I Got Professionally Fitted For A Bra And Was Totally Unprepared For My ‘Right’ Measurements

by Kate Taylor
Kate is a writer who laughs at her own jokes and likes to pour too much hot sauce on her food.

I was in fifth grade when I was first introduced to the idea of wearing a bra. My friend, who was the resident early bloomer, showed me the training bra she got for her birthday.

She was keeping it in her locker so that other curious 11-year-olds could poke their heads in and see the forbidden artifact. We were more than happy to oblige.

It was at that moment when I began devising my plan for getting my hands on my very own training bra that I too could keep poorly hidden in my locker for the whole school to see.

Unlike my friend, my body could have still belonged to a little boy, and would continue looking that way for a number of years.

Still, I wanted, I needed a bra.

I may have been desperate, but I was still too ashamed to ask my mom for such an embarrassing object. As the oldest daughter, there was no precedent set, and I very wrongly decided the best way would be to slowly work my way up the bra food chain.

This began as shelf bras inside undershirts, to just a bandeau, to triangle bras, to finally, my first real underwire bra.

Since I was barely comfortable enough to ask my mom for a bra as a 14-year-old, there was absolutely no way I was going to let a stranger measure me. It was the first of many underwear mistakes.

I suppose my “If the bra fits” attitude stemmed from there and I have been wearing whatever I thought seemed to fit me without much thought ever since.

Getting My First Bra Fitting

<u>Getting My First Bra Fitting</u><br>Pre-Fitting:
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

Over a decade after acquiring my first training bra, I have noticed myself developing an aversion to bras. When I can avoid wearing one without offending the masses, I do.

However, that comes with it’s own set of complications. I decided that I needed a good bra that I can wear willingly and decided that it was high time to get measured by a professional.

Of course, a quick survey of my existing bras revealed that I’ve been wearing a whole range of sizes. I would think of myself as a 36B, but then I have some 34Cs, 34Ds, and various larges and mediums in bralettes.

Kate Taylor for LittleThings

When looking for somewhere that I could get the expertise I was looking for, I was recommended by numerous people to go to Town Shop in New York City.

The still-running family business was first opened in 1888, and they’ve been expertly fitting women ever since.

The place is an institution, and I was more than happy to have my decade-late first bra fitting done on site.

First Impressions:

First Impressions:
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

I walked in and told them that I had arrived. I was greeted very warmly by the owner, Danny, and his wife, who set me up with an experienced fitter named Maddy.

It didn’t take long for her to point out that the bra I was currently wearing was way too big on me. I laughed because I anticipated as much and couldn’t wait to see what it felt like to actually wear a bra that fit properly.

* I realize that I misspelled “panty hose” in the below picture

Bra #1: 34C

Bra #1: 34C
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

One of the coolest things about this experience and how it surprised me was that I didn’t once see a measuring tape.

Maddy told me that bras are like jeans: you might be a six in one pair, but an eight in different brand.

Like all articles of clothing for women these days, there is no real standardization because that would just be too easy, right?

Maddy looked at me and brought me in a few options. It’s incredible that the fitters can just look and pretty much know what size is needed.

Since the 36B that I walked in with was already deemed too big, she brought me some 34C bras to start.

The first one fit well in the front, but was really loose in the back. I will admit that I have never, ever tried to check to see if a bra fit in the back before, so it was a new, overdue concept.

Bra #2: 34C

Bra #2: 34C
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

The next bra, also a 34C, was a good fit and the back was tight enough.

You can see here that Maddy is fastening my straps and being extremely helpful, even though my height made things more difficult.

As I was putting this one on, I immediately defaulted to picking the middle clasp. Apparently this is a common mistake.

Instead, when getting a new bra, it’s best to use the loosest clasp because the fabric stretches, and you will get more wear out of one if you have the option to tighten it.

Bra #3: 32D

Bra #3: 32D
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

Next, Maddy decided to have me try on a more full-coverage bra.

Since the previous 34C bras were a slightly loose on me in the back, she decided to grab me a 32D, which she described as a 34C’s “sister size.”

This one definitely fit snugly around my back, but there were some empty spaces in the cups as you can see here from my pressing.

Bra #4: 32D

Bra #4: 32D
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

The next bra was also a 32D, but a different demi shape. It had a cute camo pattern that Maddy explained she would only bring to someone young.

It’s the fitter’s job to have a sixth sense about what the particular customer might be interested in, and I must say that Maddy nailed it.

She showed me that the sign of a good fit is if you lower the straps off your shoulders and the bra still stays up without any problem.

Since this bra passed the first test, it’s on to the next one. Maddy brought me a T-shirt she described as “unforgiving,” to demonstrate just how much difference a good bra can make.

It was actually pretty amazing because I suddenly had boobs. It made me realize I’ve been wasting them for years.

I’m not usually one for low necklines, but this whole experience got me thinking that maybe I should try out different clothing styles because my new 32D diagnosis has made me feel a little more womanly.

Wrapping Up At The Shop:

Wrapping Up At The Shop:
Kate Taylor for LittleThings

Before I left, I got to sit down with Danny, the owner, and talk about Town Shop’s philosophy and about how 80% of women are apparently wearing the wrong bra size.

He had some really interesting things to say about how women are so often wearing the wrong size.

He reiterated how the number on a label doesn’t mean anything, and why it’s important for women to know that and be open to trying new size combinations.

He said, “We don’t use tape measures because you’re not shopping for a tape measure.” You know what? He’s exactly right.

He was also kind enough to bestow on me the first bra that actually fits properly in over ten years. I’m wearing it as I type this and am eternally grateful.


Kate Taylor for LittleThings

What’s my real bra size? If you had asked me before, I would have said 36B, but today, I know that I’m actually closer to a 32D. Of course, I also know that my size will fluctuate a bit depending on cut and style of bra.

What’s it like to have a bra that fits? Today, being my first day wearing a bra that fits me (maybe ever) has been exciting. I didn’t have to hold my boobs as I ran up and down the subway stairs, and I don’t look as flat chested as I thought I always was. I decided to conduct my own T-shirt test, and I think I passed!

How do you get an accurate bra fitting? Both Maddy and Danny told me that, “Bra fitting is an art and not a science.” The explanation really hit home for me. Seeing an expert with a lot of experience in sizing truly makes all the difference, and remember, don’t get too caught up in the numbers.

Would I recommend it to a friend? I would recommend it to anyone! I hope that anyone reading will liberate themselves and go get fitted!

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