Make that sizes plural.
For a bra to fit, both the cup and band size matter.
But what does a woman do if she isn't built to slip into the off-the-rack models offered by department and lingerie stores?
That is the question Heather Johnson has confronted for much of her life. Finding an answer became urgent about three years ago.
She was nursing and her bust had out-grown the bra sizes typically carried by retailers. It became embarrassing for her to go shopping.
She felt self-conscious and out of place in stores that, invariably, didn't carry a bra that would fit her.
"I didn't want to be fitted by that skinny little blond person we think of as Nordstrom," Johnson said. "It was humiliating."
It turned out she needed a 38 double H.
"Back then I didn't know bras went above double D," she said.
The experience inspired Johnson to begin selling bras out of the back of her mother's chiropractic office, which she was managing. Johnson found that fitting her mother's large-busted clients with bras of the proper size relieved much of their back and neck pain.
Before long, women of all shapes and sizes were showing up at the office looking for Johnson.
"They'd come in and ask, 'Is the bra lady here? I heard about the bra lady,'" Johnson said.
The word-of-mouth traffic convinced Johnson there was as much demand for personal service as there was for custom fit.
"I'm a person. I'm not a stuffy sales lady," she said. "You're not going to see me in the pumps and the $500 dresses."
In response to the demand, Johnson opened "A Better Fit."
The goal at her shop on Trading Bay Road in Kenai is to get her clients into the right bra, whatever their size.
"Most come in wearing bras too small," she said. "At least 70 percent of women wear the wrong size bra."
Too small a size can cause underwires to poke out and flesh to bulge, particularly between the breast and arm pit. Too large a size can cause the back strap to ride up and allow the breasts to sag. Either way the undergarment can't do its job.
"The bra is acting like a cover, not a support," Johnson said.
Victoria Whitney has been a client of Johnson's from the beginning. She likes Johnson's customer service as well as her selection.
"I can't find bras to fit me elsewhere," she said.
For Whitney, a good fit means not only comfort but confidence.
"If your breasts look nice, you feel great," she said.
To help women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy maintain a natural look and their confidence, Johnson offers breast prostheses and specially fitted bras.
A breast prosthesis, or breast form, can be customized to match the color, shape and size of the existing breast down to the smallest detail.
"We can even cast a replica of the nipple," Johnson said.
Although a woman can almost always find a bra that both looks good and fits well, as with running shoes, Johnson thinks comfort and fit shouldn't be sacrificed for appearance.
One of Johnson's most popular bras is a plain Jane made famous by Oprah. The no-frills, no-lace number called Renaissance is made by Le Mystere in France.
"It's an incredible fit, but it's not much to look at," Johnson said.
If a woman prefers a frillier undergarment, Johnson assures there is plenty of lingerie available that's as functional as it is fancy.
Many of Johnson's clients have never been properly fit, so when they find a bra they like the looks of that also fits well, the reaction can be overwhelming.
"One lady threw her arms around me and said, 'You should be called The Answer to My Prayers instead of A Better Fit,'" Johnson said.
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