It sounds like an odd question, but I have had requests for the purchase of a bra for another person. Often it is a family member trying to help someone in a nursing home, but I have had husbands and parents trying to purchase for women who really should come in for a fitting.

The whole problem with buying a bra lies in the fact that we are all unique. The bra manufacturers try to take uniqueness into account when designing the bra. A ‘B’ cup for one company is not exactly the same as a ‘B’ cup for another company. Some are fuller. Some provide more support. A bra is a personal garment that is meant to fit to the body. It is not the same as buying a purse or a hat.

Often, with a fitting, I will ask what size the woman is wearing. Many have purchased the same size for years, and are surprised that I fit them in a different size for every style of bra that they try on. It happens this way, because the designer is trying to fit the bra for different issues.

These are just a few of the reasons why it is difficult to purchase a bra for another person. Fitting a bra is more than measurements.

If you really must purchase for someone else, ask a few questions about their favourite bra, such as what style of cup do you like? Push-up, fully encapsulated, seamed, smooth, under-wire? These issues are very important.

Find out how a favourite bra fits. Is it tight, loose, just right? What hook is it done up on? A new bra should be done up on the loosest hook for optimum fit.

How about the cups? Is tissue spilling over the top, falling out the bottom or being pushed back under the arm? These are all signs that the bra does not fit and indicate that a proper fitting is in order if you can arrange it.

How old is the bra? Does it fit, because it is old and stretched? A larger band might be needed, if that is the case. Is the band riding up the back? If it is riding up a lot, but the bra isn’t stretched, then the band is too large. You’ll want a smaller band.

Remember, when changing band sizes that you must also change the cup size. If the cup fits, but the band is too large, go down a band size and up a cup size. If the cup fits and the band is too tight, go up a band size and down a cup size.

Fitting a bra can be complicated. That’s why many women just give up in frustration, and buy whatever is close enough. Fitting for a person who isn’t in the store to try the bra, is even more difficult. You need a lot of information to get a proper fit. Most stores do not take bra returns, so you will be stuck with a poor fitting bra, if you buy the wrong one.

Go to the store armed with as much information as possible, and take the best fitting older bra that you can. Go to a store where you will get assistance from a clerk and tell her everything that you know. Show her the bra that you brought along. Most clerks have an idea of how their stock fits, and will do their best to direct you.

’til next time,


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