There are two things that I think I have in common with many, if not all women. One, I love to shop. Two, I hate to shop for bras. It’s difficult, time consuming and I swear I’m about four different sizes according to some pretty pushy sales gals. So when I received the e-mail from Lotus Leaf about the Triumph Lingerie “Find The One” event I was excited to finally get some much needed help and a proper fitting from a professional.
Lelania and I made our way around the showroom to view the new collection, then headed back into the spacious and thankfully somewhat dimly lit changeroms to meet Melissa; Triumph field merchandise coordinator and our fitter for the afternoon.
Apprehensive to say the least, I took my top off and kept my hands by my side so Melissa could take a proper measurement. I waited anxiously as she looked closely at the measuring tape although, I was pretty confident that I was in the right size. “Okay so we are going to start you with a 32D” she said before leaving the change room to grab a slue of different styles for me to try on. Needless to say, I turned to Lelania shocked, the Calvin Klein t-shirt bra I walked in with was a 32B and I was convinced that it fit!
When Melissa returned to the change room I tried and tried and tried again, asking what felt like a million questions, until I found the one. The Triumph Amourette Spotlight bra in 32C, a sexy sheer number with no lining that was both comfortable and supportive. After the fitting, I realized how important it is to go in with an open mind and not simply focus on numbers and letters but what fits.
Lelania thought that her bra might be a size too big. After being properly measured and trying a few different sizes on, she discovered that she was in fact wearing the right size; a little wear and tear had just caused it to stretch out and she was advised that it was time to toss.
Triumph bags in hand, we left the showroom feeling surprised, not just at the outcome of our measurements but at how enjoyable bra shopping can actually be when you’re properly informed. Of course, champagne and a few macaroons don’t hurt either, thank you Lotus Leaf!
Sizing & Styles
Using a measuring tape, how can you calculate what size bra you should be in?
Melissa: First measurement is a tight one around the under bust (where the band sits) -round your findings to the nearest number, if its an odd number you add 3 inches, If its an even number you will add 4 inches and this will be your band size.
The second measurement is a lose one around the fullest part of your bust (usually where the nipples are). Now you subtract the bust measurement from your band size. For every number difference is a cup size.
1 inch difference is a A cup
2 inches difference is a B cup
3 inches difference is a C cup
4 inches difference is a D cup
5 inches difference is a DD cup
6 inches difference is DDD/F cup
Its important to remember this is just a starting point, you may measure a totally different size then what you should actually be wearing. You should never measure yourself, you should always be in a relaxed natural standing body position when being measured. Visiting a professional fitter is always the best option when your unsure of your bra size.
There are so many different styles of bras so how do we know when or how to adjust our size?
Melissa: when you’re shopping you should know what range you should be in. For example, some women are between a 32 and a 34 so when you’re bra shopping bring both sizes into the fitting room, it’s important that you always try it on.
To clarify 32-34 means the size of the band around? But how do you know what size cup you should be in? For example, you said this one is deeper than others.
Melissa: so if you put it on & see that you’re spilling out its too small, you need to try the size up. If there is any gaping or extra fabric, it’s too big. So you have to know what it is you’re looking for when shopping.
A lot of women, like myself, are convinced of their size, which often times can be wrong. How do we get rid of these preconceptions before going bra shopping? How do you know when you’re in the right size?
Melissa: it happens every day. Obviously, get properly fit. You should always be fit at least two times a year, so with the season change go into the lingerie department and get fit it’s very important.
I find that depending on where you’re shopping different brands sizes fit differently. For example, this triumph lace bra fit me in a 32d as opposed to the 32b Calvin Klein t-shirt bra I walked in with.
Melissa: Yes, so it depends on the cut, it depends on the material, and these will all play factors into the fit of the bra.
Are there different materials then that we should go smaller or bigger in?
