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What does the wrong bra size have to do with travel? Everything.
A capsule wardrobe is key to packing light. When you have less clothing options there are three factors that come into play: fashion (the way your clothes make you feel), function (the practicality of the item for your travel activities), and form (the way something fits).
If your boobs bulge in the front or pop out at the side; your bra band sags or sits high in your back; your straps aren’t ever tight or loose enough; or if you can’t ever imagine wearing a strapless bra – you need to read this article. I promise it’s a game changer!
The Importance for Getting a Bra Fitting
The truth is that the way your clothing falls on your body has everything to do with the confidence you feel wearing your outfits whether at home or on the road.
And guess what? The way your bra fits you has everything to do with how a top or dress flatters you especially if you need a bit of…uplifting.
Studies say that 85% percent of American women wear the wrong bra size. This article in Women’s Health does a good job at summarizing some common pitfalls. I recently found out that I was one of those 85% of women.
I started developing at the early age of eleven and by sixteen I was what I thought to be a 34C. In 2001, I began working for an Italian lingerie brand and a buyer for a major retailer informed me that I was wearing the wrong size. They suggested a smaller band and larger cup, which definitely seemed to be a better fit.
For the next twelve years I wore their suggested size but only recently did I realize that something just wasn’t right.
- It wasn’t until I started TFG and found myself taking photographs showing you my favorite travel clothes that I realized the fit of my bra was way off.
- As I contemplated my perfect capsule wardrobe I wondered why some clothing items just didn’t work. As with my goal to pack light, determining the perfect clothing fit also became an obsession.
- In addition, there was another problem I encountered in my early thirties. I was uncomfortable walking. The dreaded bounce was at an all time high and frankly it wasn’t only painful it was embarrassing.
I’d always heard about the importance of having a bra fitting but never actually had one. Now, a fitting was not a want but a need.
I went to Jon Lewis, Mark & Spencer, and Bravissimo in England, which are known for their amazing bra fitting services. I couldn’t believe the results. For me, they were life changing.
From the three retailers, the consultation at Bravissimo was the most successful. They have a unique fitting method and don’t help you find the bra based on a standard size. Instead, they give you various bras based mostly on your band size, not cup size.
Not all brands and styles are made equal so you may be one cup size in one style and another size in another.
Needless to say, I walked out of that store a new woman. Not only did my clothing fit better but I felt 100 times more comfortable in my own skin – the most important thing.
It turns out I was wearing a size that was completely off and there are so many more bra size options than what the average lingerie bra offers.
I didn’t realize you could go smaller than a size 32 and larger than an E. There is so much more available than 34B, and 36C – the average bra sizes women wear. Everyone’s body shape is completely unique and women just don’t fit into a mold of just two or three options.
No matter if you’re a size petite, plus, tall or regular – considering extended sizing is essential.
If you think you’re a size 32B or a size 38E, think again. You might need a smaller band or larger cup size and vice versa. You just never know until you get fitted properly.
Trust me your capsule wardrobe for travel and the rest of the clothes in your closet will thank you. Because when we say I don’t have anything to wear what we really mean is “I don’t feel good in the clothing I own”.
Wearing the right size in undergarments is just as important as your clothing.
Awesome Brands with Sizes for Real Women
This is a list of brands that have a wide range of bras including band sizes 28-56 and cup sizes AA-N:
- Freya – the only strapless bra that has ever worked (fitting needed!)
- Panache – the best sports bra ever and awesome t-shirt bra
- Fantasie – my favorite moulded full cup bra with pretty straps
- Curvy Kate – love their balconette styles (goodbye bounce)
- Elomi – popular and pretty plus-size styles
- Nubian Skin – offers a variety of “nude” shades for all skin tones
Adea Wear has an awesome bra-friendly camisole top that’s perfect for travel. I never pack my suitcase without it!
Where to Buy Bras Online
Once you’ve had a fitting, you can find an extensive variety of shopping options at these online retailers:
- Amazon – once I get fitted I look for good deals on Amazon
- Nordstrom – widely available in the US with good return policy, offer bra fittings
- Bravissimo – extensive selection, amazing for bra fittings in UK, international shipping
- Fig Leaves – love their underwire swimwear options and lingerie, international shipping
- Bare Necessities – great prices, and cups A-M
- Bigger Bras –
- Boux Avenue – based in UK with international shipping
- Her Room –
Getting the right undergarments will guarantee you’re one step closer to creating the perfect capsule wardrobe and feeling good, too! Read more about how to pack light with a capsule wardrobe!
Have you ever had a bra fitting? Was it worth it? Comment and share below!
For more tips on what bras to pack for your travels, please read:
- How Many Bras Do You Pack When Traveling?
- The Three Bras Every Woman Should Pack When Traveling
- How to Choose the Best Bras for Travel
- 9 Expert Tips for Choosing the Best Bra for Travel
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I’ve had about 5 different fittings over the years and so far none of them have been successful. They fit feel right at the store, but within about 2 days they are uncomfortable. Every morning I have to decide which type of discomfort I want to wear that day. Once I even left the tags on for a whole day and thought wow this is definitely the bra size/fit I need. Took off the tags and the next day noticed discomfort in my back/ribs from the bra. All my fittings were in Oklahoma. I have now moved to Bolivia & would love to find a good place to get a bra fitting here.
Hi Autumn, I am really sorry to hear that, I hope you are able to find a bra which is comfortable. ??
I had a bra fitting about 10 years ago. It turned out to be one of the most uncomfortable bras I’ve ever worn. It was so tight and painful, I couldn’t even wear it for 1 full day. When I tried to return it (over $70) the store manager said I couldn’t return it because of “state law”. Needless to say, I never went back. And have never been fitted again. She could have at least returned part of the money I paid.
