Simply Ill FittingJune 12, 2011
It’s taken me quite a while to write this post, because I wanted to place an order with Simply Yours first, so I would be able to talk about their positive aspects as well as their size chart. I haven’t been able to get hold of anything lately due to lack of funds, but whenever I have ordered from Simply Yours in the past, it has always been a pleasure. They are one of my favourite ‘Plus Size’ companies, and the two models I recognise best; Erika Elfwencrona and Laura Catterall, are not only curvy, but simply stunning as well. They are a friendly and helpful company and I would always recommend them.
However, I, as well as many other lingerie bloggers, do take issue with their sizing chart. They recently wrote a blog post which was a reply to queries on their fitting method of adding 4 inches. The post is called ‘Bra Fitting Blog Post Reply’, and you can read it by clicking here.
Above is a Simply Yours sizing chart (inside the catalogue) that was posted to me, along with a free measuring tape. They use the outdated method of adding 4 inches on to your underbust measurement to get your correct band size. This actually comes from back in the 50s where the ideal hourglass measurements were 36-24-36, so inches would be added to the band size as ‘vanity sizing’. Not only that, but the materials used in the 50s were much firmer, stiffer and less pliable than they are today – meaning there would be no wiggle room if you did have a size that was too tight. This is no longer the case nowadays; stretchy material is used for everyday bra bands in order to give maximum comfort and support.
I normally measure 31″ underbust, which means according to the Simply Yours size chart, I would be advised to wear a 36 band size. The size I actually wear currently is 32G or 30GG; here I want to demonstrate why that is in fact the correct band size for someone of my measurements, and why I don’t believe that adding 4 inches is appropriate.
Today, as you can see from the picture above, I measure closer to 30″ underbust – this does however vary for me depending on time of day/month, but I generally measure between 30-31″ at all times.
(I also measure 39 over bust, and generally I wear a 32G in most bras, but a tape measure is not always going to be accurate for every person. For example, even if you had those exact same measurements, it’s still possible to be a slightly different cup size, because it really depends how your breasts are shaped as well, and what feels comfortable for you).
First I’m going to demonstrate a 36 band bra (please excuse the blurry first picture).
A 36F equals the same cup volume as a 32G. As you can see, I can easily pull it out more than a handful from my chest, and it is very clear that the bra is not supporting my breasts at all, and frankly, not doing me any favours.
This next bra is a 34FF (again, the same cup volume as a 32G).
Now, while it’s not as loose as the 36, it’s still not supporting my breasts as much as it should be – 80% of the support comes from your bra band, so it really does need to be tight to keep your breasts properly supported. Otherwise, you will find that the shoulder straps are doing most of the lifting, and you will most likely end up with a lot of pain. Again, I can pull the band away from my chest much more than is necessary, and when I used to wear this bra, it would constantly ride up my back.
Here is a 32G. Almost perfect size.
As you can see, the centre gore is flat against my chest, there is no gaping in the middle, my breasts are properly supported AND lifted, and the back does not ride up. The back band looks almost spot on.
In reality, I am wearing this bra on the tightest hook, as is often the case if you are an intbetween size (like my 31″), then you never know whether you will need a 30 or a 32, and in this case, 30 would’ve been a better fit – particularly as I measure 30″ today rather than the usual 31″.
The reason for this, is that you should always start wearing you bra on the loosest hook. Over time they will stretch with wear, so you will need to tighten it up by moving on to the furthest hooks. This way your bra will last much longer, and who doesn’t want that?!
Just for comparison, here is my 30G Carly Deco bra.
The deco bras do come up smaller in the band and cup than other Freya bras, which is why I chose a 30 rather than 32, and a G rather than a GG. Although, as I say, all my bras are a mixture between 30 and 32 because really it depends on the brand, and what feels comfortable for you.
As you can see, I can still fit the recommended two fingers perfectly under my bra band – this is how you know you’re wearing the correct fitting bra, (and NOT by being able to pull the band 2 inches from your ribcage as Simply Yours suggests – that would be too loose).
What surprises me most about the Simply Yours size chart, is that they say it is a general guide. But why make it TWO sizes (4 inches) above your underbust measurement? Surely just one will suffice as a guide?
Their answer is that “the underband numbers don’t directly relate to your body measurement” – so I decided to test this. Now bear with me…
Here I measured my Freya Arabella bra, which is a 32 band (it’s important to note that I only purchased this bra a month ago, so it’s NOT a well worn loose one).
Now lying flat, of course the band doesn’t measure 32 inches, because the band is made of stretchy material in order to support your breasts. Upon stretching it out, you can see it does in fact measure 32. Might I also add, that to take this picture and attempt to stretch the bra, I was using my knee and right hand, which means the bra wasn’t even stretched out as much as it could be – this particular bra probably stretches to at least 33, or 34 inches. This makes the point made by Simply Yours, null and void in my opinion.
Too many women in the world are known to be wearing a band size too big for them, in the fight to stop this, Simply Yours are not doing their part. If I were clueless about band sizes, and looked at their chart, I would still be walking around in a bra two band sizes too big. What they fail to remember, is that as a well known professional and popular company, women will believe what they have to say; I know two years ago I would have.
In any case, it is important to add that I am only criticising their fitting methods, not Simply Yours in general. I do value them as a company, and continue to be a loyal customer.
If you want to be fitted correctly, and don’t fancy the idea of trying it yourself, my recommendation would be to book a bra fitting at a Bravissimo store – they always do a great job.
For more opinions on why not to add 4 inches, check out the lovely Georgina Horne’s fitting video here.
Not to mention, Becky Williams at Bust’s for Justice post about it here.
And, last but not least, Cheryl Warner at Invest in your Chest here.