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Bra interventionists - please help me help my mum

(17 Posts)
SixImpossible Thu 30-Oct-14 17:59:54

My mum, in her 80s, round of tum and generous of bosom, had been wearing ancient saggy bras, and I finally persuaded her to get fitted for new bras. She found the fittings exhausting, and always ended up with uncomfortable bras. So I took her to Bravissimo, and watched her being fitted with what I thought was an excellent, well-fitting bra. She said it was comfortable and the fit looked textbook.

It was the exact same bra that she had been fitted with at another shop, and that I had returned for her because it hurt her to wear and looked obviously wrong on. (I had not been at that fitting.)

Following morning I get a phone call from dm: the bra doesn't fit, it hurts/digs/cuts. I talk her through the various adjustments that the fitter had showed us. Still no good.

When I went to visit dm, the bra looked a better fit than the (identical) one I had returned for her, but still looked very wrong. Yet it was perfect during the fitting.

How can I help my dm?

StatisticallyChallenged Thu 30-Oct-14 18:08:31

OK, can you tell us what bra it is that's she has been fitted with, what size, and where the problem areas are - what is hurting? Where is it digging? Is it a different size at least to the previous one?

Sometimes you can't tell until you have worn a bra for a little while, but Bravissimo are good in that if they got the fitting wrong the will take it back even if it is worn. But hopefully we can identify a few alternatives that are worth her trying on.

SixImpossible Fri 31-Oct-14 18:46:44

Panache tango 34FF, balconette style I think.

Mum thinks she's 36G. (An improvement at least. She used to insist on 38E.)

Under the armpits is the worst place for pain. The top of her breasts spill over, but I think there is space underneath, between wires and breasts.

GobblersKnob Fri 31-Oct-14 18:59:05

I persuaded both my Mum and mil into correctly fitting bras but neither of them will wear them, they are both in their sixties. Mum wears scarey old m and s sports bra types things that are waaaaay too big in the back, mil generally just goes braless. Both insist that the correctly fitting bras are hugely uncomfortable.

I think sometimes after a lifetime of thinking bras too big in the back are a comfy fit then things like breaking a bra in is too much to get your head round.

treaclesoda Fri 31-Oct-14 19:06:06

Panache bras are hugely uncomfortable for me, even in the correct size, because the wires just come far too far up under the arms. They stab me something terrible.

Could it be something as simple as that? Some brands just don't suit some women, even when the fit is good and the bra is good.

CheersMedea Fri 31-Oct-14 19:14:41

When I went to visit dm, the bra looked a better fit than the (identical) one I had returned for her, but still looked very wrong. Yet it was perfect during the fitting.

Why did it look wrong?

If she has a large bust and wants something supportive, I would avoid a balconette style totally. Definitely go for a full cup.

Not sure where you are based but as a last resort book her for a fitting at Rigby & Peller in London. They are Bravissimo to the power 10. I do love Bravissimo and think their fitters are great. But Rigby & Peller is a cut above.

Their bras are very expensive though so be warned. But 100% worth it and if you wash them carefully they last for ages.

CheersMedea Fri 31-Oct-14 19:15:26

Another thought - what does she wear normally?

If she is changing from (say) no wire to under-wire, that may be an issue.

StatisticallyChallenged Fri 31-Oct-14 20:37:12

Oh, I have an idea what might be wrong then. The Tango has very tall wires. What can happen is that it doesn't look immediately awful but then because the wires are too tall the ends of them ends up stabbing the armpits, which causes the wire to then be pushed down the body. So you end up with sore underarms and with a gap between the bottom of the breast and the wire.

They also have very stuff bands and very firm wires.

It might be worth her trying something softer like a Fantasie. The Tango I find can sometimes be a bit of a "fitter's favourite" and one they often reach for straight away. She might also get on with some of the bravissimo balconettes and full cups, do you know if she tried any of them?

