Monday, December 21, 2015

Encouragement For The Discouraged (And Those Who Are Just Beginning Their Journey)

Trying to find a bra that fits can be quite the daunting task; especially if it’s something that you never really thought about before.  It can seem that the more you know about how a bra should fit, the more difficult the struggle and that is not an incorrect assessment because the more you know about the nuances of fit, the more bras you find that *don’t* fit.  At the beginning, you may have just been happy to have something to keep your breasts from wobbling around.  Now, you may have very specific wants and, eerily like dating, what you’re looking for means you have to weed through a ton of what doesn’t work for you or your shape.
If you’ve never worn a bra before, it’s learning a whole new language, jargon and all.  Before you started getting educated, a gore might have just been that guy who made a documentary about Global Warming; cups might have just been something that you drank out of; wires might have been what you send via Western Union.
Have patience with yourself.  No language is learned overnight.  No partner is found immediately.  It will take some time to find a garment that fits perfect; especially when you consider everything that you’ve learned so far and how many aspects of fit you’re trying to meet.  If you don’t shop online, it will take much longer, more than likely because that’s where you’ll find those non-matrix sized bras.--unless you’re fortunate to have a boutique within driving distance. You’re very lucky if you find the Perfect Fit within your first ten bras.  I really think that is rare, considering how many styles there are.  In my size, there are nearly 200 styles to choose from.  Some are nursing/maternity so that makes it that much easier to rule those out—I don’t even have to try them on to know they’re not for me. 
You might even encounter a situation like I have: you find a bra that fits and then you gain (or lose) weight and thereby changing the size (and possibly the shape) of your breasts and now you can choose to start fresh or wear what fit last month for a few more months, until you can afford to buy your new size. 

Again, please be patient with yourself.  Going back to the language analogy—you know how I love them—if you’re learning a new language so that you can visit a foreign land, the words are going to sound different when they’re actually used in context.  Give yourself time to learn the language and time, again, to get comfortable communicating in it.  THEN, it’s time to navigate the new land.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Six Months Into My Journey For The Perfect Fit

     Six months ago, when I realized that I had been measuring customer incompletely for nearly nine years, I was completely taken aback.  I took great pride in getting women into great fitting bras, and to find that maybe they hadn’t fit all that “great”, was quite a revelation.  As it was, I suffered from what I called an “occupational hazard” of assessing whether someone’s bra fit everywhere that I was.  I didn’t need to be at work.  I mentally assessed everywhere—grocery store, book store, walking down the street.  Well, now that I know more than I did six months ago, it’s even worse.  Lol.
     I see women with very small ribcages and think: “I bet she’s wearing a 32 band because that’s all that she can find.”  Or, I’ll see a very large busted woman, coming all out of her bra and think: “Goodness!  I wonder if she knows there are letters beyond DDD?”  That last thought was common before but the first one, even more so.  In some cases, I’ve taken to working the subject of well fitting bras into every conversation that I have.  It’s not difficult.  Just about everyone hates buying bras because they really don’t know what size they are.  I like to think that by referring them to the bra size calculator on my blog—so conveniently linked to r/ABraThatFits on reddit—that I'm helping the nation’s population, one size at a time.
     As for my own journey, it’s been quite the challenge.  I got rid of all my regular 36DDD garments within the first month of finding that I was a 36FF/36H.  That was after I set out on my quest to find the Perfect Fit.  I still haven’t found it, even after trying on more than 70 bras so far--here's a snippet, but I did find one style that fit Pretty Well—the Chantelle Rive Gauche (thank goodness for sales)--and another that Fit Even Better—Elila Unlined Banded Lace—so I feel like I’m doing pretty well.  The only downside is that I gained ten pounds in the past month and I think five of it went to my boobs which means that the size I bought back then doesn’t fit as well as it could/should.  I’ll be damned if I go buy new bras, though, after spending $200 on new ones.  I’ll just get these ten pounds off and call it a day.

     I can’t wait to see how the journey has progressed in another six months.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Accepted and Not Offensive Term is "Pendulous"

...and the technical term is "Ptosis."

Six months ago, I wouldn't have thought twice about saying "drooping" or "sagging."  They describe a state of being (regarding breasts, in this case) that I didn't blink at.  Say those words and everybody knows what you're talking about.  Unfortunately, words like droop or sag can be quite crushing to someone who is just coming up in the world or where the terms are used only with a negative connotation.  And, realistically, if you look at the synonyms for them, there doesn't appear to be any "good" words; though I do like languid--makes me think of an easy-going Summer day but I digress.

The term most accepted by those who participate in discussion about breasts on the subreddit ABraThatFits is "pendulous."  I have no problem switching to the accepted term.  Why would I fight to use droop or sag?  I have no intellectual ownership of them.  I gain nothing by insisting upon using them?  I would ask others, if you don't already use the term "pendulous", try to do so.

I once equated the term comparison of "sagging" and "pendulous" to that of "retarded" and "special needs", hoping to make a point.  It didn't appear to have worked.  Folks can be offended by the term "sagging" just as folks can be offended by the term "retarded."  Why not use the less offensive term if you lose nothing in doing so?