Awesome article. Thanks much for sharing.
Although I get to London occasionally, I’m in New York City much more often (and have better access to Washington DC). It’s been years since I’ve had a really good fitting. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve had a good fitting for a bra. Could you make any recommendations for NYC? I see that one reader likes Le Bustier in DC.
I’ve found that the best bras for my fit and lifestyle are the expensive non-wired sports bras. They’re perfect for all the clothes I wear. I no longer wear fancy clothes so it was a nice surprise to find Panache brand from your article. I had a fitting over 20 years ago and didn’t like the experience. I’ve learned from articles and trial/error that I can wear my size and sometimes sister sizes (i.e. 36D or 34DD but not 38C). Knowing my size is important since I replace bras at least annually and I didn’t my always get the same brand (they discontinue my styles) and also breast size changes relative to weight and body composition changes.
From three fittings, one was okay, one was good, and the third (and last) WAS GREAT! It’s good that you’ve learned to find the sizing that works for you 🙂
I had a bra fitting done in Washington DC at Le Bustiere. It was wonderful. I too was wearing the wrong size. I ended up having to get all new bras after it. But needless to say, I didn’t mind one bit. My previous issues of straps falling down and my bra band riding up don’t happen anymore. Getting a bra fitting really is the best thing to do, I don’t regret it at all.
That’s awesome Stacey! Having to buy all new bras is a pain but so worth it when you see the final results. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Great article. More important than most think.
Thank you Sandy!
Thank you for this post! A few years ago, I finally got tired of hearing about the importance of a good fitting bra, and went for a fitting at Nordstrom. I had been wearing a D cup for years. After that fitting, I went home with a number of new bras – none the same size. One was even an H cup!
I can’t wait to check out these brands, especially Panache. I’ve been in need of a good sports bra for some time, but I have not found any that I care for yet!
Hi Sherrie! A bra fitting may seem like such a chore but after spending hundreds on all the wrong bras, a free or inexpensive bra fitting helps us avoid all those bad purchases and ensures that what we own actually works with all of our tops. The panache sports bra is awesome! No need to double up on sports bras anymore 🙂
I have only ever had a bra fitting at Victoria’s Secret when I was in high school. I am sure I could benefit from a more professional bra fitting, especially now that I am older and more developed. I never thought I could wear a strapless bra, but I am definitely intrigued by the Freya one!
Hi Stacy 🙂 There are so many more sizes than traditional brands offer. It’s the best thing you could ever do – you’ll feel like a new woman! I never thought I could wear a strapless either but having the right band size is incredibly important. Let me know how it goes!
This is so true. Thanks for the tip on the strapless, I’ll definitely give that one a try!
Hi Toni, make sure to measure yourself in advance or have a fitting to try it on in person. I went down two band sizes to get the right fit. Good luck!
You were so right, after a professional fitting, I was an additional band size down and a cup size up. What a difference!
Oh my, that’s great to hear Toni! I hope you’ll be happy with the change 🙂
I learned from a young age that a properly fitting bra is essential. The main thing I have learned since then is that there is another factor beyond a well-fitted bra – one that is also flattering. I have found that the best way to measure this is by taking someone with you when you go bra shopping. This someone should have your trust, an eye for boobs, & the willingness to go adventuring with you. It’s made all the difference for me.
Awesome tip CK! Flattering and well fitted are two different things. Options may be more limited but well worth the final results.
I appreciate you sharing the bra brands that have been working for you. As a larger chested woman, I often find it so discouraging when shopping for clothing. I’ll definitely check out your recommendations!
Thanks Natalia! I went down two band sizes after having a bra fitting, make sure to get measured before investing in these brands – they’re not cheap but when you have the right size, so worth it!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This article is great. I have never felt like my bras fit correctly and I think it’s because of where I got sized. This list of stores is awesome. Definitely going to check out that strapless!!!
Thanks Margaret! I hope you find a good place to get fitted. You’ll love it!
I’m also a big fan of Marie Jo. They’re expensive, but so worth it. Now I pack a regular black bra and a nude/cream strapless bra and they go with all outfits.
Great choices! Will check out the brand 🙂
Love, love, love this article! As I get older, it is always a struggle to find that “perfect” bra!
YAY! So glad you found it helpful 🙂 Get a fitting and you’ll find that perfect bra guaranteed!
Thank you so much for this post! I’m eager to try some of the bras you mentioned. I too have always struggled with this as an insecurity.
Thanks Amanda 🙂 I hope you find one that works for you. You might be surprised to find one in a size you never expected!
Most women have not had the experience of a proper bra fitting. You are right that the proper foundation will really help with the fit of the rest of your clothing.
I can’t believe how many more top options I have now, yay!
Bravissimo are the best! I always go there when in the UK and once you find the ideal bra it is easy to re-order on- line.
They do have an awesome online service – I forgot to mention. Thanks!
Love the article on bras. So true about fitting. I have been fitted at three different department stores; none of them got it right for me. And when you’re older there are different issues with your boobs. No longer perky, they have a mind of their own and gravitate toward the bellybutton. that’s when you really need the perfect fitting bra.I’ll be going back to London this year in late summer. I will definitely plan on getting a fitting consultation at Bravissimo.
Yes exactly. Our bodies change so we need to keep up with them 😉 I went to the Bravissimo in Covent Garden and they were spectacular even on a busy Saturday morning. Make sure to schedule in advance. Have fun!
Took a long time for me to learn this lesson. When I did? Oh, what a difference.
Me too, I’m just glad I finally did it 🙂