“ Are you wearing the correct size bra? Learn how to measure yourself properly to ensure that what you are wearing is comfortable and perfect fitting. „
Dear all I used to love Marks and Spencers Lingerie department especially as you could walk in be measured and look for bra of your choice. Well you can still walk in and try as many as you like, but no measuring unless you have made an appoitnment ( I understand they are trying to manage their time appropriately so instead of spending time measuring you the poor staff now spends time putting an awfull lot of incorrect sizes back in to their spaces ::)))
No Problem, I took the advantage and measured myself and obviously trial and error was employed. I have bought what was needed but no thanks to M&S not really.
The other striking thing was that you are trying to have a discreet word about the styles and what would it be to look out for but instead there is a loud answer so all the husbands waiting in the foaye can hear it. great stuff.
The branch I went to was Cheltenham High Street 25/4/11 2-3 pm and the ladies Elaine and her colleagues were also discussing in a rather mocking manner - customers complaining about the Appointment scheme and how dare we.
There were people walking away some got stroppy, some people had young girls with them who were just changing their body shapes they were also turned away, it was rather remarkable how what used to be the pride of British shopper turned out to be this rather down rated icon.
But at least they were not hurting us physically they were only being rude...
After my weight has been changing lately and none of my old bras seemed to fit properly, I decided it was time to get myself fitted again. The last time I did this, I went to Marks and Spencer's and found them to be very good, so I went back there yesterday, this time to the Leicester branch.
I asked at the lingerie department about getting my bra size measured and I was told they have appointments on the hour and half past, so I booked one for 6pm and went off for a coffee with my boyfriend while we waited.
I went back at the appointed time and a woman took me into a curtained cubicle to discuss what I wanted. I explained I needed new bras and was unsure which size I now was. She asked me to take my T-shirt off and looked at me, assessing I was probably a 38C. She then measured me below my breasts and over them, while I was wearing my bra and the measurements agreed with her assessment of me being a 38C.
We then had a discussion about what kind of bra suited me and what sort I wanted to buy. This was all unhurried and relaxed and she came over as being very knowledgeable and understanding. She noted I was wearing a balcony style bra and commented it seemed to suit my shape, so suggested I might want another one in that style. I agreed and said I would like something pretty and feminine in peach or ivory.
She then went into the shop area and came back a few minutes later with a peach and an ivory bra, both balcony style and 38C. She fitted them onto me and showed me how to lift my breasts into the cups and how to check if a bra is fitted correctly. This was very helpful and I felt happy with her and not at all uncomfortable, as she was very professional but also chatty and put me at ease.
I really liked the peach one, which was £18, so said I would like that, but that I also wanted a couple of cheaper T-shirt type bras which don't have lacy bits or seams that can be seen through thin summer tops. She knew exactly what I meant and went to fetch some. The first one was a 38C but didn't quite fit as well and she said it wasn't available in the next size up. But she then found some which had a bit of embellishment but were still great for wearing under T-shirts - a twin pack, one black and one white for £14. Again, she tried one on me, checking they were supportive but comfortable and making sure I was not hanging out at the sides! I was very pleased with these too, so decided to buy the three bras.
I was probably in the cubicle for about half an hour and felt the service was excellent. She listened to my requirements and brought me bras which met them, not ones which were the most expensive and she never tried to "up-sell" or suggest I would need matching knickers or anything I had not mentioned wanting. Therefore, it was unpressured and very helpful. The assistant was friendly and it felt like a "girlie chat" at times, so it soon didn't bother me that I was standing in the cubicle topless quite a lot of the time!
I was very happy with the bras I bought too. They are good quality, fit well and good value for money too. Once again, I was very impressed with the service I found at M&S and would definitely recommend any women to go there if they need to have a fitting done, especially as it is all completely free and there is no requirement to buy any bras unless you want to. So many women don't know their bra size or wear bras that are too small or too big and it is important to wear one that fits correctly and does the job it is supposed to!
I hate buying bras. They never seem to fit properly.
