Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Your Size Sold at Nordstrom?

As many of you may know, I'll often recommend checking out Nordstrom to those of us in the U.S. who are looking for bras outside of the very small range that is usually offered in most department stores. I've never seen Nordstrom carry 28 bands in store, but I've generally felt safe recommending them to those of us who might need 30 bands.

However, in my past several visits to Nordstrom, I've noticed that the selection of bras that they actually carry in 30 bands is rather small - smaller that it used to be. After my most recent visit to Nordstrom, the number of 30 bands was scarce enough that I, along with and at the urging of Sarah of StackDD, decided to email them to see if I could get an idea of where they stood in regards to stocking smaller bands (both 30's and 28's), and their reasoning behind their stance.

I basically noted in my email that "I find it difficult to ever find more than a choice or two for 30 bands at Nordstrom stores - for example, I was with a friend who needed a 30E (not a "strange" size at all), and I could not find her any options at Nordstrom. The assistant at my last visit excused this by saying that 'Whenever we have 30 bands, they sell out because they're so popular.' If smaller band sizes are so popular that your stores cannot seem to even keep them in stock, then why not make it a priority to stock more?"

In Sarah's case, her concerns were addressed more directly, but Nordstrom's first response back to me was a mostly canned one:

Dear Christine,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. Our customers' opinions are very important to Nordstrom and greatly assist us with our continued efforts to provide the best merchandise and service to our customers.

I completely sympathize with you-I wear a 30F, which is difficult to find in the stores. Rest assured I will share your feedback, so that we may learn and improve. Should you have any further concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope the above information proves useful when shopping with Nordstrom in the future.

Regards,

Cory
Customer Service Specialist
Nordstrom

Not satisfied with this, I sent another email noting that they really hadn't addressed any of my concerns in their reply, and I rephrased my questions - mainly, why is it that Nordstrom doesn't stock any 28 bands and only a few 30 bands, especially when I've heard fitters say that small bands sell out quickly?

The second response was more enlightening:

Hello Christine,
Thank you for contacting Nordstrom. I am very sorry that you feel your concerns were not addressed. I have shared your comments and concerns with our corporate offices and buyers. I hope we are able to accommodate your request in the near future.
I apologize that we carry a limited selection of bras with a 30 band or under. I can understand your frustration about not being able to shop a large selection of bras in the stores and having to order them online. We work very diligently to offer a selection that balances customer demand and manufacturers selling requirements. In order to carry an item in the stores the manufacturer requests that we purchase a specific number of each size and we need to know that our customers have a need for these sizes. We have attempted to carry many bras in this size range in the past and it was met with limited success.
Again, I appreciate the fact that you took a moment of your time to share this with us. If there is anything else that we can help you with please do not hesitate to let us know.
Regards,
April
Customer Service Specialist
Nordstrom

So, it seems as though Nordstrom has attempted to stock more bras with 30-bands in the past (this seems to line up with my impression that I used to be able to find more 30-bands there several years ago), but there was simply not enough demand and/or sales of these bras, so they felt the need to cut back. Currently, the only bras that I've really been able to reliably find at Nordstrom stores in a 30 band have been the Freya Deco, and more recently, the Taylor and Ashlee (I've seen a few others, but these are the main ones). I've not seen every cup size offered in each of these bras, either.

I do realize that stores need to make sales, and thus they are motivated to only keep in stock what sells. I know I can't reasonably expect Nordstrom to carry every size under the sun - that would be impractical! I'm not even really concerned about pushing for them to stock 28 bands now (small steps, people). However, I've been told several times that the lack of availability of more 30 bands in their stores has been because "They're so popular and sell out quickly." If this is the case, then I wonder why Nordstrom doesn't make a better attempt to keep them stocked? From all the people I've talked to (online and otherwise) and from the results of The Bra Band Project so far, it seems like there's a big demand indeed for smaller bands in stores, even if it's just more 30 bands. Nordstrom is usually pretty good about being able to special order bras in, but this doesn't really help those of us who need to actually try on bras in stores to get a feel for what fits.

