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Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.

end of tether with bras....sizing, fit and style

(249 Posts)
poppymoon Tue 20-Jan-15 13:53:27

and very embarrassed that i have got to 40 something years of age and have never ever worn a bra that felt comfortable. this is probably because i have never had a correctly fitting one.

most of the time i have 'worn' a 36A strapless (so i could whip the torturous thing off easily). it would appear, however, that i am actually supposed to be wearing a 34DD/E.

PLEASE DO NOT LAUGH - hahahahahahaha ahhhh go on then as it is stupidly funny.

i did some reading and measuring and reckoned that by my measurements, a 34D would 'do' (one side is a bit smaller than the other). the lady in bravissimo got me to try on a DD and i thought that was alright but she still wasn't happy with 'tissue and wires' so put me in a 34E (which looked baggy to me but i obviously know nothing).

then i bought a pretty balcony style bra from M & S. the 34DD fitted ok but really rubbed under my arms (at the front of my flabby pit, not near the wire). i eventually asked for help. the fitter fetched several matronly bras and juggled me into them. she also fetched the pretty one but in a plunge style rather than balcony. she said the 34dd wasn't big enough and gave me an E.

now i'm home, the E cup feels too big again for me and i still really want a balcony bra. i've been reading that some have wider wires than others and i've got myself in a mucking fuddle.

soooooo, could anyone please advise me on the way these contraptions are supposed to fit 'properly' and let me know if there really may be a 'wider wire, narrower straps' balcony bra out there?

SlightlyJadedJack Tue 20-Jan-15 14:14:07

Poppy I was wearing a 36A for ages then I got told I was a C cup but then according to the MN measurements I am a 34DD. I am completely flat chested to look at so if I tell anyone this they look at me like hmm. I am quite a big person though so I think that may explain it.

For me the DD fits when I do the scoop thing but an hour or two later I have a gapey section at the top of the bra (I don't have a lot of voulume after BFing my DCs!). I am so fed up with trying different bras and spending a fortune for none of them to fit well after half a day.

Sorry I can't help but I'm interested to see what others suggest.

poppymoon Tue 20-Jan-15 14:24:06

sounds familiar to me, shape wise. i have always thought i was/am flat chested so how on earth can i fill a 34DD or E cup? i understand that the cup size and band size are relative but its still a bit of a shocker to find out i've been doing something so basic 'wrong' for all these years.

i've lost the will to strip off any more at the shopping centre (in changing rooms i might add) so i'm thinking of ordering a few different ones online (as long as the company have a decent returns policy). i still think the DD/E is too big though as i'm flat chested apart from having put lots of weight on over the last couple of years.

i really hope that with the wealth of knowledge here on MN, someone can advise us smile

StatisticallyChallenged Tue 20-Jan-15 20:50:24

Which bra did you get at Bravissimo? Are you filling the bottom of it properly?

Pointlessfan Tue 20-Jan-15 20:54:54

I bought a bra in Bravissimo last week after so many recommendations on here. It's a 32E and felt very comfy in the shop. I've worn it once and was almost in tears with the wires digging in between my boobs. It left marks on my skin!

StatisticallyChallenged Tue 20-Jan-15 21:10:40

Which bra did you buy Pointlessfan, and what size were you wearing before?

marriednotdead Tue 20-Jan-15 21:21:13

Evening all smile

Descriptions here seem to fit with wider, shallower boobs. This would make sense of the 'flat' impressions you have of your boobs, the wire digging, and the gaping after moving once scooped into place.

There are a fair amount of wider styles out there, but it is always going to be trial and error in the same way as when you buy jeans or shoes.

Freya half cups are usually a good start point, and Debenhams usually have those and a wide selection of own brand balcony bras in their larger branches.

Imagine the wire to be like a smile. You want a wide grin rather than a sharp U shape. The straighter the wire, the further it will wrap around and encase the breast tissue under your arm. I find that if the wire follows your rib shape, it's more likely to feel comfortable.

