February 6, 2013

Let’s Talk Boobs For a Sec. I mean BRAS. (and fit issues)

DSC_0745

Mamas, the end is near.  I have been either nursing or pregnant since 2007.  (Actually, that should be our new slogan here at ANMJ: "NURSING OR PREGNANT SINCE 2007!")

But Pax is now over two.  And while he's not weaned juuuust yet…the reality is that his nursing is pretty sporadic.  I recognize the signs, Mamas.  They've been here for a while.  I'll be lucky if I can stretch it out for a few more weeks at this point.

Therefore, it's time to take care of bidniss.  Specifically, my bra situation.  I have a few once-great nursing bras (most featured here), that are now stretched beyond all recognition.  So on a Friday night a couple of months ago, I wandered into Victoria's Secret.  (And by wandered, I mean that I tricked my husband into meeting me at the mall, then left him and the kids there next to 5 Guys.)

I didn't want to spend a ton of money – especially since 'the girls' will be in a state of flux as Pax tapers off.  Once I stop nursing, I…I can't even talk about it.  It's like my life's purpose will be gone.  (cue tragic music)

Ok.  Back to Victoria's Secret:  Basically I walked in and they pounced.  They started by asking what my 'needs' were (I tried to stick to the general topic of 'bras' and not immediately launch into a detailed list starting with "Poop ALONE")…and then quickly whipped out the measuring tape and wrapped it around my general chest area.  "Uh, um.." I stammered.  "I'm wearing three tops and this sweater is kind of chunk-"  Nobody cared.  They pronounced me a D.  Maybe a C.  And "probably, like, a 34".  And suggested that I would "really, really love" their push-up bras.  Hunh.

Armed with a rainbow of pretty push-ups, I eventually found myself being escorted into a dressing room by a woman wearing a bluetooth headpiece and a sharp black suit.  She only spoke in brisk, hushed tones directed somewhere over my head.  Distracted by her headgear, I wondered if Obama had arrived.  "The eagle has landed," I whispered.  (She didn't even look fazed – the Secret Service should TOTALLY recruit at VS.)

After Mrs. Smith had left, I started trying on bras. And?  It was a disaster.  Mamas, if you are some sweet young thing with only one kid, I'm sure you and your boobs will be very happy with Victoria's Secret.  They have the cutest bras, as cheap as $25.  But if you (like me) have more years than you'd like to admit, have watched your 'girls' go from AA – DD and everything in between, gained 40+ with each pregnancy, blah blah blah….NO.  

The problem, Mamas, is that due to kids and age, I not only have some back fat going on, but I have…um….underarm fat?  Side Boob?  Is that what you call it?  I don't know, because THIS IS NEW.  Damn.  I could also refer to it as:  Extra Boob Hanging Out of Side of Bra?  Or Old Lady Side-Chest?  I don't know WHAT to call it, but it sure as heck looked worse in Victoria's Secret push-up bras, which pushed in right where I had extra stuff that needed to go out.   [Cue me calling Mike and crying that I had "fat underarms".  You can imagine the bewildermint (him) and annoyance/blind rage (me) that resulted from that winner of a convo.]

Clearly, I needed another option.  

Serendipitously, I was contacted by True&Co.  True&Co is an online retailer started for gals who hate shopping for bras in person.  (Hunh.  I wonder why?)  You basically take a quiz of your preferences and fit information (no measuring tape needed thankyouverymuch) and True&Co will recommend bras that fit.  They'll ship five to you for free, you choose the one(s) you want, and ship the rest back for free (using the pre-paid shipping label included).  You are charged only for the bras you keep, and most of their inventory runs between $45 – $80.  

Not bad, right?  So I started by taking the quiz. True&Co's fit algorithm uses your existing bras as a basis.  You input the maker and the size, and they ask you questions about the current fit (ie – how does the band fit: too tight, too loose, etc.).

Right away I had a problem:  My favorite bra?  The only one that fit?  It's so old and worn that the size had rubbed off.  Also, it's a nursing bra, and Bella Materna isn't listed as a choice in True&Co's extensive pull-down list.  And when we got to the fit questions (too loose?  too tight?)…I found myself checking right in the middle.  It fit..ish.  Yes, it was stretched out…but I couldn't pinpoint exactly where the problem was.  I wanted a checkbox that said "I've been nursing, lost all sense of what fits and have no idea what I'm doing.  HELP ME."  But in any case, I finished the quiz, and voila!  A box of bras was on the way.

In the meantime, I decided to get Serious (read: expensive).  I went to Intimacy.

Intimacy is a bra-fit specialist store, and one that is pretty intimidating to visit.  You must have a reservation, for example.  Yikes.  And the bras are not on display; they bring the bras to you.  Double yikes! But I was curious, and thought, honestly, that I'd learn something to share with you, Mamas.  SO THIS WAS FOR YOU, MAMAS.  THAT'S MY STORY FOR MIKE.  GOT IT?

Once enclosed in a dressing room with the Bra Fit Specialist, she asked me to strip down to my existing bra. (After childbirth and latch problems, I don't have a shred of modestly left, so, you know:  Stare at my boobs.  Feel me up.  Totally normal.)  She pointed out a few fit issues with my current bra (it turns out that she knew exactly what was wrong), and then had me try on a few more.  From there, she determined that my actual size was a 30D (hunh?) and brought in a pretty huge selection, all priced between $60 – $130.  She also stuck to demi-cup, rather than push-up or plunge, to take care of my "extra skin issue" (aka sideboob).  Lastly, I specified that I needed bras with pretty straps, in order to peek out of tank tops.  Here's what I ended up with:

Intimacybra
Marie Jo L'Adventure Tom Contour Bra, $108 |  Chantelle Rive Gauche T-Shirt Bra, $81

The whole experience was…awesome, actually.  Not only did I leave with two gorgeous, comfortable bras that do wonders for my self-esteem, but I learned so much about fit, that I could (theoretically) shop anywhere now.  Time and money well spent.

So here's my first tip:

If you are completely clueless about your size, and have specific issues (sideboob, back fat, etc.), going to a really great bra fit specialist is totally worth the time.

