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NOW CLOSED Talk to Panache Lingerie about bra fitting and win a bra set of your choice or a £50 voucher

(268 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Sep-12 09:59:50

The folks at Panache Lingerie would love to hear your stories about the best and worst bra fitting advice you've ever been given. Here's what Panache say: "At Panache we know what a huge difference the right fitting bra can make to the way you look and feel. We want to hear your experiences so we can help make it easier for you to find your perfect fit."

We'd love to find out what you know about getting the right bra fit, and the advice you've been given over the years - what's the best (and worst) piece of advice you've been given? Do you have your bras professionally fitted, or do it yourself in store or at home? Do you find fitting/measurement varies between different stores? If you've never been for a bra fitting in a store, why? What would encourage you to go?

What about your first bra fitting - do you remember it as a positive or negative experience? Do you have a DD you might take for a fitting soon? If so, where do you think you'll take her?
Also, how easy or difficult do you find shopping for bras? Where are your favourite places to shop? Is your size readily available, or do you have to travel far and wide to find the right bra? How confident are you that you're wearing the right size?

If you'd like to find out if you're wearing the right sized bra you can join the 'bra fit challenge' or discover how to fit your bra at home with the at home videos from Panache and Caryn Franklin:

Everyone who adds their comments to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where 3 lucky winners will have the choice of a (D+) bra set from Panache Lingerie or a £50 Amazon voucher.

Thanks and good luck!


When I was younger the only choice you had to go get fitted was M&s and I hated their bras. When an independent bra shop opened in my home town I went and got measured properly for the first time. I was 19 and went from a 38b to a 34e and for the first time my bra was comfortable.

Now more stores employ knowledgable staff when it comes to bra fittings. The last lady I saw fitted me by eye rather than measuring, and she was spot on.

I've had a look at the bra fit guide and it's really simple to follow and what to do if you have one of the problems it highlights. Many bra fitting guides go on measuring, adding the 4 or 5 inches, but I think this method is old fashioned. It really is more about the look and feel of a bra, rather than what a table says you should be wearing.

I now live nearer a big city so go there for a fitting a couple of times a year. But I mostly buy online as the choice is much better. I tend to stick to the same brands when I buy though.

brighthair Mon 03-Sep-12 10:29:53

Worst advice - the add 4-5 inches. Why?!
Best - different brands suit different people. Freya doesn't fit me, Panache is awesome
I use fuller figure fuller busts blog a lot for bra recommendations
My size isn't easy to find in a high street store as I'm in a 34J
Think more people should know about how bras should fit, a lot of people are "ooh I always go to m&s". Well their bra fitting is shocking
I don't remember my first bra fitting, now I tend to buy online and try at home but I'd love to have more choice available in shops. DD+ isn't big, it really isn't and sometimes you feel like some kind of freak when you ask for a J cup and I've had shop assistants look at me, one even went "oh no, that's a specialist size" angryangry

DairyNips Mon 03-Sep-12 10:29:53

I have a few panache bras and find they fit great and are very supportive. I am a 34e (or at least I was before being pregnant, am currently breastfeeding so am wearing larger feeding bras)

I used to buy cheap bras and just pick up my size but they often didn't fit quite right.

I now always get measured properly in our local independent bra shop and try on a few styles to make sure I find the ones that fit me best.

I don't think I've ever been given really bad bra fitting advice although I'm not sure how accurate measuring round your breasts is as some people's breasts are more saggy/pert so may measure similar but actually need different sizesconfused

Good bra fitting advice I've received are things like, shoulder straps should not dig in, the bit between breasts should sit flat against my body, the back of the bra shouldn't ride up my back, underwire shouldn't dig in under arm etc. I try to keep these tips in mind when I choose a brasmile

BedHog Mon 03-Sep-12 10:39:35

I find bra fitting very confusing. Apparently it's changed and you no longer add 4 or 5 inches to the band measurement, but that would make me about a 26G instead of a 30C/D, which is the size I normally buy. confused

My worst experience was in my mid twenties in a branch of Contessa. The assistant didn't measure cup size, and pointed me towards the training bra section for pre-teens. I was about a B cup at the time, so of course they didn't fit, and the whole experience was very embarrassing. I never shopped there again.

I think size availability has improved, but a lot of shops still seem to think that if you need a band size of 32" or less, you must be an A cup.

ShatnersBassoon Mon 03-Sep-12 10:40:13

I have had to guess what bra size I am, based roughly on the pretty large variation in measurements I've had across a number of stores ie M&S, John Lewis, Bravissimo. My least favourite of the places I've been fitted for a bra at was Bravissimo as the bras they chose for me felt really uncomfortable and were hard to get on without another pair of hands and a shoehorn, although I still came away with one of those suggested as I felt silly contradicting them when they told me it fitted blush.

I really don't like the process of being measured/inspected for a bra. These days I prefer to buy them then try them on at home, in privacy and with no pressure to buy something I don't feel comfortable in. I find it easy to find bras in the size I think I am (large cups, regular back). I'm fairly confident I have my bra size right enough to feel comfortable and supported.

Memories of my first bra fitting are uncomfortable and embarrassing. My mum took me to a traditional, old-fashioned independent shop. The old woman who measured me was very no-nonsense, snapped at me when I tried to hide myself with my arms, and shouted through to my mum in the shop that I had one breast bigger than the other but that is was "not unusual, just looks odd". I think it is due to this experience that I prefer to buy bras and try them on at home grin.

asuwere Mon 03-Sep-12 10:47:17

I've never been fitted - I've always tried on myself and got bras that fit. I find it's very similar to any other clothing sizes that it depends on style/make as to what size I need so although proper fitting is good and has it's place, I personally find the best thing is to try on and make sure it fits and the size doesn't really matter so much. So long as you know what a good fitting bra should feel/look like, then it's fine.

I think the old advice of adding on the 4/5 inches has stuck and there are many women who just don't know how a good bra should fit which is a shame. A good fitting bra makes such a difference to confidence/posture/figure etc.

As PP said, it's a shame that so-called 'larger' sizes are so difficult to find locally. Especially in nursing bras. I think some women may just buy the wrong size if it's easier to find which is a shame.

Also, there is a well known maternity/baby wear catalogue/online shop (not sure if I should name?!) which I was looking at recently - on their nursing bra section, there didn't seem to be a single model wearing the correct size bra! Very disappointing.

I've just been fitted as a 32e and was shocked when I tried to buy un a bra in a major lingerie store and was told their bras stop at a DD cup. There is a common misconception that if you are anything over a D cup your breast are massive. This is not the case. Even though I wear an E cup I have what many people would consider modest sized breasts. There has to be more education on what bra sizes actually mean. I hate shops who use the old add 5 rule. I've never met anyone that this rule works for. Using this rule I'd be a 38B. It's lite wonder so many people are wearing the wrong size bras when even so called professional fitters can't get it right. I'll always go to bravissimo for fittings now they don't use measuring tapes and really take time to find you bras that suit your shape but their bras are very expensive. Now that I know I'm an E cup there's no more picking up cheap bras at asda when I'm getting the weekly shop as like many stores they seem to assume that if you're an E cup you must be atleast a 36 band size.

HannahLI Mon 03-Sep-12 11:03:06

There are very few places that fit me correctly when I go in, we lived in the states for 3 years and I started to wait till we visited the uk for fittings because it was so bad. After having my first baby and finished nursing I went to a small independant store to be fitted, I had always seen a great fitter who I always asked for but I was allocated someone different as she had left. Big mistake, they looked at me and bear in mind I went in wearing a 32f that was too big band and cup they took one look at me and said "hmmm yes I have worked out that I think your a 36b, so we will start there shall we?" they wouldn't listen and despite me protesting wouldn't bring the right size, so I stood in the changing room with the worst bra fitting ever and the fitter went to get the manager to confirm that she was correct! What! I was furious and surprise, surprise didn't buy. I have had a very similar experience to this in Marks and Spencer and John Lewis and I think it's because they don't expect my band size to be so small and my cup size so big!
Now I always go for a fitting, I book ahead my appointment and I only go to bravissimo. They have been excellent consistently and they look and listen which is crucial!

My closest bravissimo is 20 miles away and I travel to it for the right fit. I am currently nursing again and wearing a 30g so it's not easy to find a good supporting non wired nursing bra in that size but bravissimo always stock it, when you have children in tow you don't have time to be hunting around!

Usually what I do is buy two bras at a time different makes as you can't really tell how comfy it is (or if you can discreetly unclip it for nursing) until your out and about! Then your covered if one doesn't end up suiting you as every make is different. A few years ago when I was thinner before kids I always wore a 28 big cup and I was very very limited. They used to always offer me Freya bras which never used to suit me (haven't tried any recently as a result) so the Bly alternative was to go up a band size which doesn't really work either however when I was in the states they used to send my bras off to be adjusted band wise if they were slightly too big! Tailored to fit - brilliant idea, we adjust our trouser lengths why not our bra bands too!

Asmywhimsytakesme Mon 03-Sep-12 11:05:44

Panache - I love your bras smile

Bra fitting is something I never seem to get round to - would be good if assistants routinely offered as you browsed. In a non-pushy way of course!

Madlizzy Mon 03-Sep-12 11:25:05

The worst fitting was M & S most definitely. For years, they told me I was a 38B. I finally went to Bravissimo and came out with a 34F and the difference was amazing. My boobs actually lifted properly and my clothes looked fantastic. I now go to Debenhams and fit myself, as their Gorgeous range is reasonably priced and I'm a bit skint. I've taken my daughter to Debenhams recently and fitted her with her first proper bra.

PuffPants Mon 03-Sep-12 11:32:57

I think the most inaccurate thing I've been regularly told is to try bras on the loosest clasp because they will stretch and give and you need to be able to tighten them up.

I have always found the opposite to be true. Mine always seem to shrink over time and find them very tight after washing especially. Then I have no way of loosening them. Granted, I machine wash and I know they say not to but, really, who has time to hand wash their bras???

ouryve Mon 03-Sep-12 11:44:58

The worst bra advice I ever had was in a well known clothing retailer when i was looking for soft cup bras for my ever growing boobs while heavily pregnant, but getting frustrated at the sheer amount of unsupportive lycra based options. I was told a soft cup bra would never be supportive - while practically poking the woman's eye out with massive boobs well supported by another make of soft cup maternity bra.

The only good advice I've had is from the TV via the likes of Gok and Trinny and Suzanna, about how a bra should fit.

muddledsheep Mon 03-Sep-12 11:45:42

Slightly embarrassed to say that I had never been professionally measured until I was 36 blush but that when I went to an independent shop I went from a 36b to a 32f! The difference in shopping experiences are huge, when shopping for a maternity bra I went to M&S, left with two badly fitting uncomfortable bras which I suffered til it was time to buy nursing bras. This time I went to an independent and walked out with my boobs where they were supposed to be rather than under my armpits! In short, wonderful experience with independents not so great with chain stores. Since getting fitted I am now more confident to buy from Bravissimo or similar and try on at home altho I do make sure that I get measured on a reasonably regular basis.

JugglingWithFiveRings Mon 03-Sep-12 11:49:07

I've mostly guessed my bra size and therefore ended up with more redundant bras/ bra disasters than with any other item of clothing.

Before I got married I went to Rigby and Peller in London which was quite an experience- bra fitter was a real character. They gave me a bra which boosted my bust nicely and was comfortable to wear on my wedding day - but nevertheless I didn't really find it comfortable enough for everyday wear so it got discarded after the big day too.

I struck lucky with some nursing bras a few years ago which fitted very well and comfortably and am still wearing them now - even though no longer BFing blush

DD just starting to need to wear one. Luckily my first guess buy for her seems to have worked out well for now smile

Perhaps I should bite the bullet and go for a bra fitting but I retain some of my teenage girl embarrassment I think, in spite of quite often BFing in public without undue concern.

ouryve Mon 03-Sep-12 11:52:00

I buy for myself, btw - usually buy online from figleaves or directly from Royce. Triumph's wired bras fit me well and have really comfy straps which are nice and thick, but not ugly, but i love the royce soft cup cotton bras from those hot or hormonal days when everything's just plain uncomfortable.

SorrelForbes Mon 03-Sep-12 11:56:44

It is no surprise that so many women are wearing the wrong size when someone like Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley launches a new range for M&S and can be clearly seen wearing the wrong size in the pictures on the website. This new range also stocks some DD+ bras but unfortunately these do not go any smaller than a 32 back. Rosie herself really can't be much bigger than a 26 back so clearly this is crazy.

M&S (and indeed some fitters in Debenhams) still insist on adding 4 or 5 inches to the underbust measurement. Last year I was fitted by M&S (Plymouth - I'll happily name and shame!) as a 36C. I was already wearing a 34DD which was too loose in the back and small in the cup so the fitting result in M&S was quite bizarre! I have now been fitted by John Lewis, Debenhams and Rigby and Peller as a 30G. It is quite clear to me that certain stores (yes, M&S, you!) simply want to sell you a bra, any bra, regardless of fit. The numbers of poor women who must leave the fitting room clutching a new bra that a) doesn't fit and b) is uncomfortable must be huge.

Personally, I would like to see consistent fitting advice and bras available from a size 28" back. Celebrities (e.g. Katie Price, Christina Hendricks) need to stop telling magazines that they are a C/D cup. It's this mis-information that leads to people thinking DD+ is huge when it really, really isn't. There needs to be more information about cup size being relative to band size. When I explain this to people I can see the truth dawning on them!

Over the summer holidays I took my 13 year old niece, 14 year old step daughter and 16 year old step son's girlfriend for bra fittings in Debenhams. They went in as a 34B, 34C and 34C and came out as 28D, 32E and 30E respectively. My next step is to drag all my badly fitting bra wearing friends to a lingerie shop and get them fitted properly.

I admit that I am somewhat evangelical about this topic but I make no apologies for that. It's worth being a bra bore to see the look of delight on someone's face when they put on a properly fitting bra.

Tee2072 Mon 03-Sep-12 12:23:31

I used to fit bras for a living, 20 years and an entire country ago.

How to tell if a bra fits:

1.) On middle set of hooks (I never understood why there is more than one set, actually)
2.) Middle bit between breasts lays flat against chest. Yes, even if you're large busted.
3.) No extra breast squeezes out the sides. Your breast tissue actually goes back under your arm and if you're wearing the wrong size, it will look like fat squeezing out.

I had M&S fit me once. I will never go again. They were horrible and know nothing.

Start with the size you think you are, follow the rules above until you find a size and style and brand that suits you.

My favourite bra is by Bali, which I can't find in the UK, so my mom brings them from the US. grin

ItsaTIARA Mon 03-Sep-12 12:24:25

I'd been wearing unconvincing 34A bras from M&S for years (and on one memorably awful occasion was talked into a 34AA by an M&S fitter which simply didn't fit at all) until I went into John Lewis Oxford Street on a rare day out alone and got put in some 32B Triumphs by a very clued up young fitter. It's made a huge difference to my look, and I no longer think of myself as a boobless wonder.

My all time favourite bra however is from M&S - it's a basic "handkerchief" style, no underwriting, no padding, and it's over 25 years old, built in indestructible nylon. It's a perfect fit, moderately supportive, and completely comfortable. If anyone did them nowadays I'd be there like a shot.

I used to wear size 40D (M&S again!) until a friend took me to Bravissimo - I walked out wearing a 36F with boobs that were no longer level with my stomach! Since then I only ever go to Bravissimo to be fitted, although my nearest store is ages away and a pain to get to.

Since having children my size has increased to a 36GG and I find this quite hard to track down on the high street. Especially when I need nursing bras! The only ones commonly available in my size are very high fronted and frumpy as hell. I used to have a gorgeous Panache nursing bra (although I had to get it in a 38G as it didn't come in a GG) but now they don't seem to do anything nice in terms of nursing bras. Hot Milk (cringeworthy name) do my size but their bras are far too frilly and odd colours.

My dream bra would be a 38GG, low cut but supportive, black nursing bra. Sadly it doesn't seem to exist, even online. sad

annam95 Mon 03-Sep-12 12:44:47

I really like Bravissimo shops. I was in for a fitting and commented that the bra that I was wearing was uncomfortable - I had 'digging in' marks to prove it. I had purchased it in a different branch following a fitting. This fitter insisted on refunding me even though I didn't have a receipt. I came out with a much more comfortable bra and am now a loyal customer. Most of my bras are Panache.

As a 36DD/E (depending on the make), I struggle to find supportive Tshirt bras that are not padded but hide nipples. I do not need to be made to look bigger than I am already!

JockSprockPooPongMcPlop Mon 03-Sep-12 12:46:25

I got fitted at M&S recently. It wasn't really an enjoyable experience. The bra fitter was very rushed and although I'd been told that I had a 30 minute appointment, she was done in THREE minutes after she found one that fitted ok and left me none the wiser as to what might be suitable when I went back to look at the rest of the selection. I only knew that this one particular (dull) bra fitted ok. So I'd advise anyone else to look at the styles and colours they like first and then get the fitter to find you the right size in your preferred styles.

firawla Mon 03-Sep-12 13:03:08

my worst experience would probably be mothercare, i wanted them to fit nursing bras because the sizes i had just kinda guessed and bought all did not seem quite right, and even though they do advertise that they do bra fittings for nursing bras they pretty much told me to get lost as they couldn't be bothered to do it!

m&s dont seem to be too good either, once i thought i would go there but the waiting time to be seen was shocking in the end i couldnt be bothered with it and went somewhere else. there was a new mum there with a tiny baby too and they had kept her waiting ages and ages, which is not really on.
also ive heard m&s are a bit crap so maybe was a lucky escape anyway!

bravissimo are pretty good so think i will just stick with them in future, i feel like bras from there fit much better than others i had before and give more support. they put me up a couple of cup size and back size smaller, so think that is much better.

i agree with other people who said why do a lot of shops not go any bigger than dd, im sure its quite a big percentage of people who do have these sizes its not that weird!

poppy1973 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:03:49

In the past I have been fitted at M&S, and found it okay experience but rather rushed. The following time I visited I tried on a numerous amount of bras and worked out my size myself.

I got professionally fitted once at a House of Fraser store for my wedding underwear and found it to the best fitting I ever had, an older lady who was very experienced. I wore my underwear bra for years after as it cost so much and fitted me well.

After my first baby I tried to get fitted in La Senza in Cardiff branch and they totally refused to measure me. I asked for fitting expecting to go into a underwear shop and they would know how to measure. They didn't and wouldn't fit and told me to just try them on. I came out of the store unhappy with something that didn't fit correctly and didn't hold my shape correctly. Never used the company again.

Last time I was fitted was in Mothercare for my nursing bras. Had a really helpful assistant who really helped with time and measuring. Couldn't have been more helpful.

Now that I have finished breastfeeding I wish to loose another few pounds of my weight and wish to save up a little. I will go along and try a different store that can measure me. My aim is to have save up and lost enough weight by Christmas to purchase some new underwear !!!!smile

My first, and worst, bra fitting was at Marks and Spencers (isn't it always?).
I was a shy teenager with rapidly expanding boobs, and I had a flat-chested mum who couldn't give any helpful advice. I was told I was a 38B and spent the next 15 years in badly fitting bras; which needed to be adjusted several times throughout the day, with wires digging in, etc. I thought I must just be a funny shape and put up with it.

Then I read somewhere about most women wearing the wrong bra size, and went to Bravissimo where I was fitted as a 32E! What a difference it makes, to comfort and appearance. I find panache to be the best fit - I think they have wider underwires than some other brands?? Now I usually buy the same bras for less money online.

Now I am pregnant I have increased to a 34FF or G - although I only know this through guesswork and noticing where my old bras are getting tight. I will go back to be measured properly in late pregnancy, and buy some nursing bras.

I am still quite angry with M&S, and wouldn't go back to buy a bra from them even if they did sell my size! How many women must spend years being uncomfortable because they believed their 'expert' fitters' advice?

MirandaWest Mon 03-Sep-12 13:08:49

My worst bra fitting experience was going to marks and Spencer who asked what size I was wearing and I said, but explained I wasn't sure if it was right. She said that was no good if I didn't know (I thought she was going to fit me confused and left feeling embarassed.

I used to think I was a 34A and thanks to an excellent independent bra fitter I am actually 30C. She apologized for the lack of bras she has in that size and also said different countries tend to wear bras looser or tighter with European countries often looser.

I would love my mum to get fitted - she is smaller than I am in general (tiny frame) and yet wears 32AA. I suspect she is 28B - her breasts are small but they are there. Hopefully she doesn't stalk me on mumsnet grin

My best fitting experience was with my mum when I was around 21 - she put me in a fitting room in House of Fraser, then got me a selection of bras in different brands, cup sizes, band sizes, and made me try them all on, jump about, put a t shirt on over them to see the shape and so on. I came out of that in a 32 F, having been in a 34 D.

Some years later, when I was clearly beyond a G cup, I went to Bravissimmo, and loved that the fitter did more or less the same as my mum - tape measures were not relevant! And helped me find brands that fit me personally - I find Freya and Panache give me the best shape.

My pet hates are people who, when I say I always shop for bras online, due to lack of availability on the High street, say things like 'debenhams have a range up to a G cup' - I know. That's what I mean when I say High street shops aren't big enough.

Also, fitters in shops who are convinced one of the bras in their shop will fit you, and will shoe horn you in regardless. I've found M&S, Debenhams and most recently Mothercare very guilty of this. For context, I wear a 32J usually, and have been recommende a 38FF (M&S),36G (Debenhams) and my favourite was recently, buying a nursing bra in Mothercare. Knowing my 32J was too tight in the band and the cup, I was sceptical about Mothercare's chances of finding me a good bra, especially with a soft cup. Apparently, I needed a 40F and all my problems would be solved. Needless to say, it was huge round the back, straps taking all the weight, cups trying their best but well beyond design capability.
By contrast, has a lovely man, who, based on my existing bra and concerns helped me find 2 lovely, supportive bras, and was happy to do as many exchanges as necessary.
If a man on the phone can do it, surely a national chain can work it out?

