A Bra Fitting Guide: Myths, Misconceptions and Feminism

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I expected when I had kids my life would change. My focus shifted from me to them. That’s not a bad thing but somehow in the process I’ve forgotten all about me. When it comes to going out or even shopping for clothing I’ve relegated myself to secondary thought.

As moms we’re more than the diapers we change, grocery lists we make and hockey practices we attend.
We need to remember the woman that’s at the center of us all. Sure a day at the spa would be nice or a trip to an exotic destination but there are other ways you can reward your feminine side without great expense or time. How about a wonderful fitting piece of lingerie?

Tryst Lingerie knows that moms are still woman and they know how wonderful a great fitting bra can make you look and feel. So when they invited me to experience a bra fitting at their Queen Street store I didn’t think twice.

Okay, after I made the appointment I started to think twice. First my lingerie is anything but sexy. After having kids I moved from utilitarian nursing bras into utilitarian sports bras. They were easy to buy, care for and wear, even if they weren’t the most flattering on me. Now I had to expose this unflattering side of myself to a stranger. And speaking of strangers, a bra is a pretty intimate piece of clothing and I’m a very personal individual. How invasive would a bra fitting actual be? Doubts and insecurities aside, I kept my appointment and I’m glad I did.

Tryst Lingerie has been fitting woman in the GTA for more than 6 years. Shana Tilbrook, one of the store’s owners along with her mother Louise Sommers and sister-in-law Anita Owen, has trained retailers across Canada on how to get the perfect bra fitting and she did my fitting at their Queen Street store. Right from our first meeting Shana put me at easy with her very open and friendly personality.

Shana also busted a few myths about bras and bra fittings:

A bra fitting is invasive.
This was one of my biggest fears but Shana was very hands off. She prides herself on being able to understand and evaluate a woman’s breasts just from looking and not touching. She was able to look and assess my bra size from a quick observation. Any adjustments she thought I should make on a bra, she would demonstrate on herself. If ever she needed to make an adjustment, she would always ask first and movements would be made with palm out. This is how Shana has trained her staff and the staff at many stores across Canada.

A woman who wears an A has a smaller cup size than a woman who wears a C.
The letter alone does not determine your cup size; a combination of letter and number are used. The bra size takes into consideration the mass of your breasts as well as the size of your back. A woman with a small back but larger breast mass (30 C) would actually have the same cup size as a woman with a larger back but smaller breast mass (34A). The letter/number combination is a fit designed based on each woman’s proportional needs. Shana explains better in this video:

A woman who wears a D has large breasts.
If your bra shopping experience has been anything like mine, you’ve visited the big department stores to find the biggest size available to be a D so therefore that must be for woman with large breasts. In reality D actually falls into the realm of average, with bra sizes ranging from A to JJ. Actually 50% of woman are actually a size D and bigger.

Once I have been fitted and know my bra size, any bra in that size should fit me.
Speaking from recent fitting experience I found out that not all bras in the same size fit the same way. There are different cuts and designs that can make each bra fit differently. You should always try on your bra to make sure you like the look and feel. Your body also changes over time, affecting your breast size, which is why Shana recommends getting a bra fitting each time you buy a new bra.

There’s a scientific way that bras should fit.
Since I’ve been wearing the wrong bra size for a while now and seem to have great misconceptions on bra sizes, I assumed that there must be a scientific way that they should be worn; that there are rules we should follow. According to Shana there are no hard or fast rules. Once you have your size, the strap and back adjustments are there for your comfort. She did point out that the back of the bra should sit across your back straight; pulling upward may mean the bra doesn’t fit correctly or that the straps need to be adjusted.

When heading out to buy yourself a new bra, Shana recommends keeping the following points in mind:

  • Get a fitting each time you buy a new bra. Your body changes and therefore what fit you last year may not fit this year.
  • choose a store that stocks a wide range of bra sizes (from A to J). This means the store won’t try to fit you in whatever their stock limits are but rather in what fits you.
  • try sitting, standing walking around in your bra with your shirt on to ensure you’re happy with the feel and look
  • take care of your new purchase by washing your bra after each wear in a garment bag.

Now that I’m wearing a bra that actually fits me, gone are those unflattering sports bras. I now have breasts again. I don’t know if I can attribute it to my new bras but I find myself walking taller and sitting straighter. Tryst_Lingerie_bra_fitting_mythsI know I feel great, sexy, feminine, even if I’m just wearing a old T-shirt. Who ever thought a well fitting piece of lingerie could do that.

Tryst Lingerie has two stores in the Toronto area 465 Eglinton Avenue West and 559 Queen Street West. To view some of the merchandice they care or to discover more about getting a proper fit, visit their site at trystlingerie.com.

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