The Bump and Hustle - Bra Fitting is Feminist

My guest-expert post is now up on the Bump and Hustle blog, check it out here. Anyone who knows me well, (or at all, really) treats me as their go-to bra expert, which is great because I love talking about bra fitting and helping women in an area that is very confusing to most. Indeed it was six weeks of training and job shadowing before I was a trusted bra fitter. And you keep learning as you go, and over time I've become very comfortable with the title 'bra expert'.

Though some women are embarrassed to talk about bras, I'm not. I have always felt it's extremely important to share the information I have learned because it shouldn't be so hard for women to be comfortable and well supported. The fitting system is complicated and I know for myself as a young woman it was very distressing to go bra shopping. I even cried once in a Bay store. How humiliating is it to be forced in to grandma bras at 16? Very humiliating.

I feel in a lot of ways that bra fitting is a feminist act. We're forced by society to wear bras (I love wearing them but by no means am I delusional enough to believe they are physically required for our  health) due to years of social conformity to a particular look and silhouette.  The thing is, I don't imagine in my lifetime that women will suddenly change their minds and decide that wearing a bra isn't required anymore. So, since we're in for a lifetime of it ladies, might as well do it right. No more grandma bras, no more sore shoulders, no more straps falling off, no more sports bra injuries. Only stuff we love; stuff that looks great and feels great.

Ask yourself if a man would stand an uncomfortable garment for even five minutes? Men complain about wearing ties and even those aren't particularly uncomfortable. Would they deal with pants coming in only 32-36" waists at the clothing store? Imagine the outrage if companies just stopped carrying size Large briefs and only offered Small and Medium. It would be pandemonium!

Alas this is the reality with bras. Most stores carry only 34, 36, 38, B/C/D and some DD. Bras are available in 28-44 (and slightly beyond, smaller and larger, in some brands) in cups AA-L. That's a lot more sizes!! The only way to combat the evil large bra manufacturers that want us all to be 36C's is to actively seek out and buy only the right size.  What really grinds my gears lately is bra boutiques that claim to offer fitting but then carry limited brands, thus still leaving out a huge range of women. These stores pretend to offer all sizes but still carry only the large back sizes in the larger cups, assuming if you are busty, you must also be overweight. Tell Scarlett Johansson, Christina Hendricks or Katy Perry that, right? All three of those women are 32 backs at the most, ScarJo and KP probably 30". These so-called fitting boutiques that don't carry 28-34" backs are leaving them out entirely from the store. Ach! It makes me mad.

I'll refrain from naming names because they at least offer more selection than Victoria's Secret, but if they aren't doing fitting 100% the right way and are still selling bras with backs that are too large, they are as much a part of the problem as VS is.

Here's a video that explains fitting produced by one of the most reputable bra companies in the world, Fantasie:

If you want to continue to learn more about it, you can follow along on, where I'm the resident blogger. Back to the topic at hand, the Bump and Hustle blog, and my expert post there.

I have to say helping Kat with Bump and Hustle was pretty fun. The blog is great and she was easy to work with. She wrote to me to explain that she couldn't understand why her 34B bra didn't fit post baby and asked me to be an expert on her blog on the topic. The funny thing is I knew right away that 34B wasn't the right size pre-baby let alone post-baby. I say it's funny because Kat and I haven't seen each other in person since college. But I could remember quite well her general figure, and she's in no way a 34, likely wasn't even a 34 when pregnant. So I recommended changing to a 32C which is the same cup, with the smaller back and presto, it fit perfectly. I knew it would.

I'm able to guess what bra size a woman is wearing, and what size she should be wearing, just by looking at her. It's much like riding a bicycle. Once you get it, you just get it and you can't lose it. I've learned however that sharing this information in social settings should be avoided. I remember one time a gal asking me over and over and over what size she should be, since she'd heard I was some sort of bra whisperer. She told me she had just purchased a number of 36DD bras. I finally cracked and let her know that size was wrong I would try something like a 32F. Well, despite a 32F actually being the same cup with a smaller back (therefore a much smaller bra) she burst out into tears. In the middle of the party. Not exactly the best ice breaker!

bra fitting guide for a store with specific brand notes as related to the brands they sell.
complicated, what? whatever do you mean? click to enlarge.
also, don't ever buy a "jeunique bra". just trust me on that one.

So now my policy is fairly strict. I try to speak about the band sizes only, because for some odd reason the numbers aren't nearly as upsetting for women to talk about as the cups. Coming back to my point about bra fitting being feminist, I'd like to point out that only a patriarchal system would create such a horrid, complicated system for sizing, and then make it so shrouded in mystery and difficult to understand.

In Canada there isn't a nation-wide chain that carries all sizes. Change is reputable and offers a large range at good prices. In Toronto, try secrets from your sister, (if you think I'm biased, maybe you'll trust Jeanne Beker instead) Sophia's on the Danforth or Tryst. I've heard Diane's is good in Vancouver, but I don't have tips for you  on Montreal or anywhere else. I'm sorry!

If you live in the US, check out Intimacy. They offer fitting and a huge range of sizes and styles and are helping the revolution along in spades. Their tagline is even "changing women's lives" and though that might sound like an overstatement, it is anything but. A good fitter will change your life, if you haven't ever been fit before.

If you live in the UK, check out Bravissimo. They specialize in D cups +, but they offer fittings, clothing, swimwear even pjs designed for gals on the busty side. P.S. D cup isn't really so busty - in my estimation I'd say that D cup gals make up easily 50% of the population if  not more.

Lets hope that soon enough the statistic that 75% of women wear the wrong size is no more, and that women will be able to find bras in all sizes much more easily, especially in North America. After all, we're worth it.

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