A few days after my Intimacy visit, my box from True&Co arrived.  Using my new-found knowledge, I was able to determine that the bras didn't quite fit.  Some were close, and in the past I probably would've declared them fine, but now that I know how bras are supposed to fit…well.  Let's get it right, no?

But here's the thing that really impressed me about True&Co:  They have amazing customer service.  And really – if you are in the business of bra fitting, especially online bra fitting, you're probably going to expect some sizing issues.  And know how to fix them.  And they do.  With an option to either talk to a bra fit specialist or email (I emailed – I can't talk on the phone without the boys freaking out)…they quickly had another box on the way.  (And it helped that I now knew exactly how to judge fit.)

The second box from True&Co?  A winner.  The bras in the second box were gorgeous, and most fit great.  My only beef is that they aren't as comfortable as the bras I bought from Intimacy…but that's the difference between a $100 bra and a $45 bra.  While I probably wouldn't use True&Co for my hard-working, everyday bras, it is an great option for "fun" bras:  a lacy one for date night, a pretty racerback to peek out of tank tops in the summer, a detailed cup that looks cute in a plunging v-neck, etc.  Here are a few of my current True&Co favorites:

Trueandco
DKNY Super Sleeks, $45 | Lou Ethnic Chic, $89 | Lou Piccadilly, $95 

On Gossamer Sleek and Lace, $45 | Josie Mya, $45 | Blush Vixen, on sale for $25

 

The only thing I find completely annoying about the True&Co experience is that they rely so heavily on their algorithm:  They only show you only the bras that they deem will fit.  So the above bras are my favorites from the limited selection they think will fit me.  In all honesty, if you take their quiz, you may see a different set of bras. Searching for something specific is also impossible.  For example, if I'm looking for a cute strapless bra, I…what?  No idea.  There's literally no way to search.  I would much prefer that True&Co just show their entire inventory, and just…ohidon'tknow put a STAR next to the bras the best fit you.  Or recommend a personal size in each bra.  This whole We Know You Better Than You Know Yourself nonsense drives me nuts.  (Stylemint used to be totally obnxious in this way also, happily they've redone the website so you can search for clothing by TYPE, aka Sweater vs. Tshirt vs Jacket. SHEESH.)

Bottom line, there's nothing online that can replace a really great, in-person bra fit specialist.  However, I realize that these folks are hard to find.  So here are some of the key fit tips that I learned from the gals at Intimacy:

Bra Fit Tips (Based on my Experience At Intimacy)

1.  Your bra straps should be just tight enough to stay on your shoulders.  No tighter.

It turns out that shortening your straps doesn't miraculously lift your boobs.  And even if you stubbornly insist that it does (*cough*me*cough*)…wait an hour, then check.  Your boobs will have dropped back down, while the back band will be halfway up your shoulder blades.

2. In the back, your band should fit tight, and stay under your shoulder blades.

If you are anything like me, you're going to need to loosen the heck outta your bra straps to get the band far enough down.  The tightness of the band is what keeps your boobs lifted, NOT the tightness of the bra straps.  Oops.  Also, if your band is in the right place (below your shoulder blades) you have less noticiable back fat.  Ahhhh….

3. No dimpling, puckering, or overflowing of cups.

Like Goldilocks, you want these just right.

4. The area in between your boobs should lay flush on your chest.

Say WHA?  That little square of fabric?  That one?  It should be touching your chest.  As in, laying flat between your boobs.  This is where I have trouble.  None of the original bras from True&Co (nor my nursing bras) met this criteria.  Once I upped the cup size to accommodate…voila!  Fit.

 

Well…that's my tale of woe.  Other than coming to grips with, uh, sideboob, I think it has a pretty happy ending.  But seriously:  please tell me I'm not alone in my bra fit issues.  Or my Victoria's Secret aversion.  Please?  OMG.  This whole thing is slightly embarrassing.

xoxo,

S

 

 

 

100 Comments
  • MelissaTC
    February 6, 2013

    Great post! I have that Mary Jo L’Aventure Tom bra in scarlet and I love it! A good fitting, high quality bra makes all the difference in the world!

  • Amber
    February 6, 2013

    I just finished the True questionnaire and you are so right! They really need a “Nursing/pregnant since 2008 until two months ago and now look like a teenage boy who lost a lot of weight omg where did those c cups go?!?!” Seriously, I’d settle for my small but firm pre-prego b cup. Or even an A. I look forward to seeing what they send.

  • Ashley
    February 6, 2013

    I went into VS 6 months after my son was born, and was totally planning on buying some cute undies. I had my little guy (who is almost 4, holy cow!) with me. Well, they didn’t even give me the time of day. Whether it was because I didn’t come alone, or looked frumpy, or what, I’ll never know. Super I satisfied. Never went back.

  • Amanda
    February 6, 2013

    I just bought the Mary Jo bra last week at SOL in Denver. I was in sticker shock (since I’ve been wearing the $10 Target bras since the kiddos.) But it’s awesome. And I got a push up bra there, too, which is pretty amazing. Did you get matching undies? I looked–they were another $100. Cough.

  • kate
    February 6, 2013

    I could have written this post (well, minus the ‘finding ones that work’ thing… not there yet.) I also was excited about the True thing, but I didn’t get past the ‘What bra fits you best?’ thing because NONE of them did post-nursing three kids. Yeah. I need to go to this intimacy place, I guess is the moral of the story

  • Ashley
    February 6, 2013

    *unsatisfied

  • Lisa
    February 6, 2013

    Ha! Yes, side boob has totally become a ‘thing’ for me….what the heck is it BTW? Anyone? I refuse to go to VS, I’m pretty sure I’d they caught site of what pregnancy and nursing has done to my boobs (and my belly) that they would all refuse to procreate and have the same thing happen to them. So, in the interest of preserving humanity I stick to a store with old(er) ladies who call it “breast tissue” and can guess your size before even whipping out the tape measure.
    BTW, this might be your funniest post ever, and I think pretty much all of them are funny. :)

  • Marcia
    February 6, 2013

    Oh god, I’m a 30D too and Victorias secret had me in a 34b for ages. They don’t even sell size 30 there (32 yes, which I can do semi-ok, but not 30).
    You know about “sister sizes”? I didn’t. Go down a strap size, and up a cup size, and the cup is more-or-less-kinda the same size. So a 30D = ~32C = ~34B. However, as you’ve seen, other areas of fit (band, the middle part between the boobs) fit way better when you’re in the RIGHT SIZE. That’s why you can kinda-sorta wear your “sister sizes” and think that you’re good, when you could really do better.

