TMI or Bust: Shopping for Bras

1197398517This past weekend, I was in Manhattan for a wedding. And without taking away from what was a very lovely ceremony (congrats, Glo and Sam!), the most worthwhile part of the trip took place on Sunday, when my friend L. and I stopped into La Petite Coquette, a lingerie shop on University Place in Greenwich Village.

Historically, lingerie is where I save money: I’ve been perfectly content with bras from the Gap and underwear from American Apparel. I don’t need heavy duty support, and I care more about function than form. Like most women, I’ve never had a proper bra fitting, either. So I was prepared to be told I’d been buying wrong; I just didn’t know how wrong I was.

The pretty turquoise bra I brought into the fitting room was a 34A, my usual (this is where it might seem like you’re getting more information than you wanted, but read on: 85% of women wear the wrong size bra, which can lead to back problems and, worse, sagging). Alex, the attentive-but-not-too-pushy sales girl who ushered me in, casually asked what size I wore and I told her. I was wearing all my clothes at this point, including a heavy winter coat. Then:

“Hmm. You look more like a 32D to me.” You don’t have to have breasts of your own, or have read the Victoria’s Secret catalog more than once, to know that’s a pretty big difference.

Alex brought me a dozen to try, and—what do you know?—I’m a D all right. She showed me how my 34A was too loose around to be supportive; too small in the cup to be flattering. “I felt like I was just on Oprah,” I said to L. as we stepped out into the cold. “I know!” she said.

Here in town, the new Intimacy opens this weekend at Copley, offering an extensive selection of underpinnings (Aubade, Chantelle, and more) and a mandatory meet with a fit expert, which, in fact, earned the place an endorsement from Winfrey herself. It’s less intimidating, embarrassing, and time consuming than you might think, and entirely worth it.

In the end, I walked away from La Petite Coquette with three La Perla bras and a feeling I’d just experienced something life-changing. At $90 a pop, they were pricier than my Gap favorites but will last me a few years if I take good care of them, which includes washing by hand once a week. Also: not wearing the same bra two days in a row. “They get tired,” Alex said. Of course they do! And I’m a D cup!

Intimacy, Copley Place, 857-277-7887,

Photo courtesy of Intimacy. I repeat, photo courtesy of Intimacy. This is not me. This girl is a total A cup.