Celebrating Feminism with a Good Bra?

Today is International Women’s Day! I wanted to highlight IWD by discussing something exclusive to women (yes, more exclusive than cosmetics). So while half of New Orleans is busy flashing their ta-tas for Mardi Gras, let’s chat about bras. Yeah, I know, most people think feminists are man-hating bra burners, but that’s just not true. The original bra burning incident was actually orchestrated by a reporter. So yes, I’m a feminist who wears a good bra, and I’m dang proud of it.

Most women struggle to find a good bra because most stores stock a limited range of sizes, something like 34A – 36D, and those sizes don’t even come close to fitting everyone. Of course, salespeople won’t tell you that because it means losing a sale, so they stuff you into an ill-fitting bra and send you on your way. Meanwhile you’re left with slipping straps, sliding bands, underwires that poke, and a sneaking feeling that something is wrong with you for not fitting the mold.

A few years ago I carted myself off to a boutique called Intimacy that specializes in bra fittings and carries a wide range of sizes (32A-44H) in store so you can try them on. Better yet, they offer free consultations and fittings with salespeople who actually know a thing or two about the stock. They take the time to help you pick out bras according to your needs and bring multiple sizes, since often women don’t wear the same size in every brand. Yes, you have to be partially naked in front of another woman, but in all honesty it’s not a terrifying experience. It’s sort of like the doctor… they see naked bodies of all shapes and sizes every day. And if you were really anxious, I’m sure you could ask them to step out while you change.

The other thing I love about Intimacy is that they offer free alterations and deliver the altered bras to your doorstep quite quickly. I bought 2 bras last week, requested alterations, and they arrived in exactly 7 days.

If you don’t have an Intimacy nearby, search for other independent boutiques in your area. The lingerie department at Nordstrom is also a good place to try, and for cripes sake don’t go to Victoria’s Secret. For bra fit troubleshooting, try this site.

While wearing a good bra may not bring about equality for all women, it can certainly help you stand tall and feel more confident in your everyday life. I hope this International Women’s Day has been good to you, and that a well-supported bosom is in your future :)

If you know of any good boutiques or sites with info about bra fitting, please leave links in the comments!


10 Responses to Celebrating Feminism with a Good Bra?

  1. Sari March 8, 2011 at 9.57 pm #

    I’ve never had bra fitting before, but I’ve always wanted to! Typically these places are a little too pricey for me, and having never really had an issue with bras fitting, I could never justify it. Still, it would be nice to know my size definitively. Why do you warn against VS? I know a lot of people that have had success there.

    • Vijaya March 8, 2011 at 11.12 pm #

      I think she’s warning about getting a fitting there. Trust me, she’s right. They will not fit you into a bra size that they don’t sell in the store. If the correct measurement is something like 34F they’ll tell you 34DD or maybe 36D because you could conceivably squash your ladies into them.

  2. Vijaya March 8, 2011 at 11.07 pm #

    I wear 34DD but am actually a 32F, or something. The size is just too annoying to find, though. xP

  3. Chelsea March 8, 2011 at 11.35 pm #

    I recently just invested in some bras that were $80 a pop and they are the most amazing bras I have ever worn. Also, Bloomingdales has an amazing lingerie/bra section and the sales associates that work in the area really do know what they are talking about and will work with you for HOURS to make sure you are satisfied!

  4. Dovey March 9, 2011 at 12.04 am #

    Yay for feminists! I think VS is a bit overhyped, though I really love their biofit bra. Even though I fall easily in the “normal” range, two different sales ladies sized me in a band too small— maybe they just think squeezing in looks sexier? I like to breathe, so I went again their “correct sizing” =P

  5. Molly March 9, 2011 at 2.02 am #

    I wear a 36 or 38 f and I’m in a vs 38dd right now.. so not fun.. I may have to go use my tax return to get the right bra for me :)

  6. Adrienne March 10, 2011 at 9.15 am #

    Hi! I own a specialty fit shop called Adrienne Clarisse Intimate Boutique in the Chicago suburbs. There are many boutiques such as mine all around the country who specialize in personalized bra fittings. Usually, you’ll find the owner on site who is really passionate about helping women. Feel free to contact me if you are having a hard time finding someone in your area or, if you’re in the Chicago area. Stop in!
    PS- There really is a visable difference in a quality bra.

  7. Pia March 11, 2011 at 9.22 am #

    It is a revelation to get a proper fitting and buying the right-sized bra. I always bought 34C. I finally got a fitting, lo and behold, I am a 32F — great support borne by my ribcage instead of my shoulders, no strap slipping, no band riding up, the wires lay on your chest instead of poking you in your fleshy bits. Yes, the bras are pricey but I went from 2 dozen unsatisfactory bras to a dozen very good — and pretty — ones that I handwash with plant-based detergent (Target sells it). I’ve spent anywhere from $36 (Nordstrom) to $85 for Contourelle at The Full Cup in Virginia Beach, VA which is where I got fitted. They also have one in Alexandria in the DC suburbs.

  8. Freya Lingerie March 11, 2011 at 9.49 am #

    Hi Katie, great post! Ensuring your bra fits you correctly is so important. At Freya, we make it our mission to banish bad bras and so created The Holy Fit, a dedicated website to finding your perfect fit. Discover a wealth of fitting advice at http://www.theholyfit.com. Freya x

  9. Christa March 31, 2011 at 5.04 am #

    I don’t know how many ladies from the UK read your blog, but I can also recommend bravissimo. In store fittings are friendly, competent and very erm… uplifting. They also do a range of clothing for ladies with larger busts, and will ship to the US. Once you know your size, both Bravissimo and Figleaves do a wide range of sizes, and I think both have a free returns service (although I’m not sure how bravissimo’s works internationally).

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