Un-doom your rack

We here at SP are a buxom bunch. Kate, of course, has her Rack of Doom; FJ and I, pseudonymous as we are, have not shared our chestiness with you, but rest assured, our bosoms are as big as our brains. A lot bigger, actually, if you picture that literally. If any of you Shapelings out there are in the same top-heavy boat, please do yourself a huge favor — make a resolution! — and get a free professional bra fitting as soon as possible.

There are lots of places you can get a free, excellent fitting. Lingerie specialty shops are always a good bet (and extra points if they’re woman-owned); I’ve heard that Nordstrom is also consistently good. If you’re here in Chicago (or in NY, Atlanta, or Boston), you can go to Intimacy (aka That Place Where They Send Chesty Ladies on What Not to Wear). I’ve been there twice now, and both times, the experience has been fantastic. The first time I went, I was, like many women, wearing a bra size that had nothing to do with my body (warning: link to Oprah) but was easy-ish to find in non-specialty store. The second time I went (yesterday), I knew that because of various bodily changes, my bras that fit beautifully last time weren’t working for me anymore. Each time, I was committing one of the most common bra fit errors: wearing a band size too big (usually accompanied by a cup size way too small). This, dear Shapelings, is another arena in which the selling of the beauty ideal does not conform to real people’s experiences in their bodies; because places like Victoria’s Secret and your average department stores don’t carry above a DD cup (and often not above a certain band size), most women who should be wearing E or larger don’t know that — how would they, when they’ve never encountered an E in the store? Instead, they go up a band size or two, hoping that the DD cups scale up enough with each interval to hold their racks of doom. Just as we hurt each other when we lie about our weight because we skew expectations of “normal” weights downward, bra sellers who insist that a 38DD is the biggest size imaginable hurt women, most of whom have no idea what a good-fitting bra feels like. Furthermore, those online bra size calculators you see? Are total crap. (Hmm, what other online calculator does that remind you of?) To give you a sense of just how much crap they are, before I went in for my first pro fitting, I ran my measurements through several calculators and got a range of sizes spit out, including 36DD, 38C, and my personal favorite, 40A. The size that fit at Intimacy? 34E. Thanks, internet!

Here’s what my experience at Intimacy was like (this is mostly a description of the first visit). The first thing that impressed me when I walked in was that the employees were women of many different body shapes, including more than one fabulously dressed fat woman. (I cannot remember the last time I saw a fat woman working at Victoria’s Secret — can you?) I had to wait around for a few minutes, but then I was paired with a fitter (I’ll call her F, though her name was not, of course, Fitter) who was really friendly and encouraging. We went into a dressing room, and she explained Intimacy’s fitting philosophy to me, which basically boils down to this — they don’t use measuring tapes. Instead, they analyze how you look in the bras you try on (and the one you wore in) to see how the bra is fitting you at different points of your body. To me, the lack of measuring tapes is a great, size-positive strategy — it’s not about finding out exactly how big you are; it’s about finding what works with your body.

After looking at me in my current bra and showing me where it didn’t work for me, F went back into the store and brought back a bra for me to try on just to see if her ideas about size were right. It fit beautifully, so then she basically served as my personal shopper, bringing me several different styles and brands to try on — ALL OF WHICH FIT. I could not believe it. For years, when I’ve gone bra shopping, I’ve been lucky to find a bra that fit *enough* to drop money on; this time, I tried on at least a dozen bras, all of which looked and felt amazing. My breasts looked great; my back felt better; and my whole figure aligned differently. It ended up being great fun to try on all these beautiful bras, including styles that I never though I could wear (balconette! plunge! demi!), and see how great they looked. It was like a bra dress-up party! It’s not cheap — the bras I liked ranged between $50 and $80. But you could also get the free fitting and then find a place like Nordstrom Rack (har har) where you could hunt for a bargain in your size. Online shops that have a wide range of sizes include Figleaves and Bravissimo.*

I am wearing one of my new bras as I type this, and let me tell you, it feels amazing. My back and shoulders are suddenly worlds less tense. My tits, if I do say so, look awesome. And I feel confident that in one more area of my wardrobe, I let my body dictate the way my clothes should be, and not the other way around. Remember, if an item of clothing doesn’t fit your body, there’s something wrong with the clothing, not with your body. Be good to yourself and find out what does fit you and wear that, numbers be damned.

*If you have stores to recommend to other Shapelings — or to warn us off from — let us know in the comments! Also, we’d love to hear your bra success stories — I know several people who’ve gone into a fitting wearing a D cup and come out wearing a G. Exciting for everyone!

203 thoughts on “Un-doom your rack

  1. Whoooaa…I just totally learned something about my bra on the Oprah site…dang…I keep buying bigger band sizes, but I think I need something smaller! Sheesh.

  2. I, too, recommend Nordstrom’s. I went there over the summer and found I was the classic wearing-too-big-a-band/too-small-a-cup. I just treated myself this weekend to my favorite bra in black–got tired of getting black pills from my clothes on my pretty oyster-colored bras. I’m going to look into Intimacy, too, on your recommendation, because Nordstrom’s doesn’t carry anything demurely sexy in my size. I’m thinking balconette or demi-cup. They just don’t have it.

    Funny side note about the tyranny of numbers in peoples’ minds: I was extolling my new bras to a friend who’s known me for 25 years (A or B cup, I think she is), and I mentioned I had found out from my fitting that I was a DD. Her reaction was, “Huh? You’re not a double-D! … You are!?! Do you get backaches?” Like all of a sudden my boobs, which had been hiding in plain sight all the time, were bigger and potentially greater “trouble spots” than they were before she knew their actual size.

  3. In Toronto, I highly recommend Sophia’s:

    http://www.torontoplus.ca/portal/profile.do?categoryID=8&contentType=0&profileID=1067870

    They had dozens, literally, of very pretty bras that fit me perfectly (I wear a 44F). I had never owned a lacy, pretty bra before, and didn’t even know that bras are available in my size that are both supportive AND pretty! Of course, they also had excellent t-shirt bras as well.

    Be warned: it’s very pricey (expect to spend roughly $100 on a good large-sized bra).

  4. P.S. Nordstrom doesn’t always have every size out on the racks (no pun intended); have them check the stockroom if you don’t see what you want in your size.

  5. Is it sad that the reason I don’t go for a bra fitting is because I have the opposite of a rack of doom? I would just be too depressed to find out I should really be wearing like a 52A. I thought I was so over caring what size of clothes I wear… alas, not so.

    On a happier note I got a bunch of really cute stuff from Igigi for Christmas. My only wish is that the lace overcoat thing I got came in whole sizes instead of the plus 22/24/ 26/28. The 22/24 is a little snug, (thanks for telling me like 80 times Dad.) but I know the 26/28 will just be falling off of me.

  6. I note Bravissimo (in their UK shops at least) have the same policy on bra fitting. Personally I find that their idea of the correct band size is uncomfortably too small on me though – looks great in the shop but wear it for more than 5 minutes and it starts to get really quite uncomfortable and leaves very red marks.

    Of course I still wear one smaller than the calculators recommend, but it’s still not generally available, and Bravissimo have very little above a 38 either – they’re really aiming square at (moderately) slim people with big busts.

    But if anyone can find me a strapless (or clear strap) plunge bra in a 42DD I will love you forever. I’ve tried and given up.

  7. FTR, Victoria’s Secret does not cater to the small-breasted woman, either, as they carry only one or two styles in an A cup. Their idea of “perfect” breasts is very narrow.

  8. I wasn’t all that happy with my experience at Intimacy, FWIW… not everyone is so attentive. (Or it could just be the NYC one versus the Chicago one.) The woman I was with was brusque and dismissive, and kept insisting that they just didn’t make such things as demis in my size. Buying bras at Lee Lee’s Valise was way better — she also just eyeballed me, so I still can’t be sure that I’m wearing the right size, but at least she didn’t brush me off.

    I’m planning to go to The Town Shop, aka The Other Place They Send Busty Ladies on What Not to Wear, next time I’m in NYC. I think I would actually rather be measured… I’m sick of trusting in other people’s expertise.

  9. I’ve heard good things about Lady Grace in Brookline, for any fellow Bostonians. I’ll probably stop by there and take advantage of their January sales (which I’m assuming they will have). I’m statistically average as far as I know and VS bras still don’t fit me right. Buying bras is definitely one of those things on my list of stuff that shouldn’t be as hard as it is.

  10. Austin TX: Petticoat Fair is a wonderful lingerie store with extremely helpful fitters. Mostly bras, of course, but I’ve purchased bustiers and swimwear there with success too. I’ve been taking my boobage there for, oh, 10 years now? And I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed. Their size range is supposed to go from something like AA to JJ (with band sizes up to 56, they say), and while I can’t speak for the ends of that range, I can say even those of us in the DDD/
    E/F/G range are well taken care of — something that will never happen at Victoria’s Secret! Caveats: They do use the measuring tape, but I haven’t had a fitter even tell me what it read without my asking. And one fitter had praise for my [unhealthy] weight loss when I came in for smaller bras — though I’ve not had a single comment about going up sizes. (Their website isn’t so impressive, but it does have their location and other info… http://www.petticoatfair.com/)

  11. My first professional bra fitting was several years ago at a specialty shop. It was an older lady who came into the dressing room with me (OMG! SHE SAW MY NAKED BREASTS!) and didn’t even bat her eyes at my hairy arm pits.

    Anyway, I went in wearing a 42DD (and sporting mega quadra-boob) and came out wearing a 34G. I looked like I’d lost about 30 lbs and 20 years. It was fantastic. The only problem was with the style of the bra. It looked like a Valkyrie Breastplate made of white satin. Seriously, underwires halfway to my clavicle, I was going to be doomed to turtlenecks and other similarly chest-hiding fashions. I immediately dubbed it my Brunhilde Bra and knew it was better birthcontrol than a chastity belt. As I was getting ready to pay, I steeled my courage and asked the proprietor (and fitter-matron) if there were any, gasp, sexier bras in my size.

    And she looked at me (and I’ll never forget this) and said: “Well, dear, when you’re as big a girl as you are you should be wearing more modest clothes, anyway. ” The part of me that had been feeling skinny and sexy in my new-uplifted shape shrivelled and died under her gaze.

    I paid $70 for that bra and went home. I tried looking for bras that came close to being that size in my small, Intermountain West city, and couldn’t find any. Several months later when I gathered my courage to go back to that store, it was out of business.

    I make do with Nordstroms and Macy’s. I can usually find a G or H cup there even if the styles are limited. If I ever make it to New York or Chicago, I’m going to have to stock up…

  12. @shinobi: I am also afraid to learn My Rack’s Real Size. It all started when I saw Oprah’s show about bra fitting. One woman thought she was a C cup, turned out to be a G cup. It convinced me that my DDs must actually be YY cups and that I’d be doomed to order bras from the ads at the back of the coupons in the Sunday paper.

    It just seems easier to buy the largest size of the style I like, wash it, s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out on a drying rack, then wear it only on weekends until it’s broken in enough to wear out in public.

  13. Is it sad that the reason I don’t go for a bra fitting is because I have the opposite of a rack of doom? I would just be too depressed to find out I should really be wearing like a 52A.

    Shinobi, ITA!! I am currently wearing a 52C, which is hard enough to find, and if I was fitted, I think I’d probably be in a 54B, which is impossible. As fat as I am, I wouldn’t mind it if I had a bit more to fill a cup, damnit!! And, when I do lose weight, that’s one of the first things to go.

  14. Alh, yes Petticoat Fair is apparently the place to go for fittings in Austin(I’ve heard it from several different ladies),. I do wish they weren’t so terribly expensive(or maybe I’m that cheap), but perhaps it would be worth it for a quality bra. As it stands now I have a ridiculous collection of bras in an myriad of sizes, but none of them quite do the trick. Alas I am not a bearer of a Rack of Doom (Tiny titties of Terror, perhaps?) and regardless of what my best friend and her double D’s say, it’s just as hard on this side of the scale.

  15. Oh, Chicory, that is an awful story. I’m so sorry that woman made such a horrible comment. You’ve gotta figure she has a pretty sad sex life herself if she feels the need to pass judgment on her customers. Ugh.

    FJ, I’m wondering if it’s a NY vs Chicago thing with Intimacy, since they were great to me both times and to my friend Kate (not our Kate!) who went with me yesterday. Maybe they are trying to fulfill their reputation as rude New Yorkers?

    Keep the stories, coming, everyone! I would love for this thread to turn into a resource for bra shopping Shapelings everywhere.

  16. Eleanor, I wonder about the band size thing, too — I know some people find the “correct” band size really constrictive. My experience is about the opposite of what you describe; in the store I feel like the band is tight and I’ll never get used to it, but after five minutes I don’t even notice, and my back and shoulders feel so much better that it totally makes up for it anyway. I’m sure torso shape/width of shoulders/etc make different styles work better for some people, but I’ve never read anything detailed about it…

  17. Does anyone have any suggestions for bras that do NOT have any lace on them at all? I have this annoying skin condition where anything that is lacy, has noticeable seams or is even mildly binding will turn me into one huge hive. Damned sensitive skin! (Though it IS a wonderful excuse to wear nothing but the softest of soft things :-))

  18. I wish I had had this information 20 years ago. For years I wore a 36C bra, which, in retrospect, must have been much to big a band – I can wear a 36 band now, even though I’m 25 pounds heavier than I was back then. Currently my size seems to be between a 36DD and 36DDD, but most of my bras are actually 38D or 38DD, simply because I can find those in the local department store. One of my new year’s resolutions is to get a fitting and purchase one fabulously fitting bra, even if it’s over $50. As far as I can tell, Nordstroms is my best bet semi-locally. However, if anyone has suggestions for lingerie shops in Southern California, I’d appreciate it. I live in the eastern Inland Empire, but I’m willing to drive as far as Los Angeles for an excellent shop.

  19. I had a total boob-piphany a few years ago, when I finally gave up the ghost that I was a D-Cup who could get away with the pretty-but-flimsy two-hook cheapies from Marshall’s, and invested in a (four-clasped, steel-girded, ass-kicking) bra that actually fit.

    Made things trickier for the dude I was dating at the time, but in the long run it was way a good call.

  20. wizard of bras, in monrovia, ca (socal area)

    little old ladies who freaking WORKED it. and totally trotted out all kinds of sexy bras in 38E for me. (38f for my strapless), which blew my mind, since I was still a 36C in my brain (which…wow, NO).

    you can, however, wear my bras as a hat. and I do, sometimes, around the house.

