Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the category “Bra-fitting”

Discovery: Spokesperson

I’ve written about George Takei before, and he’s back again with a less jokey bit of outreach. Recently, he’s reposted a video highlighting the struggles that large-busted women face. His page reaches a really big audience, so I’m hopeful that it will inspire more people to check out bra-fitting and having empathy for those of us who have to wear bras!

How to Sell a Bra on Bratabase

There are a bunch of very good places to buy bras (go to Resources to see some of my recommendations); some are official retailers, like Amazon and A Sophisticated Pair, and others are more consumer-sourced, such as Ebay and Bratabase. What about selling your bras? Maybe your recent purchase doesn’t fit, or you have some bras that you’re simply not going to use but are still in great condition and could serve someone else well.

I’ve recently completed a smooth transaction through Bratabase and wanted to outline the process for anyone else who wants to post a listing on this site.

1. Have/create a Bratabase account.

In order to add to the database and contact members of the site, you must have a Bratabase account. (Simply browsing the site and its listings is not restricted to account holders.) So if you want to make a listing to sell your bra, message a member about buying her bra, or write a review, you’ll have to register with the site first.

2. Add the bra you’d like to sell.

By “add[ing] a bra” to your profile, you’re informing the site that this bra is, or once was, in your possession. The site already has a wealth of information about common and uncommon bra brands and their lines, so you’ll very likely be able to select your bra out of pre-existing categories.

3. Add detailed information about the bra.

If you plan to sell the bra through a Bratabase listing, you must have at least one picture and you must take measurements of the bra itself. You’ll want to take pictures of the item you’re selling anyway, so that shouldn’t be anything too new or shocking. Bratabase filters uploaded pictures, so it may take a small while before they appear.

As for measurements, you simply need to take a tape measure (or a piece of string and a ruler) and describe each of the dimensions that the site asks for. There are very straightforward diagrams for each dimension they want measurements for, so don’t worry about things like where on the wing they want you to measure; they’ll show you.

4. Create a listing.

Once the site sees that your bra has both pictures and measurements, a button “List this bra” will appear on the page about the bra. (To reach that page, if you’ve left, go to “My Bras” on the top bar, and then click on the bra you’re selling from the list of bras you’ve added.) Click on that “List this bra” button to go to the listing page.

The information that you need to provide is simple. What condition is the bra in? How much are you charging? You can also add any other comments or information. Take a look at current listings for ideas on how much to charge or what kind of language you can use in your listing.

After you publish your listing, you can go back to edit any of this information at any time.

Note: Once upon a time, Bratabase covered shipping costs for bra sales. This is no longer the case. They do, however, currently cover shipping costs for exchanges and giveaways (transactions that do not involve the transfer of currency).

5. Wait for prospective buyers to contact you.

People who are interested in your listing will be able to message you about it. You may have to be patient; some listings sit for months. I was lucky and received two inquiries the day I listed.

6. Make arrangements and/or negotiations with your buyer.

Answer any questions they may have about the bra or about buying from you. Arrange payment details (you can either give them your Paypal address to send money to, or take their Paypal address to send an invoice). They’ll be able to provide their shipping address through Paypal, but just to be safe, I also asked my final buyer to message it to me.

7. Close the listing and ship out your bra.

Go back to your listing and close it so that other people know that it’s no longer up for sale. (You probably want to do this step after you receive the payment.)

Package your bra in a box or envelope. You can use any shipping service or company that’s convenient for you, but I highly recommend either using a service that includes tracking or buying a tracking number. On Paypal, you’ll be able to mark your transaction as shipped and put the tracking number right on the Paypal site. I also messaged my buyer the tracking number and estimated date of delivery.

8. Follow up on your transaction.

Just to be a nice person, stay updated on the package getting to its intended destination, but, technically, your transaction is now over. Congratulations!

Where Is Your Sternum?

Thanks to WordPress, I get to see some of the search terms that bring people here. A surprising number indicate that people are stumbling into my corner of the Internet on their mighty search for… where exactly the sternum is located.

This absolutely warrants a dedicated post.

Bra fitters advise (well, they’d demand it if they could) that the center gore of your bra tack to, or be firmly touching, your sternum.


For that matter, what is it there for?

First, location: It’s in the center of your chest, between your breasts! (If you do not have breasts, then they are between where your hypothetical breasts would be in those situations when you have hypothetical breasts.) Your ribcage is basically two mirror image half-cages, right? (Right?) They are symmetrical with a vertical line of symmetry going from your chin to your navel The sternum is the flat bone that runs along that line of symmetry, connecting the two ribcage halves. (It’ll be positioned upwards from the lowest point in your ribcage, because your lower ribs angle up before meeting. The sternum is not nearly as long as your full ribcage. )

What is it for?

