High Street Fitting Challenge

I was recently asked by a popular on-line bra shop to perform an undercover mission to challenge the fitting services of high-street shops and department stores. Below I have given a brief review of my experience, naming and shaming companies (because hey, I can!) and describing my experience in my cross-section experiment. Please feel free to share your own experience after reading mine; and take a moment to invest time, effort and… to a certain extent; money into your assets.

Here’s a picture of me in my (borrowed) Debenham’s brand 34D bra:

Bravissimo Covent Garden and Leamington Spa:

Size Measured: 28F/FF.

Completely spot-on with their fitting and customer service. Cannot fault their fitting really it is of course world renowned and considered by most to be one of the best for an accurate fit. I would rate their customer service and fitting experience as a 10/10 with no doubt and I am constantly trying to get my friends to go along to get fitted because there is simply nowhere like Bravissimo on the high street. Their only negative is that the bras are all the current season stock for brands like Panache, Clio, Freya, Fantasie so are all rather pricey for my liking! What I have found myself doing is going to Bravissimo and trying on different shapes and brands to see what styles suit my tastes and my figure. Then I go to a website like Brastop.com and get something similar (varying sometimes only by colour-ways or slighty in style as brands often keep the same shapes but change their designs merely aesthetically.) Bravissimo fit by eye as a ‘guesstimate’ and then follow up with a ‘trial and error’ approach. Whenever I have gone they fit me into each specific bra as of course (they advise) all bras are different and no one size should be taken as verbatim… they can only give you a ‘size’ based on your average bra fitting. Some will differ and they make this completely clear and stress the importance of trying bras on. I was advised that balconette styles suit me best, as well as the shape of Freya and Panache which was very helpful. Also I really enjoy their fitting methods, They are very sensitive to the customer and as you are changing they leave the fitting room to allow you to change in privacy. When changing a bra on you they do it very discreetly. I’ve been fitted there four times now in total and all girls were lovely and chatty and made me feel completely at ease and under no pressure to buy a bra on the day; so you don’t feel awkward at all about just going in for a fitting. They know what they are talking about and recognise that some people need to wear a back size smaller than a 32, and teach people how their bra should fit and feel so that they know how to assess for themselves if something fits right.

They fitted me in to the Freya Arabella, 28FF.

Overall Rating: 10/10


Mystique Lingerie in Windsor:

Size Measured: 32D.

This shop can only be described as overwhelmingly pretentious. I walked in and the one member of staff when questioned about a fitting service replied ‘we fit into bras for the customer buying’. All the bras were in the region of 60-80 pounds and they do not seem interested unless you are definitely intending on buying. The girl did say to me, however, that she could tell just by looking at me (I was wearing clothes, an ill-fitting bra AND a coat) that I was most likely a 32D. Just awful!

Overall Rating: 1/10


House of Fraser, Westfield:

Size Measured: 32E.

This department store is beautifully laid out with gorgeous displays and decorative fixtures and fittings. The fitter was a very kind girl who fitted me as a 32E after using a similar method as Bravissimo. She started by finding a basic new bra in the size I was already wearing to check that it hadn’t simply become ill-fitting with age. She recognised I needed a smaller back size and larger cup size, slowly increasing and trying on all sorts of shapes and styles until she decided on my size. She advised me that balconettes suit me best… with which both I and Bravissimo agree. One negative thing other than the obvious fact of the non-accurate measurement was the fact that the fitter stayed with me in the changing room which felt a little awkward… and a lot more so I’m sure for the more shy and body conscious women out there! The girl was helpful despite her ill-advised training as she did attempt to fit me well and took time to decipher what was (according to her training) correct. The E cup she fitted me into was giving me the ‘double boob’ effect but she seemed happy with this. The best thing about House of Fraser is that yes, there are some more expensive and upmarket brands but there is in general a range of prices to suit. Whilst none of the bras were cheap as such there was certainly a variety as they stock Wonderbras, Freya and Elle Macpherson which are all really lovely bras to invest in if you want to treat yourself. There was a small sale area however with a range of sizes if you are lucky! Another bad thing about House of Fraser was their lack of bras in 30 and 28 back sizes… which perhaps explains why they fitted me as a 32… House of Fraser, along with most other high street shops, are ignorant to the fact that 28-30 back sizes are far more common and in-demand than statistics reveal… Well my fitting experience review alone reveals that!

