Bra bra ;)
April 27, 2016 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Asking for bra advice for a wonderful friend who has a magnificent rack:

I've had two kids, but I just tossed out some old bras which I need replaced. Where do I go in in the following areas for wonderful bra fitters:
  • Pacific NW (centering on Portland)
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Las Vegas, NV
Also, what do I look for in a wonderful fitter? I am really weird about these things, so any advice you can provide so that I actually get a proper fit would be appreciated.
posted by moody cow to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Nordstrom has a great selection and their fitters are exceptional. Professional, friendly and knowledgeable.

Call ahead for an appointment, but I've always found a fitter if I just walked in.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:53 AM on April 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

Seconding Nordstrom. Once you find a size and style you like, they have free shipping both ways from their website.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:02 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

+1 Nordstrom.
posted by anderjen at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have never been there (because I do not have what anyone would call a magnificent rack), but I've heard fantastic things about The Pencil Test in Portland.
posted by dizziest at 9:04 AM on April 27, 2016

Nordstrom is great. I didn't expect them to have my size (hello, J-cup), and, well, they did.

This isn't so much fitter advice as advice in general: try absolutely everything, including different colors of the same bra. For some reason, despite being made from the same material, one bra I tried didn't fit the same in the beige as it did in the black.

Some brands to look for (sold by Nordstrom): Goddess, Elomi, Panache.
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:14 AM on April 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

I learned about this here and it's changed my life: A Bra That Fits subreddit. Including a beginner's guide and recommended bras for size and shape, shopping tips, and how to evaluate fit. Other parts of the site include a buying guide and a sizing guide for different brands.
posted by barchan at 9:22 AM on April 27, 2016 [7 favorites]

In Portland, The Pencil Test is great, but Just Like a Woman is also fantastic for bra fitting.
posted by linettasky at 9:29 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

I can vouch for Just Like a Woman in Portland.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:33 AM on April 27, 2016

One tip- bring a thin tee shirt that is easy to throw on and off so that after you find a bra that fits, you can check what it looks like under your clothes and see if it makes bulges or lines or things that you might not have noticed without clothes.
posted by rmless at 10:32 AM on April 27, 2016 [2 favorites]

Nordstrom. Go to the store for a fitting. Then I usually buy a few bras from them online (better selection ) and try them on in the comfort of my own home. I return the ones I don't like at the store.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 10:44 AM on April 27, 2016

Oh gosh, if you have access to Portland, you HAVE to visit The Pencil Test. The owner is an absolute gem - super knowledgeable, very friendly, not embarrassing, and they have a zillion bra options to offer. You go back to a fitting room and she'll bring you a bunch of options to try on and she'll help you notice where things work well (or don't!) and you'll walk out feeling like a new woman.
posted by meggan at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

My local bra genius insists on both the t-shirt at the fitting and trying on different colors of the same bra style.

I suggest investing in a good sports bra. I am not sporty myself so would not have thought I needed one. But the support of sports bra that truly fits is great to have for festivals, picnics and other active events when you might need more stabilization than non-sports bras provide.
posted by narancia at 2:07 PM on April 27, 2016

Absolutely check out A Bra That Fits that barchan linked. Your friend can measure herself at home and get over any potential "sticker shock" about sizes there, and start thinking about what she wants out of a bra.

Signs of a good fit:
The band is snug on the loosest set of hooks - you want it to fasten on the loosest set when it's new, since the elastic in the band will slowly wear out, and when it does you can move to the middle set. If you can fasten it on the tightest hooks right away, try the next band size down.

The band should sit level all the way around your body, not ride up in the back. This might be lower than you're used to, especially if your old bras are kind of stretched out, but it's necessary.

The gore where the underwires meet between the breasts should be all the way in, tacking tightly to your sternum. If it can't get there, go up a cup size.

The bottom of the cups needs to be alllll up under your breasts, while the band is still level. Fasten the band, bend over at the waist, reach in and scoop your boobs all up in there. Stand up and make sure the gore still tacks and that your cups aren't overflowing after you do this. (This is "scoop and swoop", and it seriously makes a difference).

I myself have a magnificent rack, and I have not had the best luck at Nordstrom. I've heard good things about The Pencil Test, but never been. There is a link to brick and mortar stores from abtf, though.
posted by mgar at 2:10 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh! What to look for in a good fitter, as opposed to a good fit:

If they measure (they might not!), the tape measure goes under your breasts where your band goes, they pull it snug if not tight, and they don't measure over your clothes. They don't add anything to that number in inches (that is, if you measure 31", they bring you either 30 or 32 bands, not 36). They might also measure over the fullest part of your bust, but if they only measure over your street clothes or throw a tape loosely above your breasts then why are they bothering?

That said, a good fitter won't need to see you without a bra on (although it definitely speeds the process along when she can). She might ask what size you're wearing now, and she can zero in on your size by trial and error, i.e., having you try out a few different bras until she can figure out what works best for you (which is why I measure myself even when I'm going somewhere I know will fit me properly, so I don't have to spend any more time there than necessary).

Above all, a good fitter will make you feel comfortable the entire time. You can undress as far as you're okay with, she'll ask if she wants to enter the dressing room or touch you at all, and she'll be honest about the fit, but believe you if anything is bothering you. She'll let you take your time if you need it.
posted by mgar at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2016

I don't have a positive recommendation for you, so I hope that you will forgive my anti-recommendation, but depending on how magnificent your rack is, you may find Nordstrom to be disappointing. I'll admit that it's been a few years since I went in, but they really didn't have much in the way of extended cup sizes.

If you have a vague idea of your size (do the fullbust-underbust = cup size approximation), it may be worth your while to give any place you're considering visiting a call to make sure that they can serve you. Most places that carry big-girl friendly brands like Elomie or Fantasie can special order something in for you, but if you can't actually try on the bra (or at least the same bra in the wrong color), you won't know if it fits.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:33 PM on April 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

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