How To Find A Bra That Fits You


BRAS BRAS BRAS BRAS BRAS. It’s time to talk about bras! (Because you guys asked.) Here’s the deal. For the longest time, I hated my boobs. I was convinced I needed a breast reduction, that my boobs didn’t fit my body, and I even spent the majority of college pricing out the surgery for when I graduated. Then, while shopping for my wedding dress one day, I stopped into a tiny lingerie boutique in New York City to find a strapless bra, and walked out a changed woman. Thanks to the delightful saleslady there and a heavy-duty bra from the UK, I now love my boobs. (Love them. It’s actually kind of unhealthy.) Thus, the power of a good bra. So today, APW reader Michelle (who actually has a bra store, y’all), offers up some advice for finding a bra that fits. She’ll be back soon with more information about what kinds of bras work with formal wear (like, say, wedding dresses). But for now, let’s dig into the post that I wish was around in 2003 when I was under the impression that you could totally wear a center-seamed cotton bra from the Gap on a pair of DD’s.

MaddieHow To Find A Bra That Fits You | A Practical Wedding

I have no idea how bra shopping got to be such a complicated and generally dreadful ordeal, shrouded in mystery. I mean, the majority of women need to wear a bra every day. Yet, a properly fitting, supportive, comfortable bra is some kind of mystical item we think only exists in legend. So ladies. If possible, grab the friend you take with you when you want an honest opinion and head to your nearest specialty shop. The specialty shop part is important—most box stores or chains don’t carry a wide enough range of sizes—which, I suspect, is what helped get us here in the first place.

For those of you who have never been to a specialty bra shop before, word of mouth seems to be the best way to find places, but there is a delicate balance of helpful versus snobby in boutique stores. You’ll know you’ve found the right spot if you feel comfortable and the salespeople genuinely help you. In my opinion, aside from getting your general wishes around color of your new bras, your salesperson should do all the work. They should fit you, get you all the bras (and maybe take the ones you’ve picked up and put them away…) and check every. single. bra. you try on. I don’t have any suggestions for online shopping because I just can’t even imagine how people buy bras online. I would have a really hard time buying bras online, and I sell bras for a living. Unless you can return them, but then that seems weird.

Next, forget everything you think you know about bra fitting. Unless of course you read this and think, “Isn’t that what everyone does?” If you think that, go give whoever taught you how to buy a bra a big high five and then go start converting your girlfriends to your ways. They need your help and probably don’t even know it.

The most important thing is to buy a bra with a band that fits. This is where you need to start your sizing since bra bands and cups are proportional*. The band needs to be snug and low. Your band should be so snug that the saleslady and/or friend you brought can’t pull it more than two inches (three at the very most) off your back when it’s on the loosest hook. The band should also be parallel with the bottom of the cup. All those cute girls in movies who nonchalantly take off their tops? All wearing the wrong size bra. Even the Hollywood costume folks can’t get it right. Pull the band down. Farther. You’re smaller lower on your back, and if it’s properly snug it will stay low and in place all day. Your bra should never ride up your back. If it does, you’re not getting any support from it (because contrary to popular belief, straps aren’t meant to do all the work there).

Now this may be feeling slightly uncomfortable. It’s because wearing something snug and low is foreign after years and years of looseness. After a day, you won’t even notice, and next time you go shopping you’ll be the one saying, “Hmmmm, that feels a bit loose I think.” Unless, there is pain. Pain is bad. Pain means size up.

Now that you’re in the right size band, we can focus on a cup that fits. Many of you will now have the experience of letters you didn’t realize existed in regards to bras. Pop culture has done us another disservice here—a D cup is not large. A specialty store will carry to a J cup at least, and should have access to larger if needed. So, without changing your newfound awesome band size, you need to find a cup that fully contains your breast tissue without any spilling over the top or gaping/hollow spots when you move around. Test this out by moving around, jumping, waving your arms, etc. If your bra only fits when standing still with your arms down while you stare at yourself in the mirror don’t buy it. Unless you have a job where you never move, of course. If you haven’t been bra shopping in ages, take the time to try on all kinds of different cup styles, even if you think you won’t like them. Bodies are always changing shapes in subtle ways, and that style you hated eight years ago might now be the most flattering thing in the store on you. This is especially true after any kind of weight loss or gain. Breasts have this amazing ability to remain the exact same size yet be a completely different shape. So if everything “fits,” but you feel it looks a little funny, first try on a lightweight top. Staring at yourself in underwear for too long can make you feel like everything looks funny and seeing yourself in a top can confirm or disprove this. If, with the top, it looks not as you’d like, grab the same size in a different style.

Et voila! Buy your new awesome bra(s)! Use this size (mostly) as your benchmark for all future shopping (sadly, bras are just like jeans—you have to try them on before you buy them because sizes are just guidelines). Try not to get hung up on the numbers and letters associated to your bra size—you and the saleslady (or your trusted shopping friend) are the only people who know. What everyone else knows is you look fabulous and you’ve stopped pulling your bra band down/bra straps back up every fifteen minutes.

*Cups and bands are proportional. A 34D is roughly equivalent to a 32DD (or E depending on brand) and a 36C. Always (always!) wear the snuggest comfortable band size. Also, A DD is the same as an E, a DDD is an F, and so on. Some European companies run single letter sizing (C, D, E, F…), and some include doubles (DD, E, EE, F, FF…). Just because it wasn’t confusing enough.

Editor’s Note: We know that there are plenty of readers in our midst who have put time and energy into finding a great bra, and more importantly, a great bra shop. So in the comments, we’d love it if you could leave a link to your favorite bra store and/or your favorite bra. We’ll be setting up an underthings board on Pinterest later with your suggestions so that we can all have something to go back to later for reference and for shopping.

Photo by Lisa Warninger for APW Sponsor Favor Jewelry

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  • Lena

    Hell yes!

    After years of every Victorias Secret trying to put me in a 36 C that would never fit or support and I would fall out of I went to Intimacy and found out that a 34 F makes my boobs sing a happy tune. Bit of a side note good bras are pricy, but oh so worth it

    • LikelyLaura

      I’m sorry to hear that about your experience with VS, but I know the service and knowledge can really be hit or miss depending on the manager. I worked at several VS stores in the Dallas area for 3ish years, and we definitely knew (and lamented) our size limitations. I refered women to other bra shops daily if we didn’t carry their size.

      But I’m glad you found a great fit at Intimacy! They have beautiful styles!

      • Lena

        Maybe it was just the southwest, but San Diego to Phoenix to LA, every vs I visited left me with an ill fitting bra (although their underware I find amazing). Never once did anyone admit that I might fit better elsewhere, but that is just my experience, glad that vs is awesome other places!

        • Jenn

          Nope that’s not just a southwest thing. They did the same thing to me in Rhode Island and also in NYC. Then I found Town Shoppe and Intimacy and it was GAME OVER.

          Also, gals, try figleaves.com for hot bathing suits. I’m an H cup and they have nice bikinis in my size there when I can’t find them anywhere else.

          • hampton

            asos.com also sells swimsuits by bra size, with a pretty decent selection available in bigger cup sizes. they have shipping both ways, so if you need to go up or down a size, it’s not exactly convenient, but you don’t have to pay to mail back something that doesn’t fit.

      • Kaitlyn

        My experience of going into VS (many locations in IL and NY) is that they will just eyeball it (maybe quickly fuss around with the measuring tape over your clothes) and then try to put you in something that they have in stock, whether it really fits or not. I had similar experience at department stores.

        Thanks for being honest with people about their size and VS stock limitations, instead of just selling them something that didn’t fit!

    • Elizabeth

      Although, I will say that Victoria’s Secret got me out of my 36C and into a 34D. Huge improvement!

    • http://incurablebluestocking.wordpress.com Cass

      Vicky’s can be so hit or miss. Some stores have great service, some are so awful — one in my home state of Virginia tried to convince me (a 32F by specialty store sizing) that I needed a 34A. Wearing the thing for thirty seconds practically left welts, but there she was insisting it was right! I loved the treatment I got at Hot Topic’s new spinoff store, Blackheart, though — the girls there totally knew their stuff.

  • http://doux-style.blogspot.com Hannah

    Okay ladies, where does one go in DC to get a good bra? And a BIG bra? I just bought a UK 36 HH and it’s a bit snug in the cup. Help!

    • carrie

      Sylene in Chevy Chase is the best place in town. Well, not quite IN DC proper, but you get the point.

    • marbella

      Former NOVA resident, I’ve had luck at http://www.trousseaultd.com/ and of course Nordstrom. I recently discovered the subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits and there is brilliant info there on styles, sizing, true life pics etc. Really great!

      • Anonymous

        I second the Trousseu recommendation, in Vienna, VA. Not only to they provide good fittings and a wide range of sizes, but they also will provide alterations to custom fit the bras to suit your body. Some of the best fitting (and most attractive) bras that I have purchased came from this store. Since it’s APW, I’ll also note that I bought my wedding undergarments at this store. They altered the back of my longline strapless bra to suit the back of my wedding dress – alterations free of charge.

    • Kara E

      Honestly, I had better/happier luck at the Montgomery Mall Nordstrom than Sylene’s. Trousseau was also good, but mainly specialty wedding stuff.

      • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

        Nordstrom has always been my go to. Even better: Nordstrom Rack- good quality, well-fitting bras that won’t break the bank!

    • steph

      Coup de Foudre in Metro Center. Expensive, but amazing. AMAZING.

      But not for anything strapless.

    • http://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/cristina.l.caruso Cris C

      I’ve had good luck at Dor Ne Corset in Silver Spring off Georgia, http://www.dornecorset.com/ or if you are willing to hike to Laurel there is BraLaLa http://www.bra-la-la.com/. Both of these places should be able to help!

      Also, once I have found a size and style that works, I have been able to often find more color selections on http://www.biggerbras.com/

      • MDBethann

        Thanks for the recommendation in Laurel – I live between Baltimore & DC so this store would be great to check out. My bras are dying and I dread getting new ones. I will definitely check this store out!

    • Mel

      Intimacy at Tyson’s Corner! They had a 34H nursing bra IN STOCK.

    • GCDC

      I second coup de foudre. They have really great service and will be honest about fit.

      • Michelle

        I third Coup De Foudre! Awesome service. But, I’ll admit that I get fitted, and a buy a bra or two in the store, and then stock up online after finding a style (and corresponding size) that works.

    • Holly

      Nordstrom. I used the one in Tyson’s Corner. The ladies were amazing. I even got a cute bra and matching panties in a larger (36F) style. Also after wearing a D basically forever since I had my kid, there was some shock when she told me I was actually an F. Uh, how did the former bras even hold my breasts up? My boobs were even bigger a few years ago.

  • Aly

    This website: trueandco.com/

    • Jessica B

      Mmm, I’ve heard mostly not good things about them, here’s a review: http://thelingerielesbian.com/2013/04/09/untrue-co-why-true-and-co-s-bra-fitting-is-failing-their-customers/

      • ZOO

        Actually, True and Co. worked really well for me. I got 2 bras out of the 5 they sent. One sort of fits but was ultimately a bad judgement call on my part, but the other is the best-fitting bra I’ve ever had. It was also really nice to be able to try them on in the comfort of my own home, asking my fiance for advice (“How do my boobs look?”). I’ve always been woefully uncomfortable in specialty bra shops, so the privacy was a big draw for me. The article is right that it’s not for people who need a “bra fit revelation,” but I’d recommend it to people who have bras that almost fit and would appreciate the privacy.

    • Holly

      Figleaves.com

      I even bought my sports bra from them and that sucker is A-MAZ-ING!

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    A question for Michelle: After a proper bra fitting, one of my friends reported that the sales lady at the boutique informed her that all bras have about a six-month shelf life, even if they are high quality. Is it true? I agree the right bra is a great investment, but how long should it last? (Given hand-washing, appropriate care, etc)

    • Margret

      Not the author, but was a professional bra fitter in a botique for a year before moving on to law school. It’s disapointing, but true, that even the nicest bras have a shelf-life. However, there are things you can do to lengthen it. I know we all have a favorite bra, but you really need to let your bras “rest” for at least 24 hours between wears. They get streached out when we wear them, and this gives them time to regain their shape. Second, NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER put a bra in the dryer. The heat damages and breaks down the materials that help it keep its shape. This is even more important than my third point, which is that you should hand wash your bras if at all possible. If not, put them in a garment bag on th delicate cycle. This protects them from the agitator and other clothes in the washer. And use a detergent made for synthetic materials. Many brands that are made for cotten/natural fibers will actually break down the synthetic fibers in your bras. Finally, store them flat. The more bras you have in rotation, the longer you can make them last, but even with *perfect* care, even with the nicest bras, you’re looking at 12-14 months before they’ll need replacing.

      • rowany

        What does “they need replacing” mean? They’ve fallen apart, or they don’t hold up at all, or don’t hold up as well? I don’t think I can throw away something that often!

        • kc

          I am not a Bra Professional (and, um, I don’t throw away my bras that often, nor do I throw away my spices as often as one is “supposed to”), but I think the main problem is that the elastic material gradually gives out (time, sweat, stretching, bad detergents, chemicals in the water, rough washing – all make the material give out faster, but it is Eventually Doomed anyway).

          You may not notice this as you wear bras, since it’s a slow process, but you’re gradually less and less supported by the band (hence fitting bras to the loosest hook, then stepping it in as the elastic starts to slump). But I have watched this process with my bras (since I hate bra shopping, I often buy several at a time if I find something that fits) and can attest to it (since the “backup bra” fits totally differently than the worn-all-the-time bra does, despite them being initially identical).

          But, kind of like with replacing spices (6-12 months? nope, I do not care if my nutmeg is less than ideal, I’m not throwing it out and replacing it when I only use it twice a year in something where it’s not the primary flavor anyway…), it’s a matter of what degree of not-quite-fitting-perfectly you’re willing to put up with. A really-really-really good bra-that-fits is going to continue to fit better for a looong time than a series of bras-that-never-actually-fit. On the other hand, once you’ve had the experience of a bra you could wear all day and then fall asleep in and still be comfy, you might get picky. :-)

          • Rowany

            Thanks KC and Leslie R.! I didn’t realize that’s what the multiple hooks are for! I just reach back blindly until it’s on! *mind blown

        • Leslie R.

          Hi Rowany,

          I accidentally replied to the comment below yours about this, so scroll down and check it out! Apparently the site is not letting me edit or delete it otherwise I would move it up here!

      • Class of 1980

        Saw a documentary about bra fitting in France ages and ages ago. They said the best bras don’t have elastic straps, so they can’t stretch out.

        If you could find those, they’d probably last longer.

        • kc

          That makes a lot of sense; elastic really does die, unlike many other materials.

          By any chance, did they discuss how to breathe in a non-elastic bra? I guess you could do diaphragmatic breathing for the most part, maybe? Or some sort of up-down breathing? My rib cage in the bra band area expands like crazy when I take deep breaths, so I’m curious as to how the non-fainting pre-elastic (or current no-elastic-bra) ladies managed it…

      • Emily

        Wait, so my 9-year-hold bras might need to get added to the rag bin?! But they’ve been with me for so long!

        I have no idea if there are any good bra stores near where I live now, but I’m traveling to San Francisco next week and am hoping I could have an easier time there. Suggested locations?

    • Chelle

      Hi SarahE

      Bras do have a shelf life, but six months seems awfully darn short. If you are handwashing, never drying, and have many bras you rotate through you should get more than six months life from a bra.

      That said, quality of the bra to begin with, your size, and how often you wear it will all affect life span. Sadly larger ladies you do need to replace your bras more often, blame gravity.

