9:15 am - 03/12/2009

Bra Fit with Wide Breasts


So I've come across a curious question that I don't know if there's a good answer to.

I apparently have wide breasts. I kinda knew this- they're always spaced so far apart that cleavage is all but impossible- but I'm starting to think that they are wide themselves. As in more flesh from side to side than from the chest out.

This leads to interesting bra fittings. Fitted the normal way (around the breasts and then either around the chest just underneath the breasts or above them) I get a range from 34A-36B. But then I found this book that had a new type of sizing where you took your band size just under your breasts, then you measure each breast individually from your side to your sternum. Then there's a little chart that goes with it to tell you what your size is. With that method it says I'm a 36C. (It's this book. I snagged it from the library.)

I love the range I get. :)

So I decided to try on a C. I've never had something fit more comfortably on the sides; the underwire isn't digging into my breasts and it actually fits. From side to side. I've got this gap I can stick my fingers in between the bra and my flesh. So I try on a B in the same style/brand as the other one. My breasts now fit in the front but the wire is digging into the sides again.

I'll admit I know next to nothing about bras- so I don't really know what to do next. And unfortunately I need molded/padded bras because I have these huge, puffy nipples/areoli that will poke out of even the thickest fabric.

Am I doomed to have either a gap, or being stuck in the sides by the wire? I know the "perfect bra" doesn't exist but I can get close, right?
kappyjeanne 12th-Mar-2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
I battled with bra sizes for years, trying to convince myself I was a C when I went to get sized by a professional I was a G.
Conventional bra sizes are inconvenient and most likely the wrong size, try to find a specialty store for underwear and bra fittings and take 45 minutes out of your time to try on VARIOUS sizes.

I dunno about the perfect bra not existing, I finally have mine :)
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Yay! So it does exist. :)

Unfortunately the only specialty store we have in this town is Victoria's Secret and I've heard not to trust the fittings there.
ldy_shadow 12th-Mar-2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Do you have a Lane Bryant?

As an ex bra-fitter, I would suggest going up a band size. Try a 38B instead of a 36, and see if that eliminates the gap while keeping the wire comfortable.

airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
I don't know actually. I heard ours was closing in the mall but I don't know if it's gone yet or not.

I'll try that, thanks! I have a horrible issue with them sliding up all the time usually so I didn't think about that.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
The bands are really tight on me still- they leave red marks. Maybe I'll look for those barely sizes. Thanks!

I hate bras, they're so confusing.
atalanta0jess 12th-Mar-2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Try different brands too...unfortunately sizing is pretty inconsistent, but that might work to your advantage in this situation.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
I will when I go out to get some. These were gift bras. :) Thanks!

I wish it wasn't so darn hard to find a bra. I'd go without but HBC has made them sore all the freaking time.
frogs_n_turtles 12th-Mar-2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
Not to butt in.. but, if your breasts are sore due to hormones, try taking Evening Primrose oil! That stuff is awesome! You can get it in pill form at Wal-mart. I had breast-tenderness while I was on the Patch (I hit a bump while driving and about burst into tears from the pain!). I began taking Evening Primrose and the pain was gone after a few days!
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
You're not butting in. :) I love that stuff. Unfortunately bouncing still kind of hurts sometimes, and my latest pill made my skin tag on my nipple pop out and it was agony whenever something brushed against it. So I still need bras. :/ But yes, Evening Primrose is the best stuff ever.
frogs_n_turtles 12th-Mar-2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Ugh! Well, I hope you find something soon!
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm going off HBC so we'll see what my breasts do then. I miss not having to wear a bra.
pygmybugs 12th-Mar-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I kinda have the same problem. It's one of the reasons I like shopping at places like TJMaxx or Marshalls -- I can try on a TON of different brands and styles, whereas a place like Victoria's Secret or something has a few styles, but still built on the same sizing algorhythm or whatever.

I used to have really good luck with full-figured bras, but then I lost a bunch of weight. The proportions are still the same, but they don't appear to make them in a small enough size for me anymore.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
My breasts have fluctuated so much recently that I know it's adding to my "what the hell do I do with them" thing. Lost weight, dropped to an A. Suddenly gained a ton of boob from no where so all my bras hurt. It's annoying. At least I'm not alone. Thanks! :)
pygmybugs 12th-Mar-2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, lost 80lbs, went from a "I refuse to wear anything larger than a DD" (probably a couple sizes bigger than that) to a...kind of a C-. Heh. Went on birth control, boobs got bigger, not not fatty-tissue-bigger like they were before, more like increased-glandular-tissue-bigger? I have no idea. Just that my breasts appear to have multiple personalities. And I rotate through several bras that all fit badly in a different way. Monday I get stabbed in the armpits by underwires, Tuesday I get my ribcage rubbed raw by a too-small band, Wednesday my left tit will pop out two or three times (it's the runt)...et cetera.