  • Megan
    February 6, 2013

    I was seriously just thinking about emailing you to check out Intimacy in KOP. I just went there a few weeks ago and was so amazed at how much better I felt in a “better” bra! I had no idea how ill-fitting my bras were previously. It was a really good experience.
    PS. I’m glad I’m not the only one who lures my husband to the mall by using Fivd Guys. ;)

  • Goldeneshaar
    February 6, 2013

    I totally agree. I haven’t shopped for bras at VS in years for exactly those reasons. I now get most at Bravissimo but I think I will check out the others. True and Company didn’t have my size last time I looked but maybe they do now.

  • Kylie
    February 6, 2013

    VS is the worst. The absolute worst. I went after weaning #1, when my former 32F had shrunk to a size they actually carried, and it was horrid. Sideboob and back fat everywhere. It didn’t help that my toddler was chanting “mommy boobs!” at me. Never again.

  • Tara
    February 6, 2013

    I HATE bra shopping. I have no idea what size I actually wear. I have two bras that I wear daily. One is SAD. Beige, falling apart & so comfy I forget that it’s on. The other one is white, no underwire, ugly grandma thick straps & I have no idea what size it is or where I got it. I have about 8-10 pretty/fancy other ones but they’re too tight & I hate the way they feel on. I get all kinds of underarm fat I feel like I’m wearing a floatie. HELP!!

  • Dani
    February 6, 2013

    This doesn’t have to do with bras but rather with nursing- can you suggest a cute nursing necklace to keep an active seven month old interested while nursing? She gets distracted anytime she’s nursing anywhere other than in a dark, quiet room. With a three year old too, that rarely happens. Thanks!

  • Emily
    February 6, 2013

    Oh you are SO not alone! VS only makes bras for teenagers and models. :) real mothers look elsewhere! Except for nice undies. I adore their 100% cotton low rise bikini underwear. But bras? Definitely not.
    I am definitely going to try our your recommendations. And for your readers, once you know your proper size Bravissimo.com is a great option for those of us endowed with larger cup sizes. They go from a C cup all the way to K, and their selection is simply beautiful.

  • Rachel Starr
    February 6, 2013

    I will only shop for bras at Nordstrom. I get measured every 6 months or so ever since having kids. I don’t trust those young, childless college students measuring my boobs! I’ve gotten measured at VS one size & a totally different size at Nordstrom. I also used to work for Nordstrom, so I know that those ladies have legit training. A good bra is life changing!

  • Asha
    February 6, 2013

    Don’t shop at VS! They will (incorrectly) measure you to fit into their sizes available in the store. Women all over this country are wearing poorly fit bras because of this shitty store and it’s misleading sales tactics. Man, I hate them.
    But, I’m glad you finally found bras. And no, you’re not alone. I had a near nervous breakdown in Nordstroms lingerie department about five months ago. I left happy, but it was humiliating.

  • LoveTheMeeps
    February 6, 2013

    Love this post! Just realized that I have no idea why I’m still wearing my old nursing bras especially since they are making my floppy boobs :( into crazy unidentifiable shapes. Thanks for doing the hard work (melting down in VS) for me! Making appointment at Intimacy now!

  • Sassy
    February 6, 2013

    I second the Nordstrom recommendation– they are awesome. Also, if you are sad about the end of nursing you could always have a third baby…. ;)

  • Ange
    February 6, 2013

    I’ve found that nursing bras – non underwire ones, anyway – don’t sit flat across in the front like a good underwire will, even when they’re the right size. Probably true for all soft cups, now that I think about it.
    I just am in an underwire for the first time in a year now that I’m not pumping at work anymore and my boobs look GLORIOUS! Still in nursing bras at home, though. Sorry, husband.

  • abby
    February 6, 2013

    OMG! I couldn’t read this fast enough..and enjoy laughing, smiling, and nodding profusely in agreement! I just finished nursing my second..I was never big to begin with..but now I’m left with small pancakes..that lay like pancakes..I only wish I were exaggerating! I feel like I need to shop in the training bra section! I got fitted at Soma and went home with a couple because I just NEEDED something..but the cups don’t fit because..well..because I now have pancakes! Where are the bras for pancakes? I truly believe there needs to be a bra company specifically for post-nursing women! I am excited to look into to the sites you tried!

  • Kristal
    February 6, 2013

    It’s like you live in my head!!!!!! My little guy is 19 months tomorrow and we’re slowing down on the nursing and it. is. killing. me:/. And, since we had slowed down so much nursing and I know there is change yet to come for the girls, I found myself a couple of cute enough bras on the clearance rack at Kohl’s(using a $10 mailer I got 2 bras for like $3;)). But I’m sure they’re all wrong if I saw them in daylight on(which I try not to do….)
    Thanks for inspiring me to seek out a real fitting when the time comes(whenever that is…take your time sweet little buddy….cuz it’s totally cute how you learned to say milk recently and say it with such affection….totally not ready yet). But at least looking semi hot will cushion the blow, right?

  • heather
    February 6, 2013

    Yes! Good bras are worth every penny. Seriously a bad bra will ruin the best outfit. I go to an expensive “we bring the bras to you” boutique and Nordstrom. I wore a 36F before nursing – yeah, the gals at VS would fall over if I asked for one of those.

  • Shana
    February 6, 2013

    Sob!  I hope so.  :)
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Marcia
    February 6, 2013

    And once you know your ideal size, try Nordstrom rack! That’s where I get all my bras now. I’ll buy almost anything in my size since it’s hard to find.

