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I had a bra fitting with a lingerie expert — and it completely changed the way I feel about my breast size

Submitted by Tech Insider on October 12, 2017 - 4:49pm

Bras

The INSIDER Summary:

  • I've long had trouble finding bras that fit me well, and found that mainstream stores fail to cater to my body type as a woman with large breasts.
  • I had a bra fitting with an expert fitter from Simone Perele, a popular designer with large-chested women that carries sizes from a 30 A to a 42 H.  
  • Two completely different sizes of bras — a size 30 F and 32 D — both fit me.
  • I learned that the shape of your breasts, and not just your size, can determine the way a style of bra will fit.
  • I also left feeling more confident, and even found bra shopping to be fun — something I thought wasn't possible.

Finding a bra that fits properly is a lot harder than it might seem — especially if, like me, you're a woman with naturally large breasts.

Mainstream lingerie stores like Victoria's Secret fail to cater to my body type, so my options are often limited. Having larger breasts has also narrowed down the types of bras I can wear; I've never been able to wear bralettes or bras with spaghetti straps, and usually wear structured bras with full-coverage cups and thick straps since they offer the best support.

As with clothes, sizing is also a complex matter. For reference, I'm usually between sizes 30 E and F, but I also own bras that fit in other sizesincluding a 32 D sports bra designed by a British brand. Moving to the US from the UK has made bra shopping even more complicated, since sizes don't always translate internationally.

Hoping to learn more about how a bra should fit, I consulted a professional bra fitter from the lingerie designer Simone Perele at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was curious to see what the experience of a fitting with the designer — which is especially popular with large-chested women — could teach me about finding the perfect fit.

Here's what it was like.

The lingerie department at Saks had a luxurious feel, with displays of mannequins wearing delicate lace underwear and silky robes.

Saks lingerie departmentThe lingerie displays at Saks is nothing like you would find at a place like Victoria's Secret. There are no pictures of long-limbed supermodels to compare yourself to on the walls, and the lighting isn't dim like a boudoir, but rather bright with an airy feel. While the mannequins all appeared to represent "straight-size" bodies, I didn't feel intimidated looking around the store.

Looking at the bras on display, I was impressed with the range of sizes and styles available. Simone Perele, the bra designer I would be trying, carries a range of bras from sizes 30 A up to a 42 H. To put that in perspective, Victoria's Secret offers sizes 30 A to 40 DDD.

The fitter greeted me and took me into a large fitting room that was easily three times the size of the average changing room.

Unlike my past experiences at Victoria's Secret, where the fitters measured me over my clothes on the shop floor, the fitter came into the changing room with me and measured me without my bra on.

Before I took off my bra, she noticed that I was wearing a Simone Perele bra — I own a couple of bras from the designer, and didn't realize I'd worn one to the fitting — and even gave me some advice on how to wear it, suggesting that I start wearing it on the middle hook of the band. Since it was a fairly recent purchase, I was still wearing the bra on the first hook; fitters recommend wearing new bras with the first hook fastened, since the band becomes stretchier over time. I was impressed that she could tell, just by looking, that it was time to switch hooks.

Then, the fitter measured me without my bra, first putting the measuring tape around my back and under my breasts, and around the fullest parts of my breasts. From those measurements, she determined that I would fit a 30 or 32 band and either a DD or DDD cup size — but, because Simone Perele is a French designer, she said that in European sizes, I would likely be an E or F cup.

Next, she brought in a number of bras for me to try.

First, I tried the Eden bra ($99) in a size 30 F and it fit like a glove.

Simone Perele Eden bra 30F

My first impression was that I loved the look of the Eden bra. Although it has thick straps, the cute cutout detail on the straps makes it seem more delicate, while still offering support. (In smaller sizes, the bra comes with thinner, spaghetti-like straps.) I also liked that there's a small black lace overlay from the band that adorns part of the cups, which you may not be able to see in the photo above due to the changing room lighting.

As for the fit, it was super comfortable, with the gore (the central part of the bra between the cups) landing flat against my chest, as bra fitters say it should, while the cups were close to my breasts without feeling tight. For each bra I tried, the fitter adjusted the straps a little to make sure the fit was right, too — something that fitters at most mainstream stores won't do.

Next, I tried the Delice bra ($89) in a 30 F, and it was just as supportive even though it had thinner straps.

Simone Perele Delice bra 30F

The Delice bra was just snug enough in the band and the gore, while the cups — which were a slightly different cut to the Eden bra — fit nicely. I still preferred the Eden bra, but I also liked the way this bra looked, with pretty lace details and slim straps, which are often hard to find on a 30 F bra.

I was surprised to find that a completely different size — the Caresse bra ($95) in a 32 D — also had a perfect fit.

Simone Perele Caress bra 32D

Despite being a smaller cup and larger band size than the ones I had tried before, this everyday bra fit properly in the right places. I thought it would make a great T-shirt bra, and I liked the lace detail on the band and gore — one of the brand's fancier, French touches I've noticed on a few styles.

The fitter brought me a couple of bra styles I would never dream of wearing — a push-up bra and a bralette — to see what they would look like. The push-up didn't fit in the cup, but the bralette took me by surprise.

While the fitter brought in bras she thought would fit me best, like the everyday styles above, she also pushed me a little bit out of comfort zone, bringing a push-up bra and bralette for me to try.

The push-up style — the Amour bra ($99) in a 32 E — clearly didn't work for me; even though it felt supportive everywhere else in the straps and the band, it was too big in the cup. The fitter explained that this style of bra didn't fit correctly because of my breast shape, since she said that my breasts aren't as full at the top. It had never occurred to me before that the shape of my breasts could impact the fit of a bra, even if the size was right.

Simone Perele Amour Push-Up in 30 E

The Eden bralette ($74), on the other hand, I was shocked to find actually fit me! Despite thinking I could never in a million years wear a bralette, this one in a size medium — Simone Perele's bralette doesn't come in traditional bra sizes — took me completely by surprise.

Admittedly, it wasn't the most supportive bra and I wouldn't wear it under my everyday clothes, but I loved how it looked and would definitely wear it in the privacy of my own apartment. I didn't include a photo of this one because it's sheer, but it felt like a breakthrough to wear it, and, if only for a brief moment, it made me feel like a goddess.

Having a professional fitting taught me a lot about how a bra should fit, but it also taught me that I can have fun with wearing bras — and that my size isn't the problem.

By now, it's no secret that I don't love shopping for bras. But my experience with the professional fitter showed me that shopping for bras can actually be really fun.

Not only did I find bras that did the bare minimum task of fitting me properly, I also found bras that made me feel beautiful — something that rarely happens to me in a lingerie fitting room. I certainly didn't imagine I would be trying on a push-up bra or a bralette in the fitting, and although the former didn't fit me, the fact that I wore a gorgeous bralette and it fit me made my day. In future, I'll try a bralette again, and maybe I'll even buy one.

As well as more confidence, I left knowing more about how a bra should fit correctly — including the mind-blowing fact that the shape of your breasts, and not just your bra size, can determine which style of bra will work for you. 

Without the fitter's advice, I really wouldn't have known where to begin with the different bra sizes and styles. The fact that both a 30 F and 32 D bra fit me perfectly impressed but also confused me. The next time I go bra shopping, I'm planning on booking in a fitting before even looking at a bra.

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