I have been measured for bra's on several occasions throughout my adult life but have never really found the experience very pleasant or helpful.
I have a drawer full of "boobs" that I have made in bra purchases that are too uncomfortable to wear and tend to stick with the old faithful.
As a result the "old faithfuls" were long past their sell by and I decided that the time had come to bite the bullet and re-stock the bra drawer. Deciding that I would do the thing properly and go and get measured, I took myself off to Marks and Spencer bright and early, determined to give myself time to shop around and get kitted up before it got too busy to move in town.
When I arrived in M&S I headed to the Lingerie changing room and hovered uncertainly looking out for a member of staff.
There was no one to be seen but I heard voices coming from within and realised that early though I thought I was (just after 9:30 in the morning) actually someone had beaten me to it. It wasn't long before an assistant appeared from behind the curtain and pleasantly greeted me.
I asked if it were possible to be measured for a bra and she explained that they didn't actually "measure" as such,for a bra and that the service that M&S offered was actually a bra fitting service. When I asked what the difference was she explained that she would help me to choose the correct style of bra suitable for my shape and ensure that the bra I purchased today fitted correctly, but that they tended not to give a definitive bra size as bras fitted differently according to the shape of the breast.
The assistant explained that she was fitting another customer at the moment but invited me to take a seat and assured me that she would be with me as soon as she was free. Unfortunately she wasn't able to tell me how long she would be as they didn't put a time limit on fittings but as I was early I was first in the queue (what queue thought I?). Determined to get the job done I took a seat and resolved to patiently await my turn.
The "said queue" did indeed soon materialise and another lady joined me on the seat after about 10 minutes followed by another a few minutes later. At this point I was pleased that I had only one person ahead of me because the process was obviously taking a lot longer than I expected and had I been much later arriving I would indeed have been in for a long wait.
Eventually the assistant who had been flitting in and out of the changing room with an array of bras came out with the lady she had been with and after directing her to the paying desk invited me in to the bra fitting cubicle.
She apologised for keeping me waiting and when I said that I was surprised how early people turned up she said it usually got busier later so it was a good time to come.
Now I am naturally a shy person and hate the thought of undressing in front of a stranger but the assistant was very relaxed and chatted about the different shapes of bra cups and how this affects the fit whilst I took of my top and I felt quite at ease.
She talked about the shape of a balcony bra as opposed to a plunge bra and a full cup and how different shapes suit different women.
What she said made a lot of sense but surprising though it may seem I had never looked at it that way before.
First she measured my ribcage under the bust, explaining what she was doing all the time, then she asked what size bra I was currently wearing. She assessed the cup size by what I was already wearing and "experience" and asked what sort of bra I was looking for. I needed a selection of bras so I said I was open to suggestions and would try a variety. She left the cubicle and came back a few moments later with three very differently styled bras for me to try for size and to see what type of look I liked.
She stepped outside the curtain, without me having to ask,while I changed into one of the bras and then came back inside to "adjust" the fit.
I have to say that the first bra felt okay but the assistant wasn't happy with the fit and showed me the areas that were not fitting so well.
It was a classic case of "oh yes now that you mention it, it doesn't feel right"
When I tried on the next size which she had fetched for me I could tell the difference straight away and perhaps for the first time in my life I felt that I was comfortable in a well fitting bra. I immediately felt confident that my bra drawer would be replenished after all!
She went on to "fit" me with two more bras and she made me feel that nothing was too much trouble as she fetched bra after bra for me to try.
I was impressed by her knowledge and obvious experience in bra fitting, not to mention her determination to get the right fit.
I have to confess that I never realised how important finding the right cup shape is and how different a well fitting bra feels. I even look better too!
My only reservation about the whole experience was the guilt in keeping the other customers waiting but as the assistant pointed out to me that they would get the same service when their turn came I didn't feel quite so bad, but I did feel that I should apologise to those waiting as I left.
The whole procedure took longer than I thought it would but it was well worth the time spent and I actually feel more confident in choosing a bra myself.