So I no longer go high street, because I know they won't have my size, and will still try to push me to buy - unless I happen upon a Bravissimmo (and even then, they are often very expensive). I order a selection online, at the likes of and then try them on. Once you know what a well fitting bra feels/looks like, it's easy.

Skivvytomany Mon 03-Sep-12 13:15:13

My first bra was from an independent store and I was an A cup, I wasn't impressed wih m& s bra service. I've never had a proper decent bra measurement done but I seem to have loads of bras of different sizes and none of them are a decent fit.
I did only discover the other day that cup size varies with back size so a 32 d isn't the same as a 38d with a smaller back , oops.

Sunnytimescoming Mon 03-Sep-12 13:15:41

For the past few years I have just guestimated what size to buy. Not a good idea 'cos I ended up with a drawer full of 'nearly so it'll do' bras! I haven't ventured into the scary double changing room for years - I really didnt enjoy the fitting process and to be honest was never confident with the results. What I really hate now is that I need a different size in different shops or brands. I particularly find loathsome the bands and straps that 'nip' even on some ££ brands.

I didn't have a formal bra fitting until I was 20blush I just tried on bras to see what fit. Having DCs has turned my 34Cs to 36Fs though, and one is bigger and higher than the other which makes bra fitting a bit tricky.
I now go to Boux Avenue, the larger cup range is fantastic and the fitters are sensitive but efficient, taking time to get the right fit and style for me.
I am in the process of losing a fair bit of weight, so once I am down to my target weight I plan to go for a bra shopping spree and get re-fitted.

Willemdefoeismine Mon 03-Sep-12 13:54:54

I am ashamed to say that I am not as rigorous about having professional bra-fittings as perhaps I should be. Before DCs I was a 34B and never had a problem with buying very pretty, feminine, well-fitting bras (and with a bit of lycra body support could even go braless!). However, I found the whole issue of wearing breast feeding bras very demoralising - they never seemed to offer the correct support and were deeply unsexy and unflattering. Since those days I have much larger breasts and I have been measured professionally on occasion but probably not often enough, although I do not currently have any issues with shape or support in my bras. But possibly because I don't have as much money to spend as I did in my younger days and because I am not the sylph I used to be, I'm much more embarrassed to be measured/fitted properly so I do tend to do it at home.

What would motivate me to go in and get measured up? Possibly if a department store/shop offered some type of make-over service with promos going on so that you could go in and do the whole make-over caboodle in one go???

My first bra fitting was in a very old-fashioned family owned department store. I was really still so flat chested (but I was nearly sixteen) that none of the shaped bras fitted at all and I had to have a very soft material one which I'm ashamed to say used to ride up with wear because I had not bosoms to keep it in place. So embarrassing!!!!

I do have a DD but she's only 7 and very tall and very, very slim so I don't envisage that she will be wearing a bra until secondary school. However, must flag up that one of her classmates wears one of those bra tops and DD has already been saying "well if .....wears one why can't I?" So can already envisage that this might become a source of conflict before she needs to wear one! I think I would probably take her to either a specialist lingerie shop or John Lewis's.

I no longer am the skinny, boobless girl of my teens sadly and now wear either a DD or an E fitting. Often find that the really pretty bras only come in up to a C or D fitting which is very frustrating - one doesn't always want to be locked into matronly styles!

Ideally, after all the positive press I have heard about them, I would like to go to Rigby and Peller and get properly fitted by experts. Problem is that I'm a SAHM and not sure I could justify buying bras in their price range.

Have learned though that with bigger breasts you do get what you pay for and wouldn't ever trust cheap makes - Primark do some very pretty looking ones but I'm always rather cynical about how well they would support larger boobs!

Although I am not convinced by the M&S bra-fitting service (although I do think that it entirely depends on whether you get someone who has been doing bra-fittings for a long time and has the required expertise, or not!) I do still tend to home into their lingerie department as my first bra-shopping port of call. But I can safely say that I've either become a lot more discerning about my lingerie in the last ten years or so, or the prettiness/sexiness of their ranges has deteriorated because I rarely find anything that inspires me!

I do find that some of the flimsiness/prettiness of bras which makes some styles/makes so appealing just doesn't necessarily translate to DD+ cup sizes which is a great pity. I have just noted that the new Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley range for M&S does go larger than a DD+ cupsize so looking forward to investigating that range!

I will try out the bra fit challenge when the DCs have gone back to school and I have a bit more time to myself!

mummyofcutetwo Mon 03-Sep-12 13:55:22

I remember my first bra fitting for all the wrong reasons. I was in my early 20s and had been wearing a 38C for as long as I could remember. I went to M&S one day with my mum and was approached by a sales rep who said that 90% of women wore the wrong size bra (or something like that) and asked if I'd like a free fitting; I was measured as 40B. I dutifully bought new bras there and then, but they just weren't comfortable. I tried several bras over the following weeks to find one that felt right.

A couple of months later, blaming my discomfort on the cut of the bras I'd bought, I went to a local clothes shop. When I explained my problem to their bra specialist she looked at me and laughed (kindly!) and said it was no surprise I couldn't find a bra that felt comfortable as I was clearly larger than 40B. Once I was in a 38DD I felt instantly comfortable.

A few years later I went to Bravissimo and had a very good experience of being fitted for a bra (and found I'd expanded again), where I was almost made to feel like royalty! I went there a year or so later and had a not-so-good experience as they were very busy and so had no time to spend with customers individually.

I'm now breastfeeding DS2 and so have had to abandon pretty flattering bras to make way for nursing bras. The ones I've got are lovely Hot Milk nursing bras I bought on the Internet. We tried everywhere to find a shop that stocked nursing bras for me (38F before pregnancy) but nowhere seemed to measure/fit for nursing bras, or stocked nursing bras for the larger bust.

Once I've finished breastfeeding my little one I hope to have a bra fitting and maybe a new bra or two, so I hope my next fitting experience is more successful than the first!

I would recommend Bravissimo, Clays (in Mold, North Wales) and John Lewis, but would suggest to avoid M&S.

fossil97 Mon 03-Sep-12 14:01:48

(32G or something like)
Best piece of advice - the first time I was properly fitted as an DD+ cup (I think I'd previously been wearing a 36A!)
Most of the bra's I've attempted to fit myself don't fit very well. I rely on Bravissimo stores. Nowhere else has the range of sizes or seems to fit larger cup sizes properly. Have not tried M&S for years. Debenhams/John lewis not as good as Bravissimo.

first fitting, too long ago to remember and (fortunately) don't have daughter's. I was quite young when I reallised I was a DD+ and for years got my bras from a Warners' outlet stall on Nottingham market. The most difficult thing about fitting is the eyewatering cost of large cup decent bras like Panache and Freya.

I have had some success buying swimwear (I have the Panache slate grey sports tankini) and sports bras on ebay after careful measuring and consultation of the Panache website. But normal bras even if you order 3 sizes they might not be quite right. Basically buying bras is a trial and even trying to buy further versions of the ones I've already got isn't foolproof - what looked like the same style in a different colour turned out to be totally different cut. I'm down to only 3 bras that fit me now and are being washed and worn to death.

SunAtLast Mon 03-Sep-12 14:11:32

Worst. M&S. Was fitted with a 'minimiser' bra. It looked horrific and pushed my alleged 36e's under my armpits!

Best. Rigby and peller. Felt like a princess, from the doorman ushering me in, to the warm and caring and no nonsense service. Came out with 2 beautifully fitted 32 g bras which made me look a stone lighter and made my clothes hang beautifully.

EauRouge Mon 03-Sep-12 14:13:36

I was fitted at M&S once many moons ago, I just wanted to buy some bras but they insisted on fitting me first. I was wearing a 32E at the time but the cat bum face woman who was fitting me insisted that I was a 36B. I tried one on and it was obvious that it didn't fit but she was adamant because that was what the tape measure said. I left without buying anything and I've never used their fitting service since.

I would avoid anywhere that came at you with a tape measure and said 'right, you are a <bra size>'.

If I need measuring now I go to Bravissimo, they've always been brilliant and have loads of choice in my size (30GG now, thank you breastfeeding grin )

I bought a Panache Tango II bra online recently and it fits perfectly, I'm going to get a few more in different colours. They are great value.

Tortoise Mon 03-Sep-12 15:03:25

Worst experience was M&S. I tried on about 10 bras. In the end she said sorry there's no others that will fit.

Now I tend to pick up a few bras in roughly the size that last fitted. Having gained a fair bit of weight they no longer fit properly but I can't face searching for new ones. No decent bra places near me either which doesn't help.

MKP1 Mon 03-Sep-12 15:11:30

Worst was definately first bra fitting age 14 ish (already big busted) in frumpy independent store with mother watching!! Then many years of horrible horrible white nylon parachutes! Thank god for bravissimo!

Have to admit to not having had a fitting for yonks but did measure rub cage as 37 so my 38ff is probably pretty good. Have tried 36 recently but can't even do up!!!

lubeybooby Mon 03-Sep-12 15:24:55

I have learnt to do it by sight and feel, similar to the way others on this thread have described.

I used to think I was a 40DD til I got measured in Bravissimo and emerged a 36H shock

I've since decided that a 38GG fits me better, but the bravissimo measurement was close.

I have 'measured' my daughter the same way it was done for me in bravissimo - by noting the size she thought she was, and adding a cup size for spillage over cups, middle of bra not meeting breastbone, and slight spillage at the sides. And going down a band size or two if the band is too loose (loose enough to get a whole hand in and stretch it out a little). She thought she was 36B, my method made her 34D and it was perfect when she tried one that size.

We are both very happy with our well fitting bras now!

mynameis Mon 03-Sep-12 15:27:28

I'm faithful to my local Debebhams when it comes to fitting. My boobs have never strayed much from a 38F but Debenhams always take the time to find the style of bras I prefer, which range from the more expensive styles like Fantasie down to their reasonable Gorgeous range.

Worst experience of bra fitting was in my first pregnancy when I believed I could only be fitted for a maternity bra in Morhercare. They measured me at a 40A! prompting my friend to ask if the tape measure was the right way up grin

I can't remember what size we settled on but it was very ill fitting and I didn't bother buying maternity bras from there in my subsequent pregnancies!

Spirael Mon 03-Sep-12 15:28:44

After years of bad advice and ill fitting bras from big chain stores, I discovered Bravissimo a few years ago. Like most of the other stories, I was finally measured properly (by eye!) and came out with a smaller back size, a larger cup size and was infinitely more comfortable.

The right bra should feel comfortable and look lovely. If it doesn't, don't buy it!

It seems ridiculous that the majority of the high street seems to believe anything above a D cup requires a specialist store. I remember being laughed at in La Senza one time when I asked what they stocked in my size!

Why not have good lingerie stores that cater for all sizes? I have a DD now and I'm not sure what to do when she reaches the age of needing her first bra. I wish Bravissimo would expand their range to <D and first fittings too!

mrsmangelsneck Mon 03-Sep-12 15:29:09

Worst was Bravissimo when I was pregnant with first baby - very very pushy and clueless "fitter" who wouldn't admit they had nothing to fit me in stock (wore 32h during this pg and feeding in 34k) and tries to sell me 36 back which gave no support at all, then when I pointed this out said I didn't know what I was talking about! Never liked them anyway as do find them desperate for a sale and poor range of overpriced not great quality bras.

I like prima Donna bras and go to independent shops and online for them.

Agree nursing bra shop is ace but please can hot milk extend their size range as Royce bras are godawful!

GOLDFaverolles Mon 03-Sep-12 15:29:10

I've been fitted twice for bras. Both times were terrible.
M&S for one, they measured and told me I was a 38DD. I bought the bra (no idea why) and never once wore it, as it was about as supportive as draping hankies over my boobs.
The other time was for my wedding bra. It was at a small independent lingerie shop, with a very good reputation. The lady didn't measure me, but used her experienced eye, to tell me I was a 36C, handed me the bra of my choice, then explained that it wasn't too tight, and it was attractive to have boobs hanging over the top of my bra (giving the cows udder effect) Again, I bought the bloody bra and couldn't wear it.
I wore my comfy old t-shirt bra on my wedding day, and showed dh the gorgeous but ill-fitting one the day after.
I now have a hate/hate relationship with my boobs and bras. I had a lovely Anita feeding bra which fit the best that a bra has ever fit, but then I lost weight, and it looked ridiculous and baggy.
I now have 2 old sports bras which are sad and saggy.
I hate bra shopping.

mrsmangelsneck Mon 03-Sep-12 15:31:20

Oh and when my dd needs bras it'll be indie shop and I will happily pay for her to have good undies - she will prob need them as big boobs are in the family (smallest thinnest cousin is a DD cup).

hellyd Mon 03-Sep-12 15:37:17

i've only been fitted once never again!
After i finish BF'ing my son I decided to pop into a department store for a fitting after all my size has changed a lot from being Pregnant ect. I was ushered into a changing room had to leave the pram outside was measured very quickly by a middle aged lady pronounced a 30A and ushered out onto the sales floor where i was unceremoniously told to try the children's' wear department! I was mortified as this was said quite loudly, grabbed the pram and scurried away. I am not nor ever have been a 30A but i am small. I still 5 years later need a decent fitting but we don't have any local independent shops so I am still wearing some of my pre-pregnancy bras and whatever i pick up that sort of look right from the supermarket.

This is kind of the thread for me as I only wear Panache. I have also found that Freya bras just don't fit me. I'm not sure what it is, they just aren't comfortable. When I wanted fitting I went to Bravissimo. I had vague memories of the M&S trips as a teen with my mother and just remember being humiliated. They would go and find a bra for you, and they would all be hideous. I like the sizing by eye, and I remember and use the tips myself - about how it feels and looks.

I do find myself looking at women with their bra straps riding up their backs and thinking "wrong size"

I do wish that larger bras were more easily available. I have a bravissimo close to me, and that's fine. But I never even try to look anywhere else.

I've only ever been fitted at M&S. I went once to be measured for a maternity bra and the assistant looked scornfully at me and told me to "come back when i was nearer my due date'" she was less than pleased when I said I only had 2 weeks to go but did measure me then.

Now I just take a few different sizes in to the fitting rooms and buy the one that feels best, I don't buy expensive bra's though. But none fit perfectly according to the criteria on this thread!

I would love to be fitted properly but just can't pluck up the courage to go into the stores that have been mentioned.

I don't remember my first bra fitting. I think my mum just bought me the smallest one possible! I recently bought one in Sainsbury's that is really comfortable and I have had a couple of really good ones from Figleaves but I don't seem to be able to buy from the same place twice and get the same fit probably because I'm looking at the wrong size!

I hate bra shopping.

StellaAndFries Mon 03-Sep-12 15:59:23

I am a 40G by my reckoning but if I'm going to buy new bras I try everything on rather than going by the size on the label.

I haven't been fitted for a bra since I had to buy a nursing bra when pregnant with dd4 and the service I got in mothercare was rubbish. It clearly advertised bra fitting and advice on nursing bras but the assistant took one look and sneered that she doubted they had anything to fit before reluctantly getting her tape measure out. I ended up buying one bra there and then as I was desperate for one and going elsewhere for the rest.

I've avoided a fitting ever since and would be self conscious now if I went for a fitting.

vnmum Mon 03-Sep-12 16:01:10

The worst fitting i have had is M&S. They never seem to measure correctly. I remember going in with my mum when I was a teenager and I had the 4 boob effect in a 32b, the lady at m&s measured me as a 34aa!

I now go to an independent bra shop near my parents. They fit by the eye and will not let you leave until they are happy the right bra fits. I have since moved 5 hours away from my parents but I only get a new bra when I am going to visit so I can go to this shop. All the staff have been on fitting courses by the main bra manufacturers (freya/fantasie etc)

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 03-Sep-12 16:33:24

I was a 36A/AA for ages because that's what M&S said I was in my first bra fitting. I wore this size for years and decided bras were the devils work - why did anyone ever were them- they were so uncomfortable! The straps kept falling down, aand the bra kept riding up leaving red weals on the underside of my bra.

So when I went to uni I ditched bras completely, and switched tto crop tops - I mean it's not like I really had boobs right? Not with an A cup.

Several years and one DD later, I went to JL to find a posh frock for my sisters wedding. The first thing the personal shopper said was "lets put you in a proper bra shall we". I was fitted as 32D. I was astounded, my boobs hadn't grown while pregnant, and there was no way I was a D cup. D cup is huge. Someone like Jordan has D cups.

Nevertheless, I found the bra strangely comfortable, and wow!, it certainly made my boobs look...different!

Some weight loss, and avidly reading bra fitting threads on MN has made me fit myself. I've lost a bit of weight, and think I might now be a DD cup (smaller back). I still can't get my head around the cup size.

Society has taught me that anything over a C cup is mahoosive, and that you always add on 4/5 inches. This thinking is incredibly prevalent, and pretty much any online size finder will add on the inches, this is why everyone is wearing the wrong size.

This is probably why it is hard to find "larger" sizes, so many people are using the wrong method, and if you are adding 5" onto your band size of course it is unlikely you would ever be over a D cup.

There needs to be some sort of national campaign about how to correctly measure yourself, and that a D cup isn't huge. Perhaps pic of celebs with their (correct) bra sizes.

alemci Mon 03-Sep-12 16:40:06

i've found over the years' that certain makes of bras fit me alot better than others. Panache seem to be very good on me and some of Debenhams own make. also Triumph but they only go down to 32

i think it is worth hand washing bras or using a hand wash cycle on the machine (in a bag) which helps them last.

also it is not always that obvious that cups go down as back sizes. so a 30dd is a similar size to a 32D in the cup just a wider back. didn't get that for years.

also it is important to be fitted from time to time and all bras even in the same make vary

OhNoMyFoot Mon 03-Sep-12 16:55:47

I have a variety of bras in a variety of sizes, starting from 34dd through to 38hh. In fact I have a huge amount of bras. I know it's nothing to do with this but is there anything that can be done with them?

Fink Mon 03-Sep-12 17:08:21

My worst ever advice: go up a back size (M&S). I now only get fitted by the people who do it by eye rather than with a tape measure (e.g. Rigby & Peller, Sadie the Bra Lady).

I wish I had realised earlier that you don't have to look huge in order to have an above-'average' cup size. I was in 34c for years then suddenly went to 30F! Am now 28D/DD but don't actually feel like I have large boobs.

Ohnomyfoot. There is a charity I read about a while ago that collects bras and sends then out to Africa. I can't remember what it was called though.

JugglingWithFiveRings Mon 03-Sep-12 17:20:26

I think many women are slow to realise that their bra size is prone to changing over the years too ! But I agree Fink that many (myself included) don't understand how the cup size changes with the general back measurement. It is all rather confusing isn't it ? confused

SorrelForbes Mon 03-Sep-12 17:24:21

Juggling Come on over to this thread grin

sleepdodger Mon 03-Sep-12 17:28:29

The best & worst fitting for me was when I was pregnant
Usually a 34d my boobs were growing daily so headed off to get new bras in well fitted stores...
JL sold me 2 which were awful and have me no support at Allan's worse they looked like giant training bras
After that headed to bravissimo who were amazing ended up with 2 panache Sophie bras which fitted well (fitted by sight) and looked attractive too
post feeding i went back to bracissimo as m&s couldn't find a bra to fit hmm
It was amazing... Coming out a 30E with a confy fit and great shape felt like I had a boob job grin Freya deco have been my friends ever since!!
Main issue is over 34 straps get huge
Under 34 choices are v limited!

Fieldette Mon 03-Sep-12 17:31:46

M&S are hopeless when it comes to fitting bras! I was quite a young 'developer' and started wearing a bra at 12 years old. They seemed to put me in any old thing and the range available was dire.

I wore a 34D for years until I reached a point of such discomfort about 5 years ago that I went to be measured in Bravissimo and came out wearing a 30G - slightly different from my previous size, and I've never looked back!

I buy all my bras from Bravissimo and Figleaves and will never buy without trying. My all time favourite bra is the Panache Tango Plunge, I have it in three colours and am glad to see that more different colours have started to become available.

ItsaTIARA Mon 03-Sep-12 17:33:32

Oxfam did a Big Bra Hunt earlier in the year, and are still more than happy to accept donated bras.

Elainey1609 Mon 03-Sep-12 17:36:35

I went to a couple of bra fittings at Marks and Spencer and they were very bad experiences....didnt really help at all
i am very broad and they they said i was size theat they didnt even sell underwired bras for....they only did like sports bras....

i am like any ormal female and likes nice underware and was really dissapointed....when i tried them on gave me no support at all and were massive..

after going to a range of different shops i have found that many dont actually sell my size.......i fially found a shop that did loads and sizes and did trial and error untill i found one i was comfortable......

i find that i am actually a 42C which is alot different to the 50DD Marks and Spencer reccomended..

I would love to have a proper fitting to find out if i was anywhere close to the correct measurement.