So, what is "pendulous"?  It's most literal definition, according to dictionary.com: hanging down loosely (with an example of "pendulous blossoms"--now that sounds quite pretty...makes me think of lilacs :) )

In terms of breasts, if they're pendulous, most of the breast tissue is below the Infra-Mammary Fold (IMF).  For those who have breasts that aren't pendulous, this condition might be associated with someone who has gained and lost a large amount of weight, someone who exercises without a bra, or someone who is aged.  Though commonly true, that is not always the case.  Anyone, at any age or level of maturity, can have pendulous breasts.  It's all about genetic, biological, and physiological structure.  There might be other -ogical things involved but it's late at night and none come immediately to mind.


To be pendulous doesn't always have to be large breasts either.  A person can be on the smaller end of the spectrum and still have pendulous breasts.  I had a customer a few years back who was quite thin.  She had pendulous breasts that were made up of just the skin.  There was very little fat within the breast.  And they were positioned below the IMF.  Pendulous.  Conversely, I've had customers who had very large, non-augmented breasts, that were not.

Again, it's just a matter of how the cells in your body are configured.  They are neither good nor bad.  They just are and they are you and you are a beautiful, unique combination of traits.

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's not only those at the larger end of the band spectrum that are getting left out.


Those who are at the smaller end usually have to compromise as well.  Imagine needing to wear a band that is a 24 or 26 but only being able to find a 28 and hoping that you can "sister size" into a decently fitting cup?  If you're a 24FF, you *might* find a 28E that fits decently but probably not.  28 bands barely get any love in the current world.  Imagine how much less love there is for 26 and 24 inch bands.  It's like being a grown person and having to shop in the children section because "you're so tiny".  Condescending much?

Help these folks out.  Sign the petition on change.org:

UK lingerie brands: Show some love to the 26 band sizes.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Finding the Correct Combination to the Perfect Fit

I was so excited to get started on this post that I had to force myself to finish folding the pile of laundry that had just come out of the dryer or it would never get folded.  I’d finish up this post and then find something else to do and the laundry would just never make it out of the basket.  Alas!  It is done!

So…why is it so dang difficult to find a bra that fits?  There are hundreds of styles out there.  It shouldn’t be so difficult, right?  Yeah, not so much.  (And this is where the fun part of this post comes into play because, see, I love analogies and I’m gonna use one that makes tons, oodles, lots of sense.  I hope).

Think of all the aspects of fit or aspects of breast configuration, in some cases.  Are you pondering them?  There’s a lot, right?  Let’s make a list…all the ones that I can think of right now:
  • Pendulousness (shallow to waist level) **edited to keep the aspect in the same realm
  • Root height (tall to short)
  • Root width (narrow to wide)
  • Root placement (close-set to wide-set)
  • Fullness on Top
  • Fullness on Bottom
  • Firmness of tissue (Very firm to very malleable)
  • Areola (Large to small)
  • Nipples (Always erect to not)
  • Breast direction (Splayed out to splayed in (forgive me, I don’t recall if there is a different term for splayed in))

That’s, what, ten aspects?  Now, imagine, for each aspect a scale from 0 to 9 on these ten aspects.  Maybe, yours looks like this: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 9, 8, 9, 5 (I used my own to go with J).  You could almost say it like this: 555-555-9895.  Like it’s a phone number.  One digit different and you’re calling someone else.  Lol.  Going with the phone number analogy, think of how many different phone numbers there are in the world.  

   

There are more breast configurations than that.  There are NOT that many bras. 

So, you have to decide where you’re going to compromise.  For me, I compromise on a bra in the immediate projection arena (I have it, a lot of bras don’t)and bra lining(I don’t care if folks know I’m cold).  Aspects that I can’t or won’t compromise: Cup width (I don’t want wires poking me in the armpit), molded cups (I just don’t fill the top), and bras that are constructed in such a way that the top of the cup gives me “tarp on a boat”.

And it takes trying on a few styles to get a feel for what you’ll compromise on and what you won’t.  To date, I’ve tried on between 65 and 80 bras—some I’ve got notes on because I ordered online and tried them on at home; others were ones that I tried on in stores and didn’t have my notebook with me.  I’ve found four that worked but ALL required me to compromise on fit in some way with the compromise being different for each style.

The process of narrowing down takes some time, especially if you don’t have a bra store near you or you don’t have the method or means to order online.  I just encourage you to not give up.  Eventually, you won’t have to compromise (as much) and you will find a bra that fits.  Even if it’s just a matter of fitting *better* than your old bras.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Closed the Chapter at Victoria's Secret

Because my conscience kept eating at me, knowing that what my customers needed was not actually sold at VS (where most bras are very shallow in depth and there really isn't "A [bra] For Every Body"), I opted to close the chapter there.  I couldn't work another shift where I had attempt to sell an item that I knew wasn't going to fit my customers.  I couldn't put my customers in a sister size of 32B when what they really needed was a 28D.  Or if they needed a 34G and sister size them into a 38DDD.  Maybe they needed a bra with immediate projection.  They're SO not going to find that in any bra there--where nearly every cup is made from one whole piece of material rather that the multi-piece cup that immediate projection calls for.  I feel like I can rest easier, knowing that I can talk about the local bra store Buttercups and other places to acquire bras that run the gamut of sizes 28-56, and A-(UK)KK, and beyond.


