Thursday, August 27, 2015

Boob Revolution: Major Bust Overhauls With A Bra

Today I am writing about my super duper bra make over. I am a big fan of lingerie. Beautiful undergarments are a great way to celebrate your figure and feel special under your clothes. But the most important rule of lingerie is it needs to fit. And I always thought I pretty much had that covered. Um... no. Apparently not. I've read statistics that say 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra. And I can believe it. I honestly thought that I was wearing the right size and that my boobs were just a bit crap. Not perky enough, not firm enough, not particularly big for my size. I'd read loads of lingerie blogs, many with super helpful fitting guides - if anyone should have been wearing the correct size it was me. And yet, and yet...

Now, I can't profess to be any sort of an expert on this topic at all. I am surrounded by amazing lingerie blogging giants who have all the go-to information you will ever need (I will include some links at the end) to get the right fit, however I thought it might be somewhat inspirational (too strong?) for you to see the boost a well fitting bra can give you, from a real life case study. Me.

I've been wearing a 40C for years. For those of you 'in the know' about bra sizing that's pretty ridiculous, I am aware! However let me explain to you why. And I think this is a mistake many women make. For years my mum was a D cup. If she put on weight she might go up a bit in her back size, but she was pretty consistently a D cup. My mum has big boobs. Much bigger than mine. So I just did not believe I could be anything past a C. Turns out in recent years my mum got properly sized too and was nowhere near a D. And I had been basing my own bra size on an incorrect standard. I'd just decided that I couldn't possibly be bigger than a C or at the very most a D. Largely because I didn't even know how to correctly get my breasts into a bra. (More on that later)

Also I didn't really understand the correlation between band and bust size. I could try and describe it, but way more coherent and educated bloggers than myself have done some great posts on this (links later). And this diagram is pretty excellent at explaining it:

It is not possible to befriend the wonderful Caroline of Curvy Wordy and continue to wear the wrong bra size for too long. Caroline has a super power! She is the boobie whisperer and on our first meeting she ended up measuring me in a changing room and looking rather sympathetically at my poorly fitting over the shoulder boulder holder. The next time we met up, we went bra shopping.

So, we're in Marks & Spencer and Caroline holds up a 40C next to my bust and says "You're telling me you think those (gestures to my sizeable breastage) can fit in there" Well I felt a right tit (see what I did there!). And so began my re-education. Caroline had me trying on Es and Fs, with a variety of back sizes. She also taught me how to put a bra on. I know right? The old swoop and scoop. Again detailed instructions here but essentially you want to bend over (swoop) as you're putting your bra on and then scoop everything you got into that cup. The bad news is, if you've been wearing the wrong bra size for a while you probably have some migrated breasts tissue. I know. Terrifying. That tissue is making its way under your arms, towards your back, into your pits and God knows where else. However, the good news - scoop that right up and just pop it back in your bra. It'll go back to where it's meant to be eventually, and hallelujah you may end up going up a cup size. Whoot!

Sadly, Marks & Spencer doesn't have the most exciting range of fuller bust bras, so a few weeks later (armed with my new knowledge), I went off to Bravissimo where I was fitted by one of their amazing fitters. If, like me, you are just realising that you are a D cup plus, these are the ladies to go and see. They do all their sizing by sight, they have a large array of sizes and styles and their fitters are incredibly good at what they do. And below you will see the results. I cannot believe the difference in my bust. But see for yourself:

White 40C - Marks and Spencer

In the before picture I am wearing a Marks & Spencer bra in a 40C. It is clearly too small for me. The top  of the cups are cutting in. There is also not enough space in the cups for my breasts so they are not being correctly supported and therefore there is, what I refer to as, an obvious flop over line. Due to the smallness of the bra the central gore (that bit where the two wires sit between the cups) is not sitting completely flat against my sternum. 

The second one is a nude Marcie from Panache's Cleo collection. Fit wise note how my breasts fill each cup completely and the central gore sits flat. My entire bust appears perkier and smoother, with none of the dreaded flop over line and the top seam of the cup sits flush against my skin without digging in. I think we can agree this is a pretty extreme improvement. So extreme I feel like it looks like I had a boob lift - but without any nasty scalpels. Whoop! 

Black 40C- Marks & Spencer

Here again in the before I am wearing the ill fitting Marks & Spencer bra. In this image you can see how the bra was not correctly supporting my bust, so my boobs were actually drifting off to the sides instead of being held to the front of my body (I know - awesome). The central gore is again not flush against my chest and I, yet again, have the dreaded flop over line. 

In the second image I am once more wearing the glorious Marcie from Panache. I just love the detailing on this bra - the little bows along the top of the cup, the sheer mesh in the top half of the cup and the polka-dotted mesh in the bottom half. It is great bra because it is incredibly wearable for everyday and yet is is still pretty sexy. 

Red Padded, 42B - Marks and Spencer 

In the before picture I am (shockingly) wearing a 42B (please, no one tell Caroline!). Before my boobie revolution I always believed that padded bras were the best way to get the shape I was so desperate for. I am a sucker for reds so looking at the label and seeing the size I can only assume that they didn't have my 40C so I just went for a sister size and bought the 42B - FAIL! Again, the flop over line is present and my boobs are not in their optimum position, the top seam of the cup is actually lifting away from the boob (another sign that the cup is too small) and I am cetainly getting none of the desired lift or shape. 

