Why It’s Okay to Have Multiple Sizes in Your Drawer

“I’m a 38J”

“Well, I’m a 34HH”

“Oh? I’m a 30F”


So often you’ll see women label themselves as one size. I’ve done it before. I’ve seen lots of other bloggers do it. But what does “I’m a *insert size*” really mean?

First, we are not just a size….so let’s move past that.

Secondly, the size that you wear (the size does not make the woman!) fluctuates with every tiny change in your body. Did you know that many women have to wear a bra that is a cup size bigger, and sometimes even a band size bigger, during their periods? And then, other times, they are able to size down from what their “normal” size is.

But what really defines a normal size? There’s no standardization in sizes across companies – or even within a certain company. So while you may be able to wear, say a 38HH in one brand, you may need a 40HH in another, a 38J in another, and maybe even a 36J in another brand. That’s a large range of different sizes. And that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you, it just means that no two bra is the same cut, same make, etc.

But then you add in how your body changes….

For example, my cycle is about 32 days in length. Immediately following the most horrible week ever, I can comfortably wear 38J’s with no double boob, and the band feels comfortable. As I get closer to ovulation, I typically feel better in my 40HH/J’s…..and then when the fated week arrives, I’ve found that I could probably do well to size up to a 42H because I am so bloated and everything pinches. Add in the fact that during that time I get sensitive and cranky and I just want to be comfortable. I don’t want my bra to be tight, at all.

So, my rotation of bras looks something like this: First week, I wear my Panache Tango, Elomi Sakura, and usually my Andorra. Second and third weeks I sometimes still wear the Andorra, as well as usually wearing my Hermione, Abi and Briony….and then when that fateful time rolls around, I typically suffer and wear just my Hermione and my Abi (which occasionally pinch during this time).

Now, there are a few ways you can make sure that you are comfortable all month long:

  • Track how your body changes throughout the month with regular measurements
  • Match up how your bra fits with how your body feels (snugger bras are better for when you are not bloated and vice versa)
  • Buy a bra that is bigger in whatever way you need it (cup or band, or even both) and save it for those rough times during the month – OR invest in at least one bra that has a stretch lace (or flexible) upper cup for slight changes in cup size
  • Buy an extender if you find that you only need some more space in the band during your time of the month – much cheaper than buying a new bra, and you can put it on any of your bras which doesn’t limit you from wearing your favorites
  • Be flexible. Your body changes in a fluid way, so you can’t get upset with yourself or your body if you aren’t wearing just one specific size (remember? every bra is made differently).

I know how much sentiment can be attached to a size, but if you can move past labels, you’ll be able to make sure that (1) your bra fits no matter what time of the month it is and (2) you’re comfortable and supported every day.

Lets not forget that, on average, Americans gain anywhere from 2-10 pounds during the holidays. I know that I need my eatin’ bra* for this time of year….


What about you? Does your size fluctuate throughout the month? Do you have a bra that is your go-to for that time? 


*similar to eatin’ pants, which are pants that are a bigger size and don’t pinch after you have overindulged.

6 thoughts on “Why It’s Okay to Have Multiple Sizes in Your Drawer

  1. I think this is so important to know, and a lot more common than people might think! I’ve also heard it recommended that you don’t go in for a fitting or do bra shopping on PMS days, as fit will be affected.

    I usually wear a 28H (28HH in Ewa Michalak), but on my bloat/PMS days, I definitely wear the bras that are roomier in the cup or looser in the bands for me (I have to avoid the EM bras all together). In fact, I keep a few bras around (Curvy Kate bras in 28HH) that I *only* wear on those days, as they’re too loose everywhere to wear regularly. It’s a very good idea to have at least a small range of sizes to pick from!

  2. My size doesn’t fluctuate much on a monthly basis (I could use a larger cup for my period sometimes, but it’s inconsistent which months I grow and which I don’t) but I’ve found that I do fluctuate seasonally. I put on a bit of winter weight, and I lose it in summer. So right now I’m wearing 28FFs, 28Gs, 26GGs, depending on the brand, and once the warm weather hits and I get more active I’ll probably be down a cup size or so again. My band size seems fairly consistent, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I could get away with slightly looser bands during the winter.

  3. Let’s not forget that we all don’t gain or lose weight in our breasts. You can also change your band size if you are building muscle in your back through strength exercises. I agree that it is best to know how a bra fits you best and ignore arbitrary numbers.

  4. Great post, Nicole! From a bra fitter’s perspective, if you experience significant changes throughout your cycle, I definitely recommend doing as you have suggested and building a bra wardrobe for the different stages. Some women will go up multiple cup sizes, and it’s easier to buy bras specifically for that time of the month instead of forcing yourself into bras that are too small/big.

    I don’t like the emphasis women have on thinking that are one size and on size only because it can prevent them from trying other styles or sizes. The only person who sees the tag is you . . . and you can even cut it out if you want! So buy what fits and feels good. 🙂

  5. I’m always telling my friends not to worry about the size, and to focus on fit, but it’s a hard pill even for me to swallow! I have to keep reminding myself to focus on how I look in the bra and how I feel. If I look and feel pretty and supported, I try not to be bothered if the letters/numbers on the tag have changed 🙂

  6. As a nursing mom this is why I love lace bras. If I go long periods without nursing or pumping they are more forgiving than the rigid molded bras that so many women insist on wearing. I can easily go from an H cup to a J cup in one day 🙂

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