My previous place of employment has done a great job of marketing themselves.  Folks think that they are the end all, be all of the bra world; but, you know what, there's a whole world of bras out there.  Just check out this page for a list of bloggers: Lingerie Blogger Database on etsylingerie.  So many discuss various styles, fits, and places to shop.  Just like what I've embarked upon with my own blog--one more resource so that you can be well informed when you shop.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bra Review: Elila Stretch Lace Banded Underwire (in ivory)

I was wary of this bra because of it's construction.  I was expecting to get a "tarp on a boat" look but was pleasantly surprised.  The cup is constructed of three pieces of material with an inner sling for additional support along the underwire.  This sling is really what sold it for me.  Up until this bra, the 100 or so other bras that I had tried did not have enough immediate projection (see this post for a short explanation about projection) and I ended up with an underwire that would be riding low after a few hours.  Not this bra.  The sling accommodated the immediate projection and the bra didn't have to do any adjusting in order for my breast to find its way to the deepest portion of the cup.  It was already there thanks to that sling.  Also, the sling wraps all the way around the outside of the cup and becomes part of the shoulder strap, making for quite a bit of stability.  You could darn near almost wear the bra during a low- to medium-impact fitness activity.
 

Another aspect that I like: wide wings.  This bra is four hooks tall in the back (and three columns at that).  This is a very nice aspect if you have concerns about back fat or you just want a fairly smooth line under your blouse.  And it doesn't roll.  The band stays put.

The lace is quite pretty and, even after a 12 hour day, not itchy.  It gets humid where I live and work so this is another welcome feature.  The seams do show through as do the texture of the bra.  For me, this isn't a deal breaker but, for others, I know it would be that's why I mention it.

What I do have to make adjustments for: It's not meant for low tops.  Not even U-neck--what is that "Crew neck"?  Anyhow, the edge of the lace shows.

But, with all the pros and the fact that it comes in four colors: Black, Ivory, Plum, and Red (with a Coral coming Spring of 2016), I can't help but love this bra.  Oh, did I mention how awesome the price point is?  Around $50.  Definitely a steal for such a snazzy garment.

One last tidbit: the bra in larger sizes isn't just "sized up" from the smaller size via some funky math i.e adding a specific number of inches to the base fit of, say, a 34B.  It's fit to a model in that size so it's going to be more true to size i.e. the 42C is fit to a model that wears a 42C (rather than just adding eight inches to the 34 band).

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Breasts have roots? What are they, trees?

In a previous post, I wrote a short summary about immediate projection as it pertains to my own breasts.  (You can read it here: A Short Explanation About Immediate Projection ) This post is going to be more about roots with a bit about projection as well.

Roots are the place that your breast connects to your chest wall.  If you were to think of things like Egyptian pyramids or a skyscraper, roots would be the foundation of them--that first layer of stone.  You may find it funny that I use a pyramid or a skyscraper as an example because the breasts that we see in media NEVER look like such a thing but there are breasts out there that are very much conical--they project so immediately that they look like small pyramids on their sides.  There is nothing wrong about this shape.  It's just a shape that some folks have.  But, I digress.

Roots can be tall and they can be short.  Tall roots often start up near the collar bone.  Large busted women can feel like they're going to get strangled by their breasts when they lay down because all the breast tissue might slide up to their neck.  Below, is my rendition of (two portrayals of) tall roots:

The top of the breast is well above the InfraMammary Fold.  In none of my drawings have I drawn nipples.  This is deliberate.  I wanted people to be able to see their own breasts in my pictures so that they can get a better idea of their shape.
In the picture above, both the shapes are a more immediate projection with the one on the right being less full in general.  Each are pendulous as well--there is considerable tissue below the IMF.

Below, is my depiction of (two portrayals of) short roots:
The top of the breast is much nearer the IMF, with the drawing on the right being less full in general.  Both would be considered to have immediate projection as well as being pendulous.

In both pictures, the image on the right might be considered to have softer tissue.  It's more easy to manipulate and might be more forgiving when trying to find a bra that fits.  Although my own breasts look like neither of the images in the bottom picture, they do have short roots.  Mine resemble the drawing in the post linked above and have been described--based upon Fit Checks on reddit--as being short enough that I'm functionally Full on Bottom even though I'm equally FoB and FoT.

Christina Hendricks, of Mad Men, has tall roots.  The tops of her breasts start almost at her shoulders--internet search any image of her to see what I'm talking about.  Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, has medium to short roots--images from her movie Gia are what I used as reference.
**edited to add that it was brought to my attention that Christina Hendricks may not actually have tall roots.  She may just be always wearing an ill fitting bra and that her breast tissue may be soft enough that it's pushed up and over, creating some serious muffin-top.  However, I think the pictures of her help to understand the concept of tall roots.

Breast root height are just one more thing to take into consideration when trying to find a bra that fits.

Friday, August 28, 2015

How Was Your Bra Fit Event?

This is a short post and will probably be the only one with the tag of "Review" but the number of comments is unlimited so, please, comment away.

Did you find something to fit your needs?  Did the event meet your expectations?  What would you make different (that is easily within my control to change)?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Why Is It Important To Find A Bra That Fits???

Why is it so important to get into a size (and style) that fits?  
In a nutshell, to change the world. 

The bra is a fairly young garment—when compared to the existence of other types of apparel.  Outer coverings—such as pants, shirts, and dresses—have been around for hundreds of years.  Maybe not in the shape or style that they are now but attire that served their purpose has been.  Without doing a poop-ton of my own research but going off this website--A Brief History of the Bra--the bra first came to be in the early 1890s, as a replacement (of sorts) for the corset.  Underwires came to be in the early 1930s and cup sizing came soon after.  It should be noted, though, that cups sizes from that time bear little resemblance to the cup sizing of today. 