If you're below a 32 band - or you wear any size that Nordstrom doesn't currently carry or that's hard to find there - and would like to see more options in your band/cup size at Nordstrom, let them know about it! You can email Nordstrom at contact@nordstrom.com. If they're going to be motivated to stock more 30 bands, or more options at all, they need to know that there's a market for them. And, if Nordstrom does carry your size, you should consider buying from them. I know they can be expensive, but often the cost isn't really too much more than buying new bras online once you factor in shipping costs and the convenience.

What's your experience been with Nordstrom? Are you able to find your bra size there, or anywhere else?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Why Wear the Right Bra Size?

According to many studies, over 80% of women aren't wearing the correct bra size. This means that only 1 or 2 women out of every 10 are wearing the correct size! (!!!) I could start blaming this fact on the terrible fitting methods promoted by many well-known stores (especially in the U.S.), but not all women have even gone in for a bra fitting or used a bra calculator, good or bad. I think that many women just don't really know how bra sizes work in general, or they don't realize how important a well-fitting bra is.

Did you know, for example, that
You can be a 30 or 28 band even if you're in the overweight range?
Sizes like DD, F, GG can look small or average, especially when paired with a smaller band size?
Bra band sizes go down to 24, and cups to L (UK sizing)?
The best starting point when figuring out band size for most women is to use the underbust measurement (without adding any inches)?

There's no doubt that there's a lot of misinformation about bras out there. But why is wearing the right bra size important? Why isn't wearing one that seems to fit "okay" good enough? Wearing the wrong bra size can cause a long list of issues! Here are some things that I've heard women complain about while wearing incorrect-sized bras. I'll note that I personally experienced all of these issues when I was wearing ill-fitting bras.

-Pain. This may be more noticeable for larger-busted women. Pain can be caused by poor posture and too much weight being placed on the back and shoulders due to wearing the incorrect size. Underwires digging in can also cause pain. Pain isn't normal!

-Breast tissue migration. With an incorrect fit (especially too-small cups and wires sitting on the breast tissue), the breast tissue can be displaced by the ill-fitting bra to other areas, such as under the armpits, sternum, and even the back. Some women find that after a little while of wearing the correct bra size (and putting on the bra correctly), they may go up a cup size as the breast tissue is guided back to its proper place.

-Marks and grooves. Some red marks are normal - you can get light marks from bras just as you can from underwear and socks. However, deep red marks, shoulder grooves, and skin irritation are yet more issues that the wrong size bra may cause.

-Bras "never fitting." I've heard (and even used to think myself) women say that bras just never fit them right - or even that they know they're in the wrong size, but don't know about any other options. Feeling like bras are always uncomfortable or never fit quite right, that cups are always too small or big, or that bands are always too loose or tight, is an indication that you may need to measure yourself to see if you should be trying a different range of sizes!

-"I can't wear underwires." While this may be legitimate for some (those with sensitive skin, medical issues, etc), the vast majority of women who "can't wear underwires" think this because they've never tried on their correct size with an underwire bra. The underwires should encase all of your breasts and the middle wire should sit firmly against the sternum; the wires should never poke, pinch, hurt, stab, or sit on your breast tissue. If they are, you're not wearing the right size (or the right kind of) bra.

-"Cute bras don't come in my size." There are actually a lot of companies out there nowadays that make a wide range of sizes! It may be harder to find certain sizes than others, but don't get trapped into thinking that the beige granny bras you see sold in stores are your only options. There are correctly-fitting pretty/sexy/cute bras out there.

-Lack of support. Wearing a bra that doesn't fit well (especially one with a too-large band) can cause sagging, an unideal shape, too much movement, and make you look a lot heavier than you actually are.

So, with all of these issues that ill-fitting bras can cause, why do so many women not wear a bra that fits correctly and well? Some reasons I can think of (many of which applied to me when I wasn't wearing good bras):

-Many women aren't aware of how bra sizes work, and think that their only options are the band sizes 32-38 and cups AA-DD (and many believe that anything above a C cup is "huge" and any band below a 34 is "tiny"). Some women think that being a larger cup means that they're fat (even if they would be wearing a small band size), or they're embarrassed to wear anything larger than a C-cup bra (even if a C cup is very-ill fitting).

-Many women don't know how bras should fit and they've never worn a very well-fitting bra, so they just put up with issues like the above because they don't know that there are other options.

-Some women have gotten a poor bra fitting and think that they must be the size that bad fitter told them, even if it's uncomfortable. Or they compare themselves to other friends who aren't wearing a correctly-sized bra either - "She's wearing a DD and she's WAY bigger than me, so there's no way I can be an F cup or anything bigger than her!"

