Having a B.R.A. Fit Health & Wellness Inner Beauty

From 36DDD to 36G, Irene Wins in Wacoal

Irene, 38, works out at The Max Challenge with Torrie Rathjen, and once she saw her workout buddy’s bra fit makeover, she had to have one.

Now that her three young sons are getting more independent, Irene can shift a bit of her focus to her own well-being. New Year’s resolutions have got nothing on her: Since Irene already works out five days a week, what she needed was new sports bras that were up to the challenge.

So was Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert Kristyn, a certified personal trainer and a mom of three boys herself. She instantly got where Irene was coming from: more of a feel-good style makeover than a dramatic size overhaul. These two showed us how to end the year on a high note….

Having a B.R.A. Fit Health & Wellness Inner Beauty

From 32D to 30DDD, Lauren Russo Finds Her Best Bra Brand

Lauren Russo, 36, is a mom of two, a teacher, a certified personal trainer who runs a baby boot camp class and, with her husband, a partner in a health and wellness business.

“I love being an advocate for others to feel their best,” Lauren said.

With the help of Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert Kristyn, it was time to turn the tables. Lauren wasn’t getting the support she deserved from 32D T-shirt bras and sports bras from Victoria’s Secret and Target—mass retailers cater to the general population rather than specialize in designs for busty, petite women like her.

“I never even had a bra fitting until after my first son was born. I walked into Victoria’s Secret, and that was that. But those don’t cut it anymore,” said Lauren. “Aside from needing better-fitting bras, I hope I gain some knowledge what’s available out there, and some confidence.”

Given her day-to-day, she was hoping to find a superior sports bra (“I tend to wear them to teach, then linger in them”) and a good everyday bra with some lift. So that’s exactly what Kristyn found her.

Having a B.R.A. Fit Health & Wellness

From 38C to 34D, April Salazar Proves Size is Just a Letter

Feeling confident in her own skin is really what April Salazar, 41, was after with this bra-fit makeover: “I’m finally at a place where I feel confident about who I am and where I’m going.” Which isn’t to say getting there has been easy. After more than a dozen fertility treatments, four pregnancies and three losses over the last few years, April gained 65 pounds she’s now in the process of losing.

“My body has been through the grinder. For so long, I didn’t have control over it. I have no idea what size I am,” said April, the managing editor for a technology nonprofit. “With a three-year-old, only now do I feel like I can take time for self-care. I think it’s important that, at any size, I model self-acceptance to my daughter, and I’m afraid I’m not doing that.”

April bonded with Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert Kristyn over their shared experiences with miscarriage; Kristyn knew firsthand of the mental and physical fluctuations April was experiencing: “It’s tough to keep track of where your body is. Maybe you were a different size before, but we’re going to go by where you are now, and we’re not going to stop until we get it right. We’re going to get you into something that fits.”

Or, as it turned out, a lot of somethings.  

Having a B.R.A. Fit Health & Wellness Personal Style

From 38DD to 32H, Torrie Finds Her New Figure’s Bra Size

When it comes to bra shopping, we’re all Torrie Rathjen at some point.

We are weight fluctuations and trial and error and not knowing for sure if what we think is a good fit actually is a good fit. We are confused by US, UK and EU sizing. We are busy, lacking the leisure time to devote to coddling our chests.

Torrie, 38, The MAX Challenge marketing director, had to try on 30 bras and almost 20 bra-sized swimsuits before she found The Ones.

In the past five years, her body has been through it all: Torrie had twins and recently lost 40 pounds (she went down in dress size from a 14 to an 8) by ramping up her workout routine. Nothing fit her anymore, least of all her bras, and she really didn’t know where to start.

Bra Fit Expert Melissa, who’s lost a lot of weight herself, helped Torrie know for sure when they’d finally gotten it right.

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Swimwear

From 38DD to 38E, Jessica Upgrades Her Bras and Dives into Bra-Sized Swim

Jessica Weiss is a 38-year-old wife and mom of two little boys who loves to run marathons and box. Her passion is helping others love the skin they’re in, which she does though her skincare sales business. It was time for Jess to do the same herself. Why now? Two words: swim season.

