Bra shopping is a daunting task. Between figuring out the brands you love, the styles that you need, and most importantly, your size, there are endless things that can go wrong. So on a recent trip to Bloomingdales in hopes of finding the perfect fit, we spoke to Helen Vinar and Sarah Polge, brand ambassadors at bra mecca Le Mystère, to find out the most common mistakes they see women making on a daily basis — and exactly how to avoid them.
Courtesy Le Mystere
1. You’re shopping for a bigger band size
“The biggest mistake women make is choosing the wrong cup (letter) or band (number) size,” explains Polge. “When the band is too big on the back, the “wings” (the parts that wrap around your back) rise up, and when they rise up, everything in the front falls down. So many customers complain that their straps are falling off all the time, but if the wings are too big, all that happens when you tighten the straps is that the band slides up and the front slides down, making you droopy.”
The fix: Buy a bra that feels snug (but not uncomfortable) around your back — but not when on the tightest hook. Your bras will stretch over time, so make sure it’s tight when on the loosest hooks, this way when the fabric gives, you can still make it tighter.
2. You’re falling in love with one style
“Too many women see themselves in the mirror, fall in love with the look of the bra, and buy it — but when she puts clothes on, it doesn’t look right and it’s doing funny things like pulling the breasts too far apart or it’s sitting too low,” Vinar says. “Sometimes it can be the most beautiful bra and you love it, but if it doesn’t fit, it’s just not for you.”
The fix: Vinar recommends always bringing a plain, tight t-shirt with you into the dressing room. “If it works with a t-shirt, it’ll work with everything else.”
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3. You’re always buying the same size
“Every brand and style fits a little bit different, and every woman has a different shape,” says Vinar. “I fit have four women who have the exact same measurements, but they all can wear different sizes in the same style because we’re all shaped differently.”
The fix: When trying a new style, grab a few sizes to see which feels best — even if you’re certain of your size in a different style from that brand. “In the same company, one customer can be four different sizes in four different styles.” Polge says. “In a bustier, you can be a totally different size than you are in a t-shirt bra,”
4. You’re Forgetting the Basics
“The one thing everyone always forgets is a good strapless bra,” Polge explains, saying that when the need for one comes up last minute, many women “go out and buy the quickest and cheapest one they can find, and they look not so nice, so they’re like, ‘I’m never wearing a strapless dress again.’
The fix: “Invest in one good strapless bra now, and not only will last you, it’ll be in your wardrobe and you’ll have more options for your outfits,” says Polge.
5. You’re not getting measured to begin with
“In one year, you can lose weight, you can gain weight, and your breasts can change, Vinar advises, saying that she encounters women all day long who say, “I know my size.”
“Women have to know that our bodies change all the time, and in 6 months, if she’s a different size, it’s fine,” she says.
The fix: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! A professional bra fitter will not only tell you what works and what doesn’t, but she’ll make sure you leave with the best styles that work for you.
What bra shopping solutions have you found? Tell us below!
— Jillian Ruffo