Here’s a picture of me in my newly fitted Elle Macpherson 32E (please excuse peekaboo nip…yet apparently this was ‘perfect’ for me) it is safe to say I did not make a purchase…:

Overall Rating: 7/10


M&S, Westfield:

Size Measured: 34C.

I was really disappointed with this fitting service. As one of the country’s leading, most trusted and used fitting services in the UK, I was horrified that they actually gave me the most inaccurate advice with the most ill-advised and ill-trained assistant in the whole of my endeavours. I waited quite a while to get fitted with a queue of 4 or five girls waiting. (Scary that people seem to go here to get fitted and there was such a high demand for their service when they were simply terrible!) M&S don’t have the best selection of bras, as they stock only their own designs and have no other choices. The are, however, due praise for their recent introduction of bras up to a G cup and back sizes in 28-30. No wonder, however, that their sale range is so full of 28 and 30 back size bras when they are telling people like me to wear 34C’s! What a waste of an initially promising investment! I did, however try on their ‘Limited Edition Satin’ bra in blue which (according to the Bravissimo/Brastop.com’s guide and requirements in needed a 28FF or a 30E to have a comfortable fit. So they have the bras to fit me but won’t make the most of their new stock and actually sell it to people who could potentially be buying it and be very happy with the fit and size! I believe it is down to laziness and M&S not wanting to spend money on revamping their highly flawed fitting training! Most of the bras are also only available in up to a DD, with the ‘push up’ threshold being capped at a DD. Well, sorry M&S, but I and many other of my larger-breasted contemporaries want to push up our assets too! Balconettes may, in general, suit me best but I want to have the choice just as much as anyone else. However, the nail in the coffin for M&S was when the assistant told me to use the middle fastening hook to get an ‘even average back size’… Shocking!

Overall Rating: 1/10


La Senza, Westfield:

Size Measured: 32E/F/FF depending on bra type (I was E for plunge F/FF for balconette).

Despite what would seem a very inaccurate size, I need to point out that La Senza back sizes are and are very well-known to be really quite small. For this reason the 32 back was no where near so bad a fit as in other places…and seemed to fit me in the way you might expect a 30 back in (for example) Freya to fit…so not bad at all. Saying that, this was one place which used the flawed ‘tape measure’ method. When she took it out I dismayed a little, however she did continue to use a ‘trial and error’ method so she only used this as a start-off. The assistant was very friendly and chatty and made me feel completely at ease. She, similarly to Bravissimo, left the changing room to leave me to change myself into the bra which I feel is the most sensitive and pleasant way of being fitted. It makes the whole process a lot less awkward. The assistant advised me to use the loosest hook and to tighten up as the bra ages. This is a indicator of good training but as I was doing the bra up comfortably on the smallest hook I would have thought she would think about taking me down a back size… but since La Senza only have 30 backs in certain styles and only usually on the website anyway, this didn’t seem an option despite her struggling to find me a size! She did get frustrated as I went from a 34C to a 32 (extremely ‘gappy’) FF and still not fitting 100% all over she seemed to give up. She did, however, take a long while beforehand to attempt to fit me before this. I personally thought the best (of a bad bunch) fit that she gave me was the 32F in a balconette, however still had quite bad ‘semicircular ride-up’ at the back. Start stocking smaller back sizes La Senza!!

I believe this is me in their 32F:

Overall Rating: 7.5/10


Debenhams, Westfield:

Size Measured: 32E.

This fitting room had a bit of a queue to get into but nowhere near as much as M&S. The assistant used the ‘tape measure’ method. The store itself was quite messy and poorly laid out. There was however a large sale section with a large amount of stock and a large array of sizes and brands. Debenhams have a good sized variety of ranges with a large Gossard, Ultimo, Wonderbra and their own label ‘Gorgeous’ sections. I really like the ‘Gorgeous’ range as it is good quality lingerie at a reasonable price and often very cheap and they have a ‘buy one get the knickers free’ offer, or you can often find bargains in their frequent sales. ‘Gorgeous’ stock my size which is fantastic, however I was denied the opportunity to wear it as I am according to them a 32E. It is also difficult to find a 28F in store and usually I have to resort to buying on-line. I wonder who they sell their 28 back bras to; as like M&S they stock them but do not fit people into them. At least they recognised that I needed a smaller back size which is more than could be said for M&S. The staff were very helpful and friendly however training of course needs improving. I had quite prominent ‘semicircular ride-up’ at the back which I was shocked that the assistant didn’t pick up on. The E cup she fitted me was also quite ‘gappy’. Their overall service however I do commend as if you know your actual size you can often pick up something from the Freya (amongst others) or the ‘Gorgeous’ range in the large ‘Fuller Bust’ section. The bras they sell seem to be catering for the fuller bust but the fitting service is letting us down! They did not seem overly pushy for me to buy something and I felt fairly comfortable to just go in for a fitting. After fitting me she simply said if I find anything I like and need any further help to let her know.

