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Bra fitting advice!

(45 Posts)
RockCrushesLizard Thu 30-Oct-14 10:56:36

Hi all

I've seen some brilliant advice on here for bra interventions, so all though I don't need an intervention, I do need some lost 3 stone, then had a baby and breastfed for two years, then stopped advice!

I'm going to put as much info as I can think of, so this may be epic!

My ribcage measures 29, overbust is 40.

While breastfeeding I was wearing and Anita nursing bra, in 32 J, which I knew was a bad fit: Cups too small, back size only too big, but needed due to the small cups.
I'm currently wearing a (resurrected from about 8 years ago and fairly well worn) Freya Eleanor, on a 30J, and a mostly unworn Freya Arabella in 32HH. They seem to fit identically! Both feel equally loose round the ribs, which is to say that although they feel comfy, and indeed quite tight compared to two years of nursing bras, I can easily pull it out 3 inches from my back.

The cups are too big, or maybe it's that I've lost top fullness, but I can slip my hand in the top of the cup easily, and it gapes at times. My actual breast us very soft and malleable, has a lot of jiggle on the top, so I feel it needs a bit more structure to get a nice shape.

My boobs are quite narrow where they attach to my chest - there's no breast tissue in my underarm, and in fact the wires go about an inch/inch and a half beyond the breast tissue on my ribs. In the middle they are quite close set.

I have recently tried (from my collection of bras that I bought but didn't wear because I got pregnant) a panache Harmony in 32J - central gore dug in and the wires were very high under my arms, and a 32J Bravissimo Alana, which was the same but more so - really painful.

I always liked a bra with side support to keep my boobs central, and prefer a balcony to full cup shape.

So, with all that in mind, help?
I just don't know where to start. I was thinking 30HH/32H, but in what?
I leave myself in your hands ! thlsmile

Size wise, your measurements suggest 28hh/hh or 30gg/h. Which fits best will vary between brands etc. If you have narrow roots you will probably find Freya aren't actually good bras for you as they tend to be wide. I'd say if you are relatively narrow -I am too -good bras to try would be Cleo lily and sister styles, panache floris, bravissimo Bloomsbury, Cleo marcie possibly. Freya and fantasie, and curvy Kate, tend to be wide. Cleo are generally narrower, and panache and bravissimo are varied

RockCrushesLizard Thu 30-Oct-14 11:58:48

Thank you so much - it's interesting about the wide brands - I've always gone for those in the past, because it used to be do hard to get big cup bras, and freya/fantasie were my old faithfuls!

I'm ordering Lily now, in a couple of sizes. What do you think of the Juna? I've seen it recommended, and I would like a nude/everyday under clothes colour...

Lily is reduced to under 7 on mycurvesandme, I picked up a couple of sizes the other day. Juna didn't work for me, I found it too shallow, but lots of people love it. Nudes are hard, I just bought a new alana which isn't perfect but will do me until they bring out the nude Cleo marcie in spring. My main nude is from ewa michalak, a polish company who are amazing for narrow boobs. Once you've tried UK ones and sussed your size they are worth trying

RockCrushesLizard Thu 30-Oct-14 12:12:03

Great tip for the website - £6.75? unheard of!!
I'll be back with the results of my shopping smile

Awesome huh!

RockCrushesLizard Fri 31-Oct-14 11:37:32

So, exciting parcel this morning.
I had a Freya Deco and Cleo Juna from Bravissimo.
The deco was a 30GG, and was a good back width, but nowhere near enough cup - I'd have very quickly had someone's eye out!

The Juna I had ordered in a GG and an H, GG too small. The H was nearly perfect: The back felt good, the central gore was lovely and flat and it gave a nice shape, but I was spilling over the top. sad They dont do an HH, or I'd have just exchanged.

So since I've paid for Bravissimo postage, and can get and exchange in anything else to try on, I though I'd be as well trying more.

Would you recommend an Alana? I think the one I returned was painful because it was too big...

(Still anticipating my Lily! I have it coming in a GG, H and HH, so should be good, although I think the Minnie in a GG is going to be too small...)

Your lily should come quite quickly, so I'd maybe wait for that before doing your exchange order as it is quite an informative bra in terms of breast shape! it'll give us a good idea of other bras to try.