I realise from reading other reviews that not everyone has had the same positive experience and that services are bound to vary from store to store. However I would recommend that you give it a try but allow yourself plenty of time and be prepared to wait.
Since writing this review I have returned to M&S and discovered that their service is now on an appointment basis, so ring before you go to make your appointment and cut that waiting time.
Now ladies we all wear bra's everyday, or at least most of us will, but are we wearing the right size???
Now I know what you're thinking, "of course I'm wearing the right size, I've been this size for 10 years" but is it actually the size you should be wearing? It is estimated that up to 80% (yes, 80%) of women could actually be wearing the wrong sized bra and this could lead to a number of problems as well as the general uncomfortable feel of wearing the wrong sized bra.
First off, and especially if you are wearing a tight top, the wrong size bra will cause you to have that double boob look if it is too small and be very unflattering. It will spoil the line of your profile and it is something I notice a lot with my mates and just want to scream at them to go and get properly measured! (Sorry, just a pet hate of mine)
Also, wearing the wrong size bra means that you are not actually getting the right support for your bust so it can actually cause you to get back problems, especially if you have bigger boobs. This is caused because instead of your bra taking the strain your force your back to do it instead and if your do have larger breasts then this is actually quite some weight that needs supporting your whole waking life! In turn, the back problems can also lead to bad posture as you try and compensate for the pain by standing, sitting, walking, etc. in unnatural positions.
It has even been suggested that the wrong sized bra can damage breast tissue and increase your risk of breast cancer, however, I will point out that from what I have read there does seem to be some debate about this and it could be that other factors were at play. Still though, if there is a chance that it could be doing you harm and there is an easy fix then why not take it?
Now, lets move on to the easy fix! A Professional bra fitting service! Now a lot of high street stores will provide a bra fitting service including M&S, Debenhams, La Senza, Bravissimo and I'm sure lots of others too but some are better than others. I know a lot of people rave about Bravissimo but I have never personally been measured there because their bra's are really expensive and I would feel compelled to buy one if I got fitted somehow so have never been measured there. I think they do it more based on simply how you look and then just pick the size they think you should be. For example, if you go in wearing a 38C they will look to see if the straps fit properly and if the cup size looks big enough and then through experience they will suggest what size they think you actually are and you probably end up walking out a 32E. It sounds very unscientific to me but apparently it works!
Personally I can speak of the service you get in both Debenhams and La Senza. Now for me Debenhams certainly do the better job as it just felt more personal and I felt that I did actually get a bra that fitted properly at the end of it, whilst in La Senza it was a bit weird because the lady measuring you was also busy with other things and personally I didn't actually agree with the size I was told at the end. (I also find the sizes in La Senza can be very strange too which doesn't help!)
The Debenhams fitting itself was very good, I just walked into my local store and into the lingerie department, asked about their fitting service and within a couple of minutes a very helpful lady was there to help me. Now for anyone worrying about having to get undressed in front of a stranger I will point out that, in my case anyway, I was left alone to take my top off and then she came back in and measured me with my bra still on! I think this is very normal and as long as you aren't wearing a massively padded bra it won't make a difference to the fitting itself. Being a slightly larger girl myself I'm not the most confident person when it comes to wearing next to nothing in front of strangers but the lady in Debenhams really made me feel comfortable and we just had a bit of a natter whilst she was getting on with things.
Now once she had taken her measurements she went off and picked out a couple of bras in the style I had asked for in the size she thought. She then left me alone to try them on and on each occasion came back in to check whether it was a good fit. As all bras are made slightly differently she also brought in slightly different sizes of each type too which I also tried on, we then decided on my new size and as I needed some new undies I then treated myself to a couple of new bras which weren't overly cheap but not expensive either (about £15 each I think).
All in all I was very impressed with the service I got and as an illustration of why it is important to get fitted often I have gone from a 36D when I was 22 to a 36F at 27 (I have been measured between those ages by the way!!!) so I would definitely suggest getting measured every couple of years at least or obviously when you know your bra is too small/big!
