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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!


GlaikitFizzog Mon 03-Sep-12 10:28:42

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.

MotherOfNations Mon 03-Sep-12 11:02:43

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

PeggyCarter Mon 03-Sep-12 12:41:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

mrsbugsywugsy Mon 03-Sep-12 13:04:55

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?

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