeah right. I also realized I have full on bottom boobs so can anyone help with a size and style an proper fit for me!

    • Hi Bethany. From your measurements of 30, 34, I would give you a starting point size of a 30D. Depending on how tight a band you like, you might prefer a 32B/C, which should also be a bit easier to find.

      What kind of gaping do you get in your current 32Bs after scooping? If it’s just along the top, it’s likely to be a shape issue – you might just need bras that have more space on the bottom, and less along the top edge. But if no style bra seems to work, it might be due to the cup being too small, which is why I would recommend trying a 32C. I would suggest you try a 32C, scoop and swoop, and then look over the fit. Do you fill out the cups more? Where do you get gapping? Do your boobs stay in the cups, or do they start to move back out when you move around? If you’re in a store with a good size range, I would suggest trying as many bras in the range as you can (32B, 32C, 32D, 30DD, 30D, 30C). If you try on some bras and comment again I can try to narrow down what the size issues are, or you can email me (brasandbodyimage@gmail.com) or message me through my facebook page.

  11. Wow… I’m actually a “certified bra fit specialist” – worked with breast cancer survivors and other women. We were taught that eight out of ten women wear the wrong size bra. But we were never taught scoop and swoop. Definitely, never, ever. And here I thought they just didn’t make bras my size – but they do!!

    Also, the online calculators don’t work. They’re not right. You need to measure yourself under your armpits all the way around, and that’s the band size. Then you measure all the way around at the fullest part of the breast, and you get the cup size like this: no change from the band is an A, one inch is a B, two inches is a C, three a D, four a DD, etc. No calculations. And besides, I always believed and always told my customers, it’s not so much about the numbers. It’s all about how comfortable you are in your bra. So head to the store and try on one of every style. Even if you think you don’t like pushups or wireless, try them anyway!! And never, EVER get sized at Victoria’s Secret. Their bras run small, so you’ll think you’re a larger size than you are and have trouble buying elsewhere. And never, EVER buy a bra without trying it on. All bras are not created equal. And when you do try it on, jump around, dance, hang upside down, etc. You want to make sure the girls have a nice, snug home before you buy it.

    And good luck. Bra shopping sucks.

    • I can tell you right now, if you measured my armpits, you’d be putting me in a 38 band, when most 34′s are actually loose on me. I have a short torso with high full-shaped breasts. Now, whether the tissue is that high from wearing too small a cup or not, is a different matter. The fact is it’s there, and totally screws this method.

      • Agreed – I’m hourglassy and my breast tissue starts quite high up, which means my under-armpit measurement is about 39 inches. No chance am I a 38E/40D…

      • You’re supposed to put the measuring tape around and pull it tight. Like, really tight. Also, do you measure yourself with your bra on, or is your tissue really just that high? Because that’s definitely interesting. Is the measure all up in your armpit when you’re measuring? Like, all the way up in there?

      • I’d love to know who decided that measuring under the arms was at all relevant. I went to a highly recommend independent lingerie shop recently and the fitter did this, and no bust measurement.

        The band sits on the ribcage immediately under the breasts so that’s where you measure. Whether you end up in -2″, 0, +2″ or may even +4″ in some cases is down to stability of the band (ie how it sits on you but also how stretchy it is etc) and personal comfort, but the measurements should be “break the tape” tight and relaxed, if there’s a lot of difference, especially if you have a large band size, you should probbaly go with the tight measurement for your band size, if skinny start with the relaxed measurement. Just starting points, but it tells you way more than measuring above the breasts, whether snug up into the armpits or not…

        Without a bra – and three different measurements around the full bust are also useful, see the subreddit again for more info.

        Swoop and scoop really has to be done fully, I was doing it enough I thought but no, if I did it more I could overflow cups I thought I fitted.

    • One inch is an A cup, 2 a B etc….this is scary that you’re using that method. Sorry, nothing personal. Do get over to the reddit sub linked to above.

  12. Would you believe that I was bra-fit trained and certified by JCPenney and they didn’t reach us one little bit of this?! Thank you so much for sharing! Great info!

  13. That’s where I was certified! I feel cheated! But… maybe I just have no boobs, or funny shaped ones… because this doesn’t work for me. My boobs still fall around in my bras.

