Friday, December 21, 2012

Bra Shopping: My Mom isn't Supportive!

"My mom doesn't believe my bra size exists."

"My mother is making me wear a 38B, even though it's really uncomfortable and I measured myself as a 32F. She says that I'm not 'that kind of girl' who would wear an F cup, whatever that means."

"I tried helping my mom measure herself to convince her that I need a better size too, but she wouldn't believe that she could be a 34E, since she's been a 'C cup all her life'. Her bras are all completely worn out and offer her no support."

"My mom won't take me bra shopping, and she just keeps buying me larger band sizes in the same cup that I've been wearing since I was 13."

"My current bras give me a lot of pain and discomfort, but my mom won't take me to buy new bras."

"My mom does all her bra shopping at Target, and won't buy bras anywhere else - for me or herself."

"My mom makes fun of me for what I told her my correct bra size is."

Sound at all familiar?

I seem to hear stories like this every day. Readers - usually teens or college-aged women living at home - email and comment about how their moms won't take their need for a new bra or a new size seriously. Stories of similar situations pop up all the time in online forums, discussions, and even conversations with friends. And honestly, even though I can sort of understand where the mothers in these stories are coming from (lack of awareness about proper sizing, being comfortable with their own old way of doing things, being afraid or reluctant to change), these situations tend to make me upset.

If I could, I would have a nice chat over a cup of tea with these (probably mostly well-meaning) ladies and tell them that their daughters need their support and help, not their ridicule. I would direct them to posts like "A Guide to Parents of Busty Daughters" by The Butterfly Collection, or Linda's Braducation post for mothers of teens.

I have to assume, though, that most of my readers aren't going to be the "moms" in these situations. Thus, I'll have to just address those of us who are having to deal with moms who don't understand (or care) about proper bra sizes. Bra shopping by itself can be a frustrating process, but it's made all the more difficult for those of us who are at a stage where we don't have any money, can't drive ourselves, and have a mother who's reluctant to support or help.

[Of course, I'm not trying to bash mothers here. For every mom making fun of her daughter for her bra size, there's a mom who's loving and supportive about the subject. However, I feel that situations like these are so common that there needs to be some kind of discussion/resource guide here.]

If you've properly measured yourself and your mom refuses to believe the result...
Put yourself in your mom's shoes for a minute. It's going to be a bit of a shock to hear your daughter - whom you thought all this time was a 36B - tell you that she needs a 30F bra. Most of this "shock" is going to stem from old, improper views on bras. All your mom will be hearing is, "I went from a B cup to an F cup!", and that's going to sound crazy to her, especially if she thinks that "D cups" are huge!
One solution might be trying to "braducate" your mom. Explain how cup size is relative to band size, and a 30F is not equal to a 38F. A simple explanation of "all this means is that I have a 30-inch ribcage, and a 7" difference between my ribcage and bust measurement" may help. You can try showing her picture examples of well-fitting bras, explanations of how to measure yourself properly, the results of a good bra calculator, or an actual bra in your estimated size, if you can get ahold of one.
However, this may only trigger the "I'm far older than you, have been wearing bras for much longer than you, and I know more about bras than you! This can't possibly be right. You're a B-cup. You have small boobs." response. If so, you can try a different tactic...

If your current bras have obvious signs of ill fit and are causing you pain and/or discomfort...
You can try explaining to your mom that you're experiencing a lot of discomfort with your current bras. Describe how the band's riding up, and you feel you need a firmer band. Describe any painful or annoying rubbing or stabbing that the wires give you. Explain that your old bras are worn out and ill-fitting and you need to go shopping for a better size, just as you would with any article of clothing that was worn-out or too small.
However, your mom may instead dismiss your concerns or even say "Bras are supposed to be like that." In this case...

If your mom remains dismissive, but you sometimes go clothes shopping with her...
Try convincing her to look at bras with you while you're both out shopping for clothes - ideally at a place like Nordstrom (or Nordstrom Rack) or Dillards, which will have a better range of sizes. If you can get your hands on your estimated size and show her how it fits well, she may be convinced.
Or, better yet, you can see if she'll agree to actually go out bra shopping with you at a good boutique or the bra departments one of the aforementioned stores. If you go get a proper fitting with her, or you appeal to the knowledge of a well-trained store fitter, this may also really help your cause.
Also, Butterfly Collection has a free sizing consultation form (strictly though email) that may help if you show your mom the results; you can even get a free Skype fitting from them.
If your mom is at all open to re-thinking her own bra size and getting a proper fitting herself through any of the above places, this will really help (not only you, but her as well!).

If your mom won't go shopping with you, but doesn't care if you go yourself...
So you can't convince your mom to listen to reason or take you shopping. There's still hope! If you ever go out shopping with friends or by yourself, you can take that time to try on bras and buy yourself something if you're able. Or report back on your success to your mom, and this may convince her to come around.
Alternatively, there are lots and lots of great online bra shops that you can shop and order from (a must if you don't live near a good lingerie store in any case). The caveat here is that you'll need a credit or debit card to buy from most of them. However, if you've done all the work and research, you might find that your mom is willing to pay (or, at least, would be willing to use her card and have you pay her back); another option is getting a pre-paid Visa card (sometimes sold at grocery stores), which should work for online purchases.

If you don't have the means to buy yourself a bra at all...
The above advice is no good, of course, if you simply don't have any money to buy yourself a bra. If your mom isn't adamantly opposed to you getting new bras, then you can try asking for new bras as a Christmas/birthday/graduation/etc present. Or save up any gift money to buy yourself a bra. Or ask if you can do extra chores or jobs to earn money, or if you can have a clothing allowance. Or check the for-sale listings on Bratabase (as long as you're able to receive packages at home) - sometimes you'll find free bras there.
Getting someone else involved - a grandma, aunt, or family friend - who is more sympathetic may help as well, either to help you talk to your mom or to go shopping with you.

However, after all of this, some of us will still find ourselves in the situation of having tried everything, having a mom who just won't listen, being unable to go out bra shopping or receive packages at home, and not having the means to buy a bra ourselves. If that's the case - I know it can be frustrating. The thing to remember is that it's only going to be a temporary situation! Hopefully (within a few years at most) you'll either be able to purchase bras for yourself - even if that's not until you move away - or your mom will eventually come around. And once you start wearing comfortable, well-fitting bras, your mom may even realize that maybe she could use a bra update, too!

Does anyone have any other helpful tips for girls who find themselves in situations like the above? Did you have - or have you witnessed - any similar experiences yourself?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blogger Secret Santa Exchange!

This holiday season, a little group of us U.S.-based lingerie bloggers decided to get a Secret Santa gift exchange together. The only stipulations were that the gift cost up to $10 and that it be handmade - endless possibilities! 

My mystery package arrived a couple of days ago in the mail...

