My Pet Peeve: Letter-phobia

Let’s take a moment to revisit the Chart of Doom. You remember this thing from my second bra fitting post?

Bust minus underbust US UK EU
>  1″ AA AA AA
1 A A A
2 B B B
3 C C C
4 D D D
9 H G I
10 I GG J
11 J H K
12 K HH L

I specifically named it the Chart of DOOM because when the measurements are taken and compared to the numbers on the chart, most people get a sense of doom.

It is incredibly frustrating to me when I try to talk to people about bra fitting in person, so much so, that I almost stopped trying. Even if I manage to get out a measuring tape (I’m not practiced enough to eyeball accurately, yet) I always run into the same obstacle:

“What? That’s humongous! That can’t be right!”


“But DD is so big, there’s no way that there’s more than that”


Just thinking about it puts me into a ranting, raving, raging mode. First of all, no. A cup size means absolutely nothing on its own. You can find a DD cup for pretty much every pair. It’s like vowels in a language. There no meaning to them until you add the consonants and all the other language components. Or in this case, the band size.

Looking at it Logically

So, let’s do some math.

Take the number 5 and multiply it by 30. Imagine that is the area of a long skinny rectangle. Every rectangle that can be made with 5 on the one side won’t be the same. The 30×5 is going to be smaller than the 40×5, and every number in between. If I were to take a 30×6 rectangle, it would be bigger than the 30×5, but not as big as the 40×5.

By that logic, lets take a UK E-cup (US DDD).

From A Sophisticated Pair, a North Carolina based distributor/blog

As you can see, the 28E is much smaller than the 38E, but if you were to compare the 38E to a 28G (UK), you’d find that, even though the 28G is the “bigger” cup, it would be way smaller than the 38E.

Here’s another illustration.

Credits to the authors who named themselves, I don’t suggest reddit at all, but they can answer your questions if you are brave enough to visit /r/ABraThatFits

The cup sizing system is flawed, and everyone knows it, but until we can figure something better, it’s what we have.

The Source of Letter Phobia

So, why is everyone so afraid of the DD+ monster? There are a lot of harmful stereotypes and archetypes surrounding women with bigger busts, and almost none of them are flattering.

Created by Butterfly Collection, a Canadian Bra distributor/blog

But you know what? (Rant mode: ON)

I mean, even a DD is only a 5 inch difference between your two measurements. That’s the long side of an index card. That’s what we’re calling the “big size?” We’re normalizing the short side of the index card? What about the rest of the world? Who decided that having a bigger bust made you vulgar or matronly or unintelligent or whatever it is that anything bigger than a D makes you afraid of? Who decided that DD was too big? Who thought, oh, well we’ll normalize this set of sizes, but the rest of them will have to fend for themselves? It had to have been someone who didn’t know or didn’t really care. And frankly, their opinion can go soak its head.

Look, I wore the 34DDs. I knew they didn’t fit, but I couldn’t for the life of me ind anything that worked better. I loosened the straps as far as I could, and constantly pulled down the back. When the fitter at the “big bra” store tried to fit me into a 36DD, it was even worse. The band of a 32 felt right, but there was not a single cup size in the store that worked for me. And then, when I finally found the tumblr post that changed everything, I freaked out because the chart there told me that I was in need of an H cup. I actually went through an accelerated five stages of grief when I found out I really wasn’t “normal”.

  1. Denial: “That can’t be right. Let me double check.”
  2. Anger: “Why can’t I pull the band any tighter on the top!?”
  3. Bargaining: “No one needs to know now, right? Will it go down if I do like a billion push-ups?”
  4. Depression: “My whole life has been a lie and no one I know has these problems”
  5. Acceptance: “Well, at least I know these sizes exist and I can get them. Oh, look I won’t fit into the H until all the tissue migrates back to its place. Lovely.”

The system, the stores, even my extended family for a time, everything conspired to tell me that there was something wrong with my body for not being able to conform to society’s acceptable range of sizes.


In place of all the people I needed to hear it from, I’m telling you: You were fashioned and designed by the hands of God himself. Your breasts are not “too big” or “too small”. You are you, His well-beloved, not a cup size.

Yes, we do have to be good stewards of the bodies we’ve been so generously given, but, that does not mean that those bodies conform to what the world thinks is normal. A bra is a necessity, but you don’t need to subject yourself to the torture of an ill-fitting bra, especially not for the sake of saving face.

What now?

If your ready to take the first step and get that “oddly” sized bra, I suggest Bare Necessities for new bras and new buyers if you can’t find a store that sells your size in your area. They have a live chat set up for any fit questions you might have. They deal in US sizes, mostly, and can automatically convert your size for you.

If you want to pay a little less and don’t mind the thought of someone else trying on the bra before you, try Bratabase. It’s kind of like Craigslist for bras that people bought and didn’t quite work for them. There is actually a lot more variety than on Bare Necessities, but it does involve dealing with individuals so shipping might take longer. Most people on Bratabase are also more than happy to answer your fit questions.

And of course, I can answer any fit questions to the best of my ability here, anonymously if you prefer. 🙂

Until next time ladies!




2 thoughts on “My Pet Peeve: Letter-phobia

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