Fight the Frump: Get A Bra Fitting

Hello and welcome back to another edition of Fight the Frump! Today we’re talking about everyone’s favorite subject: bra fittings.

Haha, well anyway. It may not be the most desirable thing to talk about, but getting a proper bra fitting is probably the #1 thing you can do to fight the frump. No matter how cute your clothes are, if you’re sagging and dragging, you will look schlumpy.

How long has it been since you’ve had a professional bra fitting? Have you ever?

It is estimated that something like 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, and the older we get, the more of a problem it is. Our bodies change, yes, but I think we also put less of a priority on our undergarments. Let’s face it, we’re not as cute and perky as we used to be, and they’re just not as much fun to shop for as they once were.

But it must be done.

And not just once. If you were fitted for a bra before you had kids and when your metabolism was still working in your favor, you’re probably not the same size anymore.

As we age and our weight hems and haws, our bodies change. Every woman should get a professional bra fitting every 5 years or with any major body change (weight loss or gain, childbirth, pregnancy, etc.)

How long has it been since you replaced your bras?

Uh-huh. Thought so.

The other issue with our bras that can affect the frump factor is the age and condition of the bras we’re wearing. Experts say that bras we wear on a regular basis should be replaced every six months. I’ll stretch that to about a year, (haha, stretch… I’m so punny) but after that, it’s time for a new one.

This is not just a brilliant marketing strategy on the part of bra manufacturers. Take a look at the straps on your favorite bra — especially the band that goes around your back. Does the elastic look stretched out and worn? See that? It’s time for a new one.

Have you ever bought the same bra as one you have in your closet and compared the new with the old? These babies don’t hold up for much more than a year of regular use. Once they start to stretch out, they don’t do their job, and the next thing you know, you’re saggin’ and baggin’…  and no one wants that!

Another bit of advice I have for you is not to wear the same bra two days in a row. Supposedly they will last longer and provide better support if they are given a break, so I try to heed that advice.

I keep track of this pretty easily because I usually toss my bra on the floor when I go to bed because I’m classy like that. Then in the morning when I go to get dressed, I intentionally pick a fresh bra out of my drawer so I’m not wearing the same bra two days in a row. When I make my bed and pick up my room, I put yesterday’s bra back in the drawer. Or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Here are some quick bra fitting tips or ways to know if your bras are the wrong size: 

  • Your bra cups should be large enough to prevent breast tissue from bulging or spilling out over the neckline or armhole edges. Conversely, your bra cups are too large if they have wrinkling.
  • If any breast tissue falls out from under the bottom of your cup when you raise your arms, your cup may be too small and/or your bra band may be too big.
  • If your band slides up in the back with you raise your arms or bend over, your bra band may be too big.
  • Ideally, the center panel between the bra cups should sit firmly against your chest. There are exceptions, but this is the goal.
  • If your shoulders have dents from your straps, then you probably need a smaller band size to give your bra more support. The straps shouldn’t be doing most of the work.

So this is your task. Take an afternoon for yourself, go to the mall, ideally go to Nordstrom or Soma or a place that provides professional bra fittings, and freshen up your foundation garments with new ones in the right size that put the girls back where they’re supposed to be. Then see how much better your clothes look.

You are welcome.

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52 Responses

  1. The thing is not all bra fittings are the same. One time I went to 3 different stores (a bra store, Macy’s & Dillard’s) and they all told me 3 different sizes. I have to admit it was a little frustrating. But the nice thing is you can find a ton of info on the internet too—you just have to figure out what is correct!
    I love the suggestion that when you stand in front of the mirror facing sideways and bend you arm in an “L”, that your nipples should be halfway between your shoulder and elbow.

  2. I went to a store that specializes in sellling bras and other undergarments about 10 years ago and got professionally fitted. This store has tremendous customer service. They will work with you to find the perfect fit and it can take upwards to an hour to find what you need. The outcome is a perfect fit and you look slimmer with all the bumps smoothed out and everything where it should be. I have never bought another bra from anywhere else since then.
    My advice spend the money, it is worth it. You will be taught how to take care of your bras and in the long run spend about what you did before constantly seeking the right bra!!

  3. I like Victoria secret and you are right it’s time for some new bras They ate running sales and also have coupons that are good until the end of the month. I. Agree with you now is a great time believe it or not Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner if we do this now we will be set for the rest of the year. Things get so busy we tend to let ourselves go

  4. I have had a bra fitting done , once. I admit that there are times when I wear the same bra two days in a row. I have ordered your favorite underwire bra from Nordstrom and am waiting on its arrival. Hopefully, I will love the fit as much as you do. I have to say that the price of bras is ridiculous, so that’s why I don’t replace mine as often as we should.

