(Note: As promised, here is the first guest post from Sadie M.)
I met Darlene when I answered her ad for a fit model for her blouse prototype. â€œSomeoneâ€™s finally going to help us women who have a tough time finding this supposed â€˜basicâ€™ wardrobe staple?â€ I thought. â€œSign me up!â€ Darlene and I got to talking and quickly found ourselves swapping intel on our favorite fitters, bras, swimsuits, and stores, and sheâ€™s asked me to share some of my years of research here.
If youâ€™re new to the world of there-is-a-size-beyond-DDâ€¦and-it-fits! club, welcome! There really are sports bras, lingerie, swimsuits, and bras made especially for us, and Iâ€™ll be guest blogging my favorite finds in these categories over the next few weeks. If you still havenâ€™t been to a fitter, well, all I can say is this: wearing the right bra is like getting a whole body makeover. It changes the way you view your body; your clothes fit better, you look five or ten pounds lighter, and you just start to feel more â€¦ normal, less freak of nature.
MY FIRST FITTING
Nine years ago, I walked into The Wizard of Bras in Monrovia, California, wearing a navy blue satin 36 DD bra with cups that were gaping past my rib cage, straps tightened to the tippy top to give me what I thought was lift, and a terrible case of double boob I attempted to camouflage with a loose fitting top. It was my junior year at a small university near Pasadena, CA, and my upstairs neighbor in my apartment complex, with whom Iâ€™d swapped bra-shopping nightmares, had recently dropped by to tell me how this store had, in her words, changed her life.
â€œIâ€™m a 36F !â€ she told me. She knew it sounded huge, she said, but the bra fit perfectly. â€œYou have to go.â€
Having recently been shamed at Victoriaâ€™s Secret (â€œWe donâ€™t make anything in your sizeâ€) and given a 40DD by a perplexed saleswoman at a department store, I headed to the Wizard of Bras with some reservations. Those were immediately laid to rest as soon as I began my fitting. Though I wasnâ€™t impressed by the shopâ€™s grungy exterior or worn interior, my fitter immediately made me start to appreciate my body. â€œSmall ribcage, large cup size â€“ best problem to have!â€ she said. She measured me, put me in a the right size (32FF), and found me a pretty, age appropriate style by Freya that, along with a matching pair of underwear, totaled around $60. Best of all, she gave me some great fitting tips that have helped me judge bras on my own when, for example, I order styles online that I canâ€™t find in stores.
FITTING TIPS FROM THE WIZARD
First, she told me not to let anyone put me in a larger band to get a bigger cup size ever again. The band gives the bra most of its support, not the straps, she explained; the band needs to fit snug against your rib cage, lying straight across the back, never in an upside down U. Second, the cups should separate the breast tissue â€“ no uniboob! And last, she told me not to worry about the cup size. I thought it sounded freakishly large, but she said it was one of their most popular sizes. And she was right. A few months after I was fitted, I was shopping in a department store in England, where, finding one bra I liked but not in a 32FF, the saleswoman informed me it was on backorder because of the demand. FFs and Gs were the first to go, she said. If so many women wear sizes bigger than a DD, what the heck took the American market so long to catch on?!
The great news is that since then, stores have gradually started to expand their sizes. Though New York has a handful of specialty stores that carry up to a size O (yes, O!), you can also now find big-busted faves like Freya, Fantasie, and Le Mystere at Saks and Nordstromâ€™s. And once you know your size, you can hop online to the wonderful world of herroom.com, figleaves.com, and lindasonline.com. Weâ€™ve still got a ways to go (Iâ€™ll share my experiences with bridal gowns and corsets as well as trying to find any sort of pretty sweet nothings), but for now, happy fitting â€“ and shopping!