Refinery 29 UK
“It’s one of the most supportive communities anywhere on the internet,” says Marcy Howell, a member and moderator of r/ABraThatFits, one of the biggest fashion forums on Reddit and a platform dedicated to topics relating to, as the name suggests, bras that fit. “The breadth of knowledge is amazing. I’ve never seen a question go unanswered, and some of them are fairly obscure and complicated.”
It’s because of this that A Bra That Fits has amassed nearly 200,000 members since starting 10 years ago. From creating its own size calculator to developing a measuring technique specifically for the community, it has become one of the most helpful places on the internet, a safe space where anyone can go to ask for eco-friendly bra recommendations and the best places to find a reasonably priced bra during the pandemic.
With a fashion landscape that’s flooded by buzzy, Instagram-friendly brands, whose sizes often only go up to DD, and measuring techniques are limited, the need is clearly there. For proof, look at the many people joining r/ABraThatFits thinking they were one size, only to discover they’re at the totally opposite end of the spectrum. “Results say 36DD but I’ve been a 36A most my life,” wrote one user recently. “Thought I was a 36D for years but apparently I’m a 36G cup according to the calculator. To be quite honest, I’ve never even heard of a G cup. I always thought anything beyond a DD was humongous, according to what bra sizes I’ve seen sold in shops,” wrote another.
Like many of its most active members, moderator Chloe Molyneux discovered /r/ABraThatFits in the early 2010s. “Finding /r/ABraThatFits is like stepping into a different world where everything you thought you’d known is false,” she says. “Throughout the years, it has fine-tuned a way of not only measuring to get the best starting point bra size — the size you try first — but also has built up a collection of guides explaining how breast shape affects the way a bra fits.”
In addition to offering shape guides, a glossary, and even how-tos on alterations, /r/ABraThatFits uses a system that requires six different measurements as opposed to the usual two (band and cup size) for its calculator. “We have created our own terminology that is easy to understand, as well as more in-depth information for all the bra nerds out there who are passionate about excellent fit, including in-store bra-fitters who frequent our subreddit,” Molyneux says.
It also offers a comprehensive list of sizing systems by brands and countries, a resource that fuels one of the biggest discussions happening every day inside /r/ABraThatFits, and inspires people to think beyond the basic sizing system that exists. Many threads are dedicated to various bra brands around the world, with Poland being a favourite for its exacting fits and extensive sizes. (The community has even created a massive guide on Polish bras.) “Hi lovelies! I just recently discovered the amazing world of Polish bras and their fit. Would like to try them but don’t know where to start,” one user recently posted.
“A lot of readers don’t even know about non-matrix sizes,” says Howell, referring to sizes 32A-38DD, the most commonly manufactured and sold options in the U.S. “Around the world, bras come in sizes from 22AA to 60PP. Even if you’re not a maths person, you can see how sizes represent only a tiny, tiny portion of the population, and that’s why women hate their bras — they’re being forced to wear bras that do not fit.”
Another thing you won’t see in the community is any kind of advertisements or brand promotions, a rarity on social media platforms and in media. “Companies don’t advertise on our forum and we don’t have affiliates,” says Molyneux. “This honesty makes members trust each other and respect their advice and opinions. If a bra brand is doing good work, it will get popular by word of mouth and by reviews shared to /r/ABraThatFits or bratabase.com [a community-driven bra-fit website with a database of fits and photos from nearly every brand].”
The community is unique for the way it’s made up of people who love helping others find the right fit. Members often post measurement-checks and photos of the fit to receive advice in real-time. “Many have gained a strong understanding of how a bra should fit, what sizes are needed, which bras come in which shapes, which bras can be bought in which country, and also take the member’s personal preferences into consideration,” says Molyneux. “Sharing this power with others in the form of guides, advice, and support is what has made the wonderful community it is today.”
But perhaps one of the things that keeps people coming back is just how inclusive the space is. “Both the community and the moderation team keep a tight rein on any sort of judgment. It is body-positive, trans-friendly, and extremely welcoming,” says Howell. “I have been warmed by seeing how the community comes together to help people with special needs, single fathers who know that their daughters need a bra but don’t know where to start, women far outside the matrix easily found in department stores, who have been miserable all their lives and can move without pain for the first time in decades.”
“We pride ourselves in our commitment to acknowledge the uniqueness of everyone who joins,” adds Molyneux. “We know bodies come in many shapes, sizes, and genders. This is why our tagline is ‘Anyone who wants one deserves A Bra That Fits!’”
With r/abrathatfits, you can now find one, too — and join a community that will cheer you on while you do it.
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