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Bra specialist
June 12, 2003 10:16 AM   Subscribe

He can tell you a woman's bra size from 10 feet away. "When I first came into the business, cup sizes came in A, B, C and D." These days he stocks up to J, and says he could use a K.
posted by Oriole Adams (50 comments total)

 
Give that man a Nobel prize. There's nothing uglier, or more uncomfortable, than an ill-fitting brassiere.

It's not that hard to get it right.

If you must wear one, that is.
posted by padraigin at 10:24 AM on June 12, 2003


The Big Squeeze.
posted by debralee at 10:39 AM on June 12, 2003


Sadly, our society doesn't support (no pun intended) the appearance of breasts that have never been fettered.

"Do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro..."
posted by padraigin at 10:47 AM on June 12, 2003


I guess America really is overweight.
posted by linux at 10:59 AM on June 12, 2003


Overweight yes, but there is another factor that to me is far more scary. Girls and boys these days are hitting puberty much earlier than ever before, due to hormones used by manufacturers in the meat, dairy, and poultry industries, as well as residues from pesticides.

My own niece is a (to me) sad example of this. She is five-and-a-half, talks and thinks and plays like five-and-a-half, but she is almost as tall as I am at 5'4", and is developing breasts and pubic hair. At age 5!! And yes, her parents have fed her on tons and tons of (non-organic) meat and dairy. I don't think she ate a thing besides cheeseburgers the entire year she was four.

Higher levels of estrogen not only stimulate breast growth, but have been closely linked with breast cancer, as well as various problems for both males and females. Does the meat industry care?
posted by jfwlucy at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2003


Higher levels of estrogen not only stimulate breast growth

Wow, so I guess I'd be even less than an A-cup if I hadn't practically been living on dairy for all 30-mumble years of my life?

I'm only half-joking, actually. My age really is 30-mumble.
posted by scody at 11:57 AM on June 12, 2003


jfwlucy, while I share your concern over the amount of hormones and other additives in our food the premier supply of growth hormones is still our own body. Pineal dysfunctions are known to cause early puberty and as the pineal gland is effected by light another interesting theory is that the amount of artifical lighting in modern society is the culprit. Also, overweight in children also creates an increased production of female growth hormones and as society becomes wealthier the amount of overweight children sadly increases.
posted by cx at 12:16 PM on June 12, 2003


The last time I studied this topic (about two years ago), the conclusion of the serious, non-anecdotal research was that the age of menarche hasn't changed in over a generation despite all the wailing and teeth-gnashing from alarmists.

Other developmental changes were attributed to two factors that seem a bit at odds, namely that malnutrition had delayed development in the past, and that hormonal changes from kids having higher body fat ratios were cultivating the hormonal levels that fostered quicker development.
posted by NortonDC at 12:38 PM on June 12, 2003


I'm the same way with crotches. I can tell the size of a man's penis from across the room.
posted by filchyboy at 12:47 PM on June 12, 2003


hormones used by manufacturers in the meat, dairy, and poultry industries, as well as residues from pesticides.

Don't forget the shampoo industry, but this is mainly geared at the black community, so it mainly remains ignored by the general public.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2003


Jesus god, I can't IMAGINE a FF!! How on earth do you WALK? I've always been small (36B) and although sometimes it would be nice to have something guys look at, I'm glad when I want to wear a sundress, tanktop, or bikini! (Besides, my husband swears he likes 'em small. maybe he's just being nice. Smart man.)

Even with normal and small size, it's EXTREMELY hard to find a bra that fits comfortably. I've never gone to get sized, has anyone else out there? Do you recommend it?

A man who can pick out a bra size from 10 feet has seen a LOOOOOT of breasts!
posted by aacheson at 1:11 PM on June 12, 2003


I wonder if this man can fit these women.
posted by orange swan at 1:36 PM on June 12, 2003


"36D. So what? Is that all that you got?"

-- Beautiful South
posted by kirkaracha at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2003


filchyboy, do you teach that trick? :)

when i was a little heavier [okay, 12 kilos and two cup sizes heavier] It was so depressing trying to find a decent bra that fit, I would have loved this store. They have some larger sizes, but they are so ugly. I'd look at these adorable a-cup's with dandelion straps and ask, please - does this come in a size larger than B? The answer was always no. I never understood why girls who can blissfully run around bra-less, have the widest choice.
posted by dabitch at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2003


Bra sizing is archaic. Who came up with the whole "then add 5 inches to the measurement" thing? A man, obviously (measure your penis--then add five inches!) ;-) Someone should come up with a better system. I have never found bras to be that comfortable, so when I can, I skip them. Unfortunately, anyone above an A or B doesn't have that option.

I've had women working in lingerie stores say to me "Well, a 36 A is the same as a 34 B." Um, no, it's not. Those are two different sizes. They fit totally differently on your body.