I actually end up buying my bras from Asdas now as i know they do fit well and they do pretty designs in the larger sizes

but yeah was not pleased with marks and spencer

KatAndKit Mon 03-Sep-12 17:36:41

I love Panache bras - I have been wearing the Tango superbra for years and it is so flattering and supportive. The best fitting is in Bravissimo - I have never had a bad fitting there and have always come out satisfied and with lovely comfortable and supportive bras. Like many others, the worst has been Marks and Spencer, with Mothercare a close second in the bad fitting stakes. I wish there was a wider range of Panache nursing bras in bigger cup sizes - the one I have is great and is pretty, unlike the plain white and black ones i have from other shops, but I would like the choice of more styles.

spoonsspoonsspoons Mon 03-Sep-12 17:47:06

I wish there was some sort of consistency in sizing. Consistency between manufacturers would be great, but consistency between styles would be a start. Consistency between styles in different colours you would think is a given but it appears elusive. The advice that I was given at my very first bra fitting at an independent store, that sizes vary between colours, has proved true on many occasions!

I have quite a few Panache bras and they fit great, but they're all different sizes (32E/32F/32FF/32G). Availability wise it is improving, but it's rare to find even good shops (e.g. Bravissimo) have the sizes in stock I need in the colours I would prefer. It's difficult to order things in when sizing varies so widely.

MadameOvary Mon 03-Sep-12 17:52:59

Best experience was in Jenners about fifteen years ago. Was asking the woman about a 36C bra and she looked at me and said I dont think you're a 36C - I was fully dressed with a coat on! Sure enough I came out with a blissfully fitting 34DD.

Have never had such a good experience since tbh, M&S were decidedly ho-hum but I do love their t-shirt bras which give me a proper lift.

MrsPnut Mon 03-Sep-12 18:17:37

I love Panache bras, the Tango PN53 from Bravissimo is my go to every day bra because it is so comfy. I buy a new one every month and must have every colour you've ever produced.

I can fit my own bras now and fit my 15 year old daughter's bras too because I know what a well fitting bra it meant to feel like.
I did once have a dreadful attempted fitting for a sports bra in M&S and not one of their offerings had any support in it at all, I would have given myself 2 black eyes with my 36GG's if I'd have taken their advice.

wifeofdoom Mon 03-Sep-12 18:21:45

As a 34F bra fitting is very important to me! Worst fitting was when they told me that it fit perfectly and the wire stabbing into my side would 'wear in' It never did - bra still in drawer pristine 8 yrs later. however bras I have fitted myself are never good.

Fitting seems to change between stores and between brands - and even in styles from the same brand - balconettes I'm an F but anything else I tend to be a G.

I don't think I got fitted until I was about 23. I will take my dd to be fitted regularly from a young age so she doesn't buy badly fitted bras and end up with 'doubleboob'!
Big bras much easier to find now - but whenever I buy cheap I regret it... I stick with panache, freya and fantasie now.

TheProvincialLady Mon 03-Sep-12 18:27:36

M&S twenty years ago had me in a 34C. I weighed 6.5 stones. Now I am 7.5 stones, larger everywhere and 28F fits me beautifully. HOW could anyone have thought that a 34 inch back would fit me? I thought I was a freak because all the bra fitting advice said that the front should lie flat against the breastbone, but mine never ever did. Funny thathmm An independent shop was just as bad around the same time. I saw the measurement and even with the bizarre 4 inches added it still came to 30" but they only started at 32" so that was too bad, 32" it was. It only seems very recently that shops started selling 28 and 30" backs in anything larger than A or AA cups.

OsmiornicaGold Mon 03-Sep-12 18:32:53

The worst bra fittings were at places like M&S. They'd measure me, tell me my size then disappear. I'd try the sizes on but inevitably they wouldn't fit.

The best fittings have both been at independent stores. I walked in and they assessed my size just by looking and brought into the changing room several bras in my size. Some were different sizes to what they said but because they knew their stock they knew which size to bring in what make/range. They also told me what to look for in a well/badly fitting bra - one thing was to make sure the wires in the middle are close to your skin. I think my previous ones had been gaping a bit at the front as the cup size was too big.

A good fitting bra is a lot tighter than I had worn previously but a lot more comfortable.

Pinot Mon 03-Sep-12 18:45:12

I've recently been learning about migrating breast tissue and how it causes the "back hamsters" and "underarm boobs". It's been amazing to learn how to fit a bra properly so that all your breast tissue is contained in your bra.

I wish all fitters would explain the importance of this!

nextphase Mon 03-Sep-12 18:45:41

I treated myself before going back to work having fed DS1 for 12 months, and went to an independent bra shop in the local market town. WOW what a difference. Down several back sizes, and up several cup sizes, and I looked like I lost a stone or 2.

The worst fitting bras I suffered were nursing bras from mothercare - tho it wasn't til the arrival of DS2 I realised Mothercare weren't the only people to do nursing bras.

Things I'd like de-mystifying are the adding / not adding 5 to the band measuring, that nursing bras are more widely available.

And high street do larger cup, smaller back combos - I needed a low front, funny coloured bra to go under a bridesmaids dress, at 14 weeks pregnant, so went to M&S for lower cost, and was offered help, but when I said what I was after, they had very little choice and I didn't mention the maternity word. To be fair to the assistant, she did try tho.

Tho I haven't looked very hard, stuff that is strapless / low fronted / otherwise different for bigger chests would be good.

bealos Mon 03-Sep-12 19:03:21

Gosh. I remember having to ask my mum to take me to M&S to get a bra, when I was 13/14, having been wearing crop tops for a while. I was already a 32B!

Although M&S were always my 'go to' place, I've found their measuring really unreliable and they are also a bit short with you if you tell them you're a different size. In the last 6 months, I've bought Elle McPherson, Bravado, Debenhams. Yes - I'm pregnant and my boobs are constantly changing shape and size! I'm a 34DD at the moment - pre-pregnancy I was wearing a 32D.

The best thing I've found is to take many many sizes in the changing room and see what works. It's a bit of a long winded way of doing it though. I once went to Rigby & Peller and they told me my size just by looking at my boobs. Amazing. It was correct.

CMOTDibbler Mon 03-Sep-12 19:10:50

My best experience was in an independant shop where the lovely lady looked me up and down, then searched out bras that were the right size and shape for me. She knew her stock inside out, so knew that for someone like me - b cup, wideish back at 36 but broad, boobs sort of on the outside of my chest wall - which bras would work. I spent a bomb in there.
My worst ever was in Debenhams where I was looking for a strapless bra. They told me I was the wrong shape, and that nothing would fit properly. I walked out and cried tbh.

M&S have fitted me badly on a couple of occasions in different places, and Rigby and Peller were lovely

ouryve Mon 03-Sep-12 19:13:04

I think M&S really need to read this thread. I was wary of naming them in my post about soft cup bras but pretty much everyone else here has had a bad experience with them.

starlight36 Mon 03-Sep-12 19:16:54

All bad bra advice came from high street stores where a series of measurements were made and regardless of any change in size I still walked out with a 34B. When the bra didn't fit properly I was told that it would stretch to fit correctly! Of course it never did.
At my first fitting in a specialist shop I was amazed and relieved to see that the assistants could get the correct size just by sight - not a tape measure in sight.
Best advice is how to lift each breast to fit comfortably into the cup and checking that the middle of the bra always sits flat.

Ive been in the right size since I was 22 (now 36)
But I've never had a comfy bra.

To my mind, every single bra on the market uses the same WIRE in exactly the same shape/curve/bend. Fantasie and Freya and Fauve all same manufactWurer. Identical to Curvy Kate, boux avenue panache and everyone else. The wire is a fundamental part of the bra, but they are all EXACTLY the same. And they don't fit me.

The best brand I've found is Anita but it's not available on the high street, money is tight and I can't afford the high postage buying online (especially sites where you even have to pay to return)

High street bras are poor quality, offer no support and are badly designed. They give no thought on width of straps, how far apart they are set and even which way the fasteners move - why would you want the plastic fastener on your collar bone?? Ouch. But likewise why is it right down the back where only a yoga instructor can reach on themselves?

I'm only a 32F - pretty normal size I think. But M&S don't do over a D in a 32. Mothercare are even more useless. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. They don't even make a 32. Maternity and nursing bras are a complete nightmare. Royce is another you should be ashamed! Yes you make D+ cups. No you gave no thought to fit or comfort.

Buy cheap buy twice is very true of bras

Bad fitting came from M&S but I haven't bought a bra there in 15 years, Mothercare - just horrendous and most recently boux avenue who insisted I was a 36.

I wish I could afford Prima Donna or move to Austria for Anita bras.

lemonbonbons Mon 03-Sep-12 19:24:23

I was also wondering if M&S had seen this thread !

Claifairy Mon 03-Sep-12 19:24:53

The best shop I was measured in was Madam Foners on Bold Street in Liverpool. It is a very old fashioned store and not for the faint hearted as when I was measured there the lady wanted to see me bra-less as she said it was difficult to see the natural shape of your bust in a bra and if you were of a fuller boob or a triangular shape etc! However, she was absolutely spot on in her choices. (This was in the 90's)

I trained as a bra trainer working for an independent bra shop and was able to tell by just looking at a women at her. It used to be my party trick! I think all good measurers should be able to do this. I was also very good at guessing mens estimations when they used to come in around Xmas and Valentines Day when I got hand gestures in their guesses or when they looked closely at my chest saying bigger/smaller!

Marks and Spencers are useless as measuring and usually add a back size or 2 to what you should be! I have never managed to find a bra that fits correctly there.

The last few years it has got better in finding prettier bra's in larger sizes and the prices do seem to be coming down which is fantastic as I no longer have to see buying a bra as an extravangant purchase rather then the necessity it is!

I don't remember being fitted at all until about 10 years ago when I went to R&P. Up until then I remember not thinking about bras much and typically wearing an M&S 36A.

R&P, which I think I found through Trinny and Susannah, was a revelation and they gave me useful advice such as ... the band should be tight, don't rely on the straps for support and put all of the boob in the cup. I think their Prima Donna bras are fab but pricey.

Since then I have mostly bought Fantasie bras over the years and always tend to have my bra fitted everytime I but nowadays. I did find that I changed size a few years ago and so that's why I always have them checked now. That said, I have been a 32F for ages and find my size easy to find.

I typically shop and am fitted at John Lewis, HOF, Debenhams and the occasional good independent store. I wouldn't dream of going to M&S as I do what MumsNet tells me.

In recent months I have moved away from Fantasie lacy bras to moulded tshirt bras that are more uplifting. The Panache plunge is my favourite. I have found it difficult to find good sports bras also and was recently fitted with a Panache one in JL. Great bra and very supportive.

Nowadays I do know myself really whether a bra fits me or not but still do always get a fitter to check (so long as I can tell that they know what they are doing).

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Mon 03-Sep-12 19:56:17

The best experience I have had was in Selfridges in London. The fitter was lovely, made me feel very at ease and explained that different brands would fit me in different sizes.
She didn't make me feel bad about the tatty, ill fitting bra I was wearing.
I must have tried on more than 50 bras and she was very patient and also didn't make me feel pressured to buy lots of them.
She also encouraged me to try lots of styles, some of them were things I would never have picked myself.
Another bonus was the spacious changing room, so I didn't feel cramped and awkward - she also made me feel as if there was all the time in the worls.
I ended up buying 4 bras and the difference in my shape/posture is incredible.

The worst experience I had was in M&S where they told me I was 34B (I am 34E/32F depending on brand) and then didn't give me any advice on styles etc.

Rosebud05 Mon 03-Sep-12 20:00:29

Another M & S sob story here. First bra fitting in my yoof, and I was told in hushed tones that "I'm afraid you're a 28AA". I was very slight in those days, so possibly true, but really, really didn't need any pathos added to the situation.

A few decades and three babies later, I noticed that my front profile was decidedly droopy a few months ago. A friend - whose catch phrase is 'Bravo for Bravissimo' - showed me the light and I threw away 13 (yes 13) bras that I had had for up to 20 years ranging from 30AA to 34A and went bra shopping. Couldn't quite face the whole fitting thing, but did a bit of internet research and bought a couple of Freya 28D from Debenhams in the sale which have transformed my silhouette. It's not easy to get 28 backs from the likes of M & S (and I think i couldn't probably do with a 26 to be honest, but even harder to get), though specialist stockists no problem. It's much nearer the right size than before, though a trip to a specialist fitter is on my 'to do' list.

Paintyourbox Mon 03-Sep-12 20:05:35

I used to buy all of my bras at a well known high street lingerie chain- ALL of their styles were padded which I didn't really need given that I was a 34E!

I have been fitted at M and S, La Senza and Mothercare and a local independent shop.

The best experience was at the local, independent shop. The owner did all fittings herself and she could tell just by sight what size I was (I didn't believe her at first until she got the tape measure out). She made bra shopping a really enjoyable experience and would even order in items that she didn't normally stock if a customer requested them.

My worst experience was at M and S, the bras they gave me were so obviously the wrong size and my boobs were spilling out over the top. I am surprised the thing didn't fly off like the scene in that Carry On film!

My main gripes about underwear shopping are that every brand varies in terms of size so it's not as simple as just picking what you want from the shelf! I also find that it's hard to get nice underwear sets if you are a certain size- lots of companies which make so called "plus size" lingerie start their knickers at a size 12-14, not much help when your bottom half is a size 8!

GW297 Mon 03-Sep-12 20:18:29

How funny! I was going to start a thread myself to ask advice as to where the best place to go is, as I am intending to get re-measured soon.

My worst experience has also been at M&S. I went in October to get measured. I had to wait for ages and then the lady measured me as fast as she could and then shoved a couple of huge, unsightly bras in my hand. I have absolutely hated wearing them ever since. They are too tight and the cups are far too big. It is uncomfortable and worst of all it looks terrible under tops. I didn't think I was an F cup at the time, but didn't feel I could question it. I will be very interested to find out what I really am in a different shop. I will probably email M & S after I get sorted at John Lewis or similar to inform them of this.

I think I had to ask my mum to take me to get a bra when I was about 12 or 13, as I was still in crop tops and all my friends were wearing bras. I think she just guessed which size I might be (a B cup), as I don't remember being measured or anything. I can remember getting measured as La Senza a long time ago and then I've been to M & S twice.

I think bras can be expensive (including sports bras) and I've never found a brand I love. I liked Wonderbra and Gossard when I was younger and thinner but since I've been bigger and big boobed I've struggled to find bras that look good and are comfortable and supportive.

mistlethrush Mon 03-Sep-12 20:24:15

I go to Bravissimo after years of struggling to find any range in my size. I have turned up with DS when he was a baby - he's woken up and I've been offered a roomy changing room so that I could feed him before getting fitted - OK I was rather lopsided but DS was content which was more important at the time! I have once had a problem with some of their bras, went in and explained the problems I'd been having and they were all replaced for a style that was more suitable even though I'd had them for 4 months by then. I've also got a great sports bra from them which enables me to work out at the gym without worrying about surplus movement where its not wanted!

I have recently found bras with straps attached (at the back) closer to the centre which is wonderful for those of us with large cup sizes but narrow, sloping shoulders.

ScorpionQueen Mon 03-Sep-12 20:25:37

Best advice was to always buy bras in person, never on-line, as like most clothes, sizing isn't always accurate and returning is a faff.

I haven't had any bad advice but would like to be professionally measured and treat myself to some good quality bras. I haven't done that in ages as when money is a bit tight, things like bras get left until they fall apart.

DD will need fitting soon, she is almost ready for the transition from crop tops but when I suggested it, she looked at me like I was bonkers. Maybe a few more months then...

PineappleBed Mon 03-Sep-12 20:32:40

The frustrating thing I find is that the good measuring services seem to be in shops specializing in big boobs so with my smaller boobs I'm stuck with the halfwits in m&s.

I was measured in rigby and peller which was great but now I'm up north that's not an option and I'm post pregnant now so probably wearing the wrong size.

My problem is that bra makers seem to think boobs are all the same shape. The weight of mine is to the outside and bottom so balcony bras don't fit and even with D boobs whilst pregnant I had little cleavage.

A comfy, flattering bra - the holy grail!

thisthreadwilloutme Mon 03-Sep-12 20:44:41

My first fitting was terrible. It was in Marks and Spencer and I was given an ugly grey 36DD bra. Not what a girly 14 year old wanted at all.

When I got to university I went to an independent shop and was given a beautiful Panache bra in a 32E. The fit was perfect, the bra was beautiful and I instantly went from hating my breasts to embracing my shape. I looked better, felt better and haven't looked back since!

iwantavuvezela Mon 03-Sep-12 20:56:56

Well my first fitting was receiving my friends bras thatcshevhad finished with! Granted they were more for modesty.
Only real bra fitting was at M and S when pregnant, and wanted to get some nursing bras. They were quite helpful, but seeing my husbands face as he saw the ginormous beige bras they were bringing was priceless!
I have asked my husband that one of my upcoming birthday suggestionsciscto buy me a bra fitting and bra. I would love to know my proper size by a trained fitter. I usually just try on a range of sizes, make sure there is no breast squeezing out the side, the back fits and I usually put my top on over it to see how it looks with clothing.
My DD is only 5 but I am sure I will come up with a little ritual for getting her her first bra!
I must also add that as a 34C I often find (in marks) that they have very few of these sizes and I often cannot get the ones I like.

Pastabee Mon 03-Sep-12 21:01:53

I adore Panache bras. I bought M&S bras for years before going to Bravissimo for a proper fitting and being sold a Panache. The lady in the shop asked me if I knew how to put a bra on which seemed like a weird question as I was about 28 but she went onto explain the importance of 'arranging' your breasts once the bra was on and I've done this ever since. Fantastic tip.

The same lady also explained that you should always put your top back on when trying a bra on. This allows you to see properly the support offered. The difference with the Panache bras was amazing. Even my husband noticed the difference!

I didn't have a bra fitting until I was quite old as it wasn't something my mother 'believed in'. I was probably about 21 before I realised there was a benefit and visited M&S. I realise now their bras aren't great but the lady was nice and put me at my ease. I just don't understand why they pick such horrid, plain cotton bras to fit you in. Yuk!

I have a DD and I will want her to have a bra professionally fitted. She is only 9 months so I have years and years to think about it and hope the market catches up as at the moment I only rate Bravissimo and obviously they are DD+ so I wouldn't know where to take her.

domesticslattern Mon 03-Sep-12 21:04:43

I remember as a teenager being told by a bra fitter that I needed to get my bras made specially by a woman in the Midlands "specialising in outsizes". I am size 34F or G blush. I will never forget those words, nor the M&S bra fitter who flogged me a minimiser bra when all my sixth form mates had wonderbras. Basically, when Bravissimo opened and I was no longer considered a weird size, I was thrilled to bits. I am still very loyal to the chain, and forays to Rigby and Peller, John Lewis and (shudder) Mothercare have not changed my mind. My biggest disappointment is the lack of decent nursing bras, especially underwired ones- this seems to me like a massive business opportunity- imagine a company who would fit nursing bras at home, bringing them in a van to new mothers! I do get fitted at least twice a year, usually coming out with a couple of bras by Panache or Freya; it's expensive but essential to avoid back ache.

JugglingWithFiveRings Mon 03-Sep-12 21:06:10

Seems there's possibly a gap in the market for the smaller breasted woman - and for good bra fitting in general !

wizzler Mon 03-Sep-12 21:06:27

I go to an independent little shop, run by two ladies who have a tendency to fling open the fitting room curtain and crow " isn't that a lovely fit on her, Maude?"... it took me a lot of courage to be fitted there but now I don't go anywhere else. They simply refuse to sell you anything that doesn't fit properly!

Worst experience was in M&S... cowering in the changing room waiting for there staff to finish a conversation and come and fit me, and feeling i was interupting her ... gave up in the end and went back to Maude!

JugglingWithFiveRings Mon 03-Sep-12 21:08:54

Maude - and sister ?! - sound priceless grin

kaz0223 Mon 03-Sep-12 21:10:14

I always went to M&S for bra fitting until some one recommended me to a small shop in a local town. The women asked me what size bra is was wearing and without even measuring me she said I was wearing the totally wrong size. I went from wearing a 36C to a 34F. You can imagine my husbands joy when I said I was actually wearing an F cup even though my breasts hadn't got any bigger than they were just the mention of an F cup made him smile!!!!

The lady in the shop never measured my properly until she had tried on various bras on. She was more concerned on how it fitted on my body rather than what size it was. I must say my bras are far more comfortable now.

Another tip I have been given is when putting your bra on bend over slightly and scoop your breast into the cup.

CelticOlympian Mon 03-Sep-12 21:16:36

WasLike many on this thread I have been badly fitted at M&S, was years back though. I used to wear a 36DD and be spilling out of the cups and the back would ride up. A family member works for M&S and once guesstimated me as a 38C.

Then, before my wedding, I went to Rigby and Peller, and came out a 32G! I usually wear 32-34 FF-G. I didn't even buy anything on that visit to R&P as they wanted me to carefully measure my wedding dress first, no hard sell at all. spent lots of time andshowed how to put a bra on properly- I think this is very important with bra fitting!

I've had a reasonable experience at Bravissimo too, had to go to buy emergency feeding bras after DS was born at 27 weeks. Fitter was very nice to me in my emotional state, but the stock was so limited. I was wearing a 32K and had a choice of one bra.

I have a Panache sports bra which I like very much but I find it comes up big, and I also need to do the racer back straps to get enough support. I like the Enell for support but it ain't pretty!

I think there is a serious lack of bra size SPORTY swimwear, have recently forked out for the Freya Active but would have liked more choice.

I buy my bras mainly online when I'm confident about size, but sizes do vary between brands and even styles. I'm losing weight at the moment, and when I finish I'm looking forward to getting professionally measured again, probably at Bravissimo as there is one close by and they have a good range. I have a lot of Freya because I love the bright colours but I'd like to branch out and try different brands.

