Friday, April 8, 2016

Nordstrom In Store Bra Fitting

Bra shopping is a pain, isn't it? I've felt zero excitement over bra shopping and always just went to Victoria Secret, found the molded cup tee shirt bra section and found the size cup my breasts filled with a band that felt comfortable and not pinch and I'd buy it in nude and black. Sometimes I felt sassy and got one with a bow on it or trimmed in lace.  I'd say bra shopping is as bad as jean shopping or bathing suit shopping but those two things are just demoralizing and bra shopping is simply a nuisance or chore purchase and kind of pointless for us little breasted folks. Slipping bra straps is just a thing everybody puts up with all the time, isn't it? I'm small in the bust so I've never felt back pain or the lack of 'support' or sagging so I really had no clue that my bra size was wrong and actually not providing me with any support at all. I also thought that because I could never really fill a cup properly (too big for an A, not filling a B completely) that I needed a moulded padded bra to provide me with shape. I was sized a few times before at La Senza and Victoria Secret and they always put me in a 36 band with either a B cup or a C cup so I was pretty confident that I was in approximately the right size and that bras just suck. 

Last week I happened to be in Nordstrom bra browsing since my current bra was slipping off my shoulders to the point I safety pinned the straps to the inside of a dress for a wedding - so of course I thought I'd find something similar to replace it with there. The department manager offered me a bra fitting and luckily for me she was persistent and convinced me I needed a fitting. I didn't have time that day but she told me I was probably not a 36B (what I had grabbed off the rack) and by vision she could tell I was more likely a D cup. I thought she was crazy so I left but I came back a few days later with more time and gave in to a proper fitting.  The manager told me that they actually do a 30 day training course in fittings and are trained by representatives of all the brands they carry since different bra brands (French brands vs. American) have different sizing scales. 

The fitting took about 25 minutes and consisted of the fitter measuring me over my bra with her standing behind me. Once she decided on my band size (smaller than I expected) taking three sets of measurements with my inhaling, exhaling and relaxed standings she brought a variety of bras in that band size in a few different cup sizes. C, D and DD and a variety of different styled bras and variety of brands. I really thought she was insane when she brought me this bra  in a 34DD which is the style bra she starts off all fittings with. It was bigger than my head! She had me pull my top down (facing the wall with her behind me) and she passed me the bra over my head to put on and she hooked the back and adjusted the straps. And oh my god my breasts filled that DD bra and it felt snug around my ribs and my breasts where lifted.  I looked in the mirror and I was shocked that I looked more proportional in this new size with a nicer profile silhouette and higher breast. It turns out the reason the DD size is the right cup size for me is that I actually have large breast but they are shallow (not projected) and tissue goes all the way up to my collar bone and under my armpits. Some breasts have a very narrow base and project but I have a very wide base. This means that I need to find a specific cup style that doesn't cut me off too low causing quad boob and that the cups are wide enough to scoop me up in the underarm area. Having the right band size (snug!) is what gives you 80% of your support and creates lift. Another thing to look for is seaming in the cups which provides you with the remaining lifting and shaping. My b cup bra was not working for me because it was resting on top of all of that tissue and not scooping up and supporting me at the band, and the band was so loose that the straps would move around and loosen themselves up constantly. A really great resource for you for deciding breast shape vs. bra style is this Reddit group called A Bra That Fits. If you aren't near Nordstrom or a lingerie boutique that specializes in fitting (please not a fast fashion mall lingerie store - they notoriously size you in too loose a band in order to funnel the most shoppers into a smaller range of sizes), do check out this reddit for information on how to measure yourself and how to assess your size. My bra fitter brought me a ton of other styles to try on and she gave me feedback on each one. Why they worked for my shape, why they didn't and what we needed to look for in the next bra. There where a few bras that I loved because of styling but she showed my why they weren't working for me. This is something I hugely appreciate as she could have easily gone for the sale with those styles but she wanted me to see what a great fitting bra was vs. something that was just ok but beautifully made. 

