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Q&A about bra fitting with expert from Bravissimo - ANSWERS BACK

(147 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Aug-13 09:33:29

This week we're running a Q&A with Lisa Gardner, Customer Service Operations Manager at Bravissimo about bra fitting. Post your questions to Lisa before midday 20th August and we'll upload Lisa's answers on 27th August.

More about Bravissimo
Bravissimo provides a service to women with bigger boobs to inspire them to feel good about themselves, turning what may have been a negative experience of buying lingerie, swimwear and nightwear into a fun, pleasurable one where women with bigger boobs are offered a wide choice of styles and colours. They provide lots of fitting advice in stores, over the phone (01926 459 859) and online

INeedSomeHelp Tue 13-Aug-13 09:54:58

I often have a problem with my bra straps falling off my shoulders. Is this a sign of a poor fitting bra and, if so, what needs to change e.g. the style, back size or cup size?

mamamidwife Tue 13-Aug-13 10:07:50

When I have a bra fitting my back measurement is usually given as 40, I have a large cup size ff but they always end up riding up my back (even on the tightest clasps) so I buy a 38. Why is this? Am I not being measured correctly? What should I do in future?

ssd Tue 13-Aug-13 10:14:50

my boobs are way too big for me and when you meet me they are all you see...I'm a 34JJ and 5 foot tall....I wear Freya balcony bra's as non balcony bra's separate my boobs too much and make me even you have any suggestions to minimise how big my boobs look (short of a reduction...)

also all of your clothes make my boobs look like something you could see from the moon, why don't you make clothes that make big boobs look smaller, we're not all wanting to look like Jordan.

swallowedAfly Tue 13-Aug-13 10:34:48

i had a breast reduction two and a bit months ago and so am back to square one on knowing what size, styles etc i can wear and can't actually even work out what size i am - suspect i'm smack between two cup sizes.

how long after reduction would you recommend going for a fitting and actually investing in decent bras? currently i'm buying cheapo 'do for now' ones in a range of sizes as well as those little boob tube type things.

ThedementedPenguin Tue 13-Aug-13 10:35:18

On bras what hook should you be using?

swallowedAfly Tue 13-Aug-13 10:37:43

ah i know that one penguin - you start on the loosest so as they age and stretch you have somewhere to go.

worldgonecrazy Tue 13-Aug-13 10:41:49

I have had my boobs measured in shops (M&S, Bravissimo, etc.) and always been told I'm a 34 or 36C (depending on how fat I am at the time). Now I have done the "drop forward" measurements as given in many Mumsnet posts, and that tells me I'm a 32DD.

Why are the shops so wrong with measurements? Are the measurers not being trained properly or are Mumsnet wrong?

waps Tue 13-Aug-13 10:43:22

I agree on the clothes, they are all high waisted which just emphasises my boobs and hides my waist. As a 30jj I have real problems with underwires, I just don't have enough rib cage to carry all the ironwork and it ends up in the back of my armpits. Bravissimo's own brand have tended to be the best recently - do you have a panel of real life big boobed testers to give you feedback?

EauRouge Tue 13-Aug-13 10:57:57

I'm a Bravissimo convert, I won't go anywhere else to get fitted especially not M&S

My dilemma is; I can't wear any style apart from plunge because the cups are too close together and the wires dig in at the centre on balconette, half-cup etc. Why is the gap between cups exactly the same size regardless of back size? I'm a 30F, I have a titchy rib cage and my norks are very close together. I would love to wear something that feels a bit more supportive but I can't.

mamamidwife Tue 13-Aug-13 11:15:36

What's the drop forward measuring method?

hellymelly Tue 13-Aug-13 11:34:59

I had problems for years finding bras to fit, as they weren't made in my size I had to take in the bands on bras for years.So it was great when manufactureres starting making 32s, then 30s, then even 28s.( I wear a 30F/FF, sometimes a 28FF/G). On the normal measuring system of adding 4" that would be about right for me. However, according to threads here, we should buy thr bra size we actually measure, eg, a 30 rib (an "old" 34) would just buy a 30 bra. I measure 26 around the ribs, there are no 26 bras, and anyway my 30 bras seem fine. So how can a woman 4" wider than me at the ribs also be comfortable in a 30? Am I in fact wearing the wrong size now? I have a bad back, but when sometimes when I wear a 28, or put a 30 on the tightest hole, although it fits, it feels uncomfortably tight.
I have noticed that 32 bras are bigger at the band than they used to be, I have some here from 15 years ago, and the band on these old ones is more like a modern 30. So have bras changed? And if so, WHY? Because going by that principle, most women will need the tiny back sizes, ande ones with particularly narrow ribs will once again have no bras available in their size. (I was 25" ribs at 18 for instance).

mignonette Tue 13-Aug-13 11:36:54

I want a bra that gives a similar cleavage shape to a Balconette but not so hoiked up. I prefer them to be 'separated out' but not pushed up and out.

I hate that Wonderbra lift and separate look and I will not wear padded bras. Any suggestions?