  21. Ah!!! This post is well-timed for giving me let another opportunity to kvetch….

    I’ve been losing weight (unintended) due to being on metformin. I honestly don’t give a shit, except I am pissed about having to obtain all new clothes (which I can’t afford – thank heavens it was my birthday recently) and put all my old favourites in storage while I “wait and see” what happens with my body. One of the things “they” never tell you when they’re bleating about how great weight loss is….is that it all goes from your tits!! My poor tits! They are getting saggier and flatter as I write this….I’ve lost a whole cup size in six months, from DD to D! I’m so upset that I wish I’d never lost an ounce.

    Anyway, I got re-fitted recently, and obtained a couple of really good push up bras here at a Canadian store called Pennington’s/Addition-Elle. The sales woman told me this particular one is brand new in stock, and that it’s been in Lane Bryant for a couple of years. I think it just sells under the store brand. (And there’s no lace or any other skin irritants – somebody mentioned this issue in the comments.) My new size is 46D (smaller tits + singer’s ribcage), so I know they stock odd sizes.

  22. Heh.

    In Minneapolis, about 10 or so years ago, the City Pages “Best of” Issue had an entry for Best Place to Buy Bras: Bravo Bras. Since I knew my 38DDD bras were not fitting correctly and I thought it would be cool to try out, I made an appointment (so did my chest roommate). Turns out, I was a 38G/H or something like that. However, the bra was so expensive that I could only afford one and just wore that one until it was shredded. Then I spent a while buying bras online that were supposedly that size but didn’t fit well. Then when I got more money, I went back there (and to another place in CA where I was living at the time) and bought 5 bras to last me. It’s been a couple of years and they’re still going strong. It helps to have more than one bra!

    Over the years I have changed my bra size slightly and am now a 36J. Strangely, the longline strapless I bought, that fit perfectly, is an F or something like that. Just a warning that sometimes those sizes don’t match.

    I love Bravo Bras. They do use measuring tapes but I don’t remember ever being made to feel bad about anything there. The woman who fitted me, the older woman who owned the place I think, was commiserating with me on my very large breasts and relatively small frame/shoulders which make it harder to find bras that fit correctly. She finally, in her 80’s I think, had gotten a breast reduction and was very happy with it.

    The place in San Jose, CA, is Chicki Downs Associates. I was a little uncomfortable there as the office had some religious/jingoist stuff up on the walls. However, the woman who fitted me didn’t make any comments that made me uncomfortable, that I remember. That’s where I got my strapless bra since Bravo Bras didn’t have any.

    For sports bras, I use Enell sports bras. I found these at a Lucy store and I think they’re awesome. I’d never before found sports bras that fit me but these do. I think they’re really comfy and supportive. I have 2 size 3s for exercising and a size 4 for swimming/comfort wearing.

  23. As a very modestly endowed woman (always different varations of a B cup), I have no real bra horror/epiphany stories to share. The funniest experience I ever had buying a bra was a couple of years ago at Victoria’s Secret. A young man named Umberto offered to take my measurements. And I was like, um, no, that’s okay Umberto, I’m not at the stage of life where I need to get felt up by young men with tape measures in Victoria’s Secret for a thrill yet!

  24. Oh, the brand of bras those places I mentioned usually sell is Jeunique.

    No, they aren’t the prettiest bras, though I like them. They don’t have any underwire (the bane of my existence before I found these). They are still marvelously supportive.

  25. Does anyone have any suggestions for bras that do NOT have any lace on them at all?

    Adi V., if you’re in their size range, Cacique’s microfiber bras are supersoft and lace-free. (Sadly, I’m not really in their size range, but I have a couple 36DDDs I’ll squeeze myself into around the house, just ’cause the fabric’s so comfy.)

    For those who know their size (or are willing to play the return game), I highly recommend Bare Necessities. Huge selection of oddball sizes. Adi V., that’s another place to look for non-lacy bras.

  26. I actually have problems buying bras because my breasts are apparently not big enough. I seem to be most comfortable in a 46, but I’ve always hovered somewhere between a B and a C (B and a half?). However finding a cup size that small in a 46 has been close to impossible for me. Are fat women not supposed to have (relatively) small breasts?

  27. Oh, I should also point out that “Rack of Doom” was very much stolen from the Fatshionista community. I have no idea who said it first, but I definitely don’t deserve credit for it.

  28. Holy tits, this thread is bringing out the lurkers. New folks, sorry about the delay in approving your comments.

    Also, I’ll second what Persimmon said about Sophia’s, although I had to try on 85 bras that didn’t fit before the chick finally brought me the same size I walked in wearing. Sometimes, women really do know their correct bra size. So that was frustrating, as were the prices, but the bras were great.

    I also heard awesome things about Melmyra Bra Boutique, on Yonge somewhere up around Eg or Davisville. Never went there, but it came HIGHLY recommended by a bodacious (yet skinny) classmate.

  29. Bless you sweetmachine. Me and my 42/44 AB rack salute you (bad enough being between sizes, but being small and between sizes is bad.) I love cotton soft bras, but the only ones I have that fit me are the Cacique plunge bras with the air bags. I end up wearing a LOT of camisoles.

  30. Ooooh bras. I too have a rack of doom. Though looking at myself I always feel like they’re NOT THAT BIG. For some reason the clothing industry thinks they are.

    Some stuff to share with you:

    1. I am different sizes at different times of the month. I may be a freak of nature, but maybe some of you have this issue and aren’t quite aware of it. When I was young and discovered this, I was horrified, but my mom promptly notified me that we could just buy me more bras in a couple of different sizes so that I’d always have the right option at any given time of the month. She made it so simple that it’s a non issue. But it’s just something to be aware of when bra shopping and getting measured.

    2. I am very different sizes in different bras. It’s like with clothes. It’s not as precise as they make it seem.

    3. Bravissimo are pretty awesome but ya, they aren’t really a fat girls store so I don’t know if their band sizes go up enough.

    4. Intimacy New York is (I believe) where I got a good bra or two that serve me well at my bustiest times of the month.

    5. I have yet to find a proper sports bra. Instead I double up – a normal underwire bra and a sports bra from bravissimo on top of that. Works like a charm. My sister thought of that; is genius.

    6. Oddly enough, my most common bras are from the Gap. They have these hidden wire full support bras (I believe that’s what they’re called, tho there are some other variations too) that work shockingly well for a seamless bra. I have tons of them. As well as a couple of lacier ones.
    Adi – that might work for you.
    But again I don’t know if they make enough sizes for all of us. In the Gap bras, I wear usually a 36DD but in many other bras I wear an E, F, FFF, G, i don’t even understand all these different sizes, and I often wear a 34 with those bigger cup sizes. But I swear, if you looked at me in those bras you would see that each of them is clearly the right size for that style. Odd. This goes back to my earlier point about the sizes… I’m just sharing it to give you some perception of what might work for you if you’re similar to me.

    7. Tailoring works on bras too! You can get a bra and them take in the band size or whatnot. In my family we regularly did that when we couldn’t find the right band/cup combination. You can also change the straps, tho it’s best to have all the support NOT coming from the straps anyway. (I like to slip off the straps from my shoulders and make sure the bra is holding up pretty well anyway.)

    8. The professional bra fitting is a cool idea but when I was measured at a 36DD (at more than one place), I then tried on that size and the woman herself said that it was clearly wrong. So it depends on the bra style as well.

    9. No matter what I try, no matter how much it’s sanctioned by a professional bra lady, there is always some spillage or something at some point. Because when I walk around, things start to bounce and they may bounce out of place. And even bras that cover a lot and actually have less lift or pushupiness because they cover so much over the top, still can have the thing where the edge of the fabric digs in after I’m walking around in it awhile. So I have yet to find the perfect solution but i just have many bras in different sizes and styles, and hope for the best.

  31. Ah the joys of bras… when you’re a 54B, there are two options. And they’re both beige.

    I’ve searched high and low… and my choices boil down to: Goddess or Glamorise. Both ugly, both beige, white or sometimes black.\

    And while Oprah said most women are likely wearing to big a band and too small a cup, the 52’s won’t hook… so that can’t be my problem. I’m really a B-, as I don’t quite fill the cups.

    I’ve not yet found a real brick and mortar shop that had my size… thank god for the internet!

  32. Ooh i forgot to mention:

    I find that you really have to try on EACH bra. Even if it’s teh same style/size/company. Because when they mass produce things, especially at big places like Gap, there are variations and irregularities. So even if you have a style/size in mind that has already worked in the past, it’s a crapshoot.
    But boy those semaless gap ones lift like nobody’s business… Though i find the better the lift, the more risk of booby spillage over the top. Hm.

  33. Kathy,
    I feel you about losing weight boobs first, I got mono and my boobs have never been the same. My sister gets mono, loses a ton of weight, and her boobs GROW, totally unfair.

    Oh well… High five for the small boobed big girls!

  34. Adi V, IIRC, Junonia online carries non-lacy stuff.

    I wear (according to the fitter at Catherine’s) a 50 or 52 D, and I cannot find a comfortable bra to save my life. I am actually more comfortable without one. Ironically as hell, Catherine’s did NOT have any of that size in stock. At my age, I give up.

  35. cggirl, I take my bands in too! It helps to own a serger.

    Fillyjonk, The Town Shop doesn’t measure either. When I was there I got eyeballed by the clerk, which was a totally unique experience for me, I must say. It worked out well, however. Expensively well. I need to try to find bras somewhere else, as I can’t really afford $100 a bra every six months.

    I wear a 34F. I thought I was a 38 DD, of course. I’ve since adjusted all my 38 band size bras and it’s so much better, although I do need bigger cups. I wish schools would include all this stuff in their “Let’s take the girls aside and warn them about bleeding out their vaginas via a film made by the Always company” class.

  36. I used to think I wore a 36C. Had a fitting and found out I should be wearing a 32DDD. What a difference! Now that I know what size to wear, I get bras on Ebay (new of course). I like Freya brand best.

  37. @ Lu:

    I, too, have a recent “Oh My God the Number Makes a Difference” story. There’s just nothing I can add to the bra size conversation that hasn’t already been said and understood. Except that I’m pregnant now, and will be nursing for the next couple of years, which changes things a LOT. So if anyone knows of any good nursing bra manufacturers, I’m all ears (and tits).

    When I went to my midwife this pregnancy, she said, “You look slimmer than last time.” (Which was seven years ago.) I responded that, no, I am actually 30# heavier. “Oh, have you had any health problems or high blood pressure?” Now I adore this woman – she is an amazing homebirth midwife, but she is tiny tiny and has probably just heard the typical propaganda spewed by fatphobes. It’s just amazing that when I ‘looked’ slimmer (haha – at a size 22/24, 260#), there was no question about my health until she heard the number.

  38. I wish schools would include all this stuff in their “Let’s take the girls aside and warn them about bleeding out their vaginas via a film made by the Always company” class.

    I hear ya, lucizoe. It occurred to me last time I got fit that I have no idea how I picked bra sizes when I was a teenager. I don’t remember ever getting fitted; I think I must have just asked my best friend what she was wearing and started from there. No wonder I was wearing the wrong size for so long!

  39. I don’t think I have a rack of doom. Maybe a rack of moderate peril?

    I’m a 42DD and just about live in those cotton underwire bras from lane bryant, though I’ve also been enjoying wearing one of their convertible bras (not the Bra6, but the plain convertible) with the straps criss crossed so they don’t slip down my shoulders. That’s actually the bane of my bra life- slipping straps. I’ve got narrowish, sloped shoulders and bra straps just do not want to stay up.

    As for sports bra, I’m a recent Enell convert. They’re expensive, like $60, but so worth it. I can go running and it doesn’t hurt. And I like the fact that at 42DD I’m firmly in the middle of their size range. I’m glad they make bras for women far larger than myself, so that a good sports bra is available for nearly everyone.

    For bra shops to avoid- in Chicago, don’t bother going out to Berwyn and shopping at Central Foundations. I needed a long line strapless. They put me into a 46B for petes sake. It was miserable. Kept slipping down on me and the girls were falling out of the top. I bought it because I needed one right then and there.

  40. It’s especially fun when the specialty brands at the specialty stores that are supposed to cover lots of sizes simply don’t make your size. (I’m generally a 36H, though, yeah, varies sooooo much brand to brand.)
    That nice soft one that won’t poke you? nope, sorry, doesn’t come in your size. That one that’s not so attractive, but pretty comfy? nope, sorry, you’ll just have to take the band in, it doesn’t come any smaller, sorry.
    Grr. Argh.
    I also had the oh so entertaining experience recently of trying on a fancy expensive molded cup bra that looked like it would be really nice. The H cup was so huge I could put most of a fist in the cup with my boob. The G? so small as to almost yield quadraboob. fun. really.

    Also: Lady Grace (Boston area) was mentioned. This is where I generally shop, and yes, they carry a lot of stuff (above frustrations notwithstanding). But beware the salesladies. Most are, um, elderly, and very aggressive, and sometimes not remotely interested in trusting you to know your own body. Yes, there are exceptions, and I’ve worked with some great salespeople who are helpful and respectful, but I’ve also had one who literally grabbed my arm so hard it hurt to drag me over to the fitting room, and then proceeded to tell me I didn’t want to try the things I said I wanted to try. So, yeah, I just know I need to be prepared to defend my emotional (and sometimes physical!) integrity when I go in there, but I haven’t found anywhere else to shop yet, so that’s what I do.

  41. The H cup was so huge I could put most of a fist in the cup with my boob. The G? so small as to almost yield quadraboob. fun. really.

    What is up with that? Yet another scenario in which women’s clothing sizes make NO SENSE at all.

  42. Lady Grace in Brookline is great. They have a number of
    stores in the Boston area, but I’ve had the best luck in
    Brookline. Not so much in the super sexy selection, but lots
    of sizes. They’ve opened up a super-store in Woburn, but
    I haven’t been out there.

    They do have a mail order with a catalog and website. I
    shop in person, so I can’t vouch for the mail order end of
    things, but looking online, they have four styles in 50A and
    three in 54B.

  43. Jenintx: Yeah, Petticoat Fair ain’t cheap. I find it’s totally a case of getting what you pay for, though. (Though my perception is that smaller bras are easier to find at prices that do not involve “arm” or “leg’… I remember being able to locate bras in my size at discount stores, when I was about 5 cup sizes smaller. Hm.) Maybe go get fitted, buy one you love, and then you have your correct size and something to go off of when buying cheaper bras? (The internet’s good for lower prices on the high quality bras, too, but I don’t trust ‘em without trying them on first. Or at least owning one that is theoretically the same.)

    Adi V.: I generally refuse to wear lacy bras. I don’t get hives, but they fall distinctly into the Not Comfortable category, a misery I won’t put up with when it comes to bras. I think these companies mostly make larger sizes, so if you’re smaller these suggestions may not help… anyway, I’ve liked bras by Fantasie (of England, I think) and my favorite is by Wacoal.