-Some women think that since their breasts are smaller, they don't "need" a well-fitting bra anyway.

Have you experienced any of the issues above in regards to bras? Have you heard any of the same complaints from others? (If not, take a look at comments on just about any status on the facebook page of Playtex, a company notorious for using the incorrect +4-5 inch method)

Why do you think it is that so many women are wearing the incorrect size?

(also: The Bra Band Project is still ongoing! We'd love to have you contribute!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The 30 and Below Bra Band Project

Are you a 30, 28, or 26 (or even smaller) band? Did you know that, at least in the U.S., even the big-name bra companies believe that there is no market for your bra size? Or that if you wear a band size that's 30 or under, you must be a "junior"? Do you want to do something to challenge this way of thinking?

A group of us (including Braless in Brasil, StackDD, By Baby's Rules, and Bras I Hate) have decided to come up with a project that debunks this myth. Here's the basic 411 to our plan:

"Recently at the Curve Expos in both New York and Las Vegas, brands that cater to large-busted women suggested that 30 bands and under were either for juniors, or that there was no market for them.  However, that is simply not the case. There are many women out there who need 30 bands and under, and we are not all juniors.  While we come in all different shapes and sizes, we all have a small back size in common. 
To prove that we are not all juniors and that we exist as a market, we have decided to create the Bra Band Project where we are looking for photos of women who wear 30 bands or under. We will make a flickr album and eventually a collage with our photos to show that we are not just juniors, but women of all shapes and sizes that need small bands.

We'd love your help, so please submit your own photo and band size using the form below or email it to brabandproject@gmail.com.  Note we need both your bra size and your photo. We cannot include a submission without both of those. If you are a blogger who would like to help out with this project email us at brabandproject@gmail.com."

Please use the form below if you'd like to be a part of this project! All we need is a photo, a bra size, and an age (if you want to share). The photo can be of you in everyday clothing or in your undies, either works. It's completely anonymous - we'll crop out faces if you don't have a picture that's just neck-down. It's open to anyone who's a 30 band or under, blogger or not, and to any blogger who wants to help out/repost.
[Update: Please note that you need to be at least 18 for us to use your photo.]

We hope it will serve as an eye-opener for companies (and anyone else) who believe that there is no market for 30-and-under bands, or think that small bands are exclusively for young girls. As always, let me know if you have any questions!


 Not sure what your band size (or bra size) is? Try out the bra size calculators in my previous post!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bra Sizing Calculators

Have you ever used a bra calculator to help determine your size?

I've always been a bit skeptical of bra calculators - after all, you could just measure yourself and try to figure out the math on your own, and you'll need to try on bras to figure out exactly what works best for you in any case. Even the best calculators won't give completely accurate results for every single person. However, I'm definitely not out to bash calculators! The good ones are really a great tool - not just for those of us who are trying to figure out our correct bra size for the first time, but even for others who just want to check their current fit against a calculator. I'm also very appreciative of those who put in so much effort to create good calculators in the midst of the multitude of bad ones out there (which invariably give me something hilariously inaccurate, like 32DD).

With that said, here's my experiences with five different "good" calculators - ones that don't follow the dreaded +4 inches rule in regards to determining size. I'll note that the 28GGs I've been wearing have been running too small for me lately, so seem to be veering more towards a 28H, or even a 26HH or so in some brands that run big in the band (most people will experience at least a little variation between brands).

[April Update: I realized that the measurements I used when I first posted this (27.5/36) were not quite as accurate as they could be. A careful remeasuring shows that my underbust measurement is 27 inches (measured firm, but not as tight as possible), whereas my bust measurement is 36.5-37 inches, depending on the bra. I'm going to go with 37 inches as that's what I get with the bra I have that isn't slightly too small. I also found that a 28H/HH seems to be my new current best fit.

Because of this (and the fact that some of these calculators have made some tweaks since I tested them), I'm updating the below results with these new, more accurate measurements. Do note that if you're wearing a bra that is too small, your bust measurement may be smaller than it "really" would be if you were wearing a bra that didn't squish you down! Even a half inch can make a difference in a resulting bra size. Also, it's best to take the underbust measurement braless so your bra doesn't get in the way.]

