Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Archive for the category “Physical Store”

A VS Success Story?

A disclaimer, to prevent the post from getting too misleading from the beginning: I did not purchase any bras. Okey yes cool now?

I was at the mall today because Macy’s was having a good sale and I thought I’d give it another try. I’m notoriously horrible at shopping, but guess what? I did get stuff! My goal was tops because I need more than the two I’m rotating for work, so I tried a bunch on but no-go. However, I finally learned what I need for jeans! There are, in fact, not only “petite” jeans but also “petite short” jeans. One guess as to which of these two species fits, and is much harder to find. (Also: they can just make the crushing blow to my totally existent ego a bit more direct by saying “petite” and “petiter” or something… what’s with “petite short”?!) Still, I was able to buy three (three!!) pairs of jeans, at 50% off plus my coupon discount, that hopefully I’ll never have to hem or put painful darts in at the waist.

(Finally getting to the success story now)

Since I was at the mall anyway, I decided to drop into VS to use a $10 off coupon they’d sent me in the mail. The employees there, as I pointed out previously, are really friendly and offer to help all the time. I was there just to buy some comfy undies (I got a megaload of them for $15 with my coupon!) and–here is the “success”–when the salesperson asked if I wanted to get fitted, I (yes, me, the pushover!) told them that VS does not make bras in my bandsize. Here’s the conversation:

(prelude about clarifying no-minimum-y-ness for my coupon)
VS: When was the last time you got fitted?
A: It was a while ago, but I wear a 28 band. I don’t think Victoria’s Secret makes bras in that band…
VS: No, there aren’t any 28 bands. We can give you something else to try though. Are you looking for something specific? A push-up?
A: No, that’s okay, I was just going to look at the underwear.
VS: Okay. I’ll be around to check on you.

A few points:

  • This is the main pro of the conversation: the girl did not at all refute or ignore my being a 28 back or my remark that VS doesn’t make 28s.
  • Yeah, she did offer to put me in a non-28 band, but this, after all, is a business and she didn’t push too hard with something like “I’m sure we can find something that’ll fit”.
  • I actually split before she got around to “checking on me” but another point for good service and sweet personality.
  • I wonder what her response would’ve been if I’d told her my full bra size.
  • Dude the last thing I want is a push-up 😦

And then on my way home, I bought even more stuff. (Massive shopping points! This is good for me, kind of.) I found out that Rite-Aid had the N.Y.C. cosmetics I’ve been hurting for (the local CVSs don’t carry it and there are no local Kmarts) and I bought granola bars and bananas at Safeway. Mmm bananas…

Next post, either tomorrow or the day after, will be another review. Probably the Freya Crystal Plunge.

Review: Journelle

Review: Journelle
(their website; their facebook; yelp)

Journelle was the other bra boutique in Manhattan (besides Kaori’s Closet) that I chose to be fitted at. It’s located right next to Union Square but is far away enough that there isn’t really traffic on that particular street. Yelp has some photos of the storefront. It looks pretty classy inside, not that I really took any time at all to look around myself, but since I’d had that first exhilarating fitting experience already, I wasn’t as intimidated as I could have been.

I marched straight towards the salespeople at the register. I think they might have realized my (slightly abated!) ignorance-fueled desperation, because one of them came straight up and asked me if I needed help. I answered in the affirmative and she grinned. “Yeah, thought so. You look like a girl on a mission!!”

I used the same method as I’d used in Kaori’s closet (“purple shirt, help me underneath it please!”). She took me to the back, where there were several really luxurious and comfortable fitting rooms. Lots of online reviewers liken the store and rooms to a spa; never having spa’d before, I can’t make a comparison, but it was very, very pamper-y.