  44. I had a great experience with a boutique down the street from me. I went in and said: “I need a bra that fits”. The woman there brought me a whole bunch until she found me some that fit… I’d been wearing a 36D and turns out I was a 32FF. (I’ve since gained weight and am now a 36G, but now that I know how a bra is supposed to fit, I can determine my own size).

    For women with small-ish (up to 42 I think) band sizes and large cup sizes, Fantasie and Freya (which you can get at figleaves or biggerbras.com) are just amazing. The Fantasie 4520 balcony bra is the most simultaneously comfortable and flattering bra I’ve ever owned, and Freya makes so many cute lacy colourful ones (so nice to have a big bra that’s not a beige monstrosity, you know?)

  45. Hi I’ve been reading for a while now, but have never commented before. My mom and I went to the Intimacy in New York and we did not have a good experience. They were all rude and very brusque and fitted my mom in a bra with a too small band size. They were very dismissive and we felt rushed. For anyone in New York area I would recommend the Town Shop on the Upper West Side. I’ve always had good experiences there.

  46. Whoever suggested Cacique, thank you. It appears there is hope for me as a 44B-C who hates underwire with a passion. I highly recommend the Blue Canoe Jane’s Bra here http://www.bluecanoe.com/e-store/prod_thumbs.asp?pcid=3101632436589 which they say will fit up to a size 40E. It’s little snug around for me in the past couple years, and doesn’t look the best under close-fitting tees. But it’s an incredibly comfy style and kind to breasts.

    Just a few words of warning about bras, as this is something that is little known in our culture: if you’re planning on breastfeeding, consider going without a bra as much as possible during the pregnancy — exposure to friction and air makes it not so much of a shock when those nipples actually start to see some action — and during the first few months postpartum, when being confined and in contact with stale milk puts you at high risk for developing mastitis.

  47. I totally wrote an entire post about this subject. It’s pretty damn good if I say so myself.
    See: Racism, sexism, and sizeism are in my underwear drawer.
    My substantial take down of VS, a guide to sizing yourself, and picking out good places to go/buy from are included.

    Just yesterday, I found out that my local Macy’s was expanded. And they still aren’t carrying my bra size. The sales woman was super excited that they carried up to a 42G. Of course, no 42A’s or 32G’s.
    I was not impressed. So I held my head up and walked out. I would have teared up a couple years ago-thanks size acceptance.

  48. I am a 42-J. Oh yes. J. (I in some brands)

    In St. Louis, I heartily recommend Ann’s Bra Shop & Masectomy Center (http://www.brashop.com). The ladies there are all ages and sizes and they REALLY know their stuff. Last month I went in and said, “I want black and no underwires — underwires leave welts on me”. The lady eyeballed me for a second, left the fitting room, and came back with the absolute perfect bra.

    This is the kind of place where they will teach you the best way to put your bra on and the best way to wash it. (No Woolite!) It’s also the kind of place where they can look you over and know which brands will fit you best, given that you’re short-waisted and set high (or whatever).

    I moved to Boston and hated Lady Grace. I’m so glad to be back in the land of Ann’s!!!

  49. Jessica, what a kickass post. Thanks for linking. Also, word on the VS models clearly wearing the wrong size. Who the hell makes that decision?

  50. Thanks for the tip, Kerri Anne. FJ also had a bad experience at NY Intimacy — has anyone been to the Atlanta or Boston branch?

  51. I’m not sure where I’m at on the boobage right now. What I do know is that bras that fit my rack tend to not fit my small frame. The mega-underwires in them go too high and cut into my arms and I end up with a rash from the rubbing, and they tend to hurt like anything all the way round. Feels like I’m wearing whale bone, complete with creaking!

    Right now I am wearing DD in an overly-large band size so that I can avoid the quadra-boobage, and also not be in pain all day.

    I too have experienced the aggressive store ladies in bra shops. What’s *with* that? It is surely why I am so loathe to show my face back in one instead of getting my ill-fitting department store specials. :)

  52. RoseCampion – lol @ “rack of moderate peril”. yeah i guess maybe that’s what i have too :)

    and thanks for the tip about Enell, maybe i will try that sometime…

  53. Oh, boy, this couldn’t have been more timely because I just changed bra sizes AGAIN.

    I’ll add my praise for Cacique. I used to live in their non-underwire knit bras – I was a 44 DDD and they provided great support. I didn’t fall out of them. They didn’t bruise me (which is why I absolutely could not wear underwires at the time). I nearly cried when I changed size to the point where that style didn’t come in my size anymore.

    Please let me echo what others have said: try it on, because bra sizes are no more standardized than the sizes of any other women’s clothing. With the recent change of size I think I tried at least 50 bras before finding ones I liked, which were comfortable, which fit, and which gave me the silhouette I wanted. My favorite fitting trick is to lean over at the waist and shake, then stand up straight again. If I’m leaking out of the cups when I stand up, the bra is not fitting me well enough. I bend over a lot during the day and I’m not tucking myself back in every single time – that’s the bra’s job.

    I have learned to check my bra fit every so often even if the number on the scale isn’t moving and my jeans still fit spectacularly because things keep changing. Mid-life hormonal fluctuations caused me to go up a cup size (just what I needed, another visit from the titty fairy) and bras that looked great 6 months ago were no longer doing their job.

    I doubt I’ll go for a professional fitting because I have a huge phobia about being touched like that. When I’ve seen the fittings on TV the fitters had their hands all over the subjects, and just watching it made my skin crawl. No, it’s not rational, it’s my own phobia, but at least I cop to it.

  54. I doubt I’ll go for a professional fitting because I have a huge phobia about being touched like that. When I’ve seen the fittings on TV the fitters had their hands all over the subjects, and just watching it made my skin crawl.

    FWIW, I don’t recall being manhandled much the one time I went for a fitting. I’d emotionally prepared myself for much worse. At best, you do have to be willing to model several different bras for a complete stranger, though.

  55. FTR, Victoria’s Secret does not cater to the small-breasted woman, either, as they carry only one or two styles in an A cup. Their idea of “perfect” breasts is very narrow.

    Yeah. Their cups are also cut VERY small. It’s the only store at which I can comfortably wear a B. Their bands are also cut big. And everything is ridiculously push-up (no offense to big boobed people, but I enjoy having small boobs kthxbai). I’ve also been at stores where the A cup dissected me when the B was waaay too big (I’m an A+, but still an A).

    Looks like its back to the training bra. It’s too big a risk to order online b/c of the long bands/dissecting boobs issue, and I don’t have the money to screw with returns and crap along w/ the bra.

    Another reason why Women’s Sizing and Clothing In General Is Bullshit.

  56. Jessica: Thanks for linking the article. It was definitely a good read.

    As for VS fittings: I’ve gotten 3 different possible sizes from two different employees in the same store.

    I have no idea who gets a kick out of this screwy sizing.

  57. My mother took me to a boutique when I was in my early teens because clearly I was going to have Gigantoboobs, and two little old ladies measured me and decreed that I was a 42DD. They brought in five fuuuuugly white and beige bras and my mother bought them even as I was expressing my concern for their fit. “Just tighten the straps a bit, dearie,” the saleswomen trilled as my mom signed the check. For YEARS I stuffed myself into those monstrosities (and remember, I was only a teenager, one who was convinced that she would now never ever get laid because her bras had seven hundred hooks on them), because my mom wouldn’t shell for more. Whoever said “quadraboob” has it right! I looked like shit and everyone just assumed that it was because I was fat.

    Then along comes teh intertubes. I find Bravissimo. I weep with joy as I discover that I am not a 42DD but a 38G-38HH (depending on manufacturer, all of whom must have thought that tits are preeetty hot because they used the most beautiful fabrics and colors!) and I wear bras proudly in the presence of sexy men. Yay! I had always had a good experience with Bravissimo, so much so that I was a little sad to have a breast reduction–something that today I see having a kindred spirit with WLS, but that’s a post for another time. Hooray for bras that fit, and the boobs that fit them! :)

  58. Jesus H. W. Christ, you had me all set to go down there, since I’m in Chicago, til you got to the $50 minimum part. :O And I know I’d feel to guilty to take the free fitting without buying anything. I shelve my rack of doom in dainty little items from the boxed section at Target. Is there no budget solution to this boob situation?

  59. Just wanted to drop a note that figleaves.com rulez. And that VS sucks. And that there’s a lovely shop in Edmonton whose name I can’t remember that was wonderful.

  60. I haven’t actually bought stuff from their website, but I like the “how to tell if your bra fits” section of the figleaves website (under “fitting room”). It allowed me to figure out that I was a 36DD instead of a 40C. But yeah, I agree that that’s all dependent on the make and model. And the time of the month. And for some brands, the smaller band size is just uncomfortably tight. I guess sometimes there’s a fine line between just right and leaving horrible red marks.

    And why the heck don’t they make bras in odd-numbered sizes?

  61. I is just outa luck when it comes to bras. I’ve been wearing a 52H, and the band fits fine, but I have a gap of 2.5″ where the top of the bra does not rest against my chest like all the fitting sites say it should. From everything I’ve read about fitting, it looks like I need a K cup, and I’ve only found one bra in that size. The only drawback to it is that it has one of those foam circles (like the Glamorise Magic-Lift) that runs around the cup on the inside, and those never stay in place on me (I end up cutting them out of the bra, and if I’m paying $50 for a bra, I sure as hell don’t want to cut it up). DH says I don’t have a rack of doom, mine are weapons of mass destruction….lol……but it sure as hell isn’t funny trying to find a bra to support them without cutting me in half or leaving ravines on my shoulders.
    I guess I’m going to have to see if I can find someone in MN that custom-makes bras, or figure out how to make my own. If I could afford it, I sure as hell would have mine reduced, they’ve been nothing but a royal pain for too many years.

  62. Is there no budget solution to this boob situation?

    Sadly, not that I know of. I’ve heard some good things about the Curvation line of bras, which is available at Wal-Mart, though I hate Wal-Mart and have broken up with Queen Latifah. My sister used to love Playtex ones I believe you could get at Target. But again, all depends on your actual size. (I don’t fit into either of those lines.) I’m generally a G but can squeeze into a Bali DDD in a pinch (pun intended) — they make really good bras that don’t break the bank. (Not as much, anyway.) One Hanes Place has some discounted up to 48DDD.

    Nordstrom or Lane Bryant might be better options for fittings with less pressure to buy. The fitters aren’t necessarily as reliable as in specialty stores, but if you try on a bunch of sizes and follow the advice on this thread for determining what really fits, you can probably figure it out by yourself.

  63. I remember Sweet Machine getting some cheaper bras at Nordstrom Rack (all together now: HA!) after getting fitted. There aren’t a lot of cheap options in a DDD or above, but there are some cheapER ones.

  64. I is just outa luck when it comes to bras. I’ve been wearing a 52H, and the band fits fine, but I have a gap of 2.5″ where the top of the bra does not rest against my chest like all the fitting sites say it should

    Vesta, FWIW, I think that might be part and parcel of the Rack of Doom. I have the same problem, and tried a bigger cup size in an effort to fix it. The cups on that bra were clearly too big (which was a new one on me), but the middle part still didn’t lie flat against my chest. I think once you’re past a certain size, that might just be a pipe dream.

    I figure as long as my actual boobs poke out farther than the middle part, I’m okay.

  65. I remember Sweet Machine getting some cheaper bras at Nordstrom Rack (all together now: HA!) after getting fitted.

    Oh, yeah, I’ve found G-cup Dream Tishas at Marshall’s for $15, too. At discount stores, being a weird size can sometimes be a blessing.

  66. lucizoe, in NYC, Orchard Corsets is cheaper than Town Shop.

    Adi, me too. Good non-lacy styles = Chantelle (Hedona, Volupte), Mystere (Dream Tisha), Prima Donna (fuck-expensive).

    Budget: If you once get fitted for something good, it will come up on eBay at half price or less eventually if you leave a search active. I tend to buy the first bra at rack rate [har] and then open an eBay search.

    At 34-36 D-DD-E I take a different size in every single model, not just line, but individual model, so do get re-fitted for every bra.

    My personal major concern in boob support is that, yes, a band size small enough to do the support work it’s supposed to do will leave red marks on my sides. If I go up, I’m doing that thing you’re not supposed to do where the shoulder straps do all the work. I figure it’s part of the territory of having some soft flesh round one’s rib cage — it’s not really going to be fixable. On the upside, underwires almost never bother me.

  67. The one time I wanted to be fitted was about 2 years ago, post partum. I went into The Bay (a canadian department store that’s a tad full of itself). Apparently, I was too fat or looked too poor to be served. The woman wouldn’t even look at me.

    I tore a strip of the manager for that one.

    I’ve been too nervous to go try somewhere else, but you’ve reminded me that I need to. The girls don’t hold themselves up anymore. :)

  68. My major bra problem is not the cups, but getting it to fit everywhere else.

    If anybody can tell me where to find a 58DD bra in the United States, I will be forever in your debt.

    I’m currently wearing a 46DD cotton bra with an extender I found at a dollar store. I’m very tired of these itchy extenders.

    *edited for spelling!

  69. Vesta, you said:

    I is just outa luck when it comes to bras. I’ve been wearing a 52H, and the band fits fine, but I have a gap of 2.5″ where the top of the bra does not rest against my chest like all the fitting sites say it should.

    Oh, do I hear you! Right now I’m wearing a Cacique cotton(ish) no underwire 48DD, the only bra I’ve been able to find that doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing a torture device. Problem is, it rides up my back to a ridiculous degree — like up to under my armpits! — so I spend all day pulling it down in back and hitching up the straps. So conventional wisdom says I need to go down in band size. But if I go down in band size I feel like I’m being squeezed to death!

    Anyway, I’m 36 and in the 25 years I’ve been wearing a bra, I don’t think I’ve ever had one that rested against my chest in the middle!

    On an aside, before I put on a huge amount of weight, I used to be a 36C and shop at Victoria’s Secret. After some modest weight gain (I went from maybe a size 12 to a 14 compared to my current 24/26) I went bra shopping at VC. I was casually browsing a 36C drawer and was accosted by a saleswoman who, with an alarmed expression and furtive look to make sure no one else noticed The Fat Woman Who Dared Shop at Victoria’s Secret, hissed, “May I help you???” I said I was looking for a 36C and she said, “I can ASSURE you, you are NOT a 36C.” So when I asked whether she would measure me, she said, “I can tell by looking that you’re at LEAST a 42 or even higher, and we don’t go anywhere near that size here in this store. We can’t help you here.”

    I was mortified. I don’t care whether I ever achieve the Fantasy of Being Thin and have the ability to wear a 36C again — I will never, ever shop at Victoria’s Secret!

