We recently started working with Katherine Hamilton, and since they're a bra-fit-focussed brand, it seemed like a good time to remind everyone that there's no standardisation in bra sizes. Like all garment industry issues, every brand has their own take on it.
Katherine Hamilton Intimates produce a smaller variety of styles than us, but with a much broader size range in each, and they offer a choice of knicker styles and so on. They use stretch silk, luxury lace, tulle and embroidery.
Now, you can see that they offer the same fit advice that we do for bras - but we rely on words and they've sensibly done some nice graphics that will get past the social media censors!
This is all sensible advice that everyone agrees on - where we differ is our beliefs on how important it is.
Some women find it's absolutely crucial for them to get a good "technical" fit and adore brands that spend the years in perfecting wires and shapes that Katherine Hamilton or similar full bust brands do.
Others, like me, find that they prefer not to wear a bra at all, or find that a bra that doesn't "technically" fit is actually more comfortable.
There's no solid evidence for either being better - if you ever want a long rant do ask me about the poor quality of research on this and the contradictory findings - so basically, just do what works for you!
I promise you that there is no research that anything terrible will happen if you don't wear a bra, or wear the 'wrong' bra. There is evidence that you can get permanent dents where the straps sit, but as far as we know they aren't inherently damaging or dysfunctional. You can also get superficial injuries when things chafe or similar. But there is absolutely no evidence for anything serious happening.
Katherine Hamilton also illustrates bra measuring broadly the way we do;
Except we'd suggest not wearing a bra in the process (social media censors affect even illustrations!) and also, as always, we like to do it looking cross.
The big difference here is that when you measure your underbust, for Katherine Hamilton bras to fit, your measurement is your back size.
For Kiss Me Deadly and any of the Playful Promises brands, we would suggest you add around 4 inches.
So if you measure 30 inches under your bust, in Katherine Hamilton you would need a 30 back, and in KMD, usually you'd need a 34 (or an M in the styles based on the Van Doren pattern).
Broadly speaking, the "don't add anything, what you measure is your back size" is used by all the full-bust brands - and they usually cut their backs tighter than we would - whereas core size brands, and especially older core sized brands, tend to be working on the system we do.
This of course only applies in the UK, the rest of the world has its own systems - the one we are most confused by is in Italy!
Now, because your cup size is based on the difference between your underbust and overbust, a brand that uses the "add nothing" method will mean that you find you have a bigger cup size.
A 28D in Katherine Hamilton and a 32B in Kiss Me Deadly are going to be roughly the same in both band and cup.
You haven't changed, and which one suits you best depends on personal preference and breast shape, it's just a different way of labelling things.
It's a bra, but not as we know it! Because the KMD Doren styles have no cup shape or wire, we can do them in S-XL rather than conventional bra sizes. It's ok if you hate that. It's not for everyone.
The proliferation of fit and sizing systems IS confusing, but it also means that you have more choice about bras than EVER before, so if you can bear to experiment it really does offer you some great opportunities.
Just remember that bras are much more detailed than jeans and we all know how challenging it can be to find the perfect pair of those; adjust expectations accordingly.
You can read more about KMD fit and find international size charts here, and remember, we're always happy to get your feedback about how garment fit works out for you. Just try to resist the urge to comment on anyone else's choices.
They're just living their breast life, and I promise, no-one's going to suffer serious damage as a result.