A Sophisticated Pair Calculator
Measurements entered: 27/37
Resulting size: 26H (Very Snug setting) [UK sizing]
The recently developed Sophisticated Pair calculator has been praised by many for being very accurate. It allows for decimals (no need to round) and you can select one of three settings, depending on how you like your bras to fit (Very, Moderately, or Slightly Snug). It also gives a corresponding US size result.
I do appreciate that this calculator gives 26-band results paired with a suggestion of a size that can be found more easily. In my case, it suggests a 28GG as a substitute for a 26H (the sister size). I've never actually had the opportunity to try a 26H, though I've sometimes wished to! Since the 28GG bras are running too small for me lately, I'd say that this calculator is about one cup size off for me, but still pretty close.

Butterfly Collection Calculator
Measurements entered: 27/37
Resulting size: 28H [UK]
The just-released Butterfly Collection calculator (read more about it here) has you round off your measurements to the nearest number, but it still manages to come up with a very accurate result! It also gives detailed results, depending on your preferences (starting size and looser/tighter band options, as well as different sizes to try in various brands), and gives US size results too.

Linda's Online Calculator
Measurements entered: 27/37
Resulting size: 30I/30J [US/European]
Unlike the other calculators, Linda's gives a US/European sizing result rather than a default UK one. The calculator doesn't currently give under-30 band results, but I'll assume that if it did, it would give me the sister size of the US 30I result - a US 28J - which in turn translates to a UK 28GG (see conversion chart here). Thus, although the results can be a bit confusing for those used to UK sizing, it's really a fairly accurate result in my case - about a cup size small - when taking conversions into account!
At any rate, personally, unless a particular brand is using the +4 rule, 30 bands are too large for me. Apparently, though, Linda's calculator will be updated so that it gives smaller band results sometime in the near future!

Electroniczny Bra Calculator
Measurements entered: 27/37
Resulting size: 28GG [UK]
I'm not quite sure where this calculator originates from, but I found it through a livejournal community several years ago.  Other features of the calculator include showing resulting bra size across 5 different sizing systems, as well as allowing you to push the results up or down in band or cup size to see the sister sizes - a handy feature. Again, it's fairly close, though about a cup size off for me.

(ETA)
Curves and Corsets Bra Calculator
Measurements entered: 27/37
Resulting size: 28H [UK]
The Curves and Corsets calculator page gives a detailed explanation of how a bra should fit as well as how to measure and use the calculator, emphasizing the need to try on a range of bras rather than just relying on the calculator. It also includes a handy cup size table. The result I get from this calculator is accurate to the best of my knowledge.

So there you have it - five good bra calculators, five varying results - all within the same ballpark, though two gave what I feel is the most accurate (28H). Since sizes can vary between brands, I think it's safe to say that no one bra calculator can solve all of your fitting problems or tell you what size you must always wear. None of these calculators claim to do so - the authors are all careful to say that these are only starting points - but I think many of us tend to want to turn to calculators to just give us an easy answer. But really, we're all so very different - different breast shapes, body types - that we shouldn't expect to have one simple answer that will tell us what size we should wear in every bra.

Are any of these bra calculators spot-on for you? Do you get different results for each?
What are your thoughts on bra calculators?

Was your result a bra size that you've never seen before? Check out where you can buy a wider range of bra sizes in stores and online! For some real-life examples of 30-and-under band bras, take a look at the Bra Band Project!
Also, some thoughts on under-28 band bras and smaller busts.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Me and my Mythical Bra Size

Did you know that my bra size doesn't exist?

Well, according to most stores I've come across, it doesn't.

Some background:

If you've been to department stores (Kohls, Pennys, Macys) in the U.S., you know that the sizing there, no matter what your size or viewpoint is, is extremely limited. The only way you'll have a good chance of finding a bra in your size is if you are a 32A, 32B, 34A, 34B, 34C, 36A, 36B, 36C (8 sizes). If you're very lucky, you'll find sizes like 34D, 36D, 38A, 38B, 38C, 38D (6 more sizes). If you're extremely lucky (and if you go into a well-stocked Victoria's Secret), you might even come across sizes like 32C, 32D, 32DD, 34DD, 36DD, 38DD (6 more sizes). Thus, if you're fortunate enough to live somewhere where there's no Nordstrom or good boutique shops, you'd better fit into one of just 20 (or less) sizes if you want to be able to try on or buy a bra in person.