From the point of view of a Googler (read: not a medical professional but good at looking things up online): it supports and is the core for your clavicles/collarbones and your ribcage. You know, the ribcage that protects your heart and any other vital organs hanging out in that vicinity? That one.

Since it’s kind of… in the middle of your body… beneath skin and tissue… your bra’s not exactly going to have direct interaction with the actual sternum bone. When we say “tacking to your sternum”, we mean it should be firmly touching that location marked in red in the above diagram, on your chest.

The sternum is also called the breastbone.

I’ll ask my nursing friends for any input on this cute primitive-dagger-shaped bone, see if there’s anything interesting on their front.

Sources: Yahoo Education ; The Free Dictionary

Review: Journelle

Review: Journelle
(their website; their facebook; yelp)

Journelle was the other bra boutique in Manhattan (besides Kaori’s Closet) that I chose to be fitted at. It’s located right next to Union Square but is far away enough that there isn’t really traffic on that particular street. Yelp has some photos of the storefront. It looks pretty classy inside, not that I really took any time at all to look around myself, but since I’d had that first exhilarating fitting experience already, I wasn’t as intimidated as I could have been.

I marched straight towards the salespeople at the register. I think they might have realized my (slightly abated!) ignorance-fueled desperation, because one of them came straight up and asked me if I needed help. I answered in the affirmative and she grinned. “Yeah, thought so. You look like a girl on a mission!!”

I used the same method as I’d used in Kaori’s closet (“purple shirt, help me underneath it please!”). She took me to the back, where there were several really luxurious and comfortable fitting rooms. Lots of online reviewers liken the store and rooms to a spa; never having spa’d before, I can’t make a comparison, but it was very, very pamper-y.

The fitter measured me with a tape and told me I was between 32 DD and 32DDD (same verdict as Kaori’s Closet. am I drawing too many comparisons between these two?). She brought back lots of bras in those and neighboring sizes (good sign!) in various blacks, darks and nudes. She really focused on giving me a good, comfortable and accurate fit as well as meeting my goal of not having the bra show under the lace shirt. Lots of good fitting advice: start on the loosest hook and go in as the bra relaxes; the bra feels too tight now because you’re used to a loose fit; your bra usually rides up right? loose band’s fault. She really put in a lot of effort, and I felt completely taken care of. I started feeling bad because I was trying so many on, but she just kept at it: “It looks pretty good, but I guess that nude is a little too bright. I’ll go get a darker one.”

A fitter who goes back into hunt mode because a well-fitting nude is too bright for the shirt I want to wear? GOLD!!!

Also, no mention at all of matching panties/anything: props! From me, at least.

The bras were all full price and really expensive. Three dollar signs on Yelp; some of the bras were over $100. Didn’t stop me from trying them on, but they were definitely eliminated as potential purchases from the beginning.

I came out with a 32E Chantelle “Rive Gauche T-shirt Bra” in cappuccino–review to come soon. I think I can review it honestly despite the fact that it doesn’t actually fit too well anymore.

What I’ve Learned from a Proper Bra

1. It’s important (to have a proper bra), and American (and most other countries’) bra companies have generally terrible ranges of bra sizes.

2. It’s a really difficult topic to bring up. It originally was, but now that I’ve learned to spot bad bra-wearing, it’s become a topic that I know how to discuss. I can’t go up to someone, whether a stranger or a good friend, and say “your bra is all wrong”. !! What do I do?

3. Despite the potential for ultra-awkwardness, it’s still an area where almost everyone needs a re-education. See the my first Perspectives post for my story about my aunt. (This incident is what pushed me off the decision/procrastination fence.)

4. Lots of people have said I lost weight.
i. Reasons why I might look like I’ve lost weight:
a. Most of the people who’ve said this haven’t seen me in a long long time and have no point of comparison besides a vague impression of a short chubby Asian girl;
b. my good bras lift my chest away from my stomach and hold my bust up properly;
c. my migrated breast tissue is re-migrating to its proper places;
d. for the last few years, I’ve been preferring more form-fitting clothes because they feel like they’re actually on my body as opposed to around it;
e. I probably smile more than I used to; not that I was perpetually grumpy before.
ii. I actually don’t really want to lose weight… I’m very comfortable where I am, thank you. I already get blown around by heavy NY winter winds; I prefer being sturdy on my feet than being less fatty.

