Tips for “the girls”

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Hey ladies:

There is a pretty good chance I am way late to this party, but have you ever gotten a proper bra fitting?

The whole idea came from a client of mine who told me about a boutique in Raleigh that she wanted to go to in order to get fitted, and it got me thinking about doing that myself.

So when my mom and I walked past a boutique in Chicago last week and she turned to me and said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to get a bra fitting. . . ” I interrupted her and said, “ME TOO.” So we walked in and got fitted.

We were each set up with a consultant, and brought back to private rooms. The consultant chatted with us for a bit about what we were looking for, and then left to find bra options, or “broptions” if you will.

The only thought that was going through my head was: Sure hope my girl doesn’t read my blog because. . .that could get awkward.
Lets keep it in the stranger zone.

My bra consultant brought in about 7-9 different bras, and a lot of them had beads and flowers and lace and studs and junk all over them. Not my style.

I said, “plain and nude please. I wear t-shirts all the time. I don’t want it to be visible under my clothes.”

She relented and found, in her opinion, the most boring bra’s in history which were perfect for me. 

If I’m going to invest in a high quality bra that I’m going to wear almost daily, I want it to be plain and nude, so I can wear it with everything.

After trying on a few different sizes, shapes, styles, and patterns, we settled on a really nice nude one that fit perfectly.

So, here is what I learned about bras:

1. It’s better to focus on fit than the “size” you think you are.
2. A properly fitting bra can do wonders for your silhouette.

Go get fitted! I recommend investing in at least one really great quality bra. You can pay anywhere from $60 to $150, depending on the brand or where you buy, so be prepared to spend a little bit more than usual on one. I’d say the best place to get fitted would be a specialty boutique, but do some research and see where you can get fitted in your area.

Comments

  1. says

    I’ve always wanted to get fitted!

    Whenever I get measured at VS it’s a different size every time… ::shakes head::

    I need to jump on this :)

  2. says

    It’s SO important to get fitted! I always thought I was a 34C/32D, but Victoria’s Secret had it wrong! I’m actually a 30F. I have a bra by Panache and it a plain nude, t-shirt bra and it’s great!

  3. says

    I am so happy you said you prefer the nude bra you can wear all the time. I “get” the pretty bra, and I have a couple myself, but if I am going to spend more on a bra, I want it to be something I will get a good return per wear on. I have a drawer full of nude bras that I wear regularly, and the “pretty” ones wind up falling to the bottom. (I am paranoid about visible bra.)

    Although, I do miss having a Nordstrom’s nearby. Their fittings are the best, and the ladies who work there have consistently been awesome (and understanding of the need for a practical bra.)

  4. says

    Yep, couldn’t agree more! And I’m with you, plain and simple. I’ve never been a fan of VS, they seem to focus more on appearance than quality. Wacoal is my favorite brand, and because I’m self conscious about my size, it’s minimizers all the way!

  5. says

    I also heard we should get fitted every six months because women’s weight often changes. I have yet to have a first fitting but this reminded me to get to it. Thanks!

  6. says

    Totally worth it!

    I go to Nordstom once a year to get fitted. It is time to go again… but my fave left and I’m hesitant to find another consultant. Maybe I”ll go to that place in Cary?

    As for VS, a friend of mine trained to work there. They basically told her to make bras fit women and not care about size. They do NOT carry my size but swear I can wear their bras. Not true. My friend left the company not long after because they were dishonest with customers.

    • says

      Glad to hear your testimony about VS!! I am adamantly anti-VS for this reason. They will put women in improperly fitting bras just to sell their product, contributing to the twisted ideas we have of “sexy” and “attractive” breasts.

  7. says

    I agree with Kristinwithani and Kelly O.

    When I was in high school, I went to VS and was sized there as a 36D. After continued neck/shoulder pain (I’m a little top heavy), I went to Nordstroms with my mom, as suggested on the Oprah show, and was sized around a 32F, depending on the brand. Needless to say I get all of my bras there now for a hefty price, but it’s worth it. Local department stores do not sell my size, so I kind of have to, but it’s much better knowing your properly supported.