      Also, shhhhhhhhh, but I’ve never handwashed a bra. Not even my fanciest, most expensive bras. Who has time for that? A good laundry bag and a cold water wash are your friends! (Maybe not if you have an old agressive top loader.)

      • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

        Thanks!

  • Mer

    Wish I had this information this weekend when I went bra shopping. Anybody know of good stores in Seattle and/or Portland area?

    • http://www.alivingspace.com Julia

      I literally JUST went bra shopping last week after reading a bunch of message boards online with very similar information to this post. I was visiting family in Portland, Oregon at the time (yay for no sales tax!) and went to “Oh Baby” on NW 23rd, and it was great! A very small store, but they have a surprising amount of very cute options, and the saleslady was super helpful. I have been wearing a 32B for a long time, which works fine for a normal bra, but just never stayed up with strapless, so my goal was to find a great strapless bra to wear with my wedding dress (and everything else strapless). I found a beautiful strapless in a size 30D, which fits perfectly and will not budge after lots of dancing (tested at my brother’s wedding last weekend). I couldn’t believe a D cup fit my smaller chest, but there it is!

      • alyssa

        I second the request for Seattle stores!

        • Other Katelyn

          Nordstrom!

      • Amanda

        If anyone is looking for sports bras in Seattle, Title Nine in Greenlake is pretty good. They’re having a “Bra Fit Fest” on May 29th, too!

        http://www.titlenine.com/category/retail+stores/seattle+wa.do?nType=2

        My favorite ever sports bra for no bouncing on a big-ish cup size was made by Underarmour. Unfortunately they discontinued it, but I bought one on Amazon of what they had left! I will have to find a new go-to when that one wears out, though. I especially think that sports bras should be replaced when they start to wear, as you are putting them through more craziness than normal bras.

        • http://domesticoutlet.tumblr.com Never Took Home Ec 9 s

          Title9 and Nordstrom still fall under the fallacy of putting people in bras that they stock rather than bras that fit, but they are better than most other stores.

          For Seattle:
          http://girlpowerhour.com/the-lingerie-addict-sexy-in-seattle-5-local-lingerie-stores/

          For Portland:
          Oh Baby: never been except to scout out a bachelorette party location, they seem very knowledgeable with a good range
          Just Like a Woman: good range, solid fitting advice, bridal selection, charges for fitting if you don’t buy anything
          The Pencil Test: limited selection but focuses on DD+, very very lovely and kind fitter, my favorite, great with returns, discount for teachers and students

          Once you know your UK size, order from England!

    • Leslie R.

      Generally it means that the band has stretched out too much to adequately support you.

      When you first buy a bra, it should fit snugly on the loosest hooks – that way as the bra ages and the elastic breaks down a bit, you can tighten it in order to prolong the life of your bra. Correct care and having lots of bras in rotation are the best things to help prolong the life of your bra, but they will eventually break down. Wearing good-quality bras also helps prolong the life of the bra as they are generally better constructed. Regardless, it’s a good idea to remeasure yourself, or get fitted, every 6-12 months because your size and shape can change a lot in that time period. Women’s breasts change throughout their lives, not just at puberty!

      Fun fact: I learned from a VS employee that their bras are designed to break down at 6 months of wear so they can sell more bras. What a scam!

      • Leslie R.

        Dang it, I meant to reply to Rowany above!

        Another great place in Portland is The Pencil Test on NE Alberta. Holly, the owner, is AMAZING. Great selection and she really knows her stuff and will totally take the time you need to find a good bra!

        • mimi

          Haha I love that her store is called The Pencil Test!

      • LikelyLaura

        As a former VS employee, I will say that it definitely SEEMED that way with some of the newer, “revolutionary” styles. Like any bras without real seams. Obviously that glue is not going to hold the fabric together forever. And foam bras? Really? (Though, I can’t tell you how many ladies bought them anyway, after I warned them, because they loved that they were “seamless.” So I do think some of it is a demand thing.)

        That said the bras with old fashioned construction (ahem, fabric/thread/elastic/wire) have always lasted me well. I usually change sizes before my bras wear out.

        And if your wire pops, you’re in the wrong size. I’ve NEVER had a wire pop on me once I knew how bras should fit.

        • Ms. Cardigan

          Another former employee and I totally agree with you. Those seamless, foam, “high-tech” ones stretched out way too fast, and I don’t think they sell them anymore actually. Their more traditionally made ones lasted me a good 4-5 years (washing with laundry bag, no drying, never hanging by the straps).

    • LBD

      I like Zovo in U-Village. They don’t measure you really, they kind of size you up and hand you a bunch of things to try, then you tell them what’s working and they find you more things based on that. Not sure of the sizes they carry though, I’m a reasonably average size.

    • Brenna

      Seattle Stores: I have had good luck at Zovo in University Village, Belle Fleur in Fremont, and with Tamara at the Nordie’s in Bellevue Square.

      • Crystal

        Zovo in U-Village does have cute bras in a variety of sizes but they are not good at fitting. They sold me an atrocious strapless bra, somehow convincing me that it would stretch out and fit fine but I can’t wear it for more than 30 minutes without being in serious pain. Nordstrom is amazing! Especially the Bellevue Square lingerie department. Thy always haves huge range of sizes and they know how each brand tends to fit. I’ve also ordered from barenecessities.com and they have an even bigger range of sizes and styles. Just ordered the cutest polka dot swim suit in a 30DD!

  • Anonymous Coward

    Any tips (fitting, brands, styles) for those of us with smaller or asymmetrical boobs? I’m about to go bra shopping to find something that’ll fit AND look pretty.

    Personal details: I have a smallish bust but a large ribcage, and have found 40B or 42B (when I can get them, because not a lot of places stock them, and I don’t have enough up top to fill out a 38C) to be best for me. I never wear underwires because I don’t need the support, but I want a bra to kind of contain my breasts, make them look approximately equal sizes, and not show through my shirt. Preventing back rolls is a bonus. If I could wear sports bras without the straps or neckline showing, I totally would.

    Right now, my 2 favorite bras: http://www.barelythere.com/bras/detail/4584.aspx
    http://www.belk.com/products/warners-invisible-bliss-wirefree-02055-P210085602055.jsp

    (maybe that’ll help someone with similar stats and preferences)

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    My all time favorite bra fitting was when I went to a running store and frankly admitted that every sports bra I’d ever worn didn’t work. Turns out when you run your boobs move up and down, side to side, and in and out! The sales lady brought me several, made sure I was there on a day when my boobs were their biggest (they change ever so slightly depending on where you are in your cycle) and we tried a bunch on. I jumped up and down and ran in place while she analyzed how much my boobs were bouncing around. I LOVE the bra I left with.

    Now I need to do that with normal every day bras. Anyone know specialty stores in Southern Arizona?

    • http://turningtoward.blogspot.com Kara H.

      I live in Tucson, and I haven’t found any specialty stores I really like, but I have had pretty good fittings at the local Dillards store.

      • Sarah

        I’m also in Tucson, and there is one! Alice Rae Lingerie: 5420 E Broadway Blvd. They’re super nice and I’ve been very happy with the bras I purchased!

        • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

          Tucson party!!

          We should meet up at Beyond Bread some day.

    • Sarah

      Alice Rae Lingerie: 5420 E Broadway Blvd in Tucson.

  • Megan

    For anyone in the Philadelphia area, I can HIGHLY recommend Harriet’s Innerwear. It’s a tiny shop on Passyunk in South Philly and the women who work there are geniuses. They have a giant selection tucked away in floor to ceiling boxes and really do everything that Michelle lays out in this article.

    I recently bought a long line (corset looking) bra to wear under my wedding dress. The saleswoman took one look at me and brought me a perfectly fitting bra. She helped me do it up and checked whether it fit. She brought me a few more to try on, but I went with the first one she selected cause it made me feel great.

    Check it out! I bet you’ll find something you love. http://www.harrietsinnerwear.com/

    PLUS! Their company tag line is hilarious and awesome “Since 1949, We’ve Never Let You Down.” Hooray for bra puns!

    • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

      I’ll have to check them out! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Kate

    You guys!

    I am coming out from behind the scenes to comment on this awesome post, I am SO passionate about it. Like Maddie, a small boutique changed my life.

    A bad experience in high school left me believing that the only kind of bra I could wear if I was over a 34DD (which was a size I could get in limited selection at Victoria’s Secret) would be full coverage, practically up to my neck. No good at all for the v-necks I was super fond of at 17. Fast-forward 10 years. When I went to the boutique, I was wearing a 34DD/36D. I walked out wearing a 32G. The saleswoman said, “Welcome to the Over-DD Club,” and I didn’t cry. Because I looked amazing. It literally looked like I lost 10 lbs. AND they had gorgeous bras that I felt super hot in (hint: they didn’t go up to my neck). That transformative experience happened while I was shopping for my wedding lingerie (which I subsequently sewed my dress to… so it really had work to do, i.e., hold my dress up…I’ll try to find a link to the bra).

    I was SO fortunate to meet the amazing women at A Perfect Fit in Southern California.

    For my daily bra, I exclusively wear Freya Deco (which I get at Nordstrom’s, primarily).

    And the Freya Deco Strapless is the only one I’ve ever owned that doesn’t slip down from the weight.

    I also had a sports bra revelation around that time. I can run, jump, stand on my head in the Panache Sport, and these ladies don’t have any painful after-bounce or need adjusting after.

    What IS it about the British and bras? Love.

    • Kate

      Well, the bridal lingerie is discontinued. But I have the Masquerade Hestia Basque.

      • Maddie

        Oh my, that is a thing of beauty.

        • Kate

          I loved that it’s lace-up. My sister became a pro at strapping me into that thing. It has adjustable hook and eye and then lacing on top of that. What was great about the lace up is that it a) added even more support (if possible!) and didn’t depend on the elastic to keep it up, and b) it means that there is adjustable cleavage. I held myself in place while my sis laced it up, and depending on where I was holding the gals (like, closer to the chest/pushing up) she’d lace me up, and there they’d stay.

          We had several conversations about acceptable church cleavage.

    • Emily

      WE ARE THE SAME PERSON. Same. All of it. Everything, down to the sizes.

      • Kate

        Love it : ) Glad you’ve found awesome bras that FIT, too!

        • http://asashaparty.blogspot.com Sasha

          YES!

          Although I turned out to be 30G…in a 34DD.

          I recommend Ripplu in NYC for regular bras and Title Nine for sports bras–I bought them online and for the first time in maybe 15 years could do things that involved jumping up and down/bouncing.

          I am seriously evangelical about properly fitting bras and love that this post is here. Thanks!

    • Mary

      That Panache Sports bra is the most amazing bra ever. I wear one every day. I’m a 32J and get the 34H since they don’t have a 32J. Intimacy will have the band taken in for you, but it takes about 6 weeks so I’ve never tried it.

      Bravissimo is a great store in the UK, and they also have a clothing line with extra room in the chest.

      I also get a lot of my bras from http://www.barenecessities.com/

      • Kate

        Right? I wear it daily too. I love that it doesn’t make me strangely pointy like a lot of the really supportive bras do (which is obviously specific to the way that I fill sports bras).

        Great tip on Intimacy! I’ve never been to one, but I’ll have to check that out next time I’m in an area with a location. What a great feature!

    • Denzi

      Yay, a fellow 32G! Although the brands you like suggest that we are different shapes. (Hint to people who really want to think about this online first: http://www.herroom.com/ has a veeeeerry comprehensive questionnaire about your boobs that will help you think about shapes and brands once you’ve got a general size idea.)

      We’ve been taught for so long that DD is Huge And You’ll Need Back Surgery Later In Life that my girl friends are usually pretty flabbergasted when they hear my bra size. The conversation usually goes, “But you’re not that big!” And I say, “No, a lot of stores size badly and don’t offer enough sizes. If these bras feel way better than anything I’ve worn before, and I’m a 32G, I bet you’d find a different bra size more comfortable, too!” (Seriously, post going to my local Intimacy store, I became a convert to and evangelist for the Way of The Actual Bra Sizes, Seriously, Victoria’s Secret, You Do Not Count.)

      • Kate

        Yes! Shape is such an important factor! Where you hold your weight in your chest definitely determines how a bra fits.

        (Awkwardly, I was once in a fitting room and the attendant was trying to sell the same bra to two different customers that didn’t know one another. Apparently the bra wasn’t a good fit for the first lady, so she SHOWED the second (younger) woman in the bra to the first and said, “See? This is how it’s SUPPOSED to fit.” I would have felt so terrible if I was the first woman. Bra shopping is traumatic enough, thanks!)

        And yes! Victoria’s Secret confused me for a decade. Including the one month that I worked there (before I quit…shortest job I ever had). Also, I’d refer women down the street to a local boutique all the time because they didn’t “fit” in the “sizes” VS carried.

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

      Wow! Thanks for this! I know that I am SO TOTALLY in the wrong size, because every time I go for a fitting to one of the box stores, they give me a different size, and they never, ever come close to meeting the outlined criteria here. And my back is always killing me.

      The reccomendation for the strapless bra looks like a life saver. I make a very careful effort to never, ever buy any clothing without sleeves because I want to be able to wear a regular (but obviously badly fitting)bra. I even found a wedding dress with sleeves and put a cardigan over it for good measure. But a close friend is getting married in June and we’re all wearing strapless sweetheart neck dresses, and I’m totally freaked out about how to hold my boobs up in this thing. I’m checking that out RIGHT NOW.

      • Kate

        Sarah, YES. I’ve had that back issue before too! As Michelle says in the article, the straps aren’t actually supposed to be doing that much work. But if your back is hurting, they might be doing the brunt of it. (I mean, obviously there are more things to consider than JUST bra, but I know getting in the right size and right bra helped me.)

        And yeah, having had worked at one of the box stores, trust me, they are not properly trained at this stuff.

        I LOVE the Deco Strapless, but as Denzi points out above, different strokes for different folks, even if they’re the same size : ) That said, I am super confident an awesome strapless bra that you can wear exists, and that you will find it. Good luck!

        Buying lingerie actually got fun for me after I found out what size I SHOULD be looking for (or working off of as a starting point).

      • Maddie

        Sarah! Go get yourself fitted at Le Petite Coquette (I linked to them in the intro). They had the BEST salesladies and I walked out with a life-changing bra for about $60.

        • http://www.hourglassy.com Darlene

          La Petite Coquette is great up to an F cup, but their inventory is only so-so after a G cup. You’re better off at Town Shop on the UWS if you want a wide selection of styles in a G+ cup size (and also of band sizes 32 and less). Town Shop’s prices are even better, and there’s not a lot of margin to play with in bra prices. However, I discovered the difference in looking at the Empreinte Kaela at both stores.

      • Rebecca

        I actually had totally good results measuring myself using the instructions on the A Bra That Fits sub-Reddit. I’m just on the edge of what department stores carry (32DD), so I was able to size up/ down a bit until I found what worked for me.

        For my wedding I ordered, like, a million strapless bras from Bare Necessities, and the only one I found that worked with my upper arm musculature/ high root breasts was the Wacol Red Carpet, which didn’t move an inch when I wore it all day (and no underarm bulge). Plus it has removable straps so you can wear it generally, too.

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          I sent my friend this post and, apparently in exchange, she sent me the Butterfly Collection’s Blog. Photos demonstrating sister sizes, vlog describing the importance of shape, charts comparing VS-sizes to what a specialty shop will have, descriptions of why cup size gets smaller as band size gets bigger….. Basically more detail of all the questions I’ve been asking for years.

  • Breck

    I haven’t read the article yet (very excited–I really need some new bras), but does anyone know where Favor Jewelry is getting all these AMAZEBALLS dresses featured in the photos of some recent posts??