I know it can be embarrassing for some people to be undressed in front of others but come on, we all have smear tests and that is way worse than being seen with just a bra on top so I would urge everybody to go and get measured because apart from anything else the comfort of wearing the right sized bra definitely makes it worth it!
I read a review in speaker's corner by Rhina a couple of months ago about getting measured for the correct sized bra. I have never been measured in my adult life and her review, plus a sudden growth spurt at the age of 28 spurred me on to get fitted.
So I went to Marks and Spencers as I knew they did bra fitting and I have always associated them with good customer service. I wasn't particularly nervous, but my fiancé came with me because he knew that it was something that I would put off if he wasn't there to insist I have it done!
I was expecting the bra fitting service to be impeccable from M&S, but what happened to me couldn't be further from the truth! The service I received was so awful that as soon as I got home I wrote to them to inform them of my disgust at the way I was treated. I won't go into all the detail of what happened, but I was basically ignored and forgotten about by the staff. When I was eventually seen to, the woman who measured me was awfully abrupt and did not explain to me what she was doing and I was left in the changing room wondering if the bra fitting service had finished or not!
Even though she did find a bra that fitted me perfectly, I didn't buy it or any other bra there because I was so appalled at the service I'd received by both members of staff. I have always held M&S in the highest regard in terms of customer service, but this experience has left me vowing never to shop there again.
I know that not all staff in shops are the same, so I headed to La Senza where I also knew they did bra fittings. The service I received there was the exact opposite of what I experienced at M&S. There was only 1 member of staff in the fitting room at La Senza but she managed to look after everyone in the fitting room by running out into the store and getting different sizes and styles for the customers, until they had all found the perfect bra.
I explained that I had just been fitted at M&S and she seemed surprised that they had measured me as a 32C. Believe me, no one was more surprised than me when I heard those figures as I've always thought I was a 34A and I never thought in a million years that I had gone up 2 cup sizes! I tried on size 32C bras in La Senza, but they were too tight and the lady explained that I was between a 32 and a 34. I already knew that sizes would vary from store to store, as it's the same when buying clothes. But the lady explained that as the size of the bust goes down, so does the size of the cup. So the equivalent of a 32C is a 34B and that is the size she recommended for me.
I was surprised with the method that both M&S and La Senza used for measuring. I had expected them to ask me to remove my top and my bra, but I only had to remove my top so it wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it would be, because it was no worse than someone seeing me in a bikini top. I admit that I'd put off getting measured for so long because I thought they would have to see me half naked! They both only measured under my bust and both women were able to guess my cup size just from looking at me, which I found very impressive.
I now know that I have been wearing the wrong sized bra for a long time, as I had marks on my breasts from where the wire had been digging in. It wasn't uncomfortable, but I know that it wasn't doing my breast tissue any good. Plus, not wearing the correct sized bra wasn't maximising my cleavage or my figure. I was amazed at the difference of wearing the right bra and it was just like being in a makeover TV show! I also learned that I had been wearing my bras with the straps too long, so my breasts weren't getting the right support, but I had always thought that having small breasts there wasn't much to support anyway!
The important point that I want to illustrate by writing about my bad experience at M&S is that I am really glad that I didn't let it put me off going to another store and getting fitted, because it is important to look after our bodies. We wouldn't dream of walking around in a pair of shoes that are too small or too big and yet most of us are guilty of wearing an ill-fitting bra. My fiancé was so proud that I'd finally done something about it that he treated me to a new bra, so it might be worth taking your partner with you!
So I have made a promise to myself to get fitted every 6 months, because so many things can affect the size of your bust (medication, contraceptive pills, menstrual cycle, weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy and menopause) throughout your lifetime. You should also buy new bras regularly because they can lose their shape and support, especially if you put them in the washing machine when you're not supposed to (I openly admit to that!).
Buying bras can be a pain, but if you can find a really helpful shop assistant then it's like having your own personal shopper and it's so much easier as they do all the running around for you and even suggest styles that you would never have considered. So I hope more women will take the plunge (bra) and go and get fitted!