    • Do you mean that you fill/overspill with scoop and swoop, but then your boobs sort of settle back into the cups when you move? If that’s the case, it’s very possible that you need a smaller band. A too-loose band means that the wires aren’t held snugly against your ribcage, so the cups move around when you move, and your boobs make their way back out. Could that be it?

      • Measured, I’m 31 inches, so I need a 30/32. But I have cysts that grow in my right breast and are excruciatingly painful, so I wear either a 32 on the last hooks or a 34. I know the bands are too loose, but unless I do that, I can’t stand to wear a bra at all. And going braless isn’t an option because then the cysts are pulled downwards and hurt that way too. And sports bras are only so much help. Since I’m rather small (30C/32B/34A), and my right breast is significantly smaller than my left, sports bras also do the “she looks like a dude” sort of thing to me. And they’re nipply. Also, the cup sizes listed are pushup cups – I go a cup size larger because the extra padding helps keep my normal arm movements from smashing the cycts together, but pushing them up hurts.

        Another thing that may be an issue, I don’t know. I used to be a 34C/D with no padding. But my boobs seriously shrank to a 30AA and I wore my kid sister’s bras and felt quite humiliated, having to start college like that and people asking “where’d your boobs go?”. So they’re growing again, sloooowwwwlllyyyy, but they naturally sit closer to my sides than they used to. And there’s skin I can just pinch in my fingers and hold up. And my boyfriend tells me to quit obsessing over it because he doesn’t care.

        Sorry, I’m just not sure what’s going on here, and my doctor told me, “You don’t have cancer, so what do you want me to do?” I’m considering just wrapping myself in an Ace bandage and leaving it at that. I’m really at a loss here.

    • littleyellowjar – I totally understand your “funny shaped” boob issue from your post about your cysts. I’m in the large bust funny shaped group. I’ve been wearing a 38DD and will obviously now go and try the “swoop and scoop” and see what happens. But…I’ve had two non-cancerous lumps/cysts removed from my right breast. It’s not totally out of whack, but what seems to fit the left, doesn’t come close on the right. There’s a sunken in place (for lack of a better description) along the inside area by my ribs. It’s where the wire usually sits. This fitting business should be interesting. And yes, bra fitting sucks. I wish you well on getting relief from your cysts!

  14. I’ve just tried the scoop and swoop and got my new measurements, but I’m not sure how accurate it is since I have one breast significantly larger than the other. I’ve been wearing 40 DD bras with an insert in one side, but with the scoop and swoop my larger breast seems to be squished inside the cup now. I’m measuring 36/44, which sounds like I should wear a 36G. Any tips on what to do since I’m uneven?

    • A 40DD and 36F (US 36G) have the same cup volume, so if you’re finding you have squishing at the moment, it’s possible a US 36G would be too small in the cup. Based on your measurements, I would suggest trying a 36FF/36G (US 36H/I).

      As for the asymmetry, what most tend to do is fit to the larger breast, then use pads to balance it. Some people don’t mind leaving loose material on the smaller breast, but it’s personal preference. I wouldn’t recommend fitting to the smaller breast, as it’s likely to result in overspill and digging on the larger.

    • I fit the larger breast and then just tighten the other cup to make it fit the smaller one better. Since I have small boobs it works… not sure how it would work for larger ones though.

  15. What a brilliant method! I got a 28DD plunge that kept gaping, but after scooping and swooping it fits a lot better – to the point that the left breast sometimes has a quadboob….

    Here’s the annoying thing, though. I’m shallow on top (full-bottomed) but half-cups don’t fit properly even with scopping and swooping. : ( That’s the 28DD, though.

    Can I ask for your advice? Underbust is 28 (tight) /28.5 (snug). The boobs themselves are 31.5/32 (standing) / 33-34 (leaning). I figured this made me a 28DD, but I’m paranoid I might be smaller.

    • Your measurements can only give you a starting point. If you’re comfortably wearing a 28 band, and you’re occasionally getting overspill in a 28DD, I’d say a 28DD/E is the right sort of area to be in.

