How the right bra changed my life

It's incredible how much difference the right fitting bra can make, not just to your figure, but your self confidence, as our writer discovered…

A generous gift

bra fitting confidence

For my birthday last year, I got a card from my sister-in-law Tammy that read: “In thanks for all your support this year, some support in return.” Attached was a generous gift certificate for a lingerie shop renowned for its professional bra fittings. Her own recent fitting had been a revelation to her, and she wanted to share it. She even offered to go with me. Ultimately, I decided to go alone, feeling too embarrassed to have a witness. 

I had just turned 40 and had never considered a professional bra fitting before; I am self-conscious about certain things. While I have no problem delivering a speech to a roomful of people, I can’t even say the word “bra” out loud. I guess it all started back in school, when I got my first bra in a sealed package ordered from a catalogue. I opened it up and hoped for the best. 

Read more: How to choose a Bra that fits

 

A bra-fitting virgin 

bra fitting advice

My buying method has changed very little in the years since then. I’d skulk about department stores avoiding the helpful salespeople, zero in on whatever was on sale, grab what I thought was my size, pay and leave. I never tried them on first, simply hoping that when I got home they’d be the perfect fit.

I’d struggle with adjustments—the shoulder straps always seemed to bunch or gap, and the bra would ride up my back. I just thought that was the way bras are: a hassle. I also assumed that it was normal for the underwire to twist and poke into me after a few rounds in the washer and dryer. 

 

 

"I was looking forward to the bra-fitting session about as much as a trip to the dentist"

 

 

Beyond that, I had always felt very insecure about the way my tops fit, even though I am an average build and height. While the girls on TV and some of my friends were wearing cute tank tops and T-shirts, I wore layers of baggy clothing to cover up. I also developed a bad habit of slouching to avoid drawing attention. 

I was looking forward to the bra-fitting session about as much as a trip to the dentist. When I arrived at the store I told the sales assistant, a pleasant-looking woman about my age, that it was “my first time.”

With professionalism and expertise, she patiently explained to me that we would use a special “fitting bra” to determine the correct band size and cup size for me. I would try on some options in private, and then she would adjust me. 

Read more: How to learn to love yourself

 

My holy grail 

bra fit confidence

It turns out my true size was bigger than what I’d been buying my whole life. Once I overcame that surprise, I was able to focus on the fun part: selecting a few different styles. I explained that I wanted no visible lines.

I was offered about a dozen options, including underwire and moulded, seam-free versions, and the holy grail—the T-shirt bra. That was THE ONE, and it came in every colour and pattern imaginable. 

 

 

 "I’ve learned not only to take a few more risks with my wardrobe but to stand a little taller"

 

 

After finding the right fit for me, I was given a snug-fitting white T-shirt to test my new look. My transformation was truly astounding. I have never worn a tight T-shirt, but have to say I looked great. I loved my new shape. When I changed into my own clothes, they fit so much better that I stood straighter, instantly improving my posture. 

A properly fitted bra, I learned, means no spillage over the top or bottom of the cup, a band that fits comfortably across the back, no wires digging in and straps adjusted to be snug, not tight. 

With proper care, a good bra will last a long time. Up to now, I had basically been destroying bras by putting them in my washer and dryer. Now I hand wash them after every two or three wears, and hang them to dry. I realise now that for most of my life I had wasted a lot of money on bras. 

 

Getting noticed

get a bra that fits correctly confidence

I really didn’t expect anyone else to notice anything different. I told only my best friend about the fitting. She was so impressed with the change in my look—and my outlook—that she went to the same store for her own fitting.

I was so surprised by the reaction from other friends and family. The girls in my book club noticed a difference, my work friends noticed, my sisters noticed. I got the subtle “That sweater fits so well; is it new?” to the blunt “Your boobs look a lot bigger; what’s going on?” I heard it all.

At first, that kind of attention was a little bit embarrassing, but I’ve learned to accept the compliments and enjoy the confidence boost. 

I wore a long-sleeved wedding dress to my own wedding seven years ago but went sleeveless at my brother’s recent wedding. I’ve learned not only to take a few more risks with my wardrobe but to stand a little taller.

When it comes to bras, I now invest in quality over quantity and have slowly added to my collection. It’s a small price to pay for how great I now feel about myself.

 

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