Last weekend I did something I've never done before: I had a professional bra fitting.
Can I just say wow, and I wish I'd done it years ago?!
For the last *ahem* years I've always carefully followed the measuring directions, and for all these years I've been getting bras that more or less fit...some more, some less... Two bras of the same size would fit differently, and I had a hard time judging how well a particular style might fit until I actually tried it on. The problem is that I wear a size that is not carried on most store racks--I have a small band but a large cup (even more so when I am nursing) and it's difficult to find a bra in my size, let alone enough options to be able to choose the one that fits the best. For most of my life I have bought bras via catalogs because that was the only place I could find my size, and as I said, some fit, but some did not. The problem with catalog ordering of course is that if you decide to send back the bra, then you have to wait weeks to get a new one, not to mention that the new one may or may not fit any better...
So last weekend I went to Victoria's Secret and had a professional bra fitting. I have to say that I heartily recommend them as place to be fitted, even if you are like me and don't like a single bra they carry (I like ones that hold me in, not push me out, but whatever!). Ironically enough (though somewhat comforting as well) I learned that I have been wearing the correct size all along. So if my years have been filled with bras that were all the right size, then why do some fit and some not? The answer there is all about shape. There are different shapes of breasts. I think we all know that, but I for one had not really thought about it in regards to finding an appropriate bra. Different cuts of bra will work better on different shapes of woman; it's that simple. Being at VS I had a chance to try on several bras one right after the other (they did in fact have my size in stock!) and I was able to evaluate what features worked for me and which did not. I discovered that certain traits I had thought were good (such as a non-stretchy fabric in the cups for increased support) actually do not suit my shape (they get bunchy, even in the right size) and that getting the right feature (stretchy fabric) will solve the problem for me.
If (when) you do go to VS to get a fitting, ask them to let you see the breast shape card--it shows the different shapes (in drawings of course) and explains each one, as well as having suggestions for what bra styles suit that shape best.
Here are a few general tips about bras:
- Always try on bras on the loosest hook setting. You can adjust it later for a more perfect fit, but if the loosest setting is much too loose, then you probably need a smaller band.
- The band gives 80+% of the support of the bra. In other words, if you have a good band, even a busty lady can be well-supported in a low-cut style or lightweight cup. (Busty ladies rejoice, you need not wear granny bras!)
- If anything gapes, or pokes, or bulges, then it's not a good bra for you. Period. Try a different one. Bra shopping may not seem like fun, but having the right bra can make you so much more comfortable that it's worth it to get a good one.
- If a bra doesn't seem to fit well, but you know it's the right size, then just try a different style or different fabric-type.
Regular bras: OneHanesPlace (outlet catalog--wide selection of name brands, very good prices)
Nursing bras: Birth&Baby (I posted about them here)