Getting fitted for a bra may seem pretty awkward, but one woman shares her experiences working as a bra fitter & you definitely don't have anything to worry about! Here are her secrets to keeping your girls snug, happy and well kept.
I never get too uncomfortable in front of customers. But it's usually a surprise when you walk in to a changing room and the lady is naked to the waist, but you very quickly desensitize to that (or at least learn not to squeal as though Elvis just jumped out from between their tits)! Luckily I've never encountered a true creeper, but older, or post pregnant women tend to tell you faaaaar too much about the health of "the girls," how they changed, lactation etc. Occasionally a guy asks "do you think these will fit" in regards to boxers, I just avoid eye contact with his crotch and direct him towards the sizing charts. Also, when I am making small talk with a guy, who looks a bit at odds with the whole bra shopping experience, and I say "bet you wish you weren't here," all I expect is an uncomfortable laugh. Not a comment implying he's gonna "get some tonight." TMI dude.
Personally I've never had a guy hold up a pair of underwear and say "you look like my wife's size (luckily!) but we do get a lot of lost looking men. The real winner is when they bring up a bra in a 36F and a pair of XS panties.....either your wife or girlfriend looks like an ice cream cone, or there's some very, very wishful thinking going on.
There's a couple of pretty easy things you should look for when buying a bra, but if you don't know what you're looking for it can be overwhelming. The cups should not dig in, or be that noticeable under clothing. If they are digging in, go up a cup size. If there are gaps in the cups, go down a cup size. The center panel (gore) should be center, and usually touch your breastbone (not every style, but most). If it does not touch the breastbone, try going up a cup size. Always fit the band on the loosest hook. The band should sit horizontally across your back, and you should be able to fit about two fingers under the band. If it digs in, go up a size. If it rides up your back, go down a size. Some issues are just because you are trying an incompatible style, but if a bra almost fits, try it's sister size. This means going down a band and up a cup, or vice versa. 32C, 34B, and 36A are sister sizes.
Frank Constanza sure makes bras out to be amazing, and sadly I don't know my Seinfeld all that well, but I assume you are talking about "The sniffing accountant?" That I definitely am aware of. Hahaha well one thing I can tell you, D is not the biggest!!!!! We sell a 44J, and I believe Norma Sitz is a 42ZZZ.
We don't sell bras with two different cups, but I believe some places will custom make them. We do however sell half and full cup inserts. These inserts will even out a small difference so you don't notices the size difference in your breasts. The best advice I can give someone shopping for two slightly different sizes is to buy for the larger boob, as gaping is faaaaar better than squashing your boobs in a smaller size.
Oh hell yes, we have guys come in all the time to get fitted for bras for themselves. Sometimes they play it off like they're there for their girlfriend to get measured, but it's a bit of a give away when they ask to be measured. Pretty sure your girlfriend isn't the same size as you! But we are perfectly happy to help, and most likely won't bat an eye at some guy buying himself a bra. One guy came in, with his girlfriend, and asked for a fitting. He spoke quite broken English, but we eventually figured HE wanted the fitting as he "wanted some boobs of his own." Well fair enough dude. At the end of the day, you just learn not to ask questions, if that elderly gentleman wants to buy himself a collection of lacy thongs, it's his business!
I have a few recommendations for pregnant women. She's right at the point where she should get a bigger size, or move into maternity bras if she hasn't already. (Warning kind of TMI): as her milk starts to get ready to come in/comes in she should get out of underwired bras. Wearing underwires, especially while breastfeeding, can lead to discomfort and blocked milk ducts! Most places offer maternity fittings. But as a general rule, try to get her some bras with more rows of hooks, as opposed to 3 rows, more like 6 rows. The bras should fit on the third from tightest one right now, giving her three to grow out into. I would suggest soft cups, as they are more comfortable and forgiving than anything molded, and will therefore last through more growth. Also, she should ideally be able to fit a fist into the top of the cup, and not feel too squashed. This is an indicator that she has enough room to grow. This may mean the cup "gathers" a little, due to the extra space, but this is important due to rapid growth during the third trimester.
