Cold, topless and scared, cornered in a tiny cell and awaiting a fate worse than death: It's not a medieval prison I'm describing, it's a bra fitting.
In case you're not the proud owner of two mammary glands, let me explain. In order to buy a bra, you have to translate your breasts and rib-cage circumference into number-letter sizing. It's a complicated business involving no fewer than three measurements, a strange woman who seems like she's judging you, bra cups that aren't the same shape as your boobs and quite a bit of lying to yourself.
If you've measured successfully, you'll end up dropping $300 on bras that you discover don't fit you the very next morning. Then, you wear them anyway and tell everyone you're a C-cup, regardless of what the lady kindly informed you.
I had always (mistakenly) assumed these bra fitters lived on the sales floor in small caves woven from bra straps, but it seems I was mistaken. On a recent Ask Me Anything hosted by Reddit, a professional bra fitter at a chain of lingerie stories came clean about the secrets of her trade.
Interestingly, she claims clients are most upset when she advises them to size up, writing:
Women want breasts that are easy to manage, convenient to buy bras for and light to carry around. The perception is that if you're over a “normal” size, you'll have to start getting bras custom built by Queen Elizabeth's brassiere-maker. (I like to imagine she has to lie underneath each cup on scaffolding while she's building them, like a mammary Michelangelo.)
As the owner of two oversize breasts, I can only say it's a learning curve. Once you've found the right bra and a sports bra to keep you tucked in during runs (Wacoal and Moving Comfort, respectively), large breasts aren't that much of a challenge.
Because of both rising obesity rates and dubious methods of sizing bras, the average size of American boobs is slated to keep growing. So, settle in ladies. There's a good change yours will keep getting larger, particularly if you plan on having kids.