    For anyone in Connecticut, there is a shop called Bare Necessities in Norwalk that carries band sizes up to 50 and cup sizes way up the alphabet.

  70. Gah. I have the same large band size, small cup bra problem. 48B! Jennifer’s comment above is right: you can have an ugly, scratchy bra from either Glamorise or Goddess in beige, white, or black if you’re lucky. I’m also really, really short waisted as well as just being short, so these bras actually nearly come down to my frikkin’ waist and then the band rolls up under my boobs and is uncomfortable and sweaty.

    Also: SIDE BOOBAGE! The under-arm fat roll(s) that nobody wants to talk about! I *could* get away with wearing a 44 band with an extender, only all those pretty, sexy styles have really narrow side bands that cannot contain the sideboobage. Those ugly bras I just mentioned often have a wider side supported with a piece of boning, which would work great if I had a longer torso. And the bras weren’t ugly. And Sideboob Spillage(TM) is uncomfortable and just makes me look as if I’ve tried to stuff myself into a 34C.

    I just looked at Just My Size. 6 styles in 48B. One is moderately attractive though I can already tell it will not cope with the sideboob problem. The rest are HUGE COVER-UPs as well as ugly. I like to wear plunging v-necks and ‘sweetheart’ necklines because they look awesome on me but forget about it with bras like that. And JMS does not ship internationally. (There are like, two shops in the entire country of Australia that have anything beyond maybe a 42DD and each bra costs $100 because the retailer had to get it off the internet anyway.)

    I can sew. But sewing bras is fucking difficult, let me tell you. And I can whip up a three-layer fully steel boned Victorian corset in no time. Bras? Fiddly as all fuck and difficult to fit without one of the professional bra ladies helping you out.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

  71. Ooh. I finally got the Bare Necessities site to load (my internets is brok) and they have ONE style in 48B that may work. And they ship to furriners. Woohoo. That’s nice, but I’m still blaming the patriarchy for the lack of comfortable, non-ugly underwears.

  72. Also: SIDE BOOBAGE!

    Are you sure you’re a B cup? I mean, I know about underarm fat rolls, but if you’ve got actual side boob escaping from your bra, you might do better in a C cup.

  73. Just started reading your site through all the links from other blogs about the Fantasy of Being Thin. WONDERFUL site!

    About bras: I’ve been wearing the Enell bra as an “everyday” bras since just after my daughter was born six years ago. I went to Petticoat Fair in Austin for a nursing bra and pretty much hated the 36J bra they gave me. Then I went here: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/braconvert.html and turned my other bras into nursing bras, which worked okay but not great since I never really liked my old bras much. But then I got the idea to just try the barely used Enell bra (used for my first and only marathon) as a nursing bra since it hooks in the front, and it was soooo much more comfortable than ANY of the others. I wore it through nursing two years, another pregnancy, and two years of tandem nursing. After weaning I bought some “regular” bras (at size 36H after weaning) but still found the Enell more comfortable, esp. for my back. Love it, love it, love it.

  74. Yeah, I’m a B cup. In a C cup, my boobs just sit there at the bottom of the cup looking up pathetically at the extra fabric flapping about. :)

  75. FWIW, I don’t recall being manhandled much the one time I went for a fitting. I’d emotionally prepared myself for much worse. At best, you do have to be willing to model several different bras for a complete stranger, though.

    I don’t have an issue with being seen by strangers in a bra – I change regularly in the locker room at the gym. It’s the touching thing. But it’s really good to know that you don’t have to be touched to have the fit evaluated – maybe I’ll call around the specialty shops here and just ask them.

    Because one of the things I’ve promised myself in the new year is a really pretty supportive bra, expense be damned.

  76. thordora (and other Canadians), do try Pennington’s, if you have one nearby. Expect to pay an average of $40 CAD for a decent bra, but the bras seem well worth the cost, and the women who work there seem to be really great about spending the time to help you get the proper fit and a good quality bra.

  77. I’m still on the quest for the perfect 46H bras… the Cacique one that I’m wearing is 1) really a 44H bra that I’ve stretched out, and 2) not really supportive enough for the girls. A lot of the 46H bras I see are ugly, and I’m hesitant about underwires — because I am short, fat, and have not-great posture, underwires, even in the proper cup size, tend to dig into the top of my stomach, which is very uncomfortable. I like the way underwires look, though, much more than wire-free. I’ve been to a lot of bra stores looking for the right thing, to no avail. I find it MUCH harder to find a 46 band bra than an H cup bra.

    Trousseau, in Vienna, VA (outside DC) or Cylene (Sylene?) on the Maryland/DC border are both very good in this area. Neither one, however, carries an H cup. Still, up to G is something, and they do good, respectful fittings.

    I also recommend one particular middle-aged black woman who works (worked?) at Lane Bryant in Wilmington, DE. She’ll tell you if you’re wearing the wrong size bra, and she knows her stuff.

  78. I did pretty well at Nordstrom’s. Of course, I went to the one in the Mall of America, and they have a huge lingerie section. I was looking for a strapless bra in a 38DD for a wedding I was in. I got measured and found out that I was a 36DDD. Miraculously, they had a strapless bra in that size (but it cost over $80).

    Alas, I now live in Hong Kong (land of the skinny people) and I really hope that my bra selection holds up until the next time I go back to the States, because I wouldn’t want to try and find a bra that fit me here. (I looked for a sports bra, and that was horrifying enough.)

  79. The most comfortable bras I have ever bought were wireless bras, bought over the internet. I currently wear the deep cup bras from Bodywise. I measured myself carefully, talked to a staff member over the phone who knew what she was doing, and voila – perfect first time.

    I may be in the minority, but for 27 days of the month I’m far more comfortable with no bra at all. This is hardly socially acceptable for a fortyish mother, but I blame the patriarchy for that one. Same while breastfeeding – I needed the bras to hold the breastpads on, but any so-called “support” (including in the super professionally fitted bras) just ended up feeling like iron bands as soon as I filled up.

  80. For numerous medical reasons, I got a reduction. Before the reduction I was a 36 ii …yes, you read that right a 36 eye eye … at $65 a bra, I often only had one bra until it was in tatters … Even then, the bra’s often did not fit correctly … or only fit right during certain times of the month … if I was on prednisone or wasn’t on prednisone (depending on if I was or was not when I’d bought that particular bra) ….

    After having the ..ahem ..bulk of my chest removed ..and going to a C- B+ cup I was SO looking forward to FINALLY wearing a comfortable BRA!!!!!!!

    I couldn’t wait to go bra shopping!!!!

    my biggest disappointment in life (well, not really)
    there is no such animal as a comfortable BRA! Why did someone not tell me this!?!?!?!?! Bra’s suck no matter the size! The creatures still are awful!

    Whoever mentioned the side boobage …yeah, that’s a problem …would you believe my insurance did not cover that in my reduction? … so I still have that to try to fit in with my bra’s … so fun in the bra fitting.

  81. I’ll call her F, though her name was not, of course, Fitter

    My first big laugh of the new year! Oh, sweetmachine, I love your sense of humor so much.

  82. but I have a gap of 2.5″ where the top of the bra does not rest against my chest like all the fitting sites say it should

    Vesta, FWIW, I think that might be part and parcel of the Rack of Doom.

    Not necessarily! I have a rack of doom, and have found a couple bras that fit right up between my breasts. I’ve found balcony style bras fit better that way than full cup bras. Unfortunately it only comes up to a 42 back, but I’m going to put in another plug for the Fantasie 4520.

    Vesta, I haven’t tried this bra, but it comes in a 52K, and is on sale for $40, you might want to try it out.

  83. Oh, and La di da, biggerbras.com has a search by size feature, and they have several styles in a 48B. I don’t know where you are, but they ship to Western Europe, Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan

  84. I actually had someone who was once employed as an actual bra fitter at Victoria’s Secret tell me there was “no such thing” as someone who wore a band size smaller than 38 and a cup size larger than DD, and that women just wanted to pretend they wore a smaller band and a larger cup. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I realized I was actually grateful that my rack of doom means I never have to shop for bras there.

  85. … bra fitter at Victoria’s Secret tell me there was “no such thing” as someone who wore a band size smaller than 38 and a cup size larger than DD

    LilahMorgan, you’re shitting us! Guess that would make two of my quite slender girlfriends – sizes 30F and 34FF respectively – not to mention my self-dubbed “voluptuous boobatina” G-cup cousin, entirely imaginary then? I always wondered about those horns growing out of their foreheads…

  86. http://www.85b.org/bra_conv.php

    I find the above link to be useful for converting a UK bra-size to US, and vice-versa.

    I’m in Ireland, and the shop I use for my fittings is called Vamp, on Thomas St, Limerick. Slightly scary people, but they know their stuff, will only touch you to measure your band size or check the give in the straps, then eyeball the rest. I’ve been very happy after leaving every time, and recommended to friends who are also large-chested. (I’m a 34G european, 34F US.) I would also recommend Freya or Fantasie bras, (won’t wear anything else) and hand-washing for all bras.

    Oh, and as regards pricing, I pay about €55 (approx. $80 per bra), then shop on eBay for the same bra and pay about €20-25 (approx $29-37).

  87. More of a UK thing, but a shop to avoid fittings in is Marks and Spencer. I went for a fitting as I knew my bra was too small (big red marks just aren’t sexy).

    The fitter decided I in fact needed a 36 B, a smaller size than I was wearing, as “a good bra will make that fat disappear” :o(

    Walked out, went to Bravissimo and was given a 38DD. Most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn, no backache and no red marks. And I looked much more figure defined :o)

    That was back when I lived in Manchester though. Living in Scotland I have to rely on mail order as there just aren’t any specialist shops outside Edinburgh.

  88. I have no experience with Marks and Spencer in the UK, but here in Hong Kong they’re known for having a good lingerie department. Thing is, they don’t carry anything above a B cup. This shocked me. You can’t say you have a good lingerie department if you only carry A and B cup bras, I’m sorry.

  89. oh, Kate . . . please write more about this. I NEED HELP! I was about to get in my car and drive to Chicago, but the website for Intimacy seems to indicate that they don’t carry band sizes above 44 for the most part.

    My issues:
    1) I’m wearing a 48DDD (usually from Avenue or Lane Bryant) but I really do suspect that my band size should be bigger. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I somehow don’t think so.

    2) My boobs are . . . I never know how to describe it. I have a “circumference” problem. If I go to a bigger cup, there is too much gappage in the “peak” area . . . I guess mine are flat and round?! I don’t know. but bigger cups are always too big in the wrong places.

    3) I HATE HATE HATE any kind of pointy, lacy, tri-panel, industrial-strength bra style. I want CUTE!!! COTTON!!! PRETTY!!! Underwires are also physically painful and therefore I don’t really feel like they’re an option, no matter how many times people tell me that this is what I need.

    4) I don’t want anybody touching me, either. It creeps me out. But I’m *almost* desperate enough to do it, if I thought I could really get an answer.

    5) I can’t really afford expensive bras either, but I know it would be a huge change if I could do it.

    6) I’ve thought about applying to “What Not to Wear” JUST for my boobs. or maybe that show where they make you look like a celebrity, except again, JUST for my boobs. When I see Queen Latifah in movies, I think, “Oh, God, how does she achieve such containment?!” I’ve looked into her bra line, also (for whomever said this above, they actually do sell them at Kmart too, I think, if you can’t handle Wal-Mart (I refuse to shop there either.)) but AGAIN, they stop at like a 42 or 44.

    7) I am going to Canada (Edmonton) in February and the idea of finding something there is appealing to me as well.

    I HATE MY CHEST!!! and have despaired of ever finding a solution . . .

  90. Not necessarily! I have a rack of doom, and have found a couple bras that fit right up between my breasts. I’ve found balcony style bras fit better that way than full cup bras.

    Ah, good point. Balcony style ones do come close to sitting where they’re supposed to. But I’ve never found a full coverage grandma bra that does, and those are what I like to wear most days. (I’m also in what appears to be a minority on Fatshionista, at least, in that I like minimizer bras. I don’t care about making the boobs look smaller — I also have a couple bras that make them look bigger to the point of ridiculousness, and I wear those proudly — but I find some minimizer bras perfectly comfortable and excellent in terms of coverage and support. As much as I’d like to be a fancy demi-bra girl all the time, I’m just not.)

    Rain, this was actually SM’s post, not mine, but I’ll tackle a couple of your questions…

    1) You might very well be in the wrong band size if 48 is where the places you usually shop stop. In cups, I squashed myself into DDDs for years, because that was where the department store selection ended. You do what you gotta do. So I’d suggest finding a way to try on bigger-banded bras. I’m not sure where you could do that at a bricks and mortar store, but certainly, a bunch of online places mentioned above — Bare Necessities, Fig Leaves, Just My Size — carry larger band sizes than 48, so you could buy a couple to try on and return what doesn’t work.

    2) I think it’s all about trying different styles. Some bra styles just do not work on me, or do not work nearly as well as others. Trial and error is ALWAYS my answer to practically every bra question, even if I know that poses a big challenge.

    7) I don’t know about the shopping in Edmonton, but when I lived in Toronto, I used to buy bras every time I came to Chicago, because my size was just NOT happening at Canadian department stores. (And my band size was usually too small to shop at plus size stores. You might have some luck at Pennington’s or something, as mentioned above.) Marshall Field’s State Street (*sniff*) felt like a bra shopping wonderland compared to The Bay and (at the time) Eaton’s. So I wouldn’t necessarily count on finding the holy grail in Edmonton.

  91. I’m officially in love with this bra from Cacique. I just got like 4 of them in the mail, because they were on sale, in a 42G. Woot! Those bras are comfortable, but also hott.

    Although I probably should be going for an even bigger cup size, but jesus christ almighty already.

  92. Sweet machine, since you asked for tips from all the Shapelings, I’ll add my two cents about buying bras in Germany:
    I’ve you’re shopping for lingerie here, avoid going to big department stores like Karstadt, Kaufhof or C&A unless you know your size. If you are lucky and find a salesperson that is competent enough to measure you correctly, you still won’t find a bra there because they only cater to “average” (*cough* bullshit *cough*) sizes. Finding a plus-sized bra is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
    Even if it means spending more money, go to the small “Dessousläden”, “Miederwarenläden” or “Wäscheläden” (all German names for lingerie shops). Sure, not everybody who works at these shops is a pro, but you have a bigger chance of finding the right bra.

    I have the problem that my boobs try to hide under my armpits – I have a large gap between my breasts, so I need a bra with heavy-duty wiring that pushes my boobs to the front. No minimizers for me! ;-) But I have the same problem as many here do: Most bras in my size (42 D) are only available in black, beige or white and cost A LOT. I’m a 25 y/o student: I’d like to wear cute, affordable and well-fitting bras. Gah!