    The number one thing I’ve learned is that support starts with the band, don’t put all of the weight on the straps–it will get to be quite painful.

    When I was a freshman in college, I worked at JC Penneys in the bra section, not by choice, it’s just where they stuck me. I went through basically no training as to how to size people (unless a sizing poster on the wall counts as training), and yes, I actually did size people (probably not accurately). They promised training, it just never happened, and about 4 months later I quit.

  8. says

    I was just recently properly “fitted” and was so happy I did it! I’m pregnant with my 3rd little one, and the only things that change more than the belly are the girls. One thing I found is that I’m glad I knew a bit about fit going into it because my lady wasn’t super helpful. The fitting is definitely worth it to try a bunch of different bras in your size, especially if you’re an odd size not carried by most stores (hello 38 G…) :)

  9. says

    So true – makes a world of difference! I recently got fitted and realized that I had been wearing the wrong size for a long time and I had been wearing them the wrong way. I thought the band was supposed to be much lower on my back than it really should be. The correct size and way is much more comfortable, supportive, and looks much better under my clothing.

  10. says

    Ugh, I NEED to get fitted. The girls have changed a lot since the last time ( I think it’s been ten years!)

    Kate, did you find that you were wearing a different size than you needed? I’ve read a lot of articles about properly fitting bras and some of the before and afters they feature are so different! Like a girl thinks she is a 36C but after fitting she’s a 34DDD or something.

  11. says

    Thanks for posting this. Biggest pet peeve is when I see women wearing the wrong size bra. I always get mine at Nordstrom. Fantastic customer service, great selection, great quality, etc. VS is awful. I hope like Oprah this post gets women to get properly fitted for “the girls sake”

  12. says

    Awh, thank you for this post! I’ve been wanting to get fitted somewhere other than dreadful VS, so thank you! I’m actually visiting Chicago in July and can’t wait to visit this place! Thanks again!

  13. says

    I know I should totally get fitted, since I’m larger on top and need the support- but honestly, I have always just been too self conscious! I’ve got to get over it and go do it one day.

  14. says

    I’m so glad you posted this! I went in VS over the weekend even though their fitting experience is horrible. I had a gift card to use so I gave it another try. Not every girl needs a push up bra! I left without finding one. I’ll be going back to Nordstroms this week. They did my last fitting and the experience is wonderful! I love the plain nude bras as well!

  15. says

    Awesome post! A bra fitting can, quite literally, change your life. Your silhouette looks better, your clothes fit better, and the aches & pains are cut down to almost nothing.

    I think you are suppose to get fitted & buy new bras every 6 months to 1 year. It really depends on the woman. The last time I was fitted was several months after I stopped breastfeeding. It felt so good to get back into a good fitting bra.

    I’ve found that Victoria Secret is the worst place to get fitted and they’ll never have the size that you actually are — those 32F, 30E, 40F, etc. girls know what I mean.

    I’ve found most department stores actually have certain days of the year where they bring in professional bra fitters. Just ask.

  16. says

    I can’t recommend a good bra fitting more! A girlfriend of mine and I went to a specialty shop in town. I was wearing a 36C — and found out that I was really a 32DD. Crazy! Since that visit I have been buying the pricey bras they fit me with, but I can’t be happier. It really makes a difference! Now my size is really, really hard to find in stores (most stores only get one in stock for that size) so I buy my bras at barenecessities(dot)com. Lots of online coupons, and it’s really easy to search their site for DD-cups.