      Half-cups are often recommended for full-on-top breasts, as they’re usually cut very open. It might just be that they’re incompatible with your shape. For full-on-bottom breasts, you might have more luck with something like the Bravissimo Alana, or another unpadded balconette. There’s nothing wrong with a smaller cup if it turns out that’s what you do need – it’s about the fit, not the label.

      • It just seems to be a bit of a hit and miss.

        Today I scooped and swooped and I had gaping, which was unusual. Then I pushed my shoulders back and boom, struggling to stay in the cups because it was pressing so hard. I ended up taking the bra off midday and found the bottom of my breast had light marks on it from where the seam was pressing.

        You’re entirely write about the fit and not the label, but there’s a bit of a problem with going down a smaller size. I shop at Bravissimo and I prefer to try before I buy, so I’m reluctant to shop online. Yet if the 28DD/28D is loose in certain shapes or certain positions, it means I can’t go any smaller in cup – not there, anyway. And I don’t know any places near me that do 28 bands…

        It’s weird, because after doing light weight training for two months, my breasts are a little rounder on top (but they’re still mostly shallow compared to the bottom), and fitting them is incredibly awkward…

  16. I need lots of help!! Right now, I’m wearing a 40G but it’s very loose in the back and I always have spillage on the top and the bottom. I was measured at Lane Bryant and she measured me a 38 but since the 38 I had was making my shoulders and back scream in pain and made it look like I could set a drink on my rack, we decided to go for a 40. I always feel like I’m pulling the strap in the back down and pushing the shoulder straps out to where they don’t even sit on my shoulders. I feel like the underwire is sitting on my stomach when I sit down. I hate bras!!!!

    • Do you know what your exact measurements are? How much overspill do you have if you scoop and swoop? By the sounds of it you could do with going at least one band size and a couple of cups up. If you had shoulder and back pain in a 38 band, it’s unlikely due to a too-small band. It suggests that your band wasn’t supporting you more than anything – it’s very possible you might need to go down in the band more.

      Do you have a cloth tape measure? Can you take these measurements? http://i.imgur.com/k6P94Bt.png

      • I don’t but it won’t be a problem to get one. Can I email you with the measurements or do you just want me to post them on here? The overspill isn’t much but at least an inch or so. But I don’t want to be bigger than a G : (

        • Either way is fine, whichever you prefer. I’ll probably see it sooner if you email (brasandbodyimage@gmail.com). Which country are you in? Is that a US or UK G?
          There’s nothing wrong with being a G or bigger. G+ cups are actually pretty common, a lot of people just need re-fitting!

  17. This is a great post. thank you for it! And I want that hot pink Ewa Michalak you are wearing in the 70J!!!!

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  20. This blog is so fantastic, and I’ve learned so much already. I’ve had a rough time finding bras since about January. (this is going to be lengthy, sorry) I spent most of my life (until about 21) as a ballerina, and unsurprisingly small-chested (34A…though now I’m not even sure about that!). I then got sick and was put on medication, and my breasts grew. A lot. Until January, I had a couple bras that were comfortable at 34C (I think. May have been 36C) from Victoria’s Secret. It had been a while since I bought bras, so I went in for some more. When I was measured (I was in a sports bra and not intending to be measured that day) the girl measured me to be 34DD. I pretty much had a break down in the store (25 years old crying about bra size. ridiculous), but I somehow managed to try on new bras from their super limited selection. I bought a couple but realized very quickly that I hated them. A few weeks later went to Aerie, and they measured me to be the same 34DD. I bought four bras that day (and was somehow talked into a push up bra that I’ve never worn. I don’t like my boobs the size they are! Why would I want to push them up!?) I hate these bras too. (all Stella 34DD) I feel like the outside edges of the underwire are so far side, and they push into my armpit. They gap at what should be the fullest part of the cup. Just now, I measured my band size (five times because I can’t believe it) and it’s not even 31″! I’m not sure where the 34 is even coming from! I hate these bras so much, that I avoid wearing them at all costs. I’m pretty active, so I wear sports bras a lot, and when I’m just relaxing at home, I usually don’t even have a bra on. When I do go out and wear a real bra, I try to wear something baggy because I feel so uncomfortable. And it doesn’t help that the first time I saw my sister since I stopped dancing, her first words were, “Holy crap your boobs are huge!” I’m having a hard time coming to terms with my “new” body, and this bra business isn’t helping at all. Any suggestions?