No wonder so many people think that a 32 band is only for tiny people. No wonder so many girls think that D and DD cups are huge. They've never seen anything smaller than a 32 band, or anything bigger than a D or DD, sold in stores. Or if they've ever seen a 30 band, it was for an A or B cup in the pre-teen section.

This is a big problem. Of all the friends I've helped figure out correct bra sizes, they've gone from one of the 8-20 "common" sizes to something that can't easily be found in U.S. stores (if at all) - making the sizes "nonexistent" to many retailers/stores .
Such as:
34C to 30F
34A to 30C
36C to 32DD
34B to 28DD
34D to 32F
36DD to 30G
36D to 32E

Most of the above women would not be able to find their sizes in stores at all in the U.S, unless they were fortunate enough to live near a Nordstrom (or boutique) and that store happened to stock their size (very, very unlikely for 28 bands, somewhat better chance for 30 bands; also very unlikely for GG+ cups). Then they would end up paying somewhere between $65-$85+ for a bra when they've been used to paying less than $20.

So some of them decide to go through the process of ordering online. Some of them give up and just wear an ill-fitting bra because finding a bra that fits well is such a hassle - and they think that they should fit into the small range of sizes that are sold in-store. Most of them are appalled at the small selection of items that are available in stores. "It's not fair," I've heard them say.

And it isn't.

This is why I do what I do. If I show everyone that a girl with a 28-band isn't just some mythical, twig-like creature, maybe some girls will realize that bands below 32 do exist, and they're not freakish for feeling like bands are always too big for them. If I tell everyone over and over that I wear a GG (or sometimes G, or H, or HH) cup, then maybe a few people will realize that the alphabet doesn't stop at D, that there are lots of options out there, that well-fitting bras do exist, that wearing a D cup or above isn't some strange, shameful thing.

A 28GG bra. See? It exists. It's not freakishly huge.
And it isn't right that many places that are supposed to sell bras to fit "any woman" instead have workers who insult you or tell you they don't believe you're the size you know you are, or that your size does not exist. (Yes, this has happened to me at not only Victoria's Secret, but at Nordstrom, Dillards, and boutique shops.) I know I may have an "unusual" bra size, but I'm not willing to just sit back and say "Oh, that's just the way things are" when it comes to the sizing methods and bra offerings of most stores. I may have resigned myself to ordering solely online, but I'm sick and tired of having to tell everyone else that "Oh, sorry, they don't sell your real bra size in most stores either. You'll have to order online." I'm tired of having to prep other girls for being insulted or told they're wrong when they go looking for their size.  Thanks, stores, for making us feel like freaks because we don't fit into an extremely limited size range! And also, stop trying to cover up this abysmally small selection by trying to squeeze everyone into a certain range.

Stores will try to tell you that you're wrong, that you're a freak because you don't fit into a 34C, or whatever size they think you should be. But they're wrong. You're not a freak. Don't let yourself be restricted by what they've been telling you, by what society tells you. Your body isn't the problem.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Outfit Snapshots: Tops

I'm by no means a fashion expert, a fashionista, or any of those things. My background in clothing growing up was mostly comprised of hand-me-downs and thrift store clothes. But, I figured I'd do a brief post on a few of the things that work for me in regards to clothing (tops, specifically). Keep in mind that a) I don't have a lot to spend on clothes b) I was never very "good" at fashion and c) It's very hard for me to find anything that works for me in department stores. But still, I manage to cobble together outfits somehow. If I can do it, surely anyone can!

The below tops make use of combinations of the things that I usually fall back on: waist definition, use of layering, and v-necks. These things all tend to work well for those with larger busts.

(Some stats:  I'm pushing 5'4 (too tall for petite clothing and sometimes too short for regular clothing :P), weigh 126lb and am wearing a 28GG Cleo Poppy bra in these photos.)

Kimono/Waist-tie type shirts
These tend to work really well for me, provided that the band/waist tie sits under my bustline. The stretchy material and the waist tie really work well to prevent any bagging extra material. The v-neck is flattering, but they are pretty low cut, so I need to wear a cami to prevent bra showage/mega cleavage.