By comparison the Marcie, while in a similarly delicious raspberry shade, is a completely different kettle of fish. My breasts are well supported and have a great shape. Naturally my boobs are fuller at the bottom and quite empty (or lacking in volume) towards the top, so this is a great bra for giving me an all over fuller, more orb like shape. I think you can tell I absolutely adore this bra and honestly want it in every shade and variation imaginable. Give me all the MARCIES! Excitingly the Marcie also comes as a babydoll - sadly I can't currently find it in my size but I am going to keep my eyes open. 

Teal, 40C - Marks and Spencer

Anyone who has been following this blog for half an minute will know I love me some teal and turquoise action. In the first picture I am in a bra which is so incredibly pretty but alas will now be going in the bin because, you guessed it, it doesn't fit! As with the above it's too small - the top of the cup cuts into the breast tissue, the boobs are not supported by the cups but rather squished into it, and I have the dreaded flop over line. 

In the second image I am wearing the Madacasgar bra from Curvy Kate in turquoise. I love the swirly, wild zebra print to the mesh, and the embroidery to the top of the cups. The little coral accents are gorgeous, and typical of Curvy Kate's bras - always a lovely attention to detail. In this bra I went with a 40E as the band is a bit tighter than the Marcie. As you can see I don't completely fill the cups however I am pretty happy with the fit and the shape that this is giving me. Yay for perky boobs! 

So yes, the revolution has begun. Ain't nobody going to stop it! I've got a few tips for you to help you start your own boob revolution:

1. Don't assume anything about your size. A lot of bra sizing is kind of gobbledy gook. Don't go bra shopping thinking you can't be above or below a certain size. In my experience most of the time women seem to be wearing too big a band size and too small a cup so drop your expectations and try on a range of sizes. 
2. Watch some tutorials and read some blogs, because there is a wealth of knowledge out there and it's a good place to start. If you think you may be a cup size D or bigger (you very well could be, hello!) and are in the UK do go and visit the wonderful women of Bravissimo - it's like some sort of unnerving witchcraft who good these ladies are with baps! 
3. Invest in your chest. Initially time wise - bra shopping is a necessity, but shop for it like a luxury, taking your time and investing the best you can afford for you lovebumps. The bras above are a little more pricey than my previous M&S purchases, however I intend to look after them well so they last me a long time. 
4. Remember good underwear is where a good outfit starts. A well fitting bra makes clothes fit better, is better for your back and posture and just looks damn good.

Take a look at the following links for some grade A fitting advice and general knowledge about bra sizing: 

So, do you think you might be wearing the wrong bra size? Has reading this made you think you ought to check? Do any of the above 'Before' pics look familiar? Let me know in the comments...


  1. She is amazing isn't she I went shopping with Caroline and also ended up going up 3 cup sizes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as I had always believed I was a 38E!!!!!

    1. Long live Caroline! And yay for fab fitting bras!

  2. Great post Hayles, the before and afters really show the difference! Think I am going to get my myself properly fitted too!

    1. Thanks Bridgey! You should deffo try the Bravissimo (the one in Oxford Street is a goody) and let me know if you would be happy to take befores and afters (without faces! like mine) for a follow up post I want to do. Thanks lovely x

  3. I got myself fitted by Curvy Kate at Style XL and the bra they put me in is the best-fitting one I own. I used to go to Bravissimo sometimes but I've noticed one of my bras from there doesn't fit so well anymore, I need to go back and see if I need to change.

    1. I think we forget how much our boobs change with weight loss and gain, hormone fluctuations etc, so maybe it's time for another Bravissimo fitting? Also from washing and wear bras do stretch etc and so the fit will change.
      I do love me some Curvy Kate action!

  4. I'm seeing my breasts in the before pictures and it's a real eye opener! Sorting out a day so I can go try on bra's in all sorts of sizes and find something proper

    1. DO IT! I can't believe how it has fixed so many of my boob issues...
      I am putting together a post of people who have gone and had a new fitting as a result of the post - Before an After shots (without heads haha like mine) so let me know if you would be happy to be involved?

  5. IM SO JEALOUS!!! My breasts are yet to be in the presence of Caroline's tape measure. How awesome do your new shape bras look! the Madagascar is my fav- I need to get to a bravissimo myself.

    1. Yeah, even Caroline rates the measuring services of the Bravissimo ladies, so they might be your solution until Caroline gets to tape you :)
      As I said in above comments, I am putting together a post of before and afters of people who got measured and refitted. Let me know if you would be happy to take part :)

  6. The last time I was properly measured I was gutted because they took me down from a D to a big B/small C. But no one really does a B cup in a big back size!

  7. This is a fabulous post! I loved the graphic you included and the side by side comparison photos.

    1. Thanks hon. I really want to do a follow up post to show the effects of breast tissue migration. I've gone up a cup size!

  8. This is a great post!!

    It makes me sad because unfortunately, I have to assume my size as no bras fit me. I've been measured several times by different companies and they always give me a different size. I have quite a lot of side fat anyway so the bra band always ends up being squashed and ruined and it's really frustrating.

    1. That is really frustrating! I can only imagine! I have heard everyone who thought they had impossible to please boobs speak highly of Ewa Michelak. Have you tried those bras? Our beloved tanya from Secret Plus Size Goddess even travelled all the way to Poland for the perfect fit, but I think she'd say it was worth it!

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