  21. Thank you for this post. I was wrongly fitted into a 38B bra, which after scooping and swooping was very clearly too small and caused a lot of back pain and headaches. I then fitted myself into a 36E, which fits like a dream after scooping and swooping, so, thanks!

  22. I don’t understand how to “swoop and scoop.” There doesn’t seem to be any breast tissue for me to “scoop.” I wear a 34B, and I honestly think that is correct–I’ve read several online guides, and they usually put me in a 36A or 36B, but the band in those is always too loose (probably because my ribcage actually measures 35), and the cup is too small in the 36A and too big in the 36B. Guides on how bras are supposed to fit also tell me that mine fit more or less correctly. I don’t understand how small-breasted women do this: the little breast tissue I have seems to be in the cup already (?). It’s not a huge deal. I’m just a bit confused.

    • Laura, read the following paragraph again. **The trick is to bend over before you put your bra on.** I thought I was a 34B for 20 years, and I’m really a 30DD. This will change your life. (“Several online guides” are probably wrong; I was a trained bra fitter at JCPenney and we learned NOTHING of this.)

      To put your bra on properly, lean forwards so that your breasts fall into the cups, then fasten the band behind you (you can put the shoulder straps on before or after this part). Then, still leaning forwards, hold either the shoulder strap or the end of the underwire with one hand, and reach into your armpit with the other. Gently scoop from the armpit into the cup. Next, hold the bottom of the underwire with one hand, and reach into the bottom of the cup with the other. Use one hand to align the underwire to sit at the root of your breast, and gently lift your breast up into the cup with the other. You might prefer to align the underwire and then scoop from the armpit, but either way should work quite well. If after doing this, you find that you have overspill, the cup is too small – try a bigger cup. If the cups seem to fit well straight after scooping and swooping, but then your breasts seem to move back out of the cups when you move around, this suggests your band is too loose to keep your breasts enclosed in the cups – try a band size down and a cup up (e.g. 34D -> 32DD).

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  25. After reading this post I found out that my 32a was too small. I always thought adjusting bras was for ladies with big boobs! Thanks for posting the photos of the smaller ladies, or I wouldn’t have even tried! :)

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  27. Okay, I need help! This article brought me from a “32B” according to a VS measurement …. to (according to the measurements and the calculator/graphs) a 30DDD! I’m 29″ under bust and 34.5″ around my breasts. Where do you find bras like that!? I went all over a mall and found none… barely any at all under 34″… I was hoping to at least try some on somewhere before just ordering online… you know how hard it is to find a bra just by shopping in the store, I’m terrified to see what the internet will bring me. I was really excited to find out that my whole life has been a lie… until I tried to find bras that would actually fit.

    • With those measurements I’d give you a starting size of 30DD, but you will probably also want to try 30Ds and 30Es (30DDD in US sizing) for comparison. You might have some luck finding these sizes at Nordstrom, Dillards or Intimacy, if you’re near any of those stores? I believe they stock down to a 30 band and at least up to a UK FF cup, so you should be able to try a 30DD and sizes around that.

      • Okay, I ordered a few different styles, mostly 30DD, and I’ll just go from there. There are a few of those stores around 2 hours from me, I think I’m going to try to do it through the mail though because I don’t want to drive that far and find nothing.. or nothing affordable for me right now. I did however find some nice bras on clearance on Nordstrom’s website and so I ordered from there and Amazon! Once I know my size and more about how they’re actually supposed to fit hopefully ordering online won’t be so terrible. I have a feeling if more women knew about this the sizes in the stores would be very different. Thanks so much!!!

    • After getting my measurements (from 32a to 28d/30c) I went on Amazon b/c the returns are very easy: http://www.amazon.com/b-temptd-Wacoal-Womens-Balconette-Vanilla/dp/B008MU80C0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378898997&sr=8-1&keywords=30ddd that’s one of the bras I liked, and it comes in 30ddd. I don’t think the mall has anything for us. :P But if you search amazon.com for 30ddd there are a lot of results. I read a lot of reviews to find out what other ladies thought of the bras before I bought any. I returned 3 out of 4 bras still, and I’m glad I ordered so many so I could try on and compare. Especially because I wasn’t sure about sizing due to doing the measurements myself. 28d/30c have the same volume with different band sizes, which is why I bought in both sizes. I liked how the 30c fit best. :)

      • Yay!! I ordered that one and a few others, I’ll just exchange them until I find a good fit! I’m still mind blown about all of this. Thanks so much!