    Savor every moment with your son. As a grandparent, I can confirm the time flies by way too quickly.

  5. I do my bra fitting and purchase the same day I go for my mammogram and consider it a girls day out type event ???? Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have a mammogram scheduled soon and have never had a professional bra fitting. So I think I am going to do it the same day. Great idea

  6. I went to Soma one time and will never go back. The salesclerk pulled some bras after we talked about what I was looking for and took me to a dressing room. She said try these for starters and Illbe back in a few minutes … 30 minutes later …. she had never come back to check on me! I walked out after giving her a glare on the way out (okay that probably wasn’t the high road) and have never been back! I’ll try Nordstrom – hope I have better luck.

  7. I didn’t know that about wearing the same bra two days in a row. Yikes…..I need to change my ways. That was funny about throwing your bra on the floor because you’re classy that way 🙂 made me laugh. Have a good day

  8. I have been professionally fitted several times at stores such as Soma and Victoria’s Secret. Don’t trust the initial measurements. The size they arrive at when measuring me is never what I end up with. Try on several different sizes and styles until you find one that supports like it should – band is small enough, you aren’t spilling out of cups, etc.

  9. JoLynne, when my last two kids out of my four (last two meaning my twins, Mike and Elizabeth) started their senior year, I cried ALL year long at each event. They were each part of different activities so I had plenty of opportunity for tears. Lol. I feel your pain! But it’s also pretty darn nice when you reach the empty nester stage, so be heartened. Silver lining and all that.

    Thanks for the bra fit post. I can’t for the life of me find a well fitting bra, and I’ve tried many. Probably like most women. So maybe I’ll try to get a professional to help.

    1. If you have a local Nordstrom, give them a try. They are generally very good. Thanks for the encouragement about the next phase. 🙂 I can see how that will have its benefits.

  10. Great idea LaVena! I need to extend my mammo appointment into more than just the rushed visit to the Dr at the end of the workday.

    I have had a couple of bra fittings – at a specialist and at Victoria’s Secret. I discovered they both lean towards the band being so tight that there is back and underarm “spillage” – isn’t that what I don’t want?

    1. Yeah sounds like it could be too tight but I always have some underarm fluff there – some of it is just age. It is hard to say without seeing it. I just hate it when the band rides up so I keep mine pretty tight.

    2. Me, too! A couple years ago I lost 45 pounds, but in my early 50s, I’m just not as firm all over as I used to be. I went to Dillards, and they want to put me in a 34 DDD. When I do that the bra sinks into my back towards my underarms and makes such bulges it looks awful. What I’ve come down to is trying on 38C and 36C or D and just shooting in the dark to try to get something that works. It’s as depressing as swimsuit shopping, and I don’t own a single bra right now that I feel good about. Actually…I think it’s more depressing than swimsuit shopping. That’s pretty bad! I can recommend Shapeez, but that’s a whole bra/camisole one piece thing, and most of the time I just want to wear a regular bra.

  11. This is another very helpful post. I’ve recently lost weight and am finding that my bras are wrinkling and doing other weird things so its definitely time for a fitting. I haven’t tried Nirdstrom but will do that soon. I love the idea of getting a new bra after a mammo! I also have a senior in high school ( two, actually, one is my stepson). I say all of us readers who have kids graduating next June have a big virtual cry party as we help our babies move on to the next chapter in their lives. Gonna be a tough year for a lot of us!

  12. I’ve only had a bra fitting once. I don’t think I’d like to go in and do this now at age 55. Ha Ha I’m more self conscious. 🙂 But, you are so right. I’ve learned a few things and so I think I do pretty good on the fitting, but I know I need to throw out and buy new more often. I had no idea the 6 month rule. It would have to be at least a year for me too. Thanks for all the good infor. As for your senior in high school. All those last are hard, especially on your first one to empty nest(I did 3 already). I tried to remain in the moment and enjoy all the last. Its hard to watch their last sports game of each sport. We loved watching our kids in sports. But, they move on, you move on and its exciting to watch them grow as adults and start college and then move into their careers. I have a teacher(now principle), nurse and fireman/Paramedic. Time really goes fast, so enjoy. 🙂

  13. As a breast cancer survivor, I too love the bra shopping idea on mammo day! After lots of reconstruction, I know how important it is to get a quality, good fitting bra. This same advice goes for sports bras too – very important. Thanks for such a great post, Jo-Lynne!


  14. Ok – so I need to do some major work in this department! I think the last time I bought a bra was 3 years ago – YIKES!! I think I will book a day off in the next little while and go for a proper fitting and treat myself to some new bras. Last batch I bought were Jockey and they are fabulous!! My problem has always been slippage from the shoulders and these stay put all the time.
    I too have a grade 12 student and can relate to the total cry fest I am about to experience this year – I think I am tearing up thinking about it! I am so proud of him (he is so grown up), but still want him to stay my little boy! Cathy let me know when the cry fest begins, I am in! 🙂

  15. I get measured regularly at Victoria’s Secret and they have a full coverage bra that I love and that fits like a dream.