Here’s my double-boob… I mean, 32E:

Overall Rating: 8/10


Selfridges, Oxford Street, London:

Size Measured: 28ff/30f

Really impressed with the store, really beautifully laid out with lots of choice and selection of sizes. After getting fitted went onto the shop floor to find a vast array of bras in my size and their recommended size on the shop floor which I believe for me is a first. Really great fitting service done by eye and trial and error, really polite helpful girls well trained and very accommodating. Plus Agent Provocateur! Win!

They fitted me into the Following bra, a Freya Jolie 28FF:

Overall Rating: 9.5/10


Rigby and Peller, Westfield:

Size Measured: ???

I was completely shocked by their service! The girl told me they fit by eye (fair enough… three cheers for fitting by eye!) and went on to fit me in a 30D bra… and it goes without saying my rack was not happy. I had more tit out than in the cup… but the fitter said it looked ‘fine’. I suggested trying a larger cup size as I said it was uncomfortable so she returns with a few 30Es. Between trips to the stock room I was standing there in the fitting room for what seemed like hours just waiting. I have no idea what she was doing but it took SO long. I say that these Es were still far too small so she goes and finds MORE 30Es and a 32E… when she even said herself that the 30 was ‘perfect’. I was even putting the hook and eyes on the smallest hook every time to see if she would comment but she would simply say the back was ‘fine’. I am guessing she was just fitting me into what they had… After a tedious few attempts I suggest (I the fittee!) suggest to try a 30F to which she replies… ‘could do…’ CONGRATULATIONS GENIUS. The 30F was actually fine but was an awful brown lacy full-cup bra… not my thing at all. She says of all the bras I like they go up to an E cup… back to the stock room she goes for ages (this happened about 6 times) After a long 55 minutes I had to walk out… she would have returned from the stock room to find an empty changing room because I just felt I was getting nowhere!! Shocked as they have such a good reputation with fitting…

Overall Rating: 3/10

It seems obvious that more stores need to recognise that most people in the UK are wearing back sizes that are too big and cup sizes that are too small. My median size was 32E which to me I feel I could wear but there is no way I would feel the same support as I would in say a 28 F/FF. There is no way I could run for a bus in a 32E! And as for my 34C…this is just ridiculous as after wearing a 34C all day I had back pains and soreness which I have not suffered with in a LONG time. It is scary that people are blindly going to get fitted in places which could seriously affect their health and comfort. All my friends who I have forced to go get fitted in Bravissimo or who have used the help videos from Brastop have been so elated and ecstatic at the difference a good-fitting bra can make to their comfort, posture and appearance that they have ALL without fail never gone back to their old sizes. Also the huge diversity of sizes I was given on my trip reveals that something is very flawed in the UK fitting system! There definitely needs to be some kind of stabilisation of fitting services so that, like when getting fitted for shoes or rings, wherever you go gives you not necessarily the same numbers and figures but the same fit and comfort that we all deserve!

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48 Replies to “High Street Fitting Challenge”

  1. M&S fittings ARE a bit of a shocker … I had myself fitted there a while back just to see what they told me when I wore a 34D (Bravissimo recently fitted me as a 30FF) … the fitter there draped a tape around me at a very odd angle and told me I was a 36A … really, really, really bad!

    1. Wow, it really is a common occurance, Katy! Glad to hear you have been fitted by Bravissimo. Every girl should go in my opinion! Thanks for your comment ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    2. Tell me about M&S! I go for a Bravissimo fitting once a year now, when I need new bras, I buy one there and then (I am using their fitting service, after all, and they’re so good – I want them to stay in business!) but take the chance to try on loads of styles and work out what’s going to fit. Then I go online for the rest.

      According to Bravissimo, I am generally a 32DD with a 30E in some Freya bras.

      According to M and S, I am a 36B. That was two years ago, in the Canterbury branch, and I have not taken one look at their bras since.

