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 amBRAssador 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 amBRAssadors.
“I’d love a new, great-fitting swimsuit for what I think are my 38DD boobs,” Jess told amBRAssador 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?
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.
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!”
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