And another one

These are "nice" shirts, not really every-day shirts for me.

Belts
Belts can be the saving grace for too-large tops. They add waist definition, and I also feel like they can draw more attention towards the waist than the bust.

I had to get this shirt in an XL so it would button over my bust, but this made the shirt much longer than it would normally be (and too loose everywhere except for the bust). The solution? A belt!

Layers 
This one is obviously a more casual and comfy look, but it's one that hides/demphasizes the bust somewhat, which I want sometimes. The top buttons won't button, but leaving them open gives the v-neck/layered look that works well for larger busts. I sometimes wear this shirt with a belt.

(the elephant in the background says hi)



And finally, why I try to move away from T-shirts:

T-shirts are tricky. Sometimes I still like to wear them, but they have to be a)stretchy and fairly form-fitting and b) long enough. Again, v-necks tend to look the best, but they usually necessitate an undershirt.

If I try to wear a "regular" t-shirt that's not very stretchy or form-fitting, this is what I get:


 The tent-effect: too short, drafty, and makes me look larger and heavier than I am. Not a good look for me.

 A t-shirt that's stretchy/form fitting and long enough looks like this:

Better than the first, but sometimes more bust-attention-drawing than I want to be (and people often can't tell what words across my bust say because they get a bit distorted. It says White and Nerdy. In case you were curious.) The neck is also a little high, which isn't the greatest look.

What about you? Do you find the need to "modify" clothes so they'll work for you (with belts, scarves, not buttoning all the way, etc)? Do you have a hard time finding anything that fits right in stores? Can you wear t-shirts?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Store Review: The Enchantress

This past week, after seeing on their website that they offered 28-band bras, I decided to make a trek out to The Enchantress bra boutique.

True to the website, this cute little store offered many choices in Freya, Panache, Fantasie, Hotmilk, and several other well-known brands. I eagerly browsed the racks, noticing many sizes offered that I had never seen before in U.S. stores (like 28E and 28DD!). However, my excitement waned a bit when one of the ladies working there told me that she didn't think they had any 28GG's. I was disappointed, but I must admit that this wasn't entirely their fault. They did stock many Freya choices, and many of those particular bras did only go up to 28G (but up to GG+ in other band sizes), if they came in a 28 band at all. I must credit the store, then, for stocking all or most of the size choices for many of the lines that they did carry (unlike Nordstrom, who I've never seen carry 28 bands, even though they carry lines that come in that size).


Despite the lack of 28GG+ bras, I decided to make the most of my visit by trying on the luscious red Freya Deco in a 28G (too small in the cup) and a 30G (too small in the cup, too big in the band). The shop didn't have a 30GG in the red Deco, but they pulled a 30GG for me in a similar Freya Ashlee, which turned out to also be too small in the cup and too big in the band (surprising, as a regular 30GG Deco I had tried a few weeks before at Nordstrom seemed to fit well in the cups. Maybe the Ashlee runs smaller than the Deco in the cup?).

Things went a little downhill after that. The lady who had been helping me (I believe she was the owner) instructed the other worker/fitter to "find her some 30H's." Neither the Ashlee or the Deco comes in an H cup, but the second fitter brought me some mesh-cup Freya and Fantasie bras in a 30GG, which, as I expected, were too big in the cup for me (plunge bras like the Deco tend to run smaller in the cup), and I was fastening up the back all the way as I had been doing with the Decos. The fitter then somehow became convinced that I must be a 30G or 30FF, or perhaps even an F or DDD (what.). She then proceeded to move rapid-pace, bringing in handfuls of bras and almost throwing them onto me. I barely had time to notice which bras I was trying on and didn't feel I could evaluate their fit at all well with her standing there and declaring they were "perfectly" fitting or not and then rushing me to try on more. I found myself not wanting to try on any more bras, but feeling almost powerless to escape! Of the ones I can remember that I tried (and I tried on several besides these), I was given:

Freya Daphne in a 30G - band much too loose (and the cups would be too small if the band tight enough), and I didn't like the color anyway. I tried this on before the fitter came back. This bra doesn't come in a 28 band at all and only goes up to a G cup.

Panache Tango II in a 30GG and 30G - nothing new here, as I've owned several colors of this same bra in a 30G before. I currently own a 28GG that's too small in the cup and possibly the band. I was hoping to try this bra in a 28H, but apparently they didn't have it (or I was never offered it).