I have lost weight and look pretty flat at the moment, but can still fill a half cup in a G.

marriednotdead Tue 20-Jan-15 21:21:58

Pointlessfan. Take it back!

Pointlessfan Tue 20-Jan-15 21:39:50

Do you think they will take it back after I have worn it?

Greenrememberedhills Tue 20-Jan-15 21:47:25

You might add price to the list. I bought a bog standard fantasie bra last week and was charged £41.

SlightlyJadedJack Tue 20-Jan-15 22:06:24

Marriednotdead you are spot on for me wide apart (no cleavage!) boobs. Thank you for the advice on bra type I shall try that. Does the bra sizing work the same way if you are my shape?? confused

WhiteHairReally Tue 20-Jan-15 22:17:53

Watching with interest. I did the 'bra intervention' (34G/GG) and then went and spent that £41 on a 'bog standard Fantasie bra' like you did Greenrememberedhills, in JL. It rubbed so badly on the band between my breasts that I couldn't keep it on for a full day. I crept back into Bravissimo who put my into a 32GG 'because Fantasie come up big.' After the standard scooping and hoicking session I left the shop with a 34GG Envy by Panache. The fitter yanked all the straps up on every bra I tried on, including the one I went into the shop wearing and the one I bought. Now, like poppymoon, I have horribly sore welts in front of my armpits and also red red marks on my shoulders. And I thought that Bravissimo were supposed to be good and that the band was supposed to take the strain. Apart from the discomfort, the Envy makes my frontage look absolutely huge and my breasts are pear shaped not orange shaped so the top bit of the cup is not filled.

I am currently working very hard to lose weight (2 stone gone, 3 stone to go) so, at this stage was aiming to keep bra purchasing to a minimum. Plus I have a drawer full of bras, properly fitted in the past, for me to wear, as the lard comes off!

PrimalLass Tue 20-Jan-15 23:51:08

Debenhams tshirts balcony bras are the only style I wear. Very comfy and cheap as chips. Plus they make my boobs look great in clothes grin

debbriana Wed 21-Jan-15 00:14:09

When choosing a good bra make sure you go for the shape. It makes a big difference. Try the same size in different shapes. From fancy to the most boring. It will surprise you.

debbriana Wed 21-Jan-15 00:16:59

The best place to get good quality long lasting bras is from Selfridges during sales. The prices drop like crazy.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 21-Jan-15 08:20:42

Bravissimo will take back uncomfortable bras even after wearing and/or washing. I bought 2 bras there a few years ago which turned out to do what you describe, Whitehair and Pointless. I bitched about them on a bra thread here and lo and behold, a Bravissimo rep posted to apologise and asked me to email my local store with my story, and they made an appt for me with the manageress, who fitted me perfectly. She asked me to come in wearing the painful bra so she could see how it was fitting/not fitting and she took back both the original ones and replaced them. I was really impressed - with the fact that someone from Bravissimo was monitoring forums, and with the manageress' fitting.

StatisticallyChallenged Wed 21-Jan-15 08:58:06

Bravissimo are very good for taking back worn bras if they're not spot on. It's sometimes not that easy to see things which will cause discomfort in a fitting - it's a bit like shoes. Some you try on and immediately go "hell no, these are pinching like crazy", but others you try on and they feel fine and it's only once you walk around in them that you discover there's a little bit that nips, rubs or pinches.

When I buy bras, I tend to give them a longer try on at home now as I know that despite knowing quite a lot about bras, I can't always tell from a quick try on.

nottheOP Wed 21-Jan-15 09:09:42

I know that my poor posture and close set boobs makes the majority of bras uncomfortable. I spent quite a long time when I was being fitted last time and made sure that I was slouching and putting my arms above my head etc. to make sure that the bra was comfortable.