“I recently completed a round of Whole30, and I’m feeling pretty great about myself. I’d love to see how a properly-fitting bathing suit looks on this ‘mom bod.’ I’m realizing my figure has changed post-kids,” Jess told Bra Fit Expert Mette in preparation for her fitting. “The girls aren’t as perky as they used to be, so finding a swimsuit that’s flattering, supportive and, dare I say, a little sexy, has been hard.” Typically a tankini fan, Jess was open to a high-waisted bikini or a one-piece, so long as it fit well: “I need to be able to wrangle my boys in the pool and at the beach.”

Her bra game could also use an update. “I love a supportive bra because it helps with my posture and my shirts fitting properly, but it’s tough to find ones that don’t look like old-lady bras!”

Sounds like a mission for the Bare Necessities Bra Fit Experts.

“I’d love a new, great-fitting swimsuit for what I think are my 38DD boobs,” Jess told Bra Fit Expert Mette in their first phone conversation. “I’ve never found one I love. They either smoosh my girls into shapes they shouldn’t be, or they seem to be sagging to my knees.”

Jess had in rotation “one swimsuit from a year or two ago that’s supposedly bra-sized, but I can’t get it to support me enough—it keeps my boobs so low. Another mashes my chest into a weird shape.” She also needed a suit that could pass her Mom Tests: Can she put it on without help? Can she lift a kid up in a pool without inviting a wardrobe malfunction?

Jessica’s “before” bra didn’t do her any favors

To get the swim right, we had to start with Jessica’s bras. She had been wearing mostly Target finds (like the one at left), and a Panache sports bra for running. While on speakerphone, Mette had Jessica measure herself. Turns out Jess wasn’t far off, though she was halfway in between sizes, making her either a 36 or a 38 band and a DD or DDD cup depending on brand and style.

“Measurements are almost never the be-all, end-all. There’s so much else to take into consideration,” Mette told her. They talked not only size but shape and volume, too. Mette asked Jess to describe her breasts.

“That’s a really interesting question!” Jess said. Like a lot of women, she’d never given it much thought. “They don’t touch in the middle, but they’re not wide apart, and they’re still pretty full and dense. My right boob is bigger than my left.”

Mette reassured Jess of how typical that is and taught her the scoop-and-swoop method (“It makes a big difference”) of deliberately filling up each cup. As for preferences, Jess was in Mette’s hands. Like Stitchfix, which Jess had tried with success, she left the decision-making up to her personal bra fit stylist.

Chantelle Rive Gauche Bra

In a coup, Mette’s first-round shipment already contained the winners within. Stylistically, Jess loved all the bras and suits Mette sent: “Everything I loved, I never would have picked out for myself!”

Chantelle’s Rive Gauche won out among the bras. The soft, stretchy 38F (since it’s a European-sized bra, that’s equal to a DDD in US-sizing) was equally pretty and supportive. The Elomi Matilda was the best out of that brand; the Amelia T-shirt bra didn’t do anything for Jess. Ditto Panache Envy.

The swim stunner was the Fantasie Ottawa Twist one-piece in a 38E. “I have seriously never felt so comfortable in a bathing suit and it supported my boobs without making them look huge. I love it so much! It was so pretty and flattering. I could adjust the little ties at the hips for more or less coverage so I can wear this same suit anywhere,” raved Jess. “When my husband saw me trying it on, he said, “Babe, that’s it, that’s what you’ve been looking for.’ Because I can do anything in it. I could go to a party with friends, I could play with the kids. It’s not a mom suit that makes it seem like I want to go hide in a corner, but I’m still a mom, so it covers everything. It’s really just a lovely suit. I was so excited to finally find The One.”

A close second: the Fantasie Malundi tankini, which scored points for a great fit and the pretty watercolor pattern. While cute, the balconette cups of the seashell-print Panache Milano offered too much definition for the kiddie pool, Jess felt.