  93. There is nothing more depressing than going into stores, particularly large department stores in large cities, and still not being able to find a bra that fits you. I’m a 36DD and I think for the most part, that’s a pretty average size among many women. I truly think it should be easy to find in most stores… but you’d think I was some sort of freak of nature. And when I ask the sales ladies, they look at you with pity (why do they always have the flattest chests) and say “No, we only have what’s on the floor, sorry.” You’d think that at least in the bra department at a major department store, it would be okay to not look like a 12 year old boy.

  94. If I go to a bigger cup, there is too much gappage in the “peak” area . . . I guess mine are flat and round?! I don’t know. but bigger cups are always too big in the wrong places.

    Rain, I get this with some bras, too, and the best solution has been balcony bras. For me, with some full-coverage bras, I get the gapping on top even when the cup clearly fits my breasts below (I’ve always been rather low-slung!), but balconettes don’t have any fabric on top, and the straps sit differently, too. If you can find some in your size, I recommend trying that style. Balconettes also sit flat between my breasts, which no other style has ever done, FWIW.

    I think all this discussion is really pointing to how even when measurements are the same, our bodies can be shaped completely differently! There will never be such a thing as “one size fits all.”

  95. “I can tell by looking that you’re at LEAST a 42 or even higher, and we don’t go anywhere near that size here in this store. We can’t help you here.”

    Maura, that’s insane. For one thing, it’s insanely rude, and for another, if you were really wearing a size 14 in tops I can’t imagine you’d want a 42 band size. (Torrid’s size chart, for instance, says a 14 fits a 42-43″ chest!) Stupid VS alienating people left and right.

    actual bra fitter at Victoria’s Secret tell me there was “no such thing” as someone who wore a band size smaller than 38 and a cup size larger than DD, and that women just wanted to pretend they wore a smaller band and a larger cup.

    LilahMorgan, that is hilarious. Do they even train these people at all?

    I mentioned this on another thread before, but once when I was bra-shopping, I saw another shopper hold up a bra in my current size and exclaim, “That’s for the tiny girls who get boob jobs!” I am still kicking myself for not whipping up my shirt and pointing to my non-tiny, all-real torso in response.

  96. Ugh, I hate it when people make those “tiny girls who get boob jobs” comments. See, I’m 160 cm and 46-47 kg, so I am indeed tiny. Unfortunately, however, I also wear a 30DD. This apparently gives other women the right to freely comment on the size of my chest relative to the rest of me and speculate about whether they’re “real”, sometimes in my presence. Then, of course, when I get annoyed and tell them to stop talking about my tits (or words to that effect) I get the “I was only joking!” defense or sometimes “It’s a compliment, you know!” Sheesh.

  97. I was fitted at Intimacy in Atlanta and it was wonderful. I too have the rack of doom. My fitter took one look at me, left and came back with an armload of bras that fit. I have NEVER had a bra that FIT-much less bras that were sexy and lacy and didn’t look like an old grandma bra. I looked like I had lost 30 lbs. I could have cried from happiness.

    The girl that fit me was very professional, and very understanding of girls with big boobs. I was worried about going in there andshowing my naked boobs to a stranger , but like my friends told me, “they’re just boobs-they see ‘em all the time.” And they do. That place was packed with people waiting to be fitted. The women working there when I went were all different ages and were all different sizes. I was worried that the girl that fit me (who was small) was going to judge me on the size of the boobs, but she was great. I was never made to feel uncomfortable. Turns out instead of wearing a 38DDD that I squeezed myself into, I’m a 40F. And even tho the bras are expensive, and I have paid $125 for one (it’s the best bra I have ever worn-no joke-and as long as you take good care of them, they really last), I think it’s been well worth it to finally feel comfortable in my own skin (and bra). I’ve been back several times and they were great each time.

    I had no idea that finding a piece of clothing that actually fit, would make you feel so much better about yourself. And screw the size-if it fits, what does it matter what size it is? (If only some of my thin friends could accecpt that statement)

  98. I should have read that again before I posted-I was fitted just doesn’t sound right-but ya’ll know what I mean!

  99. Yes Just My Size does carry three 54B bras…

    And they are the “fabulous” Goddess and Glamorise in the “ever pathetic” white, beige and sometimes black.

    I and my big band small cup sisters get to choose from 3 – 4 bras in the entire United States. Not bra companies… actual bras. And they’re all ugly.

    I just sigh each morning as I strap on my utilitarian undergarment. It hardly adds a “Don’t I feel good about myself” vibe to the day.

  100. UK peeps, Evans has an…interesting…range of bras. None were big enough to fit me (at the time I was a US 40E/F), and they all had stretch straps. Online, I highly recommend Ample Bosom:

    http://www.amplebosom.com/

    I’m currently a 40H/HH and to whomever recommended Big Girls Bras (http://www.biggerbras.com), specifically Panache, a few posts ago? I love you. My husband’s European, he won’t mind if we get married… My only beef with the Panache Tango II is that the cups are actually just a smidgeon big, and the underwire in the center practically jabs in my throat. However, it’s probably the most comfy bra I’ve ever owned, and it was on sale, so yay! It’s also the bra I’m growing into as my pregnancy progresses, so double yay!

    Besides, Panache, Fantasie of England make fantastic bras for big boobs.

    Does anyone have a good source for nursing bras in huge sizes?

  101. Australian women around Sydney looking for fitters should try finding a ,a href=”http://67.15.157.5/~linandba/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=54″>Lin & Barrett, store. I went to one of their employee training sessions with bra manufacturers and they are very thoroughly trained in sizing up the rack and then doing it justice. They are taught to use the tape measurments as a starting point only, and be guided by the customer as to what is too tight, too loose, etc – although being mindful that the customer is prob used to how the wrong size feels…

    I’m stuck between D/DD so nothing fit me exactly right, and they didn’t try to convince me otherwise. Which I found rather impressive.

  102. Oro, I think that was me, and I’m glad you found a bra you like! There’s really nothing like a comfortable, flattering bra.

  103. Just a warning to all of you british girls out there – STAY AWAY from la senza. Their bras appear to go up to an f cup but its a total farce – all the bras are padded and a horrendous fit in the larger sizes. The only bra i ever found in there that wasnt padded only went up to a D cup!! I was so angry i actually took it out on the shop assistant – mean of me i know, but really – why do that? their designers have no clue how to cater for booobs.

    i really have a thing against them too because they bought and took over Contessa, a brilliant bra shop that i actually had a branch of in my home town (me? buying bra’s LOCALLY? huzzah!) and it stocked a whole range of sizes and brands. I was told la senza was “better”. huh. whatever. its more trendy, but if you want a good bra? forget it. cheap shit.

    also, a while ago in the news there was a ‘womens boobs are getting bigger – BUT ITS ALL FAT BECAUSE THEYRE OBESE COWS’ trend. It digusted me. apparently the ‘average’ bra size went from a 34B to a 36C. which i think is innacurate anyway considering the number of women who think theyre c’s when theyre something like a 32E afterall.

    auuhgghgh, bras. my favourite one is wearing out and i cant afford a new one the same make.

  104. Also wanted to say that there are some companies that do not make DDs – they go straight from D to E so don’t let that jump freak you out!!

    I know they are horrendously expensive, but UK’S Rigby & Peller make up to a fairly large size and they are beautiful. Also a brand called Fayreform makes beautiful, mid-priced, well-made bras that are greatfor girls with more fullness at the bottom that the top of the boob (3-piece cup designs). Give them a try!

  105. apparently the ‘average’ bra size went from a 34B to a 36C. which i think is innacurate anyway considering the number of women who think theyre c’s when theyre something like a 32E afterall.

    I actually wonder if that’s because of all the articles/Oprah episodes in the last 10 years telling women they’re probably wearing the wrong size and should go get fitted.

  106. I’m clearly wearing the wrong size bra as the cups pucker, but last time I got fitted I was told I needed a bigger size than I was wearing. I told the saleswoman I already had puckering cups, so her suggestion was just one size smaller. I had to buy a black bra this week for under a certain shirt. (I bought a really cheap one.) I got the demi-cup kind because of the shirt style that I want it under, but the added benefit is the no puckering cups. I need to find out what I should be wearing. My bras are plenty comfortable and they seem supportive enough. It’s just the extra material. Maybe I just need to go down a cup size? There was a suggestion for a few stores near where I live, so maybe I can get someone who knows what she’s doing to fit me.

    My sister has a tiny ribcage but not small breasts. She needs a 30D and can’t find anyone who makes one, so she wears a 32D. Even that is hard to find. She’d like to wear sexy bras too, but she’s just thrilled to find anything that’s even a 32D. As someone said above, women are expected to fit in this narrow range of 32 A-B-C through 38 B-C-D or some such and if you’re bigger or smaller, good luck.

  107. My bras are plenty comfortable and they seem supportive enough. It’s just the extra material. Maybe I just need to go down a cup size?

    The usual RX for cup-pucker is going down a cup size (shouldn’t have anything to do with the band), but if you’ve found demi bras in the same size work, it could just be the shape of your boobs, as discussed upthread.

  108. I have this problem. See, I absolutely cannot stand underwire bras. The wires poke me in the armpits, which makes me completely insane. And yeah, I have a ROD too. Problem is, there’s apparently no such thing as a strapless bra for someone my size (42DD, although I’ll probably be refitted soon) with no underwires. So I am totally screwed when it comes to wearing strapless tops or dresses. I figure this might be as good a place as any to put that out there and see if anyone has a solution for me.

  109. I got fitted at Nordstrom a few years ago- went from a 36B to a 32D. I actually just went bra shopping today, first to Victoria Secret then to Nordstroms. VS didn’t carry 32D in ANY bra in the store, ever (I asked) and my boyfriend’s mom, with whom I was shopping, could find one or two bras in her 36A size. We went to Nordstrom’s, where the woman working said 32D-DDD were actually VERY common sizes, that very few stores stock. There is a very specific image of what a woman’s chest is supposed to look like and it is a disservice to all of us.

    I love shopping online (once you know your actual size) at One Hane’s Place- lots of sales, lots and lots and lots of sizes (from nearly-A and nearly-B to the larger ones, although I’ve never checked exactly how large they go).

  110. I resisted getting a fitting at Nordstroms because I knew that my size was would be big and I’m short of arse. My clothes sizes are in petite, which makes me laugh, because although I have small features, hands and feet, I have big boobs and a big ass and fairly big bones. Short women are “supposed” to be dainty and perky-breasted – ballet dancers, not plow-pullers.

    Anyway, I finally got bras in the right size – 36DDD – and immediately became a bravangelist and told all my (skinny, small-boobed) friends to get themselves fitted. It got so bad that one friend asked, out of nowhere, if the bra thing was still working out for me.

  111. Unfortunately, however, I also wear a 30DD. This apparently gives other women the right to freely comment on the size of my chest relative to the rest of me and speculate about whether they’re “real”, sometimes in my presence. Then, of course, when I get annoyed and tell them to stop talking about my tits (or words to that effect) I get the “I was only joking!” defense or sometimes “It’s a compliment, you know!” Sheesh.

    Oh, this doesn’t only happen if you’re skinny with big boobs. My great-grandmother passed on her rack of doom to me and no one else in the family – all of my other female relatives are an A or B cup, with the occasional C, and this apparently gives distant cousins who I only see at weddings and funerals permission to grope me and ask me where I got them from. I’m seriously thinking of having business cards printed up for a fake plastic surgeon and handing them out at the next family event.

  112. Oh dear! I went on birth control a year ago and didn’t bother buying new bras; I mean, I knew that I was down to one bra that sort of fit, but I didn’t have enough money for new bras by the time I noticed that I was quadra-boobing.

    Also, I mean, I was a 34A. I barely even needed a bra, and certainly not really the padded, underwire thing I was wearing.

    Well, then I went to get a couple cheap bras at Target, and I grabbed 34As because, well, I’ve been wearing a 34A since I was 14. Quadraboob, OW. 34B? Quadraboob, and also the band felt a bit tight. 36A? Quadraboob! 36B? yes! Finally!

    I think there’s a possibility that I’m really a 34 back size and I’m just a wimp about tight bra bands (the 36 is on the tightest setting) — but that would make me a 34C. How? My rack just ain’t that big.

    I was informed that I had to give up my membership in the IBTC for getting up to 36B. *sigh* I may hit up a Nordstrom’s for a real fitting in the near future, but at the moment, my new bras are pretty good, if only $12.99 apiece. :)

  113. Meowser, at a good bra shop (or by yourself, if you’re crafty), you can actually open the casing for the underwire, snip off the bit that pokes you in the underarms with wire cutters, and sew the casing back up. You need to put a bunch of really strong stitches where the underwire now ends, so that it doesn’t ride up in the casing. I’ve had this done by Trousseau in the DC metro area (which I mentioned above), but I’m going to try it myself soon.

    Let me know if that’s not clear, and I’ll try to explain it better. But some tailoring is going to be a LOT easier than finding a wireless, strapless bra that has any actual support.

  114. I am really scared to go for a professional fitting.

    I finally went from a 36C to a 38 C a while back when the 36 bands started being way too tight. Why a C? It’s what I’ve always worn. There may have been a Vicky’s Sekrit “fitting” in there somewhere.

    I am afraid of finding that I need a D, or DD, or anything bigger than a C really. Because anything bigger than a C looks to me like what I call “grandma’s rain hat” bras. You know those little fold-up plastic rain hats that came in a packet like a handi-wipe that your grandma carried to protect her roll-and-set? Huge conical shaped thing with a point on the top? That’s what bigger bras look like to me. El monstro underwire guaranteed to poke me in the armpit on the sides and come up to my clavicle in the middle, stiff padded cups with a giant seam down the middle that will show through all my t-shirts and over the top of all my necklines.

    No. No. No. I can’t bring myself to do it. You know how that heavier gal on the Tim Gunn style show cried when they wanted to look in her underwear drawer? That’s me when I think about having to wear one of those bras. Caciques are the WORST – I have NEVER been able to find a Cacique bra that would actually fit under the low, low necklines of Lane Bryant blouses.

    I desperately need new bras right now, but my clothing budget (yay finally having a budget) is, I’m not kidding, $30 a month for the moment, so I can’t afford much more than something from Target or maybe on sale at VS. And I know what they sell probably doesn’t fit me because I have my own Rack of Doom (I just had to put an old bra on my fitting dummy, padded out with socks, because I could not get the correct bust/underbust measurements just through adjusting the dials), but I don’t know what to do about this terror of learning my One True Size ™ and finding myself with a drawer full of wrong-sized bras that I can’t afford to replace, that I hate all my options for replacing anyway.