  • Liz
    February 6, 2013

    I don’t have anything to add to this…I’m currently nursing baby #3 who is only 7 months. So I have a ways to go before I’m ready to go back to real bras. I will definitely plan to get fitted somewhere good though when the time comes! I have always heard that Nordstrom is a safe bet.
    I did want to say that this was such a funny and true article! I mean, I always feel as though we’re hanging out together whenever I read your stuff but this one was hilarious! Thanks for doing all the research for us mamas. :)

  • Stephanie
    February 6, 2013

    VS is the worst thing to ever happen to bras! If there’s one bit of wisdom I’d pass on to other girls it would be never buy a bra from VS! (Also, bits about being present and it’s a journey not a destination blah blah blah, but if you’re wearing the wrong bra how can you really be of any good to anyone?) Nordstrom is phenomenal, but I also love Intimacy. Intimacy was definitely more personal, less department store-ish if you know what I mean. VS had me in a 34D when I was actually a 32FF (gotta love nursing!)! Very very grateful for Intimacy and Nordy AND your once again nailed it post about such a KEY piece of fashion.

  • Holly L.
    February 6, 2013

    Sooo glad to read this today. Misery loves company? My friend and I both recently weaned our 1+ year olds, so I suggested a trip into the city (San Francisco) to get fitted. I’d had the depressing moment while laying on the ground playing with my kiddo realizing that the cups of my bra were actually denting in. Sad. Pre-pregnancy 32DD. During and post up to 34F, or something absurd. The sales lady at Macy’s measures me a 32B or C. WHHAAT? I mean, I’m sad for a minute, but then I put on my big girl pants and go searching. Nope. Too, too small. 4 boobs. I go up a size. Too small. This continues for a half hour. I finally end up back in my pre-pregnancy size, but can’t figure out if that’s actually right. The sales woman never checked on me. I left Macy’s buying two glorified sports bras, which I hope may get me through another future pregnancy at which point I’ll go to Nordstrom’s or a local bra fitter. I mean, my word. It should not be this hard! Half the planet has boobs, right?!

  • Darcy
    February 7, 2013

    I’m on my first (and forever only!) child & have only been nursing for six months, but things are already….er….pretty different. Yes.
    But I don’t live anywhere near any half-decent bra-fitting options. So I tried True & Co a couple of months back in desperation. And, actually, I didn’t mind at all being given a limited choice – since they seemed to know what they were doing, and since having to sort through an infinite selection of bras was never a prospect that filled me with glee – though it did frustrate me that they didn’t seem to know that women get pregnant sometimes & use their breasts for things other than wearing bras.
    In any case, I got offered a very different selection from you, which of course is the whole point of the exercise, and I tried them on, and one of them was wonderful. Perfect. Or at least, perfect to my untrained eye.
    It has since made my life infinitely better. INFINITELY. There is nothing on this earth like a good bra.
    I think the idea with True & Co would be to stick with them over a period of years (though, given their limitations, perhaps not the pregnancy years) and take their questionnaire every six months or so based on the last bra you bought from them. And things would only get better and you would never have to go to the mall again. (I realise some people LIKE to go to the mall. I am not those people.)That’s my plan, anyway!

  • Megan
    February 7, 2013

    I’be been a big fan of Schwartz’s (the Chicago version of the store you went to) for years and they guided me through pregnancy, 2 years of breast feeding and weaning. There is no modesty, but my bras look great. One the amazing sales women suggested that I cut the tag out of my favorite bras and keep it in my wallet- that way when my bra is worn out and I can’t remember what brand/style of bra it is I can just pull the tag out and order a few more. Best. Advice. Ever.

  • Lisa
    February 7, 2013

    Hi Dani,
    I swear by “teething bling”. I have several of these necklaces. They are cute and come in a variety of colours and can be worn long or short, will not break, are baby friendly and inexpensive. Check them out at smartmomjewellery.com!

  • Lindsay
    February 7, 2013

    What a great post! I always go to Nordstrom for fitting.

  • Marianne
    February 7, 2013

    I think you read my mind on this post! I nursed three babies (the youngest of whom will be 8 in a few weeks) and my boobs will never be the same no matter how much I will them to do, or however many Punky Brewster chest pumps I do. I affectionately (or not) call them my flapjack boobs. Anyway, moving on. My dilemma is that the shape of the cup is too narrow with an A cup, but a B cup fits nicely except that I have extra space in the top. Any suggestions how to deal with that? Perhaps I should try a demi cup?

  • Jo
    February 7, 2013

    It’s even harder getting a good bra in regional Australia! Also nursing / pregnant since 2007 and find a good fit bra is tough. Hope some US stores ship here.

  • Shana
    February 7, 2013

    Oh gosh – definitely try a Demi cup.  Full cup bras look insanely bizarre on me, regardless of size.  I already have the problem you described, but a Demi cup seems to work ok.  :)
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Marianne
    February 7, 2013

    abby – sadly true for me, too!! I have pancakes. Where are the bras? I mean, when you measure around, do you measure as they lay flat or do you lift them up and measure them as if they were perky like that? KWIM?

  • Heidi
    February 7, 2013

    This post had me laughing out loud. Thanks for a moment of levity today! I’m in the same boat as Liz above, #3 is only 8 months old and nursing like a champ, but your article did remind me that my nursing bras are not fitting well anymore. I think my rib cage has finally returned to normal after expanding during pregnancy…either that or I’ve lost weight but no one has told my pants yet! I pulled up the linked article on nursing bras for inspiration and shopped around until I found a couple that looked good. It takes mail two weeks to get here, so fingers crossed that they fit and I don’t have to try to return them!

  • Marianne
    February 7, 2013

    Thanks! I’ll give it a try. When I can get my hubby to watch all four kids, maybe I’ll trek over to the mall to try some demis on.

  • Shelley
    February 7, 2013

    Let’s all agree never to go to VS again. For any number of reasons beginning with cheap product and ending with the bad sizing. In the mix, also add the crazy depictions of women and their seeming belief that our bras are actually not for anything practical like hoisting the boobs and keeping ‘em pretty. We wear them for men to oogle (even though most men I know actually seem to prefer no-bra…there’s a hilarious moment in an old Tori Spelling/Parker Posey movie– that pairing does exist, I promise– where Spelling’s character is putting on her bra and the male protagonist thinks “There they go…there they go…” My husband has quoted that line pretty much weekly for the past 10 years.)
    This is a really useful post, esp. the fit tips.