(they smell amazing!)
And found I had received these cute jars - one an apple-scented candle, and one filled with apple-scented bath salts! The address on the package clued me in (I tried not to look, but it happened to catch my eye!) that it was the lovely Erica of A Sophisticated Pair who was my mystery Santa. Thanks, Erica! :D

So far, Nicole of FussyBusty deduced that Claire of Butterfly Collection Lingerie sent her a cute little bra ornament, and Holly of The Full Figured Chest guessed that it was The Lingerie Lesbian who made her a pair of lovely high-waist panties. I'm excited to see the other gifts and guesses, and hoping for perhaps a yearly blogger tradition!

What's your take on "Secret Santas" and gift exchanges?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Lingerie Christmas Wishlist

Yikes, this time of year is definitely busy (and full of peppermint candy... yum)! I haven't had as much time as I'd like to post, but I have several review and guest posts on the lineup - so stay tuned :)

With that in mind, here's a quick list of the top few lingerie items that I've been lusting over this Holiday season. What's on your wishlist?

1. The Cleo Zia Bra

Cleo by Panache bras are my newest love, and this new design is fresh, cute, and a little funky! Plus, it comes in 28-38 D-J. Want.

If you're interested in the Zia as much as I am - it sells on Butterfly Collection (10% off when you subscribe to their newsletter), Bravissimo, and Bare Necessities, and you can check out CurvyWordy's review!

2. Teal Tap Panties from Knickerocker

Image from Knickerocker
Typewriters? Lacy panties? Yes please.

Fancy some made-to-measure lingerie for yourself? You can win a $50 gift voucher to Knickerocker on The Full Figured Chest's Holiday Giveaway!

3. Ewa Michalak Mak Bra

Image from Ewa Michalak
I love the color of this bra. According to Google Translate, "Mak" means "Poppy Seed" in Polish, and I think the color is definitely reminiscent of a cheery red poppy. The website lists this as a CHP style, but I've also heard it can be made in PL...

Retails on Ewa Michalak's site for 109zl ($34.21).

4. Bravissimo Beau Bra in Jet/Emerald

Image from Bravissimo
I actually have the Beau bra in the old Red/Graphite colorway, and it's surprisingly comfy for how lacy a bra it is. Definitely an everyday bra in terms of comfort, but with a "special occasion" look!

And finally...

5. Batgirl Panties from Thinkgeek
Image from Thinkgeek

I have simple tastes, you guys. I'm a nerd. And these glow in the dark.

(You can also get a Wonder Woman assortment, if that's what floats your boat.)

In the mood for more holiday lingerie browsing? Take a look at Butterfly Collection's How to Prepare for Lingerie Sale Shopping, The Full Figured Chest's Indie Lingerie Holiday Gift Guide, Invest in Your Chest's Full Bust Christmas Lingerie Wishlist, and check out the "Create Your Christmas Wishlist" Facebook Contest from Brastop (runs through Dec. 12).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Urkye Review: Kokarda and Francuski Turkus tops

The final two items of my recent four-item Urkye order included the Kokarda Czerwona and the Francuski Turkus (check out the review of the first part of the order if you haven't already!).

The third item of the order was the Kokarda in red.
Cost: 75zl ($23.67)
Material: Cotton/elastaine
Size: 36oo/ooo

Kokarda 36oo/ooo
I was a little uncertain about the bust portion at first, but I actually think it works quite well! The "bow gathering" (you can tell I'm not a seamstress) adds interest without adding bulk or too much attention, and I think it gives a really cute look.

Back view
The Kokarda does seem to be shorter in length than the other shirts in this order - not too short, but anyone who is quite tall or has a long torso may want to take this into account. I suppose I would categorize the other shirts as "on the long side for me" and this one as "normal". The sleeves also poke out rather roguishly on this shirt (Husband's reaction: "You have little wings!") - I think it's cute, just a bit different.

I was worried about the neckline being too wide - I have fairly wide shoulders, but they also slope, so I was afraid that the sleeves just wouldn't stay up or would constantly expose my bra straps (I thought the problem might be exacerbated in the long-sleeved version of this shirt, the Dzwonek, which is why I decided to start with the short sleeved version). Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. This shirt may be very slightly more prone to let a bra strap peek through if not adjusted correctly, but definitely not enough to be an issue for me.

Side view
The material is stretchy and not too clingy, and I think this color is cheery and just perfect for the Holiday season (although probably a bit chilly with the short sleeves!).

More reviews of the Kokarda shirt:
Les Gros Bonnets (44oo/ooo)

Reviews of the Dzwonek (long-sleeved version):
Laura of Undressed to Impress (34oo/ooo)
Holly of The Full Figured Chest (42o/oo)

The fourth and final item of my order was the Francuski shirt in turquoise.
Cost: 69zl ($21.78)
Material: Viscose/polyester
Size: 36oo/ooo

I have this same shirt (same size) in navy blue and have reviewed it previously (see post on the Francuski Blekit), so I don't have much new to say here. The Francuski Blekit became one of my favorite shirts, so I just had to order this other color!

The one big thing I'll note is that the sizing for the Turkus color vs. the Blekit color is fairly different. The Francuski Blekit was quite form-fitting on me, almost to the point of being a bit small (and I think it's shrunk a tad with washing and wear). Based on this, I thought of trying out a size 38 in the Turkus. However, Ula (the very helpful owner of Urkye) advised me to just get my usual size, as the Turkus ran looser than the Blekit - and she was right!

Overall, the Turkus color seems to have a tad thinner material, and definitely has a little more stretch/give, and it's much roomier than the Blekit color. I would almost say it's a bit too roomy in the top/shoulder portion in comparison with the other shirts, but if it shrinks a tiny bit as the Blekit did, it should be perfect. It's very comfy, and I see myself wearing it a lot. If you found the Francuski Blekit to be too small for you, or you want to try the Francuski shirt but are concerned about being a bit outside of the given size chart, I would definitely give the Francuski Turkus a go.

More reviews of the Francuski shirt:
Laura of Undressed to Impress (34o/oo)
Leah of Hourglassy (38o/oo)

Urkye also has a long-sleeved version of this shirt.

So, bottom line after my most recent order? Overall, everything I chose was a success, and I feel I've firmly settled on what my usual size is. If you haven't yet ventured into the world of online shopping, Urkye may be a great place to start - their well-fitting clothes, great customer service, and very reasonable prices (especially if you're watching sales!) make them well worth a try!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Urkye Review: Tuba and Wodnik tops

I've been in need of some more casual (yet still nice-looking and well-fitting) tops, and thus decided to place another Urkye order at the beginning of the month. The shirts recently arrived, so it's time for a few more reviews!

First off is the Tuba in grey.
Cost: 59zl ($18.66)
Material: Cotton/elastine
Size: 36oo/ooo
Tuba 36oo/ooo
(Yes, it's been warm enough to wear shorts here!)

This is such a great invention - a sleeveless shirt that completely conceals my bra! The little bands on the shoulder-straps can be adjusted to sit higher or lower for slightly different looks (I just noticed that I have one of them turned the wrong way in the picture... derp). 