RockCrushesLizard Fri 31-Oct-14 12:04:10

Ooh, I like the idea of an informative bra! I have visions of being a spy in parrot print...

You're being so helpful - I really appreciate it smile

Those little parrots are sneaky suckers!

No problem at all, hopefully we can get you sorted. The Lily is quite narrow so it can be useful for working out whether you really need narrow shapes IME. It's also good for relatively balanced boobs, but copes with a bit of top heaviness too. Most of the others you have tried are quite wide, with the possible exception of the panache but it's very tall which rules it out for anyone who has a relatively high bust or short torso.

RockCrushesLizard Mon 03-Nov-14 14:02:47

Ooh, the excitement!
My new lily bras have arrived!
The 30 back is quite tight, but fine for a brand new bra IYSWIM.

The cups in the HH are loose on the top - I can slide my hand in and across the top easily.
The H is slightly loose on the left, slightly tight on the right - I think my wonky sized boobs are at fault there! The rest feels pretty good, though the gore isn't perfectly flat.
I feel the like straps are either doing too much work, when I tighten them, or if I loosen them, there's a bit too much freedom across the top - a bit costume drama-ey? (even though there is a tiny bit of quad boob on one side)

I've attached pics of the HH, the H, and the Juna (which is a bit small in the cup on both sides), for comparison.

RockCrushesLizard Mon 03-Nov-14 14:04:08

Ooh, I forgot - one of my current sad Freya, for comparison...

How do they feel after a little more wear/breaking in? The Juna is definitely too small, but as you say I think you are probably in between sizes in the Lily. It does have a little too much fabric in the top though, although for less than £7 I could be tempted to keep it until you can find something better! Have you read the section of the better bra campaign on asymmetry and how to manage it? It might be worth trying a few of the tricks and seeing how the fit is then

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 00:04:50

You really need to go get fitted. Seriously, I know so my friends that thought they were wearing the right size or someone told them the right size, and it's totally wrong.

I was always very slim as a teenager and I had small breasts. I kept wearing what I thought was the correct bra size until I said to a girlfriend how much I hated how uncomfortable bras were and she was like, you need to get measured if it hurts. I found out I was actually a 34B - bigger than I thought.

I think a lot of women get uncomfortable at the idea of being measured, but assistants in lingerie stores aren't all super models and they see all kinds of bodies all day and they just don't care.

Ultimately, it's better to just go get measured properly to avoid pain/discomfort. I always get measured now.

Unfortunately "just get fitted" often isn't much of a solution as there are very few stores who fit properly. Many many people are nowhere near a store like Bravissimo who fit properly.

And a 34B is not big at all. If your fitting has involved someone like M&S, you are probably in the wrong size.

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 01:45:26

I never said I was big. I said I was bigger than I thought.

I have no idea who M&S is.

I get measured at La Perla.

OK, I'm guessing you aren't in the UK if you have never heard of M&S grin. I am not sure what fitting approach La Perla use as there aren't any stores here however most companies in the UK are still using an outdated fitting approach which adds inches to the band size and results in ill fitting, unsupportive bras. Some of the biggest bra retailers in the UK and overseas are terrible for it unfortunately. So for many women getting a fitting isn't actually a good solution unless you know that the retailer fits properly. The company the OP was ordering from, Bravissimo, is a bit of a trail blazer in terms of good fitting service and increasing the range of bras for women who are D+ cup size and for those who have smaller band sizes. Which actually is a huge number of women when fitted properly - I've probably helped to fit thousands of women now and actually, I'd say less than 10% have turned out to actually be under a D cup in reality, but many have been wearing A/B cups due to using the old fashioned methods.

M&S is Marks and Spencer, a big UK company with thousands of stores who are "famed" for their bra fitting. They fitted me at a 36F. My true, properly fitted size is a 30HH. A 36F would end up causing me to have massive problems with my back. We tested quite a lot of shops and it was a huge problem.

Mind you, when I asked for my real bra size in the US I got outright laughed at, it seems to be even worse there.

