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{Makeover} A bra-mazing makeover

2011 October 11

“Although I’m 63, my body looks 45 because I exercise every day. But, my boobs belie the rest of my appearance,” wrote in Harriet Brand in response to our call for FOFs in need of a bra makeover. “I could really use a professional to help lift my ‘girls’ and my spirits.”

We knew just the FOF bra guru to call: Linda Becker owns two lingerie stores in New York and has been in the bra biz for twenty-four years. She has been featured in The New York Times, Glamour magazine and The Today Show for her bra-mazing abilities. [Read the entire interview with Linda here.]

“Your breasts have a mind of their own,” said Linda, when Harriet met her at her New York City store. “They’re like two bad kids. If you don’t control them, they’re out of control.”

According to Linda, Harriet’s breasts were just that — out of control. When she came in to Linda’s Bra Salon, Harriet was wearing a size 36C bra from Steinmart, which Linda called “totally dead” because it was so worn out that it offered no support. She also said the band was much too loose. “[Her breasts are] low, her nipple should be halfway between her shoulder and elbow. We’ll pick your girls up,” Linda assured Harriet, after she determined that her true size is 34DD. “The last time I had a bra fitting? Never,” said Harriet.  Linda trashed Harriet’s old bra and replaced it with three new and perfectly-fitting bras including the bestselling Body Sense Back Control Bra by Natori in Nude, 34DD. “It’s what I call the back fat bra,” says Linda. “It’s wide on the sides so it gives you a really smooth look in the back. It’s a really basic, comfortable bra.”

SO how did Linda find Harriet’s perfect bra? And how can you find yours? Read on to find out . . .

How do you know if your bra fits correctly?
Your nipple should be halfway between your shoulder and your elbow. When your breasts are low they make you look shorter, heavier and older.

How often should you get new bras?
Every six months. No one is the same size their entire life. There’s too many things that go on — you exercise, you have babies, you gain weight, you lose weight, you take medication that can make your breasts bigger, you go through menopause…

Should you wear a bra when you sleep?
Your breasts never know what you’re doing. They have to be supported all the time – whether you’re cleaning your house, sleeping or going to a wedding. You can wear sleep bras to keep them uplifted through the night.

Is a more expensive bra necessarily a better bra?
You can get a great fitting $29 bra. The difference is in the fabric. For instance, you get a better lace in a $129 bra.

What are your favorite bra lines for FOFs?
Different companies are specialized in certain things, Simone Perele makes really pretty, well-fitting bras that minimize you. Chantelle is a fabulous bra company that is making their cups bigger and bigger, which is great. Panache specializes in double D and higher. Wacoal are great fitting bras for FOFs at great prices.

Do different brand bras fit differently?
Yes. You should always be fitted when you buy a new bra. You should never go into a department store and just say, ‘Oh, I’m a  34B.’

Can I figure out my own bra size?
I’d recommend having a professional fit you. There are so many intricacies and as I mentioned before, different bra brands fit differently. You may be one size in one brand and another size in a different brand.


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  • business says:

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  • Victoria says:

    I never really thought much about my bras until recently, when mysteriously my breasts got a lot bigger. I now have to give myself some very careful fitting sessions, and replace often. Would love to have a pro fitting, but in the absence of that I think I can do a pretty good job on my own…it’s very true that you need to lift the girls up to halfway between your elbow and shoulder. That’s essential. The other thing is making sure that the cup actually fits my entire breast. Sometimes a bra will be cut in such a way as to make your breasts look cut in half when you are wearing your clothes. So when I go bra shopping I wear a skinny t-shirt and check to see what I look like with the bra on and the shirt over it. Sleeping in a bra….I am thinking about it, because I am embarassed about how I look in front of my significant other with my breasts just hanging down. Never thought I’d consider such a thing…

  • Laurakb says:

    I had a wonderful experience getting fitted at Nordstrom, she measured me, brought in several bras of different brands and then came in when I had each one on. The salesclerk told me whether it fit the way it should and why not, told me what to look for in a proper fitting bra.

  • Linda The Bra Lady says:

    Hi ladies! I was thrilled to help with this bra makeover! She was totally fabulous, but her bra was not. I like to call my fitters “Bra Divas” instead of “saleswomen”, because it’s not about the sale- it’s about helping women find the best bra for them! There are so many brands and sizes out there, it can get totally confusing. We help ease that process by keeping up to date and training constantly :) I would love to help any Fab Over Fifty ladies – online or in my shops !

  • sonsethues says:

    I’ve been fitted for bras over the years. some places would say here and hand me a basket of about ten bras and say find one that fits you. Then leave and come back and say any luck? I’ve been reading on beauty blogs that most women don’t know their bra size. After studying this for the last few months. I think it’s a gimmick to get women to buy more lingerie. My last experience in trying to find a bra that fit was horrible. I refuse to be badgered by sales people only to tell me you do know your size.

    I wear one size in the Simone Perele line and another in the Chantelle line Chantelle runs small. I don’t get any better fit from someone fitting me. One sales person told me it’s a hit and miss. I found some brands are more wearable than others. But it’s hard to find a good fitter. And just because they say you wear a certain size in one line doesn’t mean you’ll wear that size in another one.

  • sandi says:

    would love to know where to find a good “bra fitter” near where I live in Staunton, Va.

  • Speef says:

    Last year I worked on helping to restore a house after a fire. I didn’t bother buying new bras because they were totally trashed after every cleaning session. I just replaced my winter clothes and bothered to read the sizing charts, and taking my own measurements (another “thing to do” that I avoid. I can’t get over the difference. I’m a 52 DD. I bought a minimizer, which always has good side support. Wow!

  • J says:

    Yes, in the last photo her breasts look better — but look what happens to her chest by the arms, all squished out — is there some way to avoid that?!

  • 1955nurse says:

    I haven’t been actually “Fitted” for a bra since I was a teen…. but I’d love to! I might actually get a good fit… (sigh)