Side view
The material is stretchy, and I will say that the shirt is fairly clingy; it doesn't bother me too much, but it may be worth trying a size up (a 38o/oo rather than a 36oo/ooo, for example) if you prefer less cling. I felt that the top had plenty of boob room - I might have even been able to get away with a o/oo - so if you're worried about being a bit out of the size range in terms of bust measurement, you may find this shirt will still work. I also found the shirt to be long, so it would probably also work well for those of us who are taller and/or have longer torsos. All in all, it's a great option for warmer weather, and I feel it could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

More reviews of the Tuba shirt:
Leah from Hourglassy (38o/oo and 36oo/ooo)
Chloe from Muscular Hourglass (36oo/ooo)
June from Braless in Brasil (38oo/ooo)
Busty and Thrifty (40o/oo)

The second top I ordered was the Wodnik in black.
Cost: 79zl ($24.99)
Material: Cotton/elastine
Size: 36oo/ooo
Wodnik 36oo/ooo

I generally have a ban on buying any more black clothing (I have too much as it used to be my default!), but this shirt was so interesting that I thought it would be justified. It's certainly not just another plain black shirt!
Business in the front, party in the back!
This shirt is understated yet interesting, comfy and well-fitting - what more can I say? The material is on the thinner side (certainly thinner than the Francuski Blekit), making it ideal for warmer weather without being so skimpy that you would freeze once the weather got a bit cooler. It's mostly cotton, which I find more comfortable than many other materials. There's always the fear that anything cotton will shrink, but I always wash my Urkye purchases in cold/delicate cycles and air dry, so hopefully this won't be a problem. I also think the shirt could go through a bit of shrinkage and still fit me well.

Side view
As you can see, this shirt is also plenty long enough! Having the top and bottom "pieces" sort of separated by a seam makes the shirt a bit more interesting, as well, although I will say it tends to sort of pucker a bit at the seam in the front at this point. Not sure if it's an issue with my shirt in particular, or if they're just all supposed to be like that.

More reviews of the Wodnik shirt:
Laura of Undressed to Impress (34o/oo)
Les Gros Bonnets (42oo/ooo)

Stay tuned for the reviews of the other two items I ordered!

Also, check out Holly from The Full Figured Chest's recent Urkye success, as well as the recent list of Urkye items reviewed by Laura from Undressed to Impress.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

50 Things About Boosaurus

(For a brief moment, I though about titling this "50 Shades of Boosaurus" but then my sanity kicked in and went NO.)

I don't often get too personal or veer off the subject of bras/boobs/clothing in this blog, but this 50-questions list has been making rounds in the blogger world after FussyBusty started it off (and SweetNothings, UndieGamer, A Sophisticated Pair, and Miss Underpinnings followed), so I figured it'd be a fun little random thing to do as well! :)

1. What time did you get up this morning? Woke up around 8, but then fell back asleep until around 9:30. :P

2. How do you like your steak?  Medium rare, but I rarely (ha) eat steak.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Hunger Games... I don't go to the theater that often, but there's about three movies coming out next month that I really want to see. I think that will exceed my entire theater-going for the rest of the year!

4. What is your favorite TV show? I don't really watch TV (boring, sorry)... I do like watching re-runs of Columbo, The Addams Family, and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I like where I'm living now (in a valley, close to the beach), but I wouldn't say no to a nice little farm in the French countryside.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Trader Joe's Multigrain O's cereal with organic 1% milk (I like 2%, husband likes 0%, so we compromise with 1%)
("cereal with milk" sounded too boring)

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Good (real) Mexican food, among other random things like cawl (Welsh) and certain Chinese dishes.

8. What foods do you dislike? Bananas, Coke/Pepsi, whipped cream, pumpkin pie, anything spicy, caramel, milk chocolate, most vanilla-flavored things, anything too sugary (which I guess is most of this list), bell peppers

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Chin's Szechwan and The Yellow Deli

10. Favorite dressing? Caesar

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? One that has definitely had its share of life.

12. What are your favorite clothes? Lingerie. Tunics with belts. Cozy socks.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Wales, Ireland, France

14. Where would you want to retire? That's a bit far in the future! Ask me in about 40 years.

15. Favorite time of day? Early morning (when I actually get up!)

16. Where were you born? San Diego, California

17. What is your favorite sport to watch? I prefer playing rather than watching! But I always watched baseball growing up.

19. How many siblings? One brother.

20. Favorite pastime/hobby? Reading, playing the piano, writing/blogging, video games, cooking/baking

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? The construction of this sentence bothers me... any other bloggers, I should think!

22. Bird watcher? Yes!

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Either. Depending. Probably night if I had to choose.

24. Do you have any pets? Not currently :( I used to have chinchillas, a few chickens, and a dog.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?  We finally got a PS3... woop!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A farmer... I think I just wanted a lot of animals.

27. What is your best childhood memory? Hrm, I really have a hard time with open-ended questions like this... my mind wants the question to better define "best" and "childhood". One that stands out is me really wanting to go to Disneyland when I was 5, and my mom said, "Sure, if you earn the money yourself." So I did the 25-50 cent chores around the house and saved up any birthday gifts, earned the money, and we went!

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog. But I don't dislike cats or anything.

29. Are you married? 3 1/2 years this month!

30. Always wear your seat belt? Yup (click it or ticket!)

31. Been in a car accident? Just a small one or two

32. Any pet peeves? People reading over my shoulder or cracking their knuckles (or both... augh!)

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Black Olives, mushrooms, any kind of cheese

34. Favorite Flower? Roses

35. Favorite ice cream? Blue Bell Groom's Cake (which you can't get on the West Coast *weeps*)

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Panda Express counts, right? Or In N' Out!

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? None, although I accidentally turned on the windshield wipers during the test, panicked, and couldn't figure out how to turn them off for several minutes.

38. From whom did you get your last email? Brastop (does that count?)

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? I don't use credit cards (boring? sorry)... but I would spend all I could at little independent book stores.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Had a fairly spontaneous early Thanksgiving this past weekend (we'll be eating leftovers until actual Thanksgiving, yay!)

41. Like your job? Not working at the moment, boo

42. Broccoli? I am proud to say that I haven't had to eat it since I have been in charge of making my own meals. :D

43. What was your favorite vacation? I took a random trip to the UK with a friend last year... that was pretty awesome, and I want to go back!

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My parents and husband

45. What are you listening to right now? The leafblower outside.

46. What is your favorite color? Purple, blue, grey, green

47. How many tattoos do you have? None; I go back and forth on getting one.

49. What time did you finish this quiz? 12:33 pm, aka lunchtime.

50. Coffee Drinker? Tea all the way!

Bonus: If you feel you don't know enough about me already, I did a Follow Friday interview for Invest in Your Chest the other week!

