According to Cindy Johnson, National Bra Fitting Expert and co-owner of SOL, Store of Lingerie in Denver, “The majority of women are wearing the wrong size or style of bra. Bra sizing is extremely complicated and not all bras fit the same, even though they may be the same size. A professional bra fitter will guide you to the size and styles that work best for you, making you feel more confidant and your clothes look better. And it’s important to get fit often, as a woman’s size can change up to 5 times in her lifetime due to puberty, pregnancy, breast-feeding, weight loss/gain, or aging.” Even adopting a new workout routine or becoming more sedentary, can affect not only the more obvious cup size, with an increase or decrease in the breasts, but also losing or gaining fat or muscle in the shoulders, back or chest, all changing how the entire bra fits.
Bras often just simply wear out over time as well. How do you know if your bra is trying to tell you something: Have you had the bra for over a year? Is the clasp of your bra constantly riding up your back? Do the straps keep falling off your shoulder? Is the underwire digging in too much? Is your bosom overflowing the cup? Does the cup wrinkle or show beyond your bust? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s probably time to get a fresh fitting.
You can achieve a new bra fitting in two ways, at home with a tape measurer, or with a specialist at any of the great handful of lingerie stores in Denver. The fit is basically described in your band size around your rib cage, 32-42 and higher, and the cup around your breast in letters, A-D and higher.
Wear a comfortable bra with no to little padding, and measure with a small tape measurer or measure ribbon: straight around your rib cage, just underneath your bust; or as straight as you can around your upper chest, just underneath your arm pits and above your bust. Depending on your body, either way can arrive at a similar number. Then measure straight around your upper back, and across the fullest part or point of your bust. The number you got with the first measurement is your band size. You subtract this number from the second measurement to get your cup size: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, 5=DD or E, and further.
For example, if you measured 34 inches around your chest, and 36 inches around your bust, take 36-34=2, 2=B, you’re likely a 36B. This is just one way of taking measurement, you might get a more accurate number with a specialist, but it’s a start.
With a Specialist
You can walk in to most lingerie stores or lingerie departments without an appointment, and meet with a specialist who has been specifically trained for bra fitting. The fitting is typically free.
Upon arrival, the specialist will usually ask your preference of being fitted right on the floor, with no removal of clothes necessary, or in the privacy of the fitting room area. And in less than a minute, the specialist will likely measure above your chest for the band size, then across your bust, and fill you in on your size. (Don’t get too confused if you ask the specialist how the calculation was arrived and they tell you it was by taking the band size and adding 4, then measuring the bust size with about one inch added, and subtracting similarly to get the cup size – it’s just a another way to get the measurement.)
Most departments will have a drawer of sample bras you can try on in your newly fitted size, in all the different styles offered in the store.
After you’re properly fitted, you can choose from a wide array of different styles and colors, depending on your outfitted occasion. If you want to conceal your bust more, you might look at the white, pink, gray or nude colors, as well as the more seamless, wireless, or full coverage styles. If you like a little more lift, plunge or definition, go for the push-ups, contouring, wired, demi-style bras. There’s also strapless, bustier, or multi-way strap bras that allow for every occasion. You will be surprised to see that the bra that’s a better fit, with the style of your choice, actually defines and expresses your unique curves better, making you look and feel more confident.
After you’ve spent the time and money finding the right bra, or collection of bras, you want to make them last as long as possible. Many specialists will tell you to wash your bra after every wear, so it’s suggested to have new bra for each day of the week, so you don’t have to do the laundry until the weekend! Your bra should be hand washed, or on the delicate cycle in the washer, preferably inside a lingerie bag. You can use delicate wash, or some specialty lingerie stores sell separate lingerie detergent. Never dry your bras, it warps the wires, loosens the seams, and damages the unique fabric. Most bras will last about a year, depending on wear and care.
Where to Go:
246 Milwaukee St. #A
Denver, CO 80206
Opened in 1994, Le Soutin specializes in European lingerie, sizes 32A-42H, including bridal, nightwear and swimwear.
6460 E. Yale Ave. #G20b
Denver, CO 80222
Treva’s has been fitting women for bras for 37 years, known for offering many varieties for small figured and full figured women, 28-52 A-MM, and vast options for those who have had breast surgeries.
9615 E. County Line Rd.
Englewood, CO 80112
Established in 2000, Pampered Passions has everything from bras and panties to corsets and stockings, with an expansive website of options, with bra sizes 32AA-50HH, including mastectomy bra fittings.
Sol, Store of Lingerie
248 Detroit St.
Denver, CO 80206
Founded in 1997, Sol is the hip lingerie boutique you can visit, after recognizing the unmistakable billboards around Denver of 50s style stewardess’ in stylish bras, for bras, panties, sleepwear and accessories, bra sizes 32A-44H.
Find a store near you:
Find a store near you:
- Sarah Carpenter lives in Littleton, where she was born and raised. She spent a decade in Downtown Denver, and its surrounding neighborhoods, going to school for writing, working in the service industry, and getting to know Denver’s diverse culture. She has a passion for travel writing, local and afar, focusing the story on its people, culture and region.