        • You’re welcome! I spent a few days a couple of weeks ago being mind blown myself! :) And then it took me a few days to figure out how to GET a bra in those sizes so I could try them and still return them. :) I hope you find something you like!

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  29. Wow! Until I read the smaller bust section, I was thinking the whole time “this is cool, but how will it help me?” Well, I used to SWEAR I was barely an “A cup”, but then I learned that cup isn’t universal! Wow! So, then I knew I was 32A and I have worn 32B before, but I don’t remember how they fit.

    I have VS bras (Only one is SUPER comfortable), but they are super old and I had been looking into getting some new ones.

    So, I was kindly directed to this blog! ^_^ Man, it’s awesome Read all the comments and everything. I think… *think* I’m a 32B… My measurements are 32″ and 34″ exactly. :-)

    I want to go try some bras on, but I’m scared to! Haha

    But, I hope I can pass this good information to my friends. Every woman needs to know this!

  30. So apparently I am a 30 E or F. I have worn 32c’s and 34c’s and noone believed me bacause I am short and small framed and I dont have “big breasts” So I cut out the labels of my bras and hope nobody asks me again my size. I love my breasts and my correct size but I have had drag queens and “bigger girls” tell me that I am an A cup

    • I’m glad you’ve found a better fit. There’s a lot of ignorance around bra sizing, and too many people feel entitled to comment on other people’s bodies or clothes sizes – it can be pretty frustrating. I hope you can keep ignoring the comments and looking after yourself xx

  31. Thank you . I now can run without underwires poking into me, stretch without the band moving around, have better posture, and am glad that I am looking after myself.

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  33. I done the scoop and swoop with one of my current bras, a 40C. It fits perfectly in the cup (I think) but fat bulges over the top of the band under my armpits and it also bulges a bit underneath the band..

  34. This is a great post. However, I’ve got a lifelong habit stopping me from using it. You see, ever since my mom showed me how to put on a bra, I’ve been doing it her way: holding the band to my ribs with the cups against my back, fastening the clasps in front of my sternum, sliding the band around so that the cups are in the front, putting my boobs in the cups, then putting on the straps. I’ve never learned to fasten the clasps “behind me,” and on the few times I’ve tried, I found it pointlessly awkward. “They just do it like this in the movies because it looks more sophisticated,” I reasoned before giving up. Laziness always prevails.

    Do you absolutely have to let my boobs “fall” into the cups before the clasp is fastened? Or can I fasten it, rotate the band, then pull the cups up to “collect” the boobs? Does it make a difference?

    • A lot of women can fasten their bras behind them with practice, but a lot of women can’t, so don’t stress too much if you have trouble with it. You can still adjust properly without fastening the bra behind you, you just might have a bit more scooping, swooping, and jiggling to do. Leaning forward and letting your breasts fall into the cups helps to ensure your breasts aren’t squished, so you will have to make sure to lift your breasts fully into the cups. If you fasten the bra behind you and spin it round, it will probably work best if you lean forward when you put the cups on, pull the wires up to the root of your breasts, then continue to scoop and swoop. If you do it this way, the swooping will be important to remember – make sure you reach into the bottom of the cup, lift your breast up, and align the wires to your root.

