Episode 1 • 10:57
How to Find a Sizer Bra for Your Breast Augmentation Procedure
What is a Sizer Bra, and how do you choose the best one? For that matter, how did the bra come to be in the first place? Learn the answers to those questions and more in this episode!
Welcome to Plain Talk About Plastic Surgery, a podcast that educates you about all things relating to plastic surgery procedures and operations, with down-to earth and honest information.
I’m your host, Dr. Elizabeth Kerner. While you listen, I hope you’ll think of me as your sister, the plastic surgeon, who will tell you like it really is.
I have been in practice in Plano TX, a northern suburb of Dallas, for over 30 years. I am an American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeon, and have been a member of both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
My practice is predominantly cosmetic surgery, doing about 80% cosmetic surgery and 20% reconstructive surgery.
I am a past president of the Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons. I was also the first female president of the hospital medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, where we have 1,400 doctors.
Each episode of Plain Talk About Plastic Surgery will focus on one area of plastic surgery in depth, discussing the anatomy, the operative technique, risks, potential complications, and most importantly, who would be a good candidate and who would not be a good candidate.
“Welcome to Plain Talk About Plastic Surgery, a podcast that educates you about all things concerning plastic surgery procedures and operations, and other topics of relevance, with down to earth and honest information.
I’m your host Dr. Elizabeth Kerner. The title of this episode is “How to Find a Sizer Bra for Your Breast Augmentation Procedure.” Look for an upcoming episode on “How to Find a Sizer Bra if You’re Having Breast Reduction or a Mastopexy.”
So you might be wondering, “What is a Sizer Bra, and why are you doing a podcast on it?“
Well, a Sizer Bra is simply a normal bra of the cup size that you’d want to fit into comfortably after your operation. It’s a bra that you’ll buy from a local store such as Dillard’s, or Target, or Victoria’s Secret; and I’m going to go into detail about the type of bra that I’d like you to buy. I will then use this bra in surgery so that your breasts will fit comfortably into it so you get the size that you want, and I don’t make you either too large or too small.
I do find that lots of patients seem to be a bit confused about finding a sizer bra – how to find it, what we’re looking for – or they’ll bring in an inappropriate size. So today I’m going to talk to you about how to find a sizer bra and what to look for. But before that, I’d like to give you a little history about the brassiere.
The History of the Brassiere
In researching this subject, I found so many fascinating little tidbits that it’s hard not to try and share them.
So the first bikini-like garments that are noted for women to wear were in female athletes in the Minoan civilization about 14th century BC. That’s pretty amazing because you know that women have had breasts, and they’ve had breasts that have hung and been too large and been uncomfortable for probably since the first cave woman came around. But this is the first historical documentation of a brassiere type garment to help support the female breasts.
In the Western world, at about the 1400s on, women of means abandoned the loose tunics that everyone wore in those days for tighter fitting clothes. And this became the development of the corset, and the corset was used to shape the waist and also to restrain, or conceal, or significantly uplift the breasts.
At this time corsets were desirable to try and create a 17-inch waist. Who can possibly have a 17-inch waist? But there were many opponents of the corset back in the late 1880s and 1900s, including physicians, and of course women themselves. The corsets would lead to all sorts of health problems including respiratory issues, deformed ribs, digestive issues, bladder issues, fainting, lack of mobility.
But what the corset did was to reinforce the idea that women were the weaker sex. And of course they were; they couldn’t defend themselves and they couldn’t even undress themselves or dress themselves because of the corset.
The First Modern Bra
In response to this, slowly but steadily in Western Europe, women, dressmakers in particular, began to develop corset substitutes – something to control the breast appendages. In 1876, a dressmaker by the name of Olivia Flynt was given four patents for corsets that would support larger breasts. They were still corsets. It’s largely thought around 1890 that a woman in France invented the first modern bra. She had a lower corset for the waist, but had an upper bra-like design that had straps on it.
And then in 1910, a New York socialite decided she was going to a debutante ball, and she and her maid fashioned silk hankies and pink ribbons into a bra. This caught on hugely with her friends, and she began to create these early brassieres for her friends, and eventually had the first US patent for a backless bra. However, her husband, discouraged by the fact that she was working outside of the home, basically forced her to sell her patent, and she did to the Warner company. She sold it to them for $1,500 and it’s widely thought that they went on to make over $15,000,000 from this patent.
The Invention of Cup Sizes
They eventually popularized using elastic thread, and also were the very first company to create a system of cups, and this became the model for brassier sizing around the world. And this is important because I think before this, it was just basically a one size fits all. And now we have this cup system. This was quite uniform, really up into maybe the ’80s. And then manufacturers began going off of the accepted, “This an A cup, a B cup, a C cup, a D cup,” and now really, there’s almost no bra uniformity at all.
