Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bra Roulette

So, you've tried everywhere. And not just Vicky's, Freddie's, or even Nordie's - you've even gone to the "specialty shops." Yet, those perfectly-fitting bras remain elusive. What's a girl to do?

Well, lovies, you have three options, depending on your funds:
1. Beg free bras off of friends
2. Scour the internet for cheap bras
3. Buy new bras from fancy European websites

No option is perfect. Option 1 only works if you have friends that are about the same size as you (and are willing to part with their probably hard-won lingerie).

Option 3 is the ideal option for getting nice bras, but only works if you have sufficient funds (at least a few hundred $$) and patience.
For example, say I found two bras I liked online that I decided I would try. The first is $54.44 (weird amounts happen when you convert from British currency), and the second is $51.14.

Now, if I just got one of each that would be $105.58, plus around $14 shipping, giving a grand total of about $119.88. But wait! I have no idea exactly how these bras fit. They might run large or small - the Cleo brand (the $51.14 one) is known to run small, but you never know. So I would need to order a few different sizes to be sure I got one that would fit. Otherwise I would have to gamble on one size, and then pay for shipping both ways to exchange it if it didn't fit.  $14+ shipping adds up fast.
Since the Cleo bra doesn't have a wide variety close to my size range, I would only have to order, say, 3 different sizes to see if one worked for me; same with the Freya bra. So now we're up to:
(51.14)3 + (54.44)3 + 14(at least) = 153.42 + 163.32 + 14 = $330.74.

Thus, if I wanted to get these two bras, I would have to have about $350 free to do so. I would get refunds for all the bras I returned (so, if one of each kind fit, I would get a refund of $211.16, but I would have to pay for shipping to send back the bras).
To top it all off, if none of the bras ended up working, I would get a refund for the cost of the bras themselves after I sent them all back, but I would have to have paid probably $30+ for just shipping, plus there's the wasted time and effort and having over $300 in limbo.
On the other hand, if you find a new bra online that you know fits you, then you only have to pay for the cost of the bra plus shipping, so you'll only be paying in the $50-$90 range without having to worry about refunds, exchanges, and all that.

*phew* On to Option 2! Well, if you don't have friends with excess bras in your size and you don't have hundreds just waiting to be spent, then you get to work with this option, or what I like to call Bra Roulette. This involves scouring sites like ebay and/or secret underground online communities. Often you'll be able to find bras on ebay for $30 or much less, and if you're part of a small online community, you may even score free bras (making this very similar to Option 1, except you don't really know the people and you pay shipping). This option allows you to get a whole bunch of bras for the same cost (or less) as one brand spankin' new bra. Thus, even if you bought 10 bras from various places online and only one works, you've only paid $40 total and thus you still got a deal. Plus, you have a much better chance of getting at least one bra that works.

My recent and much-put-off Bra Roulette gained me 6 bras for the total cost of $36 (shipping included) - so $6 a bra (plus I have one more in the mail that I'll just pay shipping for, adding about $2 to the total cost and driving the price down to $5.40 a bra).
Of the so-far 5 that I've gotten:
-2 are the wrong size (I can pass them off to a friend - yay option number 1!)
-2 are the wrong shape (Not sure what I will do with these yet, besides not wear them)
-1 works after a little modification (repairing a tear and taking in the band)
-1 fits perfectly

Thus, I've gained 2 bras for $18 each, plus several bras to give away or exchange, plus more knowledge of different brands and how they fit. $36 for 2 bras is a heck of a lot better than $120 for 2 bras.

I want to say this has never happened...

Now I'm curious, where and how do you get your bras? Maybe there are still better ways.


  1. Fry (Quad4)6/1/11, 7:40 PM

    The only place I have ever gotten bras was the Letu laundry room, where the mysterious lingerie fairy would occasionally deposit dollar-store undergarments into random batches of dryers full of tumbling menswear.

    It was a rather different sort of bra roulette.

  2. Ahahaha, Fry... I'm guessing (hoping?) you didn't keep the bras...

    And I didn't know there was a lingerie fairy in the laundry room! Maybe I will magically be blessed with random bras in *my* laundry...

  3. Now, my bra adventures have been less epic than yours. Usually, I go to Walmart and scour their discount bin. I have come across some wireless ones that work SORT OF, but mostly it's just been rubbish. My mom and sister find much more bras this way...

    Actually, my current favorite wireless bras are actually nursing bras. I do not use them for this purpose as of yet. :B (but they are comfy!)

    My other bras (that I use) I got from Nordstrom. Maybe I have changed shape, but these no longer fit me properly.

    And then there's the one you helped me pick out that I got cheap from ebay. This is the only bra I own that fits me reasonably. :D

    As for the rest (and I own quite a few), I have changed too much to wear them comfortably. But I do have some that you might be able to wear that are of a much larger cup size. I'll let you try them if you are interested.

    "secret underground online communities"?? You must tell me about this.

  4. Also, one good boob comic deserves another:

  5. Augh, why didn't it log me in? And why didn't my first post appear?? D:

    aw dang. :( On to re-writing!!

    My bra adventures have been much less epic than yours. And I'm pretty sure I've acquired my bras in the worst way possible.

    I used to scour the discount bin at walmart, and I have found some things that worked. Although, this was a few years ago, my shape has changed a lot since then and they don't work anymore. My mom and sister find quite a bit of stuff there, tho.

    There's about 6 bras from those days, some have pretty large cup sizes, you may or may not be interested in trying them. If you're at all interested, I'd be happy to part with them. :B

    Then I bought 2 bras from Nordstrom (I think...?) that were fitted for me, but that was also quite a few years ago and they don't fit me well either. Or maybe they never fit me well, hard to tell. These are DD, so probably wouldn't work on you.

    Then I have the bra that you helped me pick out, it's the only real bra I have that actually fits! I got it off of ebay for a fraction of the price.

    But currently, the bras I wear the most are these nursing bras which a relative gave me (who is no longer nursing herself, she wasn't implying anything (I think)). She said they're very high quality and hardly used. Even though they're nursing bras, they're quite comfy and I wear them quite a bit.

    And that's the end of all the bras I own. :D

  6. Haha, sorry Uni, sometimes it eats Anonymous comments or marks them as Spam...

    We should do some ebay/online community scouring together! And I don't think Walmart discount bins are the worst way possible of obtaining bras (magical laundry fairies?)...

  7. Some of my best bras have come off of the Kohl's clearance rack. Clearance racks are great. Yes, you do have to be patient and maybe you don't find anything sometimes, but just always check them out. You never know (c: I have come to the conclusion that I would rather buy a cheap bra that works for the time being than risk buying an expensive one that (most definitely will) change/stretch or outlive my current shape.

    i.e. buying a $60 bra and finding out I was pregnant 2 weeks later... /c: I will never be able to wear that again )c:

  8. and I think it's hilarious that Fry has joined us...

  9. Good point, Kendra - I think clearance racks (especially at some of the "higher end" stores like Kohls, Nordstrom, and Dillards) are a great place to look for bras! I've gotten a few there myself awhile back. I find that they very rarely, if ever, have anything that's below a 32 band, but they're still a great place to check. Also, if you find something cheap that would work with a little altering, it's probably worth it to just buy it.

    Also, often places like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, etc will have low-priced, higher-quality bras, but usually not as great of a variety size-wise.

    I agree that if your body is going through a period of change (like being pregnant, or weight fluctuation), then spending lots of $$ is probably going to be somewhat of a waste. But having good bras that fit well is also really important - I'll be much more willing to shell out some money for new bras once my weight has stabilized a bit more, but for now, buying new bras would be kind of pointless.