Tag Archives: expert bra fitter

Intimate Insight: I’m How Big??!! (And Other Lessons I Learned From My Bra Fitting) by Enid

6 Dec

Curvy Gal Enid

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.

Resources:

Creative Woman- The Wizard of Bras

www.WizardOfBras.com

Follow @Wizard_of_Bras

Intimate Affair: Care for the Cause at Linda’s in Murray Hill

31 Oct

Linda Becker hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness event at her Murray Hill NYC store on Thursday, October 27, 2011.  The Care for the Cause event was the first of its kind for Linda’s store.  However, Linda is no stranger to breast health.  In fact, Linda started her career in bra fitting over twenty years ago when the American Cancer Society invited her to a bra and prostheses fitting class.  Linda and her staff are all trained in mastectomy bra and prostheses fittings and she is proud that she has been able to assist many women over the years with post-surgical options.

Linda Becker at her Murray Hill Store

The intimate affair provided free fittings from 1pm-9pm for all of those who have battled breast cancer (or other breast diseases) and require post-surgical solutions.  But, the event was open to all women looking for a bra fitting and some education about breast health.  The event was a great way to support an important cause whether you have been directly affected by breast cancer or not. 

Linda's Care for the Cause Event- Cupcakes, Giveaways, Prizes, Rub-On Nipple Demos

Although breast cancer is a sensitive topic, Linda and her staff turned the Murray Hill store into a festive environment by offering pink lemonade, strawberry ginger ale, and mini cupcakes in vanilla and strawberry vanilla flavors from Buzzed Cupcakes.  Every customer who made a purchase was entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes including gift certificates, OnGossamer thongs, the Romina bra and panty set from Anita, among other fun goodies.  And any customer that made a cash donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Linda’s that day received an additional entry into the drawing.

On hand at the event were two special ladies— Elizabeth Vivenzio, founder of the educational sites www.EmbracingMastectomy.com and www.TattooedNipples.com,  and inventor of the U.S. patent pending Rub-On Nipples, and Joyce Rylander, a certified mastectomy fitter and care consultant from Anita, a well-known manufacturer of foundations, swimwear, and accessories including mastectomy bras. 

Elizabeth Vivenzio (left) and Joyce Rylander (right)

Elizabeth was a real inspiration to me.  She has undergone numerous breast surgeries and is now in the final stages of her reconstruction.  She has dedicated herself to providing positive and empowering information for mastectomy patients.  Her websites provide practical and essential recovery information that cannot be found elsewhere.  While researching areola pigmentation for her educational site, www.TattooedNipples.com, Elizabeth realized that temporary nipple tattoos would be a solution for her and the many others who had long periods of reconstruction which ultimately delayed permanent areola pigmentation (which is the final stage of reconstruction).  Oftentimes, the reconstruction surgeries take several years.  During this period of reconstruction, mastectomy patients live with bare mounds (or “Barbie Boobs” as they refer to them.)  Elizabeth offers a temporary solution to help patients feel “normal” again.  One of her customers commented, “After 2 ½ years of my Barbie Boobs—in my thirties—it’s nice to kind of look “normal.”  It has made a huge difference for me… and for my husband.”  Rub-On Nipples are temporary areola tattoos that can last one to two weeks and can be easily removed using rubbing alcohol.  They look amazingly similar to permanent 3-D areola pigmentation and are available in 12 shades to match your skin tone.  Elizabeth proudly pulled down her blouse to show off her very own Rub-On Nipples.  We had a good laugh… Since today is Halloween, we considered rubbing on a few extra nipples just for fun!

I spoke with Joyce Rylander from Anita regarding their innovative products.  The Anita brand and their contemporary sub-brand Rosa Faia are well-known around the world for their core foundations in regular and full-figure sizes (many styles are avail up to an I cup).  The company is celebrating 125 years in business and is still family run.  Anita provides high-quality foundations with exceptional fit and places emphasis on solutions products including mastectomy products, maternity/nursing bras, as well as innovative sports bras for active women.  I am familiar with Anita products, but I guess I didn’t realize just how long Anita has been in business.  I was impressed with their heritage and enjoyed talking to Joyce about the company philosophy.  She is passionate about the products and as a care consultant for Anita, she really enjoys working one-on-one with her wholesale customers and directly with consumers.  I was curious to learn about Anita’s Active line of Sports Bras.  Joyce proudly showed me the Anita Active Sports Bra style # 5529 which recently won Europe’s coveted RedDot Design Award for 2011.  The style is designed to support the bust (including the connective tissue).  The straps relieve pressure on the back and neck.  And the seamless, breathable high-tech “spacer” fabric cups provide moisture management and temperature regulation.  I would highly recommend this style to the active full figure or full busted women as it is a feat in bra engineering.  I was very impressed with the construction and quality of this style.

Moira Nelson (left) and Darlene Campbell (right)

The event wasn’t just about education for me (although that was very important and made a significant impact on me)….  I had a bit of fun too!  How can I go to Linda’s without trying on a few bras for myself???  I attended the event with my friend Darlene Campbell, founder of the clothing company Campbell & Kate which offers a traditional button-down, white, woven dress shirt for full-busted women—“The CEO shirt for DEF women.”  Darlene also writes a blog called Hourglassy for women with “curves on top.”  As we are both full-busted women, we can identify with one another’s struggles and we enjoy sharing our experiences….  She’s one of my favorite “bosom buddies” and shopping at Linda’s with her was a real hoot.  We tried on dozens of bras each and we both walked out with shopping bags overflowing with new, fun styles.  The quest for the perfect bra never ends for me and Darlene….  I walked out with the Freya Nieve longline bra and brief set, the exquisite Fauve Rosa molded underwire plunge bra, and a pair of Simone Perele Invisi’bulles control briefs.  Success!

Kimberly Arce, marketing manager for Linda's

It was at this event that I realized just how very little I know about breast cancer.  In my family, cancer is still considered a dirty word.  The word cancer is always muttered in a hushed tone.  My Aunt Rosemary had breast cancer.  But that’s all I know.  She had breast cancer.  Period.  It has never been talked about.  I have no idea what she went through or how it made her feel.  After attending Linda’s Care for the Cause Event, I feel ashamed that I don’t know more and haven’t educated myself….  Perhaps it is easier to live in denial…  But for someone that makes her living in the “boob business,” it’s unacceptable.  From this point forward, I am making a commitment to better understand breast care and breast related diseases.  I owe it to myself, to my friends, to my family, and to the numerous men and women in other areas of my life—including Bra La Mode readers. 

Later this week, I will be posting an article on metastatic breast cancer written by Bra La Mode contributor Liz.  Please be sure to read it as it is a poignant piece about the realities of living with breast cancer.

Resources:

Linda’s

www.LindasOnline.com

Follow @LindaTheBraLady

To read more about Linda’s, click here

Elizabeth Vivenzio- Rub-On Nipples

www.RubOnNipples.com

www.EmbracingMastectomy.com

www.TattooedNipples.com

Follow @TattooedNipples

Anita Unique Body Wear

www.Anita.com

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