    • Breck

      Also, we’re trying to put together an APW East Bay happy hour/meet up for May, so if you’re in the area and interested, email me at breck@cbcondimentco.com!

      P.S. I didn’t know where to put this and apologize for the lack of relevance!

      • MarieKD

        Hi Breck, sorry to post this here, but I’m having a heck of a time trying to email you! I live in Berkeley and I would love to be part of the meet up I saw posted in the Happy Hour thread today! Would you mind emailing me the details? My email is marie@donnelly.to thanks!

  • Laurel

    For ladies with larger chests, I highly recommend the balconette bras from Lane Bryant, and for a more varied selection, check out herroom.com.

    • Leslie R.

      Lane Bryant can be a good bra, for sure, but they actually offer a pretty limited range of sizes. Most UK manufacturers go up to a J or JJ UK sizes, which is equivalent to a M or N US sizes – Lane Bryant stops well before that, unfortunately. But if you do fit into their size range it can be awesome! Always easier to find bras in a local store.

    • http://www.hourglassy.com Darlene

      For ladies w/ larger chests but rib cages at a 36 or less, try stores that sell Freya, Panache, Fantasie, etc.

  • Lydia

    It’s a chain, and I love me my small independent shops, but I’ve always gotten Great bras from Intimacy (as have lots of friends with odd sizes). It’s the only reason I ever go to the fancy mall, and the bras are pricey, but they Fit and look great (and the staff don’t act like they’re too fancy for real people). It’s the only reason I ever go to the fancy mall (and their being a chain makes it more likely that there are locations near more readers).

    Agree with the “don’t freak about your size” comment – I (and most friends) were sort of shocked to find out they were G, H, or higher cups – but the letter doesn’t matter when you go from uncomfortable and schlubby to Awesome.

    • Kaitlyn

      I do have one piece of advice about Intimacy… I felt very pressured to make certain purchases, and had to stand up for myself about what I wanted/needed. I got the impression that they got extra commission for pushing certain items, like the “novelty” bras in bright colors with no lining. I was clear about my budget and needs. But the assistant wanted to take me for a ride, anyhow. When I was firm about what I would purchase, she was very obviously disappointed – she stopped making eye contact, she dumped me off on another assistant and, later, she didn’t even say goodbye! I felt badly that she was so upset, but I could not afford to make her happy and I did not want what she was trying to sell me.

      So, given that bras are a fairly major purchase: don’t get taken for a ride! I would definitely recommend that someone walking into Intimacy or a similar store approaches it in the same way that they would approach a different major purchase. In this case, you can’t easily scope out your options ahead of time and compare prices. But you can set a budget (ie. I will not spend over $150 today no matter what) and decide what items you are going to prioritize (ie. I need to walk out with a strapless bra and a smooth/lined multi-use bra). Then be clear about your plans and stay strong!

  • http://lgcmachine.wordpress.com/ elle

    I haven’t read the post yet – but just – APW FTW. I freaking love you guys. Talk about the ultimate lifestyle blog (as though those three words are enough to capture the awesomeness).

    SO. MUCH. LOVE.

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      This post has my favorite best-friend’s-cool-older-sister vibe yet. Thank you Chelle and Meg (and rest of APW team) for being go-to sources for life advice!

  • Jacque

    NYC APW ladies: I have now had two excellent experiences at Lindas http://www.lindasonline.com/ Including my excellent strapless bra that I wore ALL DAY for my wonderful NYC elopement. (Totally reasonable prices too!)

    • kaybee

      Linda’s is the best. I was terrified that all the bras would be like $200 but they were the same as what you’d pay at VS or some place similar. Very reasonable. I got back once a year to be re-sized and they are always great.

  • Kory

    Any suggestions for good bra shops in Boston? My Victoria’s Secrets bras are awful. Thanks!

    • Lydia

      Kory, the Intimacy I was talking about up thread is in the Copley mall. You have to make an appointment (although you may be able to make one for around an hour later if they aren’t busy, I don’t know), but it’s so worth it to have a professional fit you. They don’t use tape measures or anything, they just judge the fit of your current bra and then bring you a bunch of options.

      • http://www.stalkingsarah.com Stalking Sarah

        Had good experience with them, and I’m an F/G depending on the brand.

    • daisy

      i’m a huge fan of forty winks in harvard square. i went in a little intimidated but walked out a happy woman with three different and well-fitting bras! the service is awesome, even for a shy, non-girly gal like me. i felt totally comfortable there.

    • Abilene

      I’m not sure if there’s a shop right in Boston, but they’re definitely AROUND the city – Lady Grace. Life-changing!

    • Liz

      Lady Grace has multiple stores in Biston area and us great!

  • Taylor

    I was wondering what sizes you can expect for smaller women at stores. I currently wear a 32 D, but I’m pretty damn certain that the cup is too small and the band is too big, although I can’t get a smaller band or bigger cup on a 32 at a normal store. It’s very frustrating every day, and I’m constantly building, moving, and painting things. Plus, adjusting my bra.

    • Laurel

      I used to think I wore a 32D. I was wrong. You should easily be able to get band sizes down to 28 in large cup sizes at a good specialty store.

      (I’m not the same Laurel as the one commenting above.)

      • LMS

        Thanks for this! I currently wear a 32B, but the band has always felt a bit loose. (Hellooo, body that stores fat everywhere but my ribcage.) I’ve never seen a bra with an under-32 band size, so figured I was SOL.

      • Chelle

        Hi ladies!

        30 bands are becoming much easier to find, and 28s are available but significantly more difficult. Keep asking though! The more feedback bra companies get that people NEED these hard to find sizes, the more bras they manufacture in those sizes.

        The only two lines I know for sure that make 28 bands regularly are Freya and Change of Scandinavia (also sold as Chic and Charade). If you know of more, add them below and help the tiny ladies out!

    • Not Sarah

      I agree with Chelle. I absolutely love Freya and pretty much don’t wear anything else. I buy my 28s from BareNecessities.com which has a reasonable return/exchange policy.

      Tip for ordering online: order a bunch of styles since even in the same size, stuff fits differently and then return/exchange the ones that don’t fit. Or if you’re not quite sure what size you are, order say a 28F, 30E, 30F, and 28G in different styles and then exchange for what fits. That’s what I do since no one here stocks a 28 :(

    • Kate

      Above Mary mentioned that Intimacy will take bra bands in for you, if you are near one of their locations. I’m jealous if you are : )

    • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

      Hi Taylor, You may want to check out the blog http://smallbustbigheart.com/ ! It mentions good bra stores and designers that fit smaller-chested ladies.

    • Kaitlyn

      I’ve been able to get band sizes adjusted at specialty stores. If you buy there, they generally will not charge you. Intimacy charged me a nominal fee (maybe $5 per band?).

      If you can’t get to a specialty store, you can try to order online. I agree with others that Freya is a good option for small bands.

    • Pinkrose

      If you take a tape measure and measure around your ribcage right below your breasts you can get a general idea of what your band size might be.

  • Celia

    Boston ladies, Lady Grace (http://ladygrace.com/) has wonderful fitting specialists in-store.

    • Elle Marie

      Do you know if they have anything catering to people with gigantic ribcages and tiny boobs (which is basically the opposite of everyone else’s issue)? I am currently wearing a 44B from Lane Bryant that gaps in the cups and leaves painful red marks in my skin because the band is STILL too tight, even though I’ve lost weight recently.

      • Celia

        They have a huge range of sizes (I do see 44B on their website), so I’d definitely check them out in-store!

      • kc

        This may not be helpful, but there are these bra extender things that basically hook into both sides of the hooks at back, giving you an extra couple of inches. (specifically: may not be helpful depending on breast placement – if you need more space between at front *and* at back, then the extender is only going to give you the space at the back)

        Second note is that different types of bra (even in the same size at the same store) may reduce gaps (the cups are shaped differently and may even have different volume).

        And, third note, I hate-hate-hate the trend towards foam padding in everything, but sometimes inserts can help give a boost to make a bra fit rather than slumping around your breast. Support is good.

        I hope someone has more helpful answers for you!

  • Lada

    YES! This is exactly why I love APW.
    Three years ago, I went to a specialist, thinking I needed 36C and left with 32E. Not only my boobs look better now , but I also have waist!
    For those from Prague, Czech Republic, I can really recommend BraExpert and Caresse – beautiful lingerie and people.

  • meg

    FAVOR! You guys, I need good nursing bras, and I know for SURE some of you have done the research. Help!

    • marbella

      Again, check out http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits – amazing data from real life bra wearers and users, learn to measure yourself, all the best online places etc.

    • amc

      I like my bravado nursing bras. They do look a bit like sports bras, but the support is there.

    • Emily

      Piggy-backing off Meg mentioning nursing bras, I’m curious to know about boob growth during pregnancy, and if anyone who already had big boobs had trouble finding any nursing bras that fit? I’m already an F, and I worry that nursing bras just don’t exist in larger sizes.

      • Megan Reynolds

        Emily, I can’t comment specifically on where to find such bras, but I know for a FACT that they’re carried in huge sizes, as my boobs about tripled in size once my milk came in. I am wearing Hot Milk nursing bras, and they’re pretty good, and there aren’t any underwires in them. Here’s the link: http://www.hotmilklingerie.com/

      • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

        Target’s nursing tanks. I lived in them for a year. I still wear them occasionally for work, and every day when I get home. I was a large E before baby, and like G-H now. I found the tanks MUCH more comfortable than the $100 nursing bra I bought from a specialty bra store. And then cost like $25, so if you don’t love them you’re not out much.

        • meg

          I’m in all Target and they are just shredding. And the tanks plus my size are tricky (so it’s interesting it worked for you!)

          • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

            Weird. I have 5 of them that I’ve worn for a total of, um, 380 days? Rotating, of course, but still, a ton of use and they’re still in good shape. But as usual, quality for cheap clothing can vary widely from batch to batch.

            I am fantasizing about weaning, and going out and buying a bra that fits again. It will cost at least $120 and be pretty and be supportive and IT WILL BE GLORIOUS.

      • http://notsolittlethings.blogspot.com Stephanie

        Emily, I feel you. The good news is large nursing bras exist, but you have to find them online. I just responded to Meg’s comment but I was 30G before I got pregnant. I am now a 34HH post pregnancy and was a 34J while nursing. I got my bras on Bravissimo by emailing customer service and getting suggestions. I have to say though that I also had some issues with nursing that were directly related to the size of my boobs – don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. I had a sage lactation consultant who know of my struggles and it was the only way I got through it. If you want to chat you can direct message me at thenotsolittlethings (at) gmail (dot) com.

        (no, that blog name has nothing to do with my boobs, but it is a bit hilarious considering…)

        • K down under

          lol-ing at your blog name! :)

    • Kara E

      While I’d love to go to a local store, I haven’t found any in CO. However, Nordstrom carries nursing bras! Or will, apparently convert a regular bra into a nursing one (depends on the store maybe). I’ve gone from a 36DDD to 40DDD while pregnant and I’m scared to see what another 2 months + milk does to them.

      • http://www.nowicanseethemoon.co Stephanie

        Kara,
        I don’t know where in CO you are, but there’s a fabulous lingerie store in Cherry Creek North in Denver. SOL – http://www.sollingerie.com. The ladies there are very helpful, and they’ve sent me styles based on what I’ve purchased before (I live in WY, so I’m about 2 hours from them). It’s definitely worth the trip and the money you’ll end up spending!

        • Kara E

          @Stephanie. Sweet!! It looks like they have nursing bras too. We just moved to Denver (from the East Coast), so am starting to explore the area and hadn’t encountered them yet.

        • http://ducksandbooks.wordpress.com DJR

          Sol is AMAZING! I walked in and got a strapless bra with hooks to also wear as a halter to wear under my wedding dress and for the next fitting they had to take let dress out 2 inches around the bust and take it in around my waist! OLD BRA, FAIL!

          Sol also shortened the straps and narrowed the band for me (the cups of the 36DD fit better than my normal 34 F, so they took in the band) for free, and turned it around in 24 hours. Plus, they let you try EVERYTHING, even these funky little boob stickers called Bring It Up and teach you how to apply them. I was so worried about fidgeting with my boobs all night (which I didn’t).

          Plus, their prices are almost the same as the online stores for high-end bras, so you can buy them in person and support a bring and mortar store without over spending. Bonus!

    • Mountaindoozy

      I’m also going to piggy back on your comment and ask if anyone else tried putting cabbage leaves in their bra after delivering their baby? My mom convinced me to do it and it pulls away some of the heat and tenderness when your breasts are really full of milk.
      Smells weird, though.

      • meg

        We were taught that trick in birth class, but I never really had a problem with it (switch out the leaves when they smell is the thing). Nursing is one thing my body was awesome at.

        • Kara

          I thought it was mainly for engorgement or weaning?

    • Alexis

      Meg- I love my wireless Bravado bras. They are super comfie and pretty suportive and they sell them on Amazon. I also just bought an Anita brand underwire bra that is a little more structured/uplifting, but not quite as comfortable as the wireless.

      http://www.amazon.com/Bravado-Body-Silk-Seamless-Nursing/dp/B00BKT30MU/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1366925291&sr=8-7&keywords=Bravado+Nursing+Bras

      • http://ahobbitatheart.blogspot.com/ rachel

        Agreed with the Bravado Seamless Bra- I’m a busty gal, and felt supported and comfy. Worth every penny.

    • jlseldon7

      I know this goes against the don’t shop online policy, but have you heard of Cake Lingerie? I got a “nursing bra” for the first trimester (you know, because of all the tenderness) and it was amazing.

      I plan on getting fitted in person close to delivery and then ordering some of the Cake nursing bras (with real cups) online.

      • Kamille

        That sounds like a good idea…I’ve been having problems with tenderness, and I’m at 9 weeks. Probably because the girls have doubled in size. I don’t have a bra to keep up with them yet, and I need one.

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      I will not lie – I spent a year plus wearing nothing but nursing tanks. Not structured, but by then time you’re in the G-H range, who cares? From Target.

    • Alicia

      I loved http://www.hotmilklingerie.com/
      Good shape, pretty and matching knickers!

      • Alicia

        So, that was my first APW comment – on bras!

    • http://notsolittlethings.blogspot.com Stephanie

      Bras have been the bane of my existence until I had a fitting at Bravissimo. Sadly they are only in the UK, BUT! they have awesome online customer service. They are the only place I can find a bra that fit (I went from being a 30G to a 34HH…that is a 4 cup size difference…and am a 34J while nursing). I emailed them with the bra I liked pre-baby and my current measurements. They then made suggestions and they were spot on. SPOT ON. Every other US store that supposedly specialized in nursing bras looks at me like I am from the moon when I tell them my size.

    • Mel

      Intimacy! They had a 34H nursing bra IN STOCK. I had no luck online at all because nursing bras fit so weird.

    • chelle

      Since your wee person is not quite so wee anymore, unless you have breasts that still regularly get engorged get some nursing bras with underwire. The difference is HUGE, and a total game changer from feeling like an actual human and feeling like you have sloppy mono boob all the time.

      My very favourites were from Prima Donna, I tried both their styles and liked them both equally. I think there are even more brands making nursing bras now, so maybe more ladies will have suggestions.

      There are some other lines who make larger, pretty cute wire-less nursing bras but even though the support was good, I always felt like they gave me Madonna/pointy boob. Which, isn’t really my thing. That said, they can look totally fabulous on some ladies. The Freya, Hot Milk and Cake lines all had lovely looking (on the hanger, on me not so much me).

      I did enjoy a Bravado wire-less bra for being lazy at home, and at the very end of my pregnancy when I was very much like “Clothes! I can’t bear to wear anything! These things are ridiculous!”