He can tell you a woman's bra size from 10 feet away

Anyone else think "Prince Humperdink"?
posted by witchstone at 1:48 PM on June 12, 2003


aacheson - i'm back to my normal self now and I'm telling you, don't pass D, it's not fun.
posted by dabitch at 1:50 PM on June 12, 2003


Don't listen to her aacheson! She's deranged! ;)

Just kidding, besides I can assure you, you're husband's not the only one out there. There are plenty of us. But that aside, I had a girlfriend who was going through some hormonal issues a while back and we'd have to go shop for various and sundry sizes each month. I can attest that the large ones are not only detrimental to fashion but also to your back, while some of the "odd" sizes (small girth, large cup or vice versa) are virtually impossible to find, she made it though and regulated out. My roommate here in DC also had a reduction from a 36dd to a 36c, her back thanks her every night!

Just glad I don't have to worry about it until I need the "manzier" aka "bro"
posted by Pollomacho at 2:01 PM on June 12, 2003


aa - I agree with your hubby, much more than a handful's a waste.
posted by SpecialK at 2:49 PM on June 12, 2003


I've been measured repeatedly, and until I just decided to try on a handful of sizes, just for the hell of it, I never got the right size.
posted by astrogirl at 3:01 PM on June 12, 2003


At my bachelorette party, one of the strippers proclaimed he could determine any woman's bra size. After cupping my breast, he guessed - 3 full band sizes and one cup size off. I was not impressed.
posted by ferociouskitty at 3:04 PM on June 12, 2003


I've had women working in lingerie stores say to me "Well, a 36 A is the same as a 34 B." Um, no, it's not. Those are two different sizes. They fit totally differently on your body.

Now I understand the statistic about how some absurd percentage of women are wearing the wrong bra size.

"Now it's not bulging," she said. "It was all bulging before."

If it bulges it doesn't fit. Going the other direction, if you look "dented" it doesn't fit. If you unhook it and go "ahhhhhhhhhh!" it doesn't fit.

I am very picky about bras and bra fit.
posted by ilsa at 3:19 PM on June 12, 2003


Now I understand the statistic about how some absurd percentage of women are wearing the wrong bra size.

Yes, and as Pollomacho points out, it can be almost impossible to get bras in odd combinations of number and cup size. I am a 32 D and settle for wearing a 34 C because most stores just don't carry my size, or if they do, they don't have it in stock. It's all just way too irritating to pursue.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:29 PM on June 12, 2003


I am a 32 D

Clearly they don't call you redfoxtail for nothing.
posted by goethean at 3:48 PM on June 12, 2003


I'm so glad codpieces are out of fashion.
posted by stavrogin at 3:49 PM on June 12, 2003


As far as breat size guys, I'm with aacheson's husband. 34 double-D's become 34 double-longs at about age 34. Muh - What's the point?

I've noticed on ancient statues, what look to be B's are the norm.
posted by notsnot at 4:44 PM on June 12, 2003


Gah, snot, how depressing for this natural 38EE to hear - no matter how much I dread it. And no, I would never choose to be this size, let alone pay for it.
That said, I cannot express how emotional it really was to finally find a nice looking bra (smooth t-shirt one that goes under anything) that actually fit a couple of years ago. I was literally tearing up, and was all "it (the middle of the underwires between the breasts) touches my chest, it really does", as until then the ill-fitting bras I had worn had stuck out there and were noticeable thru even slightly tight clothes. It sucked.
But now, paying over $50 and waiting for them to come from England really doesn't seem so bad, considering what I get for that.
posted by thatothrgirl at 5:50 PM on June 12, 2003


She is five-and-a-half, talks and thinks and plays like five-and-a-half, but she is almost as tall as I am at 5'4", and is developing breasts and pubic hair. At age 5!!

Someone please tell me that the reason nobody has much commented on this is that it's a complete and mind-boggling anomaly, not that it's common. Please.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:07 PM on June 12, 2003


Stavro: actually I was just generally concerned about how he knows his neice is uhm, developing hair.. down there.. Im sure its probally just one of those things that comes up in polite dinner table conversations. ;)
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 6:23 PM on June 12, 2003


jfwlucy, I reckon your niece is well outside even today's norms, and should be seeing an endocrinologist NOW.

If your niece is over 5 feet at 5 years old she's so far above the normal growth curve that I can't tell you what percentile she's in, because the graph scale isn't fine enough to show gradations smaller than 1 percentile.

If you're not exaggerating for dramatic effect, try and persuade her parents to get her checked out.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:28 PM on June 12, 2003


Followup: if the five year old niece is five feet tall, then she is as tall as the average 13 year old.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:48 PM on June 12, 2003


Well, I tell ya, if this shop was anywhere near me...I'd go and stock up on bras.

