Style Prompt: Go for a professional bra fitting

This month I've started a series of style prompts to encourage creativity within the closet. As teachers, we regularly use prompts with students to springboard ideas in areas such as writing, the arts, problem solving etc. So, my thinking was...why not also apply this same practice to our wardrobes?

Ok - the title on this one is long so I will write it out in its entirety here...

Style Prompt: Get a professional bra fitting if you can't remember the last time you've had one or, if it has been well over a year!

So, technically this isn't going to help increase creativity in the closet. But, I talk a lot the importance of good fit as one of the key foundations of good style. And, that doesn't just apply to the clothing people actually see. Our undergarments play a crucial role in how our clothing fits us, and if they aren't doing their impacts our overall appearance.

It's completely understandable why bra fittings and replenishing our bra wardrobes often hits the bottom of our priority lists. But, given how they can dramatically impact the fit and overall appearance of our look - it is worth having on the radar. Also, I talk a lot about cost-per-wear. Bras are something many of us wear daily. Even if you only have a small rotation you wear on repeat - investing in them, will end up owing you nothing.

All that being said, I am also guilty of not keeping up with regular bra fittings and letting my bra wardrobe become bare bones a lot of the time. But, before my latest professional bra fitting, I had done one about 18 months prior - which is an improvement in my lifespan of wearing bras. I'm figuring it out.

A few years ago while taking Stacy London's "Style For Hire" training workshop in New York, I was fortunate enough to attend a talk from the same bra expert Oprah had enlisted for her "bra revolution" episode. Here are some of the main takeaways that I found particularly helpful and interesting...

Interesting tidbits:

- 8 out of 10 people are wearing the wrong size bra

- wearing the right size bra can improve the way we look...we can look up to 5-10 lbs lighter if the bra is fitting properly. Conversely, the wrong size can make you look up to 10 lbs heavier - yikes!

- the fullest part of the breast should lie between the elbow and shoulder

- a bra shouldn't be uncomfortable, but you should be able to feel it. If you can't feel it, it isn't doing its job. Kind of like a shoe - it's a support garment. You know it is there, but hopefully it is comfortable.

- a bra can be worn 2 or 3 times before washing, but it should rest between wears

- experts say we should be fitted for a bra every 6 months. (Note: personally I average every 2 years so this is a little incentive for me to do it a little more regularly, though I doubt I will ever meet the 6 month mark)

Signs you need a new bra:

- the band rides up in the back

- the bust spills over the top of the cup

- cups wrinkle or gape

- straps fall off the shoulder which is an indicator that the bra band is too big around the back

- if the centre gore of the bra isn't laying flat against the chest it is most likely the wrong cup size

Tips for building a bra wardrobe:

- the expert suggested that since there are 7 days in a week we should consider having at least 7 bras in the wardrobe

- if 7 is too much, you should consider a minimum of 3: the one you are wearing, one in the drawer and one in the wash. Note: if you have only 3, you will need to replace more frequently

-types of bras to have in a wardrobe: seamless bras for everyday (at least one in nude), strapless, a feel-good one that you like the look of, convertible (t-back option) and a sports bra

My Recent Bra Fitting Experience

Knowing that I was planning on putting out this prompt, a few weeks ago a friend and I went to Nordstrom for a professional bra fitting. It's completely free, no appointment necessary and they are more than happy to help.

We were walked into a deluxe fitting room and each had our own spacious area, but were divided by a luxe curtain so we could chat throughout the process. The salesperson was able to eyeball our sizes pretty accurately and then confirmed it with a quick measurement.

For my frame, I am fairly busty (which is always something I work hard to conceal in my dressing). At first, she had me trying on DDD bras which were still coming up too small in the cup. I then was jumped up to a G, which I couldn't quite wrap my head around. Turns out DD is actually an E, DDD a F (which we had determined was to small), which then moved me into a G. This is the first time I had actually figured out that sizing system.

After trying on at least 15 bras, I came to the discovery that when you do require a larger cup size, your options for a cute/feel-good bra at the Nordstrom Vancouver store are few and far between. They all felt very utilitarian/'granny' style - which is primarily my entire bra wardrobe. I was hoping to get something that provided enough support, but that looked a little nicer than my regular every day fare.

The clerk explained that the cuter/sexier bras are more popular, but because of tariffs/duties etc. involved in getting merchandise up to Canada, they tend to carry a wider selection here in the smaller sizes. But, that Nordstrom in the US would have a better selection for people who wear my size and up. My friend was in the same boat.

A strategy during the try-on phase we both found useful was to put our tops back on after trying each bra to see the overall look - did it lie smoothly? Did the fullest part of the breast fall between the shoulder and the elbow?

Overall, we found the brands Natori and Chantelle worked best for us. After trying on approximately 20, I ended up with the Natori Floral Underwire bra which I was very happy with - you can view here.

My friend didn't end up purchasing one, but we've made a date to go for another fitting locally here in Vancouver at Diane's Lingerie as I think they will have a larger range of selection of fuller cup bras.

If you are C cup or smaller, I would recommend Nordstrom Vancouver as they seem to have a great selection in that size range, and the service/experience is fabulous. That being said, they do have bras to fit larger sizes, they just didn't seem to have a wide range styles or options that fit us the day we were there.

When is the last time you have had a professional bra fitting? I would love to know your go-to brands and shops.

Hoping this prompt has inspired some of you to get out there and knock this off your to-do list!