The history, for someone with my passion to fit my clients and know where it all came from, can be quite distracting.  I nearly got sucked into reading from numerous websites rather than finish up the point that I’m trying to make on this post.  Please forgive me if it gets a little scattered because I may see a tidbit that I want to include and throw it in randomly. 
In the meantime, a little visual timeline of the evolution of the bra:
 Early 1900s


 1910s


 1920s--when busts were flattened and squished


 1940s--note the age progression and how it relates to the length of the bra


 1950s--you could hurt someone with those shapes


 1960s--all about function, not flattery


Starting to appear in a much "softer" shape; far less structure


There are tons of bras to choose from nowadays.  I really think the style explosion began when Madonna started  the trend of underwear as outerwear—first in the 1980s when she first hit the scene in her lace bustiers...

and continuing into the 1990s during her Truth or Dare/Dick Tracy era...
 An extreme throwback to the 1950s.

Before that, bras seemed more functional than anything.  After that, they had to be “pretty”, “unique”, “eye-catching”.  Because of this paradigm shift, hundreds of choices became available, at all different price points. 

They no longer appear to be the *right* choices, though.  For decades, the shape and size of women was pretty stagnant and fairly small, even if we did get taller by a bit.  In the 1960s, based upon numerous sources that I could find, the average weight of a woman was 140lbs.  In the 1980s, there was a increase to 145, and by the year 2000, the average weight was more than 165lbs.  Yet, bra *sizes* remain pretty much the same.  Granted, it was a whole different sizing method then—one that I don’t know enough about to explain, I just know that it was different.  For example Marilyn Monroe was touted as a 36C but the *fullest* part of her bust was 37” so, clearly, the sizing system was different then.  (And a “32” might have worked for someone who may have had only 26” around their ribcage because the measurement was based upon bust proportion or whatnot.)  However, even with the sizing *method* change, they stuck with the same band size range: 32 to 38 or 40; and, pretty much the same cup range: A to DD or DDD.  And, in stores, that is the consensus of availability today.  Yes, there are exceptions but they are few.

20, 30, and 40 years ago, we didn’t have nearly the “insulation” that we do now so having that limited a range wasn’t as much of an issue.  With the increase in body weight and obesity, though, comes a variety of flesh distributions, for lack of a better description.  Band sizes have to take into account rib circumference as well as the flesh that covers it; which could be very little or quite a bit or somewhere in between.  Cup sizes are approaching their limit, in terms of letters of the alphabet.  The UK is up to L; the U.S. is up to N (which is actually *smaller* than the UK cup of L); yet the flesh that fills the cups continues to be more and more.

Despite these drastic changes, though, department stores haven’t really changed what they carry.  They just carry more options in the sizes that they already had, and have had, for years.  To some degree, having that small a band range is perfectly fine but is it the *right* range to have?  On a survey post on /r/ABraThatFits, where the majority of responders (646 of 909 or 71%) fall into an age range between 18 and 29, the perceived band size (774 of 895 or 87% ) does fall into the 32-38 range but, upon further investigation (i.e. inputting measurements into the provided bra size calculator) it seems that the majority actually falls into a range of 28-34 band sizes (714 of 895 or 80%).  The other disparity lies in the perceived and calculated cup sizes of survey participants.  Perceived cup majority (cups measured via UK sizing): B to DD (629 of 894 or 70%).  Calculated cup majority (again, UK sizing): DD to G (571 of 895 or 64%).  I should also mention that the perceived cup greater than G totaled only 34 but, when cup size was calculated, it totaled 192 above a G cup.
   
Why is this important to note?  Department stores, in general, are providing cups only up to F (U.S. size DDD) and the band size that is *married* to these cup sizes are TOO BIG for the customer—usually a 36 or larger.  Customers are forcing themselves into these mismatched sizes because it’s too tedious and labor intensive to get the band/cup combo that actually fits.  

The mode value of the perceived cup size is a B and the mode value of the perceived band is a 34.  So, folks are buying the 34Bs but are really needing 30Es (mode value of calculated band is a 30 and mode value of calculated cup is an E)—two band sizes and three cup sizes different, not even a “sister size”.

A sidenote: there wasn’t an alignment between age and bra size so that’s why there is the number differences that there are.  It *is* important to note the age of the majority, though, because this is the demographic that is a primary candidate for much of the well known bra marketing in the present time.
So, I go back to my original question but slightly rephrased…Why do we need to buy bras that fit?  So that manufacturers will listen and adapt.  They won’t change what they think works until their bottom line indicates that it’s necessary.


Quit buying the 36Cs that work “okay”. 
Invest in the 30F that makes you feel fabulous!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Join My Group on Facebook, If You Like.

Over on the right sidebar, I've attached a link to my "If The Bra Fits..." group on facebook.  It's an easy way to be notified of the newest post and discuss the topic at hand.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Short Explanation About Immediate Projection*

*edited Sept 2016 to state that Immediate Projection is interchangeable with Bottom-of-the-Cup Projection and Immediate Depth.*

I received my new bras today.  Not the ones that end my ongoing Perfect Fit journey but the ones that are going to get me through while I continue that journey.  The ones that fit Oh My Goodness so much better than the ones that I’ve been wearing up until now.  They’re not perfect though.  They’re a bit too shallow.  You may ask: What does “shallow” mean in the context of bras?  Well, it’s quite similar to what it means in the traditional sense: not enough space for the item that it must contain.  It becomes readily apparent when you put on a bra and even more so if you have what is known as “immediate projection.” 