As is often surprisingly the case, Jessica’s bra size didn’t automatically translate to her swim size. US and European bras tend to be more generously cut. In swim, she went with Fantasie, a UK-sized brand, which tends to be cut truer to size, and you don’t necessarily want your swimsuit to be as tight around as you do your bra, Mette explained.

“There is a 100 percent difference in where I started and where I ended up, and it was so easy,” Jess said with no small satisfaction.

“The Chantelle Rive Gauche is amazing, beautiful and fits great. This is my first three-part-cup bra, and I’m surprised by how much I like it. I always wore a full-coverage T-shirt bra, which wasn’t very sexy. This is sexy but not so much that I can’t wear every day. It’s supportive, and wearing it makes me feel good.”

In the Fantasie one-piece, she said, “It was so refreshing to not have my chest be the focal point. I don’t think it minimized me, but it somehow made me look like an average-size girl. Hands down, this is the most comfortable suit I have ever worn. It doesn’t pull my chest or bring attention to it, it just supports it so you can be yourself and do your thing.” Mette concurred: “When you’re in the right size and fit, you will look smaller. Just look at her waist!”

For someone like her, at wit’s end trying to get the best fit, Jess recommended “giving the Bare Necessities ladies a call. They know what they’re talking about and what they’re doing over the phone. At first I thought that was totally weird, and it goes against everything you think you know about having a bra fitting, but they ask all the right questions. It’s crazy, but it works. I am here to give the big-boobed hope!”

Chantelle Rive Gauche Bra
Elomi Matilda Convertible Plunge Bra
Fantasie Ottawa Twist Underwire One-Piece
Fantasie Malundi Underwire Tankini Top

Having a B.R.A. Fit

From 38C to 36E, How Julie Found Her Best Bras—and Bathing Suits

Julie Ashenfalder, 27, is a registered nurse in a Burn Intensive Care Unit who spends demanding 12-hour shifts on her feet in sneakers, scrubs and sports bras.

“I never really got properly fitted so I thought by this point I should probably know for sure what works for me and run with it,” said Julie. “I like the lacy, pretty stuff. Life is too short to not wear cute bras.”

We couldn’t agree more, but they also need to really fit if you want to feel good, and that’s where Julie found herself wanting. She was trying to make 36Ds and 38Cs from Victoria’s Secret work for her though they were falling short on support: “I like the different styles they offer, but the quality of the garments has declined, and they definitely don’t fit me as well as they used to.”

When she heard from a family member that Bare Necessities specializes in over-the-phone bra fittings, Julie said, “Heck, why not?” and dialed.

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Health & Wellness

Learn How a Sports Bra Should Fit with Hazel-Anne’s 36DD to 34F Sports Bra Makeover

Hazel-Anne M. Johnson, Ph.D., 38, is a professor and the director of a university undergraduate program, a mom of two toddlers, deeply involved in community activism and a CrossFit devotee. She’s been going to the intense workout for the past 5 years and can do a headstand or deadlift 150 pounds like it’s the easiest thing in the world. “It’s the most inspiring workout I’ve ever done,” she says. “I actually enjoy burpees.”

In other words, Hazel-Anne is basically Superwoman, and finding time for herself is her Kryptonite. She tries to get to CrossFit three or four times a week—a lofty goal even with a less intimidating schedule: “My mission is to figure out how to carve out me-time despite an ever-busy agenda.”

So you can pretty much guess where bra shopping ranks on Hazel-Anne’s priority list. “I don’t like shopping, and I’ve been pregnant or nursing for over three years, so I’m at a loss when it comes to understanding what my bra size is at this point. When I saw some of your swimwear makeovers on Bare it All this past summer, I was intrigued by the women’s transformations.” That’s where the Bare Necessities Bra Fit Experts come into play. Hazel-Anne wanted to experience the same revelation with her bras, especially her sports bras.

