Friday, January 22, 2010

Wikipedia, busted

One of our family's favourite TV shows at the moment is How to Look Good Naked. Ms ND and I like Gok's no-nonsense fashion and beauty advice, and who can say why His Majesty and the Dude want to look at women in their underwear...

So, having been influenced by the Gokster, when I decided to purchase a new bra yesterday I thought I would check that I am buying the correct size by measuring my bust and starting from scratch. One reason for this was that, although I have quite happily and comfortably worn size 16C bras for years, when I needed a halterneck bra for the Fire Brigade ball last year I allowed myself to be talked into a 14D. And, although I love what the bra does to my bangers (to use a Gokism), by the end of the day my rib cage feels constricted and slightly bruised. I didn't want to make that mistake again.

So, I dutifully measured my band size (underneath the breasts) and my bust size (around the breasts) and entered the measurements into an online bra size calculator. Imagine my shock when it told me that I should be wearing a size 22AA!

I had always thought that the cup size was roughly the difference between the two measurements in inches, with one inch for A, two for B, three for C and so on. (As it turns out, this is, loosely, correct.) With four inches difference between the two measurements, I thought that would indicate a C or D cup, not a double A! As for the size 22 part...

So I went to Wikipedia to check how bra sizes are determined. The table they use is as follows:

Cup size
(UK and
Cup size
(rest of Europe,
Canada and US)
Difference between bust size
and band size (inches)
Difference (cm)
AA AA Less than one inch 10–12 cm
A A 1 inch 12–14 cm
B B 2 inches 14–16 cm
C C 3 inches 16–18 cm
D D 4 inches 18–20 cm
DD DD or E 5 inches 20–22 cm
E DDD or F 6 inches 22–24 cm
F G 7 inches 24–26 cm
FF H 8 inches 26–28 cm
G I 9 inches 28–30 cm
GG J 10 inches 30–32 cm
H K 11 inches 32–34 cm
HH L 12 inches 34–36 cm
J M 13 inches 36–38 cm
JJ N 14 inches 38–40 cm
K NN 15 inches 40–50 cm

It's easy to see where the problem lies. The metric conversions are way off, and apparently every online bra-size calculator has used the Wikipedia data to set up their algorithm. (I have put in a request for it to be corrected.)

Just for fun, when I went into the bra store I picked up a 22B bra (the closest I could get: I don't think they even make bras in 22AA -- I have cellulite lumps bigger than those breasts would be). I tried it on, but my breasts just dropped out through the gap between the bra band and my body.

Guess what size bra I bought? 16C. Plus ca change...


beche-la-mer said...

Just googled "brassiere measurement calculator" and tried the first 10 that came up. The only one that gave me a believable size was Honey's Lingerie Boutique. Even Macy's got it wrong!

空氣 said...
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beche-la-mer said...

I requested a change to the table in Wikipedia, but no-one seemed to be interested in following it up, so I've just changed it myself. Let's see how long it takes for the online converter programs to catch up!