Another style of bra that she had my try on that is ideal for my shape was a soft cup lace bra with no padding and in a demi cup (half cup) style. This Chantelle Opera Demi Bra in a 34D (not a DD as it is a French brand and sized different). This was the revolutionary try on for me because never in a million years would I have known that a soft cup 'sexy' bra could give me shape and lift without relying on foam molding. I know you A and B cup girls know exactly what I'm talking about! I love this style for summer because it is very breathable and cool. I also love that it has vertical seams which as I mentioned above, give great lift and shape. And lets face it, a lacey pretty bra make it exciting to go bra shopping! For modesty you can add some cups or inserts as I do but if you are wearing a thicker tee it's really not necessary. This was another Chantelle bra that she had me try on that we both agreed looked ideal, but I didn't purchase. 

Since making my new bra purchases, the giant Wacoal Tee Shirt Bra (molded but not padded cups) and my lacey soft cup Chantelle bra, I am really happy and excited about bra shopping. So far neither of these bras have had any strap slippage or even strap movement. The Wacoal especially is very, very supportive and stays put. I initially had really horrible back pain after a full day of wearing my 34D cups and very sore breasts up top around my collar bone but I realize that I've gone a lifetime without having any breast support and I also had a lot of breast tissue that has never actually been inside a cup before or lifted up that high. There was a lot of muscle adjusting going on that first day! I was also a bit nervous at first about the mistaken idea that me wearing DD cups was sort of false advertising but that is where a good soft cup bra comes in to remind you that that shape you are seeing is all you, including all that new cleavage that comes with well supported breast. 

My old 36B cup heavily padded and molded bra is now in the bottom of a garbage can and I'm very tempted to throw some lighter fluid on it. If you haven't had a PROPER fitting yet get on it!! You will feel like a million bucks! You will probably spend all your lululemon budget on new bras though. 










22 comments:

  1. Hi! I had a similar experience on our honeymoon last year. I was getting fed up with my 34B cutting into my breast tissue so I was wearing mostly the flow y or energy bras and went to VS where one of the lovely staff (this was in Las Vegas) took the time to measure me and convincing me to try a 34D. Hallelujah!! Perfect comfy fit so I'm never going back to the wrong size again. Wish I had done it sooner.

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  2. Thank you for such a detailed post on bra shopping. Most women haven't a clue as to thier real bra size (unless one is in France ;) and should get a proper fitting.
    By the way, bras that no longer fit, yet are still in good condition, can be donated. Not long ago, Journelle Lingerie in NYC had an incentive driven month long donation program. However, look for local places for women in need - such as "dress for success". One woman's trash could be another woman's perfect fit! :)

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    1. Thanks! I have a few bras that aren't worn very often (strapless multi way and my racerback) and only on occasions when I need the different strap or racerback so those are absolutely denotable. My everyday style though was definitely too worn to be a dignified donation.

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  3. Nordstrom + Chantelle is the recipe for bra happiness!! I have 2 of their Rive Gauche Racerback bras and they are totally amazing. The right fit changes everything and I'm so happy for you! It makes getting dressed way more fun.

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    1. Thanks!! I'm really wanting the Rive Gauche actually. It seems perfect for lower cut tops.

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  4. Wow, this is a great post! I am SO going to get a bra fitting at Nordstrom the next time I'm in the U.S.

    You look so shapely and 10 lbs thinner in the "after" pictures. It really is an amazing difference. The bras you bought are so pretty.

    If anyone has a recommendation for a strapless bra that is has molded cups but is not padded or push up, please let me know! I'm looking for is a bra with no straps that does not give me unnatural lumps. So hard to find...

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    1. I have had so much trouble with strapless bras, but finally found a great one. The brand is called Montelle intimates!

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  5. Thanks!! The photos may not show a dramatic difference with the 36B but I feel like it's a big change in how my proportions look and my posture is better.

    Strapless bras have always been so terrible for me since they ride up and slide down constantly on me so I'm very curious to try one on that is my correct size. I like the Chantelle bras so I may try on a strapless in that brand and let you know how it fits. I'm thinking of going back Monday to try stuff on so check back here in the comments on Monday night or Tuesday.

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  6. Thank you for this post!! I had a formal bra fitting at a formal lingerie boutique a couple of years ago, and I could not believe the difference in what a proper bra can do for you support, shape, lift, etc. It was truly glorious. I was always wearing the correct size, but the fit and lift cannot compare. I will now happily pay $150 for a proper bra as it it worth it. I will never go back to other brands. My go to brand is now Marie Jo, and specifically the Avero bra. Thanks for sharing :)

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  7. I need to look into getting another fitting. I was fitted 5+ years ago at an Intimacy store in Atlanta, and I was a 32B. I recently lost about 7-8lbs, and I know I lost some from my (already tiny) boobs. I feel like a 32A might be too small, but a 30B would be just right. Of course, I need to get fitted though.

