Most women with large breasts are familiar with the concept of “sister sizes.” Sister sizing is an idea established by the bra industry. In the sister sizing system, a bra cup is the same size (in volume) as the cup of the same bra in the next lowest band size, and next largest cup letter. The simplest way to explain this is to say that the cup of a 36C is the same size as the cup of a 34D. It works in the opposite direction, too: the cup in a 36C is also the same size as the cup in a 38B.
Those of us with hard-to-find sizes rely on the sister sizing system to find bras that fit us. Sometimes we just can’t find a bra in a store that will fit us, but we can find one that is a close fit, and by evaluating the fit of that bra, we can determine which size to order. We trust the sister sizing system to work. I learned recently, though, that it doesn’t always work: at least with one company, it can’t be trusted.
On my recent trip to Nordstrom, I was hoping to find some bras that would fit me. I tried on several bras, but had a few problems. The first problem was that the SA didn’t seem to believe me when I told her I wear a 34GG or H, and sometimes a 32H. She actually brought me FFs and Gs to the dressing room, which was frustrating, but also led to me laughing out loud as I tried to cram my boobs into them.
The second problem was that Nordstrom had almost no bras above a G cup. Those they did have were from Chantelle and Wacoal, both brands that I find too wide and shallow for my build (the cups are shaped really weird, y’all!)
The SA did bring me one bra that I rather liked, a Cleo Sasha. I was initially skeptical about this bra, as I usually find that Panache bras have a center gore too wide for me, and often too-wide cups as well. I saw that this bra seemed to have neither of those problems, though, so I tried it on.
Unfortunately, once I got in on, I found that the band was very loose, and then discovered that this was in fact a 36G. Surprisingly, though, the cups were too small. I bulged out of them all over. Here are some phone pics I snapped in the dressing room. Please forgive the blurriness!
The cup on this bra was clearly too small. I logically deduced that the sister size, 34GG, would be too small as well. So, I asked the SA if she had a 34H. She did not (and, unpleasantly, she told me that Cleo didn’t make this bra in 34H, a fact that was easily checked, and disproven, on my phone.)
A week later, I visited my local Intimacy shop. I’ve had mixed results with Intimacy: the first time I visited, they had a perfect bra for me, but as the boobs have grown over the year, they have fewer and fewer options to offer me. Sometimes I visit a shop to find no bras over a G cup. In this case, I was (somewhat) in luck: they had some bras in GGs and Hs, and I set about trying those on. I didn’t find a lot that worked for me, to be honest, but one bra I found that I did like was another Panache model, the Andorra. Like the Sasha, Andorra has a narrow center gore, with the cups very close together. The cups are a little wider than I am used to, but they were not uncomfortable. However, in the 34GG, I found the band to be very loose. I asked to try a 32H. To my surprise, the cup on the 32H was actually smaller than the cup on the 32GG. Shouldn’t these cups be the same size? It wasn’t just a matter of band, either: I took the bras off and held the cups up to one another, and the 32H was clearly more shallow. (Also, the straps on the 32H were quite narrow, which seemed strange and non-intuitive to me.)
I commented on the strange size difference to the SA when she returned with a 32HH, and she said “Well, the sister sizes don’t always line up.” This was news to me! In the end I tried on all three Andorras, and the 32HH cup was too wide. I decided to go with the 34gg and got ready to depart the store. On the way to the register, though, I had a thought: when I first got to the store, I had asked if they had a Sasha in 34H. Alas, they only had it in a 34GG. If the sister sizing in Panache couldn’t be depended upon, though, maybe that 34GG would fit me! I decided to try it on, and in fact, it was a perfect fit.
It seems strange that the 36G would be too small, but its sister size, 34GG, would be a perfect fit. I don’t understand it! But I am pleased to have this great-fitting bra, anyway. Look at that uplift!
I haven’t had time to review the Sasha yet, but already I can tell that it’s a great t-shirt bra. Although it is seamed, the seams are very flat and the fabric is a very very thin simplex. One of the seams is a tiny bit tight, but I tried stretching it a bit with my hands and it flattened almost entirely, so I think that when the bra breaks in that tightness will go away.
I’m very excited to find that there are some Panache bras that will fit me. I’ve thought for years that they were all off-limits, due to width. Finding some Panache that fit means that there are more bras available for me, and that’s a relief. I am already speculating about which Panache bra I want to try next!
I am still undecided about the Andorra. It was very pretty and very comfortable, and a pretty good fit. I worry, though, that the already-roomy band will stretch out in no time. Therefore, I don’t think I would pay full price for it, but if I found one very cheaply, I might snap it up.