I’m not sure which bra-fitting experience I want to categorize as my first one, or my first “good” one. Certainly not my mom saying “I guess you need a bra now”, taking me to JC Penney’s and going “well, when I was your age, I was about this size. Let’s go with this one.” I came out of that with a 32A or 34A, most likely.
Much better than that was the time in Thailand; we were there while visiting some relatives and wandered into the lingerie section of a department store. The girls there were comfortable and seemed knowledgeable. Despite not being able to communicate (my aunt and cousin did the interpreting for us non-Thai speakers) I have to say it went really well (comfort-wise). The girl who helped me first eyeballed me and then measured me with her hands (I think. She put her hands against the side of my bust, kind of the way they lift up puppies for scrutinization in the movies. Except she didn’t lift me up, of course–although that would make an incredibly awesome bra-fitting story.). I came out with 36Bs. Okay, not at all accurate… I might (or might not, I lack any sense of spatial perception) have been chubbier than I am now but definitely not 36 inches. Maybe they use the +4 rule there.
Between that and my next fitting was me blundering through several years of the following ideas:
“Maybe my bras are funky because they’re bras and that’s the way bras feel.”
“Maybe my bras are funky because they’re old. I’ll buy a new one in the same size.”
“Maybe my bras are funky because I’ve outgrown them. Outgrowing means, like as in clothes, I need to up my size.” And I’d go up a cup size. (Thank goodness I didn’t up my band size.)
Then, college graduation started looming over my head. I don’t think I actually realized that none of my bras fit; I just wanted something nice, and maybe stayed hidden under this really nice shirt I liked but never dared wear because my bras always showed under the lace sleeve. So I went to Yelp and looked up stores in Manhattan that sold bras and also did fittings (and with good reviews). The good ones were very pricey, but I reasoned that bras seem pretty important, so I’ll splurge on a good one if it turns out to be worth the expense.
Since this is an overview of my bra-wearing life, I’ll just summarize the differences in decision-making and bra-fitting and leave the review-like aspects to separate review posts. I went with Kaori’s Closet because it had good reviews and was close to where I was. Also, they sold Japanese brands and were presumably staffed by Asian salespeople who might have more experience with Asian customers. I approached the store with my shirt in tow. The salesperson measured me with a tape and gave me several bras 32DDD (32E). I knew to scoop but she explained hook-tightening over time.
This was the most comfortable thing I’d ever put around my chest, so I decided, this is worth it, and I’m in Manhattan anyway–this is as good as I’ll get in the US for expertise on this kind of thing. For a second fitting, I went to Journelle. Also close to where I was, and with good reviews. The salesperson here congenially asked (of my normal wrong bras) “they ride up in the back, don’t they? It’s because the band is too long.” She also went over hook-tightening. I came out of here with the same 32DDD (32E).
These two bras came at high prices but I got great bras and an education, and even better than that, a curiosity to learn more. After these trips, I dove into bra-fitting blogs and learned about the horrific situation of bra sizes and wearing habits worldwide, bra companies, cuts and styles of bras and clothing, and whatever other subjects bra bloggers touched into. Hooked!