      Try to shop when you’re rather full, so you don’t accidentally wind up with the dreaded double boob once you’re home. Also, just be a little extra conscientious that the wire fully clears your breast tissue in your armpit region to avoid pressure points & clogged ducts.

  • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

    I need new bras like whoa, and this has inspired me! Here are my favorite places:

    Online: http://www.figleaves.com/
    They have up through the larger sizes that stores don’t carry, and also great bathing suits and undies as well! My (beautifully) busty best friend clued me into them, and she always looks FABULOUS.

    In Philly, I absolutely LOVE Hope Chest (http://www.hopechestshop.com/). I went in there two days before my wedding because my longline bra that I had coerced into buying at DB was SO not the right size it wasn’t even funny. I popped into the shop on Walnut, which is lovely and staffed by wonderful and helpful people, and I walked out with an amazing, comfortable, well-fitting, longline, bra. PERFECTION. Hoping to go back soon for regular bras.

    Also, this post is awesome. Yay APW!

    • ali s

      I was just coming over to this thread to ask if any philly ladies have been to hope chest! I’m glad to hear you had a good experience!

  • Another Kate

    I’ve actually had great luck at Nordstrom. Knowledgeable sales people, good selection of brands and sizes. The best fitter is Doreen at Westfarms mall in CT! She’s amazing, but I’ve had others who have been good as well.

    For independent stores, I’ve had good luck at Lady Olga’s in Hamden, CT (got my longline strapless for my wedding dress here) and La Petite Coquette in NYC, the latter being particularly good for fun/sexy lingerie vs. just bras. Sometimes it can be hard with big boobs to find stuff like that that fits (corsets, bustier, etc), and they had a good selection. Not cheap, but worth it.

    • Emily

      Yes! I was going to comment and mention Nordstrom, for ladies who can’t find a boutique near them, Nordstom is a great place to find lots of sizes and knowledgable sales people.

      Note, the one downtown Chicago is not fantastic. But I can personally vouch for San Francisco and Oak Brook, IL.

      • ellabynight

        I was just going to comment that I had great success in the bra department at the Nordstrom in Oak Brook, Illinois, too.

        I went there to get a strapless bra for my wedding because I had never had any luck finding strapless bras that fit. The fitting experience was a bit shocking at first. (No idea why, but I wasn’t expecting the sales lady to get so up close and personal with me!) But a little embarrassment was definitely worth finding a strapless bra that would stay put and learning that I was not a 42D but a 38F.

        • jlseldon7

          This is good to know. I’m excited about going to OBT now.

        • Anonymous Coward

          I’m thinking of starting with Nordstrom for a fitting — I’ve never had one before outside of costume shops. Are you measured in the bra you arrived in, or entirely bare, or…? I don’t really have a problem being topless for that reason, but I want to know what to expect!

          • LikelyLaura

            The bra you come in wearing, usually. But it’s more important to let them see the bras on you as you try them on. The measurement is just a starting point.

          • chelle

            Don’t be surprised if you don’t actually get measured. But also don’t be surprised if you do.

            When my girls measure, they typically measure around your tightest layer of clothing.

            I say don’t be surprised if you don’t, because once you fit bras for an extended period of time you don’t need the tape measure to tell you how big someone’s rib cage is – you just know. Lots of ladies do like to see the measurement though, as it’s somewhat shocking to hear that 36D you’ve worn your entire life should really be a 32G.

            And I totally agree with LikelyLaura, it’s way more important that they check everything you’re wearing. Actually I agree with LikelyLaura about everything, any chance you want to come work for me?!

          • Emily

            They won’t fit you nude, and they’ll never just stand there looking at your boobs, but it’s likely a nip will show now and then if she helps you into a bra. And expect a little touching as she checks straps and makes sure the bra is lying (laying?) against your skin. If you prefer a more private experience, you may need to tell her up front, but any fitter should respect your wishes…in my experience, they’re all very nice (and in the end they want to sell some bras, not embarrass you.)

          • ellabynight

            She measured over the bra I arrived in, but then got a little handsy when it came to adjusting the bras I tried on. It wasn’t anything that actually made me uncomfrotable–it was professionally detached; she wasn’t groping or staring. But I’ve never had someone I’m not romantically involved with be that close to my boobs before!

      • Shelly

        I actually had a really good fitting at the Nordstrom downtown Chicago. A subsequent fitting was not as good – so I guess, as with all things, it depends on the person and how busy they are.

    • Kate Bolen

      Me too! (In the SF Bay Area that is.) If Nordstrom’s is your best bet in your area, you can call ahead and ask for an appointment with the Master Fitter or Lingerie Department supervisor. I have a feeling the stores vary from team to team, but the head of the department is a great place to start! She’ll be able to recommend others for you to work with in the future, too.

    • april

      Another up vote for Nordstrom. They were the first place that alerted me to the fact that I was wearing the wrong size (a 32DD, and not the 36C I had been trying to wear).

      But I’ll also let you in on a little bra shopping secret– once you get fitted by a real professional, try digging through the racks at Marshalls or TJMaxx. My favorite brands are Wacoal and Natori, which run $50+ at Nordstrom and similar stores. I’ve found the exact same bras for $15 or $20 at Marshalls and TJMaxx.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        I’ve also had luck finding my favorite bra at Nordstrom and buying it again when it’s on sale at Nordstrom Rack. I’m on the edge of the size of being able to do this (32DDD), but it was the only way I afforded more than one of the splurge of a bra I fell in love with. Check the price tags of what the fitting room ladies are bringing you! Or give them your budget up-front.

    • Hannah

      I hate to be a downer, but Nordstrom totally didn’t work out for me. Maybe it was just the one I went to. I walked in knowing I was probably wearing the wrong size because I was constantly spilling out of my bra and my girls hurt all. the. time. So I was surprised when the sales lady fit me and told me I was the exact same size. I wanted a black and a nude bra, nothing fancy, but she only had 2-3 options in each color and my size (34D, once again, not uncommon) to show me. I ended up spending $150 on two bras that I never wear. They fit horribly and totally lost their shape after washing once (by hand, no drying).

      I’m not totally writing off Nordstrom, but it might be a good idea to ask around the ladies in your area and get their opinion on your local Nordstrom. Personally, I do not recommend the Nordstrom in Tyson’s Corner, VA!

      • http://domesticoutlet.tumblr.com Never Took Home Ec 9 s

        It’s not just you. Nordstrom put me in too-big bands all through high school and even recently. I wear a 26 or a 28 and they just don’t carry those. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the professionalism to admit that they didn’t stock those, or point out that new bras should fit on the biggest hook (to extend the bra’s life).

        They also told my bride friend that strapless bras didn’t exist in her size (a whopping UK 36F). I knew better.

  • B

    La De Da in clear lake Texas! It was rite of passage when my mom took me there!

  • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

    If anyone knows of any in the Twin Cities, please share!

    I’ve always been so, so scared to get properly fitted. The idea just brings up all my self-esteem issues. But I’ve been wearing the same (exact same, as in one single bra) for like, a year now. Which is not ok on so many levels.

    So I’ve getting over it and getting properly fitted. Hooray!

    • lolauren

      I had a great experience at Nordstrom. They tend to have very professional fitters (with business cards!). Although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are also great local shops, but I can only vouch for the Nordstrom at the MOA.

    • Jessica B

      Eileen at Nordstrom is pretty much my favorite person in the world. I would stay away from Flirt boutique in St Paul (they only carry one size of each bra they order, and I got a strong sense of judgement when I was trying to fit into a too-small bra to get better sense of sizing). I’ve also heard good things about Allure boutique.

      • http://landlockedlove.com Kelly

        Went to Flirt for honeymoon lingerie (I live right up the street) and needless to say, I walked out without buying anything. Brrrrr.

        • http://ahobbitatheart.blogspot.com/ rachel

          Good to know! I’ve always drooled at it driving down Snelling, but was too scared to go in. I hate getting the cold shoulder from boutiques that clearly don’t want my barely plus-size business. I will pass on Flirt!

          • Jessica B

            I drool going by too, because they buy really good brands. They just aren’t great at being welcoming for ladies above a B or C cup and a 30 inch rib cage. It’s really too bad.

    • Amy

      I’ll second the Nordstrom at MOA – I do reccomend trying to go at an off time, it can be nuts there on the weekends. I’ve also had good luck at Allure on Grand in St. Paul. For sports bras: Title Nine at 50th and France – I found a sports bra without underwire there in a 36E – a bit challenging to get into but oh so worth it.

    • http://www.hourglassy.com Darlene

      If there’s any chance that you wear a D cup, you MUST go to La Bratique. http://www.labratique.com/

  • Annie

    Anyone have experience with the chain Soma? I have a great nightgown from there and am wondering if I can trust them with my large rib cage/tiny boobs conundrum.

    • http://thankyouredball.com Alyssa

      I have much better luck at Soma than just about anywhere else. I also have a small cup size and wide ribcage.

    • Emily

      I really dig Soma! I just got a fabulous strapless bra with a tiny piece of bling on it that I love.

  • Sarah

    Also had great luck at Nordstorm’s.

    *Bonus* Went with a good friend and they fitted us both together in the same room. Made me feel a lot more comfortable.

  • Kara

    Before my wedding I made my mom take me bra shopping. I wanted CLEAVAGE for my wedding. I should have known this was impossible, I’d lost 30+ pounds and as a result any cleavage I had before was gone. I spent hours trying on bra after bra looking for the perfect cleavage. In the end I loved the bras I found and found out my guess (and Victorias Secret’s guess as well) at bra sizing was wrong. I was not a 36B, but a 32C. Oh and that cleavage I wanted for my wedding…I may not have found it in a bra. But I did buy some bra fillers at Target that worked wonders. My mom’s favorite wedding day quote from me has been “look, i bought my boobs at target.”

    I don’t even live in the same city as this store, but seriously it’s a good specialty bra/lingerie store: Knickers of Hyde Park in Cincinnati. I may have stopped in while in town bridesmaids shopping for my sister in law’s wedding to buy all my honeymoon lingerie….All my bras are not B-Tempted by Wacoal. They’re not that expensive $30-40 each & can also be found at Macys – though I can rarely find my size there.

    • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

      I was so hoping someone would mention a Cincinnati shop!

      • Corrie

        Anyone for Cleveland or Columbus? And small boobs? How about ladies who are somewhere between cup sizes? I have a bra that’s 34B and gaps slightly in the cups, and one that’s a 36A and the strap is way too big so I can’t even tell if the cups are gapping or just not staying put properly because of the strap. Either way, I’ve never been a definitive A or B and need some serious help. I had surgery to remove a benign tumor from my left breast in October and told myself that I would get new bras once I saw how I healed up, but it’s almost May and I’ve been procrastinating because I feel like a lost cause. Help!

        • Kaitlin

          After a quick Google search for the Columbus area, it looks like Curv Appeal (http://www.mycurvappeal.com/) is the only place that isn’t a VS. They have limited hours, but they have great Yelp reviews. I’ve scheduled a bra fitting there for May 7th.

          • Corrie

            Thanks! I’m going to scope out the Cleveland area too – there’s Nordstrom in Beachwood, which is close by me. If all else fails, I’ll just plan to hit up Curv Appeal next time I’m in Columbus. which should be in the next month or two.

          • Kara

            Curv Appeal just announed they are closing! Those of us stuck in Columbus will have to venture elsewhere to find independent bra businesses.

      • Marie

        Me too!!! Cincy is so underrepresented on this site!

        • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

          Yay for cinci recommendations!

          • kmc

            Writing from Cincy with another Nordstrom recommendation! Had a great, great salesperson there a couple years ago– definitely went up some cup sizes and down some band sizes.

    • Rebecca

      I love the shape on the b’tempteds- my boobs wind up more forward in them than in most other brands I’ve tried (plus their colors and shapes are more fun, too).

  • Ellen

    Anything north of Boston? Specifically Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont? I am not above driving 200 miles if it means I will actually have a bra that fits!

    • Allyson

      Yes, Ellen! I’m looking for the same area. I’m in a 32DD now, and it fits pretty well… but I don’t think it’s right, but it’s killing to spend more than 60 on a bra. Even that feels like an arm and a leg.. So jealous of all those girls that can buy from Target. I’m going to check out Top Drawer in NH this weekend– I’ll let you know!

    • Shauna

      I had really good luck at Zoe & Co. in Concord, NH (they have a sister store in Westerly, RI for those farther south in New England). I’ve been to both locations and the women there have always been super helpful and not at all snobby. They are small stores, but they have a huge selection and they are really knowledgeable about their inventory.
      The bras run from your basic nude everyday type to the stunningly beautiful “why would you ever cover this with a shirt” type. As mentioned a couple time already, they are not inexpensive ranging from around $60 to upwards of $200 but a high quality, well fitting bra is absolutely worth it in my book.
      They also carry a decent selection of swimsuits that are based on cup-size (and some even have under-wire). That in and of itself was a revelation and well worth the trip. I’m not terribly large chested, but it the first bathing suit I’ve ever owned that actually supported me.

    • AGrace

      My apologies for the delayed response, but I wanted to add that I recently stopped by City Drawers in Belfast, ME (not sure how close/far that is from you) and found them to be very nice and helpful.

  • Jessica B

    I recently became OBSESSED with finding good fitting bras after my $60 bras from Victoria’s Secret began to fall apart after a few months. I found The Lingerie Addict (http://lingerieaddict.com), and The Lingerie Lesbian (http://thelingerielesbian.com/) who give good reviews, have body positive websites, and a general sense of what you should be looking for in a bra and the brands that are out there.

    I’m not so much a fan of buying things I haven’t tried on first in the lingerie area, but because of the strong reviews I know what to start looking for in the stores (like what brands are good for larger busted ladies). It also had brought me a lot of rage when I go into a store and the sales clerk asks me what size I am, because it varies so much from brand to brand. I literally don’t own two bras of the same size, because of the difference in fit between brand. Do not commit yourself to one size, but rather use that as a jumping off point when trying things on in a store.

    Also, find a store you like, and make friends with the clerks. Although I love lingerie now, I still have a lot of anxiety about a stranger seeing me half naked. Finding someone I was comfortable with in the dressing room made all the difference in comfort and led to a great experience that I would want to repeat every time I search for a new bra.

    If you don’t mind buying online as much, Journelle has a great return policy and a good staff that will promptly reply to your questions. For instance, if you email and ask what size would fit your measurements in XYZ brand, they will totally help you out. They are amazing and I can’t say enough good things about them.

  • Kestrel

    Really don’t be surprised if you thought you always had small boobs and end up with a larger cup size.

    I originally wore 34B or 36A (depending on the brand). I am now wearing 32D or 30DD

    • Cleo

      me too! I went to get re-sized, thinking I might be a 36B or 34C instead of the 34B I’d been sporting since my boobs stopped growing in high school. It was just a hunch that things weren’t right.

      I did not expect the size I got — 34D

      especially because I’m known for having the small boobs in the family.

    • Jessie

      I walked into a store a few years back thinking I wore a 34C… and came out wearing a 30DDD. So, now my bras fit, which is great… what is not great is that no one sells my size except expensive stores! No more shopping at VS or the GAP.

  • LALA

    “Pop culture has done us another disservice here—a D cup is not large.”

    THANK YOU! For years I’ve been struggling with finding a nice bra because anything over a D is old lady bra territory. If there are any bra designers trolling the comments to see what their customers want, then please read. Make sexy bras in large sizes. Make cute bras in large sizes. Make bras that have underwire in large sizes.

    • Not Sarah

      I actually have had pretty good luck with getting cute bras from Freya! In a 28F/30E! http://www.freyalingerie.com/lingerie/latest-collections.aspx They have cuter bras some years than other ones.