StatisticallyChallenged Fri 31-Oct-14 20:42:27

It could also be that her breasts are deeper than the bottom of the cups, so she's getting "orange in a glass" effect. If that's the case, it would be worth trying something with more depth too. Possibly something like Bravissimo Bloomsbury, or maybe Cleo Marcie (both are quite bold colour wise I'm afraid!) or Panache Floris.

There's a lot more to it than just size, it sounds like the Tango is fundamentally the wrong shape of bra for her. Whether she's better in something like a fantasie, or one of the ones in this post really depends on whether her breasts are relatively wide and softer, or relatively narrow. Trial and error with bras is the best way to figure that out

Furball Fri 31-Oct-14 20:47:55

Hi statiscally - can you have a look at this thread please they are in need smile

Furball Fri 31-Oct-14 20:50:37

apologies for your name typo blush

StatisticallyChallenged Fri 31-Oct-14 21:24:01

Thanks for the heads up!

SixImpossible Fri 31-Oct-14 22:20:41

I get what you mean about the high wires pushing the bottom of the cup down, but I don't think that is happening.

The bravissimo lady tweaked and adjusted mum in the bra, and it looked perfect. No ripples, no overspill of breast. And mum said she was comfortable.

But at home we cannot get her into the bra and looking like she did at Bravissimo. At home mum's breasts overspill the cups, and yet there is a gap between the breasts and the bra fabric at the bottom of the cup. The wires also dig in at her armpits from the moment she puts the bra on.

Curiously, she says that the bras are at their most uncomfortable straight from the wash. After a few days' wear they seem to soften a bit.

Mum has been wearing underwires for years. The problem has arisen in last few years, as she has become stouter and her breasts have grown too large for her tiny frame. Arthritis doesn't help, either.

StatisticallyChallenged Fri 31-Oct-14 22:36:38

It's quite easy for a bra to look ok in the shop and not be right at home. I doubt it's just a case of putting it on a different way, as you said you've talked her through all the usual adjustments.

It could well be orange in a glass - that doesn't always show up instantly. I have been caught out by it a few times. Basically, your mum's breast tissue is not the same shape as the cups. Breasts are relatively soft so they can often be scooped and shoogled in to a bra and look ok but once you move if the shape isn't a good match the breast tends to try and go back to it's natural shape. It's generally because either the breast is too wide for the cup (so the cup gets pushed down until the breasts settle in a wider part of the wire) or too deep (same but with cup depth rather than width.

Bras always tighten up in the wash too.

[ this picture]] shows it at the bottom of the cups - this person has very deep breasts and the cups are too shallow at the bottom. So there's space at the bottom but she's popping out the top.

She should really go back to Bravissimo and explain the problems. Either it's a good fit and she's somehow wearing it wrong in which case they will be able to help, or it's not actually a good fit once she starts moving about in which case they will swap it for something better.

SixImpossible Fri 31-Oct-14 22:39:46

Dm left the Bravissimo fitting wearing one of her new bras. She was perfectly comfortable for the rest of the day. The problems began the following morning, when she put the bra on by herself.

marriednotdead Fri 31-Oct-14 22:42:21

You need to take mum and the bra back to Bravissimo!

From your description, the bra is the wrong shape for her. Panache bras are great for women who have heavy or lower set boobs. If she is petite and there is space at the bottom of the cup combined with armpit wire digging, then she needs to try styles from another brand such as Fantasie as they are set higher. Without seeing her, I can't be sure what would work but I'd suggest trying the Fantasie Belle in a band size smaller e.g. 32FF as a start point.

saintsandpoets Fri 31-Oct-14 22:57:15

Is it possible your mum just likes having saggy boobs?

My mum does. She's got massive boobs, so the straps are about an inch thick and weigh her shoulders down.

She refuses to wear under wiring, or anything with any padding or shape. Her bras look like cotton socks on her boobs.

I've tried to get her in all sorts over the years, and she hates anything that actually fits. Having her boobs up, and not as close-to-not-wearing-a-bra as possible is 'painful' to her.

She's not a woman who cares how she looks, so it is a lost battle. She's happy with boobs around her waist.

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