Here is my attempt to duplicate/illustrate immediate projection (***edited to add: as it pertains to me and my "girls"):

It’s different from being pendulous, even if there is a bit of breast tissue below the InfraMammary Fold--where the underside of breast tissue meets the ribcage.  
My illustration for pendulous:


So, when you have immediate projection, if you put on a bra that is too shallow, the portion of the breast tissue that “projects” the most from your ribcage is going to, essentially, seek out the deepest part of the cup.  This often results in a bit of bra flatness between the bottom of the breast and the underwire.

See that flatness here (my index finger is actually resting on it):




So, that is why these new bras aren’t perfect but, if you’ve seen my original bras, you can see they are infinitely better than before.

I have to say: It feels odd to not be adjusting my breasts constantly.  They're no longer in danger of falling out the bottom (because they've pushed the bra too far from my ribcage) or popping out the top (because they worked their way up and over).  It's rather nice.  :D

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Swoop and Scoop

As much as it's important to be familiar what kind of shape your breasts are or whether they're Full On Top (FOT) or Full On Bottom (FOB) or whether they have wide roots or narrow roots (or tall or short roots), the best place to start for getting the right fit is to Swoop and Scoop.  Reach into the cup and bring forward all that breast tissue that is hanging out under the armpit.  Those of us who've been wearing incorrectly fitting bras for years...hell, decades even, may have more than others; same if you're a bit heavier than say someone who may be in a 32 band.  Bring forward all that tissue.  I have to hang on to the outer edge of my underwire to really get a good swoop and scoop but, let me tell you.  It makes all the difference.

Here's me before Swoop and Scoop (in the bra that has been my "go to" bra for about a year now):


In the middle picture, above, you can see the migrated breast tissue that is just hanging out there.

Now, here's after I've Swooped and Scooped:

You can see how my cleavage is "popping" and so not in a good way.  I've got four boobs aka "quad boob" like crazy.
When you've got a bra on, Swoop and Scoop.  Does it still fit?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Buttercups, A Local Lingerie Store With A Convenient Location in Delaware

I had the best visit to this local Delaware lingerie store.  I really couldn’t wait to visit Buttercups when I heard that there was a store that carried band sizes 28-50 and cup sizes A-K.  And they don’t just stock the smaller cups with the smaller band sizes or the larger cups with the larger band sizes.  If you’re a 28G or a 44B, you’re more than likely going to find something.  If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll order it so that it’s available in the store for you to try on.  They’ll order anything for any of the brands that they carry.  On with my experience…

Lemme just say: the first great part is that it’s right near a Starbucks.  J  But, when I got to the store, the “great” continued.  The two sales ladies—Victoria and Stephanie—greeted me immediately upon entering (always a plus) and asked if I’ve even been in the store before and what they could help with.  I really just wanted to browse to see what they had.  I did ask what fitting method they use.   I think I threw them a bit when I asked if they used a two-, three-, or five-point measuring system—they use the same as where I work, a two-point system: underbust and fullest part.

The store decor is painted in a bright, sunny yellow on three walls and one wall painted in a royal blue and white pattern—very regal.  It has a good layout with most stuff on the walls and a few racks on the floor.  Some of the wall racks are front facing, some are side facing, so the variety is good.  It doesn’t look like a department store but is set up in a way that makes you want to browse.
Read about their impending opening in an article from a year ago, spring:

They carry most of the high end, well known brands: Panache, Elomi, Cleo by Panache, Freya; and the owner, Christy said that she’s looking to add other brands such as Chantelle and the like once they see what is available at the trade show this weekend.

I told them what I had already tried and they suggested a few others, which I tried—didn’t love them, though, so I didn’t buy anything.  However, my plan is to find what fits through various online retailers but purchase at THIS store.  I’m such a huge advocate for shopping small business that I don’t mind driving the distance to get there, especially since they’re willing to order anything that I’d like to get just so that I *can* buy from them. 

They have a facebook page as well as the website that I linked above.  They’re very easy to get to.  From Route 1 in Delaware, you take the Middletown/Odessa exit and head west towards Middletown.  You need drive just over a mile (passed the High School) and turn left when you see Saladworks at the corner of E Main St and Silver Lake Rd.  If you miss that turn, you can take the very next left (Dickerson Blvd) and then double back through the shopping center parking lot.  The storefront faces Acme grocery store and shares a very large parking lot with it.

From Dover Air Force Base, it’s less than 30 minutes via Route 1 and less than an hour to take Hwy 13 if you wish to avoid tolls. 


Well worth the drive if you’re looking for a bra that fits.  Tell ‘em you read about them on “If The Bra Fits.”  :D

Friday, July 31, 2015

Found My First Bra That Fits!!

I’ve found at least one new bra that fits and I’m quite excited about it.  I tried on a 36H, originally, but the fit just wasn’t “perfect” and that’s what I’m looking for.  It’s called the Chantelle Rive Gauche and it’s just beautiful!

For every bra that I try on from the online websites, I’ve been keeping notes about fit for each bra.  

