Bra fittings can be a nerve-wracking process, especially if it is your first experience. You’re standing in the fitting room in your bra-usually with fluorescent lighting so that every lump, bump, and skin flaw is glaring at you mockingly—while a professional fitter flits around discussing what’s good or bad about the bra you’re wearing. It’s no wonder so many people hate bra shopping! However, you can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety about your bra fitting experience by following these “Dos and Don’ts” designed to help you feel comfortable and happy with the process.
Do realize the fitting room is a judgement free space. A professional fitter is not there to criticize the old bra you wore, your weight, your skin, your hair, your anything and is instead strictly interested in how the bras are fitting and how to improve. If at any time the fitter makes you uncomfortable about yourself or your body, leave or contact the manager.
Don’t come for a fitting after a meal, especially a big one. Your body will feel bloated, and if you ate a meal high in sodium, you may be retaining water. The bands of the bras will feel uncomfortably tight even if they are the size you should be buying, and the prospect of staring at yourself in the mirror quickly becomes daunting.
Similarly, don’t get fitted while you are menstruating. Unless you are buying a bra specifically for that time of the month, do not get fitted because your band and cup size measurement may be larger than what you would need for everyday wear.
In fact, do plan on getting fitted when you are relaxed, in a good mood, and have plenty of time. Depending on how crowded the store is, you could be there thirty minutes to an hour, and if you are rushed to get home or stressed about work, you will be less inclined to try on multiple bras and be more critical of what you do try. Feeling upset or rushed is a surefire way to leave frustrated.
Do leave behind anyone who isn’t interested in being there during the fitting. Your good mood counts for nothing if the person you brought with you is bored, uninterested, or impatient. If possible, do leave young kids at home, and only bring your spouse if he/she feels comfortable sitting in the lingerie department and giving opinions.
To streamline the process, do write down what you need and want in a bra. Take into account not only what you need in terms of your wardrobe (an abundance of light colored shirts will translate to more flesh-tone bras) but also what you want the bra to give you, e.g., full coverage, cleavage, side support, etc. If you tell a fitter “no preference,” she will show you lots of different styles when she should be narrowing her focus. Furthermore, do either wear or bring a sample of the clothing you turn to frequently to ensure what you buy will work for most of your clothes.
However, don’t be inflexible with what you need or want and listen to the advice of the fitter. For example, higher cup sizes often eliminate certain style bras, which means you may need to compromise to find a bra that fits perfectly. Many people also hope to find a foam cup bra for wearing with tee shirts, but often their breast tissue does not fill the cups the way it should and instead falls to the bottom or center of the cup. Sometimes, it’s better to buy silicone nipple covers and opt for a bra that does not utilize a molded foam cup.
To this effect, don’t swear off a bra by how it looks on the hanger. Some bras have great hanger appeal but work for only a few people whereas other bras are less visually interesting but exceed your expectations.
For the fitting, do wear the bra that fits you the best. The better a bra fits you, the easier it is to quickly determine your size and what will work for you. In some cases, a few minor tweaks is all you need, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what the fitter is doing and why it is important. The more educated you become about how bras work and what styles are perfect for you, the more pain-free it is to make future purchases.
Do bring a basic tee shirt or tank with you. When you’re staring at yourself in the mirror in only a bra, it can be difficult to tell how much lift you are receiving and if you like how the bra looks. Because tee shirts are less forgiving, they let you see your new silhouette so you can decide if the bra is right for you. Additionally, if you’re buying a bra for a special piece of clothing, do bring it with you so you can see what the bra looks like with the item before you buy it.
Finally, don’t wear perfume or use makeup on your chest. Makeup can stain the bras, and perfume can leave a lingering scent, which can irritate the next person who tries the product.
Follow these tips, and your first (or next) bra fitting should be a smooth process!