So, what would your answers be?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Real Girls Lingerie: Company Overview

I know from experience that finding comfy loungewear, nighties/nightgowns, sleepwear, and camis (basically, you name it) for busty women can be a difficult (if not impossible) task. I'm more of a wear-a-tshirt to bed kind of girl, but this is mostly due to lack of better options. So when I found out about new company Real Girls Lingerie, I was definitely intrigued!

Real Girls Lingerie offers a few sleepwear options for busty women - both a luxury silk chemise in several colors as well as casual, fun cami separates. The owner, Sarah, kindly agreed to answer a few questions and provided one of her Zinnia Camisole sets for review purposes.

Hi, Sarah! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Can you just tell us briefly about Real Girls Lingerie?

I started the company back in 2005 - it took much longer than expected to get a quality product and related website.  I’ve had different “versions” of the process since Dec 2010, but starting in April of this year, it has grown into something that I feel is a good representation of what we want to be.  The Real Girls products are made in USA and everything is self-financed (no debt, no investors).  Like all business owners I have big dreams for the company – I have products in development and plan to have our own lines of bras and swimwear.  I also want to do true cup sizing and add more sizing options (both smaller and venture into full figure sizing). But this takes money, and with the economy the way it is, I don’t feel comfortable taking on the debt this would require.

That's very admirable, and your goals sound very exciting! Can you give us a little more insight into the difficulties you faced in regards to getting a quality product?

Sarah: Real Girls works outside the box.  We had challenges on both the manufacturing side and the development side.  In terms of development we wanted our “standard” size to be a Missys 8 with a natural D-cup and adjust the sizing from there.  Finding a model of this figure for sample sizing is difficult - one of the baffling things about fashion is that a size 8 is “too large”. This is also a non-traditional size for pattern makers and somewhat throws them for a loop too.  Ultimately we decided to create two base sizes simultaneously: a Missys 8 with a natural B-cup and a Missys size 8 with a natural D-cup.  This really helped the pattern developers.  And we were/are lucky to have two great women working with Real Girls who fit this sizing.

On the manufacturing side it was also a challenge.  There are some small production companies in Los Angeles that will help start-up clothing lines with everything from beginning development to final production.  This is where Real Girls began.  Due to our intricate patterns and difficulty finding appropriate models, it took about 6 months to get our initial samples.  This company works with small designers, many who are household names in other industries.  But they also run a in-house uniform business.  From these first samples, it was known their expertise is not in lingerie.  It’s the first time I have ever seen fine lingerie look like an auto-body uniform.  Through a lot of research, we were able to find an assortment of different vendors ranging from underwire suppliers to final production who understand what the “Made in the USA” label should mean, and were able to help Real Girls create a product that reflects this concept.
There were many tears along the way.  I don’t think I will ever forget the day I was crying (as in CRYING) over elastic.  “How can Target get soft elastic on their items and I can’t find it in the smaller quantities that Real Girls needs?!?”.   I had called all the vendors I was aware of and they needed Real Girls to purchase in amounts that Target was purchasing in. I’m located in the Los Angeles area.  Fashion has been around since LA was born, I said to myself “there must be someone that has it”.  I pulled out the old fashioned yellow pages telephone book and started driving around town.  These were hole-in-the-wall businesses who are not used to customers randomly knocking on their doors.  But that’s what I did, and I found exactly what we were looking for.

Wow, you've certainly come a long way and accomplished a lot! Can you tell readers any more about any future particular products you have in development at this time?
Sarah: Our next items will be additional pieces in the Peony Collection, our charmeuse silk lingerie collection.  We have an adorable short silk robe with some special embellishments that will match our existing silk chemises.  Another items I’m very excited about is a silk camisole and panty set.  The camisole with contain our signature built-in underwire with wide straps with ruching and the panties will be made of stretch silk.

That does sound exciting! Last question - I was noticing that in addition to the RealGirl brand items on the site, you also stock Claudette bras [in sizes 32-38 B-G]. It's nice to see that you stock bras in a wider range of cups than is "usual"- what made you choose Claudette in particular?

Sarah: I had been looking for a bra company to add to the Real Girls collections for a while.  I wanted something that was unique, had a full range of sizing, and had the same philosophy about quality and fit as Real Girls does.  I also wanted to make sure there were every day bras available since this is something that is lacking in most full-busted bra collections.

I met the Claudette team at the first show they did, CurveLV – Summer 2011, and I quickly learned that the company had the “ingredients” I was looking for.  I also love that Lindsey, their sales manager, is also their model!!

Thanks so much to Sarah for taking the time to talk to me! I think it's really interesting to get insight into how the small, bust-friendly companies are run and the different issues that they face. I really appreciate that Sarah is including a range outside of the "norm" (34-38 A-D) in the items she offers, and I know from speaking with her that she really has the best interests of customers at heart.

In addition to answering some questions, Sarah also offered to send one of her cami sets for review. Since I'm out of the size range currently offered by the company, Kendra from Art&Other agreed to give it a try. At about a 32F, Kendra is a little outside of the size range that Sarah indicates on the site, but based off of her measurements (39/33/39) and the size chart, Kendra was sent a Large/Large Cup top and Medium boyshorts.

Here's what Kendra had to say about it:

"I've often had a hard time finding loungewear that I feel both comfortable and a little sexy in.  I’m not comfortable with no support at all, but usually those tanks with the built-in bras, while comfortable, just give me the uni-boob problem.

The founder of Real Girls, Sarah, seemed to hear me.  In her About Us section, she writes that her approach is to offer “designs that concentrate on bust support.”  The way the Zinnia Camisole looked on the models made me wonder, because it didn't look to be as supportive as what I was looking for, but I definitely appreciated the honest representation of the product in the pictures.  Overall, I think the photos accurately depict how much support the cami gives.

When I received the package, it was wrapped so nicely in brown paper and had a sweet note from Sarah.  I chose Cocoa Blue and the print and colors were cute; it probably wasn’t something I would have picked out among other choices at a store, but I do have to say it was a nice change from the options I had seen at stores like Target or Kohl’s (where I usually shop for similar items).

The fabric was a very stretchy and soft mesh. It was very subtly sheer and forgiving, I really liked that about it.

My biggest reason for not loving it is the level of support. The right amount of support equals comfort for me. I adjusted the straps until they were as tight as possible trying to find the support I was looking for. The cami definitely provides more support than none, but not quite as much as some of those tanks with built-ins (no risk of uni-boob though! The design is great for that!). The cup fit was very good, although maybe the stretchiness of the material in the cup took away from the overall supportiveness, too. I thought it was great that there was a strip of elastic under the bust and it fit very well around my rib cage, which is something that most lingerie misses on. Perhaps if the shoulder straps were less stretchy or if there were a stronger panel in the back to give the straps something solid to pull against there could be more support.

I chose the boy shorts to go with the cami. They looked great and went with the design of the camisole. Personal preference, I might like to wear them better with the camisole if they were the same print as the bust portion, just to add some contrast. My tummy (which I prefer to distract away from) would have been less of a focal point if the print on the bottoms provided that visual interest.

