It was life-changing
As a person who has breasts, I’ve long struggled with bras.
It’s one of the “joys” of womanhood … squeezing your chest into a harness so that you don’t experience back pain, or so that no one can see your nipples poking out. (God forbid someone find out that women have nipples.)
My method in the past for finding a bra has been to try them on in a store until I found one that kind of fit. Which is like taping a toy figurine to a paper airplane and saying it’s kind of a passenger jet.
Like a triathlon, there are three distinct areas you need to get right to find a perfectly fitting bra: band size, cup size, and shape.
No wonder most women are wearing an ill-fitting size.
Bra sizing actually works on a scale. What people think of as a “C” cup or a “D” cup are not set in stone; they go up or down related to the band size. Someone wearing a properly fitted 30D, for instance, will have a different breast size than someone wearing a 38D.
The scale is so complex that many sizes may work for the same person. For example, a 32C and a 30D are very similar, and could be worn interchangeably.
Now add in the fact that breasts come in a variety of different shapes, and the bra has to fit correctly while you stand, sit, lift your arms, and bend over. And as many women know, pregnancy, weight gain, and weight loss can dramatically change our bra size.
For decades, I avoided underwire, because it seemed like a medieval era torture device. Every time I moved my arms, the wires pinched and stabbed at me. No wonder a past generation of women wanted to burn these things.
There are a lot of online guides for measuring one’s size, but I am an unreliable measurer, because I subconsciously add about 3 cup sizes.
The solution? A professional bra fitting.
I avoided one for years, needlessly. I have a hard time asking salespeople for help. But I finally worked up the courage when I realized that my bras, which never fit all that great in the first place, were several years old and needed replacing.
I was nervous as I entered the shop, but I explained that I couldn’t find the right size, and a salesperson immediately offered to fit me. The whole process took maybe 10 minutes.
I had worried I would have to get measured topless, and was hesitant to let a salesperson see me undressed. Turns out, fitters can measure over your shirt, or over your bra. No nudity needed.
I also heard superstitions that you can only get an accurate fitting at expensive boutiques, and that regular stores will just put you in the closest size they have. Neither one was the case for me— my fitter measured me as a size they didn’t carry in store, but promptly ordered it.
And now, like magic, I have bras that fit. With underwire!
How do you know you’re wearing the right size bra? The band shouldn’t ride up, and the “gore” (the part in between the cups) should be flat against your chest. The straps should stay on, and the bra also shouldn’t pinch or hurt to wear.
Maybe in the future, we can 3D scan our bodies and design the perfect bra. Until then, we have fittings. And they’re lifesaving.
P.S.: Don’t put your bras in the dryer. Trust me on that one.