Meet Tera Gallagher. She’s our premium brands assistant buyer here at Bare Necessities, and not even she was immune to the scourge of wearing the wrong bra size.
Reader, we hired her anyway.
And on Tera’s second day on the job, we saw to it that she was Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit.
“I had six or seven of the same Calvin Klein T-shirt bra in black and nude that I wore every. Single. Day. I hated the way I looked in clothes; I would change my outfit 10 times before leaving the house,” Tera recalled. Though she previously worked at Bloomingdale’s as an intimate apparel buyer, she didn’t realize at the time that the root of her problem was her incorrect size bra: Her too-big band left all the support up to the straps, which led to near-constant neck and shoulder pain.
“The products I was working with were beautiful, but most of them didn’t come in my size or, at least, what I thought was my size. The only thing I cared about was Does it come in 34DD? If it did, and it wasn’t visible through whatever shirt I was wearing, I would buy it,” Tera said. “Once I found the Calvin bra and thought it fit, I stocked up and never reevaluated until two years later, when I came to Bare Necessities.” The irony of not realizing that there were options beyond the brands Tera worked with day-to-day isn’t lost on her.
Within the first hour of her first day on the job back in the fall of 2016, Tera’s new boss, Heather, said, “You’re wearing the wrong size. We need to get you fitted, and it’s going to change your life.” Tera thought Heather was, to put it delicately, out of her mind. “I’d been fitted and measured a thousand times; there was no way I was in the wrong size. And even if I was, how was I ever going to find another bra? It was hard enough to find a 34DD that I liked!”
The next day, Tera visited amBRAssador Brittany who measured her and, without telling Tera what size she thought she should be wearing, rounded up a bunch of styles she thought Tera would feel comfortable in.
“I went back to try them on and was shocked to see Brittany had pulled 28 and 30 bands, and cups in G to H. I couldn’t believe I’d had it so wrong for so long!” Tera said. “As soon as I put them on, I saw a huge difference. None was exactly right the first time—it took one more try to get an accurate gauge of what size I needed in each brand—but we got the hang of it quickly because Brittany is a fit genius and could immediately tell why each bra wasn’t fitting perfectly.”
Depending on the brand and the style, Tera learned she was a 30GG or a 32G.
“I didn’t take much convincing,” Tera admitted. “I felt relief and excitement. I was so pleased with how different I looked and how comfortable I immediately became. It wasn’t hard to imagine myself as a G-cup once I knew it was a common thing. When I put on the Panache Andorra in the correct size, I knew how wrong I’d been. I pulled my T-shirt on, looked at myself in the mirror and, I swear, I lost 10 pounds and grew three inches.”
“I had been so sure going into the fitting that I couldn’t be smaller around than a 34 band, but Brittany told me not to worry about the number or the cup size—just focus on the fit.” Brittany helped Tera check the Fit 5, the signs that help determine if a bra fits the way it should: band (snug and level all around), cup (full, with no gaps or overflow), gore (flat against the chest wall in the center), underwire (sitting under the breast tissue, never on top of it) and straps (not too tight).
Freya and Panache quickly became Tera’s favorite brands. “They give me gorgeous lift and shape; they’re young and flirty without being too kitschy or embellished. I love an unlined three-part cup. I’m short and very full-busted, so I don’t need any extra padding or lining. Three-part cups offer great side support to keep me front and center,” she said.
Tera’s wardrobe meltdowns became a thing of the past: “It sounds silly, but now that I’m properly fitted, I feel better in my clothes and don’t have a breakdown every time I get dressed. My shoulders and chest seem less broad; my torso appears longer. I can wear off-the-shoulder and strapless tops now that my strapless bras actually stay up! Before, I would lead myself down a path of negative thoughts that would start with This top looks terrible and, after changing yet again, would end with I look awful in everything, I’m fat, I don’t want to leave this house or socialize with anyone, I just want to hide from the world. I have a better relationship with myself and get to spend more quality time with the people I love. The contents of my closet have expanded significantly, and I get out of the house faster: there’s more time in the morning to sleep, drink my coffee and focus on being productive instead of changing a million times and starting the day in a bad mood.”
What’s more, though, is how much better Tera feels physically. “When I’d work out or play sports before, I would wear two bras—an underwire T-shirt bra with a sports bra over it,” Tera confessed. “Now that I have one that fits and supports my every move, the Freya Sonic, going to the gym is less of an ordeal. I almost never have pain anymore.”
The biggest change Tera had to make was trying on bras before buying them. Just because she is a 32G in one bra doesn’t preclude her from taking a 30GG in another. “Fit immediately became more important than size, and it was so easy to tell the difference between a properly fitting bra and an ill-fitting one,” Tera says. “I had to become more patient with the process. That usually means I have to order each style in multiple sizes to see which one gets it right, but that’s okay because by going with trial and error, I know I’ll probably find something I love as opposed to immediately giving in to frustration.”
If Tera has one piece of advice from the other side, it’s this: “You have to be fitted by an experienced bra fitter. It sounds like a no-brainer, but being fitted at Victoria’s Secret is not going to get you results you didn’t know you were looking for.” If you aren’t checking off all of the Fit 5 boxes, Tera now knows, “Keep trying! There are so many great brands out there with a huge range of styles and sizes that will work for you. For years, I never imagined I was wearing the wrong size because I didn’t know there were brands that carried above a DD-cup. It was the equivalent of saying I should be a Z-spaceship-cup, it wasn’t even a real thing. I want women to know that we have their size here.”
Turns out Heather was right when she said getting fitted would change Tera’s life. “It sounds melodramatic, but you’ll feel and see the difference immediately once the amBRAssadors find the right bras for you. Know that your bra, something so utilitarian and, let’s be honest, an afterthought, is actually the most important part of your look and, by extension, your day.”
TERA’S BEST BRAS
Panache Andorra Bra
Panache Clara Bra
Panache Ava Plunge Bra
Cleo by Panache KoKo Plunge Strapless
Freya Sonic Sports Bra
Freya Hero Side Support Plunge Bra
Freya Idol Balcony T-Shirt Bra
Freya Fancies Longline Bra
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