I now have 3 of the bravissimo Satine as it's the most comfortable bra for me. It's just a case of finding it.

Try not to be shy in the shop too. They really have seen it all.

poppymoon Wed 21-Jan-15 09:50:45

i bought the 'melrose' bra from bravissomo, statisticallychallenged. i'm filling out the bottom part of it, yes (as far as i can tell) but theres not much shape/curviness at the top. the lace bit is a bit baggy on my right boob when i move my shoulder forwards but the fitting lady said i needed to shop for the bigger side rather than squish the tissue under my arm.

Redcagoule Wed 21-Jan-15 09:53:36

Sorry if this has been said before. My very best advice is to go to a department store with lots of different makes when you have lots of time and are not feeling hassled. Take a mountain of different bras into the changing room to try on. For each bra I like I get several sizes that I think might possibly fit (e.g. 34 and 36 d and dd). Try them all on. Get advice from the staff to see if they think the ones you think fit well do or if they can suggest something better. Doing this you will hopefully find a make that fits you well. Through this process I found that Freya bras fit me nicely (no gapping I between my boos and very little side-boob-spillage) so can buy on-line with the only difference being sometimes I'm more 34dd and sometimes more 34d, depending on weight fluctuations.

Also, take a fairly sheer T-shirt (if you ever wear that kind of top) in with you to see what the bra will look like under clothes.

Good luck, it's almost as hard as finding that perfect pair of jeans.

mabelbabel Wed 21-Jan-15 09:54:27

Can i side-track a bit with a question about Bravissimo? So they are supposed to be for larger boobed ladies (I always thought), but if I am a 32D via the bra intervention method then is that also how Bravissimo would measure me? Because I'm not large of boob, and therefore am scared of going into the shop. If they cater to people my size, why not cater to EVERYBODY and sweep up the competition?

poppymoon Wed 21-Jan-15 09:56:54

spot on description for mine too marriednotdead!! i always thought i had no cleavage too - until i bought a push up bra and.......!!! not really sure 'cleavage' is the right word. more like 'builders buttcrack'.

i think i look flat from the front and side but there's bits of flab further back going into my arm pits that the fitter in bravissimo and in m & s said i should scoop and jiggle into the bra. is this right?

maybe squishing into a 36a for many years has done me no favours at all. if all of this flab was at the front where it should be, i think i'd have boobs :D

poppymoon Wed 21-Jan-15 10:06:11

i feel like i've spent hours in fitting rooms during the last couple of weeks redcagoule. first attempt, debenhams advised a 34 d or dd. i bought a couple in the sale but after a while, they felt uncomfortable.

i tried 34 dd in bravissimo and the very helpful fitter fetched me a 34e instead and said that fitted better. after wearing it for a bit though, it feels like it will rub my armpits. i was visiting friends a couple of hours away too and we don't have a store any closer to where i live.

in m & s, the lady i asked for help told me i shouldn't try to wear anything balcony style due to the fat bits under my armpits. she fetched more plunge styles and again, said the 34dd wasn't big enough as it didn't enclose all of the tissue under my left arm so sent me away with a 34e. having worn it for a couple of hours, i feel like the stuff i've scooped in keeps wanting to creep back out, making it seem like the bra swamps me.

Redcagoule Wed 21-Jan-15 10:24:48

I've never heard of this scoop thing, it doesn't sound very comfortable. I've seen, but not tried yet (although I plan to) some new styles that claim to give support and shape without wires. They look like a prettier version on the very stretchy maternity bras. And I think I've seen cheaper versions in Sainsburys. Have you tried this kind? I'll look for a link.

Redcagoule Wed 21-Jan-15 10:35:32

Ok, just had a quick look on the Figleaves site and nestling between the many nursing bras there are wire-free ones made by Slogging, CK, Gossard and DKNY. Might be worth a try for comfort. Have you tried a Freya balcony bra? Figleaves have a very good returns policy. I don't work for them, honest.

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