So when you go out to buy a Sizer Bra, you’re going to find pretty quickly it’s very difficult to compare a Maiden Form, with a Warner, with a Victoria’s Secret because a 36 C won’t be the same across all of the manufacturers.
Just a couple more interesting historical facts. In 1922 a Russian immigrant, Ida Rosenthal, began to design bras for all ages and shapes, taking the Warner concept of the cup, and she called it a ‘Maiden Form’ bra. And the reason she called it Maiden Form is that there was a competitor who had a bra called the ‘Boyish Form’, and this was a bra that flattened the breasts and she said, “I don’t think women want to have flatter breasts.” So hers was Maiden Form to create a more uplifted maiden-looking breast, if you will.
And then the last little interesting tidbit, in then late 1960s when the feminists were protesting the Miss America contest, everyone said they were burning their bras. In actuality, they might have thrown their bra into the what they called the Freedom Trash Can, but what they burnt were their girdles. And some pundits have said, if instead of being called bra burners, they were called girdle burners, then the women of the ’60s might have really been much more behind the feminist movement.
Oh, and I have one last little interesting tidbit. In 1977 the first sports bra was invented in, of all places, a costume shop at the University of Vermont theater. You can see it if you go they actually have a little museum and they have it sprayed with plastic so you can see the first one that was designed. And brassieres, and everything relating to brassieres, is now considered to be a $15 billion industry in the United States.
So that’s your little history of the bra.
How to Select a Sizer Bra
So when I ask you to get a Sizer Bra, what I need is a bra that you want to fit in after your surgery. And this is important because I can certainly use my own judgment and say, “Well, she looks like she’s a 36 C. Or this looks pretty.” But if you bring me a bra, and it’s the one that you want to fit in, I will do everything I can to make sure that, at the end, your breasts fit into that bra appropriately.
So to begin with, you need to go to the store and try on a bra. For a breast augmentation procedure you can probably use the same under-breast measurement bra that you’re using now.
The under-breast measurement is the circumference underneath of your breasts around your chest. So that would be taking a tape measure and just run it around your chest and seeing what it is, and those are numbers. So that would be 34, 36, 38, 40, etc.
The cup size is the actual fabric that your breasts sit into. And this is a letter A, B, C, D, Double D, Triple D.
How to Measure
There are all kinds of websites and YouTube videos that tell you how to measure yourself to find the most appropriate under-breast and cup size, and I’ve looked at all of them. I think that the easiest is putting a tape measure under the breasts and it says 34, 36 that’s probably about what you’re in.
So when you’re looking for a sizer bra and you’re going to have a breast augmentation, let’s say you’re currently in a 34. You’re probably going to still be in a 34 circumference or under breast band after surgery. So then you would go to the store try on a 34 bra – you already know that it’s going to fit so that you can hook it normally – and then look at the cups. All the manufacturers will have different cups.
Cup Size Inconsistency
In the old days, it used to be there was a standard cup for each under-breast circumference. But nowadays, each manufacturer decides how small or how large they want their cup to be. So 34 Cs across the different manufacturers will not all be the same. You need to go look at some bras, look at your 34 Cs and decide, “Oh, I like the 34 C in the Warner, or I like a 34 C in Victoria Secrets – something like that. Pick out a couple of bras, or maybe you look across manufacturers and find that there’s two or three that you really like.
You’ll find very quickly that between manufacturers there can be significant variation in a 34 C cup. So at home, you might want to take that bra, take some bags or baggies of rice and put them into the cup and put your T shirt on and see if that’s how you want to look.
It’s really just as simple as that.
Final Sizer Bra Tips
I would like a full coverage bra, meaning that it’s not a demi cup. So that way when we put it on your breast and you have the sizer in, it doesn’t look like you’re spilling out too much from the very first. So pick one bra or two, bring them back to me – don’t take the tags off – and we’ll check and if everything looks appropriate, we can use that.
Try and get bras that don’t have minimizer panels at the bottom because that will make you look a little flattened, and will also squish you more towards the middle. And choose bras that don’t have padding for uplifting.
Obviously something like a water bra, the Wonder Bra which is the water bra, wouldn’t really work. An underwire is perfectly okay, and hopefully it would be cheap because this is going to be sterilized and then eventually we’ll have to get it back to you, but I can’t guarantee that it’s going to be in the same pristine condition as you give it to me to begin with.
So bring that bra to me, I will look at it and if it’s appropriate we’ll use that in surgery. I’ll sterilize it and, as I’m putting that sizer implant in, I will put the bra over your breast and make sure that your breast’s filling up that cup.
I hope this has cleared up how to find a sizer bra. Again, don’t take the tags off, bring them in to me. If that’s what we need we’ll sterilize them and then we’ll give them back to you after surgery.
That’s all for this topic, “How to Find A Sizer Bra for Your Breast Augmentation Procedure.”
Have a great day and don’t forget to use your sunblock.”
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