Search here...
Blog Updates Bra fitting & lingerie advice Bra Fitting Problems Fashion How to Wear

Bra Size Phobia: Why Some Women Can’t Accept Their True Size

 Why are over 90% of women wearing the wrong bra size? Is it because they aren’t getting fitted properly, or are there other reasons?

Just the other day, my best friend called me in a panic. She had gone bra shopping at a local department store and was so angry about her ill-fitting bras! The saleslady did not fit her properly, so my friend ended up with four new bras that just did not fit. My friend called me for bra fitting advice, knowing that I’m in the lingerie industry and can help answer some of her questions. I already knew what the problem was, and though the bra saleswoman at the department store was not capable of helping my friend, ultimately my friend herself was the greatest barrier to finding her proper bra size.

The last time I went bra shopping with my friend, she kept insisting that she was a 36D… which clearly (to me at least) she wasn’t. When I informed her that she was more like a 34DD or 34E (depending on the brand and style), she was in denial, saying “I can’t be that big, that’s huge!” I wanted to convince her that this was a false perception of the way bra sizing works. I tried to tell her that it was more important for her to wear the right bra size (and feel comfortable and confident) than to care what size it says on the label of her bra. Yet still, she refused to accept that she truly needed to wear a DD or bigger.

Ck1801 Daily Boost Microfiber Balcony Bra By Curvy Kate

Ck1801 Daily Boost Microfiber Balcony Bra By Curvy Kate

Since this wasn’t the first bigger-chested friend I’d tried to help with her bra size, I started to wonder…. Why is it that some women with larger breasts don’t want to admit that they need a bigger size, even if it means it’s their true size?

I think part of the blame should be directed to lingerie retailers like Victoria’s Secret and La Senza who only make bras up to a DD cup… and their bras are so padded that even the DD cups are too small for a woman who needs an actual DD cup. FACT: The alphabet for bra sizes does not end at a DD!!! Just because Victoria’s Secret bras do not go higher than a DD, this doesn’t mean that nothing exists after a DD! Women try to fit into these bras, feeling defective because even their biggest bras don’t fit, or are told by inexperienced salespeople that they are MEANT to spill out of their bras (just to make a sale). This is extremely unfair to women because many are squishing themselves into a bra which is extremely uncomfortable and ill fitting. Not to mention that these are the same women who end up not wearing these bras in the end, because they are so uncomfortable – what a waste of time, energy and money!

The other part of the blame, however, has to do with some women’s “bra tag angst”, which I mean to refer to this phenomenon: refusing to try on or own a certain bra size because it makes them feel “too big”. Sure, this sounds counter-intuitive to the rest of us ladies who WANT to wear the right size no matter what it is, but it’s a fact. I know ladies who outright REFUSED to buy a bra in an F cup or G cup because it made them feel like they were too big… even if they had finally found their true bra size.

I think some of the reason some women can’t accept their true bra size also has to do with misinformation or lack of information. It’s a MYTH that just because you take a bigger cup size, you’re relegated to wearing “granny bras”. Yes, I’ve been a victim of this mentality myself but there is no need to worry anymore! Lots of quality companies like Parfait Lingerie and Montelle Intimates are making sexy, comfortable and supportive bras in bigger sizes, like DD, E, F, G, GG, H, HH, I, J, and K cups! Take a look at the beautiful bra to the left – do you think this sexy style is something your grandma would have worn? I think not!

29704293 Florence Padded Lace Balconette By Change Of Scandinavia Lingerie

29704293 Florence Padded Lace Balconette By Change Of Scandinavia Lingerie

When you wear a bra that properly fits, it can change your life! I know this sounds a little dramatic but I promise I’m not lying. I was living with the wrong bra size for so many years! I’m EXTREMELY guilty of the ‘quad-boob’ effect. For a long time I didn’t want to believe that my real size was a 34DDD, roughly equivalent to a 32G. My friends would ask me my size all the time, and I used to be very embarrassed… who wants to say they can fit into a G size bra?

Our Bra Doctor Celine made me realize that your bra size is ONLY a number and a letter (or two or three letters). The band size is a number, and the letter represents the cup size. It doesn’t represent who you are. She pointed out that 30G size bra cups are actually smaller than the bra cups of a 40D bra! Is your mind blown? Celine told me that as you reduce the back band size, the cup size increases by one (so, a 32D is roughly equivalent to a 34C cup, a 36B cup, etc.). A 30G cup size, then, is more like the cup size of a 38D bra. The major difference of course is that a 38 would be way too big in the back for someone who has a small rib cage and needs a 30.