Here is the Chantelle Rive Gauche in 36H:




And here are my notes: Very slight pucker at top, underwire sits low on ribcage (trying smaller cup)

If you look at the pictures, you can see that the cup is just too large overall.  And the underwire extends way too far into my armpit.  But, I loved how this felt, in general, so I wanted to try again.

Now, I didn’t attempt to sister size because the band fit just fine.  If the band had been loose—this one fit on the loosest hook rather than the tightest—I would have gone down in the band and up in the cup so that the coverage remained the same but the band would have been tighter; or if it was too tight in the band, despite being on the loosest hook, I would have gone up in the band and down in the cup to, again, keep the coverage the same while making room for my torso circumference. 

Neither was the case, so I just went down in a cup and it fits AWESOME!!

Here is the Chantelle Rive Gauche in 36G:



I’ve ordered two more in that style: a Hazelnut Nude and a Cappuccino so that I can wear them under my work tshirts.  And keeping this black one.

I’m still on a quest for more styles because, really, you can’t have just one.  Lol.  My 2nd round of bras netted me two that I will try sister sizes--the band was just a bit snug--and 14 that are getting a complete exchange. 

Here’s what I received for the 2nd round:



The journey continues.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Body by Victoria bra line Revamp and Relaunch

The Body by Victoria bra line has had quite a few relaunches.  During my tenure, the first relaunch prompted me to stop loving the unlined demi bra.  During the late 90s and early to mid 2000s, it was my “go to” bra.  It fit great and provided a great shape.  With the relaunch that occurred just a few years after I started working for the company, the Body by Victoria Perfect Coverage became my new favorite.  The revamped unlined Body dug into the top of my breast in a way that was not flattering.  It gave me a lumpy look that wasn’t there to begin with.  The Perfect Coverage came up high enough that this was not an issue.  The shaped Demi bra did the same thing as the unlined version so I stuck with the Perfect Coverage option.  When I lost weight, though, I found that there was too much gapping in the cup of my beloved Perfect Coverage and switched to the Demi. 
That relaunch introduced us to “memory fit”, a super soft, conforms to your shape, material from heaven.  But it also came with controversy--the “Perfect Body” campaign.    The other downside was that the bras had less material at the front of the bra, along the band line.  It was mostly just underwire.


Not many notable changes in 2013

2014 brought about another revamp.  This one involved adding a “keyhole” feature to the center gore and more material along the band--much relief for those who felt that the previous version was digging into their ribs.


And here we are with the latest revamp/relaunch.  

I was able to try on a few styles yesterday and ended up buying the Unlined Lace.  I tried on the largest cup available in a 36-band.  Some were DDD, a couple were DD.
My thoughts on the new styles:
Pefect Coverage—it fits the same as the last Perfect Coverage and is great if you want to camouflage any shape issues.  The cup is narrow and shallow so I was not able to fit my 36H size into the largest offered—36DDD.
Demi—same as the Perfect Coverage: little difference from the previous version.
Lace Demi—while I didn’t try this one on, it was passed around at our store meeting the other day.  The lining is one of a fine mesh material.  There is no memory fit in this cup.  It would dent easily if stored with one cup inside the other as most customers are wont to do.  I wouldn’t wear it on a hot day either.  I think the “itch” factor would be too noticeable.
***One difference between new and old though: they swapped 3% of the elastane for 3% more nylon.  Before it was 74% elastance and 26% nylon; now it’s 71% and 29%, respectively.  It's still a "memory fit" though***
Perfect Shape—really don’t like this shape at all.  I felt like I had grapefruit sitting on my chest.  The shape of the bra was that round in silhouette.
Pushup—another dislike.  This bra pushes your breasts together rather than up.  I had serious “quad cleavage” when I swooped and scooped.  Very shallow cups too—the bra was pushed down by my breasts since they were gravitating towards the deepest part of the cup hence the “quad cleavage” because that meant out of the cup almost completely.  Another “didn’t like” feature: the underwire definitely digs in though that might be more noticeable because the bra was being pushed down my ribcage.
Wireless—not bad just didn’t like the lack of separation that underwires traditionally provide.  I’ve never been a fan of wireless bras so this was not unexpected.  A great option for those who like compression-type sports bras but also want some cleavage because this bra has a bit of a plunge front.  **Not available in DDD
Unlined Lace—this is the option that I ended up getting for my gratis.  The cup seems to be less shallow than the others; probably because it’s the only option that is made from three pieces of fabric rather than one continuous one.  The underwire was a little too wide to truly sit in my intramammary fold but that allowed for more room in the cup as well.  I swooped and scooped and experienced very little “muffin top” above the cup.
The new Lounge bra—VERY comfortable.  Unfortunately too short on the sides.  I felt like I had back fat just hanging out.  Very soft; very smooth.  The straps are not adjustable.  They’re reminiscent of the original Incredible bra.  They’re also in a halter/racerback configuration.  The band is “longline” and I can easily see someone wearing it as a short tank all its own.  It would even work as a yoga bra.  **Not available in DDD
I'm looking forward to trying on the other styles as they come in, especially the Lounge Bralette--it looks like it may be super comfy.  **Sizes are XS, S, M, L, XL

This relaunch happens July 28th.  The current versions will be discounted and pulled from the floor and will probably be available again during the various Semi-Annual Sales that happen twice a year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Soma Experience... Still No Luck Though

Went into Soma at The Summit in Reno, NV first thing in the morning on July 4th.  I've only been in a Soma store maybe twice before and purchased loungewear; never shopping for bras.  I asked the saleswoman--who introduced herself as Crystal--what their largest cup was.  She told me 44G and asked what size I was.  I told her that my 36DD wasn't fitting--I was wearing a Fabulous Unlined Demi by Victoria's Secret, which is no longer available--and I don't remember if I told her that I was a 36H.  She offered me a bra fitting to which I responded, "Sure."