  17. says

    Ohhhhh ladies this can CHANGE YOUR LIFE. VS, Target, even the department stores DO NOT CARRY ALL THE SIZES THAT EXIST. Odds are quite high that your size is NOT in a “normal” store. For some reason the industry has deemed we are all 28-40 A-DD. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Find a small local bra boutique and get properly fitted, it will mean all the difference in the world in your appearance. You will feel so much more confident when you see your new figure! Once you determine your size you can order online from places like FigLeaves, Her Room or Bare Necessities. Right now my favorite place is http://my.trueandco.com/x/TKI9s. I was going to a kind of ritzy place for awhile about once a year (or whenever I knew my bra wasn’t fitting right again which can sometimes be more like once a quarter if you are gaining/losing weight) and recently found a place much closer to my house that had much more reasonably priced bras in my size. And guess what…you can get a nude t-shirt bra with a few small cutesy details to make you feel even better. :) Bless the poor sales people at VS but they do NOT carry the average woman’s size. They try to measure you with only their size options in mind and fit you into one of their sizes. At some point I went in and the lady finally said “I don’t think we carry your size.” I’ve been through many sizes in my ups and downs of weight, at my largest I was in a 36G and now I’ve kinda settled into 34 DDD/E. I have not fit into VS sizes since I was 17. It may seem like a lot of money to spend $50-80 on one bra but you will so find it worth it! Take care of them and they will last you awhile. I find having 3 is easiest to rotate through so they all get cleaned regularly and don’t wear out super fast.

  18. says

    Great post! Thrilled to know I’m in the ‘nude-boring-invisible-comfy bra’ club!!! I’m down on VS right now. .. had a “bra fitting” there once… she had the measuring tape so tight on me I couldn’t breathe. …I still don’t know my actual bra size. Gotta find a Nordstroms.

  19. says

    I am a stickler for this!! Proper bra fitting makes SUCH a big difference in how your clothes fit and your all-day comfort. I never would have thought I was the size I was, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten proper fitting. Plus, once you get the sizing down (make sure you know if a brand is US or UK sizing!), you can order online for a much wider range of choices from HerRoom.com or LindasOnline, plus many other great bra places I’ve seen other commenters mention!

    J.Alane’s is great! There’s another specialty boutique in Raleigh, The Bra Patch, though J. Alane’s is a more.. um…contemporary shopping experience.

    Just, whatever you do, DO NOT GO TO VICTORIA’S SECRET for sizing. Just don’t.

    • says

      I’ve been really happy at The Bra Patch. I agree that it isn’t contemporary (at all), but they do a great job. They used to be fussy, but good. Lately they have been friendly. I normally get fitted once a year (and buy bras there), then 6 months later buy replacements online (at BareNecessities or HerRoom), then go back 6 months later for another fitting. I might try J. Alane’s next time.

  20. says

    I went and got a proper fitting for the bra i’m going to wear with my wedding dress. It’s nowhere NEAR the sise I would have purchased on my own and it works WONDERS! I recommend a proper fitting to absolutely anyone!

  21. says

    Emphasize what alot of ladies have said….VS is NOT the place to go for a proper bra fitting!! And also remember that, like clothes, a size in one brand does not necessarily fit like a size of another brand. I ALWAYS try on before buying. My only exception is if it is an exact style and brand I already own…then I’ll buy online.

  22. says

    I did this once after a friend wanted to treat myself and another buddy to this unique event. haha It was very informative and interesting but my shyness kept me from really enjoying the whole thing.
    Blessings,
    Shan
    The How to Guru

  23. says

    I got a fitting at MyIntimacy in Chicago — the staff are great, I love that they don’t emphasize the tape measure as a tool for fitting, etc. I think they sized me correctly, but I wish I had NOT bought a bra there — too expensive and not practical at all. I came home and promptly went to a nice department store, tried on several in my newly-discovered size and I’m happy and well-fitted now. I agree that Nordstrom’s is a great resource. I have a friend who swears by them — their staff is well trained and they are very helpful, especially for those who have had a mastectomy.

    ~Chantal

  24. says

    Thanks for the reminder, I totally need to get this done…..I have SO MUCH TROUBLE finding bras that fit right!
    I am totally with you on the boring nude bras though, that is the way to go!!
    ~ Kimberley

  25. says

    I recently had my 1st proper bra fitting for my wedding lingerie and it’s amazing how much wearing the right size bra can help! x

  26. says

    It is amazing what a good bra will do for you. My mom, sil and I all got fitted last year at Nordstroms in San Fran. Incredible. We’d all been wearing the wrong bra, of course. VS does not train their salespeople to be true fitters… the very last time I ever shopped there for a bra, the girl wanted to put me in a bra 4 sizes way too small. Go to a specialty shop or Nordies if you have one. :)

  27. says

    Fabulous post! I got fitted in January – first time! What a difference it has made in my clothes. I was wearing a band size 4 sizes TOO BIG!! Mind you the cup size had to increase, but to go down 4 sizes in the band really made a huge difference in how my back felt and posture. Nordstrom is a great place to go in RVA!