I remember when I first put on a bra that fit properly, thanks to our Bra Doctor, I think I may have shed a tear of joy. All those years of suffering and stuffing my boobs into something obviously too small in front and too big in back, my days of ill-fitting bras were over! Wearing the right size just feels SO much better, way better than thinking of my boobs all day and constantly having to fix them within my bra. The buttons on my blouse used to sometimes pop open because my bra was just pushing them to the front and made me feel and look bigger than I actually was. Now I stand just a little taller, my boobs feel weightless and my clothes fit SO much better! I no longer have to shove my hands into my bra and readjust my breasts in my bra to feel support and lift. Thanks to our Bra Doctor, I feel CONFIDENT in my bras, my clothes and my body.

Ladies, embrace your real size and don’t be worried about what the bra tag says! Don’t be in denial any more! No matter what bra size you take, you’re still the same person, are you not? The only difference is your boobs are FINALLY being held up right! If your bra size bothers you that much, cut the tags off your bra, and get on with your life because now you can confidently enjoy having amazing perky boobs in a supportive, properly fitting bra! Need I say more?

If you want to find YOUR true size, let us help you! We’ve been specially trained by Celine our Bra Doctor, who has over 25 years of bra fitting experience, to help target your bra fitting problems and identify the proper size and style for your unique needs and tastes! Feel free to comment below, find us on Facebook or Twitter, email us at or call toll-free (US & Canada) 1-855-521-4244.

Click here to shop bras at Now That’s Lingerie, from A to K cups in a variety of colours, styles and prices for every budget.


Bra Comic Credit: Copyrighted 2001 by Paul Taylor.

After 25 years in the lingerie industry, I've helped thousands of women feel confident and look fantastic in their lingerie. I'm the resident Bra Doctor for Now That's, which I founded over ten years ago as a way to help cater to the needs of as many women possible! I receive dozens of e-mails from women who can't seem to feel comfortable in their bras. I'm here to show that you CAN find a bra that works for you. Sometimes all you need are little tips! I hope you enjoy my bra fitting advice, experiences and thoughts. I'll also be sharing news about lingerie giveaways and deals that can't be missed. Contact me personally for personalized help finding your perfect fit:




  • Amelia

    I measure 35 inches around my ribcage and 42.5 inches around the bust. I have just been fitted into a 38B bra but the back feels too big. Should I try a 36 or a 34 band bra? Thanks.

  • Felicia

    Hi Amelia,

    Thank you for commenting! What hook do you close your 38B bra on? If it’s on the tightest (where you can’t make it any tighter) or the middle, you should try a 36 ribcage. Also, does your underwire and cups sit comfortably? From the measurements you gave, it seems you are most likely a 36C. When you go smaller in size on the ribcage, you normally go higher in cup size. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email the Bra Doctor personally at celine@nowthatslingerie. com

    Have a beautiful day!

  • admin

    Hi Amelia, it sounds like you would also be comfortable in a 36C bra, which has the same cup size (approximately) as a 38B, but has a smaller back band size. In this case, if you happened to find the 36 to be a little too snug in the back, but your bra cups fit properly, you can try to add a bra back extender to your bra, which will help you add anywhere between 1 and 3 inches to your bra back without compromising the size and fit of the bra cups. If you try a 36B then you will risk having bra cups that are too small on you, because a 36B cup is smaller than a 38B cup.

    You can see our bra back extenders here:

    I’m also available if you want more personalized bra fitting help!

  • Tanya

    I m 18 yrs old.
    Nd i have been wearing 34c of teenager since 7 yrs.
    Bt nw i feel its realy uncmfrtble.
    So i hv swtchd 2 36c m i correct?
    Bt 36 s 2 lose nd gves m cmfort.
    As my rib cage is bigger bt boobs are not

  • admin

    Hi Tanya,

    Thanks for your question, however I am not sure I understand your needs 100%. It seems as though you would NOT wear a 36 if you are saying it’s too loose on you. If you are feeling discomfort in the underwire area, then you may need a bigger cup size, like going from a 34C to a 34D, or a bigger cup size depending on how small your bra is on you. Where is the pain that you are feeling located on your body? Let me know and I can try to be of further help, reply here or email me at 🙂

  • Anon

    After squeezing myself into 34C’s for years, mainly due to ease and budget, I finally decided I needed some new, better fitting bras. I measured myself as 29 underbust and 35 bust. I tried on some 30E’s in the fitting room which seemed to fit pretty much perfectly, until I got home and wore one of the bras for a few hours. The very top of the cup where it meets the strap dug into my armpit uncomfortably, however the underwire sits perfectly where it should! Is there any way to solve this problem, or do you think it is just the wrong shape bra for me? I have looked around and although it seems a couple of other people have had this problem, no solution has been suggested!

