You want to find my bra size how??
Being in the United States there is a major lag in places to go to get a good helpful bra fitting. The things fitters do and the way they size amazes me. There are actually stores that advertise “certified” bra fitters. How they heck do you become certified? Is there a professional organization that lends credibility to this title? Not a thing! It turns out each store or brand has their own program with different requirements. I’m not privy to each program, but it really does not surprise me in the least. No wonder women all over the US have no clue what size bra they wear and just pick up something that they think fits.
On a recent excursion to Dillard’s to buy a sports bra, I listened in on a bra fitting. I was quite surprised at how the fitting was conducted. The “certified fitter” asked the customer to remove their shirt. She immediately stated that she was wearing the incorrect bra size. She went through the measuring process, telling the customer what she was doing the entire time. Once she was done with her measurements she told the customer that she would be back with the sample sizing bras. A sizing bra?? I turns out it is a normally stocked bra, one of the “best sellers” in the store, used just for fitting. I want to know how you can have a sizing bra for each of the vast number of bra sizes, and what happens when someone does not fall into the sizes you have in store. Whether or not the customer came out of it in the right size, she came out sounding happy. So that’s at least something. But I’m not comfortable trying on a sizer bra that has been slipped over the breasts of who knows how many women.
One of the most popular stores in the US for bra shopping is Victoria’s Secret. But I know their secret, and it isn’t a good one. Their secret is fitting more and more women into a smaller and smaller size range. If you go to their store and pick up a bra to try on, you are automatically asked if you want to be sized. It’s their method of sizing that leaves you wondering. Their “bra fitters” have tape measures around their necks, which they will use to size you over your clothing, no consideration for the add two cupsizes bra or the thick sweater you are wearing. They measure around the fullest part of your bust, then above the breasts for the bandsize. Why on earth would you measure there to find something to fit the individual’s ribcage?? I’ll never see the sense in this method of sizing.
Now obviously each line of lingerie will have its own sizing specifications. But most women assume that once they are told that they are XX size, that means that is the size they wear across the board. One of the best things I have ever heard a fitter do is to fit the bra to the individual, while explaining why (or why not) a bra fits. This fitter took the time to explain the purpose of a properly fitted band, how an underwire should encase the full breast, what it means if your band is riding up your back, the straps are digging, or the center gore pulls away from your chest. The fitter explained how a person can wear a different size in a different brand depending on manufactures specifications. She also took the time to explain how different materials can affect the band fit and wear (ie: making them a tighter fit, or stretching faster) and how to properly wash and care for a bra. Unfortunately this is not a common practice, I have experienced it once in a small specialty lingerie shop.
So that is how you end up with people like me. We educate ourselves through online resources, soaking up any information on bra fit, design flaws, what works best, what fails, etc. We pass them on to family and friends, maybe through an internet blog. That is how virtual or Skype fittings have come about. Maybe there is hope for the hard to fit ladies in the US yet.