Recently, I met a plus-size bra fit model and I had the bright idea to interview her for another perspective on the enigma that is bras. As the appointed evening grew closer, I began to second guess myself wondering what this human mannequin* could know or say that would help the average Jane. But I figured how bad could it be if I got to wear a suit and there were manhattans involved.
Ever wonder how a garment’s size is determined before it makes its way into stores? A fit model is a human that designers and manufacturers build that garment on. Her specs are considered the perfect starting point to then grade up and down into more sizes.
It turns out I happened upon a formidable industry resource. Megan began as a plus-size photo model. It was instantly apparent that since none of the clothing she was modeling needed to be fitted, she was the perfect size. Her agency suggested she try her hand at being a fit model for clothing, which then moved into being a bra fit model.
The base for a ‘straight size’ bra is 34 in cups B, D & DD. The base for a full-figured bra is 40DD, of which Megan is. She can fit up 50-60 bras in an hour. She is well-versed in the 15 key measurements of what makes a great fitting bra. Specs you may have never considered like apex to apex, cross-cup circumference, strap length front & back, strap platform, halter measurement (from apex behind neck to apex) and more. And she knows, just by putting a bra on, what changes need to be made to accomplish a great fit.
I asked Megan how her experience in fitting could help a regular bra shopper. Her answers were beyond perfect:
There is nothing wrong with you. (This is worth repeating: There is nothing wrong with you). If a bra doesn’t fit, it could mean the model bra was built on a body with a different shape than yours. Relax. (Her words, not mine). If you have a bra you like, explore other styles from the same brand, since all bras will be fit on the same model.
Fit bra band first. Cup size and band size are codependent. A 36C in one brand is a 34D in another. Band provides majority of support. Fit that first.
Take care of your underwear. Invest in a few quality pieces and baby them. No washer or dryer. They will last you a long time.
Fluctuations in your shape will happen. Get over it. There is nothing wrong with you. Buy bra on middle hook to allow for fluctuations.
When trying on bras, try many. Raise your arms, take a deep breath, touch your toes, walk and move about. Check for bounce. You should be comfortable AND stable.