      • V

        YES! Freya is amazing. I’m usually a 34HH, and it’s truly wonderful to find a bra that 1.) is gorgeous and 2.) holds me up. Whenever my bras start wearing out, I literally go into the bra store that fitted me and simply ask them to bring out every Freya bra they have. They make me so happy! Once you figure out your best size/style with them, it’s also easy to find their bras for cheap online. It helps in years when their styles aren’t quite as cute.

        The only caution I’ll give is to stick with a specific style/cup type because which styles work is very dependent on boob shape. I’m newly pregnant now (less than 3 months and already up over two sizes, ugh), and, with slightly different shaped boobs, my usual Freya favorites don’t quite work even in the right sizes.

      • LALA

        Thanks for the recommendation! Checking it out right now and I’m already loving it!

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      And the number of friends who I tell my bra size to that say, “You don’t look that big.” (And that was when I was wearing the wrong size VS-bs.) I’m not that big. Whatever that means.

      In other thoughts, my Chantelle bras make me feel sexy. And I know my sister found a cute Betsey Johnson bra. All from Nordstrom’s.

    • Kate

      It’s a UK website, but it can really help guide you to some awesome brands (Freya and Chantelle are two of my faves too)!

      http://www.bravissimo.com/

      You can also look at http://www.herroom.com/ which is a great one for looking at bras by size and style.

      • Lindsay

        I second the Bravissimo recommendation! I’m a 34HH/34J, and their sizing is consistent enough and their worldwide shipping cheap enough that I shop there from Canada. Their clothing line, Pepperberry, is also excellent.

  • http://www.jandrfoods.com Rachel

    Can anyone recommend a good place in Orange County, CA?

    • Kate

      Yes! A Perfect Fit in Tustin! Changed my life.

      Consider calling ahead for an appointment. I dropped in and they were pretty busy, but still made time for me. So, so nice, really great service. Painlessly got me in the right size after a decade of wrong. The woman seriously LOOKED AT ME and guessed my size before measuring me and getting the same answer.

      I got my bridal lingerie there. It was pricy, but the experience and knowledge gained were so very worth it.

  • KB

    Query and suggestion for the coming post on wedding bras – can you please put suggestions for the EFFECT that you want?? Like, for a satin/clingy dress, you might want to go with a corset-type shaper made of ___ fabric to minimize lines. Or if you want the “up-and-in effect,” but you’re wearing a strapless dress, go for ____.

    For example, I’m wearing a sweetheart neckline with cap sleeves and, like Kara, I want my boobs to look STUNNING. And I’m wondering if I should go for a bit of shaping in the upper-to-lower abdominal region because the dress is form-fitting there. BUT I’m wearing a two-layer lace dress in the middle of the stifling July heat, so I don’t want too many lawyers goin’ on, you know? Right now I’m getting cups sewn in and plan on adding some “emergency padding” if I need it, but any other suggestions of specific things that worked on your wedding day?

    • Rebecca

      Up and in, for me at least, has a lot more to do with brand than anything else- b’tempted by wacoal is definitely more forward shaped, for example. Balconettes and bras with padding also tend to be more up and in. I’m too wideset + small to actually achieve cleavage, but I have some b’tempted balconets that definitely put things front and center. Took a lot of just trying stuff on to figure that out.

      All the shaping stuff I tried on actually added bulk and was super uncomfortable/ bulged weirdly/ not a fan- I went with core exercises and let my body carry itself.

  • http://www.ordinarycontradictions.com Emily

    Any recommendations for Boulder, CO?

    Also, could we talk about underwire? I hate it and work hard to avoid it. Does it actually do anything besides cause torture and remind me of medieval clothing?

    • KE

      See, I find it uncomfortable to wear bras without underwire. It feels like my boobs aren’t being held up enough so they’re sagging and making my straps cut into my shoulders.

    • kc

      It may depend on the person, but underwire that fits makes my bras stay put and is hence way more comfortable for me than any no-underwire bras I’ve found. Ideally, the underwire will just rest (not poke, jab, or pinch) immediately below your breasts, keeping all the breast (not just most of it) out of the bra band and *in* the cup where it’s more comfortable and supported and not squashed.

      But that might just be me! We’re all different shapes and sizes and squishinesses and whatnot. (also, I will verify that underwire that doesn’t fit is indeed BAD – and it has to be in the right place and exactly the right shape and size, and sufficiently padded – so I might just have been lucky with the underwire bras and unlucky with no-underwire bras?)

    • Lydia

      I used to hate underwires, but that was because I was wearing all the wrong sizes and they were usually cheap bras. Since getting good bras I wouldn’t want non-underwire bras for anything but sports.

    • http://www.nowicanseethemoon.co Stephanie

      It isn’t Boulder, but SOL http://www.sollingerie.com in Cherry Creek North is fabulous. I drive from Laramie to buy my bras there.

    • Chelle

      Hi Emily!

      My experience with underwire is that 99% of people who hate it have never worn a bra that actually fits. The wire does a lot for your shape and level of support you receive. That said, and improper fitting wire is crazy uncomfortable. They shouldn’t poke, dig, or move around. Essentially, if your wire fits properly you shouldn’t know you’re wearing a wire. So, hopefully someone has an awesome suggestion for where you can go get fit and put your unhappy relationship with underwire behind you.

      • http://www.ordinarycontradictions.com Emily

        Thanks to all who replied! I may give underwire another look. Also, thanks for the Cherry Creek suggestion!

  • Mountaindoozy

    If you live near Little Rock, AR you can check out Barbara Graves. Her store was recommended to me by one of the dress salons I visited and I’ve already been back 3 times in two months!
    Like nearly everyone in this thread, I found out I was wearing the wrong size. Not only that but I was so hung up on “big=not pretty” that I was wearing shapes that weren’t flattering, either. The attendant at Barbara Graves helped me find a truly amazing strapless bra I love, and I also found a few bras on sale that have become my day-to-day favorites. I’ve never been happier with my ‘girls’. It’s WORTH IT to go to a proper store and get fitted. If you’re on a budget either save up or ask to be notified of sales and browse the clearance racks. Once you have your bras take care of them and you’ve easily got another year to save for a replacement.

  • KE

    LADIES OF NASHVILLE! I have been singing the praises of Rebecka’s Lingerie in Green Hills since I was 18 and learned I was a 32F. I don’t live in Nashville anymore, but I drove in from Atlanta to buy a bustier to wear under my wedding dress.

    The salesladies have all worked there forever, are super knowledgeable, and are really focused on finding just the right fit. The prices vary, but I was able to get my bustier for $70– about the same prices as Macy’s or Dillard’s.

    I’ve heard people say good things about Intimacy in Atlanta at Phipp’s Plaza, but I had a terrible experience there. Limited options, limited sizes. (And I now wear a 32D so most stores at least have my size.) The saleswoman tried to convince me to buy something that wasn’t a great fit to “see if it worked,” telling me I could always return it for store credit. Store credit to a store with a poor selection? Thanks, but no.

    Rebecka’s, y’all. All the way.

    • KE

      Also, Saks at Phipp’s is the best place I’ve found for shapewear. Lots of brands, lots of styles, and helpful saleswomen.

      If anybody has a recommendation for a bra shop in Atlanta, I’d love to hear it. I usually just try on 20 bras at Macy’s at Lenox and get something good enough.

  • Not Sarah

    I’ve been wearing specialty bras since I was 17. I remember going from wearing a 32 band to a 30 and exclaiming how wonderful it was and then I finally found a brand that made 28s! But then I moved to the States (Seattle) and I can’t find anywhere that stocks a 30 other than Nordstrom, which doesn’t stock a 28, where the sales girls let me walk away with bras that don’t fit properly because they’re super pushy and the process takes FOREVER. So I’ve resorted to online shopping (BareNecessities.com) since I have reasonably figured out how to know if something fits and it’s not that bad to return/exchange stuff.

    Similar to bras…bathing suits! I now buy bathing suits that are made by my favourite bra maker (Freya) and they are so much better than anything I ever bought before. The XS bottoms are a bit big, but the tops fit so well that I ignore that.

    So does anyone know of any stores in the Seattle area other than Nordstrom that will sell a 28 or a 30? I’ve almost debated going bra shopping on a trip to Canada and paying the $90-130 for the same bra I can buy for $60-70 here just for the fact that I can’t find anyone who will stock a 28.

  • Elisabeth

    You guys, if you live in the greater NYC area: Bratenders, hells kitchen, NYC. Their tagline is something hilarious like “For women in the theatre…and beyond.” They are equally good at fitting Broadway dancers and regulars too. I have sent everyone I know to Bratenders. I am .24 seconds away from setting up an advice table in Prospect Park and telling everyone who walks by to go there. I’ve also heard great things about Orchard Corset, on the LES. Bras for everyone!!

    • Jess

      Yea, don’t go to Orchard Corset. I too heard they were good–Hassidic man who is a bra-fitting savant but didn’t find it to be true. Also kind of creepy and just a weird experience.

      • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

        I didn’t love Orchard Corset for a different reason: they had NO bras without padding in my size (which is small). According to the otherwise-helpful saleslady, “98% of women in your size want padding.” Really?

        It’s the same reason I hate Victoria’s Secret: everything is padded! I’m happy with my body the way it is and don’t need my breasts to look bigger than they actually are!

        I like Century 21 in lower Manhattan for a range of sizes and brands, with and without padding. I’m also planning to check out Journelle, it seems fancy but I’ve heard they have a lot of options for smaller-busted gals.

        • http://www.hourglassy.com Darlene

          Journelle provides a beautiful experience, and their prices are comparable to every other store–basically, there isn’t much price competition between stores (although I have found Town Shop to offer Empreinte for less than La Petite Coquette). Their fitting expertise isn’t as good as the Town Shop, but if you already know your size and just want to enjoy a super nice dressing room with bottled water and chocolates and a robe to browse, you can’t go wrong.

      • http://www.hourglassy.com Darlene

        Also not a fan of Orchard after I purchased 3 Wacoals in the same size and style a few years ago (only tried on one of them), got home and discovered the bands were not at all the same. When I returned the bras, they didn’t even apologize . . . I guess I should have realized their cheap prices mean irregulars, but they certainly never made this clear.

    • Laurel

      I’ve never lived in NYC, but I buy my bras from the Town Shop. Changed my life, seriously. They don’t let you pick through the bras. Instead, you go into a changing room, the woman who’s helping you (60ish Russian lady or fashionable 20-something, depending on the day) takes a look at the goods, tells you you’re wearing the wrong size, and brings you some bras that actually fit.

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

      Thanks for this suggestion. I am so over stupid victoria’s secret and looking for a bra that actually fits.

    • Jessie

      Also in NYC: Intimacy is good. They have two locations (90th and 3rd and 60th and 2nd or something like that).

      And for those who don’t want to spend what Intimacy charges, this is what I do: go to Intimacy, get fitted, write down the sizes/style numbers of bras. Buy one-two at Intimacy (I do want to support them at least a little). Then go on Ebay and search by style number/size. I’ve bought Chantelle bras for $25, not $80. Sometimes no tags, but that’s fine by me.

    • Saskia

      I’m a huge fan of orchard corset on the LES! Both the husband & wife are great at finding items that fit. Sounds like others didn’t have great experiences–but all the women (we’re all petite but busty) in my family call it the magic bra store.

      Oh, and they’re really reasonably priced.

    • Molly

      Yes. Orchard Street Bra and Corset. Go in person, bring a friend, your lives will be changed.

  • Kara

    What about small sizes?! Because band and cup sizes move up proportionally, I really need to be a 36AA, but they do not make such a thing…or do they? I’ve even had a sales woman comment on the fact that I have a very muscular back but with such a small breast size there is not a bra that will really fit me. I’ve moved on to unlined, no wire, unpadded bras because I have never been able to find a bra that will give me umph, but in the correct size. Help!

    • Denzi

      There really is such a thing. You may have to check your specialty stores ahead of time (for example, my lovely Intimacy store only carries as small as A, but http://www.herroom.com/ which is where I do my online bra-shopping carries AA), but I promise you will find it! And it will make you feel amazing!

    • Mia Culpa
    • Faye

      I’m a 34AA, and while it’s a pain in the rear, it is possible to find a bra that fits properly. Some A-cup bras are sewn more like AAs (it really just comes down to the shape of the cups/width between the cups for proper spacing). You’ll just have to try a lot of bras on…

      Lately I’ve had luck in the Kohl’s Juniors department – their SO line’s A-cup bras fit me pretty well. A lot of times, juniors bras aren’t true A or AA cups – their bands are way too narrow, but these actually work! And they’re cheap when combined with Kohl’s frequent sales. :)

      If you’re looking for a sports bra, I’m currently SUPER happy with this one: http://www.herroom.com/lily-of-france-2101710-pro-shaper-shaping-sports-bra.shtml It gives great support but doesn’t flatten the heck out of our already smaller AA boobs. The 34A fits me, so I wager the 36A might fit you.

  • Anon

    See, I went and had a fitting at Intimacy, and they put me in a 32 band. It was beyond uncomfortably tight. And they insisted that 34 was too loose. I gave up and left without buying anything. I believe them that I should be wearing a smaller band size, but I can’t make myself spend $100 on something that was that uncomfortable.

    • Denzi

      I’m sorry you had a crappy fitting experience!

      First, after a few strong drinks, I would also find a different specialty store.

      This is just my opinion and ethics, so I suspect others will disagree, but I would also get that bra (or find it cheaper online), and wear it a few times at home before making a decision.

      I know when I first tried my “real” size, it felt really uncomfortable to be in such a tight band, and it took me about a week (and two days of “umm, this feels like it’s biting me, maybe I should return it?”) to get used to the sensation and have the bras stretch enough to fit well without being too tight. So I would figure out how you can best ethically give the smaller band size a trial run (and have someone fit the straps, too, because when you’re used to loose it’s tempting to just leave the straps long and let the breast tissue flap around in the cups), and then decide.

      Good luck!

      • http://colormegreenanew.blogspot.com Julia (Color Me Green)

        i had the same experience as Anon above where the specialty store employee insisted i should wear a 32 band which was so uncomfortably tight that i couldn’t believe that to be true. i took it home, tried it a few times and then went back and exchanged it for a 34. do people seriously wear their bras that tight? it was like wearing a corset and i thought bras were invented so we could be more comfortable than in corsets.

        while i’m happy for everyone else who had an aha moment and found a size that fits amazingly, it is frustrating for me since i’ve gotten fitted, and i’m still the same size i thought i was, it’s just that it’s hard to find bras i can fill out because of my small and shallow chested shape. i have never heard of a band extender before but maybe that would help me achieve a better fit.

    • Laurel

      Try a bra extender! Lots of people are in between sizes and need an extender at the beginning. Since the bra stretches out you’ll be able to stop using the extender after a few weeks.

    • http://domesticoutlet.tumblr.com Never Took Home Ec 9 s

      My 30 band felt too tight when I first wore them too. It could be an adjustment issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Intimacy bullied you into a bra. I’ve heard really mixed reviews about them.

      If it doesn’t feel good, don’t buy it. Keep in mind though that a firmer band is going to give you more support than a looser one, and if you’ve been wearing too-loose bands (and relying on your straps) for years, of course you’re going to feel weird about it. If you can’t breathe or if it’s too uncomfortable to bear, then it’s too tight. If it’s just oddly firm, I encourage you to stick with it.

      You might appreciate experimenting with firmer bands (and adequately large cups), bolstered with a band extender to tide you over until the bra adjusts to fit your body. If you’ve been wearing too-small cups for a long time, your boobs have most likely migrated into your armpits and back. This means that a firmer band will probably be extra uncomfortable because that’s boob tissue it’s resting against! (Google “breast migration bra”, it happens.) When your cups are big enough, the boobs will start to move back. At that point, the tighter band will feel more comfortable and you’ll appreciate the support it gives.