  • Kristy

    Hello, I’m 27 and have never liked wearing bras to the point where I’ve not worn them for most of my teenage and adult life. Lately though I’ve gained so much weight that it seems I have to wear a bra. Not sure where to start or what size I should be? But I measured my ribcage and its 38″ and I *think* my bust is 45″? Went to the store today and got fitted and was given a 40D bra (no underwire). It feels comfortable but I haven’t tried it on for work yet. The lady said se wanted to also try 40DD but the style I wanted wasn’t available in that size. She also said it might have been too big anyway. According to my measurements shouldn’t I be a 40DDDD? Or am I wrong?

  • admin

    Hi Anon, if your underwire fits perfectly as you say and it should, then perhaps it is a styling issue. It could be the particular bra you’re wearing; sometimes the materials or the particular stitching or seaming can irritate in certain places as well. The other potential possibility is that the bra cup is a little bit too high up for you; this seems to happen to some petite women who have bigger busts, because though your breast may be wide enough for you to wear an E cup, the cup comes up too high on your chest, which can create chafing, discomfort or red marks around the armpit area.

    If this is the case, I recommend a demi bra style where the underwire will be wide enough for your breast but the half coverage of the bra cups will prevent the digging. I really love our popular Coquette demi bra by Montelle Intimates:

    There are obviously lots of other styles I can suggest for you, if you would like to email me at ! 🙂

  • admin

    Hi Kristy, it sounds to me like you take a 38F or 38FF or a 38G (depending on the company), with a bra extender if the 38 is too tight so you can make it between a 38 and a 40. So you’re not wrong! Personally I think if you measure as a 38 you should not be taking a 40 because it will be too big in back and not have a long shelf life (you’ll likely have to hook it at the tightest just to start). The reason the lady probably gave you a 40DD is because she didn’t have anything in your real size so she was trying to make do with what she had.

    Here are some lovely bras in 38G, which I can help you sort through personally:

    Email me anytime at!

  • Arri

    Hi. I’m 7 months pregnant and working on finding nursing bras. Oddly my size hasn’t shifted much. Last measure was 30 by 37. More wide set between boobs, and lower section is filled out a bit more than top, but the top has been filling more recently. 23 by the time she is born.

    I had given up on bras for a while since no one seemed to carry. They were always too loose in the back (my ribs for the longest time were 28 inches.) and usually too tight in the cup unless I made the back even looser. Especially in stores I could try on. I’ve been getting some online since they are poking out more and might leak. The Gratlin store put me as 34D, (uk/ 34d, eu/75d, fr/90d, us/34d) while others a 30G. It seems to fit decently, but after long hours it seems to shift a bit, and get a little uncomfortable around the band/arm pit areas. I only have two in the same style from them. It’s got good seems and such, but it’s shifting so..

  • admin

    Hello Ari,

    Thank you so much for contacting us.

    We do have quite a few nursing and maternity bras. The difference is nursing bras feature detachable cups where as maternity bras are bras whose cups expand to conform to your size before you give birth. The styles are on this page

    I am not sure if you are wearing bras with underwires because you mentioned poking and that term is usually used with underwires.

    Comfort is top priority. We do have quite a nice assortment of styles and welcome any questions you may have.

    If the band of the 34D bra shifts or moves, perhaps you can tighen the band. Perhaps that is the reason why it’s uncomfortable. Find the right fit can be difficult.

    Which hook do you close the bra and is the bra underwired?

    Please let me know



  • Alyssa

    I am sitting here in a 30G bra that just got delivered to my house this evening. I have been in a 34DD for a few years now and it felt a little too loose. This new bra is a little more snug than I’m obviously used to but the cups fit so much better.

  • admin

    Hello Alyssa,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with sizing issues. We are happy you found a size that is convenient for you. All the best. Celine the Bra Doctor

  • Maya

    Hi! I’m 17 and have never been fitted for a bra, but I usually wear 32B’s because that’s what stores have that fit me best. I used a few calculators online, though, and now I think this is way off.
    When I wear the 32B’s, I keep it as tight as it can go or it won’t fit.
    My ribcage is 29 inches and my bust size is 35 inches. Some things I saw online said that this makes me a 30G or a 32DD? I’m not sure which and since these sizes aren’t available to try on in stores, I want to make sure I am as close as possible before ordering online.
    Thank you!

  • admin

    Hello Maya,
    Thank you for contacting us.
    If you put the 32 band to the tightest then you need size 30. Do you experience the same issue with all 32 bands? For the difference in size between the ribcage and the bust, you do indeed require a bigger cup. I would look at 30E or 30F.
    Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pingback: Lingerie for Curvy Girls – Bra Doctor's Blog | by Now That's Lingerie on May 28, 2013