Friday, November 12, 2010

Adventures in Bra Buying

Did you know that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra? I didn't know this either until I was informed by a good friend of mine recently. I've heard vague references from different friends over the years to getting professionally fitted for a bra. It was always something that kind of went in one ear and out the other for me; on some level I guess I assumed that getting professionally fitted for a bra was for women who took their breasts very seriously because they were either very well-endowed and/or had something to show off. I don't fit into either of those categories. These puppies have been work horses for the past NINE years. The days of showcasing anything are long, long behind me, and my bra criteria has pretty much been comfort and functionality, period.

Still, when my girlfriend told me recently that most women wear the wrong size bra, and then shared her own bra-sizing revelations with me, and finished up by showing me her beautiful new boobs in a beautiful new bra that had been professionally fitted, my curiosity was piqued. Hmmmm . . . have I been wearing the wrong size bra like millions of my breast-owning sisters? I had to find out.

Not being eager to actually go somewhere and have somebody knowledgeable measure me (which would involve revealing at least a little naked flesh to them, which makes me shudder with insecurity), I figured I could probably figure it out myself with the help of the internet. I took my iPad into the bathroom (see how convenient that is?) along with a handy-dandy seamstress tape measure and Googled "bra sizing" and was directed to many, many different sites which all confirmed that there is, indeed, a wrong-bra-size-wearing epidemic, and which each gave a different method and formula for measuring and determining Your Correct Bra Size. Some advised that I needed to measure around my ribcage under the sisters, and depending on if I came up with an even or an odd number, round to the nearest something-or-other, while other sites instructed me to measure around higher up under my armpits and then subtract from that number the age of my dog's mother, while still other sites asked me to measure my left leg and divide that by the last four digits of my social security number. Okay, I kid. But seriously, there were several formulas, and each one gave me a different Correct Bra Size.

Let me back up and just say straight out that I've been wearing a 34C bra, but doing so with the knowledge that it's not the right size (even before my friend enlightened me). During the height of nursing when I was proudly milk-filled, I filled out a 34C to perfection. But nursing has dwindled, as have the size of the girls, and somewhere in the back of my mind I've figured that I am, at this point, probably more like a 34B (which is almost hysterically funny because I come from a long line of natural-born DDs).

Anyhoo. So according to these different sites, my Correct Bra Size is anything from a 30A (ha!) to a 36C. This was not helping to solve the big mystery. It was clearly time to bite the bullet and get professionally fitted for a bra. Ugh.

So I strode confidently into the Nordstrom lingerie department this morning, trying to disguise my insecurity and bra-sizing ineptitude, and smiling at the first twenty-something-cute-as-a-button-firm-bodied-girl-who-clearly-has-never-had-one-let-alone-SIX-babies-literally-suck-the-life-out-of-her-breasts who approached me and asked if she could help me, I said, "I'd like to get fitted for a bra." She was very nice. She took me back to the fitting rooms and asked me to take my top off, whereupon I was immediately overcome with the need to inform her that I've had SIX kids and even my husband doesn't get to see me with my shirt off. She just laughed (in a nice way), and I did as she instructed. She measured me and announced that my Correct Bra Size is . . . (drum roll, please) . . .


So much for the big revelation.

Anyway, she had me try on about a dozen different bras. Some of them I didn't like, some I did (I LOVED the Bra-llelujah by Spanx - super comfortable). I ended up buying four bras and spending a shitload of money on them, which I now feel completely guilty about and am already considering returning two of. I also got suckered into buying a $6.50 bottle of special detergent to hand wash my new bras in, because apparently anything else - even Woolite - will ruin the elasticity of these pricey brassiers, and apparently special Nordstrom scientists have developed the one and only exact detergent formula to maximize the life of them. Yeah, like I'm actually going to hand wash my bras. Come on.

All in all, I would summarize the experience as humbling humiliating, and very expensive. I am left feeling even more depressed about my body than I was before.

Oh, and I think I will be buying my 34Bs at Target from here on out, thank you very much.


Alex and Kristi said...

I am very proud of you for going and getting fitted. It is very nerve wracking but your friends are right...most women do wear the wrong size. I got fitted at Nordstrom a couple years back! I was wearing the waaaaayyyy wrong size!!

heather said...

I just got professionally fitted for the first time too. I had been wearing a 36C. I went to VS for my fitting and found out I am a 32-34D. I couldn't believe how much their bras cost. I could only justify buying one at $50 a bra.
P.S. Victoria Secret's measured me under the armpits for the number.

Mumofone said...

I feel I could write a thesis on my experience with being professionally fitted for a bra. From the time my mother took me aged 13 (nothing like your mother taking you to be "fitted" and having the two of them discuss you...I'm sure you get the picture) to my own experiences of being a 32DD before my first baby to becoming a 34F (a rude shock!). I've mostly got over my humiliation at being fitted because it does make a difference to feel comfortable - and the one thing I've learnt since breastfeeding....I'm never going back to underwire bras!!!!