Crystal measured me at a 36DDD (the same as a 36E (UK), two sizes smaller than my size).  She brought me three bras in that size--a Vanishing Back Full Coverage, an Enhancing Shape Full Coverage bra, and one other that I don't recall the name.  I still had "quad boob" in all of them.  Sadly, Crystal didn't ask to see how any of them fit--something that I expected so that she could better assess any fit issues.  

She just took my word that they didn't fit and then brought me some styles that I had originally asked about--unlined--in a 36G.  Those were the Embraceable No Show Minimizer and the Sensuous Lace Unlined.  The minimizer gave me the most awful shape that I've ever seen.  My breasts are pretty easy to get along with for most bras.  They just go with the flow.  In this bra, they were damn near flat, I had absolutely no fullness on top, and my cleavage was squished together like two pancakes trying to meet on a plate.  Terrible all around.  

I then tried on the lace bra.  It's one of those that is seamed diagonally, from the underwire up to where the nipple *should* go; which, from what I remember, provides a better fit for breasts with projection.  It did fit much better than the minimizer but had issues of its own: the underwire didn't sit in my intramammary fold, for one thing.  What the heck is that, you may ask?  In a nutshell, it's the crease of your boob, from your sternum (center of your chest) to your armpit--where the bottom of your breast meets your torso.  More on that later.

So, back to the bra...it didn't follow my IMF and the wire poked well into my armpit.  It would be bothering me in no time if I wore it for any length of time.  Crystal suggested I size down to a 36DDD to see if the wire would be shorter.  It was; however, there was serious "quad boob" again.  It was also still too wide in the cup.  My breast roots don't fall into the wide category.  They start in a position that is more forward of my armpit rather than *in* my armpit so any underwire that ends super close to my armpit will be too wide for me.  More on breast roots later.

At this point, it was apparent that I wasn't going to find a bra at Soma.  Crystal then proceeded to refer me to the Cacique store--Lane Bryant's bra line in a stand-alone store--that was a few doors down (mind you, they rarely carry 36 bands in store) and Sealed With A Kiss, a boutique in South Lake Tahoe.  Their bras must be sold only in store because I found none online.

All in all, my trip to Soma didn't end in success but it wasn't too terrible.  Crystal did her best to help me find something that fit and she was quite knowledgeable about fit.  If I was willing to compromise on finding the perfect fit, I would have bought the unlined lace bra.  I'm looking for "awesome" though and am not willing to compromise just yet.

The journey continues...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It Was A Busy Week...

...And I was able to get only one fitting while in Reno.  I will post and share it tomorrow.  I hope your 4th of July--if you celebrate--was as eventful as you wanted it to be.  I attended my brother's wedding and reception and jaunted around town(and saw so many who were wearing bras that weren't even close to fitting).

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Headed to the Left Side of the Nation

I'm headed out to visit family for a week but I'm going to Reno which means there's a few stores that do bra fittings--at least two Victoria's Secrets, Lane Bryant, Soma, and Nordstrom, for sure.  I think I'll subject myself to some fittings and see how it goes.  It'll be interesting to be on the other end of the tape measure.  I'll let you all know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Struggle is Real and All Too Common.

Anyone else had an issue like Kristin Chirico, a frequent poster to BuzzFeed...

Watch This Woman Get Fitted For Bras and Get All Different Sizes

I'm hoping that my Bra Fit Events help alleviate this problem, one person at a time.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Recent Experience Utilizing What I've Learned

During a recent shift, I had such an experience that I wanted to share it with those who read my blog.  I was sorting bras in our clearance bins at the front of the store and a woman came in, carrying a slightly crumpled bag from our store.  I greeted her and she said that she was there to return some bras because they just didn’t fit, even after getting a fit the week prior and that it may be due to having had some post-op swelling over her breast area.  She headed towards the cash wrap and I headed towards Beauty then back to the fitting rooms to help a customer who had rang the buzzer, for assistance.  Over my headset, I hear “Nichole, I’ve got a customer coming back for a fitting.  She’s been fitted a couple times before and always returns what she buys.”  I could only conclude that she wasn’t getting a proper fit or that it was due to the swelling that she mentioned earlier.  I greeted her again and asked how I may assist her, also offering a bra fitting in the dressing room.  She expressed that the bras just didn’t fit but that the swelling was completely gone now, according to her doctor.  The bras that she had were 36DDs.

I went on to explain how I measure and that a proper measurement involves actually not wearing a bra but that I wouldn’t be doing that.  Instead, I would just measure over her bra.  When she took her blouse off so that I could execute the measuring, I could see that she was not fitting, at all, in the bra that she was wearing.  It was very similar to this.  There was no separation between her breasts; she was coming out her armpits; and it just looked too snug overall.  Kind of like in the picture below (from boosaurus.com).