  • Elizabeth
    February 7, 2013

    Yes! A professional bra fitting is SO important, and VS is not a professional fitting. I was a 36DD before having my daughter, and I won’t even admit what over a year of breastfeeding has done to the girls.
    I already knew better than VS after a bad experience where they told me I was the wrong bra size as they didn’t carry 36DDs. I tired a department store, and thought I had a good fitting until I saw a picture of myself.
    I finally found Allure, and much like your shop, you need a reservation. They fit you in a large room, and they bring you bras. This is the best fitting bra I have ever had! Even the right size bra at a certain size girls doesn’t completely help. You need a bra designed for your issues. Side boob, pendulous after breastfeeding etc. the lady I worked with had definitely seen these issues before and steered me right to the proper support in a bra as well as the correct size.
    Yes, very expensive, but oh so worthit! I look at it as a cost per wear. I wear them a lot, and with proper care, they will last me a long time!

  • Andrea
    February 7, 2013

    I love Chantelle, with bras I find you need a certain price point for success.
    Okay, so I went to True&Co and then I snorted and nearly fell off my chair….
    The first HALF…I kid you not HALF of their selection for me included bras with um….no cups. Or nipple slits or….OMG I’m blushing.
    Maybe I’ll go back after V-day.

  • AmyS
    February 7, 2013

    I remember the days pre-babes when I could go in VS and happily grab up a bag frull of pretty bras from the sale bins and they held my (then) perky boobs great but…NO MORE – they do not know how to do a proper fitting and they only have standard sizes in store…so just, NO, never again!

  • Lisa
    February 7, 2013

    That’s the same store I was talking about in my comment too! They’re awesome.

  • anna
    February 7, 2013

    Still nursing here, I did actually spring for a couple of cheap non-nursing bras because hello, even my nursing bras are from my first kid and I am now 16 months nursing my SECOND kid so they are more of a token nod toward undergarments than anything functional.
    Anyway, all that aside my main reason for breaking lurkdom was to say HUBBA HUBBA MAMA! 30 d? Nice. And without even surgery! And there was me thinking that the more cuppy ladies couldn’t wear the turtlenecks.
    I’ve actually been measured a couple of times myself, hoping for a similar type of miracle but they always say “Yah. 34b.” Blah.

  • Ellen
    February 7, 2013

    I’m SO glad you wrote this article. I was just looking at all the bra resources I could find since I’m pregnant and outgrowing my bras, and anticipating nursing bras in the future. So helpful!

  • Amber
    February 7, 2013

    Wow. Best post (and comments) ever. I feel so much less alone!
    VS is so so evil. Enough said.
    What I really need is the nursing bra version of Intimacy. Is there such a place? Where you can try on awesome pretty comfortable nursing bras? I just want one that makes me look totally hot but is also comfy enough to lie down and nurse the baby to sleep in (and maybe fall asleep myself if the 4 yo is at school). That’s not too much to ask, is it universe???

  • Tina
    February 7, 2013

    Oh, Shana, another truly amusing post. I totally concur with your assessment of the bra fitting experience at Victoria’s Secret. After my fitting last year, I was excited to wear the strapless bra—my first since having had you and Scotti. After wearing the bra for ten minutes before a meeting I was going to, I started having a panic attack. I couldn’t breathe, my chest felt tight. I can’t go to this meeting, I thought. I whipped off my meeting clothes—including this strapless wonder and to my surprise, the panic attack went away. That $56 bra was simply too tight. But as you know after three years, I am still buying the specialist recommended Wacoal bras from Dillard’s. And your tips are spot on. I went down a size and up a bra cup, and I could not be happier. Still need to find a bra that has “pretty” straps, however. Love you, honey!

  • Lydia
    February 7, 2013

    Wow I so relate to this! Bra shopping has been awful since pregnancy #1 for me (currently nursing #2.)
    I started out (prepregnant) a 34D by the end of Pregnancy #1 I was a 34G, then nursing a 34 H. That was a whole new level of bra shopping for me. I was changing sizes so fast I didn’t know how to afford all the different bras I needed! (Since with the odd sized I was now needing to spend what felt like TONS to me just to get one.)
    I came up with a way for me to alter “standard store size” bras into something I could wear. Which has worked really well for me during the shape shifting years — has saved me tons of money! (I’m a whole new size now — so everything I bought last time is useless)
    I thought I’d share my altering technique for anyone else who might need to save some cash in this area.
    http://walkingwithdancers.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-alter-bra.html?showComment=1327532775015
    I’m not sure its as great as a perfectly fitted unaltered one — but it sure beats not fitting well in the least! :)

  • Shana
    February 7, 2013

    Loll lol!!!  Love this Shelley.  I'll bet my husband is thinking the same…
    Sent from my iPhone

  • abby
    February 7, 2013

    LOL! (Literally) Ok, I’ve had that same question..(Btw, Its such a wonderful feeling knowing I’m not alone in this!) When I went for my fitting, I kept telling the gal “I finished nursing, but I’m in a nursing bra, I’m not filling it up *in the least*” but she measured me over the bra anyway. She may as well have just measured the bra without me in it because that’s basically what it was!

  • Jan
    February 7, 2013

    Yes! YES! Yes! Went from an A to a DD and now post nursing back to a flat A with side boob. Also had a similar experience at VS. VS = evil. Haven’t had a true bra fitting, but pretty sure I’m around a 30C (demi cup to avoid the gaping at the top); an IMPOSSIBLE size to find. Will have to try Nordstroms or find a specialty store. Thanks for the great post! I am not along in my side boob-age!

  • Amy
    February 7, 2013

    This is seriously one of my favorite posts of yours! I am six months into nursing my third girl, and although it will be quite a while before I’m done, I am saving this info for future use!

