Even in the Information Age, there persists this vicious cycle of misinformation that starts with your first department store bra-shopping experience in adolescence and continues when we take our daughters to buy their own first bras. How is it that so many of us still rely on salesclerks for this right of passage, setting us up for failure as we grow up?
We spoke to amBRAssador™ Cristal Xavier-Cohen about doing better by ourselves and by our daughters. Her experience on both sides—as a young woman who took the salesperson’s suggested size as a fixed truth, and the trained amBRAssador who has since learned otherwise—illuminates the way forward. We’re setting the record straight for all ages, because it’s never too late to get a bra that fits.
“I developed very young, around 9 or 10. I was the first girl I knew who needed a bra. My mom was smaller than I was, so she didn’t understand the challenges of a bigger chest and couldn’t help me,” Cristal says.
She turned to friends for well-intentioned (mis)information on how to find a bra that fits. “In high school, everyone thinks they’re a C. Everyone is not a C. But I wore a C-cup for 15 years before moving into a 38D. A D-cup felt like the farthest end of the spectrum back then, so it was impossible to imagine that I might even need something bigger. Sure, the band was practically falling off in back, but the cups seemed okay,” says Cristal. “When I got measured here at Bare Necessities, I learned I was a 34G! I was literally nowhere near where I should have been. I didn’t think I could ever find a bra without an underwire poking me—I had been trained to think that bras were supposed to be uncomfortable.” A sad truth that’s all too common, according to our amBRAssadors.
“I was always self-conscious, so I never got a fitting because I didn’t want a stranger to see my body,” Cristal says. “That’s why over-the-phone bra fittings are such a game-changer. If you’re modest, it’s the best. You still get to work with an educated professional, but now suddenly you have a lot more options to choose from in the Bare Necessities bra department. At most, stores only carry a DDD.” Now, as an amBRAssador, Cristal knows how to guide people as to how a properly fitting bra should look and feel, and she’s seen firsthand that shoulder strain, neck pain and frustration with your figure disappear when you finally get it right…
“Here’s the kicker, though: Even the right size bra may not fit you! This is such a trying process because every bra is designed differently.” That’s why Cristal suggests trying new brands as well as styles from brands you know you like. “The amBRAssadors are here to recommend things we know fit similarly to what you have and like,” she says. “You’d never know that some bands fit more snugly, or which brands’ cups run larger because it’s not your job to keep track of those nuances. As the bra fit experts, it’s ours.”
Cristal, who has a daughter herself, is looking to a brighter bra-fit future: “Hopefully I can help teach the next generation of women how to feel their best, from skin-deep on up, so they don’t have to wait as long as the rest of us did.”
Not quite sure if your bras are nailing it yet? Check out the fit advice below or call the amBRAssadors at 877.728.9272 (select option #4).
How to Find a Bra That Fits:
- Get a professional over-the-phone bra fitting from the amBRAssadors at Bare Necessities.
- Try on new brands.
- Try on new styles from brands you already know you like.
- Use our bra fit checklist to help guide you.
- Call the amBRAssadors at Bare Necessities at 877.728.9272 (select option #4) for additional advice.
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO CRISTAL
Life’s work: I came to Bare Necessities after 13 years as an event planner for non-profits and universities. In both roles, I want to give people the best experience possible. I want you to learn and to love the way you feel, I want to make your life better in some way.
Favorite bra brand: Simone Perele. That bit of French elegance makes you feel beautiful when wearing them.
Role model: My husband. He’s an extremely hard worker who never puts things aside for the next day. He wants to get it done today.
Motivation source: I always want to make sure I’m improving. Am I doing something today to make things better in the future?
Passionate about: Entertaining. I love having friends over and having a good time. Also, vacation planning. I schedule everything down to the hour, including rest and relaxation. Our next trip is to Disney World.
The perfect day: Going out dancing, followed by a long night of sleep! Eight hours just doesn’t happen anymore.
Fun fact: I went to acting school and have been in over 100 plays from around age 10 to high school.
Uplifting song: “Beautiful Day” by U2.
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