Do Bra Size Calculators Work?
On Feb 29, 2008, at about noon, Arizona time, I did a Google search for "bra size calculator." 134,000 listings came up, and I tested some of them. I DID NOT test all of them, naturally, but I looked at every single one on the left side of page 1. I did not check any of those on the right side, since those are pay-per-click ads and I didn't want to cost anyone any money.
The ads on the left are the search engine's best guess for which sites would have the information I searched for.
One of the listings on page 1 was a patent application for a bra size calculator. The other 9 were for websites that had a bra size calculator, a free service that lets you type in your under bust and over bust measurement, and in 2 or 3 seconds it would calculate a bra size for you. It's fast, it's free and it's, ... what's the best word here, ... the best word is wrong.
For each calculator I used the same measurements, 31 under bust, and 36 over bust. 8 out of the 9 calculators came up with the wrong size bra for those measurements, and the average mistake was off by 4 band sizes, and 4 cup sizes. That's way, way, way, way, WAAAYYYYY off.
One of the 9 did come close, but was off by 1 band size and 1 cup size. This is not really a mistake in my book, because there would probably be some women who would like this fit and get good results from it. This small variation from the best possible size falls into what I call the variables category.
Fitting a bra is an art, not a science, so there's always going to be some acceptable variations. 1 size this way, 1 size that way, no big deal. But a total of 8 sizes off?
That's like going to a shoe store, needing a 7 ½ shoe, and the clerk comes out with a 10 and a 5 and says "Let's give these a try." You'd wonder if the clerk had any idea what he was doing.
The creators of these bra size calculators are falling prey to an old principle, GIGO, which stands for "Garbage In, Garbage Out." It means that if there's an error when you input information, there's going to be an error in the output as well.
I believe that the owners of these websites don't really know anything about bra fittings. They've just got hold of some information and they're using it because, well, because they simply don't know any better. At least 8 out of the 9 don't know any better, while one of them was close enough to be of value.
When it comes to bra size calculators, the idea sounds good. They're fast, they're free, but they're wrong. You wouldn't use a traditional calculator just because you got it for free. You'd only use it if it were accurate.
Your boobs deserve the same consideration.
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