  • JAL
    February 7, 2013

    Loved this post! I was always (AHEM) under-endowed and never found a bra that fit. Then I found a wonderful store that measured me and found me great-fitting nursing bras (store has since gone under); indeed I was/am also a 30, which most stores don’t carry. Now that I’m pretty much finished nursing my second, I’m left with saggy empty sacks! (I like Abby and Marianne’s pancake image better, actually.) I tried LulaLu, which at least makes bras the right size. Didn’t end up with something I loved, but at least closer.
    Anyone have other suggestions?

  • Jen W
    February 7, 2013

    Thank you for this post. Though I wish it had come about three months ago – BEFORE I spent over an hour hidden in a VS fitting room(this was a rare shopping trip with my boys, and that was how I chose to spent it??), trying on the same 3 bra options over and over in a desperate attempt to find SOMETHING that would work so I could take it home and avoid repeating the experience for another, say 5 years. So much trying on, in fact, that I (how embarrassing)hurt my shoulder in the process!

  • Tracy
    February 7, 2013

    I’ve had great luck on Etsy, just typr in nursing necklace or teething necklace and lots of good options come up. I personally like the ones (and my kiddos did too) with the natural wood rings on them.

  • Kate
    February 7, 2013

    Yeah, VS is the worst. They mis-size you on purpose, so you fit into a size they carry!
    If anyone is in Brooklyn, check out Iris Lingerie (in the basement below Kimera dress shop). It is amazing, the woman sized me just by looking at me, and they also have nursing bras! I can’t wait to go back when my one year old weans…we are getting close.

  • Rachel O.
    February 7, 2013

    I’ve read every single post on this blog, and this one is now among my favorites. Yeah for “NURSING OR PREGNANT SINCE 2007!” Me too!!!
    I’m such a penny pincher, I’ll have to sit on your good advice for a while before I get the guts to spend money on a better bra. :)

  • Marianne
    February 7, 2013

    haha! That’s too funny. The last time I got measured was when I was nursing my 3rd son and was a 36D (I’m now a 32 or 34 B for “barely”). My only other mom friends still have perky girls, so I wondered if I’m a freak or something. Though one of my good friends is pregnant with #4 I’m sure she’ll be in this same pancake boat with us soon enough. Misery loves company, eh? :)

  • Abi
    February 7, 2013

    I love this post. As a girl with large breasts since college, I am totally a “Bra Nazi”. (coined by my husband). I will search and search for the perfect one. I have even returned a bra to Nordstrom after wearing it a few times because it just didn’t perform well through all the toddler wearing and chasing. I don’t have time for a bra that can only be worn under certain circumstances, you know? A good fit is always worth every sacrifice. In 36G and above it is hard to find cute straps, lacy edges, etc that still actually do their job. I learned long ago to choose fit over all the other details…and I have no regrets, cause the girls look good!

  • Maggie
    February 7, 2013

    Add me to the “Best. Post. Ever.” fan club. I am still nursing my last babe, and my boobs already thank you for saving them from the lumpy, beige nursing bra nightmares of 2009/2010 when I was breast feeding twins. And despite what the crazy teenager at VS said was neither a 40 (36) nor a C (E) but enough about how VS sucks…So you had me with your nursing bra reccs. But when this sweet one is done (sniff) I will take this post straight to the expensive shop. My girls will not reside anywhere near my belly button. My back fat ( and WTF IS THAT, btw? I carried my babes out front…??) will be minimized. My side boobs (and I could cry tears of joy knowing I’m not the only one who has them!) will be coralled in gorgeous demis. And given they’ve gone from a B to an E, survived weight gain and loss and, oh yeah, fed three babes, they deserve it!!!

  • Megan B
    February 7, 2013

    Hilarious!

  • Karen Chatters
    February 7, 2013

    I had a similar experience. I went to Intimacy and they rocked my world. After child one, I was an F cup!! But they gave me some bras that fit AND that would work for nursing kid one and later kid 2. After I was done with kids and nursing, I went back and they totally hooked me up. I love that place. I’ll pay the money for a bra that fits, is comfortable AND makes me look better BECAUSE it fits!

  • Maggie
    February 7, 2013

    If you’re pretty certain of size I’ve scored a few gorgeous sets on Zulily. Amoralia and Cake wireless were both HITS! As in, they’re beautiful and comfy enough I’ve slept in them.

  • Olivia
    February 7, 2013

    After hating all my bras for years, I finally got out the measuring tape and followed the instructions for bra fitting from another site Turns out I had the right band size, but was wearing cups FOUR sizes too small.

  • Maggie
    February 7, 2013

    I never got into the necklaces specifically for nursing- just wear a couple of heavy regular necklaces. My fave is the mother’s necklace the hubs bought me from Waxing Poetic. That chain is currently weathering a third set of nursing hands and is none the worse for wear.

  • Megan
    February 7, 2013

    Hysterical.

  • Kristin
    February 7, 2013

    I love that Chantelle bra too! I’m 18 months into nursing my first and I wear mine as a “nursing bra”. I’m killing the straps pulling them down all the time, and it’s an expensive bra to ruin that way, but it’s worth it to have one that doesn’t make me want to scream. I never found anything that even approached it in nursing bras, and it seems silly to compromise fit if you’re nursing for well over a year.
    It’s also heartening to hear that even a seasoned professional like yourself can be so flummoxed by pushy salespeople.

  • Jesse
    February 7, 2013

    My boobs changed drastically from almost weaned to fully weaned, so don’t spend too much money on new bras yet. I accidentally brought a nursing bra with me to the gym that I filled out in December yesterday. Well, lets just say my cups runneth under! I topped out at a C cup while nursing (besides a few days of D cup during engorgement), but I’m back down to a bony-chested A cup now.

  • Erica
    February 7, 2013

    I’m literally crying, I’m laughing so hard right now. This is absolutely the question I’ve always asked myself. I’m so relieved that it’s not just me.