I feel yer pain!
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
Yeap. Sounds like my bra rotation too, although it's an almost universal symptom that my bra rides up on the front regardless as to if I have the band so tight it cuts off circulation or my straps are falling off. My boobs just refuse to cooperate. :D
kayla1906 12th-Mar-2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
I agree with others, go to a specialty store, and also try different brands and sizes. Knowing your size is only a starting point from then are there are many variables. The best think to do is take your time and try on different bras, size and brand. When you find one that fits and feels good buy it, don't worry about what size it is. In fact you may find several different brand and styles all different sizes. Everyone does not fit the same mold, the manufacturers try but it is impossible.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I hate bra shopping and now I'm going through major hormonal change and so I don't know what my chest is going to do. Unfortunately I need bras now even though I want to wait until they settle into whatever. Thanks!
starsatnight13 12th-Mar-2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
Bras CAN be altered! You might have to look around a lot to find a place that will do it (or do it yourself if you have the skills) but you could easily put a dart in a cup that is too roomy in the bottom/top/where ever you don't fill out. I got a bra fitting at a shop in Dallas that did alterations on bras. I had never even thought about the possibility before!
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
That's cool. I'd never do it myself (boning in a bodice is hard enough to sew) but maybe I can find a place. Thanks!
shil 12th-Mar-2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
If a 36C is comfortable width-wise but you aren't filling it up, I'd say try a 38B or 38A (as the band gets bigger, the cups get wider). If you can't get a good professional fitting, the next best thing is to just try a whole bunch of sizes on! Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you're putting your bra on correctly - if you don't already do it, try putting on your bra normally, and then sticking your hands into the cups and pulling each breast in/up.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:43 pm (UTC)
If the 36 bands ride up on me would the 38 be any better to counteract that? Sorry I'm so clueless.

My breasts don't like to stay fluffed. I feel like I do it every half hour or so. XD
shil 12th-Mar-2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Although you'd think that a 38 band would be the same size regardless of the cup size, for some reason it often just isn't. I wear a 34D, and there's no way I could fit the band of a 34A or B around my ribcage, even if my breasts weren't in it. I'm by no means sure that this will work, but like I said, you just have to try a whole bunch of sizes on, even if they seem a bit unlikely.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'll try anything. Thanks!
mercy_rain 12th-Mar-2009 05:32 pm (UTC)
Have you tried full-figure bras? FF doesn't necessarily mean "big" - they're designed for women whose breast tissue expands further back toward the underarm area, not just on the front of the chest wall.
pygmybugs 12th-Mar-2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
I used to LOVE FF bras, but I have a harder time finding them in a 30/32 D. Usually I can only find down to a 36 or 38 band size. I know you can tweak things somewhat as far as band, but a 38 on the smallest hook setting I could still probably fit another person inside.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Good to note. :) I'll see if 38s work for me and try them out. I think my bras are all demi ones, and my two balconettes.
archangelbeth 12th-Mar-2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. Have you checked out http://www.herroom.com/solve-bra-size-and-fit-problems,909,30.html ? It has a lot of "problem/solution" situations, and might be useful to you.

airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Ooo, thank you! My Google-fu is totally broken today and when I tried to look before I asked I didn't find anything helpful.

Man, I have a lot of those problems. Stupid bras. I vote for going around topless. XD
scarletwildfire 12th-Mar-2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Strangely enough, this is half the reason I wear nothing but sports bras... I hate trying to figure out what size is right, and those peeps that stand there and measure? Ugh... I always feel like they put me in the size of something for an elephant, not me.
airenwoodmoon 12th-Mar-2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
I used to do that all the time, then I started working in an office and sports bras don't hide under some tops well. :) I love sports bras.
frolicnaked 13th-Mar-2009 04:09 am (UTC)
I have as hard a time with "widely available in stores" sports bras as I do with any other type. I can never find one that fits me. :P
everyday22 13th-Mar-2009 04:08 am (UTC)
I can't offer much advice since I'm in the same boat you are, but I've heard that front-close bras can work wonders. I've just never gotten around to trying one, lol.
airenwoodmoon 13th-Mar-2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
That's the one bra I already have that I love. Unfortunately I either gained mass, or it started to get stretched out because it's starting to slip up like all the others. But it was wonderful while it lasted. I tend to like racer backs anyway. :) Thanks!
mrsnoname1999 13th-Mar-2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
I noticed in the comments you mentioned that you have issues with the band riding up on you. If they're sliding up, then the band's too BIG. Try going down a BAND size, but up a CUP size.

See this post for a pretty comprehensive bra-fitting guide. (These guidelines apply whether' you're a a 32A or a 52JJ! ;) )
kikickola 17th-Nov-2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh my god I have the exact same problem! girl maybe you and i should get together. i hate going bra shopping i find it the most trecherous thing on earth.
airenwoodmoon 17th-Nov-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
I detest going bra shopping more than anything else. :D
kikickola 18th-Nov-2009 12:01 am (UTC)
yeah me too, i find it traumatic. i wish somebody would design a line of bras for people with wider set breasts. there must be more than just two of us in the entire world. everytime i try on a bra i feel like a freak because im just not meant for it. my breasts start out farther back and sit wider apart on my chest. they stick out the sides of the bra and don't touch in the middle. i wonder how many women have this problem.
airenwoodmoon 18th-Nov-2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
It's probably more women than we think. But at least we know we're not alone. :)
kikickola 20th-Nov-2009 01:16 am (UTC)
kikickola 23rd-Nov-2009 06:16 am (UTC)
and why is it that everytime i go bra shopping i get catted out by some rude salesgirl. like the fake smile i got from the one today at la senza? i cannot handle a girl like that helping me to buy something as personal as a bra.
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