    I have issues about this, obviously.

  115. Elusis, sweet thing, pull yourself together; you are not a wuss! (I know this from fatshionista – for I am also buttercup_rocks).

    Consider this: a pair of size 22 panties in any style look completely different unoccupied to how they do wrapped around a pair of curvalicious hips. Unoccupied, folks make jokes about their oh-so-hilarious vastness. In a worn context they can bring a grown man (or woman) to their knees.

    It’s the same with big bras. My stepbrother, in the interest of humour, once put one of my bra-cups on his head, (and it fitted nicely; what’s more I was but a mere DD in those days). I currently wear a 38FF and have some beautiful, fun, sexy bras; most un-rain-hat-like, I promise. What’s more, you can look forward to the sheer, unmitigated joy of discovering how fantabulous your charlies will look in the right-sized, right-shaped bra. (The latter is often the thing that makes the most difference).

    I realise, of course, you might might well actually be a 38 C but, as the saying goes, feel the fear and do it anyway. After all, the sooner you actually know, the sooner you can begin to get over the trauma and past rain-hat syndrome. I appreciate cost is a bitch; but you can always save up over time. Plus you could well luck out in TJMaxx or smililar – I’ve done really well in the UK equivalent over the years.

    Hey, Kate, maybe we should have a “celebrate your favourite bra” photo-post?

  116. Schnarf. Buffpuff, I wish I had a favorite bra right now. I have no idea what size I am, and my old faves are all worn out. The new bras I bought at LB a month or so ago SUCK! A salesperson measured me and asked if I could wear their bras (usually buy a 42 DD or DDD). I was like, WHAT? She told me I would need AT LEAST a 46 DDD. Well, I bought two, and both are ginormous on me, dig me in the armpits with oversized underwires, and generally just suck. I have taken to wearing a too-small comfy cotton bra rather than those.

    Alas, I cannot find a bra store in Lafayette, IN that doesn’t also sell adult movies :)

  117. Elusis, head over to the figleaves site in SMs original post and search for 38D or 38DD in the $10-20 range. There’s lots of very pretty (not at all grandma hat like!) affordable bras there. Maybe that will help you feel better!

    Kristin, she probably added 5 inches to your ribcage measurement to get your band size, which is the conventional wisdom but not at all accurate. At a good fitting, they don’t actually measure you, they just put bras on you until they find a size that looks like it fits you properly. You should take them back with a complaint!

  118. Because anything bigger than a C looks to me like what I call “grandma’s rain hat” bras.

    Heh. I could remake my old bras into yarmulkas. Lacy, pastel ,yarmulkas.

    Another big hurdle, I find, to getting the right size bra is the idea that you need to spend more on a bra than a pair of jeans. I’m still envious of women who can select their bras from a bin of lacy floss and pay for them with pocket change. I really think my spandex and kevlar confections ought to be subsidized for Citizens Against Gravity or somesuch but, alas, such an organization does not exist.

  119. In NYC, I had a great experience at Bra Tenders. It’s by appointment only, and it’s strangely in an office building, but it was wonderful and I got three great bras, all in the $75 – $100 range. Totally worth it.

  120. Becky, I agree with the whole measuring thing. The last time I was measured, I was told I would wear a D cup. Trying on that D cup was the funniest thing I did in a long time. There was literally an inch of loose fabric in the cups. I have very conical boobs that squish a lot (nursing two children, I would assume), so even B & C cups have gaps in them. I also have a broad back and shoulders like a linebacker. There is a custom bra maker here in Phoenix, and sometimes I wonder if I should go see her.

  121. Alas, I cannot find a bra store in Lafayette, IN that doesn’t also sell adult movies

    If you can make a trip to Indy, I was really suprised by the bra selection at Carson’s there. I’ve never checked the Nordstrom (don’t have cause to do a lot of bra shopping on my brief trips there), but that’s right there, too. Might be worth a trip.

  122. Does anyone have specialty store recommendations for the San Francisco / East Bay area?

    My 34 G is not working anymore, and my local Nordstrom doesn’t carry above a G cup. I don’t feel comfortable ordering online, because my breasts they are a changin’ and I want an in-person fitting.

    As Elusis said, we don’t seem to have an Intimacy store out here. But I see big chested women here! Where do they shop?

    Also, thank you all who have reassured me that I can actually find a sexy bra at my size. It gives me hope.

  123. http://bralady.net/hollywood.html

    They have some of the dates wrong but they used to make this bra here. The company has changed hands a couple of times since then so I don’t know how they work now. They may not be the same but my dad worked there so my mother wore them. The bra had hooks on the cup like a nursing bra, but she would bend over and let them swing to help get the whole boob pulled onto the suspension part then hook the cup and stand up. I know they used to make some huge cup sizes, like halfway through the alphabet, when they were here because I remember my dad griping about having to fit some woman or other when Brantly was out of town.

  124. Well, I can’t go to Figleaves or eBay without knowing my size. As a mental exercise, I put my measurements into some of the size calculators that Sweetmachine Googled up in her original post – I got 42D, 40D, and 40 B just from 3 of them, though Oprah’s site clearly tells me I need a 38 band (which is what I’m wearing… and which rides up in back, which is allegedly a sign of being too BIG?)

    So after contemplating smashing my brains out with my TV remote (hey, it’s what’s at hand), I’m still facing the spectre of needing to go get a fitting. Somewhere.

    Buffpuff – thanks for the support. I know how a bra looks on the hanger isn’t the only important thing, but i”ll tell you, having had the experience of trying on Cacique bras and watching them peer sternly out from the necklines of all the tops I’m trying on, I can tell by looking when a bra’s (lack of) plunge is going to make me and the Rack cry. I’m willing to try some other options but I really am stuck feeling like I’d rather wear an ill-fitting bra than something that makes me feel like I’m wearing boob armor.

  125. Elusis, go for the fitting. Assuming you end up in the 34-40 D or DD range, there are lots of options that aren’t boob armor! They are actually very common sizes!

    Check out this bra in a 38DD, or this one that comes in a 36D, 36DD, 38D and 38DD, or this one in a whole range of sizes, including 40D. Plungy! Sexy! Affordable!

    It’ll be okay, I promise. Go for the fitting.

  126. If you live, or have ever lived on Long Island, Marys is the place to go.

    Mary Corsetiers Ltd 930 Woodbury Road, Woodbury, NY 11797 Tel: 516-921-4033 Fax: 516-921-1023

    The line will be Looooong, but the bra will be worth it.

    I haven’t lived on Long Island for over 10 years but I still go back once a year to go to this store.

  127. Becky – your first link didn’t seem to work; what should I be searching for?

    Second one is cute but sold out in black (underwear = black as far as I’m concerned). Third one has grandma straps and lace, so maybe not for me.

    I am also wary of bras that look totally normal right up through about 36C (which is about the biggest catalogs ever show in a photo) and then mutate into grandma hat versions of themselves.

    Oh, fuck me, I am such a fucking baby about this. I have spent the past two days in a shelf-bra tank top because I can’t even look at my bras right now.

  128. The first one might be sold out. And the second one comes in black in 36DD, 36D, and 38D. here’s a quite similar one, that comes in black in a range of sizes. (It got quite good reviews too!)

    My point is, it is possible to find cute plunge bras in a D or DD cup. You just have to look a little harder, but Figleaves is a great place to look (you can search by size, colour and price, so you can find all the black bras in your size and price range without having to sort through a whole bunch). And they have a great return policy, with free shipping on returns, so if you order a bra and then decide it’s too grandma hat, you’re only out the $4.50 for the original shippings.

  129. Elusis, check out these:

    http://www.bravissimo.com/products/lingerie/sensational-sets

    They certainly can’t be called grandma bras! (And I know just exactly what you’re talking about — I hate that!) They all go from 34-40, and *start* at a D cup, going up through G or J. They’re not supercheap, but they’re not as expensive as a lot of the bras mentioned on here — several within the $20-$30 range. And many are plungy.

    And yeah, sometimes it takes a bit of time (and prodding) to get over that initial fear. I remember one aggressive saleslady (who is not at all representative of my experiences with good bra stores… this was in an outlet) when I was in undergrad telling me I was at least an F cup. I looked desperately at my shopping companion, who kindly got the hint and said, “Oh God! Karen! We have to go meet Josh right now!” and we fled. A few years later, I’m wearing an H cup.

  130. Pingback: Fluff: A Post-Holiday Fatspirational Round-Up « Fatadelic

  131. I wear an Enell bra, and it’s amazingly comfortable. My shoulders used to hurt every day from my bra straps – and I would have to squeeze myself into a too-small bra just to keep the straps from giving me tendonitis (sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s the only thing that worked), which, needless to say, did not increase my comfort – but with the Enell bras, my shoulders hardly hurt at all. They’re a little industrial-looking, but that’s a small price to pay.

  132. Elusis, Meowser, and everyone else who is kind of in the mid-large range, I would heartily implore you to try on this bra from Frederick’s of Hollywood. Yes, the store is kinda trashy but they know their bras far better than VS and lots of malls have actual stores. They only go up to an F (I really should be wearing an FF/G) but holy crap these are comfy. These are some of the only bras where the underwire doesn’t poke me in the armpits and the little triangley piece in the middle lays flat on my breastbone. Plus, they’re pretty thick so there’s little to no nipple pokeage on cold days in the office. The only issue I have is that I can only wear them for the two weeks out of the month when I’m not hormonal from my impending period, and even then I get some spillover. I think because my breasts are really high on my torso, too high underwire/fabric in the armpit is really my biggest problem, so that’s the one I tend to focus on.

    Plus the Frederick’s by me has a really sweet older sales woman who is incredibly knowledgeable and helpful and when they have their 2 for $39 sales it’s hard to pass up. It’s at least worth driving to the store to try on.

    For the small cup/big band folks, this might be more comfortable than the Goddess or Glamourise bras online. It’s not outrageously expensive and got a pretty good review.

    My favorite bra – Freya Arabella Underwire Plunge Bra. It’s sexy as hell, doesn’t poke anywhere and the 36G fits me like a dream. The only downside is that it’s 100% sheer and not really work appropriate. There’s a “large” bust version (there’s something awesome about their regular size bra going up to a G cup – love) that my J cup friend swears by. Across both styles, it goes from a 28DD – 38J.

    After VS decided to turn all of their cotton panties into low rise, I haven’t gone into the store anymore. Those used to be the only good things they sold.

  133. Oh, and I almost forgot: Fantasie Smoothing Strapless Bra. This is the only one that I’ve ever found that stays in place and supports comfortably without straps. The band runs small, probably because that’s all that is holding you in, but after about 5 minutes I don’t even notice I have it on. It rides high to the armpit, but the material is very soft so it doesn’t bother me as much as others I’ve tried.

  134. Mizerychik, can you wear that Freya bra under a fitted shirt without the lace/embroidery/whatev showing through? I used to have a bra I LOVED (one of the ones I got at my first real bra fitting) in terms of how it looked and felt, but I could only wear it under heavy sweaters, ’cause the raised pattern on it was so thick, my boobs looked lumpy under everything else. So I’m always wary of the pretty bras now.

  135. I probably shouldn’t put this in people’s heads, but does anyone else remember that annoying Toni Braxton song, “Un-Break My Heart?” As soon as I read this headline I immediately started singing “Un-Doom My Rack…” to this tune. (Thankfully I’m not in the office today…)

  136. Kate – I have the black one and I wore it under a long sleeved thin black tee to a party a few weeks ago and you couldn’t see any lumps or anything, so you should be fine with it. The pattern isn’t really thick and the now that I think about it, I don’t even think the bows at the straps stuck out much. It’s just really really sheer. If the coral weren’t sold out in my size, I would get another one.

  137. I have that Freya Arabella bra! I think it’s so pretty, and so embarrassing because of its sheerness. But, no, you can’t see the lace under a t-shirt. You might see some other things, like personal pointiness, but that’s another matter. Also, this is the first bra that ever poked me in the sternum. It lies so close to my sternum that if I wear it (which I hardly ever do now), it leaves red marks. But still I bought the matching undies, just in case I’m ever again unveiled to the admiring gaze of another. (I don’t plan on it, but you never know.)

  138. Wait, now that I think about it again, if you place the seams in the bra strategically, “personal pointiness” shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, sometimes I just feel like, who the hell cares. I’ve got ‘em, and everyone else does, too, so why is it funny if they show?

  139. It lies so close to my sternum that if I wear it (which I hardly ever do now), it leaves red marks.

    For me it lies very close but I don’t have the red mark problem – maybe the band is a little looser on mine? As for the nip thing, I don’t really care unless I’m in a professional situation. There’s something weird to me about having my coworkers know that my nipples are pointy when I’m trying to tell them exactly how their code is fucked up.

  140. Feeling feisty in 2008.

    Sung to the tune of Ray Charles’ “Unchain My Heart”

    Un-doom your rack
    Don’t give up or call it quits
    Un-doom your rack
    You deserve a bra that fits

    You tell the salesgirl “Measure till you quack!
    And by the way it should support my back!”
    So un-doom your rack
    Baby set yourself free

    (Un-doom your rack)
    You don’t gotta wear black
    (Un-doom your rack)
    Give your love that good heart attack
    (Un-doom your rack)
    Give the status quo a smack
    (Un-doom your rack)

    [fade out]

    :D

  141. Loved this post! I spent my first day back to work reading through the comments, and then I made a date with my mom to go to get fitted at Nordstrom and Lane Bryant (unless anybody has better suggestions for the Bay Area). Yay for moms and bras!

    Not trying to derail the thread entirely, but what about the bottom half? Any panty tips? I want my butt to be just as sexy as my boobs!

    Oh, and although I think they are the tool of the skinny devil, has anybody tried spanx?

  142. Karen – If you’re in the NOVA area, there’s a place in Fairfax City called Dell’s Bra Boutique. I have to admit I lived behind it for two years and never went in (I was kind of intimidated), so I have no idea if they’re good or bad, but it certainly sounds like they ought to have some bras.

  143. Kate – I love the demi for going out at night, but can’t bring myself to wear it under a sweater for work, which is why I have to figure out an alternate solution. I work with teenagers and I am just not into feeling sexy at work. I like the full coverage and cotton panties for weekdays. If I have a date, well, that’s a different story. :) It’s good to have a variety of undergarments.

  144. Oh, and although I think they are the tool of the skinny devil, has anybody tried spanx?

    Yes. I’m not as anti-Spanx as you might expect, but my main problem with them is, I need fucking full-body Spanx for there to be any point. The bike shorts just create a thigh roll where they end, and the top of the high waisted things creates another roll over the waistband. (I tried the kind you’re supposed to be able to attach to your bra, and it just didn’t work for me.) The parts that are actually under the Spanx are smoothed out, but the extra rolls kind of cancel out the value of that.