Thanks so much to Sarah (and Christine) for giving me the opportunity to try something new and better define what I’m looking for. The work that you are doing to help give girls like me lingerie that we can love is much appreciated. I totally respect Sarah’s determination to run her company with so much financial integrity, too. I hope that this review will help her be able to focus in more and more to what real girls are looking for and put her money in the right place to get there. I’m looking forward to future products from Sarah and Real Girls!"

Based off Kendra's review, I think I would recommend going off just the measurements on the size chart when ordering. It seems to me that the cami sets could definitely still work for those who are a bit outside the given estimated size range of 34-38 bands and B-E cups, so those who are 30+ bands and up to an F-FF cup may very well still find the camis work out. The tops aren't going to provide the same support as a bra for most of us, but having a comfy option that provides enough room and some support for larger busts - without even having to integrate a "built-in bra" - sounds great to me! I look forward to seeing the new items Sarah's planning on releasing, and am excited about the possibility of future expansion of sizes to include a Small option (which I would guess would be 28-band friendly).

So, what do you think about small, start-up businesses that are looking at the needs of busty women more? What comments or thoughts (or ideas!) do you have, either for Sarah or for others who might be looking into starting to create a line of items that will specifically cater to bustier women?

For more on Sarah and Real Girls Lingerie, make sure to check out the great overview post of the company by Hourglassy (Also, Hourglassy readers can find a code for 15% off Real Girls Lingerie until 11/21).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why I shop for bras online (and you should, too!)

This is a bit of a continuation of my last post on why I shop for clothing online. I've actually been shopping for bras online for far longer than I have clothing (no surprise!) for several reasons - and I think that nearly all of my reasons for choosing to buy my bras online can apply to most others.

Choices Available
I'll admit, what first drove me to shop for bras online was sheer necessity, plain and simple. Back when I was a 30G, I could find a few, expensive choices in certain stores and cities only. Now that I'm a 28H/HH, it's virtually impossible for me to buy bras in-store. Thus, I have no choice if I want bras - I have to purchase them online.

And I'm not alone in this. In the U.S. at least, if you wear a bra size that's:
-Below a 30-32 band
-Above a 40 band, and /or
-Above a G cup,
you're pretty much going to have to order online. There's really no way around it unless you're extremely lucky and happen to live near one of the rare, really great boutiques that offer a large range of sizes (and even then, you may want to order online from time to time just for variety). In some areas, you'll be stuck ordering online if you're outside of an even smaller range, usually 34-38 A-DD (15, count 'em, 15 sizes).

Since a fairly large percentage of women wear or should be wearing below a 32 band, and a large percentage of women need to wear above a DD cup [remember, all "DD" means is "about 5 inches of difference between underbust and bust measurement"], this means in turn that a large percentage of women will, like me, need to order online to obtain their correct size. I know this isn't fair. We all want to be able to just go into a store and buy things that fit well! Unfortunately, this really, honestly will be very difficult or impossible for many of us. The lack of sizes stocked is the store's problem, not a problem with us or our bodies; still, the fact remains that many women really just are not going to get many (or any) options from their local department stores, and there are a lot of really great online stores that offer a very wide range of sizes.

And, if you are lucky enough to fit into the ranges that your local stores carry, you still will get more choice on brands, styles, colors, etc online. You may wear a 32D and have several choices at your local Nordstrom, but then find that once you need a strapless or nursing bra, the choices are much diminished. You might want a certain color that isn't offered in store. You may want to try out a brand that isn't stocked in the U.S. A quick online search will generally turn up what you're looking for pretty quickly.

Even when I was a size that could sometimes be found in Nordstrom or the odd boutique, I would usually have to make a special trip - sometimes on the order of 2-3 hours away - just to try on a bra or two. And then I would have to deal with the (usually misinformed) fitters. Shopping online can save a lot of time and frustration. (Also, as several of my friends with young children pointed out, it's much less of a hassle to be able to shop online from home than to have to keep any eye on a baby or wrangle a rambunctious toddler when attempting to try on bras.)

One big qualm women have about shopping for bras online is - just like with clothing - the inability to try things on. I definitely understand this, and it's a valid concern. However - many of us won't really have a choice. We'll either have to settle with poorly-fitting, painful, unsupportive bras that are available locally, or we can order some bras online, armed with the best estimate of our correct size and the reviews and advice that can be found online for most brands (and many specific bras). If we happen to order the incorrect sizes, it's not much of a hassle to simply send it back for a refund or exchange. In the end, with a little more research and effort, we'll have exactly what we need - we won't have to settle for what may be very limited local choices.

[Note - I think it's great to buy locally, and if you live by a store that stocks your size, you should certainly try on sizes there and buy bras from them. In this post, though, I'm mainly speaking to the many, many women who simply don't have the choices available to them, or who want to branch out a bit from their current in-store options]

Just like with buying clothes online, some women are scared off because they think that shopping online is always expensive. Not true! I spend far less on bras ordering online than I ever have in-store.

Take one example - you can easily go into a higher-end store like Intimacy or Nordstrom (stores that actually sell a decent range of sizes) and see bras ranging in price from $75-$120 (and higher). Just a quick look at some of the online shops, however, turns up quite a range of (new!) bras in the $30-$50 range, and sometimes dipping to the deeply-discounted $20 range. Yes, you'll still usually be paying more for a good, well-constructed, well-fitting bra than you would an ill-fitting, cheaply-constructed Walmart bra. But the well-constructed, somewhat pricier bra will more than pay for itself in terms of longevity, comfort, and fit. And, it's a bit of a separate subject, but you can find great deals on gently-used and even new bras on places like ebay, Bratabase, and swap/sell groups.

Final Thoughts
So, in a perfect world, would I prefer to be able to buy bras and clothing in store? Sure! However, due to better prices, better selection, time saved, and convenience, online shopping definitely trumps a store experience for me.

How about you? Do you shop online for bras? What are some of your reasons for shopping online (or not)?

If the subject interests you, read also some thoughts from The Lingerie Addict on online lingerie shopping.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I shop for clothes online (and you should, too!)

Do you find it difficult finding anything in department stores that fits you well? Are you spending hours searching through racks and racks of clothing, only to end up disappointed or lusting after something so expensive that it'll break your clothing budget for the year? This definitely describes my relationship with in-store clothing shopping - and it's why I've turned to shopping online for clothes.

"But wait!" you might protest. "Online shopping? How will I know if something fits if I can't try it on? Isn't online shopping really expensive?"

Online shopping used to be a foreign, scary concept to me, too. But within the past couple of years, I've had a definite turnaround. Here's a few reasons why I now do most of my clothing shopping online!