5. Despite not having lost weight, I fit into (and look better in) clothes that I thought I’d outgrown. There’s this top and skirt set that I’d bought in Thailand- it’s gorgeous but I’ve never been able to wear it. Although it was in my size, my bra band would ride up to my armpits (kind of sad that didn’t tip me off that anything was wrong with my bra…) and it is not the kind of top that a traveling bra band can pull off. Now that I can wear it, the dyes have bled and shifted so while it’s still beautiful, there are some pretty noticeable flaws 😦

6. I have been playing some Kinect games that required heavy jumping and scampering around the room; NO PAIN! It was glorious. I might even be comfortable running! More elaboration in a later post on how support-less bras made my PE experience throughout school even more horrible than it had to be (but a note that I must clarify first: I loved playing most sports, it was just that my lungs don’t agree, so it was not a distaste for physical movement that turned me off of that class.)


eternalvoyageur, the writer of one of my all-time favorite blogs, Venusian*Glow, has graciously given me permission to translate her post on bra styles into Chinese. It’s a great resource that’s enlightening but gets straight to the point; read the original post in English here.







平台罩杯 Balconette:
罩杯上邊是直橫綫。縫法的目的是要從下面向上承托乳房。 肩帶可能在中間或旁邊。罩杯可高可低,不過平台罩杯一定平的。


低胸罩杯 Plunge:


So sorry this next post took so long in coming! Translating and editing was quite a challenge, and rl has been particularly distracting lately. Plus I bought my first handheld console last week (a purchase much related to the frustration wrought by said rl distractions) and have been feeding my gamer side with regular doses of fun fun games.

Why the Bilingualism? / Parts of a Bra èƒ¸åœçš„結構

Why am I putting Chinese posts in an English-language blog that only proficient English-speakers/readers will easily navigate?

One of my goals in maintaining a multilingual environment is to facilitate exchanges and conversation between people of different languages. For example, I am much more comfortable in English than in Chinese in most topics of conversation, but Mom is in the opposite situation. If I want to talk to her about bras, I need some basis in Chinese terminology and customs, but my Chinese isn’t at the level where I can google (or baidu; is that a verb yet?) in Chinese and navigate without aspirin (as such, anyone notices any humiliating Chinese language-y mistakes, please do let me know!).

With CurvyHK, however, I’m hoping to provide an English-language path to information in Chinese, so that readers can pass on and distribute information to other people who are more comfortable in another language. This aspect of the site is for people in my type of linguistic situation:
“Mom! You should check this out!”
“(in a different language) Hon, I have no idea what this means.

I also realized that I’ve been making up Chinese terms for bra (and breast) parts when there is definitely an established vocabulary out there. Subsequent to that realization, I decided to brave Chinese Google and find out what Chinese communities and companies have to say about bra construction! (…and I’ll go back to the published Chinese post and edit in the proper terms)

Below is an English/Chinese bilingual breakdown of the different names of the structural parts of a bra.

Parts of a Bra 胸圍的結構

A. cup 罩杯/胸杯
B. center gore 胸心
C. underwire 金屬托
D. wing/side panel (refers to the fabric that makes up this section) 側翼
E. band 背帶
F. strap 肩帶
G. clip 調節扣
H. closure/hook 勾扣



點擊可放大! 移動滑鼠到格上可看到更多解釋。

1. 胸圍的背帶(band)在後面被肩帶拉高。(背帶太大。)

2. 胸心(center gore)不貼著身體(在胸骨的位置)。(背帶太大。)

3. 金屬托不貼著身體。(背帶太大。)

4. 腋下有賤肉。(背帶太大,罩杯太小,或沒有把軟組織撥進罩杯内。)

5. 乳房的軟組織擠出罩杯之外。結果可能好像有四個乳房的樣子。(罩杯太小。)

6. 肩膀,腰背痛。(背帶太大;因爲背帶承托不住乳房,重量都靠肩膀和腰背托起。)


How to Determine an Ill-fitting Bra

(The final group of pictures are from around the internet. All photos of bras, as well as the bra-related product, are taken from JCPenney’s online catalog; I figured that they probably allocate less money for Photoshopping compared to what Victoria’s Secret has in their budget. Plus, Victoria’s Secret has been torn apart pretty well by bra bloggers already, and we do need to help keep up their reputation for providing bags that become popular HS textbook covers!)


1. The bra band gets pulled up by the bra straps and rides up your back. (The band is too big.)

Left is ill-fitting (bad), right is quite good.

2. The center gore (the part of the bra between the cups) does not lie flat against your body–often described by bra bloggers as “flush against your sternum”. (The band is too big.)

