Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Signs of a Bad Bra Fitter

By the way, Victoria's Secret never counts as a proper bra fitter. Their “fitters” are sales people and only want to make a sale. VS carries an extremely limited range of sizes and will try to shove you into whatever they have.

A good fitter should:
    • Bring you several different styles and sizes to try on, and keep doing so until you find something perfect.
    • Be attentive and listen to your needs
    • Be somebody you feel comfortable with
    • show you how to put on a bra correctly

A fitter should NEVER:
    • Make you feel bad about your body or breasts
    • Tell you that you need a reduction
    • Touch your breasts without permission or in a way that makes you uncomfortable
    • Pressure you to buy a bra that you don't feel fits right or is uncomfortable **
    • Please leave without making a purchase if any of the above occur! And tell me so I can tell others!

The following may not be signs that your fitter is bad:
    • They don't use a measuring tape- actually, this probably means that they are more experienced.
    • They encourage you to give a bra with a band that feels much tighter than you are used to a fair try before declaring it “too tight”**

**(Caveat: Many bra fitters have told me that women will think that their band is too tight, and be unwilling to give it a chance. Remember, the band is what is giving you all of the support! If you can get it closed, it probably fits. Consider buying one, and trying it for a few weeks. Or if you really can't stand it, try one band size up from that only and try getting used to it for a few weeks to a month, and then see how you feel. If it's still uncomfortable then, it doesn't fit. But even if it feels “too tight,” It might actually be too loose, with too small cups (which would make it feel “too tight.” bras can be weird that way, trust me on this one.)

If the only fitters in your area are incompetent, you may just have to learn to measure yourself!


  1. question about when you say "too tight" can be too loose...i don't mind a band feeling snug/tight but when the wires dig in on the side (the entire length) i take issue. that and seeing a chest xray of myself and seeing massive amounts of spill over top and bottom! that was me in a 32E--at a hard core but scary bra fitting place with women pushing for wearing something that felt "too tight"...everywhere else has measured me at 34d. 33 ribcage, 38 bust.

  2. Liz-- There are several cases when a woman might think her bra band is too tight, when in fact it is too loose. When a woman is wearing a band that is too loose and a cup size that is too tight, the tightness of the cup can make the band feel tight. Or sometimes women think that back fat is caused by their bra band being too tight, when in fact it's because it's too loose and riding up to where it shouldn't be, pushing fat as it goes. Also, in badly fitting bras, the underwires can rub uncomfortably or pinch, causing women to think that the band is too tight. Or, some women will simply be unused to the band feeling snug and will complain when put in the correct size that it's too tight, when in fact it's perfect and they are just used to not feeling the band at all, because it's so loose!

    As for you, if I were fitting you in person, I would give you a 32E and a 34D and see which you felt was more comfortable.

    I intend this post more to be a beginning guide to women who have no idea what a properly fitting bra feels like. My focus is about finding the size that is comfortable for YOU. So, whichever of those sizes feels better to you is the one you should wear. It really is an individual thing.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience... bra fitters shouldn't be "scary" or "hard core," they should listen to what you want and feel is comfortable. It can be a rough balance, though, because sometimes a woman will insist she's a 36B when she really needs a 30G or something.

  3. I find it so bl**dy infuriating how many so-called fitters try to get me into 32s when even 30s are too loose (I think I'm about 28F - soon to be proven when my Bravissimo order arrives in styles I already have that fit well in 30E EXCEPT for the band being too loose - wish me luck). How many times do I have to say - they DON'T FIT. Although, what choice do they have when they work in the typical store that starts at 32??

    I spent quite a while after I lost a lot of weight researching bra fitting and learning how they should fit, and trying on different sizes and styles - I know what I'm doing, and even if I get a decent fitter (i.e. the one I had at Bravissimo) to check the fit, they agree my choice fits well. Once I felt how a larger cup, smaller band size felt, it transformed my life. It just infuriates me to get told I'm probably OK in a 10D over and over and over and over......for crying out loud, my underbust/chest measurement is 27-28 inches - how the hell could I possibly be comfortable in a typical 32!