  16. Great post! Von Maur is another good place for a bra fitting. Victoria Secret is not the place to go if you are a larger cup size. They will tell you, you are their max cup size and cram you in. They are more targeted to the younger population and do not make bras with the support most women our age need. Before a professional bra fitting, I was wearing a 34B. I found out I was actually a 32 DDD. They are had to find but once you do, it’s a huge difference.

    I have a friend who is larger and wears bras that are too small for her all the time. How do you politely tell someone that they need to do this? We have known each other 3 years through our girls being on the same soccer team, so we don’t typically broach subjects like this. Or do I just keep my mouth shut? But it looks sooooo bad! Any advice is welcome.

      1. I’ve seriously thought about it!!! But I’ve stayed silent because it is very awkward. Hoping for one of those opportunities to arise where it just makes sense or it’s a general conversation. But seriously doubt that is going to happen at the soccer field any time soon! LOL!

  17. I am also a breast cancer survivor and have a very difficult time finding a comfortable bra since I am in between sizes. Recently, I went to Nordstrom and a lovely woman who specializes in fitting women who have had a mastectomy helped me find a good fitting bra. She took me into a private fitting room and brought me options and was very knowledgeable.
    If you know of any sports bra’s that are not super constricting, please let me know because this is what I mostly wear.
    I cannot wear underwire bra’s and finding bra’s without is very difficult. Wacoal makes a very nice bra but it is $60 and a bit pricey even if I wear it everyday!

    1. Hi Jill! I’m a breast cancer survivor as well, and have had a mastectomy. Through my health insurance, I receive new bras each year free of charge, as well as my breast forms. My bras are from Jodee or Amoena. They have some really nice sports bras, as well as sleep bras. You can look on their websites & request their catalog. When I contacted my health insurance company, they had a list of retailers/medical supply stores in my area that carry mastectomy products. I then went to my local medical supply store, where they have a certified bra fitter for mastectomy patients. It all took a bit of research, but it’s paid off in that I have great fitting bras & a natural looking chest!! Best wishes to you in finding what you need!

  18. My oldest graduated HS in June and my baby moved up from 8th to the high school. I can’t believe how fast the years are flying by! I can totally relate to the senior year sadness!

    I do frequently replace my everyday bras, and I just started buying minimizers this year after a bra fitting.. I can’t wear them with everything, but it has totally changed how I feel in many of my clothes. I used to feel so self conscious and out of proportion. But some of my lacy date night bras are soooo old. They don’t get much wear (to my husband’s dismay I am sure LOL) but still. Fortunately they don’t take up much drawer real estate.

    1. Sometimes a minimizer can make a big difference in the fit of a top. I wore them for years and finally gave up and went back to regular styles b/c I generally like the shape better, but lately – looking at my outfit pictures, I’m thinking I could use a minimizer from time to time. LOL.

      1. The thing that made me try them was that the drapey tanks were becoming so popular. I am not even all that big, but I have a small frame so I look bigger than I am. I feel as if I look pregnant in those type of tops and avoided them for so long.! Once I them with the minimizer (a Wacoal Slimline) it was like an epiphany! Lol. I haven’t found one that I love with more form-fitting tops. The struggle is real! But the search continues as my budget allows…

  19. Jo-Lynne, I had a professional bra fitting at Nordstrom this past Spring and what a great help. The clerk told me however, to keep in mind that Nordstrom’s bra sizes run differently than other stores. The size the clerk recommended for me certainly was different from other bras I had been wearing. Have you found this to be true?

    1. That is interesting. Most of their brands are found at lots of retailers so I’m not sure about that. I am actually remarkably consistent with my bra size across most brands. My cup size fluctuates with weight gain, but my back size has never changed, even when breastfeeding. I may move up or down a cup size (well, several when breastfeeding, lol!) but otherwise, I am almost always the same size in just about every brand. I realize not everyone finds that to be true, but I don’t think Nordstrom’s bras run differently. That’s just my experience, though.

  20. Yikes! I haven’t been bra shopping in a while and I def wear the same one for more than 2 days????… I just hate going ????????.