3. The underwire (for wired bras) does not lie firmly against your body. (The band is too big.)

4. Breast tissue escapes to the side, creating an impression of “underarm fat” or “armpit fat”. (The band is too big, the cup is too small, you haven’t scooped your flesh into your bra cups, or any combination of the above.)

5. The cups can’t contain your breast tissue; flesh spills out of the top, sides, or bottom, which might result in a “quadraboob effect” if the top of the cup divides each boob into two :(. (The cups are too small.)

6. You have pain in your shoulders and/or back. (The band is too big; since the band isn’t supporting your breasts as it should, the weight hangs onto your shoulders and back.)
(It’s a little hard to find a picture of this, but if you need to use the below products because of your bra then you probably have this problem.)

Okay, I might be getting a little silly with these last ones.

Notice that most of these problems are that the band is too loose; this is the case for most women. The fitter who helped me at Journelle said this: “Since you’re used to wearing a band that’s much too loose, a proper-size band might feel really tight. As long as you can hook it and breathe, though, it’s not too tight.” has this advice: “If the band is leaving an imprint the way socks and underwear do, that’s fine. If the band is leaving bruises, it’s too small.”

Review: Kaori’s Closet

Review: Kaori’s Closet
(their website; their facebook; yelp)
Kaori’s Closet is a small bra boutique in Manhattan, just on the edge of Soho; not hard to spot if you have the intersection. It might have felt like my older sister’s room, if I had an older sister who was a super feminine girl obsessed with underwear. It’s prettily designed and very comfortable. I was the only one there at first, but a few other customers wandered in when I was finishing up.

When I marched in, the salesperson cheerily asked if I needed help. (She was one of two on the floor; the other worked in the back and around the floor with other customers while I was in the store.)

This was my first time buying a bra on my own (yeah… I actually never really went shopping for anything before college. Even in college my purchases were mainly food and books and more food.) so I wanted to go “I’m totally lost in here, save meee” but was able to keep my cool and say “Yeah, that would be great.”

They have one small fitting room in the store. The doorway is covered with a long two-layered curtain and secured with velcro; the doorways face the windows/street, but the salesperson will ask for permission to come in and carefully maneuver so that the outer curtain keeps you safely concealed from Houston. There’s a poster on the wall, next to the mirror, with diagrams and directions on how to bend and scoop and adjust your bra correctly. The salesperson did explain how to go in a hook farther as the elastic wore out from washing.

I told her what I needed–a bra for this purple shirt–and she measured me with a tape (in the fitting room, shirt on but jacket off (yes I wear jackets in NY summer; I like to be warm)). She informed me that I was 32DD or 32DDD (depending on bra design, size fluctuates; it was good that she understood that); I’m no longer 32, so either I was 32 at that point when she measured me, she had an accurate measurement with no ridiculous adding of inches, and then I just had a good healthy re-migration of tissue, or she measured me incorrectly (but since the bras she gave me to try were all pretty tight, I doubt it?), or she didn’t have sub-32s in stock (again, the 32s I tried were pretty secure).

The objective was a bra that did not show under a dark purple shirt that had armholes that went below where most bra bands begin to show, so she brought me lots (lots!) of black, dark, and nude bras in a good variety of sizes. For some designs, she brought me the identical bra in two sizes; a good sign indicating a knowledgeable and considerate bra-fitter. They (the bras) were all gorgeous and, uh, all pricey.

As far as I recall, the bras ranged from around $50s to $90s, mostly at the higher end of that. This was a specialty retail store, products  at retail price, so I was armed with expectations of that range from Yelp.

I ended up with a 32DDD (32E) bra, nude with elaborate black netting and lace, and removable padding (which I opted to removed right away… I still don’t hesitate about some of these things).  Arguably my favorite so far; it’s a Japanese brand narue. The salesperson suggested the matching underwear but didn’t push.



Incidentally, I was there during their 4th anniversary celebration and got a flowery hairpin gift. I’m clumsy with hair ornaments so it wasn’t particularly useful (the pricetag indicated that the thing was $12, though o_o) but it was really sweet.

Two implications of the bra being Japanese: a, there is hope for Asian brands, particularly Japanese because this that I have is Japanese and Japan has always been pretty ahead in merchandising and products, but b, opportunities to explore the brand or similar brands are much diminished since I can’t read or access many Japanese resources, and Japanese products are mostly very very expensive (although high quality!).

While looking for pictures (I took pictures with my own camera but at this point am hesitating to post pictures of my underwear online) I found narue on Yahoo!Japan marketplace. Maybe someday I’ll ask a friend to help me figure that out? Because seriously, this is a awesomely beautiful and comfortable bra.

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