Bra Shopping…the Bane of Every Woman’s Wardrobe

The first thing I do when I get home from literally anywhere is remove my bra. I hate bras. They are uncomfortable and expensive and dumb. Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil and after putting it off for months (more like a year) I knew it was finally time for a new one.

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First a little bra history. Good Housekeeping has a great visual history of women’s undergarments, but basically it wasn’t until 1932 that bras as we know them came around; with eye hooks and cup sizes, the brassiere officially became the “bra”.

In the 1930s, the brassiere is eventually shortened to the common "bra" and large-scale production begins. But more importantly, cup sizes become a thing. S.H. Camp and Company correlated sizes of a woman's breasts to letters of the alphabet (A through D). Adjustable bands and eyehooks were also added to these new bras.

Fast forward to December 4th 2016, and you find me at the mall during holiday shopping season. (Timed that perfectly, didn’t I)? My current bras are in a seriously, sad state. Despite properly caring for them, they are old and stretched out and the straps fall off ALL THE DAMN TIME.

So today, I finally went bra shopping with a goal to find something cute, supportive and under $100. I went to three stores at the North Shore Mall in Peabody: Nordstom, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret.

At Macy’s, neither of the 2 women in the lingerie department knew how to measure, so I was on my own. (How is that possible btw? Isn’t that essential to the job)? I looked around but really nothing peaked my interest and without any help, I was felt like I was drowning in a giant ocean of pink lace and padding. Big FAIL.

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Victoria’s Secret was stop 2.

I walked in with really low expectations because as a plus size woman, the VS brand is limited. Or so I thought. Truthfully, I haven’t been in a VS in several years. Clearly, I’ve been missing out.

I was helped by the world’s most patient VS consultant, Tashara. I didn’t give her much to go on because I wanted to see what she would bring. First, she measured me at a 38DD and then brought me several cute choices.

First up – Body by Victoria in navy blue demi and olive green in push-up.

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Both were really soft and despite the underwire, actually really comfortable. I loved the convertible straps on the blue, because I find the racerback so much more supportive. I LOVED times a hundred the green bra because it was elegant and cute and perfect. It was also the more expensive one.

Next, Tashara brought me the Lounge Bra. This style was wireless which I was a little nervous about, but she promised I’d be pleasantly surprised. She was right.

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I won’t be doing jumping jacks in them, but they are supportive enough for everyday work. I tried this on in 3 colors, but really liked the pink and black. Tashara even said I looked “dainty” in the pink. (The first time anyone has ever used that word for me. And probably the last).

Of course not all the bras at VS worked for me. I tried one of the Perfect Shape Body by Victoria bras in nude. But I wasn’t really feeling it. It just didn’t excite me.

My next stop was Nordstrom.

My last really good bra came from them, so I thought I’d give it another go.

The sales woman was nice and helpful, although she didn’t offer her name and I forgot to ask. I gave her a short but sweet idea of what I wanted: a cute, comfy, supportive, everyday bra.

She measured me at a 38DDD. She mentioned though that I was closer to a 30 band size, whatever that means. Anyway, off she went to find options.

Here was the result.

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The nude one above was a Natori bra, the lacy black was Wacoal and the plain black was made by Chantelle. All three are well made bras, but the black ones especially were a no go because the band across the back was pathetically thin and unsupportive. I actually didn’t even try the plain black one on because it felt really thin and not at all supportive. The lacy bra was really pretty but the narrow band was disappointing.

Sorry, but who are you kidding with those bands? That wouldn’t support my left hand let alone my giant boobs.

The nude bra by Natori was actually not bad. It had a subtle animal print to it which was cute and I really liked the wider straps, which were padded. At $65, it definitely made the Maybe list.

Unfortunately, the band across the back just wasn’t comfortable. While there were more eye hooks, it was still pretty narrow.

Final Results

While Nordstrom had a nice selection, they just weren’t for me. The cost wasn’t an issue, the shape and style was though.

I ended up buying the 2 wireless bras from Victoria’s Secret. (Bonus, they were on major sale)! They are perfect for everyday life and I am really happy with the fit. As much as I wanted the olive green bra, it just wasn’t the right time. (Although, I am totally going to dream about that bra). But now that I know VS has mastered the cute and colorful plus size bra, I will be going back.

What I learned:

1. The band across the back should sit just below your shoulder blades. If it doesn’t try loosening the straps. You don’t want the straps too tight with a new bra because that will stretch it out quicker.

2. The band across the back should be about the width of 3 fingers (which varies for everyone) to offer the best comfort and support

3. Never go bra shopping during the Christmas season. It will exhaust you to no end.

Feel free to share your own bra shopping experiences (or nightmares) in the comments below! I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with her undergarments. 

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