  2. I got fitted at M&S a few years ago; the fitter used the tape measurement method, but IIRC she only measured my full bust, not my ribcage! From that measurement alone she deduced that I was a “34D… no, 34DD”. At the time I was wearing 32Cs and Ds, and my true size was probably something like 30E.

    I do still buy M&S bras as they’re the most affordable I can find in my size, but I wouldn’t recommend their fitting services to anyone, and I really wish they’d work on the consistency of their sizing.

    1. I would definitely agree with you! I still buy bras from M&S as they are great value for the DD+ (particularly after the Busts 4 Justice campaign!) and make some really pretty sets. I would just avoid their fitting service like the plague! Have you been anywhere and got a great fitting service that you would recommend? x

      1. I’ve actually never been fitted anywhere else, but I’m thinking of going to Bravissimo soon as I really need some bras that fit! I wear 28DDs but they’re too big in the band and I have a bad feeling my “true” size might be more like 26E. Some of M&S’s 28 bands fit me, but it’s very hit or miss and I haven’t yet found one that fits in the cups as well.

        1. If that is the case then I highly recommend Bravissimo for a professional fitting. They will be able to give you advice about what you should wear for your shape, ask them what they recommend for smaller backs. You may enjoy this blog post by another lingerie blogger who talks about the need for bras in a 26 back and smaller (a market which I think is being grossly overlooked!) http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2011/02/bras-for-sub-28-ribcage-do-you-need-26.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ThinAndCurvy+(Thin+and+Curvy)

          From personal experience the bras which I find come up smaller on the back is the Debenhams ‘Gorgeous’ range. If you can find a 28 back (they stock them but they are only usually in the larger stores) give them a try x

  3. Thanks for the tip about Debenhams! I went to their website and was shocked that the Gorgeous line was all on sale in 28FF for under 12 pounds. Unfortunately, their US shipping is almost as much as another bra, so I think I’ll have to wait until the exchange rate improves and hope they have another sale. *sigh*

    1. Ah that’s a shame ๐Ÿ™ Where do you buy most of your bras from then? You should keep an eye open for when Brastop do their free international shipping deals! x

      1. Really?! I’m going to have to go sign up for their mailing list right away! (It’s an addiction, it really is…) Thank you!!!

        eBay is my second home, even long before I realized that I’d never be able to get away with buying bras for less than astronomic amounts of money from brick-and-mortar stores again. My price constraints also mean that I’ve ended up with a lot of M&S bras, which I find kind of meh.

  4. During my gap year I applied for lots of general shop assistant jobs and got one at Debenhams, went for the usual training re emergencies, how to lift things etc as usual, then was assigned to the lingerie department. After a few weeks my supervisor (who’d worked there for maybe 30 years, but not all on lingerie) taught me to fit – measuring for initial back size then using trial & error – and I got on with it (asking her to check the first few I did). The only further training I was offered was a day course on masectomy bras in their Birmingham store training centre, we didn’t even stock masectomy bras in my branch!
    I think most of the time we did a good job, and got women into much better fitting bras than they came in with, but of course it depended on the member of staff involved! We had one lady who was very evangelical about fitting and even had a bit of a following, but she was known for fitting too small around the back! There was a Triumph lady who came and did fittings every now and again, but of course her brief was to fit people into Triumph bras, which we only carried a small range of.
    We often had to deal with the results of bad fitting elsewhere (we had a return from Debenhams Exeter where a lady looking for an everyday bra had been fitted into a badly-fitting bridal multiway bra, all I could do was agree that it was wrong and let her return it under the goodwill category, then re-fit her). The story I always tell people is the one of a tall but medium to skinny lady who came asking me where she’d find underwired 40As. I think the look on my face made my thoughts obvious, as she immediately explained that she’d been fitted at M&S but hadn’t had any luck finding bras there either. I offered to re-fit her and she went away a happy 36DD, but that (and other incidents) convinced me that my local M&S definitely had a rogue fitter. Such a horrible shame.

  5. Hi, I know this is an old post but have you ever contacted those shops about their (bad) fitting services? I’m curious about what their responses would be.

      1. Maybe you could email them (the shops) about how you felt about the service you received and the results of your fitting with a link to this post. You can ask them about why they perform the fitting services that way (especially with Mystique Lingerie, are you kidding me?! That was just terrible). You can also point them to the pictures of the bras you tried on (from their store) and ask them what they think of the fit. A follow up post to this one with their responses would be nice. Just some suggestions, although please don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t want to. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I think it’s a good idea to pressure these companies about their services otherwise how else can they change? You have photo evidence so it’s hard to deny the bad fits. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s also a great way to let people know what to expect as well when they go shopping because I don’t think a lot of people do.