As far as breat size guys, I'm with aacheson's husband. 34 double-D's become 34 double-longs at about age 34. Muh - What's the point?- by notsnot

No, punkin...they don't. Trust me on this one. Mine are bigger than that, and they are a wonderous thing to behold. Songs have been written, poets have swooned, artists overcome...it's not easy being a fertility symbol, really.
posted by dejah420 at 8:55 PM on June 12, 2003


Jesus god, I can't IMAGINE a FF!! How on earth do you WALK?

The same as everyone else walks...

Jesus.

Surprisingly, although there is less of an obesity problem in the UK as there is in the US, the major department stores and the like do carry many more bras in larger sizes at reasonable prices (unlike the Goddess brand in the US, which, at the minimum, is $30, which is why many women go with ill-fitting, but cheap, bras). The best is Marks & Spencers, who, when I discovered that they carried 42G in more colors than intensely boring beige, I bowed before as my new deities.

And slightly smaller sizes (42F and lower) have even more brands and styles to choose from over here. It's a bra wonderland!
posted by Katemonkey at 9:18 PM on June 12, 2003


Is any other female's solution to this problem to simply seek out the bra and then proceed to stock up about three dozen pairs of it?

I know it must make life stunningly boring for my boyfriend, but honestly, the more exciting a piece of under-clothing, the less time its likely to spend actually on your body. So, really, why bother?

This could just be the 34B (who only recently realized her mammary glands were actually an asset) talking. Not that I don't sympathize with the utter frustration of finding a bra that actually fits properly, I've just adopted the lazy solution.
posted by nelleish at 9:53 PM on June 12, 2003


What, no mention of Bravissimo yet? They go up to size JJ and I believe they ship abroad.
posted by Summer at 2:23 AM on June 13, 2003


I am so going to this store when I get some spare cash. I long to get an underwire bra that actually fits properly, as thatothrgirl described. Never, in my entire life, have I had one that fits right--the whole idea of the wires actually touching one's chest? Completely foreign to me. And my other bras really don't fit right, either, but they were the best I could find at the time.

I'm very lucky, though, in that I don't have any of the problems normally associated with large breasts--no back problems, no bra straps digging into my shoulders, etc. I shudder to think what will happen if I decide to have a child, though. They may become the boobs that take over the world.
posted by eilatan at 5:36 AM on June 13, 2003


I never understood why girls who can blissfully run around bra-less, have the widest choice.

Dabitch, you answered your curiosity in making your comment.

She is five-and-a-half, talks and thinks and plays like five-and-a-half, but she is almost as tall as I am at 5'4", and is developing breasts and pubic hair. At age 5!!

Someone please tell me that the reason nobody has much commented on this is that it's a complete and mind-boggling anomaly, not that it's common. Please.

Stav, It's all in comparison for height. Taller people are usually tall as children, making them taller to short adults. Sure she is closer to almost being 4', which in observation to jfwlucy's eye level, a head shorter....and I've read about the rest even at the age of 2.
posted by thomcatspike at 6:33 AM on June 13, 2003


Reading this thread, I'm a: bored; b: a pervert. But, I had a mom who had all boys, nothing worse having to hang out in the woman's undergarments lingerie department, especially the high dollar ones, you stick out as a boy.
posted by thomcatspike at 6:39 AM on June 13, 2003


Is any other female's solution to this problem to simply seek out the bra and then proceed to stock up about three dozen pairs of it?

I know it must make life stunningly boring for my boyfriend
...

You could always keep a couple of uncomfortable ones around for those times you know you aren't going to have to wear them very long or of course he can just get over it, I mean does he wear special undies for you?
posted by Pollomacho at 6:53 AM on June 13, 2003


At my bachelorette party, one of the strippers proclaimed he could determine any woman's bra size. After cupping my breast, he guessed - 3 full band sizes and one cup size off. I was not impressed.

I bet he felt a right tit.

Ithankyou.
posted by salmacis at 7:14 AM on June 13, 2003


jfwlucy, there must be something else going on besides meat hormones with your niece.

I mean, the tall thing could just be a tall thing, it happens. And the "breasts" could be related to all the Year of Cheeseburgers, but not in the way you think. But pubic hair? More than a little unusual, and worrisome. Hopefully her parents, if not her doctor, have noticed and responded in some fashion?


does he wear special undies for you?

Heh, nope. Thanks for the image though! It's actually not an issue, we both find it amusing that I'm so unenthused about having a wide variety of undergarments. I just never felt the need, the bra is flattering, works perfectly with my clothing, and fulfills its purpose, why bother with anything else?
posted by nelleish at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2003


Besides the fit issues -- why do so many bras irritate the skin? I've bought so many that seemed to fit -- but after wearing them for a short while they itch like crazy and I can't continue to wear them. (Why are so many made of nasty man-made fabrics? That's got to be part of the problem.)

