Hi, I'm Kristin. Like many humans with boobs, I often struggle to find bras that can adequately support my girls.
Plus, it seems like you can't swing a tit without reading about how you're probably wearing the wrong bra size:
So, in the name of achieving the ultimate in bra size accuracy, I set out to get fitted for a bra at not one, but SIX different stores. It was an epic bra crawl to determine once and for all* what my bra size is!
And with that, I gathered all the pennies I had saved for this bra-buying occasion, and off I went!
I walked into Intimacy with some pretty high expectations.
Intimacy is a high-end bra boutique that was made famous by the Queen of Things You Must Buy, Oprah. It's the bra store equivalent of the cool older sister who knows more about things than you do. Boobs are their business, so I had no reason to believe that I would get anything less an an accurate fit.
The fitter measures me with no tape, purely by sight, with a look at my current bra size. The fitter also asked me if anything has changed since I bought the bra I am currently wearing. Which it has: For starters, Obama is president now.
She then looks at my old sad potato sack of a bra (which was a Victoria's Secret 38DD) and notices, rightly, that it is too big in the cup, too loose in the back, and too loose in the straps, and from that, determines my size to be...
The fitter helps me try on the first 38D bra (from Empreinte) that she brings back, and determines that it fits:
The second bra I try on is a 38D Prima Donna bra, and it fits about the same.
The third 38D bra (from Marie Jo) also felt tight, and seemed OK from the front, but then I looked at it from the back...
I decide to buy bra number two (the black lace Prima Donna) and head on my way, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen next...
Confession: I have not been inside a Bloomingdale's in years.
Until this challenge, I legitimately thought the name of the store was "Bloomingdales" — no apostrophe. This is to say I have no expectations one way or the other — I don't even know if they have people here who can measure me.
Luckily, a very nice lady is there to help me out. She fits me with measuring tape, from the front — I am measured under my dress but over my bra.
When she is finished, she announces that I measure at a 39, and determines my size:
The first bra I try on is a 40F (40DDD), and like I suspected, it's waaaay too big.
But I try on the second bra, a 38F (38DDD) and it feels...not bad.
The fitter notes that her first two choices in size were a bit too big, and goes to get something in a smaller cup size:
The third bra I try on (a Simone Perele in a 38E) feels the most comfortable of all:
Macy's was fairly low-key.
Macy's to me has always felt like the place where your mom goes to relax. In that regard, it did not disappoint: Of all the places I tried, Macy's was definitely the chillest. No one pressured me to try on anything, which I later found to be both a blessing and a curse.
I walk up to the person working in the lingerie section and ask to be fitted. The fitter measures me with measuring tape, from the front, over my dress and bra.
She then tells me my size...
The first bra I try on is a little small, especially up around the armpits.
And then, of course, the second 40D bra I tried on was probably the best-fitting bra I had tried all day to this point:
So now, I had to live with the fact that I have bought two bras that fit worse than this Macy's bra...which itself felt like I was being hugged by an anthill.
The third 40D bra felt tighter around the arms and saggier in the cups than the last 40D, because the world is crazy and nothing makes sense.
I've now gotten three different sizes at three different stores. I'm thoroughly confused...and then I remember what the next store is on my list.
Real talk: Victoria's Secret is a little intimidating.
After a morning of fairly subdued lingerie stores, Victoria's Secret feels like the real-life equivalent of Wonka's chocolate factory. It's a beautiful bastion of decadent fantasy, and if you are not careful, you will get sucked into something candy-colored and deadly.
I flag down someone near the dressing rooms and ask if I can be fitted for a bra. The (very nice and very busy) fitter agrees — she fits me with tape measure, from the front, over my clothes and bra.
She then tells me my size:
It occurs to me that this is the second time today someone has made a decision about my bra size based on the bra I'm currently wearing.
Which, just to remind you, definitely looks like the bra a Dickens novel might wear if it physically had boobs.
More important: If so many women are supposedly wearing the wrong size bra, why would ANYONE care about this number?
I am escorted into a fitting room that I would describe as looking like a sexy jail:
It even came with a little doorbell, in case I needed to cry out for help.
The first 38D bra I am given is a push-up bra, and it nearly pushes my boobs right out of them.
The second 38D wasn't a push-up bra, but definitely felt like a push-in bra.
The third 38D bra, which is also a push-up bra, also feels too tight. It's almost like it's the wrong size, or something!
I have now about had it with the pink room of pain.
The volume of this wallpaper is set to 11.
Morale is pretty low by the time I hit Nordstrom.
And at this point in the bra crawl, I am feeling a lot like this:
I am beginning to think that I am not going to figure out what my bra size is today, which I would have taken as an impossibility this morning. Like I am playing a series of really funny practical jokes on myself.
In a departure from everyone else, the fitter measures me over my clothes and bra, but does so from the back, as opposed to the front. She informs me of my size...
The first bra I am given to try is a Wacoal 40DD bra, and dear god it feels just like what we all felt when we found out Friends was coming to Netflix.
The second Wacoal 40DD bra is even better.
But the third is a Chantelle 40DD bra, and holy crap it felt so good on, I nearly wore it home.
Although emotionally I felt as though I had completed my mission, I still had one stop left:
I couldn't not visit Lane Bryant — they made such a big stink of throwing shade at Victoria's Secret a few weeks back with the #ImNoAngel campaign, I wanted to see if they could put their money where their mouths were, in terms of lingerie dominance.
The fitter asks me what size I am wearing, and then oddly, asks me to lift my bra and boobs by my bra straps, while she measures me with tape from the front.
This voodoo doesn't seem to make a difference, because this is the size she comes back to me with:
The first 38DD is a push-up bra, and also just a nightmare bra.
Upon closer inspection, I discover that the "push-up" mechanism of this bra is literally some air bags.
Presumably this is a safety feature?