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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!


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.

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.

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.

TheHumancatapult Mon 10-Sep-12 15:29:39

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

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.

glenthebattleostrich Mon 10-Sep-12 06:59:49

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

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!!

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.

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

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

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!

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

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 15:37:06

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.

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.

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

BonnyDay Sun 09-Sep-12 15:33:43

Never mind bras. What about the WORST thing.
Bikini tops. Way more potential to feel depressed.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 £££.

swallowedAfly Sun 09-Sep-12 08:55:32

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.

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.

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