      Measurements are only a starting point. What really matters is how it feels. Herroom has shitty customer service (they’re phasing out their 28 bands because we return bras too often), but I like their checklist: http://www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-advice,901,30.html

      Also consider that different brands and styles will be more or less comfortable. Freya has stretchy bands and Panache has tight bands, so Freya will be more comfortable at a smaller band than Panache might. Curvy Kate tends to have flexible wires, which for me are uncomfortable at tighter bands and I want to size up. Height, flexibility, distance of the wires all add up to fit. It’s confusing for sure but way worth the effort to experiment and find what works best for you!

  • Meg

    Just in case you’re Canadian, and you live in Saskatchewan (probably less than 0.5% of this blog’s followers!)…here’s the link to the absolute BEST specialty bra store: http://www.bodaciousbustlines.citymax.com/page/page/5013773.htm

    • Sharon

      I also live in Saskatchewan(Saskatoon to be exact) and I would recommend Change Lingerie in the Lawson Heights mall. I have shopped at both. I would rate the product, the quality and the staff higher at Change.

      My experiences at Bodacious were not awesome. The sales person was rude, actually scoffed at me when I said my bra size (which ended up being correct BTW!) . They did not have the selection that Change has, and I had to travel out of the city to shop there. Of course this is just my experience. Twice.

      I would say that the best specialty bra store is Change in Lawson Heights mall. I feel very comfortable there, I don’t get scoffed off and they really have some wonderful sales!

    • Darcy

      Hey look! You’ve found the 0.5% of us! I’m in Saskatoon too! I haven’t tried shopping at Bodacious yet. I have been to Change as they were the only ones able to help me out with cheapish pregnancy bras. I didn’t want to spend major money since I went from a 36D to a 36H and I shudder to think what I’ll need for nursing!

  • Sara

    I had the best experiences with the women at Tina’s Closet in Lisle, IL (http://www.tinasclosetinc.com/) but they didn’t have the most fun looking bras in my size (which is 32FF, which is a size that didn’t have a huge selection). I bought two – one black, one beige and a corset for some strapless bridesmaid dresses.
    But I went home and looked up my sizes at herroom.com. I now have bras I love. I’ve never had a problem with bras there and they actually have ones with some style.

    • Sara

      For some reason I can’t edit, but I just wanted to say I am enjoying all the love for Freya bras! I have a couple of those and they’re the best.

  • stephn

    Oh my gosh this is so timely! Can any of you ladies recommend somewhere (other than Nordstrom) in San Francisco or Oakland?

    • http://www.foxanddoll.com Fox & Doll

      I know a great spot in SF, see my comment below…

    • steph

      Alla Prima in Hayes Valley does good fittings and has good selection, though on the spendy side. I had a fitting with the proprietor my first time and thought she was too pushy and a little snobby, but a second fitting with one of the sales staff who was wonderful. They don’t require appointments so stop by whenever you’re in Hayes Valley next!

    • Anne

      Second on Alla Prima (there are a couple locations in San Francisco). Not super cheap, but I had an amazing experience there. Plus, they keep your size on file, so if you ever want to send someone there to buy a present for you…

    • Mia Culpa

      Les Cent Culottes is full of beautiful French lingerie, but I haven’t had a fitting there because they don’t carry anything close to my size (32G). If you are in the standard range of A-E, I think it’ll work. I also love Dollhouse Bettie for lingerie (I would not get fitted here at all), but again, not a huge selection in the petite full-busted department. My Boudoir is wonderful, well-curated with some items I have never seen anywhere else and great service. I’ve had Alla Prima recommended to me, but I’ve heard the “pushy, snobby service” description a lot.

    • Emily

      Alla Prima on Grant in North Beach. Magie will change your life. See a more detailed comment farther below…

    • Laura

      In Oakland, I adore A La Folie. They did an expert (and life-changing, mind-blowing) fitting for me and helped me find several styles that were perfection. Shellie and Sarin are very nice and not pushy at all. I think they just changed to appointment-only except for Saturdays when they’re open all day. http://visitalafolie.com

  • Jess

    I had a completely life-changing experience with a bra fitting at Bravissimo in London, which is a bra store dedicated to the D+. I was there (in London) visiting a friend studying abroad and she had discovered earlier in the semester that she was in fact a 30G. She suspected that I was also wearing the totally wrong bra and forced marched me there to get sized. I went in thinking that I was a 36C. I suspected that maybe my band size was too small (it wasn’t) and tops, I might need a 38D or something. Anyway, I walked out with 36F bras. I was gobsmacked. And it really was kind of life changing.

    Since I can’t get to London every time I want a bra (unfortunately–but check out their website and clothing line for shirts/jackets/dresses meant for women with larger chests!), I go to Bra Savvy in Matawan, NJ (http://brasavvy.com/). If you’re in Central NJ, I would recommend checking them out. They carry a lot of European brands (Freya, Fantasie), including swimwear. They’re also a small, independent business.

    • K down under

      This!! At least big-boob bras exist, even if they’re only in specialty shops. I would love to wear more dresses to work (office-type job) but the dresses in Target, etc are all for women with small boobs. So the size 10 dress that fitted everywhere else pulled such that it looked like i had four boobs. Not. Cool. Bought another dress instead, and even it would have been better a size down for every bit of me except the boobs.

  • http://www.foxanddoll.com Fox & Doll

    My favorite spot in San Francisco is:
    http://www.myboudoir.net/
    On Union. Such lovely and high quality items. And Geraldine, the owner, really knows her stuff.

    • Megan

      Any East Bay suggestions? This is so helpful!

      • http://www.foxanddoll.com Fox & Doll

        Sorry but I don’t know of any. I thing My Boudoir is worth the special trip to SF. I also love the spot on Hayes Street:
        http://www.allaprimalingerie.com/

    • Caroline

      Can I ask what type of price range they are? I’m sure they vary, but is it more like the say… $40 average bra or the $90 average bra? I really need some new bras, and it looks good, but I’m on a tight budget, and if it’s really expensive, I’d rather go someplace else. Also, do they carry larger sizes above a D?

      • Mia Culpa

        My Boudoir runs in the $75-$120 range. They carry up to a F or G in some styles. If you’re on a budget, I suggest you get fitted at Nordstrom and then buy at Bare Necessities online (they always have a sale going on).

        • Caroline

          Thanks. I’m glad I asked. It would suck to find an amazing ra and then realize it was WAY out of budget. I’ll try nordstroms and online.

          • Mia Culpa

            I will say that My Boudoir is very nicely curated. I’ve found gorgeous bras there in my size that I’ve never found anywhere else (online or otherwise). They are also very sweet.

  • mimi

    In the Detroit area, check out Bra-Vo in Royal Oak or Harp’s Lingerie in Birmingham. I recently got a strapless bra (I think it’s Panache) at Bra-Vo, and although my normal size of 32D is correct for “regular” bras, I ended up in a 32E for the strapless.

    I’ve also had good luck at Nordstrom, like many other commenters.

  • Katie

    Toronto ladies secrets from your sister is amazing! I bought my wedding bra there and some other ones :)
    http://www.secretsfromyoursister.com/

    • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

      OMG I went there during a weekend trip once and had the best bra shopping/fitting experience of my life! Came away with three gorgeous, though pricy bras. Highly recommended!

    • Darcy

      I had awesome help from Tryst on Eglinton. I miss them and they had great sales.

      • Rebecca

        I love Tryst. Love. There’s one on queen (nearish Spadina or Bathurst) as well.

  • Alexis

    In the NYC area- Linda’s on 63rd and Lex is awesome. They have a location down on 36th and 3rd also. They carry a huge variety and have fitted me through many body changes including pregnancy and post baby/ breastfeeding, always with good results. The bras average around 50 bucks, not cheap, but I think totally worth it!

    • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

      I want to personally thank everyone who is giving awesome recommendations on specialty stores in NYC, because it’s a whole world I haven’t figured out yet! So, thanks!

  • Jessica Moran

    La Lingerie in Madison, WI! http://www.lalingerieshop.com I had a fabulous experience there.

    • Michelle

      I too love La Lingerie in Madison! Seriously changed my life. The customer service is so wonderful. She was so helpful in making me feel comfortable, as well as giving me some helpful education about “the ladies.”

      I would also recommend Contours (http://contourslingerie.net) in Madison, WI as well.

      • Anon

        THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ve been reading through all these comments wishing and hoping that someone had some recommendations for Wisconsin!

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      I will be having a fitting there soon!

  • Quinners

    Also! You may find that you sort of have to “tuck” your boobs into the cups. When I first found bras in my actual size, I was convinced that they did not fit even though “30″ around the ribs and 34″ around the bust SHOULD translate to 30D, shouldn’t it?! WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?!”. Yeah. What I was doing wrong was not putting all my breast tissue inside the bra. It seems weird, but try it.

    • Jessie

      I first had a person at a bra store do this for me! It was a little bit weird, but it works!

      • chelle

        You can also try a little move called the “bend and shake.” Seriously, bend over at your waist and shake yourself all the way in. This is what we do with older ladies as it’s far less uncomfortable that reaching in and lifting their breasts up for them!

  • Mia Culpa

    Nordstrom is my go-to for fitting, mainly because it’s difficult to get to My Boudoir or Alla Prima here in SF and Nordstrom is more likely to have something in both my size and price range. I also buy online from Figleaves.com, BareNecessities.com, ASOS.com, and Bravissimo.com.

    As a 32G UK/32H US (but to be fair, I’m probably a 30H/30I these days), I find that British brands are the way to go for the most part. I have a new colorful bikini and a sophisticated mink grey lingerie set from Miss Mandalay that fit perfectly. All of my other bras come close in fit, but the Miss Mandalay rules them all.

    Freya I am finding stretches out too quickly, and I’m completely over padded t-shirt bras like the Deco. I will say that Freya makes my favorite sports bra. Cleo by Panache has adorable fun styles. I could go on and on…

    Fitting advice! Band should fit snugly at loosest hook and be a straight line low across your back. Straps shouldn’t take any of the weight of your bust. Do a scoop-and-shift or a lean-over-and-wiggle to get your breasts to fill the cup properly. If you get quadraboob, try a larger cup size. If the underwire doesn’t tack against your sternum, try a larger cup size. If you’re big-busted like me, go with your true measurement for the band, not the measurement+4 inches method. And whatever you do, if the bra doesn’t fit, DON’T BUY IT. It can be the cutest bra ever, but if it doesn’t fit, you will hate it.

    • Ale

      “And whatever you do, if the bra doesn’t fit, DON’T BUY IT.”

      I want to scream this from rooftops! The shopping experience that turned me off from brick-and-mortar and onto online shopping was the umpteenth time the salesperson insisted that the cups were fine but I needed to go up a band size (even though the band was fitting perfectly and the only problem was my breasts spilling out of the D cups). She bullied me into buying the wrong bra and even tried to convince me that D was the largest cup in existence, somehow managing to imply that boobs larger than that were almost freakish. This in a shop advertised as plus-size friendly! When I got my first perfectly-fitting bra (online) I almost wanted to do a Pretty Woman on them!

    • hampton

      I’ve had good luck with Nordstrom too. Nordstrom Rack has been my go-to, since full price well-made bras tend to be more pricey than I can afford. Also it makes me giggle to say I get my bras at the rack ;)

      Herroom.com also has a really wide variety of sizes and brands. Their site also has user ratings, and users have the option of providing their bra size, which I have found SUPER helpful.

      Honestly if you can go to one of the specialty shops and get measured (maybe buy ONE bra from there), once you know your real, true, honest to god bra size, it can be a hell of a lot easier to find good bras in regular stores or online. That has been my experience at least.

  • Carrie

    Here are the instructions and calculator I used to measure myself properly: http://www.venusianglow.com/2008/04/how-to-measure-your-bra-size-correctly.html?m=1

    I’d been wearing a 36B for years. Turns out my size is really 32DD.

    Yeah, that whole “measure yourself in inches and add 4 to get your band size” thing? Is a total lie. You shouldn’t add anything.

    The thing that broke my brain the most was understanding that cup sizes are not absolute. Everyone, everywhere, always talks about “B-cup boobs” to mean medium-ish boobs or “D-cup boobs” to mean large-ish boobs. I had so much trouble accepting that I should actually buy a DD-cup bra even though I consider my bust to be medium-small. Turns out that 32DD cups hold about the same volume as 36B cups — but the band and underwires fit and support me much better. Cup size is totally meaningless without band size.

    Unfortunately, most US stores carry a ridiculously narrow range of sizes. I don’t think I’ve seen a 32 band with anything larger than a C cup, and I don’t think I’ve seen DD cups with anything smaller than a 36 band.

    So I now buy my bras at Figleaves.com. They have a much, much wider size range and better selection than any brick and mortar store I’ve been to — and pretty bras in the whole size range. They carry some options in an affordable price range, not just the super-expensive brands like Freya (which I’m sure are awesome, but $60 for a bra is not happening on a grad student stipend — maybe once I get a job). Also, they have good sales regularly. And even though they’re actually a UK store, shipping to the US is only $5. I highly recommend Figleaves. For real, I think it’s bra heaven.

    (And Meg — they have TONS of pretty nursing bras. Absolute TONS.)

  • Lauren

    Thank you thank you thank you! I am currently a 40F but I am pretty sure I could go up/down in both the band and cup. Any suggestions in the Triangle area of North Carolina? I know Pennyrich Bra Patch and that’s it.

    I also saw a lot of posts about HerRoom.com. I was a loyal customer until I tried to return some bridal undergarments and they wouldn’t give me a refund because of a red stain on the cup. I am not exaggerating when I say I DON’T OWN A RED MARKER/PAINT/ANYTHING. Their customer service was horrible and they eventually stopped emailing or responding to calls. Miserable experience. I would stay away unless you are buying something you know that fits.

    • Emily
      • Lauren

        THANK YOU!

    • Jenny

      I just went to J. Alane’s today and the owner was very nice and helpful. I got not only my strapless for my wedding but 2 regular everyday bras, that are AMAZING! I’d forgotten how important a good fitting bra is! I will not wait 2 years to get new bras ever again!

  • Caroline

    Thank you!!!! This is such good timing. I literally have to go bra shopping in the next two weeks. My one bra (ummm yes, I know, I need several, but I was broke when I bought the one after a period of going bra-less) is completely dead. Like, the side fabrics are see through. (They were not see through when I bought them. And I had no idea where to start. Now I do. Thank you!

  • Alicia

    I had the fitting room revelation when I lived in the UK. Thank you bravissimo! A happy 32HH, I have bought bras, swimwear and clothes from there. So great not to have to buy up a few sizes just to fit in the boobs. Now back in Melbourne there are a few shops locally but I still order online from the UK.

    Can’t wait till I stop breast feeding so I can buy the panache sports bra!

  • LikelyLaura

    Yes to all of this. Especially the band part. I worked for Victoria Secret for 3+ years, and EVERY.SINGLE.LADY. that came in wanted waaaay too big of a band and waaaay to small of a cup size. Having D (E or F) cups is a totally common size!

    PS! Wearing your bra band lower eliminates back fat buldges!

    PPS! Push-up bras do not always make your breasts look significantly bigger! And they can be awesome for shape and support. I’m not saying they’re for everyone, but they’re worth a try. They also do not mean you’re slutty or not a feminist. Personal experience.

    PPPS! Bras stretch! If you gained 15 lbs but your 2 year old B cups fit you perfectly, don’t assume you’re still a B cup. On the flip-side, if you then lose 15lbs and your 2 year old B cups are now too big, don’t assume you’re not a B cup. Hence the importance of trying bras on.