    I can’t wear shapers with built-in bras b/c of the RoD, so I’ve pretty much given up on them. I once saw a shaper that went down to just below the knee and had straps, but a cut-out area for your own bra (sort of like an old-school wrestling uniform), which is the only kind I can imagine being useful for me. And I can’t remember where I saw that now.

  145. I have a pair of spanx, but I mainly just wear them in the wintertime for warmth.

    You know what I realized? Even if people can’t see my fat jiggling or whatever, or rolls, they still know I’m fat.

    So I don’t give a fuck.

  146. I once saw a shaper that went down to just below the knee and had straps, but a cut-out area for your own bra (sort of like an old-school wrestling uniform)

    Is traumatized for life.

  147. I’ve always wanted to file a grievance against Victoria’s Secret for their sizing choices. I’m (supposedly) a 36D and can never find anything pretty or flirty to wear from that store. I’m off to Intimacy after work today because we have one in Upstate NY (!) and cannot wait

  148. First off? My recommendations are Fantasie and Freya. I live my everyday life in Fantasie’s Smoothing Balcony Bras; they’re comfortable, easy, smooth, and cut low. Panache are also meant to be good, but for some reason I just can’t do a full-coverage bra, and Tango… wow, that made me look the weirdest shape ever. I do think, Kate, that the whole getting-the-wires-flat-in-the-middle thing is hard, but also worth it; lower coverage makes life easier: even when they’re in my size, full cups give me jutting wires. Besides, I like the V-neck top; what was that about having it, flaunting it??? Also, speaking of flaunting, did all you G-cuppers out there know about the Panache Inferno multiway plunge? Baby, do halters, low cut etc all at once!

    It took me *for* *ever* to find a bra to fit. I live in Australia, and as it turns out I’m a 32G (or possibly a 30H). I wound up going to a specialty shop – you know, the ones that tend to cater to women post-mastectomy etc? This was after having spent a humiliating hour every year being treated like a challenge by fitters at department stores only to be told ‘oh, well, this is the *closest*’ while I reconciled myself to not exposing *any* flesh ever again (and wondering why the awful women’s mags I read (in dr’s surgeries!) recommended you ‘flaunt it’ when bra manufacturers seemed to have decided I was 70 years old and not into that at all.)

    Anyway, they found me a bra – for $120. Which was fine for a while, but not exactly something I could do every few months whilst a student; on a trip to the UK, I tried on a gazillion bras in deepest envy (department stores which actually stock for me?!), and found the Fantasie Balcony Bra. Then I came home, and found the life-saver website, BellaForma. They’re Australian-based, so returns don’t have to trek overseas and they don’t take forever to arrive. They stock bathers too. And my latest and greatest love: the cutesy-sexy Arabella those above were raving about. Now, when the centre of my bra shows, it shows with a little pink ribbon. That is so fun :-)

  149. I wanted to put a special plug in for the Nordstrom’s in San Francisco, and for the woman who helped me, Tori (this was at the store downtown). I went in today and she was so super-helpful and really body-positive. I started out a little weirded out by the process and she totally put me at ease, helped me understand what to look for in bras, and, as I was checking out, made an offhand comment about how much she likes it when people accept the size they are now rather than trying to torture themselves to fit into the size they used to be, because people just look so much better when they accept themselves.

    It was a really great experience. Thanks for inspiring me to go!

  150. Uh really? I was in Nordies in Whatsit Mall (over the Powell St. BART stop) and almost left in tears, if not for the good support of my hawt vixen minions.

    They first tried sizing me as a 42DD (coming from a 38C, this was hard enough) but the cups were huge and puckered. So then they brought me a a 42D, but the right cup was still massively puckered. “This is going to look terrible under a t-shirt” I said. “Well it fits the other breast; you’ll just have to deal with it,” she replied.

    Then she asked me what I was looking for in a bra. Simple, low cut, black, I told her, emphatically nothing like the huge-cupped, wide-strapped rose-colored lace-covered boob-armor she was fitting me in.

    She went away for a long time and came back. “My manager says we don’t have anything low-cut in a 42D,” she said. “The bigger the band size, the wider the piece in between the cups. That’s just how it is.” “What are women my size suppoed to do?” I asked her, and she shrugged. I stared at her for a minute, then ordered her out of my dressing room and pulled my clothes on, hands shaking.

    Like I say, almost fled in tears.

    I stopped in VS, and asked the first associate I saw “do you carry a 42D?” She looked at me, slackjawed. “Well… we only carry 40D. But I can go ask.” “Either you carry it, or you don’t,” I snapped at her, and left.

    From there I went to Frederick’s, who sized me at a 40D but didn’t have any in the store that fit my requests (though they tried a 38D that left red marks under my bust for half an hour), and finally (in shame) back to Vicky’s Sekrit, whose 40D practidcally fit both of my breasts in one cup, and whose 40C in the wireless Ipex stood out so far away from my sternum that you coudl have fit an entire wine bottle in there. We found a wired Ipex style that seemed promising, but the 40D was huge.. The associate said she’d go look for a 40C or 38D (god knows what I was supposed to do about the -2 inches in the band), and left me standing half-naked in the fitting room for 10 minutes until I poked my head out and asked what was up. “Oh,” she said. “They don’t make that in a 40C, just a 38DD.”

    Fleeing. Rage. Near tears.

    So now I don’t have any bras that fit, I don’t have any new bras, and I don’t have a clue what bra I should order from somewhere because today I’ve been told to try a 42D, 40D, 40C, and 38D. What, i just order four copies of everything from eBay?

    I really don’t know what the hell to do at this point. Seriously, I am tears thinking about the wasted time and humiliation.

  151. Ah, the joys of bra shopping.

    Let me take you on a journey through the joys of shopping for a new bra as far as I’m concerned, and I’m sure you’ll understand why I don’t do it often.

    Let’s start with a few statistics: my bust measures 134cm (52 3/4″), my under-bust is 107cm (42″). I’m 5’2″ (155cm) tall. I have a short torso, and I have narrow shoulders for the size of my bust (a standard 15cm shoulder seam hangs down about 2.5cm over each of my shoulders). Given the measurements above, we’ll say I’m looking for a bra in an Australian size 20 band, with at least an E-cup, possibly an F. (Australian sizes go D, DD, E, F, generally).

    Here’s the challenge: I want something comfortable to wear; something which doesn’t look as though it was constructed by an engineer whose last job was building hydroelectric projects; something in a colour other than “one shade suits nobody” beige; something which looks vaguely sexy; something which actually fits; something without underwires (narrow but deep chest plus large tits plus underwires equals pierced armpits); and something costing less than $100. I’d prefer them all in the same bra.

    Good luck finding it, by the way.

    So far, I’ve discovered one place which does bras I like. It’s Bodywise, and I’ve been buying bras from them any time these last eight or nine years. Let’s put it this way: until I bought my first Bodywise bra, I had no idea that wearing a bra could be comfortable – I’d never owned a comfortable bra before then. So I’ve stuck with them, through thick, thin, and at least two “closing down” sales from the company. Their bras fit me wonderfully. Their pyjamas, caftans and etc don’t. Even when I go right the way up to “Diva”, they’re too small for my bazooms.

    I’ve given up on ever finding a bra which “fits” in the sense of “the underwires are touching your chest between your cleavage”. I weighed my chest puppies once. They’re about a kilo (2lb, more or less) each, and they’re very definitely constrained by gravity. Or in other words, they’re going to pull any bra downward and forward, no matter what the hey the manufacturers say it does. *Any* bra will pout forward – I figure it gives me at least one safe spot to put my keys (or a very small wallet – hey, it’s safe from pickpockets, unless they’re getting incredibly familiar).

    To be honest, though, buying a bra is no real challenge these days (go over to the Bodywise site, choose my colours from the styles available, send through the details and wait for the bras to show up in a couple of days). What drives me absolutely crackers is buying swimwear. I wish I could get at least one of the manufacturers to recognise the following: they don’t get any smaller just because I’m swimming in cold water, guys. This means I need some decent support from a swimsuit, too. It’s no use giving me the “fitted cups” when they’re designed for someone who’s a B-cup at best, maybe a C if I’m lucky; it’s especially no use when these “fitted cups” are coupled with skinny little straps which get pulled off my shoulders by the weight of the sides of my tits. If the suit won’t stay on my shoulders in the store, it’s not likely to keep me covered when I go swimming in the ocean, is it?

    I need a new swimsuit if I’m going to take advantage of living within walking distance of the beach. So far, I’m thinking of one of my older Bodywise bras (they look like sports bras, so it’ll pass as a bikini top, more or less) plus a pair of bike shorts or leggings.

  152. What, i just order four copies of everything from eBay?

    I would suggest you try ordering a 40D from figleaves, (this one maybe? and if it doesn’t fit, try exchanging it for a different size.

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience.

  153. Elusis, yes, that was the Nordstrom’s I went to. I’m so sorry it was awful for you! I actually lurked around the lingerie department for a while, mentally dismissing a number of the sales associates because they just didn’t seem… I don’t know… something about them made me feel worried they wouldn’t spend the time or energy really helping me. Tari, the woman I eventually approached, just had a good energy about her (and several of the bras she had me try on, which I actually liked, she took time to point out why the cup didn’t quite fit right; at one point she said, “That’s a good shape, but it’s not your shape; let’s try something else.”).

    It sucks to know that the other associates aren’t as good. At least I’m assuming you had one of the other associates — I’d hate to think I was conned into thinking someone was good! :-(

  154. Meg, Figleaves.com and Biggerbras.com sell bra sized swimwear. I have a Fantasie tankini in a 32G from biggerbras.com, and oh my goodness. I never realised a bathing suit could offer real support before. You should definately check them out.

  155. Elusis, I’m really sorry that you had such a terrible experience. Part of the reason I hope people read this post is so they know what a good experience *can* be like, and hopefully the Shapeling hivemind will be able to identify more good places. I’m sorry that didn’t happen for you. :-(

    I would second Becky’s recommendation for Figleaves–they make returns really easy. There’s no reason it should be that difficult to find something that fits you!

  156. Actually, Meg, now that I think of it, I think I got my first bra sized bathing suit at Bellaforma. They’re an Aussie shop, so you might want to check them out before you try figleaves and biggerbras, the shipping is probably cheaper. You can search by size there, and it looks like they have a few swimsuits in an Australian 20E and 20F.

  157. Mail order is definitely the way if it’s hard to find something that fits. Don’t think of it as buying eight bras; think of it as taking eight into the fitting room. It’s just that your fitting room happens to be in your home, and that the store requires a deposit before you take the clothes into the fitting room, and when you give back the ones you don’t want, you get the deposit back.

    At least, thinking this way helps me be sane when ordering/returning. If I’m not sure which size fits, I order two or more – I’d try on more than one in a store if uncertain of size, why not when mail-ordering?

  158. Oh, and Elusis, you might want to see if a different VS had that bra you found promising, because if they make it in a 40D they probably make it in a 40C. Is this the one? It comes in a 40C. You could try ordering it online, they have a 90 day return policy.

  159. Jaed – that is a good re-frame, thanks.

    Although: I am sitting here with almost $700 in bras sitting in various virtual “shopping carts” (Frederick’s, VS, and Figleaves), wondering if I can cover that much “deposit.” Not to mention that I’ll have ot pay to “check them out,” and in some cases, to return them. Fie.

    Occhiblu – maybe what I will do is wait a week for the steam to blow off, then call and ask when the employee who helped you is working. Because perhaps she would provide a better experience for me, you know? Telling me I”ll “just have to deal” with a bad fit – unbelievable!

  160. Becky – your link is not working, but I think it was either the Infinity Edge or Ipex. I have both sitting in my basket in a 40C right now; unfortunately they are full-price and so costly to “check out. VS charges shipping based on order price, too. Sad. :(

    Man, this is just way harder than it should be.

  161. Elusis, I’m sorry Nordstrom was a bad experience but well done for making a start. I promise you’ll feel so much better when you’ve finally cracked it. If it makes you feel any better I went through a very similar time to you when I finally decided to bight the bullet, and it took me quite a while to find the makes and styles that worked on me. (In my case that’s generally Fantasie, Freya and, occasionally, Silhouette. I am most commonly a 38FF but have bras in my drawer that are 38F, 40E and 38G, all of which fit fine. Just like with clothes, you’ll find you might take a different size sometimes depending on style and manufacturer. I was wearing a soft-cup 44DD before I first got properly measured about 16 years ago and my boobs looked like a bolster under my clothes.

  162. Oh, I have no illusions about KEEPING 25 bras. For one thing, I can barely afford one bra right now.

    It’s just, that’s how many bras I had to order to have some hope of finding one that fits. Many of them I ordered in multiple sizes.

  163. I hope at least one of them fits! :-)

    If you do venture back to Nordstrom’s, let us know. I’d be interested to hear what happens.

  164. Inspired by this, I went off to David Jones lingerie section. That’s an Australian department store. Oy vey.

    A teeny tiny shrimp of a woman with no discernable boobs and very heavy makeup did my fitting. She decreed that I should be a 16DD or E – despite the fact that the band on the 16 (38 to you in the US) was ultra tight, clearly squishing in uncomfortably and giving me major underarm boob. I stood my ground and insisted on trying on an 18 (40 to you), found that the 18DD fit like a dream, resisted once again shrimp-woman’s claim that it wouldn’t be enough support and it needed to be tighter, and sallied forth onto the floor to try to find something not-beige.

    I tried on about 27 bras and none of them fit. Half of them were 18DDs of various other brands than the one I’d fitted. The other half were hopeful attempt at 18D or E, or 20D or 16E because they seemed the relevant size up or down from the 18DDs that didn’t fit. I had one tiny piece of hope with a sports bra, but it was only in stock in 18D and 20C. I left in despair, but luckily I thought to check Meyers across the mall, and there was that very sports bra in 18DD, and it was even a nice blue. And it did fit. Yay! I wanted a sexy one and a sports one, so at least I’m part way there.

    But there’s no way I’m going to buy a bra over the net after that experience. The sizes just aren’t standard enough.

  165. Elusis-
    I went to the Nordstrom in that same mall just this past weekend, and the lady who helped me was really nice, but I could tell that I was pushing their size range at a 36DD.

    I went to the Lane Bryant in Portrero Center (at Portrero and 16th) and the ladies there were even better! Plus, Lane Bryant’s bras are all buy 2, get 2 free right now. Either they run small, or the lady at Nordys didn’t fit me as well as I thought because in the LB bras I wear a 38DDD. Regardless of the size, this is the second day in a row I am wearing the microfiber balcony bra and I love it! And you can’t beat 4 awesome bras for $60. I think I am going to order a few more.