  • Erica
    February 7, 2013

    Excellent. This was me about a month ago. While I was home in the States for Christmas I was bound and determined to find a well-fitting bra. Tried VS, not satisfied. Tried the fancy bring-the-bra-to-you option, they fit me even worse than VS did – perhaps because I got the trainee. Wanted to try the True option, took the questionnaire and had selected my 5 bras, but their delivery took too long – wouldn’t have made it before we had to fly back home. :( So I’m still braless and trying to find time to try a fitting over on this side of the pond. And I absolutely agree about back-fat, pancake boobs & side boob. Side boob was the worst, made me feel like my upper arms had gotten fat or something, too???

  • Shana
    February 7, 2013

    AHHHHHHHHHHH!!  Seriously?  That fast????? SOB!

  • Sarah
    February 7, 2013

    Ok, can we talk about saggy nipples for a second? I mean, is this just me? I’d always been a solid A, and then jumped to C/D during pregnancy/nursing. I weaned my 15mo/old when I found out I was preggers with #2, so for about 3 months until my pregnant boobs came in…there I was…with no boob again. And can I tell you, I expected the boobs to sag…but I’ve NEVER, EVER heard ANYBODY say anything about saggy NIPPLES. Just me? Really???

  • Sarah
    February 7, 2013

    Nordstrom all the way. I am a 32E not pregnant/nursing and 32G for both those. I really just DON’T have an option to go anywhere else except a speciality store. Nordstrom has been fantastic. And they carry a good selection of nursing bras. And free shipping/free returns never hurts!

  • Kerry
    February 7, 2013

    Ugh, I wish that True & Co.’s band sizes went up to 40… I answered the question about band size as being too tight, and that’s for a 38. Why no love for the wider mamas?

  • Megan
    February 7, 2013

    Oh, I so needed this post and can absolutely relate. I’m approaching my 10 (TEN!) year anniversary come April of pregnant and/or nursing my four sweeties. Sigh. My youngest is 2.5 and the end is near for us too :(. I am so very lost with the whole bra thing and yes, I definitely have both the side-boob and the pancakes! Wish we had an intimacy close by. I might need to trek up to Nordies. DH got me a gift card to VS last year for Christmas, and 2 attempts at bra shopping there and almost 14 months later, I still haven’t spent it!!

  • Helen
    February 7, 2013

    definitely not just you! I started with silver dollars and ended up with saucers. gahhhh!

  • Hannah
    February 7, 2013

    I did the exact same thing with my first. I love Chantelle bras and it seems impossible to find a softly lined, underwired maternity bra. I am now nursing my second and I love the Bella Materna Sexy T Shirt bra. I fit it the same as my Chantelle. If I thought I was going to have more kids I’d probably buy 2 more but for now I just wash it and hope its dry in the morning because I wear it pretty much every day.
    http://www.bellamaterna.com/shop/Sexy-T-Shirt-Nursing-Bra-PID8246-1690.aspx

  • JAL
    February 8, 2013

    I hear you, Sarah!
    And I hated going back to no boobs. Sigh.

  • Jesse
    February 8, 2013

    Yes! And as annoying I thought it was to have big(ger) boobs that I wasn’t used to, I kinda miss them. Not enough to have another baby, though. :)

  • Julie M.
    February 8, 2013

    Oh Shana! Yes! I’ve had the exact same experiences as you. I have a complete dislike for the whole Victoria’s Secret “experience” and have never found a bra that fit me well there. Back when I was pregnant and jumping around sizes, I went to Intimacy (at King of Prussia) and it was so so helpful. I didn’t love all of their styles, but the fitting was an excellent learning experience and so spot on. (I also was surprised about the whole “90% of the support is from the band, not the straps.” Who knew?) The beauty of this place was that it showed me how to shop for bras. I need to head back there for a tune-up though(and treat myself to a new bra). I’ve entered the post-pregnency/post-nursing phase and not sure what size/fit works best now.

  • Briana
    February 8, 2013

    Nope, no suggestions. :( Just commenting out of sympathy because I’m in the same boat as you (except I’m a 36AA, and all the 36AAs I’ve ever tried on make my chest look cross-eyed so I settle for a 36A). Didn’t even make it up to a B cup when I was nursing, except I had to wear them because I couldn’t find a nursing bra smaller than a B. Glad that’s over.
    Guess it’s time to check out the suggestions in this article. This is such a great post and I guess I’m not the only one judging by all the comments here!

  • L
    February 8, 2013

    I like Aerie for their cute styles in smaller sizes at good prices.

  • Diane
    February 8, 2013

    For those of you that like Chantelle bras you can sometimes find them for less at Marshalls and the Rack

  • Kalina
    February 8, 2013

    Oh my goodness! I had such a humiliating experience at Victoria’s Secret, I vowed to never go back.
    It took me forever to get up the courage to go get “sized.” I am quite large-chested and (this was pre-babies, mind you!) very modest. I went in expecting… I don’t know… a little courtesy and some privacy?!? The lady yanked me to the side of the store, just out of the way of the dozens of people milling around, threw a measuring tape around me and then couldn’t even give me an exact size. It was along the lines of, you could be a “this” or a “that,” and actually you can only order “that” online, blah, blah, blah. I was then ushered to a fitting room with a bunch of bras that were nowhere near a correct fit. I hastily retreated to my husband outside the store and fumed about the experience, as I held back tears.
    Thankfully, a friend told me about an incredible little shop that specializes in fitting bras. They actually began as a store to fit women with prosthetics. As you can imagine, they are very kind and professional. They even alter the bras (i.e., take up the back strap, reinforce the straps, add padding to the shoulder straps) while you wait. I’ve never had better fitting bras. It’s amazing how much more confidence a well-fit bra gives a girl!

  • Kimberly
    February 8, 2013

    I’ve hated VS for years… even in high school (before 6 years of pregnancy/nursing!) I never could find bras that actually fit. Or supported the volume. I’ve tried what I call the old-ladies bra shops, and it’s been hit or miss, but I recently found Soma (intimates related to Chico), and I’ll never try anything else. They have fit me correctly every time. Their Cool Nights pajamas are sexy and SOFT. The bras fit, support. I have ALWAYS. HATED. STRAPLESS. BRAS. Thinking my girls were too big for them, but with the correct fit – I had a FANTASTIC, sleek, boob-raising, back/side/everything-else-fat slimming strapless bra that held everything up for the entirety of my sister’s wedding. I got to dance all night without hitching my bra up from around my navel. WOOT! Plus SOMA has “minimizers” which are amazingly awesome for those of us who are vertically challenged and seriously top-heavy. Finally I don’t look like I’m 20lbs fatter than I actually am, needing a tent to house things that are being “push-up”ed to my chin! Love bras for real people. Your blog is alwayscomic relief! Thanks!