  21. I cracked up when you admitted you throw your bra on the floor. Whatever keeps you organized lol. I have 2 boys. The most tearful time was when our oldest went to University. I cried leaving him.he was 6 hours away. When we got home I saw his bedroom and started up again. I sensed that he would go on from there to his own home. He did indeed get married 1 month after grad. I couldn’t Do anything but think, we planned for this, he is really smart, this is the way it is supposed to be. He has a phD in bio chem and is enjoying his job. His wife also had a phD in bio chem and they get along well as they speak the same language. Please enjoy your year and take a beach towel to all the lasts lol. My younger son didn’t go as far away, just 3 hours. It wasn’t as bad. Different personalities. Anyway thanks for the bra tips.have a blessed day.

    1. Yes, we are looking at 2 schools that are 5-6 hours away and I know he may very well stay out there. He’s also looking at one nearby, and I really want to see him branch out and go away for his own growth, but I also can see him staying close because he’s not super motivated. In a way, I will be relieved if he stays close, but I feel like he should spread his wings a bit. I did – I went 12 hours away, and I’ll never regret it. 🙂

  22. Great information in this post. But I have to admit the best part of it was when you said you throw your bra on the floor because you are classy like that. That made me laugh out loud and I mean, loud! Thanks for keeping it real.

  23. Best bra fitting I ever had was at a Jockey store. They have an unconventional system that measure your band size and then you bend over and fit your breast into a plastic cup of a varying sizes the cup sizes are not letters like A ,B,,or C etc. but numbers. This system has worked great for me who is very difficult to fit. The bras are on the expensive side but they are great quality, comfortable fit, and they do run frequent sales

  24. Great post. I agree about going for a bra fitting if you haven’t done so in a while. I went to both Victoria Secrret and Nordstrom and both measured me the exact same size (and different than what I was wearing). You were right on the mark with your bra fitting tips. Love the bra on the floor comment (I often do the same thing or on the handle of my bathroom door). Good thing it’s just the bathroom for my husband and I. Lol!

  25. This is a great post on something we often don’t think about. Although I don’t wear your typical off the rack bra, as I’ve had a mastectomy, I do get fitted for my “bras”. What a difference it makes having a bra that you don’t feel stiffed into! I go to a certified mastectomy bra fitter, and am thrilled to have a natural looking chest, thanks to her! I like the idea of throwing your bra on the floor & getting a fresh one the next day! LOL! That was hilarious!! I always launder my bras in a special lingerie bag, then hang them up on a plastic coat hanger (the kind with the slots in the shoulder area) to air dry. Apparently this is a hot topic, based on all the comments posted. Lots of great info out there!

    Re your son’s senior year, yes, lots of emotions willl be going on there throughout the year. Our daughters were 2 years apart in school & were involved in most of the same activities. I was blessed to see our older daughter (who was the treasurer in FBLA) pass her mantle onto our younger daughter when she became the new treasurer. They were also FCCLA at the same time as well as each playing the same 3 sports. We thought the older one graduating was emotional, that was nothing compared to having the youngest one graduate, since she was the last. But in the end, it’s all good and you will feel happy that you’ve raised strong and independent young adults ready to make their way in the world. And off the payroll, eventually……..

  26. I work for a company that does bra fittings and it’s true! New bras every six months and you shouldn’t wear the same one consecutive days! This isn’t is awesome that first layer of help the rest of your clothes look fantastic!

  27. I recently tried a Third Love bra after seeing their advertisements keep popping up online. I filled out a survey and received a bra in the mail to try for 30 days and with a guarantee of being able to send back if I didn’t like it. While I never thought I’d ever pay a ton of money for a bra I couldn’t imagine sending this bra back. It was a different size than what was in my drawer but it fit perfectly and my biggest pet peeve of falling straps was eliminated. It was super comfortable. It is totally worth it to spend a pretty penny for a comfortable and good fit.

    While it’s not the most fashionable post, this is one of the most useful! I’ve really been enjoying your Fight the Frump posts!

  28. I’ve always gone to Victoria’s Secret because I liked their bras, but they’ve discontinued the two styles I wore and a lot of their bras are super weird anymore, who wants a bra with a million odd straps all over the place? Also, I am starting to feel a little silly in there, as I’m not exactly their demographic! I do have Von Mauer, they are in the Midwest, they never advertise because they don’t need to.. It’s a family owned department store and is super stylish and classy like Nordstrom. They have a center area in which there is usually someone playing the piano, it’s quite relaxing and lovely and they are known for their attentive service. I need to try there!

    1. That Von Mauer sounds nice! I agree about Vic Sec. I actually worked there back in high school. LOL! It had a different reputation then, more classy. I was also taught how to fit bras, so that’s been helpful over the years. But nowadays, they don’t do it for me. And their bras don’t come in larger cup sizes with smaller band sizes.

  29. I didn’t have any luck with Soma . However, I had a wonderful sales woman at Macy’s who was a certified bra fitter. She spent a lot of time with me and was very informative. Try there if you have a Macy’s near you.

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