Behind the Seams Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit

Carole’s Bra Fit Makeover: From 36D to 34DD

“I’m 58 years old and have never been fitted for a bra before. That’s a long time not to know,” says Carole Walker, founder and president of Integrity Marketing and Media, where she works with major brands —“they don’t intimidate me”—to find solutions to problems.

We got the vibe that a bra intervention wouldn’t unnerve Carole in the slightest. “I’m an open book,” she told us. “I’m always up for an adventure and learning something new.” The same can be said for the Bare Necessities Bra Fit Experts, our in-house team of fit and fashion gurus.

Let’s do this, Carole.

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Swimwear

Bethany’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 34H to 32G

Bethany Jung, 39, is a registered dietician/lactation consultant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a hospital (“my passion and my purpose”) and a mom to three kids under five, so it’s safe to say that one thing she doesn’t have a lot of time for is swimsuit shopping.

That’s why she jumped at our call for women to try out bra-sized swimwear: “Swimsuit season is like that annoying uncle—nothing to look forward to. I could never find anything to fit my boobs and the rest of me. The band would ride up, or the suit would give me uniboob. Even the DD-cups the stores sell now don’t cut it. There was nowhere for me to go. I had nothing to lose.”

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Swimwear

Leah’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 32D to 32DD

Finding a great fit on top has always been Leah Jiorle’s biggest swim season challenge, which is why Leah, 41, a freelance medical editor/writer, was the perfect candidate for Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit. “I need an underwire, and it’s really hard to find a nice selection of underwire swimsuits. I can see a whole rack of adorable triangle top bikinis in a store, and I know I can’t have them—it’s frustrating!” Leah said.

Bra Fit Expert Mette, who, with her 34J or K-size chest, majorly empathized with Leah during their over-the-phone consultation. “Since I first found out about it,” she said, “bra-sized swimwear has been my best friend.”

Leah told Mette: “When I was looking around Bare Necessities, I appreciated all the one-pieces and tankinis with bra-sized support, too, because that’s another thing: I tend to wear bikinis in situations where I might prefer more coverage, but they’re the only suits I can find that look good. Most one-pieces mash my boobs together, and it’s not flattering. I don’t want to look like an Olympic swimmer; I want something attractive, with a little coverage. There were a ton of styles I liked.”

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Swimwear

Stephanie’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 32D to 32DD

Stephanie Makrias’s Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit search for a swimsuit was textbook trial and error. As with April Compertore, finding the right fit and support mattered more than troubleshooting her bra size and, as petite as Stephanie is, not everything worked as expected on her figure.

Stephanie, the copy chief at Entrepreneur magazine, had never tried a bra-sized swimsuit before. She flagged a dozen possible suits—solids, prints, bikinis, tankinis, one-pieces—for upcoming trips to the Jersey shore and to visit her father in Florida. “From experience, I know you have to try on a million to find one,” she said. “This process is somewhat terrifying, but I trust I’m in great hands.”

Bra Fit Expert Brittany assured her of it: “Especially with a swimsuit, our main interest is your comfort. If you’re not completely comfortable, that will come across in whatever you wear. I’m here to make sure you’re feeling confident along the way.”

Bra Fit Experts Having a B.R.A. Fit Swimwear

April’s Bra-Sized Swimwear Makeover: From 34DD to 32DD

April Compertore, 35, is never not on the go. She’s a meeting planner and a mother of two little girls, and both roles keep her on the move. As a former professional touring musical theater performer, though, she’s used to it.

These days, April is always up for “giving my daughters experiences,” which, in the summer, usually translates to getting into a swimsuit and hitting an amusement park or town pool. And she definitely wouldn’t mind parking it for a few days in a lounge chair on a Caribbean island for her ten-year anniversary with her husband later this year.

For all these reasons, April was game for Having a B.R.A. (Before – Revelation – After) Fit, the swimwear edition. While she wasn’t far off in terms of bra size, she was missing the style and support a bra-sized swimsuit can give and the precious free time a personal shopper could save her.