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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!


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

MummyWeatherwax Mon 03-Sep-12 13:13:36

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.

InMySpareTime Mon 03-Sep-12 13:27:30

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.

PfftTheMagicDraco Mon 03-Sep-12 15:44:01

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.

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Mon 03-Sep-12 15:45:08

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

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