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 03:10:54

Oh okay, I've heard of Marks and Spencer. Sorry, I didn't know Bravissimo was for D+ women. Well, I dunno, I think the more you pay for a bra (or any clothes) the better service you get. If M&S is like Target, then you get what you pay for.

PragmaticWench Tue 04-Nov-14 05:05:15

M&S definitely isn't like Target, it's a major high street company which trades on being the main place to go to for underwear. It's where most people's mothers will have gone to and people therefore assume they can go there for decent fitting too. Sadly that's not the case.

nooka Tue 04-Nov-14 05:30:56

I'm in Canada and having been recommended a smaller band and larger cup went off to try and find somewhere that sold them. Total failure! There were neither small bands (nothing under 30) nor big cups (nothing over DD), let alone the two combined, and this was at both department stores and La Senza which only sells underwear!

I'm back to only wearing bras for my martial arts class.

nooka Tue 04-Nov-14 05:33:17

Oh and there isn't really an equivalent of M&S here, nor did I find one when we lived in New York. It's not as upmarket as Saks or Nordstrom but not in the same class as Target. I miss buying all my underwear there, and their posh ready meals (which don't exist at all here)

OliviaBlue Tue 04-Nov-14 06:04:45

I'd buy you a bra, if you don't have money for one. Saks and Nordstrom probably do an okay job of measurments - have you tried them? Try Bloomingdales too

From what I've heard, Nordstrom are about the only US company who are OK-ish for fitting and also sell at least some big cup small band bras, which in reality loads of women need if fitted properly. Nooka there is a blog based in Canada called the Butterfly Collection which is all about bra fitting, there might be some info about retailers or recommendations on there. La Senza are another bad fitter - we trialled them over here and they fitted one of us, who wears a 30GG ish, in a 38D. She could have tied it in a bow!

Sadly, cost doesn't help quite often. Victoria's Secret are diabolical, and at a glance seem to be in a similar price bracket to Bravissimo. There are some very expensive boutique's who still use the old add 4/5" approach to determine band size.

M&S is kind of like a department store, but it only sells own brand products. I can't think of an American equivalent though - I'm over there just now so will keep eyes peeled! As the prev poster says, they trade on a reputation for fitting and it's the place loads of teenage girls get taken for their first fitting.

Especially on busty women, wearing bras that are too big in the band can lead to lots of problems. When you hear a women saying "I'm a DD and they hurt my back and I want a reduction", she's probably not a DD at all if fitted properly, she probably needs to go down 2-3 band sizes, up about 5 cup sizes and will suddenly find her back and shoulders don't ache anymore.

RockCrushesLizard Tue 04-Nov-14 15:46:52

Thanks for all the input. I have been fitted in the past - with mixed success! Bravissimo did a good fitting for me, and in all honesty I do know now when a bra fits me well, having started in a 34e in my teens, when I was three stone lighter than I am now, when I'm in a wearing a 30H shock. Classic small back big cup girl.

Interestingly, since I have been wearing well fitting bras I've always been in an H/HH, when my weight changes, it's only the band that seems to vary. it was more advice on the cut and shape of particular brands I was looking for, and thankfully Statistically is a font of great knowledge on that score!

Thanks also for link about asymmetry- I think it's definitely relevant to me.

I find the Lily fairly comfy. I had it on for two hours last night, and while it was tight (especially after becoming used to too big bands) there were only normal elastic type marks, no undue chafing.

So now I just need more styles that are similar to give me a choice, particularly one in a pale shade to wear under light clothes.
And a unicorn, some hens teeth and other such fantasy creatures!

SorrelForbes Tue 04-Nov-14 15:58:47

OliviaBlue I second everything Stats says up thread re. M&S and other shops' fitting services! Have you measured yourself following this guide? It gives a good starting point and could help you find your correct size (it's unlikely that you're a 34B if you've been fitted in La Perla). You can then order from UK stores like Bravissimo which will give you much more choice).

RockCrushesLizard I wear the Cleo Lily and also like the Cleo Meg, Bella, Melissa and Marcie. I too am impatiently waiting the arrival of the nude Marcie! Have you tried the Panache Idina balconette? It's not disimilar in cut to the marcie (perhaps a bit more closed on top) but comes in nude so is useful (if not the comfiest of bras!).

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