  • Anne
    February 9, 2013

    Congratulations on this big milestone!!! I also recently left the nursing bra world. Question for you – what are you doing with your nursing bras? After two babes mine are definitely used but still have miles in them and I’ve been looking for a place to donate (lots of places to donate bras but cannot find any looking specifically for nursing bras). If you or other readers know of how I can get mine to someone in need I’d be grateful.

  • Ali
    February 9, 2013

    Let’s just say you get major snaps for being brave enough to write this post. I was having a crummy mama-related day and after about a minute I was–(forgive the “word”)–lolling. You rock.

  • April
    February 9, 2013

    Hahaha! Thank you so much for this post! I am currently breast feeding my second and man do your boobs change! I appreciate you putting yourself out there for us and then filling us in on the good stuff! :) You literally made my afternoon!

  • Elizabeth
    February 9, 2013

    Hi Anne, you might try Birthright International, which helps women with unplanned pregnancies.
    http://www.birthright.org/htmpages/index.htm

  • Anne Zarkos
    February 9, 2013

    Oh my gosh, so happy to have read this tonight. My ladies are so deflated after nursing two babies and my bras DO NOT FIT. Now I’ll be happily checking the mail every day – I’ve got the five bras on the way! Score!

  • Mariale
    February 10, 2013

    Underarm boob: checked! Worst even because it is only on my right underarm :(
    Thanks for the tip about the Demi cup, I’ll certainly try to get one of those next time I’m bra shopping

  • Anne
    February 10, 2013

    Nice headline. Clearly your kids can’t read yet. :)
    Mine can.

  • Sarah (Boot Obsessed Mama) H
    February 11, 2013

    I am SO on board with this True & Co gem you found! I’m still breastfeeding, and admittedly guilty of rockin a shamefully old beige nursing bra from target. I think mama(and dadda, for that matter) deserve something a little saucier.
    I did my quiz on Friday, and bam, lickety split, my 10, count em – TEN, bras are on their way, for me to try on in the luxury of my OWN bedroom, for a measly $45(fully refundable?!) deposit? Um, yes, and YES PLEASE.
    I MAY even try them on while drinking Scotch and watching Reality TV. That, my friends, is priceless.
    I would also like to mention that the ONLY bra I love happens to be a Shana pick as well – a lacy greyish lavendar number from Bella Materna. My boobs (and my husband) applaud you! Bravo, sista Shana, BRA-VO. (Get it? BRA-vo? No? –clears throat — coughs– errhm, ok then. Tough crowd…)

  • Meaghan
    February 11, 2013

    Amber do you have a Nordstrom near you? Most of the Nordstrom’s carry nursing bras you just have to ask because they have them in the back. Like many of the other commenters I have had good luck with them – and I’m an odd size.

  • saggie girls
    February 13, 2013

    Not just you!!! I thought it was just me, haha (except that its not really funny, is it now?) When I had my daughter a nurse came in to do the routine check latch, etc. and immediately exclaimed, “Wow! Those are the saggiest boobs I’ve ever seen!” And I was *engorged,* girlfriend! My first thought was, “Ha! You should see them when I’m not nursing! The whoooooooole thing sags!” And then I wanted to slap her, because remembered my husband was *right there.* Way to kill the romance forever. Nicely hubs does not “seem” to notice. So gracious of him. :)

  • yup
    February 13, 2013

    YES to the pancakes, and LOL about measuring it! For what its worth, I just went to a high-end department store (after reading this seriously awesome post! Infinite debt of gratitude and all that, Shana…) and they measured with a bra on. For the first time in my LIFE I have a proper-fitting bra (a smaller band-size made all the difference!) I have a whole new level of confidence. :)

  • Sarah
    February 13, 2013

    That’s horrible!!! I would be so upset if the nurse told me something like that! There are just some things people should keep to themselves :D I don’t know how the whole entire pregnancy/childbirth/saggy everything doesn’t just kill all romance for ever and ever…but thank God it doesn’t, right?!!

  • Holli
    February 14, 2013

    Best post ever!! I’m nursing my 18 month old and occasionally my 4 yr old and had no idea how much motherhood would change my breasts! I need a different bra size depending on the time of day! And yes to the saggy nipples. :/

  • jess
    May 3, 2013

    I worked at VS in college and I would NEVER send anyone there! They are the very worst in bra fitting!
    I wear a 36K in UK sizing which is simply not available in US brands. Actually, all of my bras are made in Poland. I’m 38 weeks pregnant with our second baby and my firstborn nursed for 15 months. That’s all to say that I’ve had my work cut out for me in the bra department.
    I wanted to make a comment. The sideboob issue you’re having is actually migrated breast tissue from ill-fitting bras! I’ll bet that in six months, if 30D does do the job of containing ALL of your breast tissue, you’ll notice that there has been some re-migration back into boob territory.

  • Lauren
    June 5, 2013

    I made the trek to our fancy mall to go to Intimacy. Best experience ever. I’m a 32E. Whoa! I purchased two bras from them. I plan on trying True & Co now that I know how my bras hould properly fit for a few more (less expensive) bras. Thanks for the options. I also hate VS. Not only are they rude, but they really don’t know what they are doing as far as sizing.

  • John
    July 20, 2014

    The silicon breast lifts is a completely moderate item. This can now be have from any online store or some outlet which is near your home. So you can purchase this item without any danger of believing that it will work or not. You don’t have to think like that in light of the fact that surely its comes about will be astonishing. When you get yourself with silicon breast lifts you will yourself feel that how it is not difficult to give a dazzling and delightful shape to the bosoms. This is conceivable just when you remember the bearings of utilizing the tape.

Leave a Reply