First is the Elle Macpherson number. Really nice fit, cute style but, obviously, not what I'm looking for. Lacy, not see-through enough and I'm not digging the cream bits at all. Not for this mission anyway. Outside of the quest for the perfect bra, I would definitely wear this. It was comfy too. It was £38 which, though a bit much for a bra I'm not completely head over heels for, really isn't that bad. To be honest, I'd be inclined to buy this just for the shape it gives. Nice and round... not nuclear warhead-esque shapes going on here. I'm not a fan of anything but a nice round silhouette where my boobs are concerned thank you very much! Also, it's not right up to my chin so could be worn with lower necklines.
Next is a totally see-through Freya bra. Yeah, sorry about that. Haha! This was also a 36DD and, although a bit of a squeeze, actually not bad. Goddamn pink bows and bits. If there weren't any of those fussy details, this bra, even with its seams, would have been a sure contender for the award. Sadly, not this time. I grumbled quite a lot about that on my way to return it to the fitting room staff in John Lewis. Still, this pic serves as an example of the fit more than anything really! Snug, but not bad.
Next I headed to La Senza. It would seem these guys don't actually believe in see through at all... so that was a bit of a waste of time. However, time was something I had to kill so I decided to try a black balcony bra I liked the look of just to see what it was like. It made my boobs into a shelf, was way too bulky and not very comfortable. It was a 36E and felt no different in size to the Freya one above except that it was a bit tighter across the back. Have look. That's it to the left. Mega-shelf of dooom.
Finally, for bra pics anyway, the Kiss Me Deadly bra. This is the one my friend Karolina (see 2 entries before this one) found for me at the Playful Promises sample sale last week. What a steal at £5! It was damaged and needed a bit of a repair job as one of the rings that holds the strap at the back had broken. Karolina, being a lingerie designer/maker, had a few spare rings though so she included a pair when she sent this to me. I repaired it this morning and whaddya know?! It fits perfectly... and it's only a 36D. Now. If I was ACTUALLY a 36D, this quest would have been over before it began... but I'm not... so it wasn't. I'm wearing this bra right now (this pic was taken about half an hour ago) and it has to be said, it's £5 incredibly well spent! It's the Van Doren style sheer bra that is still available on the site (linked above) in limited sizes and it retails at £25. Sadly, though more than adequate in every other way, it doesn't make the grade for one major and one minor reason. Major = it's sheer but barely see through at all as it's 2 layers of fairly dense mesh. Minor = seams, goddamn it.
So, all of this faffing about with strange sizing lead me to do a bit of research into measurements and how they work. Ladies! Tape measures at the ready!
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR BRA SIZE
Back size: In order to find one's back size (the number bit, so, in my case it's 36), measure around your ribcage, underneath your boobies. If you measure an even number, add 4 inches to this measurement and that gives you your measurement (so, my underbust measurement is 32"). If you measure an odd number, add 5 inches (so if you measure 31", you'd also be a 36). Make sure to pull fairly tight when measuring... but obviously not so tight it's cutting into your skin!
Cup size: Next, take the tape measure and measure around the fullest part of your bust. I find the best way to do this is to measure whilst wearing a NON-PADDED bra. Right. Now you take your back size (this is INCLUDING the 4 or 5 inch addition) and subtract it from your bust measurement. I measure 40.5" so i shall use myself as an example. The next bit is pretty easy. If your measurements are the same (i.e. back size including 4 or 5 inches = 36 & bust size = 36), you are an A cup. If it is one inch bigger, you are a B cup. 2 inches is a C, 3 inches is a D and so on and so forth. Obviously, taking into account the presence of sizes such as DD, it basically continues through the alphabet with each inch indicating one cupsize. As I am 40.5 inches, that lands me right bang smack in between a DD and an E. It is my opinion that in cases such as this it is best to round upwards as a bit of extra room is far preferable to a bra that pinches a little.
By way of a disclaimer, I would like to say that, first of all, I do not profess to be an expert in bra fitting at all... this is purely what I have gleaned from poking about online, paying attention to what happens when being fitted and reading about it in shops. The above instruction for fitting is what most places, including many high street shops, consider to be 'standard' but, as evidenced by the various sizes I supposedly am, there doesn't appear to be any such thing as standard so this is to be treated as a rough guide! Also, please note that sizes in different countries may differ slightly and that this is based on UK sizes.
My advice, where bra shopping is concerned, is quite simple. If you can try on, definitely do so. If you're in a hurry and just want to buy and go, or if you are shopping online, make absolutely sure you can return anything that turns out to be wrong. With the differences I have experienced just this week alone, I feel it would be foolhardy to assume you'll get it right just by going by each shop/brands size chart every time.
Ok, I'm almost done now. I have 2 more things to address! First of all, my last entry received a lot of feedback and suggestions. Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to read and respond! It's much appreciated. If you like what you've seen/read so far, don't forget to recommend it to your friends! Anyway, I'm getting off topic. One of the responses I had to the last entry was from a representative of Gossard having been directed to my blog by a mutual friend. She informed me that the brand currently has a line entitled 'Glossies' which includes a sheer, black, seamless bra. JOY OF JOYS!! But... guess what?! It stops at a D cup. For now anyway. She also informed me that, due to much hassle from larger busted women, they are currently working on larger sizes for this same line with a view to releasing them sometime in the new year. This is amazing news :D Might I ACTUALLY find a suitable sheer, black, seamless bra on the mass market? Time will tell! But this illustrates a different point as well. Enough moaning and hassle from us, the general, bigger busted, publc CAN get results. You see now why I want to get as much weight behind this blog as possible? Seriously. The more the merrier!
Ok, ok... I can see you're all falling asleep. I shall hopefully liven you all up a bit with this next picture. One of the greatest things to come from the whole burlesque movement (and I promise you, I'm not turning this blog into yet another ode to the art of striptease, pin-up or the 1950's) is definitely pasties! And now, with the likes of Gothfox Designs and Nikki Lipstick on the scene, you now have a very contemporary take on the good old classic nipple tassle! Gothfox have stuck with the decorative feel that burlesque is so well known and loved for, but has applied it to designs as fun and far-removed from the boudoir aesthetic as the Star Trek logo. Seriously, go look! Nikki Lipstick, on the other hand, has taken the concept of nipple pasties and made it all her own with seriously cute and eminently wearable designs that include stuff like lips, kitty faces, Hello Kitty-esque bows through geeky designs such as the Tri-Force logo and Pokeballs to more simplistic yet seriously effective designs like X's, crosses & triangles. Being a bit of a goth, I couldn't resist the crosses so I shall leave you with one of my boobs modelling one of my Nikki Lipstick crosses! Cheeky ;)