    (Also, I totally agree that chains, like VS, do not carry nearly enough bra sizes. And customer service can really vary by store manager. But, I was often surrounded by fab ladies who were all on a mission to find the customer’s best fit. And we’d refer them to other stores in a heartbeat if we didn’t carry their size. Though, I fully realize not all VS employees are as awesome as the teams I worked with, it might not a bad place to start if you think you might be between a 32-38 A-DD, and don’t have a specialty shop close by. Ask for the best bra fitter they have.)

    • LikelyLaura

      Oh PPPS! If your wire is poking into your sides (creating the look of a fat bubble under your arms) your cup size is too small. That’s breast tissue, so support it! And your wire should never pop. If it does, it’s the wrong size.

      And. The thing about everyone in movies wearing the wrong size is so true. Even the VS models always wear way too small of a cup size. We used to get so irritated about that because it just made it harder to convince customers that they needed a bigger cup. “No, bras are not supposed to fit like the tiny ones on the giant posters on the windows. Yes, they are supposed to hold up your WHOLE breast.” Sigh.

      • Caroline

        Really? I stopped wearing bras with underwire because I was too sick of being poked. It hurt too much. It’s almost impossible to find a D cup without underwire. Maybe I need an even bigger cup…. ( and to think I used to wear Bs. Way the wrong size.)

        • LikelyLaura

          Really. Definitely go get fitted again. And let the employee actually see you in the bra. Wires should never, ever hurt.

  • Rachel

    I too, had my life changed by a good bra fitter. In high school, I always got my bras from La Senza (not sure if they exist outside of Canada, but along the same lines as Victoria Secret) – a store that only carries up to a DD. Because of this, when I got fitted there, they simply told me I was their largest size – a 38DD, to make the sale. I never felt comfortable or supported in bras that size, and they looked pretty awful, but I thought that was just how they were supposed to fit.

    Fast forward to university, and I dropped by a specialty shop on a whim one day. The professional fitter there helped me out, and it turns out my actual size is a 32K. No wonder I was so uncomfortable in the 38DD! I couldn’t believe how phenomenal I looked in that properly fitting bra, and how much more confident I felt!

    I now live in a rural area where specialty stores are in short supply, so I get most of my bras online at Bravissimo.com. They specialize in bras for D-KK cup women, and also carry bra-size swimsuits (with underwires!). I buy a lot of Freya, since they make beautiful bras in a wide range of sizes (and amazing quality).

  • deelirium

    So what’s the equivalent solution for bathing suits? I always feel like I have no support in them.

    • LikelyLaura

      Most bra stores sell bathing suits based on cup size. Or would know how to find/order them for you. There might not be as wide a selection of sizes, but you should be able to find something pretty close.

    • Mia Culpa

      I have to buy bathing suits online because it’s incredibly rare for me to find a decent selection of cup-sized suits in stores. Get measured for a bra in a store, if they don’t have a good selection of bathing suits, hit the intarwubz. Figleaves and Bare Necessities are great places to start online.

    • marbella

      Freya sells nice (but pricey) bikinis. I have been spending a lot of time in the pool lately and have been wearing these: http://www.swimoutlet.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=19627&Click=310393&gclid=CKDLktiA57YCFUQ6QgodV3QAqQ
      I’m large busted and can never find halters that cover enough boob to be decent and give support without awful neck pain, and these are working great. As for a one piece, I recently got this one and am amazed it actually fits and is pretty supportive, even without underwire.
      http://www.swimoutlet.com/product_p/20948.htm?color=9325

  • Kait

    For Canadian girls I love Change
    http://change.com/en-ca/stores

    They have the service of boutique stores but department store prices and are located in malls. They sales girls fit me wonderfully using the info above and I didn’t know until I got home I bought 36 E’s which I thought was crazy! I’d been misguided for so long!

  • steph

    This is awesome and I’ve been thinking about getting fitted for a while — but here’s the thing, my breasts are totally different sizes. One is literally twice the size as the other. I’m super self-conscious about it and am not eager to show my wildly asymmetrical boobs to a stranger. Any advice?

    • Kaitlin

      I have the same issue. The one time I went to get a fitting at Cacique (Lane Bryant’s intimate store), the woman put me in a bra that had plastic air pocket inserts. I was like, what am I supposed to do with this? I ended up removing the insert from my larger side and putting both on the smaller side, and then I just felt off balanced and ridiculous. Maybe I just need a good fitting from someone who knows what they’re doing, but I always feel like they fit my larger side, and my smaller side kind of collapses in on itself.

    • LikelyLaura

      Totally normal and something they see everyday!

      Kaitlin – you kind of have to fit the larger side, but there are way better options than air pockets. You can buy really comfortable inserts, or I’ve even heard of women getting the smaller side altered down. Though I’m sure you’d have to find a special tailor for that.

    • chelle

      Hi Steph!

      Guess what – everyone’s breasts are different sizes! Some have a larger difference between the two than others for sure, but your bra lady has seen it all. There are a few different styles that work better for asymmetrical ladies – the bras with removable padding can be a real gift, you just remove from one side and leave the other in! Or, try out non-moulded (soft) cupped bras. Fabric alone is often more forgiving than foam/padding, and will cause less gapping on your smaller side. Just remember to always fit to your bigger side – a little gape looks better than one side popping out over the top.

    • Denzi

      Honestly, when you bring this up to your bra fitter, still clothed, in the dressing room, the first thing she will probably do is cup her hands around her own boobs and show you that her breasts are asymmetrical too. That little trick did wonders for me, because even though I have a much bigger difference in breast sizes than my fitter did, it gave me some confidence back that asymmetry is a: normal and b: not something people are looking for to point and laugh at.

      The best solution for you will depend on the extent of asymmetry, as covered well by LikelyLaura and Chelle.

      I have extreme asymmetry (my band size is 32, and one breast is a G and the other might now be a B) due to a birth defect (Poland’s syndrome) that means I was born without 90% of the pec muscle on one side–which is the main muscle component of breast tissue. I’ve felt embarrassed, self-conscious, ashamed, sure that everyone notices, etc. for most of my life.

      I don’t want to make this a “And then the magic of a bra fitting! *sparkle sparkle*” story, because a lot of my self-confidence came with time and feminism and meeting my partner, who thinks I am the sexiest thing alive.

      But having a good bra fitting helped bridge the gap, because they had good advice for inserts for the smaller side that would make me feel comfortable and, as a bonus, help me make the most of the breast tissue I do have on the small side so that I have excellent looking cleavage and don’t look imbalanced. I feel like I can bend over in a low-cut shirt without everyone KNOWING, or thinking anything other than “HOT BOOBS.”

      Also, best advice I ever got about dealing with a missing breast: make friends with a drag queen. Some of them have excellent experience with and advice about falsies.

      • chelle

        I’m just back to say Denzi had pretty much the greatest comment ever. Make friends with a drag queen. What don’t those folks know?! Amazing.

  • Mely

    Contours in Madison, WI: http://www.contourslingerie.com/ All my busty friends swear by it! Unlike La Lingerie (mentioned above), there’s no minimum purchase required, so you can try on bras pressure-free. It’s the best!

  • http://chatswithcaitydid.blogspot.com/ Mrs.Arielle.Graff

    Ok, So, I am 22 y/o, 5’7″ 110lbs, I am a 32.AA.!!! Very small. In the words of my husband, just barely a hand full. The only place I can ever get a bra to fit is Wal*Mart in the Little Girls Underwear dept. :( I have only one bra that did not come from there, but it’s a mega push up and I can’t wear that with everything because of the color and pattern on it. (Looks very stripper’ish) Victoria Secret says they have bras in my size, but they are either WAY too much to pay for, or they don’t have them at all. I’m ok with the little girls bras because I as a waitress and don’t need to flaunt my boobs to every one sitting down. But I would like to know where I could find a cheap and nice (maybe even kind of sexy for my hubby) bra that is a 32AA. Anyone know of such a place other than The Little Girls Dept?! :) Please and Thank You!

    • chelle

      Hi Arielle!

      Wacoal is the only brand I know of that carries AA bras, but they are adorable and also quite practical looking. That said, looking at your measurements, I’d definitely say you should probably be trying on 30 bands – which will make you an A or even a B cup.

      • http://chatswithcaitydid.blogspot.com/ Mrs.Arielle.Graff

        Thank You. I’ll have to check them out. :)

    • Kaitlyn

      I also bet you’re not really a 32! But, shopping at retail stores, you would never know that because no one carries anything below a 32 (and usually it’s hard to find anything below a 34!).

      Try to get a fitting (but beware of most chainas and department stores, because if they don’t have your real size, they may just try to put you in something else). Try an Intimacy store or an independentista lingerie store… Or, if all else fails, try a site like figleaves.com. Order a 30A, a 28B, try them on with a helper as described in the article, and see what happens!

  • Justine

    For Jersey Shore girls in the Red Bank area…. My favorite specialty bra shop is The Sweetest Sin in Red Bank. They opened a few years back, and I’ve been supporting (and supported by their bras, 32G here) ever sense. They have a decent range of styles and brands to choose from. I’m due to go back for some new bras soon, as I was reading the article, I re-noticed that the 18 month old (at least) bra I’m wearing is riding up a little higher than is ok.

    You can also donate gently worn bras to TheBraRecyclers through Sweetest Sin, and you’ll get %10 back on your next purchase.

  • Josephine

    Hi! I was wondering if anyone knew of a good boutique in the Albany area. Or, I don’t mind exploring NYC next time I’m down there!

  • Lisa

    NYC ladies, try Town Shop at 82nd and Broadway. They are great, especially for those with large cup sizes.

    Once you know how a bra should fit, don’t be afraid to buy online. I buy from bareneccesities.com. I usually order 3-5 different styles at a time, knowing that not all of them will work. Their return policy makes it very easy to try bras. Through online trial and error I found a brand that I love (Lunaire) and I know that pretty much any bra I get from them will fit me.

  • April

    Three years ago, I went for the custom fitting at an Intimacy store here in San Diego and walked out with perky boobs and a flat wallet. But it was TOTALLY worth it! And now that I know the brands / size my ladies look best in, I can order online.

    Another good store if you’re in the San Diego area is in Mission Valley – Enchantress. Lovely bras, knowledgable staff, great selection and good prices too. Much more affordable than Intimacy.

  • Theodora

    I’m a 42H. Part of my size is genetics, part is being overweight. In any case, I found out about Wacoal bras about 10 years ago. I went to a specialty lingerie shop in my area, even though I had to drive an hour each way.

    I went back about a year ago and was introduced to the Wacoal Awareness bra. $65 each, but OMG, well worth it. I look so much better in my clothes.

    http://www.barenecessities.com/wacoal-awareness-seamless-full-figure-bra-85567_product.htm?pf_id=Wacoal85567&search=&manual_cm_sp=SlotLocation-_-R2C2-_-Wacoal85567

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      I have that one too!

  • Emily

    San Francisco ladies: you must go to Alla Prima on Grant in North Beach. Ask for Magie (pronounced Maggie). If she’s not there, find out when she will be and then come back. I have never once browsed or selected any of my own bras; instead, every time I visit the shop, Magie closes the door to foot traffic and becomes my personal shopper for the next hour. If any bra fits just slightly awkwardly, it goes back on the rack. The bras range from $60-$100, which is manageable in chunks of about 4 bras per year and the knowledge that you will never again experience the ultra-sexy quadroboob look amidst your cleavage. I am now a 30-E, which–Victoria’s Secret, please! Just—go see Magie. Now.

  • Ale

    I live in a smallish city and, after a few frustrating experiences in brick-and-mortar stores, I decided online shopping was the way to go. I’ve never looked back! It does involve some trial and error, so I recommend choosing a company with a good returns policy. My first choice was http://www.bravissimo.com/ (they’re in the UK, I’m in Europe, it made sense postage-wise). When they discontinued the specific model I had been buying, I used http://www.amplebosom.com/ and was also quite happy (although I can’t vouch for their returns policy because I was buying a bra that I knew fit perfectly).

    You can start by ordering two or three different sizes of the same model; this will give you an idea of how the sizing works, and of whether you need to go up or down. Once you find THE BRA, if you can afford to buy repeats, you should totally do it. (Well, maybe use it for a few weeks first to make sure it doesn’t come apart when you wash it). Also: know yourself. I’f you’ve never seen the point in handwashing and have never handwashed a garment in your entire life, you’re probably not going to start now: get no-frills bras that you can stick in the washing-machine with the rest of your clothes. I’ve had five of these (http://www.amplebosom.com/fantasie-seamless-wired-bra-p1128-s40.php) in rotation for over five years and they still have at least another year in them, machine-washing and all.

  • Maddy

    For any Melbourne (Australia!) ladies lurking, Elegantly Scant in Degraves street is INCREDIBLE (they also have a shop in Paddington in NSW), they only carry to a DD, however they can help you out with custom making and do have contacts they can send you to!

    Also if you’re out in the Eastern suburbs you can’t go past Femmeline- they fit from an A-J and have been doing it FOREVER.

    • K down under

      Finally a friend from Aus :) In Brisbane there’s this brilliant place in the Valley called… wait for it… Big Girls Don’t Cry Anymore. Corny as all heck, but they carry every size you can imagine – from 8F to 26M (according to http://www.85b.org/bra_conv.php , an Aussie 8 is a US 30). I’ve bought standard bras, swimwear, sports bras and wedding lingerie there, and every time i’m talking about bras with friends, I recommend it. In fact I’m due for another trip there now :)

      • Maddy

        Yes! One of my best friends (she’s been a G since she was 15!) orders a LOT from them, and is a big fan of Freya!

        And I know! There don’t seem to be a heap of us around these parts!

        • http://seasofgales.wordpress.com/ KH_Tas

          Hi. Popping in to say I’m from Aus as well. Degraves st is awesome, though I’m a bit above DD. Have yet to find a truly good bra shop in Hobart.

  • Ashleigh

    I noticed that a lot of people have talked about Bravissimo, which is my favorite everyday bra place and completely amazing, but I noticed that for strapless bras in D+ no one has mentioned Wonderbra yet.

    I have to say that their Ultimate Strapless Bra [http://www.wonderbra.eu/uk/solution-bras-/ultimate-strapless-bra/invt/9335&colour=Black] , which actually has plastic hands in the cups to hold you up, is the best ever. I’m a 34F, and I never thought that I’d be able to wear anything strapless, EVER, until I tried this bra on. It is completely amazing and totally my favorite strapless bra- well, my only strapless bra. It definitely stays up, no matter what. In the dressing room, I pretended that I was in a mosh pit, which is my ultimate strapless test, and everything stayed where it should be!

    I live in the UK, and here you can get Wonderbra in Debenhams and John Lewis, but when I visited my mother in San Francisco I went to Nordstroms to check out their strapless selection and was totally disappointed that they didn’t have Wonderbra. You may be able to get it online though if you live outside the UK.

    • Kaitlyn

      You guys have much better options for bras and sizing in the UK than we do in the US!!

  • Kaitlyn

    28D over here! Found that out at Tina’s Closet in Lisle, Illinois – highly recommended and worth a trip from the city (make an appointment first). Have also been to Intimacy at Oak Brook, which is fine but they try to upsell you and they don’t focus on what you need for your wardrobe.

    Now that I know my size, I do sometimes order online from figleaves.com. But, it’s hit or miss. Since chain retailers generally don’t carry anything below a 32 band, that option is out the window for me.

  • Stalking Sarah

    Gazebo in Northampton, MA. Awesome in every way, plus they work with women who’ve had mastectomies. Which makes then awesomer.