  4. Oh I forgot to say - THANK YOU for starting this blog. I KNEW there had to be other people out there like me, now I have proof!!! Hopefully soon there'll be more changes in the bra manufacturing....

  5. Hi, I though I would share my horrible bra fitting experience with you. I live in the UK and went to get fitted at Marks and Spencer. I went into the fitting room and the woman asked what size I was wearing. When I told her it was a 30E she actually laughed and said there was no way I was an E cup. She then measured me and said "I'm measuring you as 26 inches so that would make you a 32 band". Bearing in mind that the 30E bra I was wearing was sitting away from my body and riding up my back on the tightest hook. She brought me in a 32DD bra to try and once I had it on said that it was still too tight so went and got a 34D. I reluctantly put it on and she came back saying how it fitted much better but I had it on the wrong hook because you're supposed to put it on the middle hook, not the loosest one. (WHAT?????) Safe to say I left without buying anything.

    Then I went to Debenhams where the woman brought me into the fitting room, asked my size and said it looked right. She measured me and said "Yep, 30E is fine" then left. She didn't bring in any for me to try on or even ask my opinion.

    The most frustrating part is that these shops both sell 28 band bras but obviously not saying that anyone fits into them.

    I am now wearing a 28F thanks to your guide and it fits well albeit slightly loose but unfortunately 26s just don't exist. Thank you so much!!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I have been having the worst bra troubles for the last few years. I started off with a 36C, the same size I'd been wearing since I was 14. I never really thought about it, but looking back, bras never really seemed to fit right, and I just thought that is how it was supposed to be. Then about 2 years ago, I noticed I was falling out of my bra all over, top, bottom, sides. I talked to a friend of mine and she said none of that should be going on, that I needed to get sized. I did not look forward to it, a year before that, I tried to buy a corset for a wedding dress my uncle was going to make (and no the wedding did not happen) from Victoria's Secret. When I tried one on that said it was a 36C cup, but my breasts were being pushed up and folded over on themselves, it felt and looked awful. The very snotty teenage sales girl told me I must be a B cup. I left the store, I knew I wasn't that small, I mean it's kind of obvious I'm not. So I was hesitant to get measured. I finally did at JC Penney's and found out I was a 32D. I couldn't believe it was a 32, so I ordered a few 34D bras off their website (they didn't have those sizes in the store). Since then I've been measured a few times at different places (Never at VS though, I dislike them) and every time, 32 is the number that comes up. I recently gained some weight, and my breasts seemed to follow suit, which meant I was now popping out of my 34D bras, and feeling extremely uncomfortable. I got measured again, this time at Kohl's and the woman said I'm actually between 31 and 32, and suggested trying on a 32 because I told her how I wasn't sure it would fit. She also said I'm a DD or maybe even a DDD. They didn't have anything in that size in the store, but we found 1 32D and I tried it on. I could instantly feel the difference in the band, it felt so supportive! Unfortunately the cup was obviously too small, and I didn't purchase the bra. I'm glad to see there are others out there like me, and that you too, have encountered these bad experiences. I'm hoping now that I know my size, I can find somewhere to buy them in store, but if not, I guess I can buy offline and hope the DD fits.

  7. You know I've gotten bra fittings at several different place. VS being the best. The woman doing the fitting did all the things that you've wrote a good fitter does, and she even told me that if I couldn't find the right bra there, to go look at other places, and not to give up till I found the right fit. I don't know if she was just the holy grail of VS fitters or what, but the point is VS isn't the worst place in the world.

  8. I couldn't agree more with this post! A Victoria's Secret salesperson, although I have been a 34D for a long time now, measured me as a 36C. Looking back, I see why she measured me as that: there are many more 36C styles in store than there are 34D. Anyways, I tried on a 36C and it was humiliating. I could barely cover my own nipples. Long story short, don't trust them! Do it at home.

