I’d been thinking about this for a while, particularly after having endured a pregnancy, 13 months of nursing and some gradual weight loss. It was time for me to get some professional help.
I haven’t had much luck at the popular, pink-slathered lingerie shop, particularly because availability in my larger sizes always seemed limited. They also insisted on measuring me over my shirt, which didn’t seem the most accurate to me.
I had researched some local boutiques that had great reviews, but decided to take some friends’ advice and try out my local Nordstrom during its big sale.
Swanky department stores intimidate me a bit, so I was happily surprised when I found a friendly sales associate in the lingerie department who was happy to help me in my quest for quality support. She guided me to the fitting rooms, and had me remove my shirt. She measured around my torso to determine what size band I’d need, and then made an educated guess at my cup sizes. I suppose when you become an expert at those types of fittings, it’s not too difficult to estimate those sizes. She left the room to grab the two sizes she thought would work best for me.
I spent my time getting the bras on and off with my back to the sales gal, per her instructions. She’d unhitch the back, hand me a bra to try on, have me loop my arms through so she could close and adjust the hooks and straps in the back as needed.
Then I turned around and she’d adjust the “girls” in the front. It turns out that most women can’t really just put on a bra and go — there should be a little adjusting involved each time you put on a bra.
Between the two bras she brought back for me, we both agreed on which of the two sizes that was working best for me. It supported me, showed off my waist more by lifting my breasts up, and just generally was an instant difference.
She grabbed half a dozen other styles, and as she helped me try them on, I finally thought to ask, “What size are these?”
Her response? 36DDD. I gasped when she told me.
What had I been wearing when I walked in? 40DD. She gasped when I told her.
I was way off.
Throughout the entire fitting, she gave me tips on how to take care of my bras (hand wash, or wash on delicate in a mesh lingerie bag with each of the bras hooked close, and only with something gentle like Dreft, not the Woolite I use, which she said breaks down the elasticity of the bras), how often to wash (after 3-4 wears, more often if you tend to sweat more), how many bras a gal should have in a collection (3-4 is a good start, but try to work up to 6-8), and how often to replace them (every 6-9 months).
I texted my husband to warn him that I was going to have to spend some dough on some new bras. Thankfully he understood. “I support boob support,” he said.
While he supported my quest for support, he saw the scope of his investment when I came home and tried on some of the three new bras I bought. He noticed a significant difference right away.
I’m a bra-fitting convert, and I’ll never go this long in the wrong size again. I was even able to find the elusive strapless bra, and have been living in maxi dresses ever since.
I know plenty of women who have no problem sizing themselves, and they find perfectly fine bras that work for them at Target. I am, sadly, not one of them, as you may have noticed in my “before” pic. I need professionals to help me navigate the sea of sizes, brands and styles.
Most department stores, and I’d venture to guess most of the boutique places across the country, don’t charge to get fitted. Go in with a budget in mind, if any, and stick to that, but don’t feel pressured to buy anything. You may see for yourself, though, that a little pro help goes a long way in showcasing your curves.