I actually got into the job of bra fitting by being in the store getting a bra fitting for myself of all things! Oh how the tables have turned.....Turns out that you need very few skills to start the job, nothing else really translates to bra fitting. The store had some vacancies (it was Christmastime), I talked to the manager, and the rest was history. My store doesn't hire guys (as far as I know), but there are some that do as sales assistants. Maybe you could get an alternate career as Katy perry's boob adjuster.
Very rarely do we have cross dressers come in wanting to get fitted for a bra. Often it's just a normal guy (who brings his girlfriend with him) who just wants a bra of his own. I've never personally fitted a guy, but they come in more often than you would think! They aren't ashamed at all to get one of their own.
If you have an odd bra size that isn't normally found in stores, I would advise you ask stores what size range they have, as many have a surprising stock. We are actually an outlet store, and stock 28-44, AA-J. But honestly, the larger end of the scale has very little range. There are plenty of boutique stores that will custom make bras, but these are quite expensive. Many seamstresses can alter a bra that nearly fits, our store does this for a few dollars each alteration. You could also go the route of buying your bras online or making them yourselves, but underwire proves to be very challenging to find. Bottom line, I would recommend ordering bras online from places that give free returns in case they don't fit properly.
The best way to laundry your bra so it doesn't lose its shape is by hand washing with gentle soap, and then drying them flat. NEVER put a bra in the dryer. Treat it like a precious pet. You wouldn't iron, line dry, or tumble dry your chihuahua, so don't do it to your bra! The best way to dry them is loosen the straps, do up the back, reshape the cups, and sit it on a towel to air dry. If you must hang it up, hang it folded in half, so the gore is supporting it. Never hang it by the band! The best washing method is by hand, with gentle bar soap. Many women bring their bra into the shower, and wash it while they're in there! Otherwise, you can wash them in the machine, with gentle detergent, on the hand wash setting. If you are going to machine wash your bras, do up the backs, fold one cup into the other like a "bowl" (one will be inside out), and put them in a washing bag. This goes for all bras, except for ones that can't be turned inside out. Pushup bras, just put them in the bag right way out. Washing a bra well helps it retain elasticity, and drying them well is important for retaining shape! Never wear a bra more than one day, so it can rest. Protip: you can use a pillow case instead of a washing bag, just put the bras in there and knot it up!
We measure over the bra, or a thin shirt. This does put the measurement off a little, but we know how to account for this.The most important thing the measurement tells us is the band size, which is still pretty accurate over clothing. The initial measurements are really only a guideline, this just allows us to start bringing you things to try. With enough experience, you don't actually need the tape measure, you actually know a woman's bra size from the moment you see her. We help with every bra, not just the initial measurement. We keep bringing sizes until it fits. Every bra fits differently, and the measuring tape is not perfect. Yes there is some trial and error, but we get to know the bras quite well, and know pretty quickly if they will fit a woman. Our training consists of watching the head bra fitter do a heap of fittings. Then when you know how it all goes down, you do the fitting, and she just watches and helps. Then you do fittings on your own, but have to get the head fitter to double check one bra for each woman you fit. This "double checking" period continues until you have completed at least 5 fittings for EVERY BRAND IN THE STORE plus maternity and sports. After all this we have to do reading on bra structure, breast structure, and breast types (tissue softness, projection etc). This means we have a lot of experience, before we are even fully qualified fitters! We don't do any of this +4 crap, we tell you your real size. I think a lot of issues that happen at VS come from their limited size range.
Some people say that you need to get your breasts remeasured every six months, but that's definitely not the case. Some bras may need replacing after six months, but you don't need to get remeasured. Maybe after a weight gain or loss of around... ten pounds you would need to get remeasured, but that's the only circumstance I can really think of where you would need one after only six months.