  9. VS always tells me I'm a C cup at most and I'm a 30F or 28G. Unfortunately, I have a lot of sensory issues, so there is no way I can go about my daily business wearing a 30 band size. So I have continued wearing camisole bras, with no underwire and no cup size. They only come in S-XL. My breasts aren't sagging at all (even though women of all ages, especially bra saleswomen, have been incredibly hurtful to me and told me they would look like Christmas stockings and hang down to my toes within months). In fact, they seem to be getting perkier each year I go without underwire bras. I envy women who can wear tight fitting and feminine clothing, but that isn't me at all. I can't stand the feel of them, and I want to rip anything tight or form-fitting off of me the minute I get into it. I have ADHD and this is a common symptom for us. I wish more stores carried fashionable women's basics in natural fabrics, like they do for men. Underwear is often the worst: racks and racks of butt-floss thongs with tons of lace to make me itchy or boy shorts with crotches made out of nylon or polyester to give me infections. I love it when I can just go and get a 6-pack of string bikini underwear at K-Mart, even if it is a chain. I guess I'll never own sexy underwear.

  10. I am so incredibly thankful to have found your site! I work for a school summer camp program and will need to buy a swimming suit for taking kids to the pool. My large breasts have caused me to feel very self-conscious and last year I spent all of the time at the pool wearing a swim shirt. This year I decided I just needed to find a suit that was made for a busty woman, but most of what I've found so far is just too revealing for working with kids. Any tips on that?

    I went today to Nordstroms at the MOA and got a bra fitting from a wonderful woman named Ava. She measured my band at a 32 and without taking any other measurements came back with several bras in the right cup size. She helped me into the bras, giving me many of the same tips you've shared about properly putting on a bra. I honestly didn't think it was really possible to wear a bra flat against the sternum. I walked in wearing an uncomfortable 36C from Victoria's Secret. I knew it wasn't the right size, but I had no idea I should be wearing a 32FF or 30 G. Today was absolutely life changing. Thank you (and Ava) for that!

  11. This site has been a big help thank you! have had terrible trouble in the past with both m&s and anne summers. currently measure a 34f but was told by m&s i was 40D and shockingly anne summers said 38B!! tried on the 38B for amusement (have always known ive been a bigger bust) and the fitter said it looked great despite it barely covering the ends haha. in my experience la senza has always been the best place for fittings, theyve been right every time just a bit of weight loss means its time to remeasure and my nearest store is 1.5hours away. Thank you for your blog its fab!

  12. I'm sorry but I 100% disagree with what you've said about VS. I've been fitted there at two different stores and thus different fitters and they were both fantastic and very helpful. They also get you to try on their samples of different sizes to check what size you actually are when wearing a bra. They then showed me around the store every bra in the size I had found most comfortable (albeit not that many due to my awkward size) and never once even mentioned getting a bra that wasn't in that size. So yeah, in my opinion they are very good and happen to be the only place I've found that make bras that fit me really well.

    1. are you serious? VS is horrible. even if their "fitters" weren't incompetent when it comes to putting you in a well fitting bra, the quality sucks. maybe you just had fantastic luck, but i've never had a good experience there.

      or maybe i'm biased; i buy my bras from a specialty bra store that has an in-store seamstress who alters the bras to fit you. one bra costs upwards of $100, but it's entirely worth it for something that can last you years if you take care of it.

  13. This is incredibly helpful, thank you :) I've been consistently told at M&S that I'm a 34C and a 32D, and each time it's felt wrong. I tried Bravissimo who put me in a 30E, yet the front feels way too tight and I get the "four-boob" effect from the cups. A 28F is even worse and feels far too tight. A 32D, however, is far too loose.
    I'm thinking of trying 30F, 28FF and 28G to see how I get on.

  14. Hi I have been reading your comments on other peoples issues with bra fittings and I was wondering if you can give me any advice on what size I might be? I have been measured at two different M&S shops in the Uk. The first women that measured me at 32 E when before I got measured I was wearing a 36 D, then the 32 E started cutting into me so I went to another local M&S and the women that measured me there got me to try on a 34 D first, then a 34 DD she said that looks like your size but I am still not sure if she was even correct after last time and it made my breast bunch up a bit the 34 DD.