I don't recall my first bra fitting but I do remember dreading fitting as a teenager. I think it's important to be very clear about what to expect- as a teen you need to know whether you'll be required to take your top off, I know some places don't ask you to and some do. I wouldn't bat an eyelid now but at 14 it's so embarrassing. It might be useful for teen magazines to do the occasional piece about it- maybe something to put in an advert?

I agree with what some posters have said about old fashioned ideas that DD is huge, and celebrity size dishonesty!
And you see so many pics of women in badly fitting bras! Showing those pics might be a good way to educate women at a fitting session. Or what about before and after pics? I know I looked about two stone lighter when I got a decent bra!

I am evangelical about good fitting bras. I'm a 32DD, and that's really not that big. No worries with gaping buttons on shirts or anything. I really wish that shops stocked more 30 back sizes, I think lots of women are actually smaller than a 32, but it's so difficult to buy them, and until women get fitted properly there won't be the demand.

I have been fitted in M&S (rubbish), John Lewis (good), House of Fraser (tried to squash me into a really uncomfortable 30 back confused), and Bravissimo (good, but confused that I was already wearing the right size grin).

I think once you know what a good bra fits like, and how to put it on properly (do up at back, lean over, scoop boobs up into cups etc), then you can fit yourself adequately.

Saw a great blog post recently about Christina Hendricks, but I can't find it sad.

Reggiee Mon 03-Sep-12 21:22:24

If there is one item in my wardbobe I spend money on, it's my bra. I'm fitted by a local (independent) who knows your size just by looking at you, then insists you try on. Fabulous place, and was great throughout pregnancy and whilst bf.
Very, very different to fittings in my youth at the usual high street stores - M&S and Debenhams were always the worst. They seemed determined to measure me at 36C/D when infact was around 30/32 FF/G.
I will always recommend anyone to get fitted at a specialist not on the high street.
Don't remember my first bra. Suspect it was a hand me down from my flat chested sister grin

The worst bra fitting I ever had was at Mothercare. They got me to take off my bra and measured me over my clothes. They measured me up as a 44 C. I asked if they were joking - I was wearing a 36F at the time, but the woman was really snotty and said she would get me a 42 as that was the largest back she had.

Not surprisingly when I tried on a 42 C it was loose around my body and my boobs didn't fit in at all. What a waste of time.

I've been fitted in M&S, but never found their Bras to be very good at supporting larger cups sizes.

The second best ever fitting was at a factory shop in Desborough, where the fitters did a really good job at helping you find the right bra to fit you, but they still relied a bit on using a tape measure.

The best ever fitting involved no tape measures whatsoever and was with the most amazing bra-fitter I've ever had. It was at Debenhams in the Trafford Centre in Manchester. Sadly when I went back the bra dept seemed to have gone, but its still worth mentioning.

She took a look at me and went to get a load of bras. She had me try a lot of them on and made sure that the back was very firm and didn't move and the cup sizes were just right. She took her time - and in the end it was worth it as I spent over £100 on bras - and finally found that in full cup styles I was a 36H and in balcony styles I was a 38G. I came away with a selection of Bras in the right sizes and they've lasted me very well - two years and counting!

The only problem I have is that finding H cup bras is a sodding nightmare and cheap bras that you can buy in ASDA and Tesco for example just don't have the quality of materials to support the larger cup sizes. Because of this I'm always happy to pay for a good quality, good make of bra, as I've found it a false economy to do anything else. It is a pain that I can't go into a high street store and easily get a 36H as it means I have to rely on the odd trip to a bigger city or mail order, which doesn't really work either as you need to try a bra on to really find out whether it looks good on you or not.

BombusBombus Mon 03-Sep-12 22:35:45

<hopes M & S read this>

TooImmatureTurtleDoves Mon 03-Sep-12 22:37:07

La Senza sucked - just as well they've gone bust, they deserved to.

M&S kept me waiting for ages but did (I think) eventually fit me in the right size of sports bra.

Jenners in Edinburgh kindly fitted me for a Shock Absorber sports bra and weren't even miffed when they turned out not to have the right size in store and I decided to order it online instead.

An independent store was very good at flogging me expensive Hot Milk bras when I was 34 weeks pregnant and just wanted something pretty. 2 of them fitted perfectly and the third went funny in the washing machine, which is not the shop's fault.

Mothercare were beyond crap and I'm still fuming 5 months on. When my daughter was about a month old I went into Mothercare to get some more nursing bras. I spent bloody ages wrestling with the bra display, trying to find a 34FF or G in the colours/styles I liked. Failed. I spent at least 15 minutes trying to find bras, with my husband alternatively helping and walking DD around the shop to keep her quiet. Eventually, much ruffled, I got a couple and tried them on. They didn't fit particularly well but there was absolutely no one about to help. I picked a packet of two that had fitted reasonably well, and went to pay. The woman at the till went 'oh, are you sure you've got the right size? Do you want help with the fitting?' angry Too little, too late. There was no bloody way I was traipsing back into the fitting room by that time.

I had an interesting experience in Bravissimo. I went in to be fitted at about 4 months pregnant. I explained to the girl that I was pregnant and she fitted me in 2 bras at a 30E, I think. I thought they seemed very tight but she assured me they would be fine. They weren't - they were agonisingly painful and I would get home from work and rip them off and scratch my boobs raw. I mentioned this experience on a Mumsnet thread a few weeks later, and lo and behold, I got a message from Bravissimo Customer Services apologising and asking me to email them elaborating and telling them which store and the name of the fitter. I was impressed by this and did email them, and I wound up with a fitting by the manageress, who replaced my bras free of charge (in a 34FF), even though I had worn and washed the originals. So kudos to Bravissimo customer service. I've been back since and will be going again when I stop breastfeeding and can afford new bras!

RedKites Mon 03-Sep-12 22:41:11

I've not had the best experience with bra fittings, but am reasonably happy to try things on myself. However, my cup size only seems to be going up, and the range available on the high street seems to be going down. I'm expecting DC2 and estimating I'm going to be about a J cup when my milk comes in.... I guess I'm going to have to order online and hope for the best.

Jux Mon 03-Sep-12 22:42:58

My worst bra fitting was when I was in my mid-20s. It was a very long time ago and I'm not sure there were many professional fitters then; I'd never heard of anyone going for one!

This was an elderly woman who was represented as a genius. However, I didn't actually wear a bra very often and went along in a t-shirt and no bra. She was very unhappy about this, didn't want to measure me, didn't really want to have anything to do with me. She pointed me in the direction of some bras, muttering about what sizes I could try, but I was so upset and embarrassed that I left the shop with nothing.

The best was at blush M&S. This is because I have never had one anywhere else, and only had this one about 6m ago., and only because dd needed to be fitted, so I thought two birds with one stone. The woman was lovely - elderly, experienced, intelligent and very helpful and informative. She told me that I shouldn't really have underwires any more, but their range didn't include bras without, so I should look elsewhere too (I haven't yet).

AFAIK we don't have a Bravissimo, or anything like it in Exeter. We're getting a JL soon though!

BikeRunSki Mon 03-Sep-12 22:44:36

The worst bra fitting I ever had was from JojoMamanBebe for a nursing bra, at 38 weeks pg. Pre pg I was 36D. They told me I was 34C, which would give me room for expansion. It was tiny, it really didn't fit, but in my heavily pg state I beleived the "fitter" and bought it. I didn't wear it for long. Conversely, in my next pg, I called out the NCT bra fitting service, who were excellent and fitt3ed me in the comfort of my own home so I didn't have to go out feeling dreadful, whilst my 2 yo slept.

I just ignore M&S when looking for bras now, as their sizing is so different to the rest of the world and I really can't be bothered to get measured especially by them just to get one of their mediocre bras. They never have any styles I love anyway.

I love John Lewis and their fitters, very discrete and professional. I live in the countryside and so loads of shopping on line, but John Lewis and bra fitting are one of my few reasons for dragging myself and children to our nearest city (Sheffileld ).

hellymelly Mon 03-Sep-12 23:05:21

I've found it really hard to get fitted well. Fenwicks on Bond St were good, a small independant shop in Cardiff when i was a teenager was better. Rigby and Peller were terrible, particularly when I was pregnant.
I am also confused by postings on here that say you just measure under the bust and that is your size now, rather than adding the 4-6 inches. That would make me a 26, a 25 pre-babies, rather than the 30(FF) which I wear and which fits fine.
My first experience of bras was going into shops and being told every time that I would never get one to fit (I am 48, in those days even a 32 was almost unheard of unless it was an A cup).I had to buy big bras and alter them with my sewing machine, or by hand. I badgered M+S for years to make smaller backs with big cup sizes, after Fantasie had started taking off, but each time customer services would tell me there was, and I quote "no demand".....!!!!!

StellaNova Mon 03-Sep-12 23:25:39

I also find M&S bra fitting shocking, for years I was down as a 36C and the bras would sag and droop - I went to Bravissimo, suddenly became a 32E or something, and couldn't believe how great my clothes suddenly looked. The way the bras actually came in in the middle and didn't just stretch across my cleavage leaving a massive gap underneath was a revelation. Yes, you have to shoehorn yourself into them, but I do think that is because they are actually offering support.

And the way the fitters are aware that not all bras will suit you and go and choose the best ones for you. Brilliant.

SirBoobAlot Tue 04-Sep-12 00:11:56

Best fitting I ever had was Bravissimo, they were lovely, friendly, made you feel at ease - and frankly, I couldn't stop checking my own norks out afterwards grin I also like Anne Summers bras, not just their sexy ones, but they have a fantastic range of normal, nice bras. They are comfy and last well.

Best advice I was ever given was to lean forward slightly after you've put your bra on, and lift your breasts into the cup fully. Again, from Bravissimo.

I can't stand the way your boob size changes from shop to shop - you have to almost get remeasured in each place to make sure. That's infuriating. Please, tell me what size I am and stick to it. I'm busy, I haven't got time to remember seven different sizes, dependent on what shop I'm in.

Worst service I ever had... Hmm... Debenhams once, when the woman just looked so bored it was obvious she'd rather be anywhere else. Though very bottom of the list goes to La Senza, who have recently stopped doing above a D cup. Went to get measured, was informed of this, and told if I lost some weight, they'd gladly fit me hmm Their bras fall apart anyway so no big loss.

Read a few times about measuring yourself and doing your own fittings, but as I;ve said about, every shop seems to be different, so have never trusted that really. Will be watching the video out of curiosity though.

I've changed size and shape so much over the last few years, with pregnancy, loosing baby weight, breastfeeding... Having a decent bra makes such a difference. I can't wear jeans because I can't have pressure on my abdomen, so a good bra is one of the things I can do to actually improve my appearance slightly.

Off to check out website now!

mumnosGOLDisbest Tue 04-Sep-12 02:10:43

i got my first bra with friends. we tried lots of different sizes untill we found one that fitted. we'd have been far too embarassed to have a fitting.
nowadays i do get fitted bit have yet to find a decent fitter or bra. my worst fitting was after my 3rd dc being fitted with huge Nude coloured bra. it was only a 36D but looked like something my nan would wear. more recently ive been struggling to find a bra that i don't wobble out of.
The best advice ive been given is to wear a new bra as tight as possible as they always stretch and get looser.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Tue 04-Sep-12 04:00:46

After I had dc2, I went and got fitted for a couple of nursing bras at Mothercare. They were never comfortable and eventually, last month I went to Bravissimo and got fitted again by eye by one of their fitters. It was amazing. I had been wearing totally the wrong size for ages (wrong band and completely wrong cup size).

I literally went home and threw all my old bras in the recycling bag immediately. I look like I've lost half a stone instantly and my back ache has gone. My (new) size is a complete nightmare to get (36GG), but Bravissimo have a decent range, and I can order online.

sybilfaulty Tue 04-Sep-12 07:04:19

Best advice - to "fall" into your bra once done up and rearrange the boobs in the cups. Once you stand up, voila!

Also when fitting your bra should be snug around the band (on the loosest setting) as it will stretch a little with wear / washing, so if it is relaxed when you buy, it will be too big shortly. New bras always feel tighter as you easily get used to relaxed feel of a worn bra.

jimswifein1964 Tue 04-Sep-12 08:51:23

Reading this thread, I need to go and google the nearest Bravisimo!

My size has fluctuated so much over the years, I'm probably never in the correct bra.However, the best one I've had in recent yrs has actually been from La Senza. There is only one style that fits me well from there, but I stick to it. However, the branch by me has gone sad

Bra shopping is a trauma if you dont have a helpful fitter, just from the sheer volume you need to try on.

HoopDePoop Tue 04-Sep-12 09:42:05

'Down a back size, up a cup size' is the advice I'd give anyone, really. The smallest back size you can comfortably wear, and a cup size that you probably think sounds huge, and you're on track.

I'm a 30C, nightmare to find.

Have only ever been fitted in M and S as a teenager, have just worked out my size myself since. I still buy from M and S as it's local to me and prices are ok, I wear thwr t-shirt bras - but I wouldn't use their measuring - would only feel confident somewhere I perceive as specialist like Bravissimo, Rigby and Peller etc. I have heard MNers say John Lewis are good at fitting though.

I like TK Maxx for good brands at bargain prices and surprisingly often in my size.

Caerlaverock Tue 04-Sep-12 10:53:57

i got married when dd was 8 months old so had humungous jugs. i wanted a good underwire bra after months of slinging them around in a nursing bras. john lewis couldnt fit me so they sent me to a local independent shop. two gorgeous old ladies fitted me into the best bra i had worn ever and some control underwear. so on my wedding day i looked like a film star instead of a barrel in a dress.

worst advice marks and spencers always

I finally got a properly fitting bra a few months after dd1 was born. I went to Bravissimo and it was great. I think the best advice was going down a back size because it's the back that holds everything in place, not the straps. It was my first fitting and was a really good experience. I'm hoping that my dd's will have their bras properly fitted but I have no idea where to take them while they're smaller than the sizes Bravissimo do.

I find it quite difficult to find bras that fit though. Firstly, my size (34FF) isn't available in a lot of shops. Secondly, lots of brands don't fit me. I don't know how M&S make their bras but NONE fit and they're nowhere near comfortable. I find Freya best but the style does make a difference so I'm even limited within their range. I tend to look for stuff in the sale because larger bras are so expensive. Plenty of high street shops & supermarkets have your typical 34C bras at about £5 but Freya bras in my size are around £30.

Fave places for bras are Debenhams (Freya bras in the sale), Leia (online) and Bravissimo (if i'm feeling rich!).

missorinoco Tue 04-Sep-12 11:18:36

In my voluptous pre BF days I used to trubdle around in 36A cups as fitted by M and S, measured on several occasions. I wandered into a lingerie shop, where the lovely assistant took one look at the sizes i was choosing, politely asked if she could measure me, and turned me into a 32/34C.

I liked Bravissimo in the days when I was a C cup.

You are reminding me I need to be remeasured. Will try John Lewis or Debenhams.

First Bra fitting, I pulled some of my sister's old ones on, found they fitted, some were even too small, and that was my introduction into the world of bras. The peril of being a second child.

ScienceRocks Tue 04-Sep-12 11:59:16

What's the best (and worst) piece of advice you've been given?

That you are the same size in every brand and style. Absolute cobblers.

Do you have your bras professionally fitted, or do it yourself in store or at home?

Have been fitted a few times.

Do you find fitting/measurement varies between different stores? If you've never been for a bra fitting in a store, why? What would encourage you to go?

Yes, it varies hugely. Rigby and Peller were excellent, and were not at all sniffy when I didn't buy anything straight away. Selfridges were also very good and spent a long time getting different styles and sizes for me to try. Macys in NY was the same, very good indeed. I have tried M&S twice. The first time I was told I didn't have an appointment, the second time (when I did) was awful. House of Fraser wasn't much better. Mothercare was shockingly bad.

What about your first bra fitting - do you remember it as a positive or negative experience? Do you have a DD you might take for a fitting soon? If so, where do you think you'll take her?

My DDs are very young, but I would initially do it myself while they were still developing (using YouTube or similar) and then take them for a proper fitting a bit later. I think I would try and tie it into some kind of occasion, so would take them somewhere like Rigby and Peller or Selfridges.

Also, how easy or difficult do you find shopping for bras? Where are your favourite places to shop? Is your size readily available, or do you have to travel far and wide to find the right bra? How confident are you that you're wearing the right size?

I hate bra shopping as my size seems difficult to find (I'm quite small). I can only seem to find bras that fit properly in two brands (Triumph and Wacoal, can't afford Rigby and Peller), anything else hurts or just doesn't fit correctly. I live near a big shopping centre so I can find what I need, but I have very few bras and could do with more. I sometimes buy on Ebay if they are new and with tags and I am confident about the brand, size and style. I am confident when I'm wearing the right size as anything else feels wrong.

Debs75 Tue 04-Sep-12 12:04:57

DD1 struggles with bras, she is currently a 34F/FF.
She has risen a cup size every 6 months or so since she was first fitted at BHS 4 years ago. We soon had to stop going there when she got to a DD cup. Even though she no longer fitted in their ranges they were really helpful and told us good shops to go to to get pretty teenage styles for her size. We then started at La Senza and they did us well, very good at fitting and really trendy pretty bras for a teenager, unfortunately they now only stock up to a D cup so we have now been forced to internet shop or go to Debenhams.

It is hard to measure accurately at home, although it shouldn't be as we use a tape measure like the shops do. I too found it hard to work out when she is in the middle of sizes and whether to go up a back size or up/down a cup size.

It would be helpful if different makes and styles of bras were all standardises so a 34 FF was the same whatever brand you bought.

For myself I found maternity bras horrendous to buy, especially from mothercare. Being overweight I have a large back size and the assistants would point blank tell me 'sorry we don't have anything that large' I am only a 40/42" back size and a D/DD cup but I was made to feel like a heifer! Debenhams was the only place I could get a larger maternity bra and they were great with the fitting and made sure I was comfortable in it. I really need to get a new one as I have had the same 2 for 2 years now and they have probably lost all support but as I am losing weight I don't want to splash out on something just yet.

Evans are also good with fitting. I got a multiway bra from there, after Debenhams telling me they don't make multiways over a 38" as they won't support you if you are too big. Strange how one day you get good info and the next you don't. Evans had back sizes a lot higher than 40" and it is one of the most comfiest bras I have ever worn. Very nice assistant as well helped with the fitting

I have had some good fittings, and some blooming awful ones. Generally, the awful ones involved a tape measure! I want to be fitted for a bra, not measured and told a size

Like many, bravissimo have been head and shoulders above the rest for me, I've been to several branches and always had a good service. interestingly since we got a bravissimo, both debenhams and john Lewis seem to have changed their approach. Mothercare were awful. Tried to put me in a 40 back when I was never more than a 32 even full term. M&s rely on a tape measure too much in my opinion- I don't necessarily object to using a tape to get A Starting point-especially if the existing bra is very bad- but it should only be a basic guideline and should then have a full fit done by eye/feel.

I'd also like to see better fitting/measuring advice online as the number of major websites which persist in showing outdated add 4inches charts is appalling.
Marks are a personal bug bear because they advertise as being fitting experts when they are frankly awful. Any bra they have told me to buy has always fitted very badly, either hugely loose in the back or far too small in the cup.

Worst advice is definitely add inches, best is the lovely lady in bravissimo who taught me how a bra should actually fit-this meant I was able to judge for myself rather than going by labels when there are such big differences between brands.

CatPower Tue 04-Sep-12 12:30:31

The worst bra fitting I ever had was in M&S. I was sixteen, busty, and overheard the fitter telling her colleague I was "disgusting... a 38D at her age...". I left the shop and didn't get fitted again until I was 22. What a revalation THAT was! Again, as others have said, Bravissimo saved me from grey swinging-around-my-stomach style bra hell. At that point I thought I was a 40F - an hour in with Bravissimo and I found out I was actually a 36H! My new bras were comfortable, supportive and PRETTY - something I never thought I'd get to say about my bras. Seven years on, Bravissimo is still the only shop I'll buy bras from, and nine times out of ten they're Panache Superbras in as many colours as I can afford. Love them.

KatieMorag Tue 04-Sep-12 12:36:55

I only get fitted and buy at bravissimo. I've had very bad experiences at M&s, John Lewis , debenahms and Mothercare, similar to those other posters have mentioned. Also I'm a 30f and many stores don't stock my size.

Panache bras generally don't fit me as the wires are in the wrong place. They seem to assume that f cup wearers are big everywhere, so the wires come up too high at the sides and front. Sometimes I get red marks from the bras just trying them on

Freya generally work better for me. Although I've had some good under wired bikinis from panache

Lizzzombie Tue 04-Sep-12 13:11:01

Yay! I love a good bra-fit thread!
I am a bra fitter.
Worked at Bravissimo for 2 years, Mothercare for 5 years and recently started at Debenhams.
LOVE my job.
LOVE helping women find the perfect bra for them.
LOVE educating them so they know what to look for when shopping for bras in the future.

HATE the stories about M&S. I have so many women come to me who have been incorrectly fitted by them. I'd love to know how they can justify it, when they hold in store other sized bras which would fit the customers better. It flumuxes me!

Panache bras are fabulous. Their Superbras are the "Ronseal" of the bra world. I swear they change womens' lives! Can't recommend them enough.
Women of a certain size need decent support and still want bras which are vaguely attractive. Panache bras knock the spots off other brands in this area.
Support wise, they are the BEST.

I urge all women to get properly fitted by a nice bra lady (like me), the experience is not scary and can be so positive.
smile (o) (o) smile

(happy boobs!)

ps. I am a 32 H but you'd never guess...Because I wear the right sized bra I look in proportion and not top heavy.