  • http://fancystephanie.wordpress.com Stephanie

    I’m a 40F! Lane Bryant was putting me in 44D’s, and they were NOT WORKING. So I went to “Wizard of Bras” in Monrovia, and they put in me in the best fitting bras I have ever had!!! Ladies, if you live in Orange County, Riverside County, or Los Angeles County in California, you must go here!!!

    http://www.wizardofbras.com/

  • Kelsey

    I’m not very well endowed (Actually, I like to say I am the only flat chested brunette ever to hail from Los Angeles), and I love, love, love my bra store here in Denver SOL: Store of Lingerie in Cherry Creek. Pretty underthings for the first time evah! http://www.sollingerie.com/

  • VivaLuisa

    AMAZING.

    Can we have a follow-up that explains how to properly launder, store, and generally care for these awesome bras that fit? I would LOVE to know these things.

    • Emily

      Two words: Salad spinner.

      • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

        That post introduced me to Busty Girl comics. I may have read half the archives in one sitting….

  • efletch

    I have a question. What do you do if you are a bigger girl with smaller boobs? It seems impossible to find a bra where the band fits and cups aren’t too big. Does anyone else have this issue?

    • Jen

      Yup. Totally. If I’m not wearing a sports bra or something with no real shape, the cups gap. Always. I think I’m a 36 AA, but I’m not sure as I’ve never actually seen one, let alone tried one on.

  • Amanda

    After stumbling across /r/abrathatfits on reddit I did some serious bra research. I had been wearing a stretched out 34B but realized my proper size is more like a 32D. This was a rather hilarious realization for me since I’ve always been the “flat-chested” (I used to be a dancer) one. I really hate how society has us programmed to think that a D-cup is enormous – when I told my gal friends about my new found bra joy they couldn’t believe I was a D-cup. I love Calvin Klein bras and most come in a 32D. I know it’s really dependent on shape (as an example, Freya bras were uber uncomfortable and did nothing for me but I know a lot of people adore the brand) but they are relatively easy to find in stores like Macys and Nordstroms. AND I just realized that Amazon actually sells bras? I’m about to place an order on a bunch of Calvin Klein bras (some on sale! Like $27 on sale!) and the ones I chose are all eligible for prime shipping + free returns.

  • Shayna

    I don’t suppose anyone has any good recs for a shop in Eastern Nebraska? I’m in Lincoln but I’d gladly drive to Omaha or Council Bluffs for a fitting (haven’t had a good one since I was a teen). I’ve been a 38C for a while and remeasured and got the same size using the instructions, but it was never particularly comfortable. Now that I’m halfway through a pregnancy (and already 2 new bras – 40D – in that I’m pretty much already grown out of) I probably won’t drop major coin on fancy bras until my size is more stabilized, but it would be nice to know what size I should wear/what size nursing bra to buy. Plus, I have a fancy wedding at 8 months pregnant and I’d really like to look fantastic!

    • http://www.snippetsof.blogspot.com Sarah E

      YOU’RE IN LINCOLN?? ME TOO!

      Let me get back to you, one of my friends has a great store in KC that she swear by, and I think she knows a place in Omaha, too. I’ll ask her for the rec!

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      So, not in Lincoln, but my friend highly recommends Claire de Lune in Leawood, KS. Apparently the nice store she knew of in Omaha has closed, boo. I know it’s a longer hike, but I hope that helps!

      • Shayna

        Thanks for the heads up! Might be taking a shopping trip to KC when my mom comes in next month. If we go I’ll have to put it on the docket!

      • Manda

        THANK YOU for mentioning Claire de Lune! I’m from the KC area and am in dire need of a fitting. Now I know where I will be going. :)

  • K

    If you are in/near New York City, get thee to Linda’s Bra Salon asap.

  • Meagan

    Texas: Two words kids: BRA ALTERATIONS!!!!! So we have the most wonderful store ever in Dallas called The Maddox Shop. Some no nonsense older ladies that have bras from AA to M/N. they have nursing bras, mastectomy bras and everything else a boob could need. They do always try to give you ugly bras you have to request the gorgeous lacy ones, but they have them. Make an appointment though – this place gets packed!

    So when I got measured I thought I was a 38D, turns out I’m a 34D. Say what ? Needless to say, I’m still trying to figure out if I like the smaller band for the reasons mentioned above. Either way, I found a long line bra/corset thingy that felt great and looked amazing but I felt the gap and the top of my boobs was a little much and the sides were too high. SO THEY ALTERED IT!!!! What? Worth going to Dallas for! The cup itself was a little too large at the top so they sewed it tighter on the top and chopped down the sides a bit so it wouldn’t show in my dress. Then I mentioned it was a little utilitarian for the wedding night and that made me sad, so they added little pieces of eyelet lace to fancy it up a notch. All for about 10 bucks! The bra itself was very reasonable too. They will alter bras that you bought somewhere else, I think it just costs a bit more.

    I buy all my bras there, I take all my friends, I obsess. It has bras from $10-$100, lacy and supportive to utilitarian and ugly. Anything for any woman at Any time in their life. I really need to figure out how to buy stock in them!

    Also, the tuck and lift and the bend n shake are very important moves in the bra world!!

    • Sarah

      Thank goodness you posted!! I’ve read all the comments in this entire thread looking for recommendations in Dallas! Thank you thank you thank you…Making an appointment TODAY.

  • Heather

    Talk about a well timed article! Just as all my bras are dying, and the sizes I’ve ordered offline don’t seem to fit anymore.

    My problem is with gaping. Not only am I plus-size with a smaller bust, making the size itself hard to find (I used to wear a 42B), I don’t have round boobs. They’re sort of conical, or pear-shaped (if the fat part of the pear is against my chest.) I feel like if the cup isn’t smooshing my boobs in, it’s impossible to get a bra that doesn’t gape a bit. Any advice?

    • Anonymous Coward

      ME TOO ME TOO!

      I posted earlier in the thread hoping for suggestions, but didn’t get any, so I’m just offering empathy here. And a recommendation for soft molded cups maybe with cookie inserts to support and lift from underneath.

  • Dana

    Thank you APW, yet again, for another fabulous post. I can’t wait for the follow ups.

    I have been searching for something to wear under my wedding dress, with no luck so far. I have yet to find a strapless bra that stays in place and I have a long torso, so most longline bras are not actually long enough. In my quest, I have been to Bra Smyth and Town Shoppe, both on the upper west side in NYC. Both were great spots with helpful, knowledgable staff. Bra Smyth is a little more expensive. Town Shoppe was a little overwhelming, in a good way though…it’s a very popular place, I took the crowds as a sign they knew what they were doing. While the search continues for something to wear under my gown, I did find a fabulous every day bra at Town Shoppe that has changed my world. I always thought I was a 34B, but they put me in a 32D and it’s AAAAmazing.

  • Jennifer

    I have been trying to find a good bra for years! I have small boobs, but not small enough to not wear a bra at all. I’ve tried the American Apparel bras and some from Victoria’s Secret, but nothing seems to fit right. Any recommendations for Orange County area that aren’t too expensive? (I’m willing to drive to LA if there are good places there too!)

  • Londonsarah

    Any suggestions for London (uk)? I end up buying all my bras in M&S because they’re the only high street shop that carries a 34AA, but only in about 2% of the styles and only the plain ones. I want lacy satiny beautiful bras too!!!

    • Londonsarah

      Oh, and, I probably am wearing the wrong size, but no 32A puts the cups in the right place for me (I must be wider and less deep in the ribcage than the average) , so that’s where I am…

      • chelle

        Hi LondonSarah!
        See if you can try some totally different brands than you’d normally wear – it can definitely be tricky to be wide set and narrow around all at the same time. Piege, Wacoal, Change of Scandinavia and Passionata all make some lovely smaller sizes if you can find a store that stocks them.

  • Chris

    Any suggestions for Las Vegas, NV? Will be visiting there soon and would love to finally find a bra that fits.

  • Elizabeth

    Best bra and lingerie store I’ve ever experienced is in Roseville, Ca. I’m a 36 GG or 38 G and this place is the first to have my size for pretty pretty bras. http://yvesfinelingerie.com/

    I bring all my friends there. No matter the size and there’s bras everyone loves. Plus other pretty lingerie. And really knowledgeable owner and workers.

    My favorite brands include: Prima Donna and Elomi

    I’ve also seen some of my favorite bras on http://www.simplybe.com/

    But I’ve had a hard time getting the right fit when ordering online. So much better when I can go in person.

  • Theodora

    For those in the Chicago area, especially the north/northwest suburbs, try Schwartz’s Intimate Apparel in Highland Park (they used to be in Skokie). Love the place!

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/schwartz-intimate-apparel-and-sunset-bay-highland-park

    • Theodora

      And they even have a seamstress who will do some alterations! VERY old school.

  • PumpkinPicker

    Fitting charts have been telling me I’m a 34B for most of my life despite the fact that the band was always halfway up between my shoulderblades, the cups gapped in the front and I often had *literal* ulcerations on either side of each breast (seriously, I had scars for a while) from the too narrow pinching rubbing underwires.

    Sometime within the last five years I discovered British sizing (thank you figleaves.com!) and I now bounce between a 30D and a 32C depending on the cut of the bra. Yeah I may not “look” like a D cup to the casual observer but you know what? My bras fit , and my boobs look FABULOUS.

    Added bonus, I personally like the size and shape of my boobs on my build so I’d rather present them in (close to) their naturalistic glory (I get cold easily) and it’s way easier to find bras without padding in the “bigger” sizes, though due to the vagaries of my shape I tend to find bras with low front connections the most comfortable and plunge bras do tend to cater more toward the cleavage optimizing market.

  • http://uprootedpath.com Laura Audrey

    After years of wearing the wrong size and finally being informed by a fitter that I was a 34F (which sounded ENORMOUS at the time, since I’d been wearing D or DD’s simply because they were the largest I could find), I discovered the wonders of Nordstrom Rack. At first it was simply out of desperation, since I couldn’t afford to go dropping $60-100 on a bra from a specialty shop and I knew Nordstrom was one of the only large retailers to regularly carry above a DD, but now it’s my go-to store and they’re pretty easy to find all over the country. I don’t think they do fittings so you’d have to go already knowing what size you are/how a bra should properly fit on your body, but they carry a huge range of larger sizes in all kind of patterns and colors at a huge discount (generally $15-35 each).

  • MP

    There seems to be TONS of options (many of which are super cute) for women who are well endowed, and have a “normal” band size. I’ve struggled for years to find something that is even just “close enough” to my band size – about a 27/28 or so in a B. Any ideas on where to look? Minneapolis area – but I’m willing to find something online. I’m getting worried as all my bras have straps, and I am in a wedding this summer where I will be wearing a strapless dress – so need a strapless bra that I’m not fighting the loose band (and the associated slipping down) all day/evening.

    • Tatiana

      Not sure if you’ll ever see this, but in the Twin Cities I suggest going to Nordstrom’s at MOA…they have a wonderful lingerie department and can cater to small band sizes. Once you know your size, check out Bravissimo to order online (it’s out of the UK, but excellent).

  • AmeLeigh

    Well ladies, after reading through this whole post & links in the comments (more than once!) I just ordered a few bras in the “new” size that I think I should be from all of the tutorials… a 30G. o.o I’m a little freaked out

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      Report back when you try them on? I’m so excited for you!

    • AmeLeigh

      Just wanted to give an update – I returned the 30G’s and ordered 30FF’s, they fit great! I’m so excited to wear them. I’ve also got my sister (26FF) & her bestie (32FF) looking at bras that should actually fit them. My sister is really bummed that she is so small in the band that she’ll have to special order bras that would actually fit correctly

  • Jen

    I seem to be the opposite of what I’m seeing on here. I’m technically a 36 AA and I can’t find an attractive bra anywhere. No one makes anything small enough that doesn’t look like a sports bra.

    • PumpkinPicker

      What kind of shape and coverage are you looking for?

      I know the fashion people on pinterest are all over the “bralette” lately which seems to generally denote a sort of lacy low-structure triangle cupped garment perfect for someone looking for more coverage than support (and no padding!) – so hopefully those should start trickling out to retail.

      I would have killed for something like that in my skinnier days.

  • Kat

    So true! Excellent post ladies. I’ve been going to a specialty store for 10 years, and when I first did I had the life changing bra moment. Having a choice of bras in a 30G was amazing (thank you Freya) and I’m now a 28GG.

    For those in New Zealand head to Avokado (avokado.co.nz) in Auckland. The women instore are fabulous and they also do a great online service if you can’t get to Auckland.

  • Bessa

    Any suggestions for Tampa/St Pete Florida? We have a Dillards and a Nordstrom, but I’d like to find a good specialty shop if there’s one around.

    Thanks!

  • Carolyn Moir

    After I learned my size, I did start buying bras online. It’s somewhat cheaper that way and I am insanely frugal. I’m sad that I can’t go to VS or get the adorable bra sets at Target, but in the end I do love having ridiculously large boobs :) (And thank you for the “D is not large” comment. I’m always hearing about girls whose chests are some three or four cup sizes smaller than mine getting reduction surgery and it mystifies me).

    Anyway, the last three times I’ve shopped for bras, I’ve gotten them at http://www.breakoutbras.com/

  • Aubry

    Ok, so I didn’t read all the comments, so in case someone already mentioned it – sorry! And I’m not sure if the chain is in the US too or just Canada…

    But “Change” changed my life!! (see what I did there…)

    In all seriousness, I was so upset with years of La Senza failing me, and they opened up a store in my local mall here in Vancouver and I was instantly hooked! I am a 36E now, and was a little bigger before I lost weight, and I could always sorta fit a 38 DD in “regular” stores but was underwhelmed. Finding Change I was so happy, and they have cheap bras too! Some as low as $13! As well as of course the $80 ones, but they often have sales and I have gotten some great discounts.

  • Eva

    I used to wear a 32G. For those in that range (small frame, large bust) I recommend Freya and Fantasie bras. They are expensive but I was always happy in them.

    For anyone in the western New England area, I recommend Gazebo in Northampton Massachusetts. They do alterations too.

    (And yes–I had a breast reduction and now wear a 32D and I can assure you that a D is NOT LARGE. Even a 32G did not seem large, because of the proportional sizing of cups. If you are wearing a 32C and your breasts are poofing out the top of the cups, please, please, just try going up a few cup sizes and see if you feel better. Don’t be afraid of the letters.)

  • Sara

    The best bra shop I’ve ever been to: The Pencil Test in Portland, OR. https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pencil-Test/179417698765073

    The owner is really cool: funny and very good at bra fitting. I spent years thinking I was a 32/34 D or DD, when I’m actually a 30FF! The difference is amazing. I can’t recommend her shop enough.

  • Ari

    I have always envied the ability to shop in boutique lingerie shops, but have yet to find any in the Peninsula/South Bay parts of the Bay Area that carry stock for plus-size ladies.

    Right now I’m shopping at Lane Bryant, but I’m kind of at a loss–post-weaning the second small human, I basically have a stranger’s boobs. And while the good staff people of Lane Bryant have all been really, really friendly on my quest to find my new fit and size, they have not, unfortunately, been really, really helpful.

    Does anyone know of a good place in the Bay Area that carries band sizes 38 and up, and caters to the clueless shopper?

    Er, I guess I should mention cup-size: pre-kids, I was a happy 38D. *Definitely* rather larger now, but also…smooshier? Is that an acceptable breast description?

  • sara

    I’m coming to this thread late but I MUST mention my favorite bra shop. Petticoat Fair in Austin, TX. Absolutely the best. After 10 years in San Francisco, I still can’t find a place that carries as wide a range of bras and has sales people as kind as the ladies at Petticoat Fair. Next time you’re at SXSW, check it out! http://www.petticoatfair.com/

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