When Moira first suggested that I go for a bra fitting and write about my experience, I started thinking back on my bra shopping history and realized that except for one time as a teenager when my mother took me to a department store for a fitting, I’d never been properly fitted. In fact, I’m not really sure how I knew my size. I know in college I was a C cup and after that my next recollection is of some girl younger than me wrapping a paper tape measure around me at one of those chain lingerie stores and declaring me a 42D. Otherwise it seems that I would just stay with the same band and cup size until they didn’t fit anymore, and then I’d move up until something seemed to work and stick with that until they stopped fitting; basically bra size by trial and error.
So when the bra style that had formerly been so dependable started failing on me, I decided it was time to be properly fitted and, on Moira’s suggestion, I went to the Wizard of Bras in Monrovia, California. I figured that they would confirm that I was pretty close to the size I had been wearing previously….and I was more looking forward to finding some new bra styles to wear. Instead, I got quite an education on how to find the right bra.
Lesson #1: I’m a 40G… or sometimes 38H??!!!
I remember going to a Halloween party with a woman who was a J cup and had to have her bras specially made and being thankful I was only a D. So when the woman doing my fitting told me my cup size, I couldn’t believe it. The stores I usually shop at stop at double D and they seemed to fit… except for the boob slipping out under the underwire or through the front neckline in my plunge cut bras. But still, a G cup seemed so… large! Are my boobs really THAT big? And why the two sizes? Because…
Lesson #2: Just because it says it’s your size, doesn’t mean it is.
Just as women’s clothing sizes are not consistent across stores or brands, bras that say they are your size (in my case 40G) may not actually fit. When they don’t fit, the solution is to either go up one cup size and down two inches or vice versa. So for some of the bras I tried on, I found that 38H’s fit better than 40G’s. (Warning: if you do go up a cup size, make sure that the underwire isn’t digging in to your armpit. It won’t feel uncomfortable at first, but four hours later you’ll want to rip the darn wires right outta the thing.)
Lesson #3: You’re putting it on wrong.
For my entire life I’ve put on my bra the same way. Arms through the straps, hook it in the back and adjust boobage as needed. The problem with doing it this way? By putting the bra on straps first, I allowed my breasts to be pushed down in the front so that when I was hooking it in the back, the band was now slanted. If the band is on a slant, it can no longer do the job of holding the girls up. I always thought it was the straps that held everything up, but in reality it’s all in the band. The proper way to put on a bra? Hook it around you first just above your waist like a belt, then pull it up to just under your chest, keeping the band horizontal and making sure that the band stays below your shoulder blades. Then put the straps on and lean forward to adjust your breasts to make sure they are fully in the cups. Also, when you first get a bra, start hooking onto the outer most loops first, not the inner ones. As time goes by, the band will stretch out more and then you will slowly work your way to the next set of loops and so on. If you start with the innermost eyehooks, you have nowhere to go when the band stretches and you end up shortening the useful life of your bra.
Lesson #4: As with clothing, some styles will just not come in your size.
One of the frustrating things about having such a large cup size is that the cute styles I love and want to wear often don’t go higher than a D cup. Even finding colors in my size can be a challenge. I used to have a bra drawer that was all colors of the rainbow and now just trying to find a red bra to match my cute red underwear has turned out to be an impossible task. Fortunately, as I’m starting to find online, it is possible to find some cute styles and colors in sizes for the more well-endowed. While my local mall may be lacking in all the colors of the rainbow, the internet and a credit card can bring it all to my door and all while I’m spending my time doing something more worthwhile… like working out at the gym or getting a massage.
Lesson #5: Finding the right bra is like finding the right pair of jeans.
You have to do the footwork and try on a lot of different styles, cuts and sizes until you find the one that fits just right. And sometimes the one that seems to fit great at the store, may stretch out or take on some other personality quirks a few weeks later that may give you buyer’s remorse. So if you find one you like enough to buy, don’t buy a bunch that same day. Give it two weeks and see how things go. If you still love it, go back and stock up on a couple extra. Other times, the bra may be almost perfect, but it just needs an adjustment. I try to avoid bras that have those bones in the side wing because they always end up bending and then drilling into my side. If I end up with a bra that has those stays, I always cut them out right away. Another bra I bought ended up taking off some skin because of some sort of adhesive used on a seam in the band that had become rock hard. I was able to cut part of it off and then have a seamstress cover the rest up with a bit of fabric, and now it fits great without torturing me.
Here are some of the bras I’ve gotten so far:
Le Mystere Dream Tisha # 965
I’ve always had a thing for molded bras, but am told they are not common for my size so I was happy to find this sexy little number. I have had to adjust the straps some as I’ve continued wearing it, but the support is as dependable as ever.
Parfait Jeanie Plunge # 4801
I have some low cut shirts that I enjoy wearing so I was really happy to find this style. And for once I don’t suffer from three-boob syndrome that used to be common when I was wearing a smaller cup size. How you adjust the straps on this one is definitely important to get the right fit.
Elomi Hermoine # 8120
This is another great fitting bra. It has some slight molding in the cup that makes it great for under T-shirts and the straps fit great. Just be sure you get the correct cup size. I was originally given a GG cup and after a couple hours, the underwire in my armpit started to make me feel like someone was shoving wires into the skin.
Fantasie Esme # 2471
This bra is my favorite to wear and the most comfortable. It’s not good for low cut shirts, but fits great under everything else. The straps are comfortable and I barely notice I’m wearing anything under my shirts. I‘ve even slept in this bra. I have two of these and wish they came in more colors.
If you live in the Los Angeles or Orange County area and are fed up with ill-fitting bras, take a trip to the Wizard of Bras in Monrovia, California. And if you are a large breasted gal like me, I hope the lessons I learned will help you on future bra shopping excursions.
Creative Woman- The Wizard of Bras