I'm A Bra Fit Specialist At Nordstrom -- Here Are 5 Tips For Getting The Right Bra Size
This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.
“I’m not sure what my size is.”
If I had a penny for how many times I’ve heard this phrase, I could tile my kitchen floor with them and stare at little Lincoln faces all day long. I’m always surprised at how many women either go years without getting fit for a bra or have never even been measured for one. But I also love it because of the big smiles women have on their faces when they leave me in their correct bra size.
Working as a Bra Fit Specialist, I can say that all stores measure for bras differently. My best advice for anyone who wants to be fitted is to go to a department store. Department stores have the largest range in sizes and styles compared to any other store. I work at Nordstrom and our band sizes range from a 30 to a 46 and our cups go from A to JJ. I can’t tell you the horror stories I have heard from women who have gone to Victoria’s Secret to get fit, and have gotten sizes so far off the mark that I’m not sure what part of their anatomy that salesgirl was measuring.
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When I do a fit, first I start by getting your band measurement. I take my measuring tape and measure you around, just underneath your bust line. Some stores will next measure you around your bust, and the difference they get between the two measurements will be your cup size. My store doesn’t do that because that method can be unreliable.
Instead, after getting your band size, I will grab my fit bra and try it on you to get your cup size. We might have to try on a few different cup sizes to get your exact size, so patience is key. My store has three different styles of fit bra because we realize not all women are built the same.
Working as a Bra Fit Specialist, I’ve had many different experiences, so here are some things to keep in mind when you come in for your next fit:
1. Don’t Be Shy
I can’t tell you how many times I go in for a fitting and women are shocked that I’m going to help them try on bras. I’m a fitter. That’s what I do. How am I supposed to know how the bra fits you, if I don’t see it on you? I can assure you that in a day, I see just as many breasts as a mammogram technician. From young girls getting their first fitting to women in their 80s, I have seen it all. There is no need to be shy around me.
2. I’m Not A Magician
There are times when women come into my department and want to have a quick 5-minute fit, buy some bras, and get out of there. I understand this. NOBODY likes to try on bras. Most women come in and tell me they dread it. But for a truly good fit, I need at least 15 minutes, if not more.
While I know some bra fit veterans who can glance at someone and know their size, most of us are not quite that skilled and need the time to assess your size, shape, and know what bra works best for you. I constantly say that trying on bras is all about trial and error. I’ll bring an arm full of bras into the fitting room, but by the time we get to the 3rd one that doesn’t fit, women don’t want to keep trying. Sometimes that 4th bra is the one that fits perfectly. Please be patient.
3. Trust your Fitter
All women are shaped differently, and all bras are cut differently. One bra that works for one woman, will not work for another. As a fitter, I’m going to try my hardest to find the bra that you want, whether it be soft-cup, demi-cup, plunge, racerback, or full coverage. But I need you to trust that I know my inventory better than anyone else, and that I know what bras are going to work for your shape.
Some women get frustrated with me because I don’t have exactly what they pictured in their head. You are going to have to work with me. Let me bring you some styles that I think will work well for you, even if they're not what you had in mind. You may be surprised at just how well a different style works.
4. Bras Are an Investment
Have you ever heard the phrase “Cheap tattoos aren’t good, and good tattoos aren’t cheap?” Well, I think the phrase stands true for bras as well. Good bras are always worth the money. Your bra is going to be on your body all day long. You want to invest in one that is comfortable, that makes you look good, and is going to last. Cheap bras from cheap stores aren’t going to last very long.
Most good bras only have about 100 wears in them. Most women should have at least four bras in their wardrobe, but ideally you should have seven, one for each day of the week. Never wear the same bra two days in a row. Bras need time to rest in between wears. I can’t tell you how horrified I am when I have a customer come in and they only have one bra that they have worn every day for a year. Typically I’ll have that customer walking out in a new bra and that old one goes straight into my trash can.
5. Your Body is Beautiful
So many women feel the need to trash their bodies when they are in a fit with me. Be proud of your body. Don’t try to study every little flaw you think you have when you are trying on bras. Look at the big picture. Look at how a great bra lifts you up, gives you great support, and feels amazing. Don’t stare at that small amount of skin that hangs over the band. Every woman has that and worries about that, from slim girls to voluptuous women. Some customers call it “back fat.” In my business we call it “angel wings.”
And trust me when I say that ALL WOMEN have one breast that is bigger than the other. It’s just another reason to find you a great-fitting bra.
I actually hadn’t been measured for a bra until I became a bra fitter. If I could go back in time and get fitted when I was a teenager, I would have saved myself years of grief from bands riding up my back, cups having too much space, and straps falling down. Knowing my right size not only changed how I looked, but how I felt. I can never overstate how much wearing the right size bra can change your quality of life for the better.