I’ve been lamenting for a while about my girls, my breasts, the twins. As I’ve reached Club Fifty status they seem to be in a race to see which can reach my knees first (righty is currently in the lead, but lefty is not far behind). No amount of exercise – bicep curls, chest presses, hammer lifts and the like – seems to affect their descent. I’ve become so frustrated that I’ve talked about the possibility of a surgical breast lift. One incredulous friend asked:
“Why don’t you just try a better bra?”
Come on, surely this would not do the trick, right? To get these puppies back in place I would need, at a minimum, something perhaps steel-plated…
Truth be told, up until about two weeks ago I had never succumbed to a bra fitting. Like – I suspect – most women, ever since my first training bra at age 14 (I was a late bloomer) I’ve fumbled through cups and sizes and lace and under-wires in search of something comfortable, pretty, and supportive.
I reached out to a gal pal whose chest has always impressed me. Well into her forties, her girls still ride high and proud. I’ve often suspected that she may have had a little surgical assistance to place everything back where God intended things to be. I was surprised to discover that she credits her perky silhouette to her extensive bra collection. She directed me to her best resource for undergarments; highly recommending that I ask for a bra fitting at a place called Trousseau.
As I entered I had no idea what to expect. I was immediately impressed with the surroundings: lacy, tasteful, and very colorful bras and panties lined all the walls of the store. Silk robes and cute t-shirts were interspersed amongst the vast array of every type of undergarment I could possibly imagine.
A wonderful sales associate named Kaileigh greeted me and would spend the next hour helping me discover the magical world of a well-fitting bra. Kaileigh’s first question:
“What size bra do you wear?”
“Hmm, OK,” she replied, “let’s take a measurement.”
I was surprised that she measured below my breasts, around my rib cage. First lesson: the correct band size for a bra is not across your breasts, it’s below them. Guess what: I’m a 34! As background, click here for an article from Real Simple magazine about how to correctly measure your bra size.
Kaileigh’s next move was even more surprising. Without telling me the cup size, she brought me a t-shirt bra to demonstrate a little before and after magic.
The cup size, my correct cup size: DDD! That’s not a typo! I couldn’t believe it. This was not some sort of uber-constructed push-up bra; it was a well-fitting yet fairly basic nude colored bra. As you can see from the before and after photos, it gave the girls a much needed lift. I was assured that a 34 DDD is a very common bra size for American women.
Kaileigh explained that most American women wear bras that are too big in the band and too small in the cup. This causes up-creep across your back and the dreaded “third-boob” spill over in the front. She also explained that a DDD in the US is the same as an “F” in France or an “E” in England. I gotta tell you an “E” or an “F” sounds a helluva lot better than a DDD. DDD sounds like something my Aunt Gertrude should be wearing. But I had to admit, this new bra did feel very comfortable; and was having the intended effect.
Here are some additional lessons I learned from a proper bra fitting:
The twins are not identical. True. I’m left-handed, so my right breast is a bit bigger than my left. Makes sense; leftie has obviously been subjected to more toning exercises over the past five decades. The correct bra should compensate for this.
Size matters. True. I went from a 38 to a 34; that’s a pretty big difference. You would think that this new bra size feels very confining, but it doesn’t. It’s also very important to adjust the shoulder straps; your breasts are different sizes so the bra straps should be adjusted to different levels as well. The strap should give about an inch when you pull it away from your shoulder, but not much more.
Big bras are ugly. False! Kaileigh showed me a huge selection of bras in all kinds of sizes. Big girls are not relegated to beige or white. Some of the very large bras were down-right sexy.
You get what you pay for. Definitely True. My days of digging through the sales bin looking for the $20 bargain are probably over.
White t-shirt, white bra. False! I was surprised to discover that you shouldn’t wear a white bra under a white t-shirt. It’s better to opt for a flesh or neutral bra or, get this, a red bra! It’s all about skin tone, not the color of the shirt. I must admit I’m not completely sold on this idea… what do you think?
A good bra can make you look younger and thinner. True. Sagging breasts really do age a gal. I don’t begrudge one bit the women who have decided to let it all hang out. More power to ‘em. As for me, I’m all about putting my best chest forward.