PS. The stores I visited were in Kingston and I do appreciate that the service provided in all stores is not the same and there are probably some fantastic people who work in other stores!
* ~ * ~ * UPDATE * ~ * ~ *
After I sent M&S my complaint using their Customer Service Feedback form on their website, the Fitting Room Manager of the Kingston store telephoned me to find out what happened and to apologise for the terrible service I'd received. She also explained that they are implementing a new system where they take your name to put on a waiting list and allocate you a 30 minute slot to get fitted. Hopefully the new system will eliminate any unnecessary waiting around and give a much better personal service.
I don't have many pearls of wisdom to impart, but one thing I do know a bit about is fitting a bra correctly and so I thought I would suggest the topic to Dooyoo and hopefully pass on some useful advice.
I worked as a manager of a Lingerie department in a major high street store for a number of years and trained not only to fit customers, but also train other staff members to fit bra's. We have all heard the statistics that 7 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra, and I can confirm that this is probably very accurate. But not all ladies like to get there boobs out and be measured in a changing room cubicle by a stranger, so hopefully I can give some pointers to those who don't.
I think the biggest mistake we make where bra's are concerned is thinking that because we have previously found one comfortable bra in a certain size, then that is 'our size' and carry on buying it. However different brands will fit differently, even styles within a brand can vary hugely depending on the style. Factor in hormonal changes, weight gain or loss, pregnancy, breast feeding and so on, which can all effect the size of your bust, and it's important to fit every bra afresh and not presume the last size you wore will do this time.
When I first trained to fit bra's we used the traditional measuring tape method, however this practice is somewhat outdated now and very rarely used by professional fitters. The problems with measuring your exact size in inches, is as mentioned above, that different brands and styles will differ greatly, and it's more important to find a bra that fits, rather than one that matches your measured size.
The easiest way to measure for a bra, is by sight. I don't mean look at a pair of breasts and guess by the way! Rather to look at the bra you are currently wearing, asses the fit of that one and go from there. There are 5 areas to asses when judging if a bra is the correct fit.
Fastening: A bra should fasten on the middle hook and you should be able to fit your fingers underneath the back easily and pull it away from you by an inch or so. the reason it should fit the middle hook is to give you a bit of lee way for either loosing or gaining weight, which as we know can happen in the space of a couple of weeks due to hormonal changes.
Straps: the straps should sit comfortably on the shoulders and should not leave any indent in the skin. It's vital that the straps are not supporting the weight of your breasts and that when slipped down the shoulder you are still supported by the cups and back straps.
Cups: The cups should not be wrinkled or loose, that would mean your bra was too big. And the wires should fit around the side of the breast, Never ever sitting on breast tissue, this will damage the delicate tissues. The most obvious way to tell if your bra is too small is if you are spilling over the top, or have that '4 boobs' effect. Wires should be flat, and not lifting away from your body. Having enough support in the cup is vital, as there is no muscle in breast tissue, and having an unsupportive bra can damage muscle in the chest wall. This is irreversible without surgery and the result is sagging breasts.
Chestband: Like the arm straps, the chestband should sit flat against the skin and make no indentation, or have skin over hanging. At the back it should go straight across, if it raises up in arch you can try adjusting the arm straps, and if this doesn't solve the problem then the bra is too small around the chest.
Centre of the bra: The central part at the front of the bra should sit flat against your chest, between you cleavage. If it is folding over then the cup size and possible strap size are too big. If it is raised from your chest the it's too small.
So having assessed the bra you are currently wearing, it's time to decide whether you are going to try your new bra on in the same size, or a smaller or larger bra. Be prepared to try a variety of sizes however, your estimate is only a guide. For example: Your current bra is a 34 C, but is digging into your skin and fastened on the last hook, It's not sitting flat under your breast and the center is raised. The obvious size to try would be a 36 C, or even a D, however you may find that by increasing the cup size and decreasing the strap size to a 32 D may give a better fit. This is a technique we used when fitting a customer, Increasing Cup and decreasing strap. In this example I would suggest the customer tried on a 32 D, 34 D, and a 36 C. Then using the 5 points of assessment take it from there.
