As a companion to this morning’s video post, I thought I’d discuss bra shopping in greater detail, share what I’ve learned, and open things up for discussion!
Ladies of all shapes & sizes, but particularly my bigger sisters, you know how frustrating bra shopping is. Victoria’s Secret doesn’t make bras for actual people, you know. Their “36 C” — NOT A 36 C. If you have generous breasts and are bigger around than “standard size,” finding a bra that fits the bill is difficult. You need something that will support your breast weight, without creating “back fat” or “double boob,” with a strap that doesn’t dig into your shoulders and, if you can swing it, isn’t an ugly, matronly monstrosity.
I spent years wearing sub-par bras, usually the one that was on sale at TJ Maxx or Macys, in the band and cup size that my mother helped me determine I was in my teens. I consider myself a pretty savvy woman, including when it comes to what flatters my shape & size, so it’s amazing that I spent so many years wearing poorly fitting, improperly supporting bras.
Then, I went to Intimacy, a boutique bra shop with locations in most major U.S. cities (and more opening all the time). At first I was dubious, given the cost of most of their bras — upwards of $60 each (OUCH), and the “show me your boobies” holistic fitting method, but my friend Emily SWEARS by this place and their bras. I figured if my sensible, thrifty friend found these bras worth it, I would too.
Turns out, I’m a 40 DD. As vaguely terrifying as that is (after thinking of myself as a 36 for years), the bras fit nicely and that trumped my psychological attachment to a certain size. Price tag: about $300 (3 bras + special washing powder). I ALMOST DIED.
But all that matters is how my new bras make me feel. And that is AWESOME. I have support without discomfort, no more extra back fat roll or side-boob, plus with my “girls” hoisted up nicely, I look taller, stand up straighter and (at least believe) that I look thinner. WIN.
Things I now know:
- traditional bra stores/manufacturers make only a finite combination of band/cup sizes that most women don’t neatly fit into
- boutique bra stores carry a wide variety of sizes, including bra brands from Europe, that allow for a better, custom fit
- band size is more important than cup size OR strap width. Your band should be parallel with your breasts (how many of us have had the band ride up, leading to straps digging into shoulders!)
- you should have a variety of bras and not wear the same bra every day. Bras need 1-2 days “recovery” after you wear them so the band elasticity can “bound back.” Alternating a series of good bras will make them last longer, and support you better.
- you shouldn’t washing your bras using regular detergent. It’s messes with the elasticity. Buy special washing powder and hand-wash your bras if possible.
Intimacy was the best solution for me, but there are many of options out there, especially and including retailers that specialize in plus size/big busted women. My new favorite brand: Prima Donna from Germany — pretty, attractive bras WITH the support I need. AMAZING! If you’re interested in an Intimacy bra fitting & purchase, let me know — I would be happy to send you a $20 coupon! (they have a friends & family deal — and I consider anyone who reads my blog a friend!)
Leave your bra brand/fitting store recs in the comments!