Choices Available/Time Spent
I can't tell you how many times I've spent hours upon hours perusing the racks of department stores, looking in vain for something, anything, that would a) fit me, b) cost less than an arm and a leg, and c) that I actually liked. I don't think I'm super picky, but I have this strange idea that I'd like my clothes to fit well, thank you very much! Shopping at department stores quickly got disheartening. Sizes meant nothing to me - I could be anywhere from a 2 to a 10, from an X-Small to a Large - I just had absolutely no idea until I tried each and every thing on. There were the endless lists of things that wouldn't work for me, ever - button-down shirts, fitted jackets, empire-waist shirts, "flowy" shirts, shirts with buttons or pockets, vests, strapless shirts or dresses, etc etc....

The great thing about online-based companies that cater specifically to busty women is that I don't have to wonder about whether or not something will fit over my boobs - I know it will. I don't have to worry that everything will be too baggy on me. I don't have to immediately discount all button-down shirts - I know that they're designed with my body type in mind. Flowy tops, ruffles, and tank tops? Colors, prints, and textures? I can have them all!

Kontrast shirt from Urkye

Another bonus is that online shopping saves time - no longer do I have to spend a whole afternoon in the vain search for something that fits. I can browse the options at any hour of the day or night, and I can quickly pick out my usual size within the specific company.

Related to this, one of the biggest qualms about online shopping that I hear is the inability to get to actually try on the item before buying. Good online stores will have accurate sizing charts so you can get a very good estimate of your size just by taking your measurements and comparing, so honestly, it's really not too difficult to nail down a size. Still not quite sure which size to pick? You can email the owner/customer service directly, and in my experience, they'll be more than happy to give you sizing advice. [ETA - even if you're a bit out of the range of the size charts on a particular site, don't give up! There's still a good chance that you'll be able to find something that works for you. Remember, size charts are approximations.] You can also search online for reviews from others who may have tried out the company or item; this way, you'll be able to get more advice and see even more examples of how the item looks and fits. If all else fails and you do happen to order the wrong size, it's not the end of the world - you'll be able to return/exchange the item with in a certain number of days, or resell the item on ebay if you wait too long to return.

One complaint I've heard about buying online is the worry that it's "too expensive." While I do agree that there are some online stores that are quite pricey, and you will sometimes have to pay shipping costs, I have to say that I've actually found that buying clothing online from the right places to actually be more affordable than buying clothing from brick-and-mortar stores. And I'm not even factoring in the places you can buy used pieces (like ebay or swap/sell groups), which can drive the costs down even more (although up the risk factor a tad).

Trust me - I don't like to pay a lot for clothes. But I dislike paying for ill-fitting clothes even more. Most of the tops from bust-friendly shops like BiuBiu and Urkye range in price from $20-$35 - hardly extravagant! And, most importantly, tops from these stores are designed for busty women. You won't have to worry about gaping buttons, getting the tops tailored (which adds expense), or a completely wrong fit like you would when shopping at a department store. I'm willing to pay a little more for several pieces that fit me perfectly than pay any price for several things that don't fit me well at all. Quality, fit, durability, and versatility need to be taken into account just as much as the price. A good-quality item of clothing that's made-to-measure or made with your specific needs in mind is worth more than a cheap, off-the-rack item that doesn't fit and won't last as long.

Emerald shirt from BiuBiu

Voting with my Dollars
I know that I have a body type that presents a fair number of fitting challenges within the "usual" off-the-rack choices. It's not just that I'm busty - I also have a sharply-curved back that makes some shirts bunch strangely; I'm shorter and thus have some extra fabric show up in odd places in tops, and pants are always too long for me; I have a wider back and shoulders so some tops and jackets don't stretch enough to accommodate; I have fallen arches on my feet and narrow heels so I can't wear many types of shoes - the list could go on.

But these "issues" don't mean that I (or anyone) should have to give up on well-fitting clothing or settle for less - there are companies out there that cater more specifically to me. I want to give my money to those companies that are actually trying to provide good options for me and other women who can't easily find well-fitting clothes in brick-and-mortar stores. Basically, I have two choices - I could spend hours upon hours wading through racks of clothing in stores, hoping against hope to find something that fits at least somewhat and doesn't cost me a fortune - and I've done this more times than I care to remember. Or, I could spend far less time and choose something that is more catered to my body type, provided by smaller companies who actually care about the fitting challenges many women face.

So, do you buy clothes (or bras) online? Have you thought about it before? Are there specific fitting challenges you face that you wished more stores catered to?

Also, coming up soon - a post on some of the challenges and successes I've had with thrifting.

List of some bust-friendly online clothing stores:
-Campbell & Kate
-Pin Up Girl Clothing
-Trashy Diva
(see also a more extensive list with more reviews from Thin and Curvy)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10 Ways to Spot a Bad Bra Fitter [Guest Post by Susannah Perez]

Today's guest post is by the lovely Susannah Perez, an experienced fitter and lingerie fanatic who wants women to recognize when they’re not getting the fitting service they deserve! You can read more of her thoughts on TwitterFor more posts from good bra fitters, check out "The Dos and Don'ts of a Bra Fitting" from A Sophisticated Pair and "Is Your Professional Bra Fitter Giving You the Right Size" by Butterfly Collection, and take a look at druber & drunter's thoughts on "The Best Fitting Experience".

It’s a sad fact that a lot of lingerie stores and departments don’t ensure that all of their staff are well trained at bra fitting, or provide them with a set of out of date skills so they simply don’t have the knowledge to get women into the right fit. Almost every woman who has ever been fitted on the high street has had at least one experience where they walked away from the store unhappy with the service they received.

Unfortunately, if you’re not 100% sure of what you should expect in a bra fitting – other than walking away with a comfortable, well fitting bra – it can be really difficult to know whether you’ve had a good fitting or simply been conned into buying the wrong bra.

So, here’s a checklist from a bra fitter that cares: here’s exactly how to spot a bad bra fitter.

Everything is done by the tape measure.
Bra fitting is hardly anything to do with what a tape measure says – it should only be used to provide a starting point for the fitting (if your bra fitter isn’t working by sight), and should not be treated as a rule. It’s only rarely that the first bra you put on during a fitting will fit perfectly.

They only try you in the one size.
Following on from the first point, a good bra fitter should try you in several different sizes to be sure you get the perfect fit – not just try to squeeze you into whatever size they’ve measured you as – they should know that numbers and letters are simply guidelines!

They only try you in one style.
Even if you’re looking for a particular style, your fitter should be honest about whether this will work for you or not, and if not, which style will. Every woman is shaped differently, and has different needs to cater to: no one style will work for everyone.

They only look, don’t touch. 
A good bra fitter will adjust the straps to the optimum length for you, fix the band on the loosest hook, pull gently on the back to check it’s the right tightness, and will check how the central gore and wires sit. You can’t tell simply from looking if a bra is completely the right fit.

They use the +4 method. 
+4 is an old fitting method that is no longer applicable to the stretchier materials bras are made of today. If your fitter adds anything to your initial band measurement, then they will not be calculating your true size and you will most likely end up in an ill fitting bra.