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  8. I tried on a Wacoal Tee Shirt Bra (full coverage, molded but not padded cups) in a size 32 DDD (smallest band size/largest cup size my store had available) and I was majorly busting out of it - it was way too small in the cups and no way it would work! They seem to be made on the small side. I have some full coverage molded cup bras from La Senza and Victoria's Secret in a 32DD (again, smallest band size and largest cup size available) and the bands are too big (brand new have to do them up on tightest setting) and the cups are too small (causing boob muffin bulges and definitely not a full coverage look on me even though supposed to be full coverage).

    The only Lululemon bra that fits me is the Ta Ta Tamer in 32E (I love love LOVE that the band is snug fitting on these which makes them work well for me) the cups on the new III version give a lot of support and lift which I love, but do push some of my boobs out at the top giving me boob muffins though, and with the II version everything was kept inside but doesn't feel as supported and lifted to me as the III.

    I have a hard time finding bras that fit small enough in band size (I think I'm more like a 30 band size) and full coverage cups that are actually full coverage on me. Needless to say I stay far far away from padded and push up styles and demi styles!!

    The right fit definitely makes a difference in overall appearance and in comfort! It feels great to have a well fitted bra for sure! In my case I take the closest I can get to the best fit and be happy I can at least depend on the few styles that I've found that work well for me. I actually love the Ta Ta Tamers so much they're more like my everyday everything bras!

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  9. Thanks Lulumum. Very informative. Toronto gets Nordstrom this fall and your bra fitting there sounds fantastic. Maybe in the meantime I will check out the specialty bra shops here (or Nordstrom when I'm in Vancouver). I'm very small busted and get away with soft Calvin Klein bras and LLL FTB, which are both very comfortable. I can never wear bras with molded cups or under "wire" because I can never fill in cups and I find underwire so uncomfortable. However, I would really like some prettier bras and would spend more for ones that are truly comfortable, more feminine and of course the right size.

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    1. PS - the before and after of you in the old size vs. new size is really quite telling about the right size! You look great!

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  10. You just inspired me to get a bra fitting next time I am near a Nordstroms! Which ironically, is very close to my Lulu store :) I got some stuff at Athleta which I need to take back anyway.. their stuff always looks so cute, but when I put it on it's usually scratchy and there's always something about them that doesn't fit right. Good excuse to return stuff, get money, then go get a bra fitting and new bras with the money I got! Plus, there's the bonus of going to Lulu to see what is on final sale and try on cute things!

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  11. Is there a charge for the bra-fitting? I absolutely need to go do this!

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    1. It's totally free. You don't even need to buy anything. Just ask them to write down your size and what styles you need to look for.

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  12. Thanks LLM, GREAT post and so interesting! Also thanks to whoever mentioned that Toronto is getting a store. It's a couple of hour drive for me but I think it would be worth a day trip to do it as I have never had it done and think I should....

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  13. Wow that is amazing! You look great!!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this! I just read another blog post about bra fittings, the girl went to 6 different places to get fitted and she got told she was a different size at almost every place. You could tell from the pictures that the nordstrom fitting was her actual right size. It's no wonder so many of us are wearing the wrong size. I so wish I lived near a nordstrom. Next time I'm in a city that has one I'll try to get fitted. Being pregnant has changed everything.

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    1. I just asked my mom what bra size she wears (I sort of knew approximately) and she is a very petite woman at 4'4 and just generally very small with narrow rib cage but her bust is more voluminous than mine and she is wearing a 38B. This is so crazy! I need to get her in for a fitting.

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  15. Thanks so much for sharing your experience at Nordstroms. I am totally going to go there once I have finished breastfeeding my second baby as I have no idea what size I will be after that and it will be great to get a good fitting bra or two.

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  16. Based on your post, I have gone through the "a bra that fits" beginner guide (amazing!) and measured myself and I think I am a 28D rather than a 32A. I also tried on all of my existing bras and indeed the bands are too loose. It's not fun being a hard-to-find size but at least now I have a point to start from. Thanks again for your post!

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