  15. This has been so helpful. I knew the M&S fitters were wrong, I've been measured as a 32A when I should be wearing a 26D. Sadly nowhere sells that size so After searching far and wide I settled with a 28C. It's not a perfect fit but it's ok, the snooty bra fitter at M&S said " there's no way you're a 28, maybe a 30B at a push!" the look on her face when I bought a 28 band size right in front of her... Priceless

  16. Can I add something to the list of signs of a great bra fitter? They should know the stock they're working with, especially if they're working in a store that carries multiple brands. Some brands don't run true to size. My strapless bra is a cup size larger than my true size, but the bra fitter knew the brand ran small. She found me the most comfortable strapless bra I have ever owned.

  17. After reading the comments about VS, I just wanted to share my experience with a fitting. A few years ago, I walked in wearing a 34B bra, something they always have in stock. I was browsing and chose a couple things to try on, and when I went to the fitting rooms, one of the ladies offered a bra fitting. I said yes to humor her, and she put me at a 32C, a size that they have in store but not much of a selection. It's a move that would have cost her a sale if I was going to be buying anything in the first place (which I wasn't). The 32C I tried on did feel more secure compared to my 34B, but I was iffy on the cups. After a little experimentation, I found that there was one style where the 32C actually made some sense, but I had to go up to 32D for everything else. I suspected that would be the case after checking a bra calculator a few weeks prior and finding that I was getting results of primarily either 30D or 32D. So my experience with fittings at VS is a bit mixed. It was close since I kind of fit their expected body type, but I still had to do a little bit of my own research. I'm going to visit Nordstrom some time this week for another fitting since it's been a while and I've been doing a fair amount of upper body work at the gym. We'll see what happens.

  18. I'm really confused right now because I have no idea what bra size I am. I knew 34 B was not my size because there was always space between my breast and the cup and 34 A felt as big as B with the band riding up so I stuck with wearing 34 B. Just recently I measured myself (we don't have many bra stores with professionals at fitting where I live so I had to do it myself) band size measured 27, bust 30.5 making me a 28 C or D but bra calculators online say I'm a 32 C/D/DD/E or 34 A. I have no idea what size would fit right. Yesterday I bought a balcony bra size 32 C but after wearing it for a while at home, the band felt a bit tight/suffocating (on the loosest hook) and one strap fell off a couple times. The cup size felt ok although there were a few mm of space between one breast and the cup. Do you have any idea what size would fit better or whether I should get a smaller/bigger cup/band size?

  19. A good bra fitter can also identify your breast shape and should know which of the styles and brands will be most suitable. I am a 30G for the most part but in some brands fit better into a 32 band and my cup size varies from F to H depending on the style and brand, and I need a lot of coverage up top because my breasts are fuller than many others who might also measure as a 30G (i.e. I can't wear a demi cup, ah well). My two favourite bra stores have experienced fitters that can pretty much size me up in a couple of minutes and bring me a selection of bras to fit my size and shape. They are also VERY HONEST and will never try to sell me a poorly-fitting or unflattering bra - which of course works in their favour in the long run because I keep coming back! :-)

    I also concur with the concept that it takes time to get used to a snug band, but once you do, you realize how great it is not to have all that neck and shoulder pain! That being said, some bands are uncomfortable because of the length or placement of the underwire or shape of the cup, and I've just learned to tell fairly accurately when trying bras on whether they are going to be comfortable or uncomfortable to wear for hours on end. It just takes a little time and experience to realize the difference between "snug" and "uncomfortable".

  20. I've worn 32 sized bands my entire life. A few months back I needed a supportive work out bra for high impact exercising. After a disappointing day walking around the mall trying various stores I finally walked into Dillard's in Missoula, MT. The woman who fitted me there was amazing! She didn't even need a tape measure! She took one look at me, asked what size I was currently wearing, and then walked in with various cuts of 30G bras. She even got me into a strapless bra; I honestly didn't think it was possible for me to wear one. I've never been so confident trying on bras before. The sports bra I ended up getting fits me perfectly; it keeps the girls in while I'm exercising, and it doesn't hurt afterwards.


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