Book Review: How to Find a Bra That Fits
Disclosure: I received this book free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
How to Find a Bra That Fits, by Liz Kuba, is a simple self-published tome that aims to educate the American market about bra fit and sizing. It contains basic information about bra styles, sister sizing, breast shapes as they pertain to bra fit, and so forth. At roughly 50 pages (plus a further ten-ish of appendices), it's an easy read for a single evening or afternoon if your head doesn't begin to swim from all the numbers and fit theory.
If you're already curious, you should know that How to Find a Bra That Fits is available for free on Smashwords during the month of April 2015. It is also currently on sale for $0.99 on Amazon.com as an e-book.
Now, let's get into the content. The goal is to (re)educate American consumers to help us find a bra that is the right size and therefore supportive and comfortable. This slim volume starts off with what is effectively a critique at American bra manufacturing/sales for their limited sizing and poor fitting techniques. She talks a bit about why this is so; specifically, that it is expensive to develop, manufacture, and stock a wider range of sizes. Culturally, I think American culture has both a clandestine fascination with and a phobia of large breasts. Next up, then bra anatomy and basic styles, how the sizing system works (cup/band relationship and sister sizing), a quick test to assess the fit of your current bra, and of course, info on how to re-measure yourself to determine your size, plus more in-depth info on actually trying on bras, bra care, bra myths, breast cancer and bras, and finally revisiting fit to discuss breast shapes. The appendices include a glossary, chart of sister sizing (different bra sizes that have the same cup volume), resources, and list of retailers.
Overall, the tone of this book was really conversational and easy to read. As someone who deals with fit (in a slightly different context, as it pertains to corsets) on a pretty much daily basis, it was very understandable to me, but I could also see how some of the content might require a couple readings in order to be fully absorbed. Luckily, at 50-ish pages, that's easily done! The author speaks with a tone of calm authority and uses inclusive vocabulary, giving clear information. By "inclusive" vocabulary, I primarily mean that she also directly includes the trans community - a huge plus in my book - though another reviewer points out the consistent use of female pronouns. Occasionally I found myself wishing she would go into a bit more detail (mostly when describing cuts of bras), but I suspect the level of information is intentional in order to not overwhelm the reader and distract from the basis of the book: actually determining bra size. The illustrations used for the book are very clear and consistent. I'm not sure I understand the hand-outlined caps typography and blocky yet loose illustration of the cover, but at least it's fairly simple and consistent within itself.
It's important to note that the method used for this book uses a +0 band size method (or even -1 if your underbust measures odd). However, Ms. Kuba does note that the most important thing is being comfortable in your bra, and that one can "round up" if they need a looser band or have little body fat. You only need three measurements to get your bra size (or a starting point for it) with this system. I took my own measurements, against the advice of the book which recommended a friend's help. Given that this book is aimed at the entire bra wearing audience, young and old, I suspect a good proportion of its readers might be slightly uncomfortable with the level of intimacy involved with having a friend's assistance.
As a bralette enthusiast with a hard to find bra size and no associated pain, I tend to be lackadaisical about the size of bra I wear, but I was fairly confident that I am a 30D. My only bra in that size is my Charlotte by Parfait by Affinitas, so I threw it on and wore it for the day. To my surprise, I realized that the larger of my breasts was indeed a bit overly full in the cup, and I would have benefited from a DD. By the numbers only, the book puts me at a 28F. Taking sister sizing into account and going up to a 30 band, that's still a cup size larger than I would think I need, but it's pretty close. An important part of learning your bra size is throwing away what you think you know about cup size vis a vis "big boobs." I doubt anyone would ever look at me and think I am a DD!
After assessing your by-the-numbers bra size, of course, you'll need to double check it against actual bras. The chapter entitled, "Fit Issues, Revisited," identifies red flags of fit and provides the sizing solution. Is that same information available on the internet for free? Sure, but the book wouldn't have been complete without it, and it's nice to have all the information clearly written and concisely collected in one place. (Speaking of clearly written, I didn't notice any typos or formatting errors! I appreciate these niceties and I think they do much to improve the [perceived] professionalism of any self-publishing endeavor.)
Aside from reminding me to reevaluate my bra size - Ms. Kuba recommends confirming your bra size about once a year - the book also helped me figure out my breast shape. Some of it I was aware of, or thought I knew, but it was helpful to know the standardized vocabulary that goes along with it.
All told, I thought the book was very well done. Of course, I'm not a bra fitter, but one can't write for a lingerie blog for four years without have a decent understanding of bra sizes.
Would you use a book to help you find your bra size? Do you wish someone had given you a book like this when you were a teen or preteen and buying some of your first bras?