Bert2e Tue 04-Sep-12 13:31:27

My worst fitting service has been in M&S where they measure me, find the bras in that size don't fit and then tell me that either they do - when they obviously don't - or tell me they don't have anything for me. My best fitting experience was with a lady of a certain age in JL who told me she was trained by Berli years ago and could also do corsetry. She fitted my maternity bras for me and was fab. I've also had good service in La Senze - I don't know if it was the fact that it was an old Contessa store that helped. I hate bra shopping as I struggle to get them to fit - I'm a 34 D/DD. I know the La Senza Ultra Mesh bras fit and I've got a stock pile but I'd love to have some pretty bras but I can't face the shopping. I also agree with other posters that I don't want padding in all my bras - I'm big enough already thank you!

Hi there,

I've never been for a bra fitting. I think the main reason for this is shyness, and I'd rather soldier on and find bras that fit me. On that note however, that's obviously ridiculous behaviour as I really hate bra shopping...not only do sizes vary between brands, they seem to vary between different styles of the same brand. So I usually load myself up with an armful of bras to try, usually in a few sizes, and then go through the soul destroying process of trying all them on, only to find maybe one or two that actually fit.

And don't get me started on strapless bras- never found a comfortable one that stays up!

MissRee Tue 04-Sep-12 15:56:11

I hate bra shopping with a passion. They're ridiculously overpriced and I can never find a comfortable fit, even after having had a fitting sad

I wear a 36G but they ALL dig in under my arms, some don't fit properly in the cup (but next size up too big) and I always have too much "bounce". I feel like I should wear a sports bra at all times but even they aren't comfy! It's definitely got worse since giving birth in Jan!

lynniep Tue 04-Sep-12 17:14:47

My step-mum 'fitted' me for my first bra. She was totally wrong - probably because she's never needed to wear one herself, and I was wearing entirely the wrong size (38B) until I was probably about 19. I had a bra fitting at M&S, but she size she told me I was, was completlely useless for me since none of the bras she brought for me were comfortable. For many years after this I wore either a 34C or a 36C depending on the bra and what felt comfortable. I very much need a fitting now as i've put on weight, but can't quite bring myself to get fitted...

hk78 Tue 04-Sep-12 17:59:44

I've only ever had one bra fitting, so I can't say what was the 'worst'. It was in Debenhams, when I was pregnant (so many moons ago now) and it was great. Like most people, it turned out I had been wearing the wrong size and needed smaller back/bigger cup.

I bought one bra from them and it was great, so comfy, but at £19 all those years ago I couldn't do that very often.

for cheaper ones, I like the George/Asda range for bigger boobs, I find them pretty good for the price.

This thread has got me thinking, time to go for a fitting I think, as I haven't had one in this century grin

Would love to win this voucher though, I am waaaaay over a D and am about ready for some lovely new undies.

forcookssake Tue 04-Sep-12 18:16:03

My worst bra fitting experience was in M+S actually, which was so surprising as (at the time) I thought they were trusted and competent.
I was grabbed and held in ways I was not expecting by the assistant confused and ended up with a bra that was really quite uncomfortable angry

HumphreyCobbler Tue 04-Sep-12 18:51:56

My best bra fitting experience was in Debenhams when I went in a 36E and came out a 32FF. I had a totally fantastic new shape smile.

My best bit of bra advice came from SorrelForbes (see above thread) when she told me to scoop my boobs properly into my bra and I eliminated my back fat immediately.

I cannot believe that no bra fitter had ever told me this before.

aristocat Tue 04-Sep-12 19:18:02

My worst experience was also in M&S (so many of us shock) ..... for starters there was no fitter immediately available so I had to make an appointment for later that day. Then I was left with a handful of bras and none which felt comfortable. I must say this was a few years ago.

Then last year I went to Debenhams for a fitting after losing weight and came away with a new size and 2 comfortable bras. The fitter there was brilliant. I was also told to 'scoop' into your bra smile

DD is just starting to develop and I will definitely take her to be measured when she needs a bra. She is still only 8yo ATM. It will be a lovely experience for both of us.

CrunchyFrog Tue 04-Sep-12 20:19:13

Worst ever was in Mothercare.

The (youngish) woman was clearly terrified in case my lactating boobies exploded or similar, so she held the tape measure several inches away from me, you know, just to be safe.

She proudly announced that I was a 52D, and that they did not do that size.

I got fitted in Bravissimo after that. 38F, actually. grin

Best fitting is my little local independent, the women who work there are wonderful, all done by eye. I go about 3 times a year, as I'm losing weight so the size keeps changing.

I'm desperately trying to convince my sister that she is not a 36D, as she was told in M&S. More like a 32F!

TalHotBrunette Tue 04-Sep-12 20:33:20

My first bra fitting was a revelation - I had graduated from the 32aa vest/first bra type things to wearing my mums 36c castoffs and found out I was actually a 32f. The lady advised me to tighten my bra straps to maximise my cleavage - I've never looks back!

Maternity bra fitting was not great, went to M&S and queued ages for a very rude lady to measure me and then offer me a choice of two, pretty grim looking bras.

After my first pregnancy I learned that of I meant forward in a bra and it gaped that the cup size was too big - thank you La Senza.

I've developed definite brand loyalty - La Senza and Gossard do awkward sized boobs at great prices - if you are over a DD but still petite then the high street is not your friend. I've been laughed out of Topshop before...

Wonder bra created the Ultimate, the only strapless bra which has ever been worth my time as a big boobed petite lady.

Buying a supportive bikini in a decent sized cup is a nightmare unless you are splashing out on Freya or similar.

Ultimo seem to think that boobs are much further apart than they actually are. Most bras I try on there make me wonder wtf is going on.

Bravissimo is frumpy an their clothes are middle aged. 26 year olds have big boobs too, you know!

I should go and get measured after dc2. My boobs are (I think) the same size but the shape has fallen and what I really need is advice but I'm not sure where to get it. I'd be embarrassed to ask an assistant who is probably just as clueless as me and is in the middle of rearranging stock or serving customers or something how to make my saggy chest look good in my clothes grin. I need somebody expert and approachable.

Sorry for the ramble, I'm probably no help!

TalHotBrunette Tue 04-Sep-12 20:35:49

Apologies for the appalling typos, I'm doing bedtime and on a mobile phone!

Looked, leant, if etc

MaeMobley Tue 04-Sep-12 20:55:36

I always go to Rigby and Peller for my bras but am always horrified at the price.

I love the fact that they look at you rather than measure you and that they properly adjust the straps, etc.

Wearing a properly fitting bra gives me a better silhouette and makes me look thinner.

I always get fitted for bras at Bravissimo at the moment because after 2 pregnancies, weight gain, now trying to lose weight etc, I've been a different size every time for the last several years.

Wore 34E for years on the basis of my first fitting, which was at Allders (do they still exist?) - after years of my mum guessing the size for me, it was enlightening to get a proper fitting! It always used to be hard and expensive to find large sized bras, but the choice has increased a lot in the last few years. Still expensive though. Lucky to have a local Bravissimo now, which helps a lot. Before was M&S or John Lewis.

I'm currently wearing a Panache bra - it looked pretty flimsy so I was amazed by the support. Had a few problems with wires digging in at first, but has settled down now. I always have to tug the backs down because they ride up.

Worst ever bra fitting was in Mothercare for maternity bras. Awful advice, awful bras, no support at all. Underwired maternity and nursing bras were a godsend in my first pregnancy, but most places don't even know they exist. In my second pregnancy I wore non-wired sports bras, but they were very high cut and showed under a lot of clothes.

HoopDePoop Tue 04-Sep-12 22:50:33

Well inspired by this thread I have bought 3 new bras! Sorry Panache they are M andS but as a 30C you can get some huge bargains in sales - all 3 were a fiver each reduced from £22.50! smile

I did go to the Panache site first, well Figleaves as they have 20% off Panache atm but apparently my boobs aren't big enough. <skulks off thread>

Hummymummy Tue 04-Sep-12 23:34:33

My worst experiences have been at M&S where the range of sizes recommended is quite impressive. I have had better fitting at Bravissimo and John Lewis. I don't have a choice of fitting services locally but sometimes travel with work so try to arrange a fitting / measuring then. Once measured I order similar products online since no-one sells E/F sizes locally.

My daughter has started to wear a bra and is at the age where she is very embarrassed about being fitted etc. I had no choice but to take her to a local M&S but will certainly try to encourage her to go elsewhere next time we are near Bravissimo / John Lewis. I find the range of bras available for teens a bit disappointing and not very inspiring. I think we should do more to encourage them to get fitted properly from the start and there must be more stores could do to put them at ease and make the whole experience more enjoyable.

I often stick to the same brands after being fitted but Bravissimo offer advise on the sizing of their products over the phone which can be helpful. I never thought I would buy the same product over and over but have found the Tango Plunge an absolute favourite and have it in many colours. Before my first proper fitting at Bravissimo I had never worn a plunge bra because I had never found one that seemed to fit properly. And I have to say that the Panache bra sized swimsuits seem to be the only ones available with a decent length of body, many swimsuits cut me in half. I love Panache bras and bikinis too! yes I'm a fan!

Since getting properly fitted myself and feeling so much better, I've persuaded many friends to make the effort to get a proper fitting with positive results also.

My favourite store (online retailer) is definately Bravissimo.

CelticOlympian Tue 04-Sep-12 23:55:25

I thought of something else... I can't bear my boobs flopping about and wear a bra in bed ( underwired). The first manufacturer to make comfy, reasonably priced, soft cotton sleep/ round the house bras will get my custom.

EllenParsons Wed 05-Sep-12 00:16:15

The first time I went for a bra fitting was at M&S and I remember it as a negative experience. They tried to give me a 36 band which at the time I thought seemed really big and now today on the S&B forum here have I found out from a bra thread that M&S use some weird old fashioned method of adding 4 inches to your actual under bust measurement, which would explain it! Some of my friends have told me Bravissimo is the best, so maybe I will try there at some point.

flapperghasted Wed 05-Sep-12 07:51:49

All my fittings have been fairly poor. I did M&S in my mid 20's, the first time I'd been measured, and they told me I would fit into their largest cup bra, which at the time was a dd. It turned out I was a double E cup, so of course, it was like wearing stilettoes that were 2 sizes too small. I only found my real cup size when I went to Bravissimo. They were great, but even there, my combination of relatively small back size and enormous cup size meant that choice was limited and comfort was rarely obtained. I usually hae a choice of 3 or 4 bras and one of them will be the 'Doreen' bra that makes you think of Doris Day and pointy sweaters!

I pay as much for my bras as most people pay for a good quality shirt. I find that few bras fit perfectly, so I generally go with a 'good enough' fit. The problem I have is that the centre part of the cups rarely touches my body. I've tried all kinds of bras and found this to be the case. Even the lovely ladies at Bravissimo were perplexed by my shape I think!

Panache tend to be the softest bras I wear and, with the large straps, offer a greater degree of comfort than most. I have also started to wear support vests from M&S as they are really comfy for casual days. It's getting harder to do this as gravity takes hold though.

I have a daughter who is just blossoming and will not be taking her to M&S. I can't really take her to Bravissimo though as it's a long way from home and she doesn't want a big fuss making, so I'm guessing it'll be John Lewis for us.

If Panache are taking this data, can they please, please keep focussing on the bigger ladies? GG cups are hard enough to live with, but with ugly bras, it's truly painful buying lingerie.

Lougle Wed 05-Sep-12 10:48:10

"If Panache are taking this data, can they please, please keep focussing on the bigger ladies?"

Actually, it's really hard being small, too.

My first fitting was excrutiatingly painful at M&S. An old lady telling me my 'bra size' then yelling across the changing room to a colleague "We don't have anything THAT SMALL, do weeee?"

I was measured a 34B for breastfeeding, but the band was like a hula-hoop. At M&S again, so probably explains it.

Bra fitting is now associated so strongly with humiliation and embarrasment that I can only face it if I go on impulse, but of course most shops have an appointment system, which I can't face, so I just don't do it sad

KatAndKit Wed 05-Sep-12 11:42:54

I imagine it is just as hard to find decent stuff if you are small than if you are large. Panache is a make that seem to have concentrated on the Bravissimo sized market. If you are small framed as well as small cupped you are highly unlikely to be anywhere near a 34. I can still get in a 34 and I am a size 16 top. You should try bras that are a 30, or perhaps even a 28 if you are very skinny and go up a cup if necessary. Getting a snug fitting back size is crucial if your bra is going to be supportive and comfortable and give you a nice shape.

I have been measured on impulse in department stores before - perhaps try somewhere better than M&S, John Lewis for example.

If you find you are still a small cup when you have gone down to the correct back size, and shops are suggesting teenage styles to you, have a look at this website which caters for the smaller busted women out there

midoriway Wed 05-Sep-12 12:37:24

Best fitting experience ever was in Hong Kong many years ago. Locals swore by an old lady who had a small street stand, with boxes and boxes of bras. No fitting rooms, just piles of bras, almost falling on the footpath. Not feeling confident about buying a bra from a street market I went along anyway. She told me to take off my jacket, and stared at me for a little bit. Then, quick as a flash, she grabbed my boobs, felt around a bit, let go and disappeared into the back. She brought out 3 bras, shoved them in my face and barked "These good, 5 dollar each". Still in shock from my on street molestation, I handed the money over in a daze. I went back to the hotel, and tried them on. They were the best fitting bras I have ever worn, and I cried sad tears when they eventually died. I was in Hong Kong a few years later, and couldn't find her anywhere. She was like the bra fairy.

Sometimes I think if i bang my boobs together 3 times she will appear again, but nothing so far.

Will Panache offer this level of service?

hellymelly Wed 05-Sep-12 12:43:32

I want a bra fairy. envy

bluebean Wed 05-Sep-12 12:55:23

I was first fitted when I was about 16. It was a horrible, horrible experience.  The dragon proprietor of our local lingerie specialist measured me (probably correctly) as a 28FF declared that "you'll never find anything in that size" and proceeded to sell me a 32E full cup matronly white monstrosity. Ghastly in every respect. I wept.
Thankfully much has improved over the last 20 years, especially with the launch of Bravissimo. I've been measured there several times and they've always been lovely.  The choice of bras available has also improved, although I still struggle with my 28 back size and increasing cup size. Nursing bras are non-existent and even the best fitting offer little support and appalling shape. They are the single worst thing about BFing.
Recently I've been getting some really good advice from online blogs, in particular She gives great overviews of the main suppliers, explains shapes and structure of bras so that if you have one bra that suits you, it’s easier to find equivalents. The only bra I own that I actually like is the Cleo Francis (Cleo is a Panache brand that seems to offer slightly more fashionable styles). I own a few Panache Superbras, but the wide set wires really dig in to my sides by the end of the day. Thanks the BrasIHate blog I know how to bend the wires to alleviate that!  Once I've finished bfing DD2 I'll be splurging on lots of new bras, probably get a fitting in Bravissimo and then purchase from - much cheaper and more choice other big cup/small band suppliers such as Curvy Kate.
My DDs are still very young, but I think I'll probably help fit them myself when the time comes.  I'm confident enough in my knowledge of how a good bra should fit.  I shall, of course, avoid M&S like the plague!

Lougle Wed 05-Sep-12 13:19:45

Thank you kitandkat smile

Fillybuster Wed 05-Sep-12 13:24:10

My mother took me to John Lewis for my first bra fitting when I was around 12. At the time it was pretty embarrassing - when you're a (nearly) teen everything is - and the bras were all desperately ugly. The lady doing the fitting was in her late 40's and was openly discussing my fit with everyone else blushblush but she was excellent and friendly and I ended up building a fantastic, long-term relationship with her over the following 15 or so years. Until Pat retired, I wouldn't let anyone else measure me or recommend a bra!! She left around the same time as I discovered Bravissimo (I've been a 34DD/32E my entire adult life) who are also good, although not as good as Pat. These days I swing between John Lewis in-store for advice and fitting, and Bravissimo online....and tend to stick to the same 2 or 3 brands (Panache, Freya and occasional Bravissimo own-brand stuff).

Worst fitting experiences were jointly:

Marks & Spencer who told me I was a 38B when I was newly pregnant with dc1 (I'm 5'7", quite small across the back and have quite big boobs...only on Planet M&S does that translate into 38B shock !)


Bravissimo Cambridge (yes, really) who tried to convince me I am a 28G. I am so grin. They were determined to ignore the half-empty bra cups and huge amounts of flesh spilling around the strap across my back. Hardly attractive....grin

Generally, I trust Bravissimo online, I quite like John Lewis (but the range is a bit limited for bigger boobs) and I love browing the Selfridges underwear department when I have an hour free in the West End (all too rare an occurrance).

Lougle Wed 05-Sep-12 13:25:19

Interesting. Looking at the little women site, they use the +4/5 inches method. I entered 28" underbust and it's recommending a 32" bra.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 05-Sep-12 13:38:10

Lots of sites do that, even Figleaves last time I checked grin No wonder everyone is wearing the wrong size.

Worst experience:
M&S, the lady was very sniffy but measured me and decided that I was a 42B, but I'd need an A cup because the bigger back size made the cups overall bigger anyway. She announced this loudly to everyone in the surrounding area. And they didn't stock that size, sorry. I was actually a 36D.

Best experience:
Rigby & Peller who were lovely and the girl did a fantastic job with both wedding lingerie and a year or two later some underwired breastfeeding bras. She also explained what a well-fitting bra should look and feel like, as a result I am much more comfortable finding bras myself, and should I ever have cash time enough will willingly go back to them again.

jimmenycricket Wed 05-Sep-12 16:39:40

I LOATHE getting fitted for bras. I do go to Bravissimo because I've had bad experiences in M&S, bras which quite evidently do not fit being pronounced as 'fine' by the 'fitter'.

I'm a 32FF. It's quite hard getting bras to fit me and I also have a quite upfront boobs so there is little at the side, it's all upfront and personal, so bras don't tend to fit me unless they are a certain style but I've had numerous sales assistances try and steer me to popular styles - one even tried to sell me a wonderbra! grin

My first bra fitting was at a local dept store and I was nine. It was MORTIFYING. I suspect my daughter will be a bit more confident about things - kids seem to be these days and will not have to choose between white broidiere anglais or plain white cotton. But she's got a few years to go before then.

What I actually want, is to go into a bra shop, sit down, have a cup of coffee and have a computer look at my boobs and go 'right, these are the three bras which will look great on you' so I can just try those on at leisure, without having to go into some tiny sweaty cubicle with unflattering lights.

mignonette Wed 05-Sep-12 16:51:53

The best advice -

1) Take a lot of different sizes in different styles and buy the one that looks and fits the best. Every brand is different; sizing is no more than a vague guide.

2) Ensure you put your clothes back on and see what the bra looks like under them before you buy it.

3) Breast shape plays a part in what bra looks and fits the best. Wider backs with breasts that 'spread' more over the rib cage and a wider gap between them will suit a different bra than breasts with a narrower more defined cleavage. Have a 'wardrobe' of bra's according to the way you want your breasts to be shaped.

4) The roundest, most natural breast shapes are produced by seamless 'T' shirt bra's without any padding. I wouldn't 'cantilever' my breasts with a Balconnette style bra for work. I think it looks less elegant, less streamlined and not so professional. I wouldn't expect a man to wear padded pants that made his crotch bulge out and thrust itself at me whilst at work so why do some women display their breasts so fiercely?

And finally a plea to all bra makers - Please, please can we have more bra's that are not padded? Some of us detest these thick padded and cantilevered bra's that give such an unnatural shape and line under our clothing. More delicate, thin fabric please; pretty designs with lace and other luxurious fabrics are lovely but no more padding!

mignonette Wed 05-Sep-12 16:55:34

Celtic Have you thought of trying the 'Belvia Bra' which is advertised on TV?

Here it is. Not the most seductive but good for sleeping.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 05-Sep-12 16:59:50

So, good ladies, tell me, where do I actually start to work out my size - I know I am meant to take in a few different sizes. BUt if you don't add the five inches do I take the underbust size as the band size I should be?

brighthair Wed 05-Sep-12 17:02:15

Yep. I measure 33, and I wear a 32 or 34 band

Underbust in inches as band size, then each inch difference between band and overbust = 1 cup. VERY roughly, but gives a starting point.

bigTillyMint Wed 05-Sep-12 17:39:34

I, like most other MNers, have had terrible advice from M&S over the years.

I would like to know if you have any plans to make teen bra's in 26 back and/or larger cup sizes? There seems to be a real gap in the market for teen (ie NOT sexy-looking) bra's in small back but large cup sizes - C+ as I know several teens (including my DD) who need this!

Actually, Id just say 26s in general. I go down to a 28 when I am lighter, and that is me still being far form skinny. I fitted my niece recently and whilst a 28 was OK, a 26 would be better. There must be quite a lot of slender women who are wearing a 28 and it's still too big in reality.

CelticOlympian Wed 05-Sep-12 18:36:52

Thankyou mignonette I might give those a try. They look comfy.

mignonette Wed 05-Sep-12 18:41:44

In the USA you can get those Belvia type bra's in better colours- brights and less insipid pastels. Not sure if you can get them here but worth a try as they do look much better layered.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 05-Sep-12 18:45:17

So my underbust is 31, my overbust is 39. Using the adding 5 inches method I am wearing 36DD. Should I really be in 32 F or something???

CelticOlympian Wed 05-Sep-12 19:01:05

Try 30-32 FF-G. I made a similar change, you won't believe the difference!

I've never ever been measured sad

I did once book myself in to get measured at M&S but the lady booking the appointment was so dour faced that I couldn't bear to go through with it.

After giving birth I went to make a booking for Bravissimo but felt like they were making it really difficult and so ditched that too.