        I honestly appreaciate blogs like yours, because that’s how I finally found a proper fitting bra. My boobs aren’t huge, but this 30F feels loads better than the 32C I was wearing before. :\

        This was a long post, but thanks for listening. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hello! Just came across this post…

    I went for a fitting at M+S last year. They fitted me up as a….40C. I told them that I was generally a 36FF. I went off to find some bras in that size (although they don’t do FF, for some odd reason) and the assistant said ‘Well, if they don’t have a 36 then you could try a 38 or maybe a 40?

    Got fitted at Bravissimo on Friday and apparently I’m a 34GG! But the difference is so visible once I’m in the right bra.

  7. Hello! I just found your blog this afternoon (when searching for Bravissimo/Pepperberry clothes, found your review). I have to say I love your reviews of sports bras – you have got me thinking that if I get a Freya Active I *can* actually do sport. I have previously tried a couple of different bras but with very poor results – tried the Royce ‘impact free’ but really didn’t like the uniboob effect, plus didn’t feel very well supported.

    On fittings on the high street – I wore a 40D courtesy of M&S for years. When I went to my GP complaining of back pain. she had me take my top off, took one look at my bra and told me to go get fitted ‘ Rigby and Peller or Debenhams’. she said.

    One trip to Rigby and Peller later I was wearing 36Hs from prima donna, and of course it changed my life! Back pain gone, silhouette immensely improved, no longer spent all day yanking my bra band back down where it belonged….
    What I will say is that I think Rigby & Peller fitting varies quite a lot from store to store . I was fitted by the same lady in the Conduit Street store for 5 years, until she sadly left! She had very high standards for fit – no spillage either at the sides or top, band and bra mustn’t move when you lift arms over your head, no pinching of tissue at the side… etc… Since she has left I have been fitted by 2 different people and I have noticed a more relaxed approach – a case of ‘it’ll do’ and me thinking and saying, well, it could be better.
    Bravissimo I went to years ago for a fitting, and I think they were okay, but I just did not like the very round, somewhat squashed/flattened shape that their bras gave me.
    The jury is still out on their pepperberry clothing- some of their clothes over the years (when they were still bravissimo) have become absolute staples of my wardrobe – good lord, the suits! a suit jacket that buttons up and fits and doesn’t gape!!! But some of their more recent clothes I’ve been less keen on – odd fabric or colour choices, or giving the impression of ‘plus-size’ tailoring, i.e. trying to camouflage everything, which isn’t what I want!
    Phew, that’s a long comment.

    1. Hi Maria, Long comments are my favourite! Thanks for getting in touch, maybe I’ll have to go back to Rigby and Peller for a fitting one day. I’ve heard a lot of people say that Bravissimo clothing used to fit much better before it became Pepperberry, however I think people like the designs better now in some cases. Have you tried Biu Biu? I’m keen to try them but Georgina has a great reviews on Fuller Figure Fuller Bust: http://fullerfigurefullerbust.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/i-feel-pretty-in-summer-city/ and http://fullerfigurefullerbust.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/biu-tifully-done-once-again/ also Brittany at Thin and Curvy reviewed them here: http://www.thinandcurvy.com/2011/01/biubiu-review-awesome-clothing-for-big.html Both very highly praise the brand for curves x

  8. Hi

    Was so pleased to find this blog. I am a 28FF and have Rio by Freya and I think Melody Panache bra – yes I also find a *balconette suits me better though the Rio isn’t….

    I could honestly cry when I wear my Rio bra – and there is such little choice. A lot of friends are envious about my big boobs and tiny waist and also are incredulous when I mention my size…

    anyway thanks and will read in more detail later!

    1. Hi Maria, thanks for your comment! I’m so happy you’ve found my blog as hopefully you won’t need to cry any more! I have nearly a hundred reviews waiting for you of bras that I recommend you in our size. Good luck! x

  9. What sort of bra did you wear when you went into the stores (your correct size or a badly fitted one)? Did they ask you what size you’re wearing before fitting you?
    Just wondering, because I think it may affect how good of a fitting service you get.
    I once went into a pretentious boutique wearing a top that was squashing me and was actually recommended the dreaded 34b. I doubt that would have happened if I’d been in one of my well-fitted bras.