ILoveAFullFridge Tue 13-Aug-13 11:49:48

Why do the care instructions for underwired bras always say "hand wash"?

I never hand wash my bras, but always bung them in a lingerie sack (a single bra in a tiny sack, or a handful in a medium sack) and put them in with the rest of a load on the Easy Care cycle. I have never had any problems or damaged bras, except for the one or two occasions when dh put them into a cottons cycle, which spins faster and Hadani much more vigorous washing action.

Is it just CYA, or am I missing a point here?

WireCat Tue 13-Aug-13 11:50:47

Are there any plans to open a branch of Bravissimo in either Lakeside or Westfield, Stratford?

HotCrossPun Tue 13-Aug-13 11:58:14

I have breast asymmetry. I end up having to buy a bra that fits my bigger breast, and then I stuff the other side. Is there an alternative to this (aside from surgery!)

Sparkeleigh Tue 13-Aug-13 12:00:51

Any recommendations on good bra's for pregnancy/breastfeeding? My Bravissimo fitting was fantastic, but now I'm pregnant I ordered a lot of sizes based on my pre-pregnancy size but none seem to fit well and I can't get to a store for a fitting.

Please open a store in Northern Ireland!

SorrelForbes Tue 13-Aug-13 12:12:06

Thanks MNHQ, should be a really interesting Q&A. I find this interesting, bearing in mind that their stock starts at a D cup. A D on a 28 - 32 band is really rather small! Bravissimo provides a service to women with bigger boobs

Just to reassure everyone, all of us frequenters of the Bra Threads, do follow Bravissimo's fitting guidance.

hellymelly If oyu measure 26" and a 30" feels too tight then you probably need a bigger cup (either that or it's one of Debenhams' or M&S very, very small bands!). I don't think that bands have got bigger although certain styles/brands might have changed over time. My 30GGs pretty much all measure between 29" and 31" fuly stretched. I have a very old (10+ plus) 34DD (which I don't wear!) which measures 34" fully stretched.

mamamidwife You're almost definitely not being measured correctly. A band that rides up is an indicator that it's too big. An FF is not that large and it sounds like you need a smaller band (probably a 36 or a 34) and a bigger cup. Measuring guide here.

Sorry, hi-jack over blush

CelticPromise Tue 13-Aug-13 12:28:54

Fancy seeing you here Sorrel grin

INeedSomeHelp straps falling down means band is too big. Come over to one of the bra threads in S&B for a virtual fitting.

My question for Bravissimo is do you have any plans to introduce 26 bands? On the virtual fitting threads there seem to be plenty who need them.

Also, do you think the 'bigger boobs' image of Bravissimo is helpful? I think you have a great reputation for fitting and customer service but plenty of women in the wrong size think they are too small to be fitted, partly because they think a D is massive. There's also a gap in the market for decent teen bras in 26 or even 24 back and I wonder if this is a market Bravissimo considers.


CelticPromise Tue 13-Aug-13 12:30:36

HotCrossPun there is some great advice about asymmetry at

TallulahTT Tue 13-Aug-13 12:34:01

Not strictly linked to be fitting but why do all the bravissimo tops, now pepperberry seem to be made from cheap sweaty materials? The prices indicate a higher quality could be used.
I'm happy with my bra thanks to the lovely Sorrel, she has changed my life and what I wear, so many people have asked if I've lost weight, I've actually put on 7lbs, have I mentioned how much I love Sorrel!
I guess my question would be how have the other retailers got away with wrongly measuring/fitting for so long? I'd like to take all my M&S bras etc back for a refund.

MousyMouse Tue 13-Aug-13 12:49:54

are underwire bras really the dogs bollocks? or just a secret collaboration between washing mashine sellers and bra sellers?

I have yet to find one that is comfortable and doesn't poke me in places even if the bra is well fitted.
I go out of my way to find wire less bras, which is sometimes difficult for my size (34d according to the MN bra fitting guide)

BaronessBomburst Tue 13-Aug-13 13:04:12

Underwired Nursing Bras: The Bravissimo website says that underwired bras are not recommended and talks about the risks of mastitus as the breasts change size and shape throughout the day. However, the milk supply settles after a few months whereas the WHO recommends BF for 2 years and beyond. Nursing bras are ugly, unflattering and extremely unsupportive for big-boobed women. We NEED the support that wire gives. Would it not be better to drop the 'nanny-state' approach and offer underwired nursing bras, and then provide more information/ links to BF sites/ helplines so that people could make their own informed decisions? It may also go some way to help with the appallingly low BF rates in the UK - Bravissimo pride themselves on helping women be comfortable and confident in their bodies and yet how many of us have sobbed in despair when presented with a nursing bra and the realisation that, if you wanted to BF, this was the future....? sad

HotCrossPun Tue 13-Aug-13 13:15:53

Thanks Celtic - I'll have a look. smile

nextphase Tue 13-Aug-13 13:52:12

Lots of advice on how to fit back size, and cup size. How should the shoulder straps be adjusted?
Revelation for me getting properly fitted, rather than M&S fitted.

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