I use guesswork and I'm generally ok fitting, but I know I need to get fitted properly because it's sometimes uncomfortable and I dread buying new bras.

CheeryCherry Wed 05-Sep-12 20:30:12

I have never had a fitting.... Far too embarrassing, can't imagine ever having the courage to be prodded, poked and discussed! So I sort of guess, have tried to use online fitting guides. But I just use trial and error, buy them if they're comfy. Usually struggle to get my back size right. Have 2 teen girls....they've not had theirs measured...feeling an inadequate mum now.

KatieMorag Wed 05-Sep-12 20:31:48

A mothers place -I am 30.5 under bust and 36 over and I wear a 30F. I can not understand how you are just half an inch bigger than me but are wearing a bra 6 inches bigger! Surely if you took off your shoulder straps it would fall down? Doesn't it ride up at the back? confused

ToothbrushThief Wed 05-Sep-12 20:50:41

Getting a good fit: I know you are supposed to measure here and there ... but I know my size and buy that. It has gone up and down with life events and pies but I then buy up and down. I make sure 'waistband' doesn't leave squidgey flesh oozing out but is snug

Cups - nightmare! Certain styles fit and others are terrible. trial and error for me.

Best advice was to get waistband fitting well and buy a bigger cup. That was an little lingerie shop in Surrey and I bought Triumph and Charnos.

Worst - small lingerie shop in a seaside town that fitted a bra which left me almost unable to breathe and insisted that was a good fit. Stock levels very low and I suspect they didn't have my size!

Do you find fitting/measurement varies between different stores? Yes

What about your first bra fitting - do you remember it as a positive or negative experience? Neutral. Didn't find it distressing but wouldn't plan to do it that often. The shop in Surrey was brilliant -private yet attentive, good advice and tried and tried until we found perfect bras.

Do you have a DD you might take for a fitting soon? If so, where do you think you'll take her? Yes M&S

Also, how easy or difficult do you find shopping for bras? Horrid. Try on loads. I need a supportive bra and too many have elasticated straps - they look ok but will not give enough support. Bit of elastic.. yes but it needs to support

Where are your favourite places to shop? M&S - large one near me so lots to try on.

How confident are you that you're wearing the right size? Very

babsmam Wed 05-Sep-12 20:54:33

worst experience was mothercare for a nursing bra - they tried to tell me i was a 44F and i was actually a 36E. Also an independent who had no idea how to fit a nursing bra while i was still pregnant. she told me to wear the bra on the tightest setting then make it looser and bigger after i had the baby. she got rather shirty when i pointed out my ribcage would shrink after i had my baby and become narrower so surely my bra would need to get tighter?

Best experience nct bra fitter and royce bras.

none pregnancy related Debenhams

NinthWave Wed 05-Sep-12 21:01:13

Am currently a 34GG and have spent a fortune on bras over the years. Best advice I had was from an amazing fitter at Bravissimo, who spent ages with me, showing me how to lean forward into the cups so that all the breast tissue under my arms was in the cup rather than squashed under the band.

She also showed me that a tight band may feel uncomfy at first, but is essential for supporting larger breasts and avoiding diggy-in straps.

NinthWave Wed 05-Sep-12 21:03:57

Also want to recommend the John Lewis fitters. I went for a nursing bra fitting when my first DS was 2 days old, and the woman was so, so lovely about my horrid saggy belly and enormous zeppelin boobs - I was mortified when one of my breast pads fell on the floor of the fitting room, but she was so kind that it didn't matter.

The worst fitting I've ever had was at M&S - on more than one occasion.

The most recent time I was going back to 'proper' bras after 18 months in a nursing bra, and 6 months before that in maternity bras. The woman fitting me was obsessed with the cup size, would only change that when the fit was right and wouldn't even consider that a smaller chest size with the original cup size would fit me better. It was very much the attitude that "I've had the training, not you, how could you possibly know what fits you or not". The single most awful way I've been spoken to in a state of half undress.

On the other hand, the best experience I had was a little independent boutique in my town. She picked out a load of different styles to show me the different effect they'd have on my boobs, different comfort levels etc. She showed me that different styles would require different sizes to get a comfortable fit that supported my boobs at the same time. I felt amazing during that fitting - I've never seen my chest look so good! I'd love to only buy my bras from there, but obviously being a boutique, I can't afford their bras ever on a regular basis grin

TheMysteryCat Wed 05-Sep-12 21:39:29

ever since pregnancy, i've struggled to know what size bra to buy. i've been fitted in debenhams and bought some very unflattering bras which were recommended because the were comfortable.

i've also used M&S and not been happy with what was recommended either.

bras for pregnant and breastfeeding women in both these shops were very ugly and unflattering. yes, they were comfortable, but never looked good under clothes.

I still have no idea how to measure a correct bra size!

rusmum Wed 05-Sep-12 21:54:54

Was measured at seven hams for a strapless for aweekend away! It was so tight I spend the weekend braless! And binned said , expensive bra!
That was my first and only fitting!!
I now try on until one feels right! Although I am now living in my genie bras blush. Desperately need fitting as I have no idea on my size now after a 3 stone weight loss grin

rusmum Wed 05-Sep-12 21:56:26

Debenhams lol

I find it difficult because I keep changing size - having babies, bfing, losing weight again. Then I get 4 different measurements from four different shops. My method in the last year or so has been to order lots of bras online and just try them all until one fits.

I must admit to being a bit sceptical about Bravissimo, wondered whether people like them because they effectively tell customers they're thinner than they thought they were and have bigger boobs than they thought they had. But I am cynical, and my Bravissimo bra was so uncomfortable I watched a play thinking almost solely of it rather than what I was watching.

Have decided to go to John Lewis for my next fitting; I've not been to them before and there seem to be a lot of good reports on here. The M&S bras I've tried seem to fall into two groups - comfortable but made for grannies, or prettier but torture to wear. My first fitting was of course M&S, I found it excruciating, but sure that was down to me!

My own size - anywhere between a 34C or a 32F apparently!

Apronlady Wed 05-Sep-12 22:31:19

Just reading the above post by mrsbugsywugsy.... I could have written this... my experiences were exactly as she describes. M&S = terrible (suggested 34C). Bravissimo = fantastic service (I was a 30DD!), now I don't go anywhere else, even though I know my size in certain styles if I need a new one I always go back to get fitted at Bravissimo. Love panache, (and some other brands specialising in "big" sizes)

I've never had a fitting - too shy when I was younger, by the time I was older and braver I was self-sufficient, ie hooked on Bravissimo! Teens and early 20s though we're spent wasting my lovely figure in 36DDs as that was as big a band size as I was prepared to entertain and as big a cup as M&S did. I'm 40, have had a child and wear a 32 band now, no way was I a 36 at 16! Needless to say the back rode up, the cups were too small and my boobs fell out of the bottom. Discovered Bravissimo pre-Internet, via catalogues, wore a lot of pretty but unsuitable bras that showed under plain t-shirts and didn't always fit that well, but were at least nice to look at! Never believed the thing about the band taking the strain until I finally found bras that DID fit, never would have worn anything padded ('big enough already, thanks') until I bit the bullet and discovered t-shirt bras are WELL worth a little more bulk. Understanding how bra sizes actually work has enabled me to fit myself through weight loss, going down two band sizes but keeping the cup letter the same.

What might make me get fitted would be if you, Panache, stopped producing the Porcelain bra, as that is all I wear. Please don't! Make more in fact, more lovely colours like my fabulous purple one.

Oh, and DD when the time comes - think I might do a 'secret shopper' and find somewhere local that can fit ME properly, and then take her there! It's either that or personal recommendations, and given the genetics and her build already, I suspect she will be one of the first of her peers to need a bra, poor sausage, so I may not have recommendations to go on.

zipzap Wed 05-Sep-12 23:44:45

I've had a bra fitting in JL that was OK but none of the recommended bras really looked right or felt that good - the worst bit about it was saying that I didn't want to buy any of them; the sales fitter seemed to assume that I had to buy something as I had had a fitting. Obviously - I wasn't going to as I don't see the point in buying something that was wrong - but it left me with an awkward feeling (never good when you are already feeling wrong-footed by being half naked in the store) but I won't be rushing back for another fitting. Mind you - probably won't be a problem as our JL has just been refurbished and they have swept away anything that looks like it might appeal to people over 50 or over a size 16. And whilst I am much closer to 40 than 50, I am more of a size 20 these days sad - they didn't seem to have any bras bigger than a 38E, which as loads of people have pointed out is not really that big if you are in a properly fitting bra.

So many questions - why - when they do stock bigger bras - are they nearly always in white - or black or flesh if you are lucky, but no pretty/sexy/classy/etc ones? Just because I've gone up a size or few doesn't mean I suddenly want to start wearing boring bras.

And why when they do the bigger back sizes, do they then stop doing the bigger cup sizes? Surely it is not rocket science to think that if people have put on weight and got larger around their rib cage, then they might have put weight on their boobs too and need a cup size bigger than a DD. If you look at the Debenhams shop by lingerie size chart you can see that they have JJ and K sizes in stock for 30-38 back size - but only up to a J for size 40, an HH for 42 and an H for 44. Maybe some of that is just because their big sizes disappear very quickly because there is high demand and not enough stock (which should be telling them a message in itself) BUT - it's a trend I see time and time again in lots of different shops and needs somebody to wake up and do something about.

I have had a reasonably good fitting recently though - in Debenhams. Lady measured me to start with but just as a starting point, and then used that to work out a set of several different sized bras to try on to see which was the best fit and to get a 'base' size. She then decided (and I agreed) that the shape was wrong - my boobs seemed to be pointing out to the side rather than forwards and I had no cleavage, so she then brought a new set of bras to try on, with a better shape for me. Added to that she knew her stock well so knew when to bring a slightly different size in one bra as it came up smaller/bigger than others typically. And I did end up buying a couple of bras that were both comfy and looked good. Plus she told me to hold off buying any more as if I came back in 3 weeks they were going to be having a sale so I'd be able to get them much cheaper which I think was nice of her!

Finally - a long ago fitting in M&S - the fitter had a gadget that she slipped under the shoulder strap to see if it fitted right or not... Seemed madness - no thought of looking to see if it was right or not, regardless of how it felt on - if the gadget said it was ok then it had to be. seemed to be a way for m&S to protect itself with minimum hands on needed to do a fitting.

I have only been fitted twice.#

First time was in mothercare for a nursing bra. I had delivered my twins prematurely and was told by the woman that she didn't know how to measure me for a nursing bra cos I should have done it 2-3 weeks before I had my babies hmm so she knew how to adjust the measurements

Second time I had been finished bf for 4 weeks and I only have vague recollections of a woman in M&S just doing it by sight.

I guess my third experience is the wonderful SorrelForbes and others on a thread over the last few days who have convinced me that I am not a 38A but more like a 32DD or 34D. I am off to Debenhams tomorrow to try and get a proper measuring.

I am nervous cos I don't know what to expect - bra on or off, tape measure, pure judgement and experience...knowing what to expect would have made me more likely to have done it before now.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Sep-12 09:36:10

tape measure usually equals WRONG. The best fitters will ask you what size you are currently wearing at look at that bra on you to see what is wrong with the fit. And then go by sight and trial and error until they get you in one which is perfect. You don't need to take off your bra, I don't mind changing bras while the fitter is in the cubicle but they will usually offer to wait outside if you prefer.

cartoonface Thu 06-Sep-12 10:27:42

i would say my experiences have always been average. i have been sold bras that seem to fit in the changing room but as soon as ive worn them a couple of times start to gap and bag in the cups! the worst bra i own is a freya one purchased from bravissimo, i thought they were supposed to be very good but actually are no better than anywhere else. i usually tend to fit myself now. but actually got measured 2wks ago in a house of fraser store. since id lost weight and hadnt had a bra that fitted well for a while i wanted to get a good one. they measured me as a 30 back and prob still a d cup. tried on several different brands some in which i seemed to need a dd or even e. some were too tight on the back others still huge! i ended up with a wonderbra which is perfect around my back but im not to sure if infact the cups are a little big. the assistant did check the fit, i had her check each bra i tried. i could find nothing perfect. i seem to be very inbetween sizes and since each brand and even style of bra fit differently it was hard to find some thing that fitted then throw in the fact that im a 28/30 back needing anywhere between a c-e cup its near enough impossible as not all bras come in those sizes. for instance i tried on a chantelle bra in a 30 back and it was big she advised me not to buy as would soon have stretched and be no good. why is the sizing so different its no wonder we spend most of our lives in the wrong sized bra.

Eek looking at some of the information on here there can't be a cat in hells chance I'm wearing the right size.

I was measured once in m and s which just involved them measurung me and telling me I was a 38B and the leaving me to it.

I've worn 38B for years though I've had comments about having biggish boobs I've always just laughed as 'I'm a B cup'. I've never thought to get measured in one of the shops specialising in bigger sizes as I didn't think I was.

However! I've just measured myself and I'm 33" underbust and 39" over. What kind of size is that likely to make me as starting point? I'm very confused!

KatAndKit Thu 06-Sep-12 11:37:51

34DD perhaps? 38 is rather a large back size these days, since the adding inches thing doesn't work anymore. As I have said upthread, I am a generous 16 up top and can still get in a 34 although 36 more comfortable in some makes. So unless you are a size 18-20 you are not so likely to be a 38 bra.

Flippityjig Thu 06-Sep-12 12:21:12

I have had a bra fitting a few times. I don't remember my first bra fitting but as my mum used to buy all underwear at Marks and Spencers I would imagine it was there!

I myself have been back to M&S for a bra fitting twice, I also was measured when pregnant with my third child at Mothercare and I went to Bravissimo for a bra fitting a year ago. I had been fitted at M&S six months before and M&S told me I was a size 36 DD. When measured at Bravissimo (weighing about the same) I was told I was a 34 FF! Whilst the bras I bought there in that size were snug they did make me feel more confident as I had more support and my clothes looked better. I have stuck with 34 FF since and find it comfortable, although I have now lost 10 lbs in the last couple of months and think I will need to be measured again soon. I will definitely go to Bravissimo again - aside from the fact that their measurement seemed right, they have more bras in my size for me to choose from, as I found the choice in M&S of D+ bras very poor.

Bladderama Thu 06-Sep-12 12:22:04

Hmm I admit that I have not been for a proper bra fitting since I was pg with my last DC and the reason is is that It is always wrong!
I know that I am an odd shape but store fitted bra's do not fit and I end up with the double bump where my breasts over hang the cups. I have tried mainstream stores (m&S etc) and private department stores but have currently lost faith.
Home fitting advice still does not seem to translate for me. I end up with a larger back size and smaller cup than I actually need which again I think is down to my shape.
I rely on my own judgement and trying things on, I only buy from two brands that cater for larger cup sizes.
I have recently taken my two DD's for their first bra fitting's and although the wait was long it was worth it. The bra's that they came home with were very well fitted and they have felt comfortable wearing them.
I was really pleased that they were not embarrassed and found the experience positive.
As far as how far to travel I over order on line and return the incorrect size bra's and stick to the two brands that I rely on and will continue to take my two DD's to the store for fittings.

I think perhaps I need a remeasure somewhere other than M&S then. I'm a 14 to 16 and the 16 is generally because I'm self concious if things are too fitted accross my tummy as I suffer from bloating from time to time. Trousers and dresses that aren't fitted round middle are generally a 14.

KatAndKit Thu 06-Sep-12 12:25:37

Don't bother with the "measure" bit - good fitters don't use the tape measure. They try bras on you and see if they fit or not. On bravissimos website they have a guide to how a bra should fit, might be worth a look so you know what a good fit looks like.

I measure 33.5 and 37.

I've just been measured in debehams at a 34C (i was wearing 36A).

I would say your measurements are 34DD, or possibly 32E. I only base this info on a thread I have recently lurked on. Check the threads I've recently been on and you'll find it.

I measure 31 and 41, given that I'm wearing a 36G which feels alright, I suspect Boux Avenue add 4/5 inches to the chest measurement. I don't want to buy any new bras until I'm finished losing weight though (lost 1 1/2 stone already, about the same still to go), but may have to get some interim bras unless I need somewhere to keep cash/keys etcgrin.

JugglingWithFiveRings Thu 06-Sep-12 13:05:36

Hey well done SpareTime - I'm not a massive fan of women dieting as it's so over-done IYKWIM - But ... 1.5 stone lost towards a 2+ stone target loss sounds like it deserves some thanks flowers ... or wine wine

I just stopped snacking and eating all the cake. I got a bit of a shock from the "global fat scale" thread when I found out my BMI was 38, I have it down to 34, aiming for under 30, but over a decent period of time so it stays off.
I wouldn't say I'm "dieting", just eating better, and changing my attitude to food.

Thanks for the advice KatandKit and Haunted. I think I shall investigate new bras!

JugglingWithFiveRings Thu 06-Sep-12 13:47:06

Sounds like you have absolutely the right attitude SpareTime - well done to you !

AnchorBun Thu 06-Sep-12 14:28:10

A tape measure has never been near me during a bra fitting. I go to Bravissimo and think they're fantastic. I'm now very confident in what constitutes a well fitting bra thanks to it being drummed in explained well over the years.
~ The band should sit flat all the way around, should not be raised at the back and not gape at the front, you should be able to slide two fingers underneath. The cups should not gape or give you four boobs. The straps should not cut in. etc!

First bra fitting was fine, was with my mum. The woman who fitted me was lovely, respected my shy, lest's get this over with attitude smile

I only shop in Bravissimo, always Panache bras too! wink

glub Thu 06-Sep-12 14:31:29

I've never been fitted - the thought of undressing for some random shop worker with a measuring tape seems completely unnecessary. i just either go into a shop i know does bras in a size and shape that fit me well (i like h and m), or i grab a few different sizes and see which one fits best.

when my daughter is old enough to need some support i will make sure we have a measuring tape and hope she'll let me help if she is unable to do it herself. but it's pretty straightforward isn't it?!

i hope i will have the presence of mind at the time to give her tips like use the widest hook when fitting so that if the fabric stretches you can tighten it up, that you can be one size in one style of bra but a different size in another...

i imagine it's like shoe fitting - they tell you your child's size but then you still need to try on a few pairs to find the one that fits the foot just right. so you might as well skip the professional measuring bit.

the one thing that would encourage me to get professionally fitted would be massive weight gain, a knowledgable, experienced fitter and a selection of bras in which the sizes had been standardised.

xxxkadzxxx Thu 06-Sep-12 15:47:57

I used to always have bra fittings from the age of about 14 when my breasts started to become larger. I stopped at the age of 16. My Nan had come into Marks and Spencers with me and treated me to over £100 worth of bras. I was over the moon with them and started to wear them the day after we got them but they began to dig into me in between my boobs and under my arm so much i was left with deep red marks which lasted for a couple of hours after i had taken the bras off. I took them back to the shop only a few days after i had brought them and as i was told i couldn't return them as they are underwear i had to prove they were faulty and what i was claiming happened was true. The manager took me into the changing room to prove to her what they done to me and so she could also check it was a fault with the bras and that i hadn't purchased the wrong sizes (even though i had had them fitted when we brought them.) The lady used the tape measure to measure me-even around my arms! She stayed in there throughout every bra change and made me feel really intimidated, she make my feel like i was a liar. She was very abrupt and wouldn't talk to me unless she was ordering me to do something. As the marks didn't appear until a couple of minutes of wearing the bra she make me stand there and wait until they came and it started to get sore. Eventually, she refunded them and unwillingly agreed they were faulty. I left the store crying due to how rude she was to me and how she made me feel so belittled. Since that day i haven't had a bra fitting. I would like to have one now out of interest to see what size i am but i dont really shop much in the stores which offer them anymore as i tend to shop out of the city nowadays. I agree that bra sizes come up differently with different brands and i dont like to purchase a bra without trying it on unless i have bras from the same brand already and i know i can rely on them. I have seen online guides to bra fitting on you tube which you can do your self and on lingerie websites there are guides but i dont know how much you can trust them! I just stick to my 34 or 36d/dd's whichever are in stock if i am buying online, if not i try them on in store!

purplemonstermum Thu 06-Sep-12 16:13:57

I have large breasts that have changed size a great deal over the years due to weight gain/loss, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and (once) a boob reduction. For years and years as a teenager and into my 20s I suffered humiliation after humiliation in bra shops - the 1st time I plucked up courage to be fitted in John Lewis I ended up in tears because they said, "Oh we don't stock THAT size in here!" M&S were hopeless too and I wore the wrong size for ages. It didn't help that my mum is also quite large chested and she had never been fitted correctly either so she couldn't help. eventually, when I was 30 or so I discovered Bravissimo. The 1st fitting I had there was revolutionary - they were lovely, didn't treat me like a freak and had lots and lots of pretty styles to choose from. I felt confident for the 1st time ever (and that was after the boob reduction - I was still a 30F). I have since found a few other independent bra shops that cater for my size (I am now 34HH) but Bravissimo is still my favourite and I often go in or order on-line for all my bras and swimwear. I have worn Panache bras in the past and I liked the shape. I think I am now confident enough to fit myself at home. I still see lots and lots of women in the wrong size bras and I have to fight the urge to approach them and tell them how to get properly fitted! It really annoys me that you can't buy large-sized bras easily e.g. in M&S.

dreamygirl Thu 06-Sep-12 16:43:55

There seems to be a lot of negative feeling towards M&S but I think they vary depending on the fitter (I know that's not good and it should be accurate across the board but I'm just saying some of them do know what they're talking about). I grew a lot in size after having DD2 and went from a pre-pregnancy 32B to 32E. However I was measured at John Lewis as a 34C and went around for years with a sagging chest. Finally I was measured by M&S and discovered I was a 32E (have since had this confirmed by an independent) and bras began to make more sense again!

