Monday, September 26, 2011

Adventures in Bra Fitting

I've been in a bra rut for the past six months. After being re-sized by a Lane Bryant bra fit expert last February, I discovered that I was wearing the wrong bra size. My band was too big and my cups were too small - a common fit issue among lots of women.

I could tell that my bras weren't doing me any favors by the way I looked in my clothes. My shape wasn't as defined as it could be. And I just felt a So I've made two trips to Lane Bryant over the past few months in order to buy new bras. And every time, I came out of the store empty handed.

My experience went a little like this:
  • Breeze into the Cacique department, smile and nicely refuse help from a Sales Associate.
  • Please.  I know what I'm doing here.
  • Confidently grab the first bra in front of me.
  • Start to feel unsure of myself.
  • Do I need a Balconette PlungeFull coverage?
  • Go into dressing room and try on bras.
  • Start to feel warm.  Hair begins to frizz.
  • Examine myself from every angle.
  • Are my breasts in the right spot?  Is that how they're supposed to look? Why are the straps so short?  Why are they so long?  What length should they be?
  • Break out into full-on sweat
  • Hastily put on my own (poorly fitting) bra and exit the store. Empty handed.
After repeating this scenario more times that I want to admit, I decided to do it right.  So I headed to the Lane Bryant store at Mall of America, with a new attitude.  This time, I would enlist help.

Diana Healms is one of the store managers, and she spent time guiding me through a bra fitting and all the different bra types within the Cacique line. 

Diana and I got to know each other pretty well over the course of my shopping experience, since I stood around in my underwear and boots while she checked the fit for each bra that I tried on.  I usually have to know someone for longer than 20 minutes before I'll take my pants off, but Diana made me feel so comfortable.  (She's a pro at maintaining eye contact!) 

After what felt like a transformative bra fit experience, Diana kindly pointed out that this is something she and her team do every single day.  What feels like a big deal to me and lots of other women is, in fact, simply their jobs.  Which made me realize...why the heck had I made such a big deal out of bra shopping?  If I'd just asked for help from the get-go, I could have been strutting around in bras that fit and feel great several months ago.  Lesson learned.

Diana's Top Bra Fit Tips:
  • Bras last about 12 months- unless you have a collection of 10 or more and aren't wearing the same 5 bras every single day. 
  • Not every style will fit you in the size that you're measured.  Just like I have to size up in skinny jeans, I might have size up in a skimpier bra.
  • If you size up in band size, you will probably need to size up in cup size, too.
  • Oftentimes if a bra is not fitting, the cup size is the problem - not the band size.
  • If your straps are falling down, try a bra style with convertible straps- you can criss- cross them in the back.
  • If your straps dig into your shoulders, have your band re-sized to ensure it's as supportive as it should be.  Or, place a bra pad under the straps for more support.
  • Try a bra without underwire for lounging around at home.  It's like a pajama bra!  (I tried it and can vouch for this comfortable!)
  • Ask for help.  Be honest with your sales associate - tell her what you like and don't like.  Bras are not supposed to be uncomfortable. 
* After I contacted Lane Bryant, asking if I could get some bra fitting help and record the experience to share with you, they offered me two free bras.  I will be purchasing the other bras that I fell in love with during the Cacique Buy 2, Get 1 free sale that starts on October 3rd.   Available in store and online 10/3 through 10/16.


  1. So cool that you did this and shared your experience. I have shopped at Lane Byrant for years and have always turned down the bra fit team, but do have bra fit issues.
    I actually thought the band ride up in the back was because the bra was too small,not to big, think I need to go bra shopping.

  2. I'm definitely going to rethink my knee-jerk response of telling sales associates no. I hope you find a good fit, Kris!

  3. This is inspiring me to replace some bras. I definitely need more smooth and lift in my life.

  4. This is something very timely and something I really need to consider. But like you, I always want to avoid the help.

  5. I wonder why that is, Patti. Is it because we're shy about it, or because we are afraid they're going to pressure us into a bra or a credit card...or something else we don't think we want? I don't know.

  6. I'm not sure. I think for me, it's like I will be embarrassed that I'm totally wearing the wrong size. It's like when I go to the dentist -- I'm not afraid but I'm worried that I will be told that I'm not doing a good enough job or something.

  7. I can understand that, Patti. I'm a style blogger and didn't even have the right size on! I definitely felt like, "duh, you should know better." But Diana at LB made me feel like it's no big deal and they do this everyday. :)

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this video- it was so informative and definitely made the idea of getting a bra fitting much less scary! I think I had an experience when I was about 13 that scarred me for life (which is silly, I'm sure that everyone's first bra buying experience is traumatic). I guess I need to give bra fitting another try. I've always shopped at Victoria's Secret, but even though they do have my size its one of the larger ones and its hard to find and makes me feel totally marginalized and cranky. If only there was a Lane Bryant closer than two hours away! I guess there is always online shopping, its just so hard to do with bras! Anyways, thanks so much for sharing, you've motivated me to get off my butt and find some comfortable bras.

  9. What a public service! I haven't shopped at LB for bras in years. But my chest is in that serving bowl size and a double D won't cut it.

    I DO however, shop at Nordstrom's for bras and have an associate help EVERY time. I usually start with the last size I bough and we work from there. You would be shocked at the difference even 10 lbs makes in how a bra fits.

    I highly recommend fittings and most sales people are very professional and super helpful.

    Also, if you have been wearing a bra that's too big? It might feel odd when you get into a bra that fits correctly. The girls are were they are supposed to be and your not tugging or fussing with your bra. Bonus is you really do look thinner.

    Great post!


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