I went on to explain how a bra should fit while I measured her.  Her snug underbust was 33”.  Her overbust was 41”.  I recognized that this wouldn’t be accurate because of her bra holding her in but let her know the measurements that I was getting.  I counted off cup sizes on my fingers for her, letting her know that, based upon those numbers, she’s actually measuring at a 34H, not the 36DD that she had been told.  She, initially, couldn’t understand why there was such a cup disparity.  I then asked her to Scoop and Swoop her breasts in her bra—even demonstrated on myself the act of reaching into the bra and under the armpit and pulling the breast tissue forward (no, I didn't remove my shirt to do this lol).  If you could have seen the look on her face when all that breast tissue came forward (and nearly out the front of the bra)…  I’m sure I had the same look when I first learned S&S.

(image from bra-fitting-lores)

I went on to tell her places that she *may* be able to find that size and gave the address to this blog so that she could reference it later.  She was so happy to learn that it was the bras that were the issue and not her breasts--and to be armed with more information than she’d been given in the past—that she appeared to have tears in her eyes.  I was so touched that I wanted to hug her.  I hope to be able to help more customers, just like her, find their true bra size.


THAT is why I feel called to pursue this passion.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some Additional Info Regarding the Bras that I Tried

As I mentioned in this post, my new calculated size is a 36FF/36H.  There are three different size ranges, depending upon country of manufacturer, so a 36FF on the U.K. size chart equals (for the most part) a 36H on the U.S. size chart.  The U.K. also has an H cup but it's considerably larger than the FF, given that the band size is the same.  See the size chart below for a visual depiction.

Update Feb 3, 2016: Please note that only the UK sizes actually exist in those cups.  I filled in the U.S. and EU sizes just to give an idea of their corresponding cups.

U.S. U.K. EU
AA AA AA
A A A
B B B
C C C
D D D
DD/E DD E
DDD/F E F
DDDD/G F G
DDDDD/H FF H
DDDDDD/I G I
J GG J
K H K
L HH L
M J M
N JJ N
  K O
P KK P
Q L Q
R LL R
S M S
T MM T
N
V NN V
W P W
X PP X

That being said, all the bras I tried on were either 36FF or 36H, depending upon the manufacturer.  I didn't mention anything about cup width or the shallowness of the bras.  The post was merely a memory-jogger/brief peek into the fact that I totally feel your pain when it comes to finding the right bra.  As I learn, I will share what I learn with you so that you, too, can become more informed about what fits and how it should fit.It would probably be so much easier if they just depicted cups much the way that doctors do: with cc--a measurement of volume but even that would have it's drawbacks and would take quite a period of adjustment to get used to.  Jockey has attempted to do something like this but even they are limited on their cup range.  They have only 10 choices for cups and their bands *do* start at 30 but their largest cup/band combo is 10/34 (cup/band) and the largest cup for the 30 band is a 7.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The First Leg of the Journey for a Bra That Fits

With a desire to let you know that I KNOW how much of a pain it is to find a bra that fits, I'm sharing the first leg of my journey with you.  I ordered nearly 30 bras at the end of May, tried them all on--had to wait longer for some because they went backorder--and am finally getting around to deciding the next ones to try.  Here is the rundown of my journey, thus far, and my notes regarding the ones that I've tried. This is copy/pasted from an Excel sheet that I will maintain for future reference.


Brand Style Notes
Chantelle Rive Gauche Very slight pucker at top, underwire sits low on ribcage (trying smaller cup)
Cleo by Panache Juna Balconette Balconette too low--muffin top, good lining
Cleo by Panache Maddie Balconette Muffin top, band too tight, very wide set straps, very cute though
Curvy Couture Tulip Lace Push-Up Gap at top, underwire poking armpit, very pretty (sister size down in band)
Curvy Couture Matte and Shine T-Shirt Gap at top, underwire poking armpit, very pretty (sister size down in band)
Elomi Tessa Supports, encases, but top has slight puckering, fabric would be itchy in heat
Elomi Bijou Convertible T-Shirt Slight gap at top (best "shaped" to fit so far)
Fantasie Rebecca Mirage T-Shirt Gap at top, interior sling made it look like my breast were sitting on a shelf, would be itchy in heat
Fantasie Rebecca T-Shirt Gap at top, interior sling made it look like my breast were sitting on a shelf, would be itchy in heat
Fantasie Melissa Side Support Plunge Pucker at top, itchy fabric
Fantasie Lois Side Support Very slight pucker at top, a good "winter" fabric, would be itchy in heat
Fantasie Alex Side Support Slight pucker at top
Freya Gem Good uplift, seam over top causes weird shape, itchy fabric
Freya Active Molded Sport Lots of gapping at top, snug band
Gossard Glossies Unlined Totally sheer, pucker all over, would try one cup smaller
Panache Floris Balconette Narrow cups, serious pucker on top
Panache Dahlia Balconette Good fit, wide straps would probably slide
Passionista by Chantelle Starlight Plunge Too loose, material seemed flimsy
Wacoal Fine Form Supports, encases, but top has slight puckering
Wacoal La Femme T-Shirt Boob under shelf, pretty good balconette
Wacoal Casual Beauty Shows NO cleavage, love the close strap placement in back, underwire sits low on ribcage
Wacoal Retro Chic Slight puckering over whole cup, very tall cups
Wacoal Maximum Control Sport Very snug, pucker in cups, although it would be a good full coverage bra, I wouldn't run in it