I would also recommend trying a variety of styles. As much as I would love to wear pretty balcony styles for instance, they are no good for me no matter what the size, being more suited to a smaller breast. I would often see customers look disappointed in the choice of styles I would bring them, but I would say 'just try it first, pop your top on and then decide'. Very few of us walk round in just our brassier, so really it's how it looks under your clothes that's important. A more supportive bra can make you loose half a stone to look at, and give you an amazing shape. By all means you can have a dainty bra or two for special occasions. I wouldn't rule out trying those boxed bra's, and once you put your top over it you may be pleasantly surprised! Most shops now do stock a good, more modern range or bra's for the fuller bust, over 40% of woman nowadays should be wearing a d or above so it's big business so speak. So don't presume you need a granny bra and shop around to find a bra to suit you.
The internet opens up a wider selection of bra's at competitive prices, but we then run the risk of not being able to try on before buying. I would suggest getting a range of sizes based around your current bra size and the size you think you may need having followed the 5 steps above, then returning those you don't need. I mentioned the tape measure technique before, and while it's not accurate can give you a good starting point. it is only a rough starting point then and you should never presume that this is your size. Remember fit is more important then numbers, and sizes vary style to style and shop to shop. After all are you the same shoe size or dress size in every store?
Measuring with a tape measure: First of all measure under your bust and around your back. It's best to stand in front of a mirror and check that the tape measure is straight all the way round with no dipping. Measure in inches, and note the measurement. If it reads an even number, you need to add 4, if it's odd then add 5. (if you measure 32 or 33 then your size would be 38, 36 then your size would be 40, 37 would be 42 and so on)
Now you need to measure your bust, with the tape measure at the largest point, usually around the nipples, and going right round your back, again making sure that the tape measure is straight. Take note of the measurement. To work out your cup size, you go to your original measurement for under your bust, lets say it was 33. If your bust measure 33 also you are an A, 1 inch more is a B, 2 inch more is a C and so on. So someone who measure 33 under the bust, and 36 around the bust would roughly be a 38 D.
Remember though this is only a guide, and using the 5 check points assess the fit of the bra from there. And remember decrease strap size/increase cup and vice versa is also a good way of getting the perfect fit. Also, you may be shocked at the cup size given, it's usually larger than women imagine themselves to be. Don't just dismiss it, give it a try. Finding the right bra after wearing the wrong one for so long is nothing short of a revelation and relief. Their are many claims of health risks associated with wearing the wrong sized bra, back problems, increased risk of breast cancer, posture problems, headaches caused by tight arm straps. While I would really recommend being fitted professionally I know it's not something everyone can face, so hopefully some of my tips will help. I'm always amazed how little care women take in choosing the most important item of clothing, which is fitted correctly can not only improve your health, but actually make you look better too.
Some Important Exceptions.
There are certain times when the correct bra becomes essential and not just important. Developing breasts should have no wires in at all as this can cause irreversible damage to new breast tissue. The same applies to maternity and feeding bra's, when the wrong sized bra can hinder milk production and breast shape changes dramatically in short spaces of time and should be re assessed more regularly. Finally most large stores as well as on line now have a large range of post op bra's, If you have prosthesis on one side, fit your breast first and adjust the bra as required, then add your prosthesis. If you have had a double mastectomy, fit the bra to your chestband measurement first and then add both your prosthesis and adjust the bra as required.
Finally, some tips on taking care of your bra. Bra's shouldn't really be washed in the machine...but I know I still do. Try putting them in a pillow case and washing on a gentle, low temperature cycle to minimise damage to the elasticity. Never tumble dry bra's.
Ideally you should be replacing your bra every 6 month, or at least yearly and remember to re assess your size and fit it correctly again, never presume you are the same size.
I hope I've managed to shed a bit of light on how to find a good fitting bra and those who detest the ideal of being fitted in a store find it useful and enables them to buy better. My final advice would be it's fit that matters, not the size!