Does 34B=32C?

Not really. A lot of women harbor under this misconception, and although it often works to go up a cup size and/or down a band size, that’s simply because the so-called Standardized Bra Sizes aren’t very accurate. Take, for example, this International Bra Size Converter site, which is supposed to accurately tell you what size you wear in any country. In American bras, I’m usually a 34C, which translates to a 90C in my personal favorite – Eres bras. This chart indicates that my French equivalent would be 90D (a size that absolutely does not fit me at all.) To complicate matters further, while a 90C fits me like a dream in the gorgeous lace Attraction and the comfy cotton Darlene, an 85C offers a far superior fit in the sexy mesh Insolite, and I am most comfortable in a 90B in both the Edelia and the Tara Bra. It would appear that sizing varies dramatically even within the same brand!

Oddly enough, when I was professionally fitted by a Japanese woman in New York, she told me I ought to be wearing a 32E, or at least a 32D. I was shocked and incredulous, insisting that I wouldn’t be able to fill out either size. She pulled, pushed and yanked my body into place to achieve the “desired” state of maximum cleavage, and in the end I suppose it “fit,” but after a few minutes in that contraption, I was ready to scrap bras altogether and go wiggly jiggly for awhile. Her ultimate goal was to make my breasts appear fuller and more pert. This was contrary to my goal of just finding a pretty bra that I could wear for 8 or more hours a day.

It is true, of course, that many women are wearing the wrong bra size. If you immediately hook your brand new bra on the tightest notch, then you are probably one of them. But you shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort for fashion. A tighter band size offers added support because you are essentially binding your ribcage. A larger cup size is consequently necessary so that your flesh has somewhere to go. Now, this is certainly an option if you need all-day support and you want to achieve a 50s housewife effect. I have a few dresses and blouses which demand that torpedo look. But for everyday comfort, I am a firm advocate of going with what feels and looks most natural.

Ultimately, your best bet for an accurate fit is to try a bra on before you purchase it, especially if you’re not familiar with the brand. I recommend taking several sizes into the dressing room (i.e. 34B, 32C, 34C, 32D) and not looking at the tags when you try them on. That way any preconceived notions you have about “your size” will be dispelled. Make sure the band is under your shoulder blades in the back and that there is no space between the bra and your sternum. Anything that digs in painfully or causes bulging should be immediately dismissed as an option. Puckering is a tricky problem that can sometimes be solved by tightening the straps, but often requires a smaller size. Shopping online can be tough, but it helps if you can call and speak with someone directly about the fit. Knowledgeable staff should be able to let you know how the bra runs and guide you in the right direction. (You can call us at Lille anytime at 503-232-0333.) Happy hunting!

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