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  39. Great article!! What you’ve shared makes so much sense. I’m probably wearing the wrong size bra and anxious to try these techniques to finally get a good fit. The problem is to find a place that actually has large size bras in-store to try on. I think my best option, and much trial and error, is to find a good online resource for large size bras with free shipping :) Do you have any recommendations (I’m in the U.S.)? Thanks for taking the time to blog all this HELPful info :)

    • I’m glad you found my post useful! :)

      For full-bust bras in the US, I would definitely check out Amazon. They have a surprisingly large range of bras, and a lot of them (the ones stocked by Amazon rather than marketplace sellers) have free shipping and returns. There are a few other sites I’ve heard of that have a good size range, such as HerRoom, Bare Necessities, A Sophisticated Pair, Butterfly Collection, and Breakout Bras, though I’m not entirely sure on the shipping/return policies of these ones. I think Figleaves might also ship from the US, though you’d have to check that one. There’s a list of online retailers here, which might be useful: http://bustyresources.wikia.com/wiki/Online_retailer

      There are a few in-person places you might have luck, too. I think Nordstrom (more likely Nordstrom Rack), Intimacy and Dillards stock up to about a GGish cup, though usually only from a 30-32 band. You might like to look at this list of physical bra stores and see if there are any full-bust bra stores near you: http://bustyresources.wikia.com/wiki/Online_retailer :)

  40. I enjoyed your article except that yo and several other “bra” sites seem to cater to girls under 40. I, and many of my over 40 friends, are physically uncomfortable or unable to put on a bra the way you suggest. Might you kindly include some ideas for us old/arthritic biddies? :D . Thanks.

    • Hey Lisa, thanks for your comment! While putting your bra on like this is the best way to ensure it is properly adjusted for most people, obviously not all people are able to. I don’t have any personal experience in techniques for those with limited movement, but I can give a few possible suggestions. My suggestions are just based on what I think could be harder to do, but as this isn’t something I’ve experienced personally, I might completely overlook various possible issues. Please let me know if I overlook any of the main issues (yours or anyone else’s), so I can look for other possibilities for adjusting.

      If you struggle reaching behind you to fasten your bra, you can fasten your bra at the front (with the cups on the back) and spin it round before moving it up to your breast root and putting the shoulder straps on. If you wear firm bands this may put some strain on the band, but obviously it’s better to strain your bra than yourself. If spinning your bra round is also an issue, you may benefit from front-fastening bras (such as those from Decent Exposures).

      If you struggle bending over and straightening up, you can put on/adjust your bra leaning only as far as you feel comfortable, or even just standing if necessary. I generally recommend leaning forwards as this helps your breast tissue to fall into the cups, but you can still use the rest of the techniques standing. If you can hold the side underwire with one hand, scoop from the armpit with the other, then lift your breast with one hand and jiggle the underwire to your breast root with the other, you should still be able to get the bra fairly well adjusted without leaning.

      If you struggle with the adjusting itself, it may be slightly harder to ensure you are fully adjusted into the cups, especially if done standing. If you find it hard to use one hand to hold onto the same-side underwire, you may find that you can do most of the adjusting using just the opposite hand to scoop from the armpit, then lift your breast up. You can also use the opposite hand to pull the cup up at the top then push it up to your root from the bottom, if jiggling the underwire up with your same-side hand is difficult. As with my original method for adjusting your bra, you may find that you need to repeatedly scoop, lift and move the cup before you are fully adjusted, especially as doing it with just your opposite hand may be somewhat less effective at getting your bra to the right place, but you should still be able to adjust fairly well.

      From a quick test, I do still seem to be able to adjust my bra fairly well using only the above (fastening at the front while standing, putting on the shoulder straps, then adjusting using only my opposite hand), though as I do not have any issues with limited movement I imagine this is still somewhat easier for me to do. Please let me know if there are other any other issues I have overlooked which you would like ideas for.

  41. Hi id really appreciate if anyone could please give me a site for 32dd that is like 15or 20 bucks I’m currently wearing 32c but there is huge freaking overspill also will my boobs eventually shrink if I keep wearing too small bras

    • I just got a fabulous bra from Figleaves.com, their US site. I only got one because I wanted to make sure it fit before ordering anymore. I went from cramming myself into 36-38 C’s (thanks a lot, VS) to finding out I should actually be in a 34 J (34 GG, UK). From reading comments on the subreddit, I decided to go with a UK company because their sizes are more consistent, and found that Figleaves has a U.S. distributor too. It fits perfect and for way cheaper than most places would charge for a bra that size. In my searches, I didn’t find anything quality that was that inexpensive, but the Figleaves clearance section was very reasonable, I paid $34 for this one including shipping. I used to pay almost double that at VS for a C-cup! If anyone has any sites where I could find one for even less than that, I’m all ears! :)

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