Freya Beau (I'm fairly sure) in a 30G - band loose, cups seemed to fit mostly okay, though a little sagging because of the loose band. The 30G was declared "perfect" by the fitter and she wanted me to buy it. In addition to the band feeling too loose, the shape was a tad pointy for my taste (I'm very anti-pointy, and this shape may have been fixed if I wore it in a 28GG). I did like the color and would be willing to try it out in a different size.
This bra does come in a 28 band and up to an H cup, but apparently the store did not carry it in a 28, or if they did, I was never offered it.

The last bra I was in was a 30FF Fantasie Esme, which she was declaring a "perfect" fit. I wasn't sure how to tell her what I was thinking. The band only felt okay only because the cups were too small and flattening my breasts - I felt smooshed. The shape was a flattened, spread-out shape, which I don't prefer. I didn't want to buy the bra, but I felt that she was pressuring me to do so. I also felt she had been rushing me through trying on a bunch of bras and thus I felt obligated to buy something.

Nearer to the beginning, I had fastened one (30G, I think) bra all the way up as I usually do automatically with 30 bands, and when she came in, she said, "No, no, you need to have it fastened on the loosest. Always the loosest. It can't be too tight or otherwise you'll get marks" as she moved the hooks to loosest setting. It's true that a bra should fit well on the loosest hook, but I feel she should have perhaps considered that the band might be too big if I was able to fasten it all the way up straight away. I tried to say something to that effect, and noted that I always get marks from all my clothing anyway and that I usually wear 28 bands, but I found it hard to explain anything (there was a bit of a language barrier, so that probably didn't help), and I didn't feel she was really listening. With a different bra, I tried to show her why I felt the band was too loose (by putting my fingers under the center gore), but she merely pulled on the back band (which I would be able to fit my hand under) and declared, "No, see, this is perfect."

Now, I do realize that "reverse letter phobia" (wearing too-small backs with too-big cups rather than the usual problem of too-large backs and too-small cups) can be a problem if we're not careful, and I hope I would be the first to acknowledge if I needed a bigger band in a particular bra, but I didn't feel that this was the case for the bras I was trying on, especially since I could tighten up bands all the way provided that the cups were big enough

In the end, I ended up buying (read: felt guilted into buying) a Panache Tango II in a 30G - a "safe" choice for my desperate-for-bras current state, since I had owned several before. Overall, through the last half of my time there, I felt very rushed and flustered. I didn't feel that the fitter was listening to me, and they didn't really carry my exact size range (though they had several things that were "close"). When bra shopping, I prefer to go at my own pace, take my time to evaluate each choice, and not feel forced to try on bras that a fitter brings me. I declined to try the several of the same bras in different colors and a 32DDD bra that the fitter brought me, and she seemed disappointed that I did so. I felt like she was trying to get me into as small of a cup as possible by increasing the band. I don't want a bra that's a "sister size" or "kind of close," though - I want a bra that will fit well! I also had wanted to spend more time looking through swimwear and other bras that they had (as well as what looked like a good selection of lingerie-care type items), but by the time I got out of the fitting room, I was so flustered that I was just ready to leave. I'm not a very assertive person by nature, so perhaps a less shy person could've saved herself a lot of trouble in the beginning by simply telling the fitter that they didn't really need the help, but I never brought myself to do it! I also felt that, while the first lady/owner listened to me and what I felt I needed, the second fitter ignored what I had to say and made her own conclusions.

However, despite my not-so-great experience with the one fitter, I would still recommend the shop for anyone in the area who may need a size that even Nordstrom doesn't carry (particularly the 30 band and 28D-G group, as 30-28 bands are VERY difficult to find in-store in the U.S.). The selection overall was really the best I've ever seen in a U.S. store, the atmosphere was pleasant, the workers had a helpful attitude in general, and overall I think it would've been a good experience apart from the second fitter. Since The Enchantress started out as a bridal lingerie-type store, they had a good selection of strapless bras and bustiers for wedding gowns. I wished I'd known about the shop back when I was looking everywhere for a bustier that was at all close to my size for my wedding dress!

Have you ever been to a bra boutique shop? What was your experience like? As this was really the only boutique shop I've ever been to that stocked anything close to my size, I'm curious!