Melissa: it’s really hard to say. You really have to feel the fabric. For example, you measure a 32D so if you grab a 32D in another style and you throw it on and the band feels too tight and the cup is all weird, you have to take baby steps try a larger band, see what the cup is doing, it’s a process. There is no specific science to say that this is what you have to do, it’s things that you have to look for.
If you’re spilling out of the top, try a larger cup. If the band is too tight, go up a size in the band. You have to take different steps to assess the fit of the bra.
Are different styles made for different sizes? For example, I’ve got on this sheer bra with no lining, would this be best suited for a smaller chested woman rather than someone with a larger bust?
Lelania: That’s all I wear! Once I had tried it was more natural fitting and comfortable in comparison to others with excessive padding.
Melissa: No, it all depends on personal preference. A lot of bustier women will actually gravitate towards something like this without a liner because it offers more stretch. These bras actually go up to size H.
How do you know if you’re in the right band size?
Melissa: The band needs to fit snug, it shouldn’t be painful. The main thing though is that you don’t want the band to be moving or riding up.
Most bands have three hooks on the back, how do you know which hook you should be using?
Melissa: When you first buy your bra, you should always have the bra fastened to the loosest hook. As it ages and stretches out, you should bring it in tighter and tighter.
Okay, what about when you feel like you’re wearing the right size when you’re standing up and then you sit down, you know that gaping that some women have? Because I’ve noticed on different occasions, even with girlfriends that is sitting down next to me at a table for example and I’m like “I can fully see down your top right now”.
Melissa: Yes! So that could be a number of things but usually it is a sign that, your straps either need to be tightened to bring the cup closer to the body; or the bras life is over, it’s just stretched out.
I noticed that some of the Triumph bras have front clasps, as opposed to the traditional ones in the back. I’m just wondering what the difference is? Is one more supportive than the other?
Melissa: There is no difference, just style really.
What would you say are the most common signs that you’re wearing the wrong size?
Melissa: Right away you’ll know you’re in the wrong size if the band is riding up your back and not parallel to the floor. It should fit nice and low, if the band is high on your back you are in the wrong size and 80 percent of the support is in the band, so it should fit snug.
What is the average lifespan of a good bra?
Melissa: The lifespan of a bra is 6-8 months. Wear and wash causes the bra to strecth out and then it should be replaced.
What is the best way to wash your bra?
Melissa: Always by hand, that is the best way. If you don’t have time to do that buy yourself a lingerie bag, put your bras in and make sure your machine is on delicate cycle. I wash all my delicates together, but as long as it’s in the lingerie bag it’s fine. Don’t wash your bras with your jeans. Also, clasp the bra before washing and always hang to dry.
What should you have one while being measured?
Melissa: You should take your top off, keep your bra on but make sure it is not padded.
When putting on a bra, you should always…?
Melissa: Always make sure you scoop in and pull the breast forward your nipples should always be in the centre of the cup. So, scoop in and make sure that is happening and that your breast tissue is not all on the side.
Often when I’m in various retail stores and associates suggest different sizes to me that I wouldn’t normally wear. For example, I want to know is 32B equivalent to 34A?
Melissa: That is a sales thing. So, the cup volume is the same but the band is going to be too big which is a very important factor. They call it a “sister size”. So the cup volume is the same but the band is not and if you need a 32 and go up to a 34 but down a cup size you’re still not wearing the right size.
Lastly, is there any other tips or tricks you would recommend to women when bra shopping? What is the best mentality to go in with?
Melissa: You have to go bra shopping knowing that it is going to take a while! Don’t go when you’re in a rush, it is not a grab and go kind of thing. You have to try everything on and be extremely patient and ask for help. Triumph is sold at the Hudson’s Bay and there is fitters there, if you’re not sure, ask them for help! Go in with knowledge; know what you’re looking for and what a proper fitted bra looks like. There is no magic, scientific calculation, you just have to go in, try it on, know what to look for and you’ll be fine! Make sure you change your bra every 6-8 months, take proper care of them and the more you rotate them the longer they will last.