Saturday, 10 March 2012

Bra shopping for a friend - Debenhams Gorgeous range

I admit it.  I am obsessed with helping people to find bras that fit them properly.  Since I discovered Ewa Michalak and the effect that well-fitting bras have given me, I have been subtly (...and sometimes not so subtly...) trying to spread the word amongst friends, family and even strangers.


I was fortunate enough to go shopping a few weeks ago with someone I have known for many years.  For her anonymity I will call her Liz.  Liz is in her early 60s and has always worn a 36 band - and sometimes even a 38 - despite never being any more than a 34 at the absolute most.  On top of this, she wore only soft-cup, wire free bras, in C or D cups.  I wouldn't say she ever looked bad in her bras but on occasion I have thought that she could do with a bit more support for better shape/uplift and for her own comfort.


This is what she looked like in her 36C soft cup bra:





(Note how she was wearing the band on the tightest hooks - I must admit that I felt rather smug when I saw this!!)


I have mentioned to Liz a few times over the past year or so that her bra might be the wrong size.  It's always a tricky subject to tackle because people often take it personally when you suggest to them that they might be wearing too big a band and too small a cup.  I have found it can be simpler to start off telling my own tale of bra-fitting, how I used to wear bras with too big a back and too small a cup and how my life has been changed for the better since I have fitted myself properly.


Unfortunately my attempts to broach the subject did not go down too well and when I said I usually wear a very tight (Polish) 34 or even a 32 band I was met with a look of incredulity and disbelief.  I know Liz has always thought me to be significantly larger than her so it must have been quite a shock to hear that I was wearing bras with smaller bands than hers.


Some time after this, we went shopping together.  I tried on a top which she thought was lovely on me so she tried one too.  We stood side by side in the changing room, gazing at our reflection.  Although I am fuller-figured than Liz, the top actually looked much better on me because I was wearing a bra that fitted properly and gave my breasts uplift and shape.  I didn't say so at the time but we did have a discussion about how she'd need a different bra if she decided to buy the top as her soft cup bra came up too high on her décolletage and showed underneath the top (which wasn't even particularly low cut).  Suffice to say that I bought the top...and she didn't.


Finally, a month or so later, Liz contacted me to invite me shopping again and to challenge me to find some new WIRED bras for her.  I was so excited I almost cried!  I told her that I wanted to put her in a smaller band and asked her to send me her measurements so I could do some research beforehand using bra size calculators such as this.


My investigations found that she should be wearing a 30GG/H bra.  However I knew this would scare the living daylights out of her, having worn 36C/D for so long, so I decided we'd start with 32Gs and go from there.


I felt it would be best to start off in Debenhams as they had a wide range of own brand and named brand bras available in a good selection of sizes.  As it turned out, we didn't get any further than Debenhams as many of the bras Liz tried were on offer and therefore even more appealing!


We picked a range of styles and designs from the countless racks of bras that were available to us and headed for the changing rooms.  I avoided making eye contact with the salesperson as I did not want her to try to talk us in to getting 'measured'.  We chose a cubicle and I handed Liz her bras, not wanting to invade her privacy by assuming I would be joining her.  However Liz insisted I must go in with her as she wanted me to adjust the straps etc and show her how to put the bras on properly.  I was so flattered by this!


Well, we had so much fun trying on what must have been over a dozen different bras.  Every so often, I would scamper out of the changing rooms to get another selection of styles and sizes.  Some were almost instantly discarded because they were too big/small or the wrong style/shape.  I even managed to get Liz to try on a 30GG - she agreed that it looked better than the 32Gs we had been working with so far but she said it was too tight for her at the moment.  Fair enough - I was not about to force her into something that she was not happy with and in the end she went away with four lovely new Debenhams own brand bras, all in 32G.


















(Note again how Liz has fastened many of these bras on the second or tightest hooks - 30GG here we come!!)


Like many women, Liz has one breast which is slightly larger than the other.  By scooping and shuffling when she first puts the bra on, she would be able to minimise this but as we were in a hurry to take the photos (more on this a bit later) she didn't get the chance to do it here.