I got my first bra in France whilst I was on an exchange. I think my mother was a bit awkward about broaching the subject so she hadn't done (even though I needed one), and whilst I was away my host mother was sorting some washing one morning and declared a couple of bras too small for her daughter and about the right size for me! It was such a lovely subtle thing to do and I'm very grateful to her when I look back (we're still in touch and she's been like a second mum to me in lots of ways, she even came with me to buy my wedding dress!)

lotsofcheese Thu 06-Sep-12 16:45:12

Best experience: Fraser's - a wonderful, experienced fitter, who just guessed my size by looking at me. She knew which brands & styles were more/less generous in size & found me the perfect fit. Even now, I still go there - plus Debenhams & Bravissimo - as the fit you properly -ie bending forward into a bra, adjusting straps, checking the middle bit & suggesting different styles. Well worth a proper fitting.

Worst: M&S. Measuring you over clothing/bra - WTF?! Means you end up a size bigger at the back. Perhaps the fitters are trained to avoid physical contact, or to minimise discomfort for ladies being "exposed" - however, you just end up with a duff, ill-fitting bra. Haven't bought a bra there for nearly 20 years, for that reason

greathat Thu 06-Sep-12 16:57:43

I get fitted at bravissimo - M&S bras dont fit me as a 36HH smile Well probably more now as I'm 6 months pregnant but as its an hour each way to my closest branch I don't got as ofter as I should. I wish there were good independant shops/fitters near me. I have tried debenhams but it seems a bit hit and miss and I feel I have to buy a bra even if I'm not sure of the fit after I've been through a fitting. Am also a fan of the panache and fantasie brands as they seem to fit very nicely

MrsH2010 Thu 06-Sep-12 18:13:46

I was originally fitted in M&s- living in the middle east as a teenager I had to wait to come back for summer holidays to get it done over here so it was a treat, but as an early developer I was shy and embarrassed anyway!
One of my favourite shops is Victorias Secret- they make underwear shopping a real luxury, yet affordable, with a lot of fun, adventurous, bright options, fabrics and patterns- with the focus being on it all being for the woman (as opposed to a lot of UK stores where it seems its all about nice undies for the blokes sake...) bravissimo is great, but its a shame that it seems like a 'specialist' shop for bigger sizes when in fact a lot of women fit that size category.
I think the difference in sized across stores is ridiculous in this country- there should be a joint effort to make a size standard, for better bra/boob health, and to encourage women to wear the right size no matter where they purchase. Stocking 'bigger' sizes without making you feel like a freak too would be nice. I barely know anyone who is a B or C anymore- and so many places have the teenage boy idea that a DD is huge and anything above is verging on alien!!
I was massively disappointed during both pregnancies/breadtfeeding the lack of choice by mainstream providers of ante/post natal bras (feeding and non). At a time when you need most support and would be delighted with something remotely womanly , so many are cheap, boring, super-stretchy... Not good. On that note there should be more encouragement for women to get measured during and after birth as everything changes so much and so many just plod on wearing their pre-preg sizes...
What annoys me most in stores is all the lingo on shape etc... It really means so little as often the shape of one bra in a style is entirely different to the sane bra in a different colour... Goodness knows why! But as a result I tend to try every single bra on, which puts me off actually, instead of just knowing that 'x' bra is fine from trying one on and then grabbing it in different colourways.
One of my pet peeves is bras in 'bigger' sizes (anything anove a D in most shops) having inappropriate matching undies! Often the sexy, smaller attractive pants options are reserved for the little sizes and 14/16/18 are the equivalent of granny pants only!
Best tip: the right bra can makr or break an outfit. Sooo true!

I've been measured 3 different sizes in 3 different shops. On the same day (M+S, Debenhams, House of Fraser). This was admittedly 15 years ago when I was shopping for something to go under a rather amazing ivory silk frock grin!

I have recently had a Bravissimo fitting which I can honestly say has changed my bra buying forever (that and a now rather long-running bra thread on here grin).
I went from a 36D (bra-size I've worn most of my adult life, bar pregnancy and BFing) to a 34G Panache Superbra (I am not just saying that because this is a Panache survey, honest!).

I have since invested in some rather nice Fauve bras. And for the first time in my life have matching knickers!!

I'd totally agree that the eyeballing method seems to work better than any amount of measuring. And trying lots of bras on.

cabbagewhite Thu 06-Sep-12 18:58:00

Having had large boobs from puberty and a Mother totally indifferent despite having large boobs herself, I spent my school years really embarrassed about having large boobs. We had to wear white school shirts, which I was really self concious of 'gapping'. As a result even now I avoid tops with buttons. Like lots of others my first bras came from M&S and I went with my friend and just tried on until I found ones that seemed to fit. I don't think there was a fitter there then, if there was they certainly didn't put any signs up to let the customers know. The only other place was an independent shop that seemed to be for 'old ladies' by the look of the lingerie in the window.

After years of assorted sized bras, of which anything underwired either hurt my inner arms or under my armpits, I went to be fitted at M&S Cribbs Causeway. The woman there clearly knew her stuff and I came out with an assortment of well fitting bras. So next time I went back to the local M&S in Cheltenham. There I was seen for less than 5 minutes and told I was a certain size and given some bras in that size, of which everyone was too big in the backsize and too small in the cup, but she insisted they fitted. My top tip is if you lift your arms up above your head and the bra rolls up with you, it is too big. Needless to say I bought none. I went from there directly to Contessa, where I was fitted by a lady who knew what she was talking about, spent time with me and I left with 3 new bras, all variations of the Triumph Doreen. I became a loyal customer of Contessa and a convert to Triumph Doreen as a result. Since Contessa closed, I've been a bit lost. I stick with the Triumph Doreen, even though it is an 'old ladies' bra - my Mum wears it! I have bought the odd one or two elsewhere and they are never as good, in fit or longevity (I have Doreens that are nearly 10 years old, but I hand wash and drip dry always, ever since a stray underwire wrote off my washing machine). As a 40H I would love a wider range to choose from, but even bras supposedly in that size, do not have wide enough straps, or are not wide enough under the arm, or have rubbish underwires.

Now my Daughters wear bras I've explained the importance of properly fitting bras. They have both inherited large boobs, so I ensure they have practical bras for work or school and prettier ones for other times. The 'first' bras are definitely an improvement on when I was their age. My 9 year old daughter has just started to develop breasts which was unexpected as she is tall and slender and much earlier than her sisters. Can't get anything with a 26" backsize, so she has some crop tops. I'm cautious about making an issue of it, but she needs something to cover her under her school blouses.

Oh, I forgot my first bra: well, there was no 'fitting'. My mum just came home one day with a bra or 3 - I cannot really remember.
I was quite busy from a young age, a bit of a tom boy and v sporty, so my boobs were nothing but an annoyance tbh.
I wore sports bras for a while in my late teens because the lack of wobble was so comfortable grin.

My first fitting was the aformentioned disaster before my wedding which left me confused and without underwear (that day). In the end I wore a basque I had found by trial and error on my own; I think from House of Fraser's (too long ago to rmemeber...)

cornflakegirl Thu 06-Sep-12 20:18:12

I love Panache Tango bras. I discovered them through Bravissimo and now wear nothing else. When I was breastfeeding I went up to an HH cup, and couldn't find an underwired feeding bra for love or money, so converted a couple of Panache Tangos with feeding clips - worked brilliantly.

I've been fitted in M&S and John Lewis, with the same rubbish experience that a lot of people have, and at Bravissimo, who were brilliant - did it by eye, and sold me bras that left my boobs in a much more flattering place. I buy from them online now because I know what a well-fitting bra feels and looks like.

cornflakegirl Nothing else? shock grin

MrsFifty2 Thu 06-Sep-12 20:29:04

Like many other posters, I had a bad fitting in M&S after breastfeeding my DD. I had been fitted in a lovely independent shop while breastfeeding who measured me for a great nursing bra in 32D; I assumed afterwards I would need 32A or 32B but M&S fitter said I was a 34A. It felt loose and she commented "oh, you like them tight, don't you" !! I ignored her, bought a 32B and it felt much better.

KatyMac Thu 06-Sep-12 20:39:04

I started out being measured in 'George Henry Lees' the Liverpool branch of John Lewis & all was well

I moved away from Liverpool & it all went wrong; there was a nice shop in Golders Green, but apart from that I went years with poorly fitting bras

It culminated in a visit to another JL branch the fitter couldn't fit any bra to me; she called her supervisor in (who was on a day off I found out later) who also couldn't fit me

More recently I found Freya and one style fits me.....but only one style

Bras are disappointing and uncomfortable

DD (14) is a 28C and looks to follow in my footsteps sad - she mainly wears sports bras as they don't need fitting

JOLOJAMES Thu 06-Sep-12 22:32:57

I buy most of my bras from Bravissimo (various brands, including Panache and Freya) and would only use them for fitting, having had numerous disastrous experiences at M&S and one at John Lewis. I seemed to be OK at judging myself pre-children, but after 2 children with the effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding in between, only Bravissimo seemed to get it right. I've been to 3 of their stores and always had a great experience; I've even had a great 'fitting' from those guys over the phone, which I never would have thought possible. It's all about understanding how different brands and styles fit, and I think it helps if they understand your purchase history too. I've even bought a strapless evening gown and gone straight to the store to find the right bra to go with it - and they never let me down. I would go out of my way to be fitted at one of their stores. My DD is still some way off needing a bra, but as someone with a big cup size I know the importance of a good fit, so would aim to get this right from the start.

Midwife99 Fri 07-Sep-12 07:12:34

I am a 36FF/G post kids. When I was a teenager I bought 34B from M&S like all my friends & wondered why I looked & felt weird! I finally went to an independent bra shop with my posh grandma who insisted I get measured properly & came away with 2 beautiful 34DD underwired bras & have never looked back! Rigby & Peller never measure - they feel your ribcage with their hands, look at your breasts & try you in loads of styles & sizes until you find the holy grail - the perfectly fitting bra. Experienced bra fitters tend to do the same. They just know your size by looking at you! Take note M&S!!

MrsGeologist Fri 07-Sep-12 09:51:06

Worst: M&S. Went in for maternity bras. The lady clearly couldn't be arsed. She measured me (incorrectly) then just said, 'we don't do that size. You'll have to go somewhere else. Bye.'

Ummm.... Thanks?

Best was probably bravissimo, although I said it was a bit tight and the fitter just said, 'it'll expand as you wear it more.' so I
Was stuck with a slightly too tight maternity bra while very pregnant. Not happy, as you can imagine.

Need to get measured again, and I'm not looking forward to it. I have to go to bravissimo because practically no where does my size (was 30GG according to bravissimo) and I could get them from brastop, but I'd prefer to try them on before buying.

sis Fri 07-Sep-12 09:57:37

been fitted at john lewis, rigby & peller and Bravissimo and R&P was the worst - I felt like they were trying to get me out of the store as fast as possible. John Lewis was ok but but didn't have a range of bras in my size. Bravissimo was great - they explained things and were always happy to go and find different styles and sizes to try but never felt pressured to buy anything. I have a couple of panache bras and they are the most comfortable for everyday wearing.

mummybrained Fri 07-Sep-12 10:26:36

It seems i am not alone in having a terrible M&S fitting disaster, but my first fitting was even more galling...having put on 'puppy fat' and the first fluch of womanhood I went to Contessa (do they still exist) for a fitting, where I was scorned for wearing my old itsybitsy bra...isn't that why i'm here?! and told - you'll never be able to wear anything but a full cup. Sold an awful matronly thing and left crying. The best advice was in a small independent shop when I was first told to put on a bra by leaning over into it, also learned a lot by reading this thread tho! Personally I like freya and M&S undies and Panache bras never seem to fir me well tho i love the styles on others - our bosoms are all truly unique!

goldenretriever Fri 07-Sep-12 11:15:17

I had a pants experience (pardon the pun) at M&S. They told me totally the wrong size years ago. I got mine fitted at a Sadie the bra lady shop (they have stores in the north east) and haven't looked back. I think that the older ladies are the best, usually.

ouryve Fri 07-Sep-12 11:53:25

fanof - that's pretty much identical to me, at the moment. I've just ordered some 34DDs to try, since my current 34Ds have started overflowing a bit (yes I should really try to lose the weight I've put on, recently, but that could take forever!)

MrsDucklips Fri 07-Sep-12 15:52:37

My worst experience by far was when I was pregnant with DD1 (some 14 years ago) and went to a local shop for bras. I am a 30FF normally and pregnancy sent them into orbit (literally they were so big they had their own postcode). The octagenarian who fitted me had no respect for my privacy and told me i shouldnt wear underwired bras during pregnancy. She came back with a choice of exactly one bra - which was so huge and ugly with shoulder straps a mile wide that I came out the shop crying.

However now me and DD1 (who has exactly the same sized boobs as me) get all our bras, sports bras and swimwear from Bravissimo. The changing rooms are large, the staff knowledgeable and they know how to fit you properly.

vezzie Fri 07-Sep-12 17:16:23

M&S - terrible, measuring tape algorithms nonsense. Ok when you are young and perky but I realised later when older and post bf-ing that my bras had never really supported me, it was natural youthful uplift.

Fitter in House of Fraser Croydon (post dd1) was a magician. she didn't measure anything, didn't ask me to take my clothes off, just looked at me, asked me to turn around and looked at my back, and brought me 4 bras and I bought 3 of them. all perfect, all changed my post-partum shape beyond recognition.

Best tip: she told me how to sort of scoop my breasts into the cup for best effect

Missing terribly in bra-land: bfing bras which provide a decent uplift, rather than sad soft mono-boob;good underwired bras in 30ff which can be worn with non-matronly evening wear (and if any of you lot know of any please let me know)

CharminglyOdd Fri 07-Sep-12 17:17:04

I always went to M&S, bar some cheap forays into H&M that resulted in pretty bras but no real support. I came to expect that bras should hurt, that there should be saggy fabric and that my breasts would, no matter what I did, bounce around on my chest like a Baywatch lifeguard. I have a petite figure and never, even when I had overhang, thought of myself as a big-chested woman.

The last straw was going into M&S and spending a considerable sum on bras that just were no good - I could hold the strap away from my back like a comedy slingshot. I am fairly young and shy and although I tentatively questioned whether or not the fitting had worked, the woman insisted that the bras were fine. I came home, got on Mumsnet for advice and promptly booked myself a Bravissimo appointment.

It was a revelation, particularly the sports bra, and I went from a 36B to a 30F/32E. The bras I wear every day are Panache and they are so bloody comfortable, I don't bounce around and I don't pop out. I won't go anywhere else now as the staff are so friendly as well - I have never been made to feel embarrassed.

Of course I then had to go through the rigmarole of returning the unworn M&S stuff. I even started a thread about it. I was made to feel like I was being very rude and difficult (I wasn't, I was just refusing to admit they were right and I was wrong... Surely I, as the person wearing the bras, should be able to tell if they were right or not?). If I hadn't had the experience of comfortable Bravissimo bras I might have backed down, especially when they insisted I get remeasured before they would refund anything. They eventually gave me my money back, after more than half an hour and them insisting until the last minute that I was wrong as the 'measuring expert' continued to insist that adding 4 inches was correct. I think I could carry on ranting for a while grin In short, especially considering the expense and the discomfort that bad fittings can induce, I think it absolutely should be made clearer to women and teenagers what a good bra should do and feel like.

Before I had my son last year my bust was a 32B and that was that. I decided to get myself measured properly before I started wedding dress shopping so I could have an idea of what would fit me best.

I went to M&S and they promptly told me I was a 36D. Now say what you will, but there is a hell of a difference between a 32B and a 36D. I actually tried on the size they'd recommended to prove to the woman that she was being ridiculous- when I bent forward you could see down to my navel it was so big!!

2 weeks after I'd had my son I went to Mothercare to get fitted with some proper nursing bras and she told me I was a 36E (that was a shock to the system!) and she asked if I was planning to carry on nursing my son. She said when I stopped, wait a month, go back and ask for her and she'd organise another fitting and a new bra half price. Couldn't believe it- such brilliant service and the bra actually fitted!

I'm now back to a 36C (fitted at Bravissimo) and absolutely love being able to pretty them up with lovely lingerie!

Skaramoosh Fri 07-Sep-12 18:55:37

Whilst at Uni I worked in a lingerie shop and was "trained" as a bra fitter - goodness knows if the method we used was correct as everywhere seems to do it differently and I always found it was only accurate on smaller busts...larger sizes I more or less guessed and adjusted according to how the bras the women tried on fitted.

I have noticed different styles of bras can result in variations in size sometimes too.

I have a small bust and find bras easy to buy although I favour heavily gel filled ones too give me a boost!

I found decent fitting nursing bras the hardest to find as my bust size fluctuated throughout the day. Also no underwires gave me a horrible shape but the nursing bras with wires were too uncomfortable. That was really my worst time when finding bras, I didn't bother getting professionally measured though as I felt I could judge my size quite well myself.

Doobydoo Fri 07-Sep-12 19:56:27

I am 43! I think I still do not have correct bra size.Have measured myself,have been to M and S ...BUT still have double breast effect.
My dream is to go to Rigby and Peller and get properly fitted.
IME you can be measued in one shop but be a different measurement in another....Nightmare.
I want padded cups so my nipples do not show but would prefer not to have wire,Have never found suitable bra that is not underwired.

Hopezibah Fri 07-Sep-12 22:58:11

I grew up thinking that M&S were the best for underwear but then discovered it really wasn't once you find a good fitting bra elsewhere. THere is a local department store that I have been happy with for bra fitting generally and then for maternity / nursing bra fitting i found a super online company called Boobiemilk and as they are local to me they came out to my house for bra fitting which was fab as i have three little ones which makes it hard to get out and about at the moment for things like bra fittings!

Worst advice from mothercare telling me that a bra only has a useful life of 6 months (i think with gentle washing a good bra should last much longer as long as it still fits well).

Best advice - comfort over how it looks is most important but obviously a nice looking bra helps us mums feel good so it is important to have both.

I always struggle when trying to work out my own size as so much conflicting advice so i like the sound of the online help to get the right fit.

FannyBazaar Sat 08-Sep-12 00:00:25

My first bra fitting was my mother taking me to a small department store and choosing me two bras, one beige and one pale blue - apparently white would go grey in the wash so wasn't allowed.

When I first came to England, I heard M&S were the place to go (probably one of those magazine articles that says 'according to M&S 90% of women wear the wrong sized bra'. They measured me, told me I was a C cup, I was so excited as had been up to a DD and they were harder to find. I chose a selection of bras in the size I'd been told I was, went off to the changing room, joining the long queue, only to get to the cubicle and discover there was no way I could fit a boob of mine in a C cup. There was no help in the changing rooms and I was so disappointed with the queuing I went elsewhere.

For a long time I went to John Lewis for fitting, I would choose some pretty bras in styles I liked and bright colours, go to the fitter and say 'I like these but need to check my size', they would check my size and bring me black or white bras in my size. I was never a pretty, coloured bra size for a long while until I one day came in at something like a 34DD and could actually find cheap High St bras in my size.

After having a child and breastfeeding, my boobs just got bigger and back size went down. I am now a 30GG and have been for a few years now.

Worst advice, those shops that answer 'do you have a 30GG' with an insistence that I be measured in case that is not the size that I need, then finally once I've been fitted, concede that it is in fact my size and no, they don't have anything in store that size, when in fact they don't ever do anything in a 30GG. A waste of time. I would prefer the honesty of an answer like 'no, but we do a 32G which is worth trying as different bras fit differently'. Likewise with friends telling me of places that do bras with large cup sizes and sell all sizes, yes, lots of large cup sizes these days but not with small backs.

Best bra fitting (Bravissimo) is having my size checked and the straps on my current bra adjusted to give a better fit before I even try more bras. Also the fitters who explain to use the last hooks on a new bra.

Best tip (Midwife) if you have a bra fitted in a store and it doesn't fit right, take it back, even if you have worn it, it is not acceptable for a fitter to sell something you then wear and fall out of. Mothercare were loathe to accept this at first but their bra fitting was dreadfully inaccurate.

La Senza - Barnet Spires, 2009

Asked for a pretty bra in 38D (I am 5'10" and a standard size 16) - cue embarrassed smirks. hmm Was told I was a "plus size" and should therefore enquire at the Evans shop opposite.

BoffinMum Sat 08-Sep-12 08:10:20

A lot of bras are expensive and badly made. M and S bras are the worst. I go to Rigby and Peller or Bravissimo, but I hate the waiting at Bravissimo. I wish you could get your bosom 3d scanned and specify your bra preferences on a touch screen in store somewhere, and then get the perfect bra set to your home. I also wish civil engineers designed bras rather than fashion designers, as then they would hurt less. Finally I want to be able to machine wash and tumble dry bras recklessly with no consequences.

Please make it so.

Boff, 32 or 34FF

BoffinMum Sat 08-Sep-12 08:13:51

BTW Anita do some underwired t-shirt bras for bf that look amazing - I think you cam get them from Figleaves. I was nervous of the underwire but it did not press on the milk ducts at all. So clever of them. I would recommend that to anyone fed up of the notorious lumpy monoboob.

BoffinMum Sat 08-Sep-12 08:15:01

PS Panache bras show through your clothes and cut into your shoulders.

Haggisfish Sat 08-Sep-12 08:25:49

I have quite small breasts and find buying bras a total nightmare, as they are quite wide apart, and quite wide at the base. Bras either fit around the rib cage but gape at the cups/wrinkle, or fit in the cups but are too small in the rib measurement. Every time. My dream also is to go to R and P and have one hand made to my measurements! Everything is geared up for larger breast sizes, but there are lots of ladies with the opposite problem, too.