  10. Excellent post! I had a terrible ‘fitting’ day yesterday with M&S. I was recommended to read your blog by Larger Cup Lingerie when I asked them for their advice, when I had to blog about my fitting nightmare. I’m still trying to figure what size I really am. I’m guessing around a 30G but even then, I’m not 100%. I think I need to make a trip to Bravissimo, I just wish they’d open more stores and be more accessible. They’d certainly give all the other so called lingerie specialists a run for their money!!

    Becky x

  11. Like some on here, I know this is an old post, but I had to chime in. In the U.S., I have also noticed a disturbing trend for stores (ahem, Victoria’s Secret…) to completely butcher the concept of “sister sizing”. Yes, sister sizes are sizes in which cup volume is roughly equal, taken by going up a cup/down a band or vice versa. So yes, a 30DD and a 38A in the *same* (very important) bra might have the same cup volume, but that does NOT mean that the 38A will fit you if you need the 30DD. Also, women who need these different sizes will not look the same. I came across an online thread where a teenage girl was talking about being embarrassed by 28E breasts and some unthoughtful, unhelpful commenter chimed in “You need to get over it cuz they’re not that big that’s like a 36B.” On a small back that volume is going to look larger. I am actually still angry at that commenter for belittling that 16-year-old girl’s concerns, even though it was an old post.

    I was told at VS that I wear a 38/40DD because it is the “sister size” of my 26H/28GG regular size. I know that they were only trying to sell what they carry(32-40AA-DD), but really… a 40?

    1. I completely agree about VS. I actually have the opposite reaction when my size is mentioned then the commenter said, most people tell me that I’m “too little to be an E/F” or even the 32DD I wear from VS. I’M usually the one saying “well it’s really not that huge, it’s like a 36 B/C” just so they’ll understand that my 28 E/F’s are NOT bigger than my friends 36 DD’s.

  12. I’m a massive advocate of Bravissimo now after years and years of knowingly wearing the wrong size. I’m now a 28F/FF having finally gone through the proper Bravissimo fitting process just last week. I eventually got sick of wearing the wrong size 18 months ago when the best option I could usually (32DD) stopped fitting or was too difficult to find, so I went to Bravissimo and got fitted as a 30E for a sports bra (having bought a 30D online as a guess and found it hilariously too small). I didn’t mind too much when I was smaller getting away with a 32C/D because they were usually available, but as soon as I moved into the 32DD range it became a constant hassle to try and find the ‘right’ size at all. After the brilliant sports bra fitting I had I went and bought a few 30Es but even they felt too big in the back, and by the beginning of this year they were too small in the cups too so I braved the bra shopping process again (I’ve come to absolutely hate it over the years). Bravissimo were excellent, as ever, but I turned down their full service and just went for telling the story, coming up with a new size and leaving me to it. This was my decision and a bad one. I went in twice in a couple of months trying to find ANYTHING that would fit, and even though I knew my size I just couldn’t find anything that seemed to fit me properly. Both times I left in more of a strop than I’d arrived in!

    I tried Debenhams with my new 28F size and tried on at least 15 bras in one go and not one of them fitted me properly, the biggest problem being that the straps are always at least an inch too long. Come on Debenhams, give us fully adjustable straps! Surely it can’t be that hard! Once again I left in a mood and went back to a drawer full of bras I knew were too small.

    Then last week I got so sick of it that I went back to the lovely Bravissimo and, after trying a few and still not having any luck, I accepted their offer of a proper fitting. That was one of of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time! Beth (ha, that was a bit weird) was so understanding of just how sick of the whole thing I was and how I just wanted to go away with 1 bra that actually fitted me! With absolutely no judgement, seemingly endless patience and an enormous amount of empathy she listened to my bra saga and spent nearly an hour helping me find styles that fitted, and more importantly suited me. I’m not the most decisive person in the world (especially when it comes to spending a lot of money) but she made me feel like she had nothing else to do but help me go away smiling. She asked if I wanted her to leave the room while I was trying things on (I really didn’t care, must be something to do with being nearly 30, but it was lovely to be asked) and helped me fiddle with every one I tried on and gave me her honest, and clearly knowledgeable, opinion on how they were fitting and always made sure they were on the loosest hook. Whether I felt comfortable in it or not seemed to be very high on her list, it wasn’t just about whether it technically fitted. It was without a doubt the most personalised bra fitting service I’ve ever had. I wish I’d done it sooner, then maybe I could have avoided so many failed attempts!