Due to wearing ill-fitting soft cup bras for decades, Liz has a reasonable amount of migrated breast tissue along her sternum.  Her breasts have started to merge in the middle and that caused us one or two issues when finding a good fit with wired cups as some of them had a centre gore that cut in quite significantly.  I have encouraged Liz to do the scooping and shuffling method when she puts her new bras on and to re-adjust herself several times a day in order to ensure best fit and comfort and hopefully encourage the re-migration of the breast tissue.


Liz's breasts sit rather low on her chest - this is partly due to nature taking its course but also again the ill-fitting soft cup bra hasn't helped.  Some of the pictures above might look as though Liz is wearing her new bras a bit too low but I have encouraged her to pull the wires under her breasts as much as possible and to again adjust this throughout the day when she can.


Finally, it's worth noting that these pictures were taken very hurriedly before Liz's husband got home.  I hadn't set out to write a blog post about our day but Liz very kindly agreed to let me take some pictures of her for this purpose so we tried to take the snaps as quickly as possible.  Therefore, we did not have time to scoop and shuffle or do any adjustment with Liz's new bras before we took the photos so please do not judge too much from them!  They really do fit her very well indeed - apart from the band being a little on the large side.


The other day, I saw Liz for the first time since our bra shopping spree.  She said she was utterly thrilled with her new bras and had even bought herself a couple of other ones (this time from M&S) in her new size 32G.  Her face lit up when she was talking about them so I know she has fallen in love with having bras that fit properly every bit as much as me.  I can't wait to go bra shopping with her again very soon :-)

10 comments:

  1. That's wonderful :) I love being able to take friends bra shopping. And even with hastily taken photos, the bras themselves look so much nicer, which I hope makes her feel good. I hope she will realise soon that since she has to wear her 32s on the tightest hook, it won't be too much of a jump to 30s! I always buy tight bras and use an extender if I need to. A bra extender is so much cheaper than a new bra!

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    1. Hi there, thanks for taking the time to comment :-) I totally agree and am keeping my fingers crossed that Liz will soon want to move down to a 30 band. At the moment she is loving her 32s and that's good enough for me as like you say it's clear from the photos how much better the new bras are for her. One of the bras she got was an absolute bargain - I think it was about £3 - so not that much more expensive than an extender! I'll write a new post if/when we go shopping for some 30s x

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  2. Good for you and your friend. It can be really hard to talk someone in trying another size. Most women use their bra size in part to define themselves so even telling some women that they are in the wrong size, can cause them to pull up mental blocks against good advice.

    Honestly I would made her try the first size you quoted and try other sizes near that. But I guess I'm a bit of a tyrant.

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    1. Hi there, thank you for commenting. I do agree that she would do better with a 30 band and I think she knows that in her heart but for now the 32s are at least a step in the right direction. I did get her to try on a 30GG and it did look much better but she was not comfortable with how tight it was. Baby steps are my approach in this instance :-)

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  3. What a great post, absolutely loving it! I've been measuring my friend too and we're going to go bra shopping together. I'm hoping she'll let me take pictures and write about it!

    I think that the bras are an amazing improvement but I do think the cups on most of those bras could still be bigger (and band of course smaller).

    The best fit seems to be the last one as it is a bit more full coverage. I do think that she should go one band size down and two cups up as that way you get the same volume. So, maybe even 30H here we come...? :D I wrote about that new approach on sister sizing here: http://branightmares.blogspot.com/2012/02/rintaliivien-rinnakkaiskoot-sister.html

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    1. Thanks for commenting :-) Although they don't look it in our rushed photos, the cups are actually a pretty good fit once Liz adjusts and shuffles a bit. If she ever lets me take her bra shopping again I will be getting her to try 30s and will of course make sure she tries whatever cup size is appropriate. It does appear that the last bra is a better fit but this is unpadded (whereas all the others are padded) and she seemed to fit into this without adjustment straight away. I guess it must partly be down to around 45 years of wearing unpadded bras - one's boobs seem to get used to what we put them in!

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  4. Love it! Must be thrilling for her to have such a fab leopard printed bosom after so long in the plain and drab mumsy type. Hurray! Lovely story.

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    1. Thanks so much :-) Liz is thrilled with her new bras and I have bra envy!!

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  5. Huge improvement over the soft-cup bra! I'd love you forever if you saved me like that :)

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    1. Aww thanks :-) We went shopping again just the other day and I think she may be starting to warm to the idea of a 30 band and possibly an H cup!

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