After giving the new t-shirt bra a trial run over the past two weeks, I’m now a true convert. I’ll be organizing a bra-fitting field trip for my gal pals and their girls for after the first of the year; I’m sure I’ll purchase a few more well-fitting bras as well.
Have you ever had a proper bra-fitting? Were you surprised by the results?
PS: A big thank you/shout out to Kaleigh at Trousseau for all her patience and assistance.
Louise Edington saysDecember 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm
Yes yes yes. And no to white under white. I used to be a bra fitter and salesperson so I have witnessed thousands of times what a difference a well fitting bra makes. Good for you!
Kimba saysDecember 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm
Louise, you were a bra fitter?! Girl you always surprise me!
Julieanne Case saysDecember 6, 2013 at 12:39 am
Yes, as a matter of fact. The woman was so good, she could look at me and tell me what size I was! I was wearing the right size but she said I'm inbetween righ now. So my current bra is a tad big. I don't like wire bras so still looking for some good wirefree. She did get me three very lacey bras that do make my girls look perky!
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Kimba saysDecember 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm
Lacey and perky; well done!
Susan Wright-Boucher saysDecember 5, 2013 at 1:22 am
I’m guessing the bra lady wouldn’t approve of the sports bras I’m addicted to.
Just sign me “Uniboob”
Kimba saysDecember 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm
I am so torn on the whole sports bra issue: I've got one that also gives me the uni-boob syndrome, but it's the most comfortable one I own. In the gym, I'm a little less concerned about how the girls are looking, but there's a part of me that thinks it will be in the gym where I finally bump into Mr. Clooney!
Suzie Cheel saysDecember 4, 2013 at 9:34 pm
You had me laughing at the first paragraph and then amazed. This is a brilliant story to tell
Now I am wondering if I can find somewhere here where i can find a bra that is comfortable. I haven't worn one since I broke my arm and had the crush fractures, I am amzed at how well they have behaved and not done the droop.
I am going to do my own test to see if I have been wearing the right size ♡♡♡
Kimba saysDecember 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm
Quite jealous of your lack of droop Suzie. What's your secret?
Angie saysDecember 4, 2013 at 10:21 am
This is a FABULOUSLY fun AND informative post. Thank you for sharing it. The last time – and the only time – I had a formal bra fitting, it was for my wedding dress in 1992. I have been blessed with a curvaceous body and to make my breasts look perky, my seamstress professionally fitted me for the proper bra. It was stunning, the difference!
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
Angie, crazy what a difference a good bra can make, eh? Have you gone back for another fitting since 1992? My girls have changed a lot inthe last decade….
Nathalie Villeneuve saysDecember 3, 2013 at 10:02 pm
Yes…I had a similar experience..I was wearing bras that were too big in a band and a small cup! I was buying 38 B…and I am 36 C. I'm glad I went for my fitting. Aunt Gertrude DDD…LOL ..Too funny and wow! I didn't even know they made DDD's
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 4, 2013 at 9:38 am
Yeah, that DDD label needs to be changed to something MUCH cooler.
Danni saysDecember 3, 2013 at 5:16 pm
Who knew?? Adding a fitting to my "to-do" list!
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 4, 2013 at 9:39 am
I'm planning a field trip for 2014 – you should come along!!
Dina Eisenberg saysDecember 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm
Great article, Kim. I have had a proper bra fitting, which was quite the experience. I learned you have to settle the girls in the bra so they're fully in the cup. That one small change gave me much nicer cleavage and I looked thinner.
No doubt the bras are expensive at upwards of $70 a pop, and you have to care for them, but they're well worth it.
Thanks for reminding me to wear a bra! Warmly, Dina
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 4, 2013 at 9:40 am
I hear ya – the days of the girls settling into place on their own are over; they need a little placement guidance to ride properly.
Ellen Thomas saysDecember 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm
Love this…so helpful and love your sense of humor and approach to what can be (and usually is!) a challenging task for most women.
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 4, 2013 at 9:43 am
Thx Ellen! I don't think I'll ever put bra fittings in the same category as say pedicures, but they don't have to be the equivalent of a mammogram!
Sara Mesa saysDecember 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm
Great blog this week!!
Kim Dalferes saysDecember 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm
Thx Sara, FYI folks Sara (ProAvantage) is my web designer SAVIOR!! Anyone out there needs website design or support, I highly recommend this woman-owned small business!!