They take the band measurement by measuring over your bust.
This practice is typically used by companies that try to size you between a 32A and 38DD, like Victoria’s Secret. This practice is completely nonsensical and will land you in an entirely inaccurate size – after all, why would your band size be anything other than the measurement of where your band would sit?

They try to size you up or down to fit you into ‘conventional’ sizes.
If your bra fitter tries you in a bra size completely different from your initial measurement as they’ve sized you up or down to fit you into the store’s size range, call foul play. No good fitter will put you in the wrong sized bra simply to get a sale – if you’re measured 28-36, they should be trying you in a 28G/H, not a 32D.

They don’t ask you how the bra feels.
Bad bra fitters will often assume that because a bra looks half decent, it feels okay too – which is simply a sign of negligence. Your fitter should make sure you’re comfortable in the bra, and if you’re not, they should try you in others.

They don’t address your concerns.
If your fitter doesn’t care or know what to do about any concerns you have with the fit, walk out of there. Though a well-fitting bra can feel tight if you’re not used to wearing your correct size, anything from digging in or falling out to space in the cups or wires sitting away from your torso should be addressed and rectified with either another size or style.

They’re not dedicated to finding the right bra.
If you aren’t happy with the fit of the bra they put you in, they should try you in different styles and sizes until they find one that you love – and if this isn’t possible, offer to order bras in for you or recommend another store that may be able to service your needs better. Every woman has the potential and right to sexy and amazing lingerie that fits exceptionally and makes you feel fabulous, and your fitter should embody that promise – if they try to fob you off with a “that’s as good as it’s going to get” attitude, leave!

Do you have any more pointers on how to spot a bad bra fitter? Do you have any fitting horror stories to share?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

BiuBiu Review: Midnight Infinity Shirt

I got my hands on a gently-used BiuBiu Infinity shirt recently, so it's time for a quick review!

I was pretty certain that the size of 36BB/BBB would work out for me given my pretty good success with my first order, and my hopes were not dashed.

BiuBiu Infinity 36BB/BBB

BiuBiu Infinity 36BB/BBB
(sorry for the terrible lighting!)

The material (a viscose/spandex blend) is comfy, but fairly clingy, meaning I'll need to be careful about bra material showing through and what pants I wear. It looked really funky when I tried it on over my too-large pants that I have to wear with a belt:

Behold my amazing sense of fashion! yeah, we'll be avoiding that.

The top of the shirt sits nice and tight against my skin to prevent any gaping. Even with the "V" being fairly deep, I didn't feel too exposed.

As with the previous shirts I tried in this size, I still get the feeling that the top part is just a tad small for me; the seam under the bust doesn't appear to always sit right where it should - instead of being snug against my underbust, it rides up a bit. Maybe I'm just too picky. :P Anyway, since there's no BBB or BBB/BBBB option for the stretchy shirts, I think this would mean trying out a 38B/BB or so if I wanted a little more room, which I may do next time I try a BiuBiu stretchy shirt. The slight snugness doesn't bother me much, it's just something to note.

All in all, this shirt is pretty good success! I'm a little more knowledgeable about my BiuBiu size now, so I'll hopefully be planning another larger site order soon.

Braless in Brasil also reviewed the Infinity shirt (showing examples of several different women/body types who tried it out), so check out her thoughts as well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blog Contest Entries (part 1)

There were so many awesome entries to the Blog Contest back in September that I felt I just had to share! Here's a collection of some of the poetry/haiku entries - enjoy! (And don't forget to take a look at the winning entries, too!)

Jessy B -
Full rounded breasts
Unable to gain air
Squashed in frumpy bras
No one would want to stare

Nightmares of ill-fitting bras
Of cups that filleth over
Jabbing wires in tender flesh
Popping out, overexposure

My 38G’s are dying
To be kept up in style
So I can throw away the plain bras,
Which will truly make me smile

I dream of sexy lace
And immaculate fit
Of polka dots and sleekness
With a plunge that’s legit

I need to be supported
In a tasteful design that I adore
Give me bows and stitching
That can make a man’s jaw drop to the floor ^_*

Jovina M -
A 32G is not all it could be
More often than not they’re in the way
But sometimes I dream, of that bra in between
Comfort, and style, trimmed with lace

This bra, you see, is soft but firm
And it has a little black bow
A dark emerald green, with nary a seam
So your bra is no longer on show

It seems like an awesome deal
And it’s sad but true
This bra isn’t real
And the only one who knows it is you

Amy H -
the strength of 3 small elephants
5ml tears from a GG+ teen
7 wishes for a perkier future
2 yards of soft spun cloud
1 anti-gravity pump
1tsp icing sugar
pinch of hope
dash of luck
sprinkle of blind faith

Mix all together and hope for the best

Kristi N - [second half]
There once was a girl from Paneer
Who traveled so far and so near
For support she was needing
Through sizes she was weeding
So she halved a watermelon for a brassiere

Kachel W -
(I wrote three haikus, one describing bra problems, one describing the perfect fit, and another describing the perfect look.)
underwire digging
snap! there goes another one
cups over floweth

goldilocks brassiere
comfort meets with sexiness
move breathe easily

sheer pink floral lace
venturous décolletage
lusty lingerie

Kjelse R -
smooth and lacy white
snowflakes falling sheer on skin
sexy innocence

red ribbon'd valley
press'd perfect 'twixt mountaintops
no avalanches

smooth ski slopes made of
comfy convertible straps
bra lodge now open

(I'm not sure if I'm supposed to include a bit of a description why it's my dream bra, so here's one just in case:
I'd love a lacy bra that was still smooth under shirts. A tiny bit of red contrasted against a white background reminds me of my winter wedding and honeymoon, and winter is my favorite season, so I'd love a bra themed after it, thus the ski lodge metaphor. There would be no gaping at the sternum (the valley) like almost all my bras have, and my boobs would not spill out of the cups. The straps would be convertible (and if it was a nursing bra, as well, that could convert from padded to no pads, and underwire to no underwire for nursing, that would be even more amazing!).

And this isn't in the haiku, but it would give me great writing powers so I could write better haiku. And finish a NaNoWriMo novel or two in no time flat.)

Nora -
You lift me up, bra,
My ally, support, comfort,
Confidence granter.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's wrong with U.S. bra stores?

Sometimes, people will ask why I (and other bloggers) "hate on Victoria's Secret and/or [insert name of any well-known U.S. bra store here]." So what if those stores don't sell your size, people say. "You're just bitter because you can't buy anything from them. Just get over it!"

Honestly, I have no real problem with the fact of particular stores in the U.S. selling an incredibly limited range of bras. I know that bra departments and stores can't be expected to stock every size under the sun.