The fitter measured me with a tape and told me I was between 32 DD and 32DDD (same verdict as Kaori’s Closet. am I drawing too many comparisons between these two?). She brought back lots of bras in those and neighboring sizes (good sign!) in various blacks, darks and nudes. She really focused on giving me a good, comfortable and accurate fit as well as meeting my goal of not having the bra show under the lace shirt. Lots of good fitting advice: start on the loosest hook and go in as the bra relaxes; the bra feels too tight now because you’re used to a loose fit; your bra usually rides up right? loose band’s fault. She really put in a lot of effort, and I felt completely taken care of. I started feeling bad because I was trying so many on, but she just kept at it: “It looks pretty good, but I guess that nude is a little too bright. I’ll go get a darker one.”

A fitter who goes back into hunt mode because a well-fitting nude is too bright for the shirt I want to wear? GOLD!!!

Also, no mention at all of matching panties/anything: props! From me, at least.

The bras were all full price and really expensive. Three dollar signs on Yelp; some of the bras were over $100. Didn’t stop me from trying them on, but they were definitely eliminated as potential purchases from the beginning.

I came out with a 32E Chantelle “Rive Gauche T-shirt Bra” in cappuccino–review to come soon. I think I can review it honestly despite the fact that it doesn’t actually fit too well anymore.

Review: Victoria’s Secret (Bra and Online Clothing Purchases)

(their website; their yelp)

I never got fitted here. First, it had always been awkward just for non-shopaholic, undergarment-underappreciater me to walk past. Second, while I was learning about bra-fittings, I was also learning about how flawed Victoria’s Secret’s fittings are.

I went to the VS in Cupertino’s Vallco Mall and asked for styles in 32DD. “Sure!” The salesgirl started pulling bras out of the drawer by the fitting rooms. I was pretty impressed by how many different styles there were until she handed them to me. “Um, these are 36s. I need a 32 band.”

In their defense (of that store and its employees, not Victoria’s Secret in general), the salesgirl was friendly and cheerful. She didn’t hesitate to go back to the drawer and get the 32s for me (much fewer in number of styles, of course; there were three) but the fact that she wasn’t the kind of person who could tell I’m not about to wear a 36-band bra is rather telling of the (lack of) expertise of VS employees. I guess they’re used to selling 34s and 36s to everyone.

The bra itself is unremarkable (both in the sense that it’s not special and in the sense that I have no remarks about it).


I really really like VS clothing from the site. It really sucks that they don’t sell their clothing in physical stores because I would definitely appreciate being able to try the clothes on before buying them. I ordered five shirts last summer and still have all of them, although three of them need to either be altered or sold.

Two are t-shirts; one dark navy and one light coral-y pink. They’re “Cap-sleeve Sweetheart Tees”, and I love them so much that I’ve completely worn them out. There are unyielding stains and broken threads on both, and VS has stopped selling them. Poor me T__T


The other three are “bra tops”; there’s an attached shelf bra inside of each shirt. I have a green one, a purple one, and a peach lacey one. They are beautiful but as soon as I put them on I feel completely indecent. The shelf bra needs to end much lower and the neckline needs to be a bit higher… I fall right out because there is simply not enough room 😦 I guess these are meant for much smaller busts. I wore them indoors every now and then anyway, but now I’m wondering if there’s a way to alter them. If I can fix this “they push my boobs out of the shirt” problem (maybe by somehow un-bra-topping them), they would be gorgeous AND wearable!

Review: Jusco in Megabox/ HK in general

In Megabox’s Jusco (Hong Kong; end of the line on light bus #48; alternatively, free shuttle between Megabox and Telford Plaza(Kowloon Bay MTR)), I asked for 32DD, 32E. They stocked no lower than 34s; the saleslady gave me 34C and 34Ds and showed me the fitting room (she wasn’t pushy, but I was a pushover), saying “These are the same. Trust me.” Of course, they weren’t, and of course, I didn’t buy anything, but that’s the experience.

My impression of Hong Kong bras in general–they have plenty of lingerie stores (I saw numerous Wacoal and Triumph specific retailers, among others, although I think those two are actually under Japanese companies) but I doubt they carry a proper range; Marks and Spencer, the British department brand, makes 28 bands but the HK stores only carry down to 32 at best, and of course those are only A. Popped into lingerie stores whenever we happened to pass one to ask if they carried 32DDs, popped right back out when they said, “What? Uh, no.” with that confused, I-don’t-know-what-you’re-asking expression. I wonder what would happen if I went in now to ask for my current, even more “outlandish” size! (On my next visit to HK, maybe I will! It’ll be fun.)