  166. Not to change the subject from bras to panties – but does anyone else have a problem finding panties that match these “newfound well – fitting” bras? I can’t believe I found my line of bras now (Chantel carries “E” size that works for me) – but they only have THONGS to match????? My butt cannot fit in them and my stomach pooches out over the top — what’s the deal???? Has anyone found full coverage (NOT GRANDMA) briefs (kind of like the old 50’s full coverage bathing suit bottoms? — I need it) to match these NONGrandma bras – GEESH????

  167. This is awesome. (This is also my first response, which indicates how awesome this post is to draw me out of lurking.)

    I’ve been struggling with my own Rack of Doom for more than half of my life: I reached full size at 14, and am 29 now. I’ve been uncomfortably wearing 34D or 32DD, as 1) that was the size my mother decided I was, and 2) those were generally the smallest band sizes I could find with cups large enough to somewhat contain the boobs. I’ve had to wear them with the bands hooked over as tight as they would go and with the straps cinched so tightly that I’ve now got permanent dents in my shoulders. Lo and behold, after proper measurements, turns out I’m a 30E. This is not a size that I have EVER seen in a local department store, so thanks to all for passing on the heads-up about Figleaves and Bravissimo. I’ve ordered three bras from the former and two strappy tops and a one-piece swimsuit from the latter. The bras are pretty! They look like the sexy things from evil Victoria’s Secret that my husband wants me to wear but that never come in my size! They’re what my mom always told me wasn’t available for big girls like us (Rack of Doom is hereditary: I got it from mom, who got it from her mom, who got it from HER mom, etc.)! I’m still not brave enough to try a bikini (another thing that “big girls like us don’t wear”), but maybe that will come with time.

    A heads-up about Von Maur department stores: they do carry some of the brands that make larger sizes. I’ve seen Le Mystere there, and I bought a Chantelle 32DD there that almost fits. I don’t remember seeing 30s there, though.

  168. Alas, I have the opposite of a Rack of Doom. In my skinny teen years, I was a 32 “barely B”. In my 20’s & 30’s, I have gotten gradually fatter. Most of the weight is in my ass/thighs/belly, and the dreaded backfat. Boobs? Nope! As I’ve “inched” up to 34B, 36B, 38B, and then 42B (seemingly available only in boxed bras), my boobs have also deflated, due to age (39 and holding). So when my 42B bras became too tight, I tried 44B, but the cup size of a 44B is HUGE compared to my actual breasts. Forget trying to find a 44A! There is no such thing. I thought maybe I could make do with a smaller band size and bra extenders, but I can never get the hooks to line up vertically — if the extender’s hooks are one inch above the other, the bra’s hooks are 3/4 inch above each other, or vice versa. Also, in a smaller band bra, the cups are too close together! Weird, huh? I wish I knew how to sew a bra, or where to find someone who could tailor-make some for me, because I refuse to wear an underwire, I don’t feel comfortable wearing sheer cups – I prefer a bit of padding for modesty, whether it’s a cold day or not, and I hate when there’s a big bulky seam bisecting each cup. Basically, I want my bra to appear to be invisible and smooth beneath my shirt. Is that too much to ask? Any advice for someone in the MD/VA area would be appreciated.

  169. Oh, also, this is why I get frustrated at Lane Bryant, Avenue, etc. — Their 18/20 pants & skirts fit me, but the even the size 14 tops are for women with MUCH bigger chests than mine. If I were a perfectly proportionate size 14/16 or 18/20, I would dress to show off my curves, but it’s harder to feel “womanly” when I’m so pear-shaped. I do have better luck with mix-and-match clothes at Dress Barn Woman.

  170. I love La Petite Coquette in NYC. It’s in Manhattan on University and 12th St. I believe you can order online from their website, too: http://www.thelittleflirt.com/
    The women at the store are great. no measuring tapes, just evaluating how different bras suit you.
    Don’t get scared off by the super-expensive stuff they feature; there are plenty of reasonably priced bras, too!

  171. I’m not sure if I count in this discussion but I’m an over-weight male who started wearing bras for support of my man-boobs. I go between a 48B in Goddess to a 44C in Cacique. My problem along with some other ladies in this discussion is finding larger band sizes with smaller cups. I’ve found Lane Bryant easiest for shopping since they do not mind my trying bras on and helping me pick the out. Other shops sometimes have problems with that though. Any advice on where to shop?

  172. Eh…great discussion, but I had to give up reading the responses halfway due to eyestrain! Just wanted to give some props to the Panache Tango II balconette (underwire) bra, which I wear in a size 40H and has

    SOLVED my side-boobage problems
    SOLVED my fabric-not-laying-flat-in-cleavage problems
    Comes in LACY styles
    Comes in PRETTY colors

    The only issue I have with this miracle bra is that the underwires come up pretty far in the cleavage. But all I ever wear are scoop-neck t-shirts, so it’s rare that I have any bra peeking out.

    And yeah, it’s pricey, but neither I nor hubby wants to see these puppies sagging, so we spend the money. Oh yeah, they hold up well in regular laundry loads too; I have four of them and have had them all since 2006. With regular laundering the only problem I have is that sometimes the hooks come open in the wash and the hooks tangle in other clothing. A ridiculously minor issue!

    Thank you all!

  173. I’m adding a word of warning about figleaves.

    Great bras, great range of sizes, great customer service etc.

    However, and you apparently have to dig through their help to find this out, they bill as a foreign currency transaction which can get costly quickly. And if you return stuff? An other transaction.

    I just ordered a bunch of stuff, returned almost all of it, and my $56 bra will cost me $56 + $4.50 shipping + $38 in foreign currency transaction fees. I could have ordered that same bra in many different places for a fraction of that $99.

    So yeah, I need a new credit card company, but had figleaves been upfront about this, I would have billed it to a different card or written a cheque.

  174. Desperate Seeking Bra….

    I wear a 42H and must find a black strapless long-line bra or bustier. I finally found one but the top of the cups comes up so high that it peaks out of the two dresses I need the bra for.

    I have tried every online source I can find including every link on this page and have contacted by phone or email every store I can find.

    Any ideas – no matter how far fetched – would be greatly appreciated!!!

  175. Hmm. Anyone got suggestions for someone like me?

    Figleaves seems to be perfect…. “1 search results for › Bra › 28C”, while 28 is already too wide for me, but the smallest they offer. (But at least, while it’s ugly, it’s cheap… Just 110 bucks. Haha!)

    Noone seems to believe there are petite women with breasts… Well, I’m gonna keep cutting off a couple of cms of the bands of the best bras available to fit me.

  176. Hi I know this thread is old I just wanted to add that any chain will vary greatly when it comes to fittings. No matter what the training each fitter may be different in her approach.

    I’m from the UK so I don’t know about US stores. I used to work as a fitter for La Senza which apricotmuffins was criticising above. I always tried to measure people the proper way but many women wouldn’t listen to me. It got to the stage where I would hold a tape measure round them to keep up the facade then just go out and get bras that I knew would fit them. And I was always right.

    What annoyed me most was when people requested a fitting and just wanted a size. I would try to tell them that they have to try things on but so often they’d ignore me. I had so many women come in saying they were 36C I’d fit them as a 32F and they would buy a 36C. I even had Jordan the big busted celebrity come in and buy ridiculously undersized bras. I would have given her advice on proper fitting but she didn’t look like she wanted anyone to talk to her. In fact she glowered at me as if daring me to suggest the cups were too small.

    I have no loyalty to La Senza as they treat their employees badly and are owned by a misogynist (Theo Paphitis who basically hates having to employ women – don’t run lingerie stores then you moron) Anyway, I still after six years have some gorgeous unpadded Fcup bras that fit me beautifully. I don’t know which store was visited by apricotmuffins but I found the selection fine, haven’t been for a while though so maybe it’s gone down hill. Also, La Senza was bought by Paphitis along with Contessa which he now no longer owns. It wasn’t a case of one taking over the other.

    I know it is unlikely that lots of people who visit this site will be getting implants but a warning: Don’t believe the sizes that the doctor tells you. I once had a customer upset that her new boobs wouldn’t fit in a 34C which is the size she had requested for implants. She was an E or F cup and understandably a little annoyed.

    These days I go to Bravissimo although as a 36F (sometimes a 34FF depending on brand) I have most of the department stores (like Debenhams and M&S) doing my size for when I’m low on cash. M&S are fine for the more mainstream large sizes just don’t let them try and fit you. I got a beautiful satin balconette bra for £1 in the sale. That’s when being a less usual size pays off; the sales never have 34B in heh heh.

    Sorry this is so long. Despite my change in career I’m still quite passionate about correct bra fittings. I still cringe when I see women’s straps riding up at the back or with cups so tight there are four breast bulges. I want to approach them and help but, you know, it’s rather innappropriate to talk to a stranger about her underwear.

  177. Actually, I am fat woman who used to work at Victoria’s Secret, and let me tell you it was a horrific experience.

    Employees are required to try on every style of bra the store carries and write on a chart hung up in the back room how they fit us and what the pros and cons of each were.

    Well, I have a rack of doom, and most of the bras don’t go up to my size, but my managers told me I had to try them on anyway and imagine what they’d be like if they fit.

    It was incredibly embarrassing and made me feel horrible about myself. But at the point I saw that as something wrong with me, not a terrible way to treat employees.

  178. I’m getting a little desperate for a good bra fitter closer to the Long Beach, CA area. Lane Bryant has been a disaster and the two nearby Nordstroms were not too interested in fitting a fat woman. Suggestions would be appreciated.

    *returns to googling and muttering under her breath*

  179. Pingback: Boobs a Lot, N00bs a Lot « fat fu

  180. I bit the bullet and had the reduction down to a DD, LOVE IT! For the DDs, I like CATO’S bra and panty sets. You buy seperatly, but they are definitely matching! Also, HipsandCurves.com. Great site! Sells, bras, panties, bustier, teddies, corsets, shoes, COSTUMES! Online, pluse size only lingerie store with great looking stuff.

    There was a store in Dallas called Underneath it All, that was a plus size lingerie store………it was SO FABULOUS. Alas, it moved and I never did find it again!

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  182. I recently had Nordstrom re-size me, and also had the experience of being put into a band size that was at least one smaller than I thought I needed – it felt way too tight and not at all comfortable. The fitter told me that the strap has to be tight enough to do its job (she said the band should do 90% of the work), that most people buy a band size at least a size or two too large, and promised me in two weeks it would be perfect. So I bought the bra, then two weeks passed and – she was absolutely right. It stretched out enough that I went from the loosest hooks to the medium hooks, and it now fits the way it’s supposed to. So if the bra your fitter puts you into something that feels too tight, consider that it’s going to stretch!

    Incidentally, Nordstrom put me into a 36F. The fitter (and I use that term loosely) at Victoria’s Secret told me I’m a 40D.

  183. Anyone have advice on somewhere in Arizona? I seem to have grown out of Target’s bra selection :s (disclaimer: I am not fat. I thought I was for a while, but this is because I am teenage and female and live in America.) After my poor 36C bras were grubby and overstretched and barely covering my nipples, I convinced my mother I needed new bras. Well, target only goes up to a D-cup, so I left with six 38D bras that are too big in the band and too small in the cup. (And the pretty bras stopped at a C cup, which pissed me off.) I’m guessing I’m really about a 36E, but as wonky as clothing sizes tend to be and as vague as the bra sizing guides I found were, I am in no way sure about that. (32″ ribcage, 40″ bust)

    The only Nordstrom’s in the entire state are in the Phoenix area, and like hell am I going to Phoenix for bras. I wouldn’t be able to anyway, on account of how I can’t drive and there is no way in HELL one of my parents would drive me two hours to bra shop. My mother suggested Dillards, and online they seem to have a decent size selection, but I ahven’t seen anyone mention them? There also appears to be a Lane Bryant sort of near me, but I am quite posssibly too thin for anything from there. (I measured myself earlier. Holy hell, I have a 40-32-43 figure.)

    tl;dr: Tucson, Arizona. 32″ ribcage and 40″ bust. Halp?

  184. As a lady of serious bazongas myself, I can recommend a wonderful, woman-owned store in Nashville, TN: Rebecca Vaughn Lingerie. I live in philly now but I will only trust my girls (who come in around 34G or 36F, depending) to them. It’s worth the travel.

  185. Because of this post, I just flew to Chicago (which allowed for a delightful visit with friends) and went to Intimacy myself. And it was, truly, a fabulous experience, for all of the reasons you mentioned. Thank you very much!

  186. Secrets from your sister in Toronto is fantastic. I’m not just saying this because I used to work there. I was a customer first, and it was the only store I had ever been to that carried bras in my size (32F at the time) that were actually pretty. And on display. Not hidden away like some horrible secret. SFYS is a bit of a younger, quirkier store, and it’s stock reflects this, although they also carry great basics.

    As for fittings… I will again, heartily recommend getting a fitting at a good boutique near you. Ideally your fitter should be able to not only tell you your size, but explain to you what she is looking for in terms of fit. A good fitter will also know how different companies and styles cut their bras, and will be able to bring different sizes to compensate. In terms of varieties of body shapes and sizes, you should never be made to feel uncomfortable. I’m disgusted to hear stories about rude fitters, although sadly, these aren’t the first I’ve heard. And when it comes to feeling nervous about standing half naked in front of a stranger, keep in mind that they see scores of half naked ladies (and in my stores case, gentlemen) everyday. Also, part of my fit training was to get a fitting on myself, and later I acted as a “fit model” for other fitters-in-training. So I’ve kind of been there too.

    Sizes and bra requests: one of the awfulest things ever in my former bra slinging life, was not being able to offer a customer what she wanted. Most boutiques do not make their bras, so they have to rely on what companies are manufacturing. Although things have gotten so much better over the years, there are still huge gaps in the market. As well, sometimes a company will make sizes/ styles that fill the gaps, but a store will not carry them because they fit poorly. Bras are complicated bits of engineering, and not everyone does it right. Lastly, not everything is possible. I would love a seamless cotton bra. But I know that cotton tends to stretch and sag, especially without the added structure of seaming… so for my size (32FF) it’s probably not going to work.

    Actually, on that note, I have a complaint. I don’t think there is a lack of pretty bras for RODoomy ladies. If you know where to look, there are many gorgeous options (Freya, Fantasie, Panache, Prima Donna, Avianna, Elomi). But there is really a lack of simple non-lacy options, especially for those above GG.

    I realize this is a huge rant. I could probably go on forever, as this is really important to me, but I’ll cut myself off now.

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