Are You Wearing the Right Size Bra?

April 21, 2011


Are you wearing the right size bra

Did you know 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size? I didn’t. And I certainly didn’t expect to be one of them.

But I was. I WAS.

It was becoming more and more clear to me that it was time to go bra shopping. It had been awhile, years even, since new bras had seen my drawers and, well, things just weren’t fitting well. I chocked it up to stretched out or worn out bras, but then I saw an episode of Bethanny Ever After (love it) where a friend dragged Bethanny to get a bra fitting. (The best part of this is that I was watching that episode on a plane to Las Vegas and caught a few side eyes from the guy on the aisle seat. It’s not porn, sir, it’s EDUCATION.)

Needless to say, my interest was piqued and I promptly put out a call on Facebook to those I trusted to recommend a place to get fitted and a fitter if they knew one. Turns out most major department stores offer this service, as well as a few boutiques, but I chose to go with Nordstrom as that was the most highly recommended.

And really? The chance to title this piece “My Nordstrom Rack” was just too awesome.

My fitter was delightful and I learned she had spent some time at Victoria’s Secret in sales and fitting there as well. So, clearly, my chest was in good hands. (Ahem.)

First came the measuring tape – around my ribcage, just under where my current bra was and around the fullest part of my chest as well.

Revelation: For the past, oh, 15 years, I’ve worn a 34B. And for some of that time I’m sure I was a 34B. I am no longer a 34B. I measured as a “full” (huzzah!) 34C.

No one was more shocked than I. Next time we meet in person you’re totally going to be looking at my boobs, aren’t you?

See? Get fitted, ladies.

My fitter brought me several different styles of bra to try on and they ranged from full cups to balconets and t-shirt bras to lacey sexy numbers and even some push-up styles. Eventually I found and fell in love with this Natori Feathers bra, a new style recently featured in Nordstrom’s catalog.

Bra Fitting Facts

1. The lifecycle of a bra is only 6 months. Maybe a year if you are SUPER careful with care.
2. New bras should be worn on the first hook set of the clasp. As it stretches over the six months or so, move to the second and then the third hook.
3. Bras should fit snugly, but never leave a mark.
4. Most of the time if your straps are falling or even uncomfortable, you are wearing the wrong size. This could be either cup or width sizes.

The Care and Keeping of Bras

Handwashing is best, but to keep your bras in tip top shape, never wash them in harsh detergent or Woolite. The chemicals in them will break down the fibers and cause them to misshape. (And we don’t want to look misshapen.) If you can’t handwash then use a lingerie bag and wash on the gentle cycle. NEVER put a bra in the dryer – either lay them flat to dry or hang them up.

When putting your new and clean bras away stack them one behind the other in the drawer. Never fold the cups – it damages them.

Bra drawer
Bras on left = correct. Bra on right, front corner = wrong.
Photo via swingbabydoll flickr

“Big” Isn’t What We Think It Is

What do you think of when you think of a woman wearing a Victoria’s Secret bra? Large, voluptuous and sexy? Would it surprise you to know that many of their most popular and “sexy” bras are not available in anything larger than a 40 DD?

Our perceptions of bra sizes as a population is way off. When we hear size “D”, we think enormous almost porn-sized breasts. This is not the case – and speaks to why so many women are wearing the wrong size. Our perceptions of size are simply wrong. At this particular Nordstrom the average size in a fitting is a DDD. I was astonished.

Getting fitted takes anywhere from a half-hour to two hours depending on how many and what kinds of bras you are searching for. I was only looking for a few day-to-day pieces to get my lingerie drawer revamp underway for now and I was done easily in a half hour.

It is worth every minute.

How about you? If you had to guess right now what your REAL size is would it be bigger or smaller than the bra you are wearing? I’d love to hear what the real story was — go get fitted and report back.

Your rack will thank you – and possibly your partner.

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14 Responses to “Are You Wearing the Right Size Bra?”

  1. Mir Says:

    Whoa. I’m astonished! I mean, I’ve ogled your boobs and totally guessed wrong.

    Now I am tempted to go get fitted, even though (ahem) your new favorite bra is lovely, but the price gave me palpitations. I’m not sure there’s a single bra at Nordstrom this cheap girl is willing to shell out the money for.

    Also? I have a whole bunch of bras that are over five years old. Ooooops.

    • Knighton Says:

      Nordstrom Rack carries many of the brands and most of the sizes for about 40% off. I buy my Wacoals there and save a ton!

    • Pam Says:

      Yes, bras are ridiculously expensive – and I second Knighton’s Nordstrom Rack idea. I’ll fill in with some other, less expensive bras next, but I felt like making an investment in two “good” ones was okay.

      And, you know? I still don’t “feel” like a “C”. And this bra doesn’t make me look bigger – it just fits better and I look better. Weird.

  2. Danielle (elleinadspir) Says:

    This has been on my todo list for ages. I’m certain I’m in the wrong size. I need to do a fitting soon.

  3. elz Says:

    Ok, ok, so now I’m pretty convinced that my bra size is wrong. Not really excited about getting all nekkid and felt up. But, I’ll go get fitted tomorrow!

    • Knighton Says:

      It would be wrong to say “told you so.” Gloating isn’t pretty on anyone. 😛

      Also, you don’t get nekkid and felt up. These ladies are professionals and discreet; the most they see is you in a bra.

    • Pam Says:

      Knighton speaks the truth, lady. No fondling or nekkidness involved. Totally easy – PROMISE

  4. Ellen G Says:

    I am in total agreement here and need to do this sooner than the Nordstrom Anniversary sale when I usually get this done.

    Of course, the last time I was in a Nordstroms, I was something like an R or a Q and I ran out in horror.

    • Pam Says:

      OH! GREAT idea – the Anniversary Sale. I forgot about that opportunity. I’m going to have to remember that one. 🙂

      And that’s quite the alphabet there – wear them with pride. 🙂

  5. Knighton Says:

    Love love love this! Probably time I go back in, too.

  6. Pam Says:

    Yay! New bras for everyone!

  7. MainlineMom Says:

    I must admit I’m a bit surprised too…I wouldn’t have put you at at 34C either. And really bras are good for only a year? That seems a bit extreme to me. Some of mine seem perfectly fine going on 2 or 3 years. Others do not seem fine but are my very very favorites and Victoria’s Secret stopped making them. That’s my biggest beef with VS (where I buy all my bras) that just when I find one I love, they change the style. I have so many bras that fit when I first put them on but do not keep the girls in place when I am moving around…UGH.

  8. Amber, theAmberShow Says:

    Yay you!

    I wore the wrong size bra on my wedding day, and since then, I’ve been getting fitted yearly. It’s a birthday thing for me.