August 28, 2012

A bra of gold at the end of the rainbow

It all started with the first proper fittings. There wasn't an initial "Oh wow, this bra fits!" moment because it didn't happen in just one store.

It was Summer of 2010 and I finally got around to making an appointment at one of the more well-known bra-fitting chains with a location in Manhattan. Five months earlier, a lady friend I trusted at the time insisted I needed much more support than the 34D printed on my bra tag. The premise was simple: start yourself with an appointment, a bit of cash, purchase a few new bras and start fresh! I was so beyond ready to feel better about myself and be much happier on the whole. So during the hottest time of year, when out of sheer necessity women don the more revealing pieces in our wardrobes, I was having a mini-crisis about how my overthings were affected by my underthings.

I had no idea what was in store.

I'd read the online testimonials and even how Oprah & Co. lauded their services only to find out from my fitter that the 32F she had just put me in was still too large for my frame. The correct size would need to be smaller, a 30FF—and a uniquely UK size, although these particular stores did not stock anything below a 32. Instead of feeling better, I instantly felt freakish for being what I deemed to be an irregular size. I mean, I had been working in retail for some years at that point and never heard of bras below a 32. And didn't only the D's go into double letters? How then could my particular needs surpass this even "semi-normal" range? I was informed that they provided complimentary alterations to these gorgeous new bras should I choose to buy them. The downside was that I would have to wait an entire week and make a second pick-up visit.

I was stunned in so many ways.

As I put back on the unpleasant and unsupportive boob decoration I walked in with my heart sank. Was this my only option?

I left empty-handed but remembered another place which came recommended and immediately called for the next available appointment. And so the following day I went in ready to resume my mission that had abruptly left off the day before.

I must have been in my own makeshift “fitting room" more than an hour while the fitter was off simultaneously helping several other customers. Then it happened. This was it! The first well-fitting bra I decided on was an appropriate shade for my skin tone, a basic foundation "nude". Boy was it tight! But it fit well and I was in fact so happy that I walked out of the store wearing it all the way home. Upon arrival I trashed my old nude since my boobs now stood high like the first time you stand tippy-toed above a crowd and realize you can see for miles. They were absolutely delighted to be in a place they'd never before been! That was... until I took it off only several hours afterward. Surely there was some "breaking in" to do, which really means adjusting your body to a piece of clothing. In this case, the band and corresponding underwires were actually sitting in place against the ribcage for the first time, but I could tell something wasn't quite right. I had red marks all over and deep indentations that hurt. Thankfully there wasn't any broken skin but as happy as I was at the time, this newfound excitement was joined by an accompanying worry of having to start another entire day this way. I wasn't sure I could do it. And I grew very, very anxious. I scoured the web for every New York store listing and called the very next morning to find out who carried my new size. Some said they didn’t, while others offered promise.

What started as a daylong excursion doubled itself… then became a pseudo three-day weekend... and finally a week-long ordeal.

After calling and visiting the majority of New York's top bra boutiques and becoming frustrated in some way with all of the options (or lack thereof) I decided also to visit any and every store I thought might carry a variety of sizes. This included department and discount stores as well as liquidation outlets. I found myself longingly eyeing colorful offerings (like Calvin Klein and B'tempd) and then while thumbing through racks my eyes popped out of my head at tags I thought I'd never see: sizes such as 34E, 30FF, 30G all listed in UK sizes as well as their US interpretations (34F, 30H, 30I, respectively). I must have yelped out loud in surprise but didn't care as I rushed off to the fitting rooms in attempt to become my own fitter. By now there had been a bevy of bras on my body day after day after day and armed with a newfound self-taught knowledge of brawareness I could tell not only what visually fit but also what felt right. I told myself then that even if the colors weren't my specific preference at least I would find a great fit and it was a process of learning.

Bra cup comparison chart: North American and UK sizes (image borrowed from

In the end, I lucked out big time. Many women are likely to share a similar story when finally finding their correct size range. I prefer the phrase "size range" because a bra size is really just an approximate size based on your own ratio of measurements as well as other factors like your unique shape and where your breasts sit on the torso. I had some fitters insist on bringing me the same size repeatedly without considering the particular materials or bra shape. Still others couldn't bring me other sizes for lack of stock. It turned out my new sizes were 30FF and 30G (both UK sizes): two full bands smaller and 4-5 cups larger than the 34D (US size) I had been wearing, and a UK 30G is the cup size most stores maxed out at.

If New York really had it all, then why couldn't I?

Fast forward two years and many wonderful bras later. Although I still find myself at one end of the cup rainbow I know that smaller bands still seem a rare find but are absolutely essential for many women regardless of age or cup size.

It is the ultimate goal of this blog to ensure women possess a good bra education and are aware that smaller-backed sizes do exist. In fact some stores carry partial size runs of manufactured styles but may not carry the entire range due to lack of demand. It seems to remain a catch-22.

We'll report on everything from small bands to full figure finds and where specifically YOU ladies can shop in New York City!

Because we are the Busts of Gotham.


  1. I'm so excited for this blog! :) I'm leaving NY in May, but I have several busty friends I'd like to have set up in the bra department before I leave. Can't wait to see what you have in store!

    1. Hi Loorah! Thanks for reading. We're all setup for 2013 and amply covering this wonderful city. If there's anything you'd especially like to read about please feel free to drop us a line at info [at]!