  28. says

    I just wanted to put in a single good word for VS — I recognize that most complaints people have are probably true. Corporate chains don’t always have the resources for good training.

    However, when I worked at a large VS store in Albuquerque, NM (one of 50 HUGE stores that carry Sports stuff, etc…), we were properly staffed and trained because we were one of the biggest stores in the country. Our bra fitters were actually trained past the normal cursory training. I was just a cashier, so I never got trained in fitting, and I never got asked to fit either.

    But not all stores, sadly, care enough. I still love their product, but I won’t even go into the store that is in my current location. So don’t give up on the company altogether! Just like some Starbucks have ill-mannered baristas that don’t know what coffee even is, others are well-staffed and trained.

    • says

      Andrea I know I did not intend to be extremely negative about VS, I just found there what I found a lot of places (including Dillard’s who claims to have fit experts as well)–they only seem to know the sizes they sell exist and in my experience will try to fit you into one of their sizes. The company as a whole I think could really go places if they expanded their sizes past the few to cover more of a range of normal sized women. Or even an expanded line sister store? Anyhow, it isn’t the fault of the gals working there. Shoot I had a friend try to buy me some lingerie for my wedding and at a specialty lingerie store they were shocked when she gave my size. They couldn’t believe that size existed naturally BECAUSE THEY HAD NO EXPERIENCE WITH IT. VS has some great quality stuff and I very much wish I could wear their things!

  29. says

    I had the same experience when I went for a bra fitting at a boutique – they brought me a dozen bras I would NEVER wear. I wanted to say, “People buy these?!” What I didn’t like was that they gave me a size that I would likely never be able to find elsewhere…a 30C! (There is nothing C about this, ha) I felt like I had a pair of too-tight spanx around me and I had backfat flowing over the band (I’m not a big person!) I still don’t feel like I’m wearing the proper size so I need to go to a Nordstrom sometime.

  30. says

    Hehe, this post made me kind of giggle, but it’s possibly one of the most important posts that can be made…for a girl anyway. I don’t think most women realize exactly how important it is to have a bra fitting. Like you said, it can completely enhance your silhouette, and it makes your clothes look better. Plus, let’s be honest, a good-fitting bra makes any girl feel like wonder woman :)

  31. says

    I get fitted once a year by a professional, and take note of what bra they give me, the size and the cost. I buy the one bra, and then go and find it online or in a department store and try to find the same bra at a cheaper price.

    Last time I paid $70 for a bra, and then a week later found them on sale in an outlet 2 for $70, so I stocked up on different colours there, knowing that it was a well fitting bra.

  32. says

    I’m the EXACT same way.
    I want nude plain bras :)… all mine are nude, a few white maybe one black & that’s exactly how I want it & I have been told the same thing “boring” “unexciting” …. who cares,no one else sees it HA

  33. says

    I had a bra fitting a couple of years ago and it changed my life! I know to some people that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve always been busty so bra fit is really important. I ended up going down two back sizes and up two cup sizes from what I’d been wearing, and once I put my clothes back on over the new bra I looked like I’d lost a few pounds all through my middle, just from how things were sitting differently.
    I think everyone should have regular fittings!

  34. says

    OMG… I never comment but I have to chime in! My first job was with a department store in the lingerie department, and I got certified as a bra fitter :) Let me tell you, I had ladies throw away their old bras right there in the fitting room, and wear the new one out, it makes a huge difference to have the right fit. (it was a long time ago, when department stores still had a wider range of sizes that they do now….)