I've found a few that don't itch on me, so I stock up on those. They aren't all that nice looking -- really very plain, but at least they don't drive me insane.
posted by litlnemo at 8:11 AM on June 13, 2003


thomcatspike, since my a and b cup friends spend their money on halter tops and other clothing items that look better without a bra(strap) - I hoped the bra-makers would catch on by now and give the c-d-e-and f cups the cute dandilion ones. I'm dreaming I know. You're right of course. *deep sigh*

summer, thanks for Bravissimo link. looks good.
posted by dabitch at 8:41 AM on June 13, 2003


Summer, thank you for adding the Bravissimo link. I would be buying my bras from them, but a local store actually carries the same one. However, I want to let dabitch know to look for the tank top bras that Bravissimo came up with. They Freakin' Rock!!!
I was soooo like you wanting to wear little tank tops but the ones out there with that lazy-ass fabric piece inside they call a "bra" is freaking useless and only comes half way down....anyway. But Bravissimo came up with these tank tops with actual bras in them (you order by bra size) and in really really cute colors (I have the white and black, with the khaki on the way). They are awesome, and they have them in halter tops, too.
After I showed them to the local store, they actually contacted Bravissimo and are now selling them in Oklahoma. Sorry, not trying to advertise for them, just trying to spread the word about something really cool that I found that others in the same sitch may not know about. *shrug*
posted by thatothrgirl at 9:45 AM on June 13, 2003


I'm dreaming I know. You're right of course. *deep sigh*.

Dabitch, Dreams are real, reality may be made from dreams; make your own, you know a good market: yourself or likewise.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:36 AM on June 13, 2003


At my bachelorette party, one of the strippers proclaimed he could determine any woman's bra size. After cupping my breast, he guessed - 3 full band sizes and one cup size off. I was not impressed.

I'm impressed.

By how well that line is working out for him.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:21 PM on June 13, 2003


> He can tell you a woman's bra size from 10 feet away.

Strikes me as unprofessionally remote. I'd need much, much more first-hand evidence.
posted by jfuller at 2:08 PM on June 13, 2003


Pink Fuzzy Bunny, I'm like, a girl and stuff, y'know, & my sister-in-law and I talk about our kids a lot. Don't worry.

Joes_spleen & thomcat -- no, I'm not exaggerating a bit, sorry to say, and yes, I should have made it clear that while my side of the family tends to be small, my sister-in-law's family tends toward the gargantuan. She is one of the runts at 5'10" and her three brothers are all around 6'5", which does explain the height factor a bit. The puberty thing is the killer. It just boggles my mind and frightens me. And when I did a quick look for articles on this, it DOES seem like a well-documented and growing phenomenon to me, sorry NortonDC. Other factors emerging as possible causes for this are overweight, as NortonDC and cx both rightly point out, and also the fact that residues from human prescription and over the counter medications can pass through the body and remain more or less active, to end up in our water supply. This includes psychoactive medications, and again, hormones.

nelleish, I've mentioned doctors to them, but SIL says it "runs in her family" (!) and doesn't seem too concerned. I'm thinking it's not a good idea to press it right now for a number of reasons. . .

And nelleish --- I totally stock up on bras when I find one I like!! you bet!! I am so hard to fit (34DDD) and I do so many active things (play with kids, garden, climb trees, etc.) that a well-fitting bra is a cherished miracle. And of course the bras that fit me best (Wacoal, everyone!) are $60-$75 a pop. Lingerie ladies love me.

But it is worth it. Every other bra, the wires pop out and scratch and draw blood, the elastic loses its zing, or they just make me look bad --too pointy, too rounded or else they give me the dreaded UNI-BOOB effect (as in a sports bra). With Wacoal, my breasts are lifted AND separated, tame, yet lovely things. Elusive, yet not wholly unattainable, like shy creatures of the forest . . .

Suddenly . . . I feel dizzy and warm . . . must go lie down.
posted by jfwlucy at 2:16 PM on June 13, 2003


jfwlucy: I'm sorry to say it, but feeding a 5-year-old nothing but cheesburgers for a year (yeah I know you were exaggerating) sounds like reason enough for Social Services to step in.
posted by salmacis at 2:22 PM on June 13, 2003


This topic would have to come up the day this occurred.
posted by LinusMines at 5:57 PM on June 13, 2003


Joes_spleen & thomcat -- no, I'm not exaggerating a bit,

jfwlucy, make myself clearer, the puberty thing with your niece; I've seen it documented with 2 year old, yes very scary. Thought this was the big story for mothers & young daughters in 2001/2002.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:37 PM on June 16, 2003


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