Friday, June 22, 2012

In-Store U.S. Bra-Fitting Experiences [Guest Post by Maddie]

Today's guest post is from fellow bra aficionado Maddie, who recently went to several big-name US stores that offer bra fittings to see what their fitting advice would be like. You can check out Maddie's Victoria's Secret experience (as well as VS experiences from other bloggers) at Braless in Brasil!

(For reference, I would generally wear a (UK) 32JJ/K, though I would accept being sized as a 34 because my un-snug underbust measurement is exactly 34. Pulled super-taut, the measurement is 32 or thereabouts, and I'm a bit squishy so 32 usually works for me. I wore a 40DDD around all day for the purpose of feigning ignorance. This good-fit picture is a Cleo Francis 32J, which I do need a cup size up in because I'm getting a little four-boob, but it's the best fit I have at the moment)
32J Cleo Francis

Store #1: Nordstrom. The positive here is this was my best fitting of the day, which I believe is owed to the fact that they measure you without your shirt on, something no one else bothered to do. Another positive is that it was explained to me I should start out on the loosest hook and use the tighter ones after the bra has some wear and it starts to feel looser.

The associate measured me at 34" underbust, and brought me a bunch of trial size bras in a 36 band, so apparently it's common practice there to add 2". Started at a DD or DDD and worked up to a GG until she thought the fit was good. The pink bra is the 36GG she used to size me. Nordstrom fitting is more hands-on than elsewhere that I tried, as they will remain in the fitting room with you unless you say otherwise, and do up your bras for you and adjust the straps. After they were done up though, there was no tugging at the band to see if there was too much give, and you can see how far I can stretch the front and back.


The teal is a 36GG Elomi which she determined to be my best fit. Her manager agreed, despite the fact that I expressed a slight reservation that the band might ride up once I started moving around. Also getting slight side boob, but the cups are an ok fit. I actually might consider this bra if it comes in a smaller band/larger cup as it was quite comfy and I like the color.
Final fit: 36GG (UK)

Store #2: JCPenney.
They advertise bra fitting all over their dressing rooms in the lingerie department, but I wandered around there for a few minutes and there was no one to be found. Womp womp.
Final fit: none

Store #3: Macy's. This was abysmal. Measured over my shirt; when I asked how they determined band size I was told they add 3". She said I measured 36, so I could go with a 38 or 40 band. Also measured for cup size and was told G. This store only carries US sizes, so a G is more like a UK F.

I was handed these 3 Wacoal bras as pretty much the entire selection they had in my 'appropriate' size. Lovely eh? Top row is a 38G US, middle is 38H, I can't remember what the bottom was...one of those 2 sizes. All manner of bands riding up and drooping boobs, and no center gores touching. They are not really hands-on there so I had to ask the associate to come in and give me her opinion. She thought the 38H was best, but changed my band to the middle hooks, and had me try to scoop my boobs up higher in the bra in hopes that they wouldn't look so droopy. Obviously that wasn't working.


She also basically made fun of sizes like 32G and L cups. She expressed astonishment that such things even existed. She did, however, offer me the names of a couple boutiques, and mentioned Fantasie as a brand that makes larger cups that I may want to check out (thought she had no idea what it was, a customer had mentioned it to her).
Final Fit: 38H (UK size 38FF)

It's no wonder I've pretty much lost faith in US in-store fittings! Have you been fitted or shopped at any of these stores?

11 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this incredibly important post. So many women are being betrayed (and I mean this word wholeheartedly) by retailers and brands alike. We need more band and cup sizes as well as TRAINED bra fitters who are focused on women's health and fit rather than 'making a sale'. xx

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  2. I stumbled across this entry while trying (in vain) to find a bra that fits. Thanks for writing it. I'm a true 28DD, but I have a terrible time finding that size anywhere. Even online, it's considered too small for a lot of companies like Freya and Chantelle and too large for the petite bra makers. Even on ebay when I search it's the same tired nude, black and white. When I spoke to the shopgirl at Nordstrom she said that they send a limited supply of 30 band bras but never restock. Why?

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  3. I hope you've only lost faith in giant chain store fittings and will try the boutiques suggested by the Macy's saleswoman and review them here or on Braless in Brasil.

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  4. I was fitted a good 15 years ago at JC Penney's and at the time knew next to nothing about bra fitting and measuring. I know the lady there added inches to get my band size. The bra "seemed to fit" when I tried in on in the changing room. After I got home and was wearing it, all the horrible poor fit symptoms began to appear. I primarily remember the band riding up in the back and it was so uncomfortable. I couldn't understand why it fit at the store, but not at home. This is why I am a big fan of "sometimes a bra will initially seem to fit. Sometimes it needs to be worn a few hours before symptoms occur."

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  5. Nordstrom is, sadly, hit of miss. I've had excellent fittings there, but also fittings where inches were added (and I believe their website directions say to add 2-3"). Once, after a weight loss, a fitter told me I needed a 38D. I pointed out that I was there because the 36Fs they had fit me into the year prior were too large in the band, and she suggested that I was surely remembering wrong, as they never would have fit me as a 36 (I had self-measured that morning at 33"; she measured me as 35.5").

    I just don't see how anyone who isn't already armed with knowledge of good fit ends up in anywhere close to the right bra size in the US. It's so frustrating.

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  6. I noticed today that even online retailers that sells full size ranges like figleaves.com and barenecessties.com suggest adding inches or measuring above the bust to determine band size. :-(

    I think I need to try doing one of these field investigations at for VS, Fredrick's, a locally owned lingerie/bridal boutique, and maybe some department stores. We'll see if I get brave enough.

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  7. I was just fitted at my local Nordstrom and it was a wonderful experience! The lingerie manager was so helpful and a picked out a Chantelle and a Wacoal bra that fit me perfectly and totally comfortable. I know she wasn't just trying to just make sales because she talked me into waiting till July 20th for their yearly lingerie sale. By waiting till the 20th I'll save 30% on both the bras was was about to buy at my June 29th fitting.

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  8. I was fitted today at JCPenny. The associate informed me I was a 42B! I then indulged her an hour and half and tried on every bra in the store she thought would fit. To her credit, she agreed none of them were a good fit. She measured over my shirt even after I asked her if that would effect the measurement and after telling yet I've lost 30lbs. When she asked what I have been wearing and I told her a 38G she looked shocked. After half her bras I handed her mine to look at. After all her bras I put my Panache 38G back on and she was shocked at how well it fit and how it was far superior in both fit and construction.

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  9. I was fitted today at JCPenny. The associate informed me I was a 42B! I then indulged her an hour and half and tried on every bra in the store she thought would fit. To her credit, she agreed none of them were a good fit. She measured over my shirt even after I asked her if that would effect the measurement and after telling yet I've lost 30lbs. When she asked what I have been wearing and I told her a 38G she looked shocked. After half her bras I handed her mine to look at. After all her bras I put my Panache 38G back on and she was shocked at how well it fit and how it was far superior in both fit and construction.

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  10. I was fitted at Lane Bryant and was measured as a 38H, possibly a 38F and recommended by them to try both sizes in different brands/styles as they all fit differently.

    38 was too tight for me around the band, but she rounded down since I wasn't 40. I made my own bra extender to add the extra inch that I needed. No ride ups and the 38H fit perfectly after that.

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