I didn’t make a point of asking for fittings, but since HK is known for their pushy pushy salespeople, I fully expect that they’ll size you in whatever they have in stock.

Review: Kaori’s Closet

Review: Kaori’s Closet
(their website; their facebook; yelp)
Kaori’s Closet is a small bra boutique in Manhattan, just on the edge of Soho; not hard to spot if you have the intersection. It might have felt like my older sister’s room, if I had an older sister who was a super feminine girl obsessed with underwear. It’s prettily designed and very comfortable. I was the only one there at first, but a few other customers wandered in when I was finishing up.

When I marched in, the salesperson cheerily asked if I needed help. (She was one of two on the floor; the other worked in the back and around the floor with other customers while I was in the store.)

This was my first time buying a bra on my own (yeah… I actually never really went shopping for anything before college. Even in college my purchases were mainly food and books and more food.) so I wanted to go “I’m totally lost in here, save meee” but was able to keep my cool and say “Yeah, that would be great.”

They have one small fitting room in the store. The doorway is covered with a long two-layered curtain and secured with velcro; the doorways face the windows/street, but the salesperson will ask for permission to come in and carefully maneuver so that the outer curtain keeps you safely concealed from Houston. There’s a poster on the wall, next to the mirror, with diagrams and directions on how to bend and scoop and adjust your bra correctly. The salesperson did explain how to go in a hook farther as the elastic wore out from washing.

I told her what I needed–a bra for this purple shirt–and she measured me with a tape (in the fitting room, shirt on but jacket off (yes I wear jackets in NY summer; I like to be warm)). She informed me that I was 32DD or 32DDD (depending on bra design, size fluctuates; it was good that she understood that); I’m no longer 32, so either I was 32 at that point when she measured me, she had an accurate measurement with no ridiculous adding of inches, and then I just had a good healthy re-migration of tissue, or she measured me incorrectly (but since the bras she gave me to try were all pretty tight, I doubt it?), or she didn’t have sub-32s in stock (again, the 32s I tried were pretty secure).

The objective was a bra that did not show under a dark purple shirt that had armholes that went below where most bra bands begin to show, so she brought me lots (lots!) of black, dark, and nude bras in a good variety of sizes. For some designs, she brought me the identical bra in two sizes; a good sign indicating a knowledgeable and considerate bra-fitter. They (the bras) were all gorgeous and, uh, all pricey.

As far as I recall, the bras ranged from around $50s to $90s, mostly at the higher end of that. This was a specialty retail store, products  at retail price, so I was armed with expectations of that range from Yelp.

I ended up with a 32DDD (32E) bra, nude with elaborate black netting and lace, and removable padding (which I opted to removed right away… I still don’t hesitate about some of these things).  Arguably my favorite so far; it’s a Japanese brand narue. The salesperson suggested the matching underwear but didn’t push.



Incidentally, I was there during their 4th anniversary celebration and got a flowery hairpin gift. I’m clumsy with hair ornaments so it wasn’t particularly useful (the pricetag indicated that the thing was $12, though o_o) but it was really sweet.

Two implications of the bra being Japanese: a, there is hope for Asian brands, particularly Japanese because this that I have is Japanese and Japan has always been pretty ahead in merchandising and products, but b, opportunities to explore the brand or similar brands are much diminished since I can’t read or access many Japanese resources, and Japanese products are mostly very very expensive (although high quality!).

While looking for pictures (I took pictures with my own camera but at this point am hesitating to post pictures of my underwear online) I found narue on Yahoo!Japan marketplace. Maybe someday I’ll ask a friend to help me figure that out? Because seriously, this is a awesomely beautiful and comfortable bra.

Post Navigation