As the editor of the Bare it All blog (hi, I’m Brooke, nice to meet you!), there’s little I love more than some old-school undercover reporting. And there’s nothing quite so under-the-covers as a bra fitting, right?
One of my first priorities after I came to work for bare necessities was to get fitted. I was both brimming with hope and filled with dread. At 5’2” with the faintest suggestion of a chest, my bras have been riding up uncomfortably and gaping widely for as long as I can remember. Padding has long been my frenemy. Since my first department store fitting in middle school, I’ve been convinced NO ONE makes bras that fit me.
Brittany finally broke me free from that idea.
She’s one of our certified Bra Fit Experts, and she is as kind and smart as they come. When I started here, she personally gave me the once-over, sizing me up in a conference room with nothing but her well-trained eyes. Three times, she pulled different brands and sizes from our warehouse until we found the elusive bra of my dreams. In fact, we found three.
I never really imagined something as banal as finding perfectly proportioned bras for my body would change my mood, my posture, my sense of identity, but honestly it did. It made me feel whole. I can only imagine how transformative this could be for someone with a larger chest.
As we’re all meditating on looking and feeling like the best versions of ourselves this season, I implore you to do yourself a solid: Call 877.728.9272 for a free bra fitting. Our Bra Fit Experts are available 8am-6pm Monday through Saturday to complete a full assessment of your current bra dilemma, find you the right size through questioning and an over the phone professional bra fitting, and then help you select the perfect style for your body type.
In fact, that’s exactly what I did last week—I dialed up Brittany and acted like we’d never met (not too hard when she fields 60 calls and 40 chats on the average day). I wanted to experience her saving the day all over again, this time as if I were a customer cold-calling for help. What must it be like to put yourself in a stranger’s hands, hoping for a different outcome than all the rest? This time, she remotely provided free bra fitting support…beyond measure. Say hello to Brittany or any of her fellow Bra Fit Experts who provide our bra fitting service. I know you’ll have the same revelations that I did:
A fitting is like an unscripted duet with a dear friend you just met.
Though every Bra Fit Expert is trained in the Ali Cudby FabFit Academy’s BUSTED! method, each has her own style and draws from her own lingo (“loop and scoop,” “locked and loaded”) and well of expertise. You’re two humans connecting; there’s no script or algorithm I’m being plugged into. This is a heart-to-heart info exchange, a cathartic airing of grievances. Brittany can hear the emotion in my voice, gauge where I’m coming from and where I wish to go.
To figure out my bra fitting problems, Brittany wants to know where my current size comes from: a previous bra purchase? A department store-fitting? A best guess? She asks which hook I wear my favorite bra on, and how often I find myself tightening the straps. Where is skin bulging? Where do the cups pucker? She’s a detective puzzling over a mental picture of my bra fitting problems.
Brittany hones in on the band. No matter your size, that’s the key to the kingdom. It’s where we’re all narrowest, so a proper fit anchors the bra to the body, not to mention gives the best silhouette. You heard it here first: Brittany will encourage you to go smaller.
Interestingly, a measuring tape never enters Brittany’s equation. She suggests I pull on what I’d call my best-fitting unlined underwire (“something is better than nothing as a starting point”). Just from telling her I’ve been a 32A all my life + the torment of too-big cups + slipping straps, she intuits I’m more of a 30.
Hold up…a 30?! Never in my life have I so much as seen a bra in a 30. She doesn’t disagree: Stores can’t stock all the niche size combinations women should be wearing, so they shoehorn you into something off the rack. It works for a bit, sure, but it won’t be long before I’m fastening that bra tighter and wondering what’s wrong with me instead of what’s wrong with it. “You don’t have to fit into what’s available or convenient anymore,” Brittany says. Total light bulb moment. “Nine times out of 10, our customers come to us wearing the wrong size. If you tell me you’re a 42C, that larger band and smaller cup is a red flag. And everyone thinks she’s a 36D,” Brittany says. It’s her job to disabuse them of past notions and reconceptualize themselves as they are—not easy!
We’ve been on the phone for five minutes, yet the revelations are coming fast and furious. And it works both ways—when Brittany gets me into the right bras, she takes the lessons learned in my case and applies them to the next woman. Win-win-win.
The Bra Fit Experts have ninja-like secret ways.
Brittany tells me that, if I feel comfortable, I can email her a photo of myself for further examination (no face for privacy). She inquires about my line of work to figure out how much my bra needs to accommodate a range of motion.
She alludes to her abilities to upgrade shipping and other magical ways of working with me to allow me to try new styles and sizes: “First, we narrowcast. Then we try, try again.” I feel like her pet project, a personal crusade. Brittany is deciding which bras could be my best bets—two I know and love; one is a brand I’ve never tried—and asks that I wear them at home for 30 to 60 minutes each. “Put each one on and forget about it,” she says. “How is it hitting you? How does it move?”
“Are you sure you want me to do that?” I ask. Though a ruse, visions of being stuck with worn merch fills my head. She assures me that living with them for a bit is the only way to know for sure—just keep the tags on.
They know the rules—and when to break them.
As we talk, I pick up on some of the insider nuances that make an unassisted bra fitting even harder. UK brands have fuller cups; certain brands’ bands fit snugly. The clasp should fit firmly on the very first hook for months, not days or weeks. The band does most of the work, followed by the underwire, then the cups; straps barely matter. (Oh, to get back the countless hours I’ve spent fiddling with those little adjusters…!)
Because I recall having doubted at first the whole 30-inch-band business, I insist on digging out a tape measure. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of the 29 inch mark. “You’ve been told you’re a 32 all your life, so we don’t want to deviate too drastically, or you’ll feel so uncomfortable you’ll never wear the bras even if they technically fit correctly,” reasons Brittany. So while I may end up in a 28 down the road, together we agree that a 30 is the next step for me.
Though I’ve already had my bra fit awakening, I still feel genuine relief the second time around.
Some of the most surprising truths I heard:
- “Bra measuring is an inexact science. You’re more than a size, you’re a shape, you are personal preferences. We have to take it all into consideration.”
- “Your size isn’t static. The cup and the band operate independently and change together. We need to get the sizing right but also change learned behaviors. Understanding how a bra should fit matters as much as size.”
- “Sometimes, you just can’t fit someone 100 percent perfectly—and that’s OK! What are your priorities, what do you want to get from your bra? The goal is to keep getting closer to perfection.”
- “Not quite ready for a professional bra fitting? We also offer a tutorial on how to measure your bra size to get a head start.”
They love getting it right as much as you do.
Brittany asks if it’d be okay if she follows up to see what worked and what didn’t. Her ultimate goal, she says, is to uplift me physically and figuratively. “It should feel like victory,” she says. A week later, in bras that fit my figure and my life, it most definitely does.