(I wrote this a while back and then debated about posting it – it felt too much like a rant. But after rereading it and seeing a recent post on The Lingerie Addict along the same lines, I do feel like it has a point to it and might spark some thoughts/discussion…)
When I was a teen, I loathed bra shopping. Desperately. Passionately. Nothing seemed to fit me right – and no wonder, as I was squeezing myself into ill-fitting and painful 36DD soft-cup and sports bras.
Now that I’m wearing the correct size, I don’t have the same passionate hatred and fear of the bra department that I once did. I do feel more empowered because I know what I’m looking for and not just blindly trying to figure things out. I also do feel that there are more options in general now than there were even a few years ago. And, yes, I can now even say that I love bras!
But does this mean that I love actually going bra shopping now? Sadly, not really. And there are a several reasons why.
I haven’t yet found a store in the U.S. that carries my size.
I’m sure that bra stores that carry 28H-HH bras exist somewhere in the US, but unfortunately, I’ve never had the pleasure of shopping at one. The best I can do in stores is look for sister sizes to try on to see if I can get something close so I can either alter it or order the correct size online. But even the sister sizes of 28H/HH (30GG/H) can be difficult to locate.
When I do go into a store to check it out and try on bras that are at least close to my size, nearly every bra fitter has tried to convince me that I am a size that they carry rather than the size I actually am.
Fitters, please – admit when you don’t carry the size that your customer needs, especially if the customer is able to tell you what size she is and that she knows you don’t carry it! If I knew nothing about bra fitting and left it in the hands of fitters from Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom, or even most bra boutiques, I would be miserably squished into sizes like 32DDD, 36DD, 32FF, 30G – or worse. Nordstrom fitters still invariably bring me 32 bands and try to put me into 30G’s, and they don’t seem to realize that the bras are ill-fitting until I point it out (this happened just last week). I generally have to be very insistent to even get 30 bands and above a G cup to try on.
I’ve yet to have a truly great experience with a fitter.
The closest experience I’ve had to a great bra shopping experience was at a Bravissimo in the UK last year – but even then, the fitters seemed a bit rushed and, frankly, I didn’t feel that the store lived up to my high expectations. I was pleased that they didn’t insult me or get “weirded out” by my “strange” size (as happens often in the US). But they could’ve been friendlier; they could’ve told me what my options were instead of agreeing with me that certain bras didn’t fit and then moving on without giving me other options or suggestions. I left one Bravissimo store in tears because I wasn’t able to find a bra that worked for me; the next store was a bit better as I found one bra after over an hour of trying on bras (mostly left to my own devices).
In regards to the US, while I’ve had nice and personable and even understanding fitters before, the vast majority of them have bullied me into trying on (and even buying) sizes that I know won’t work for me, made comments on how I was wrong (about my size or about the fit of a bra), and even insulted my body/breast type. I’m a fairly quiet person, but I’m by no means painfully shy or adverse to being helped in fitting rooms. But I also hate feeling rushed and pressured to buy something, and I’m not keen on being insulted.
I often feel like I know more than the fitters.
I frequently come across fitters (even in “good” stores) who don’t know that certain bras run big or small, don’t know what size range certain bras or brands come in, don’t understand how sizing works (US vs UK, or larger cup sizes in general), and even don’t know that bras in a 30 or 28 band exist. In my mind, this is fairly inexcusable for any fitter who is at all educated in bras.
In short, I wish bra shopping could be a fun and enjoyable experience for me. But in more cases than not, I’ve ended up being mocked, insulted, pressured, ignored, and ill-fitted. There have been the handful of decent and even pleasant experiences, sure, but more often than not I leave a bra store feeling discouraged and embarrassed. Shopping for bras online is definitely easier and less painful in more ways than one (I can actually find my size without being insulted about it!).
Now, I truly understand that my bra size is fairly uncommon and thus will be carried in few stores. I don’t mind (and even enjoy) going to bra stores/departments and just looking at bras close to my size, learning about what bras and styles are available, and perhaps trying on a few in my sister sizes. What I do take issue with is those fitters who spread misinformation about how bras are supposed to fit, are unaware of what sizes exist, insult me and other customers, and pressure me and others into buying ill-fitting bras. And believe me, I would not be complaining if these were isolated incidences. At least one of these things happens to me nearly every time I set foot in a bra department or store. (But yet I still keep going back… I guess I either really love bras or I’m a glutton for punishment! :P)
What have your experiences with in-store bra shopping been like? Is bra shopping something you enjoy doing?