There are many places to get bra sizes that most stores don't carry or sizes that are on the stranger side. If you can find a bra that has the right cup size, many places sell back extenders. This may not be a perfect solution, but does give you a bunch of extra hooks, so can make finding a bra a little easier. Even if you went for a 36C or D, and added the extra back room, that might work. You can also get them custom made too!
Surprisingly, we don't get that much crap from women when we measure them as a size smaller than they think they are. Often it's when you measure them as a larger size do they get upset. Often women who have lost weight will be quite upset that they haven't lost a lot of weight off their breasts. I had one woman almost break down crying, a small she could not find a "cute" bra in her larger cup size, and was fed up looking. Also, women who have been wearing the wrong size (often large back, small cup), will get measured, and actually need a much larger cup. Sadly, we do not carry a lot of some sizes, and it simply is more difficult to find uncommon sizes. People generally underestimate their cup size, because "DD" is perceived as porn star huge, when in fact the average bra size is around 34DD. This means I don't often have to tell a woman she is a smaller size than she thought. Fun fact, you start to get a feel for bra sizes, and only need to look at a woman to size her. However, I still use a measuring tape, as I don't want to tell everyone I just ogled their sweater puppies!
Weirdly enough you can end up going "up" a cup size after weight loss....kind of. The cup size is a measure of difference between the fullest part, and your ribs. So if you lose a lot of weight off your rib cage, the difference gets bigger. You will need to go down band sizes, but up in the cup!
Honestly, I have never shopped at VS, so I can't say if their bra fitting is accurate or not, but I did hear they build their bras with a six month lifespan. I have shopped at similar stores, and the back bands are usually quite "soft" and stretch out quickly. Sister sizes work for some people and not others. Technically, a 30DD and 32D have the same cup volume, and will have the same overall circumference (both measure 36" overbust). However, the smaller cup will be shallower and wider, with a larger band to cup ratio. So...yeah it works for some people. Not great for projected breasts, or narrow roots. The most important thing is that the gore is centre, not overlapping your breast tissue, and the cups and wires aren't digging in. You could try a moulded cup bra. If the bra fits alright otherwise, you could try Sister sizing, and go down in the back, up in the cup. I know a 28 would be hard to find, but this can sometimes add the depth needed to allow the gore to tack.
If there is a gap between your breast and the top of the cup that could definitely mean your cups are too big. Shape is really important. If you find that you have extra fabric at the bottom of the bra, this can be the "orange in a glass" effect. The cup is actually too small, and doesn't allow your breast to fully settle into it, leaving empty space at the bottom. Next time this happens, try going up a cup size!
You can most definitely try on a bra over a thin shirt, but you will always get a better fit trying a bra on its own (that's how you wear it!), but I suppose it would be better to try it over a thin shirt than not at all. Another option: you could take advantage of the store's return policy. If you try it on at home, and it doesn't fit, we're happy to swap it for another size!
If you're comfortable and you don't feel pain when you move around, then I would say absolutely yes it's okay to wear bralettes all the time instead of real bras. The only reason you should be wearing a bra is to make you feel more comfortable. Don't believe any of the stuff about needing to wear a bra to prevent sagging or whatever other new thing they suddenly claim. I have large breasts, and I need to wear a bra because the weight of my boobs without a bra is uncomfortable when I do everyday tasks like walking down stairs. I need to wear a really supportive sports bra when I'm exercising because otherwise running is pure torture to my chest. I have a friend who has small breasts and she often goes braless or wears cute bralettes, because for every day activities that's what's most comfortable for her.
I have not fitted a transgender woman that I know of. Any transgender women I fitted were passing very well, as I had no clue. I would imagine that, once they have transitioned, boobs are boobs, and it would be the same as fitting anyone else. However, I have sold some bras to cross dressers. It's always a bit of a surprise when you are looking down at the till, see a dress in your peripheral vision, and then look up to find the scraggliest beard known to man kind. They even had immaculate lipstick and nails.