What I do have a problem with is these stores claiming that their size range will fit "every woman". That they'll push bras on to women to make a sale, even if the bras are a blatantly incorrect fit. That they use their position of supposed "expertise" to misinform women. That sometimes fitters insult women who are outside the small size range carried. That, in the U.S., there is an overwhelming amount of misinformation about bras, bra sizing, and how bras are supposed to fit - and it's spread largely by the bra stores (and the media) here - the very ones who are supposed to know better.

[I'm going to add here that I'm in no way trying to put down the stores I mention in general, but just bring attention to their incorrect fitting methods they use to keep customers within a very small range of sizes. Also, there are great boutiques out there with dedicated owners committed to meeting the needs of their customers in terms of fitting and sizes stocked. In this post, however, I'm just speaking in broad terms of what I and others have generally experienced, mostly in the larger, well-known stores - the stores that, unfortunately, tend to carry the most influence.]

Limited Sizing

Stores like the ever-present Victoria's Secret, for example, sell a grand total of 33 bra sizes (yes, I counted) - but only about 15-18 of those sizes are actually really found in the physical stores. Victoria's Secret often claims (overtly or by implication) that they have bras for "all" or "almost all" women.

Do they think that there are only 15-18, or 33, different body types that women have?

Other stores I've seen have an even more limited amount of sizes - in the 8-12 range. Again, I don't really have a problem with stores carrying a very small range of bra sizes. What I do have a problem with is their implication that all or most women should fit into this incredibly limited range. And that you're "fat" or "weird" if you don't.

In reality, there are more than (just counting band sizes 28-40 and cups A-K) 105 bra sizes that are made by many companies - and that's not counting the under-28 and over-40 band, under-A and over-K cup bras. Factor those in, and the number is in excess of 150 bra sizes that are made and worn.

This means that many U.S. stores like Victoria's Secret only stock about 10% of all bra sizes available. They also do not stock under-32 bands (besides a few A and B cups) - odd, since studies indicate that 28-32 bands are the "average" size that many women of "average" weight would ideally be wearing.

Thus, Victoria's Secret, Target, Kohls, Walmart, Macy's, Penney's, Frederick's, Soma, etc. etc. only carry bras that will truly fit a small percentage of the population. However, these stores repeatedly incorrectly fit women (generally by giving them a band that is too large and a cup that is too small) in order to make sales. They act like women are strange if they don't fit into the incredibly limited range that they stock. And really, why should they stock more sizes when they can get away with selling their 10% of sizes to around 80% of women?

Incorrect Fitting

If you were ever fitted at Victoria's Secret, I can pretty much guarantee that you were fitted incorrectly. Heck, I'm not trying to pick on Victoria's Secret in particular - I could pinpoint almost any U.S. bra store for incorrect sizing methods.  Nearly all stores will add around 4 inches to the ribcage measurement (adding inches is unnecessary for most women) to get a band size. Using these incorrect "fitting" methods, I would be deemed around a 32DD, a size that is completely, totally, laughably wrong. A woman who needs a 28D would be put in about a 34A, also completely and totally wrong. And on it goes.

I would honestly mistrust most larger bra stores in the U.S. in terms of bra fitting - yes, including Nordstrom (which, although better than most, still tends to push too-big bands and too-small cups). That's why I pretty much always just recommend that women measure themselves instead of leaving their fittings in the hands of stores that have limited ranges and incorrect, outdated sizing methods.

The reason that (statistically) about 80% of you reading this are (or were at some point) wearing the wrong bra size is at least in part because of the poor fitting methods in U.S. stores. What makes it worse for me is that too often, the poor sizing and fitting seems very blatant. That makes me just a little annoyed at them.

Misinformation about Bras

I can't tell you how many times I've come across women who think that "all D cups are the same" (not true - a 30D, 34D, and 38D are all very different sizes). How many countless times I've come across women who adamantly refuse to believe that they're a "D cup" or above - because "a D cup is HUGE!". Or who think that being a larger cup size means that they're fat, or a freak.

This is simply not true, lovely readers. "DD" doesn't equal being a large-chested bimbo, a porn star, a fat freak. (If you think I'm using strong language or being dramatic here, I'm not - I run across people who think this almost daily). I'm not going to get into correct all fitting misinformation in this one blog post, but suffice to say that cup sizes mean nothing without a band size. All a "DD" means is "about 5 inches difference between underbust and bust measurement." A 28DD woman will be built very differently than a 40DD woman, but both will have about 5 inches of difference between their underbust and bust measurement. Doesn't sound too scary now, does it?

But where does all this misinformation come from? Women have to be learning it from somewhere. In my mind, it's largely the "fault" of bra stores. In my experience, I've frequently come across fitters who have little actual knowledge of correct fit (not knowing that bands should be firm and straight, or that wires should not be touching breast tissue). I've frequently experienced fitters telling me outrageously incorrect things, such as:
-Bands below a 32 don't exist
-34 and 32 bands are for "tiny" people
-28 bands don't exist
-28 bands are for super, super tiny people
-Cups above "DDD" don't exist
-Cups above a C are huge
-The only options for D+ sizes are these ugly beige bras over here
-There is no demand for under-32 bands
-D+ women need to wear minimizers
-You need to wear a 36 band (with a 28" ribcage)
-You need to add anywhere from 3-7 inches to your underbust measurement to get a band size
-Women who wear D+ cups are usually large all over

This is not a one-time thing, everyone. This is constant. This was/is almost every time I go into a bra store. These are the fitters saying these things. Some of these are things I've heard even at stores that have a better range of sizes than most U.S. stores, like Nordstrom, Dillards, and boutiques  No wonder there is so much misinformation out there. No wonder so many women are wearing an incorrect size.

Insulting/Shaming Customers

I'm sure this is going to be a bit controversial, but I'm including it anyway because I personally have experienced this when shopping for bras, and I know many other women who have as well. Of course, there are many women who haven't - but I feel that the number of women I've come across who've experienced this is so large that it deserves mentioning.

I've experienced fitters/employees outright telling me that I'm not a 28 band/over a G cup (I'm actually a [insert a wildly-incorrect size that they actually stock]), telling me I should get a breast reduction, assuming I have implants, laughing at/disbelieving when I tell them what size I'm looking for, telling me my breasts are too large, and more. Again, these are supposed to be professional, helpful people. Imagine the effect these words would have on an uncertain busty teenager who's desperately trying to find a bra that fits well. Bra fitters (or anyone) should never, ever be insulting to their customers. I would hope that would be obvious.

In my opinion, it's bra stores who play a big part in spreading this (mis)information. And it's very, very damaging to women. The misinformation spread is my major problem with U.S. stores - the pervading poor fitting methods lead to an abysmally small selection of sizes offered and countless women who hate bras because "nothing ever fits" and "bras are uncomfortable", and who won't try a different size because "a fitter told me I was a 36C" and "wearing a larger cup/smaller band would mean I'm fat/weird".

So, why do you think there's so much misinformation about bras and sizing out there? Do you think that stores play a big part, or are there other factors at play?