    It is not just the size – it is the “positioning” of you breasts (far apart, close together, etc), where/how your breast tissue is distributed, etc. The same size bras made by different manufacturers all fit very differently! It is worse than shoes and it is so worth it to invest in the right bra!!! I would probably say that you get a very good plain bra for $60-70, going over this would be for a very specialized fit / size, or a REALLY high end product that may be only marginally better than $70 bra from say Wacoal…

    VS (no offense meant for any of the VS fans out there) makes crappy bras… save your money.

    thanks for posting on this topic – it is so important

  35. says

    I can’t wait to go and get a real fitting. I had the ladies at VS tell me I wear a 32D… say WHAT. I just don’t know if I believe that. I’m definitely going to do this soon! Thanks for sharing!

  36. says

    Where did you go in Chicago? I’m about 3 hours from downtown and I have always wanted a decent fitting. The drive would be totally worth it. The college girls working at Victoria’s are not cutting it!

  37. says

    I completely agree with you! I had a proper bra fitting and dropped some serious cash last November on the most amazing bras. You’re right, it really does wonders for your shape and silhouette – and most importantly, your self-esteem! I had no idea what to do after having a baby/nursing. I had no idea what size I was anymore and you’re so right about finding what fits instead of trying to fit into the size you think you are! It’s absolutely life changing to have a proper fitting bra! haha

  38. says

    This is HILARIOUS! I actually just went to my first bra fitting at a specialty boutique the very day you posted this entry! I needed a good strapless bra for my wedding in May so I decided to go to a specialty boutique in my area to make sure I got something very good quality with the proper fit. When I was describing my experience to a girlfriend I said “I don’t typically whip my boobs out on the first date…but…when in Rome!”. Very valuable experience.

  39. says

    Completely agree with the difference being fitted can make! I actually worked at a speciality running store in Illinois a few years ago and we fit women for sports bra’s. So, if you are an athlete don’t forget that your sports bra is necessary equipment, that they don’t need to smash you to work and bra’s should never have birthdays!

  40. says

    been properly fitted since college thanks to my bff who worked at VS. i can’t believe we’ve never discussed this before. when you do my hair on friday, ask me to explain to you how to properly put on, and wear/fit the bra. :) actually, 4/5 women wear the wrong bra size. VS is very good about measurements.

  41. says

    I know I need to be fitted…My mother has erm, larger girls than most and has to go stores OTHER than VS. Here in Austin, she goes to the petticoat factory. While I am less than voluptuous, I have a very tiny waist. Bra’s at popular stores like VS etc don’t fit me right…I think I’m more liked a 28 than a 32. So It is time! Thanks for the kick in the but!

  42. says

    Totally worth it! I got my first fitting at Intimacy at well and was surprised by what a difference a quality, well-fitting bra makes! As someone who’s bra size isn’t sold in standard retailers like Victoria Secret, I was happy to find a store good selection of bras meant to fit a range of body types — even if it means spending more $ on bras than I was used to! Don’t know what took me so long to get fitted!

  43. says

    Wow in Australia you get sized pretty much everytime you get bras if your in a lingere shop! You have no choice before you know it your being straddled by a tape measure LOL

  44. says

    Your “warning” in the beginning for the boys totally made me laugh out loud. My mom drug me to a bra fitting last year. I’ve always hated wearing them with a passion (I have like zero boobage)because they’re so uncomfortable. When they measured me, it turns out I was a 30…I didn’t even know that size existed, but it changed my life. I don’t hate boob jail anymore.

  45. says

    When I had my first bra fitting the most important thing I learned (and that made me realize I had been wearing the wrong sizes for mostly my whole life) is that the panel in between the breasts is actually supposed to lay flat against your chest. Who knew?

  46. says

    I am a 32 a so don’t really need a bra except for shape and coverage. I wish this bra were more “demi” shaped. the cups show out the top of my shirt when i’m wearing some v-necks and scoop necks. also it sometimes slides up (granted i don’t have much for it to grab onto!). But just my size full figure bra ok. pretty comfortable.

  47. says

    Check out http://www.myintimacy.com. You can book an appointment for a bra fitting on-line (it’s free!!) And they have a bunch of stores in major metro areas. I recently went and it changed my life. I know that it sounds dramatice, but it was $$ well spent!

  48. Lindsay says

    I hate when sales women tell me “we don’t carry a 32DD, but a 34D or a 36C is the same” because IT. IS. NOT!

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