    I came away with 3 new bras that actually fit!! And a list of others that I liked but couldn’t afford – Beth took a note of the others that I liked and what size I needed and even told me I might be able to get them cheaper elsewhere! Hooray!

    This is just singing the praises of Bravissimo really. Having a properly fitting bra really does make the world feel like a better place. I wish more people (both customers and suppliers) would realise this. A friend of mine, who is even smaller than me in the back, was measured as a 32A the other day and it was all I could do not to explode with frustration! Why do companies continue to provide and fit such ridiculous sizes?!

  13. Back again!

    Just thought I would recommend Figleaves surprisingly for online buys. Can’t recall if they do returns free or not but got 2 bikinis last summer In sale and fitted perfectly and the lady on phone was uber helpful!

    Had a mare other weekend wanted to go to bravissimo thought was in chiswick but it’s not its in Ealing!

    Got 2 bras in HOF Richmond 1 I may return. It’s Freya untamed not mad on purple nor weird almost triangle trim! Also got and can’t see bra but its Freya butterfly print one from last season got for ยฃ17.

    Really want to try debenhams gorgeous range great value. Also the claudette neon colors!

    So not so tearful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I just want to say thank you for converting another person to Bravissimo! I have always been fitted at M&S, but as all my bras were starting to get very uncomfortable and I knew I must be wearing the wrong size, I decided to drive the extra distance to get fitted at Bravissimo. So worth it!!! My new and properly fitting 30E and 28F bras feel a million times better than the totally unflattering and unsupportive 34D M&S fitted me as. So a big thank you for pointing me to Bravissimo and their fantastic fitting service!

  15. I had a bit of a mishap with an M&S fitting last month. my 34C’s were not fitting any more (far too small in the cups but ok-ish in the band) so I went for a fitting, only for them to tell me I’m a 38B. I have no idea where they got that measurement from as I am actually closer to a 34F/36E. Thank you for letting me know that not all shops fit the same, I suppose they want to make life harder for us!

  16. hi I am going to try the measure yourself I have tried M&S but they where so busey that the poor assistants where just rushed of there feet and I had a really bad fitting made my excuses and didn’t buy anything then I was recommended to go to bravisimo I was fitted into a bra that was far to big in the cup and looked really bad but was told that I was inbetween sizes and would never get a good fit and that didn’t do my confidence any good at all I am going to try debinems this week.

  17. As a 56 year old woman who has never had a bra fitting, and have been struggling to find a comfortable 36A bra – I decided to bite the bullet and try to see if bra fitting was going to help me! Your blog was really useful in finding where to go – that encouraged me to make this foray into the world of underwear that is considered a treat not a punishment. Following your advice I went to Selfridges in Oxford Street and bought 4 new bras – 2 x 34D and 2 x 34DD. The mystery of the discomfort solved! Thank you so much for your great advice ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. A friend found this article and I shall be going to Selfridges (where I was fited as a young woman years ago!) or Bravissimo (which would be new for me) in the very near future. Am really pleased to read the tests and the good advice, and the comments are also valuable. To add to the tale, I went to Rigby and Peller last year and was extremely disappointed with the result. Spent about ยฃ150 on two bras (I desperately needed something), and was told to go to John Lewis to get bra adjusters and strap retainers so bras would fit! NEVER again.

  19. Really enjoyed reading this, I’m a lingerie design student and I also work in a department store you reviewed. Most of the staff don’t get proper training but get a shiney badge saying their a bra fit “expert”. I’m thinking about a brand idea for final year and I was wondering do you think you one reason you got fitted incorrectly because there wasn’t many 28″ back sizes in stores?

    1. Hi everyone! I am a bra fitter in Canada who uses mostly European bras in our shop to fit women up to a 46 J. We also specialize in prosthesis and mastectomy bras. I highly recommend all women get fitted in a GOOD quality bra by an actual fitter in order to get the perfect fit! It is worth the money! Our bras range from $80-$220 ca and are worth every penny. If you think of the amount of money you spend on bras that don’t fit well and end up going to the back of your drawer, isn’t it worth it to buy 1 or 2 good ones a year that fit you perfectly instead? I recommend Empriente and Antinea for deep breasts, Chantelle for shallow breasts, Marie Jo for small cups, Ulla for very large cups. One other good thing about quality bras- they last a long time when you hand wash them.

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