I'm lucky in that there are 2 lovely independent lingerie shops near me .
My favourite is Bellisimo in llandeilo .
I went in , an uncomfortable M & S 36 c , and came out Fantasie 34 ff .
No tape measure needed , just a few questions , a lovely changing room , and an assortment of bras handed in .
I have a lovely Marie Jo Avera ( I think ) bra , which has the prettiest straps !

Bigspring Sat 08-Sep-12 12:12:24

When I was pregnant this time I went into la senza to get measured as my boobs had grown lots! The woman there took me into the cubicle, left my current bra on and she looked at me and said oh you are a 36 C... I knew this could not be right as was wearing that already and it obviously didn't fit! So when I asked if she could measure me she got all flustered and didn't measure my cup size just gave me a variety of bras to try! I politely left and went to debenhams where I was measured correctly and was a 36dd!

Bigspring, I'm willing to bet the assistant KNEW you weren't a 36C, but as I discovered to my embarassment, they don't (or didn't 3 years ago) actually stock anything bigger than a 36C.

wonderstuff Sat 08-Sep-12 19:24:56

Why why why are there no bras in a 28C?? this would fit me, but I have the choice of a 30 back or 28D which is too big! I cant be the smallest woman in the world..

KatyMac Sat 08-Sep-12 19:30:00

You & my DD Wonderstuff

I have found some 28C but they were very expensive & DD is likely to change shape/size

wonderstuff Sat 08-Sep-12 19:35:25

Where did you find them? spent ages googling.

SorrelForbes Sat 08-Sep-12 19:58:48

Ewan Michalak do a 28c but I have a feeling the bras are non returnable in that size as they're made to order.

SorrelForbes Sat 08-Sep-12 19:59:07

Oops, Ewa Michalak!

wonderstuff Sat 08-Sep-12 20:09:10

they dont seem to do them now sad

Twonker Sat 08-Sep-12 20:47:22

Good advice: from bravissimo; find a manufacturer that works for you.
Bad advice: from m&s; there's not a single bra in this shop that will fit you so just buy this one which doesn't fit.
Fittings: I have been fitted 2 times at bravissimo, and no longer need help.
Shopping: I buy 2 bras per year, in the winter and summer sale, always half price or less At my local department store, always the same manufacturer.

I had a drawerful of bras which didn't fit before I was fitted. I hated shopping for them because I needed them but coundn't find one to fit, and my figure looked awful.

Now Its completely simple and straightforward! No stress! Hurray!

SorrelForbes Sat 08-Sep-12 20:49:22

They're not on the drop down menus, you have to place a special order. The web site says:

If you do not see their bra size drop-down menu, please contact us and we will sew it for you. Please note, however, that such orders are not refundable / exchange

KatyMac Sat 08-Sep-12 20:57:42

M&S hmm they didn't used to do this size I KNOW

GhostShip Sat 08-Sep-12 21:21:12

I was fitted in La Senza and was told I was 'in between' sizes so she couldn't give me a correct size. I asked what she'd go for and was told 'I don't know'. Not much help to be honest!

That was the first and last, I'm too embarrassed to go now.

androbbob Sat 08-Sep-12 21:31:58

Worst fitting - M&S (again) as too hurried and poor choice for the larger bust

Best fitting - local independant shop as lady took time and found the right fit / style for me in a variety of sizes and ended up with Panache, so I now wear the Tango II balcannette and buy on line

I've just had a huge brainwave.

They say that 80% of women are wearing the incorrect size.

All of the main high street retailers (including debenhams and john lewis who are recommended by many mnetters) having online fitting guides still use the +4/5 rule as the basis of their fitting charts.

If those charts were corrected to the same guidelines that professional fitters use (with the caveat that many fitters don't measure overbust) then that would start to address and reduce the numbers that are poorly fitted..

ThePsychicSatsuma Sat 08-Sep-12 21:45:46

I got measured last about 7 years ago in Debenhams, the woman took one look at me and hollered across the sales floor 'You're a 32, love'
was a bit shocked, as I wasn't in the measuring queue.
Mum chivvied me along though, and we grabbed a couple of armfuls of bras then when it was our turn, discovered I was, in fact a 32. Quite impressive.

Havent been done since then though, so probs should after breast feeding 2 kids.,

wonderstuff Sat 08-Sep-12 22:13:39

Katymac you are a superstar. thanks

StuntNun Sat 08-Sep-12 22:40:10

I usually go to John Lewis for bra fitting. The last time I went, in April, I knew I had changed size because I had gained weight. They fitted me and I went home with five brand new bras. But when I took any of them off I was left with a big red mark all around me where the band was digging in. I went back and complained and was re-fitted and told that the size was correct but the back straps hadn't been set correctly and that's why they weren't fitting well. They were so confident they convinced me they were right so I went away with the same bras. Needless to say they didn't fit and I was having to pull the bands out of my skin as they were so tight. £100 completely down the drain, so I won't be going there again.

Naoko Sun 09-Sep-12 02:35:20

I wore the wrong size bra until earlier this year. Like so many women I believed that I couldn't possibly be the size that it turns out I am because I don't look to have huge boobs and so thought I couldn't possibly be bigger than the D cup I was already wearing. 2 band sizes down and 3 cup sizes up later I'm much more comfortable. I went to Bravissimo to get fitted because I heard so many good things about them and it wasn't the superb experience others have had (I felt the assistant was dismissive about the things I was saying about the fit of the bras she was handing me, and I'm only 27, stop handing me plain white granny bras....) but they did get a lot closer to my correct size than anyone else ever has.

I'm not exactly spoiled for choice of bra suppliers/fitters where I live, my nearest Bravissimo is an hour and 20 minutes on the train away and locally (other than the supermarkets) there is only Debenhams, whose fitters in my experience wouldn't know a well fitting bra if it came and bit them on the boobs arse, but now that I know what my size is I love their range of underwear. Being on a tight student budget I tend to go for their own range, especially the Gorgeous ones, preferably when on sale, but I really love those. My favourite thing about them is probably the fabric, there are a lot of bras in it that have satin/satin feel on most of the bits in contact with skin and I much prefer that to the pretty but uncomfortable mesh or lace you get sometimes.

30G is harder to find than it should be, especially in the cheaper ranges. Not only wealthy women have large boobs! I don't have many bras, I just can't afford them.

changeforthebetter Sun 09-Sep-12 08:53:25

Mothercare put me in a feeding bra which was a 34E - not a size I have been even when not pg/bf! Lingerie sales staff need to have a good attitude. Arriving with my small back and compartively large cup size, they seem to see me as a nuisance. Admittedly, there isn't a lot on the market for my size 28/30 HH/J. I competely agree with the poster who said upthread that she wants bigger bras which cover nipples. If you already have comparatively large boobs compared to the rest of your frame, you really don't want your nipples showing as well (well, I don't). I want good T-shirt bras. I don't wear very tight tops ever but I do wear fitted tops as I am average height so baggy tops make me look like a barrel.

I feel the lingerie market for larger cup sizes has improved in the past 10 years. Far too many companies still advertise that they sell bigger cups/smaller backs and then you find there may be only a couple in their entire range.

The poorest aspect of this whole business is the swim wear. I do not want to look like a Jordan-wannabe on the beach! Tankinis (incuding 2 or 3 Panache) ones, offer poor support and come in a very limited range including some really vile patterns. Plus, I also want swimwear for actual swimming, not just for sunbathing.

Oh and I nearly forgot <rant alertgrin> the state of maternity bras and breastfeeding ones is utterly dire for the larger woman. Everyone goes up several sizes in pgcy and bf and yet the range is lousy and none of them offered anything like an acceptable shape. I just put up with it really but I can imagine it would put some women off.

i think the worst advice is the idea that you can actually be 'a' bra size. there is no way on earth that all bra makers conform to the same sizing requirements across the range of sizes. even with jeans i know to buy different sizes depending on size - i can look at them and think i'll need a bigger/smaller size in those dependent on the cut.

best advice is if to take several sizes into the changing room and see. i can be a 36D, 34DD or 36E in decent brand bras - they do vary and the room your boobs need in different styles varies. it can't just be me whose boobs behave differently in different style bras? a balconette bra for example does something very different than one that moulds your breasts more and has a diagonal seam across it - i would need different sizes in those bras.

what's awkward with bras is the same as i find awkward in dresses actually - i have quite wide breasts and a narrow back - i could do with a bra that was proportioned like a 36 at the front and a 32 at the back. it's hard to get a bra that is wide enough in the cups without it being flapping at my back or wide enough in the cups without having flappy bits in the cups. not sure if that makes sense.

Sabriel Sun 09-Sep-12 09:21:28

I wore badly fitting 34B for years until I was fitted at an independent shop as 30DD.

Over the years I've put on over 3 stone and since having the last DD I'm permanently in about 36GG.

I found a really comfortable bra in M&S and went back and bought another 2, only to find that while the original bra remains really comfortable and despite being the same size and make, the 2 new ones really don't fit confused.

Once over a D cup you really do seem to need to go to "proper" shops, but that means £££.

LadyLetch Sun 09-Sep-12 11:18:08

I own a few panache ones too. I'm another bravissimo convert. Always went to M&S and looked fat (at 7st), as I had big boobs. They always put me in a 36c. Then I read an advert for Bravissimo in a magazine and travelled up to covent garden (was their only shop then) for a fitting. I came out with a 30f and a waist! Loads of people thought I'd lost weight, when all I'd done was change my bra. I no longer shop at M&S but now get most of my bras from bravissimo (although it's a 50 mile round trip). If I go on a girlie day shopping I'll try to go somewhere with a bravissimo so I can get a new bra first before shopping.

Best advice I've had: don't let the back strap rude up your back & it's okay for the bra to feel tight. Now I'm used to it feeling tight, I find it hurts if I wear a bra that's too big in the back.

Worst advice: M&S who measured me as a 30f,but then told me that didn't sell any bras in a 30, so I'd have to buy a 32/4 instead. Needless to say, I declined smile.

SloeFarSloeGood Sun 09-Sep-12 12:31:20

M & S don't put the engineering in to the design of their bigger bras so the wires pop out, which they then blame the customer for.

notcitrus Sun 09-Sep-12 14:51:17

My first bra fitting was cringeworthy only because my mother was there - I seem to recall the John Lewis lady being quite lovely. Since then I've had terrible fittings at Debenhams, M&S and others of the 'tell the customer a random size we stock' variety, and excellent ones at JL, now-closed Contessa, M&S once, and Bravissimo.

Though my most recent fittings on the same day at JL and Bravissimo weren't very good - I went in asking for nursing bras after baby #2, as the ones from #1 were too small in the cup. I told the JL fitter it felt tight in the cup and wouldnt fit once I added engorged breasts and pads (I'd fed the baby just before to avoid squirting the merchandise...), but they told me it was the only size that would work they had. I was unchuffed to find it was the same brand and size as my old bras! Then Bravissimo did exactly the same thing, but explicitly said they had no 34Gs so an F 'should do'. But kudos to both places for having comfy waiting areas with water, and lovely staff coming to joggle the baby while I got fitted by a colleague. Also I have hand problems so can't try bras on myself and they have always made me feel it's no trouble to assist. Shame there's no loo in Bravissimo Regent St - that would really help. And not getting stuck in the lift!

Have had a couple Panache bras - they were well-made. However I never get sets of bra+pants because the pants invariably aren't cotton and even when there is a cotton gusset it doesn't come up high enough at the front to count, so I can't wear them.

When dd is old enough I'll suggest a fitting if she doesn't ask for crop tops etc first, find a friendly fitter and then butt out of the fitting room unless asked.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:31:09

I HATE Bra shopping. I don't like to do it online, because I find sizes vary between manufacturers.

I invariably end up in tears because I am on a very limited budget, and am in a 34G at the moment.

All I want is satin, plunge bras, in various colours. In my size. Easily available in my town.

I have department stores, and various shops that sell bras in my town. But if you get above a DD/E cup, especially with a small back size, you often have ONE bra or no bra, lacy (I hate lacy bras, and they're not strong enough for every day or they wear out in a couple of months daily use.), high cut so I can't wear half of my clothes, OR something that looks so much like scaffolding that my granny would refuse to wear it.

And I know SO many people who have this issue. We are often made to PAY for the bra before they will order it in our size, with no refund, only exchange possible if it doesn't fit, which is useless if there's nothing else in the shop that fits.

I got my first bra when I was 11yo, and already a C cup, my first bra also had to be ordered as it was a 24C.

Why do bra manufacters (bravissimo aside) not cater for those of us with larger cup sizes but small rib cages?

Fittings annoy me, because they measure me, bring me bras to try on, and they won't even do up, or are so loose that my Norks slip out of the bottom of the bra as it isn't tight against the rib cage.

It doesn't matter if I tell them that their tape measure will NOT give them a true picture of my true size. And they often insist on trying the hard sell of bras that obviously don't fit me, so that they can sell me something, anything.

I take my DD to be fitted every 6 weeks, as she is going through puberty and her size is changing frequently.

She hates it because she has issues with people touching her due to her ASD.

Make satin plunge bras in pretty sizes to fit me!

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:31:48

I take my DD to the local department store to be fitted, but don't always buy her bras from there.

BonnyDay Sun 09-Sep-12 15:33:43

Never mind bras. What about the WORST thing.
Bikini tops. Way more potential to feel depressed.

BonnyDay Sun 09-Sep-12 15:34:54

I hate lacy bras too. Like plain with a nice balconette shape. would like ones that are bandeau style but with tiny thin detachable straps to show off

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:35:43

As an aside note, my only bra that fits right now is a 34G Panache bra bought at my local department store (a Fenwick store, but long time independent Dept. store). Service is best in there, they are the only place that stocks ANY DD+ bras now, and they are the place that gives the best fitting service, that is the closest to my true size.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:37:06

BonnyDay - I get my bikini tops online from either Bravissimo or Littlewoods, who seem to be one of the few places that does bra sized bikini tops in more unusual sizes.

BonnyDay Sun 09-Sep-12 15:38:34

Oh yeah I have loads. Just sizing even weirder than bras. Panache my fave brand for bikinis. And freya.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:40:31

Oh god, all the multiway bras and bandeau bras in my size are in nude (which I dislike, I like bright colours), and resemble scaffolding, and show over the necklines of most tops and dresses.

I can't wear any tops or dressed with a low back, anything low cut (without a vest top underneath, even in the hottest of weather), anything racer back, anything with spaghetti straps, anything with a. 'V' shaped neckline, or 'scoop' neckline. angry

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 09-Sep-12 15:41:39

I find Freya make my boobs look 'pointy' like Madonna circa 1985, or like a 1950's housewife!

Goldidi Sun 09-Sep-12 16:02:32

My worst experience was with M &S (isn't everybody's?). I went in 38 weeks pregnant with my bump still quite high, wearing quite a comfortable 38F looking for nursing bras. The woman measured me and decided that I should buy a 42C nursing bra hmm, so after having the baby and losing the bump but gaining boob due to milk coming in I would have gone up 2 band sizes and down 3 cup sizes? confused I didn't buy it as it was already very loose even when heavily pregnant. I waited a week then went to see my sister in Blackpool and we went together to a lovely independent shop, the woman seems a bit batty and slightly over-familiar but she definitely knows her bras and I came out with a well-fitting 36H nursing bra that lasted pretty much the whole time I needed nursing bras.

I'm now wearing a 38G and my dd1 seems to have inherited my shape as she's just been fitted as a 32DD at the age of 12 shock

honoraglossop Sun 09-Sep-12 22:06:26

Right on the basis of this thread I decided to hand the children over to someone and go bra shopping for the first time in years by myself

Measuring 31 inches underbust and 37 over I always went by the add 4/5 inches rule.....taught by M and S back in the day and was wearing 36A bras that I got from the supermarket. I had side-boobage ( due i thought to too small a back size) an d had red marks where the underwiring was digging in. I thought this meant I should be wearing a 36aa or some other mythical bra and found the whole thing depressing.

However after reading this thread I went and tried on lots of bras.... and it transpires I am either a 30 or 32 D depending on the shop!! I am quite shocked as I always thought of myself as not that slim and quite flatchested.
And then walking around town it really struck me how many women must be wearing dodgy sized bras.... given that I'm not very well endowed and lots of styles only go up to a dd cup! Thats crazy isnt it!

so in summary bra fitters in places where they add 4inches or whatever are talking rubbish! and m and s are shit. smile

newlark Sun 09-Sep-12 22:19:48

I've only been fitted while pregnant/breastfeeding. I always believed I was a 36C and when first pregnant was fitted by M&S with a 38D which gave very little support. I was also fitted for nursing bras later in pregnancy by an NCT lady who fitted me into a 36G and 38F. Thank goodness I went to John Lewis later on and ended up with some 34 H and 32 J nursing bras which were much more supportive (though I think the 32 was a litttle on the tight side round my back at the time).

A few years on my size has settled down to a 34D I think - though reading this thread I wonder if I might need to go down to a 32 back - might need to treat myself to a proper fitting.

InvaderZim Sun 09-Sep-12 22:59:16

My first bra fitting was at Bravissimo a couple of years ago for a nursing bra. Until then I'd measured myself, and I'd always been accurate. Sometime in my teenager years I read about how to measure yourself and I either ignored the +4 inches rule or the advice didn't have it, lucky me!

My bra fitting experiences (all two of tem) at Bravissimo were fine, but yesterday I went to a local indie shop - the sort where the owner brags that she's better than Rigby and Pellet. You know what? She wasn't. She told me I was wrong when I said one bra didn't fit right (pressing into my side breast tissue), she told me I just wasn't used to underwires anymore when I told her the next bra HURT, and when I started crying she said "maybe I wasn't in a good place for a bra fitting right now". I know she meant emotionally but it wasn't a good shop or a good owner either! Never will I go back! I have measured myself and mail ordered several bras to try on instead.

I would have rather been fitted by a person in the know than order online but oh well!!

Worst advice was to go to M&S!! I'm a 36HH and the woman in M&S tried to convince me a 40F would support as well as the right size. She was really annoyed when I refused to buy and told me I'd wasted her time.

Best advice was from a lovely fitter at Bravissimo. She told me never buy underwear online unless it can be returned easily, different styles / brands are slightly different fitting so what is comfy in one brand will not necissarily fit in another. She was lovely and I now spend far to much in that shop. She also talked me into a balconette bra, I am now in love with the fit of them, my boobies touch my chin instead of my knees smile

My wedding underwear was from Panache, so comfy all day and looked fab

whattodoo Mon 10-Sep-12 11:14:05

I've had bra fittings in several places, all telling me a different size.

The best I ever had was at Rigby & Peller - made me feel individual, the fitter tried to find the bra that was right for me, rather than getting my body to fit into bras that were availabe on the shelf (I'm a 38H so many stores do not stock my size).

I generally just pick up a bra that looks as though it might contain me, the choice is very limied for my size, I wish there were more styles and colours available.

Its frustrating that all stores fit differently, and that a 38H will fit from one range, but not from another.

My mum measured me for my first bra and went and got me a couple. It felt a bit embarassing, wasn't a celebrated 'right of passage' type affair.

soze is a issue im 38 F/g and if offered anything they are old granny hammocs in white ot black and M&S by far rthe worse

best is bravismo as they are nice looking good fitting bras and friendly staff

serendipity1980 Mon 10-Sep-12 15:33:46

I really hate bra shopping, it's so hard to find a good fitting bra, in a style that I like. My problem is partly because I'm a 32£ (the last time I was fitted a year ago) and so many of the larger sizes are just not stylish or modern. Also, so many shops stop selling sizes beyond a DD. I often shop online, in particular at Figleaves.

I used to get measured at M&S, they appeared to be good, but when I was then fitted by an independent bra shop at a WI meeting, they gave me a completely different size recommendation, I had only been measured in M&S the day before!! My new bras were a really good fit and I returned to the independent bra shop last year and bought a new bra, after finishing breast feeding our last child. It is my best fitting bra. The only draw back is that bras are quite expensive and it costs a lot to replace all my old bras. I did once get fitted in Debenhams, but it wasn't very good, I didn't feel as though the assistant was experienced and it didn't give me confidence.

I am also disabled, so it is hard for me to get to the shops, this means I am limited to online shopping most of the time but I then have to resort to buying lots of different sizes to try to find one that fits. This is irritating. I do have a DD but she is only 2.5yrs so it will be some time before she needs a bra. However, when she does, I will probably take her to the independent bra shop in our nearest town because they were friendly and helpful and it was a special atmosphere.

gingercat12 Mon 10-Sep-12 19:19:26

I normally get my bra fitted at M&S. The first I got it fitted was when I first got pregnant [looking embarrassed]. Immediately realised this is the way forward though. They are very helpful and are right next to my office, so I can go there by 8.00 and get into the office in time. You also never have to wait.

Reading the other Mumsnetters comments perhaps I should have fitting advice elsewhere as well.

I hate shopping for bras, as I like the ones that give you firm support, not see-through, not padded and quite elegant (preferable white). Last time I went into a Triumph shop, and the shop assistant simply said that in my size (38 B) they do not make properly supporting bras. Hurray!

I have never had my sports bras fitted, but perhaps I should. I have been steadily losing weight lately and my bras are now on their innermost clips.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 11-Sep-12 13:59:43

Thanks to everyone for taking part in this discussion. There will be a Q&A with a bra fitting expert from Panache Lingerie on the 24th September so be sure to keep a look out for that.

The winners of the prize draw are:

Congratulations - I'll PM you to get your details.

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