Intimacy: From Bad to WTF?

While I was back in Boston for the day, I decided to pay a visit to Intimacy, since one of my friends had been fitted there and recommended them to me. She should be in a 28 band and they put her in a 32, so I was already skeptical. Also, they have a quasi-calculator on their site that asks for your current bra size and your blouse size… since my waist and bust don’t fit the same size, I had no idea what to say. At first, I put in the blouse size that would fit my bust (along with my correct bra size) into the calculator and it told me that I was a 36E. If I put the blouse size that fits my waist, my size does not change. Oh, and you also need to be in a cup of the correct volume… it can’t correct for that. It appears that the calculator is only really good for determining band size for women who wear blouses that fit their waists properly. Their calculator is not so useful. But since so many people swear by Intimacy for their in-store fitting services, I decided to give it a shot. (Sadly, I didn’t think to take a camera.)

When I walked into the fitting room, I could tell that the store thought pretty highly of itself. There were posters about how a bra should fit… but the posters were really about how everyone else is WRONG and only Intimacy is right. Eek. I guess their confidence convinces people that they are right. So… was the confidence misplaced?

I showed up in my ill-fitting 34DDD Rive Gauche push-up (I put the removable cookies back in to make the cups even tighter). I had it on the tightest hook and it was still too loose… and I was also bulging out of the cups quite a bit. There were no measuring tapes, which made me worry that they just guessed (last time a fitter “fit by eye”, they guessed 34D). But it was fine, since the fitter (who shall remain nameless) based her “guesses” on asking questions and looking at how the bra I was wearing fit. She said I needed a 32 band. I was excited, since fitters usually get the band wrong and I took this to be a sign of good things to come. I was wrong.

She quickly returned with 32DDDs. Huh? She explained that my breasts sit very high on my chest and that the problem was the band. She had me pull the underwires up, which makes sense and works in a smaller band… but then she shoved the overflow back in (I started coming out the sides)… I also kept getting this weird flattened/smooshed square shape. It looked “good”. Oof. (I really wish I’d brought a camera!) When I did ask about the overflow/smooshing that I got in almost every bra, she blamed it on the style and stitching of the bra, rather than the size and never suggested a size up, even when I was clearly coming out of the top. Curiously, she never did find a bra style that didn’t have that problem. :P

She also seemed to think that a 32F (UK 32E) in Chantelle was the same thing as a 32F in Masquerade. I asked if the bras were all the same sizing and she said they were. When I asked for a larger cup in the Masquerade Persia, she returned with a 32FF. How she didn’t notice the difference between the 32E and the 32FF really blows my mind. (She also pulled a few 34Fs, not seeming to notice that the cups were bigger.)

(Masquerade Persia)

I was also handed a Panache Paige bikini top in a 34E… which is also not equivalent to a 32DDD, like she said I was. While I agree that a larger band is preferable for a swim suite, I was nowhere near in the cup. Even after pulling the underwires all the way up, the cup was still at least a size too small. I needed a 34F or 32FF. I don’t recall her actually seeing this on me, but later she said that it looked good. Hmm. X-Ray vision?

(Panache Paige Bikini)

To my pleasant surprise, however, I found that I can wear about 1 cup down in all of my bras… if I can find a way to get the underwire to stay up. The reason for the gaping at the bottom (and top overflow) is that my breasts actually are unusually high up on my body… which also explains why straps are always too long and why my bust measurement is so absurdly large (my ribcage gets larger at that point, too). But while I can go a bit smaller, I can’t go anywhere near as small as the bras she kept putting me in. A 32FF should be pretty solid (except for the Sasha Cleo, that runs super small in the cup). She didn’t suggest a style, but both reason and experience tells me that balconettes and longlines are probably the best styles for “high breasted” shapes.

The good:

  • friendly fitter
  • fitter got my band right
  • fitter asked how the tighter band felt
  • fitter explained the peculiarities of my shape and how to work around it
  • store offers free alterations for life of the bra

The bad:

  • fitter never asked how I thought the cups felt
  • fitter suggested bras were 1-2 cup sizes too small (even with underwires pulled up)
  • (said of a Simon Perle bra in a 34DDD) “this is the most low-cut T-shirt bra you will find in this size… you’ll have to have it altered though” (has she ever heard of the Freya Deco???)
  • fitter was confused about sizing in different brands
  • really, really expensive bras

So I really have no idea what to say! How can someone be so right and so wrong at the same time? I learned a LOT about my shape and how to fit my “high-sitting” breasts… but she also shoved me into bras that were way too small, even with the underwires pulled up! They’re clearly trained well with respect to how the band should fit… perhaps Intimacy should spend a little more time telling their fitters how to fit a cup?

The truth is, a fitting experience in a D+ store usually depends on the specific fitter more than the store… but what irked me about Intimacy was not the fitter, but rather the overall aura of “we are right and everyone else is wrong damnit!” I’ve had both excellent and horrific experiences at Nordstrom, but at least Nordstrom doesn’t think it’s the god of bra fitting.

Moral of the story: Never totally trust a fitter. They can be helpful, but if you think something is wrong, it probably is.

10 thoughts on “Intimacy: From Bad to WTF?

  1. Ohgawd. They kept putting me into small bras at Copley Intimacy, too. It was an odd experience. They also did get my band size right, though, good for them!

    I came in my Deco and my fitter said it looked ‘good’ and that most women didn’t fit into the Deco well (huh?!). She did tell me I could go down a band size, and she was right, so yay for that. Funnily enough, she also tried to sell me a Simone Perele t-shirt bra in a 34DDD, altered, and thought European sizing=English sizing. Maybe it was the same lady? I said I was getting quadra-breast in minutes with many bras they gave me, and she said I’d just have to adjust a few times during the day. Seemed like more than a few times to me…unfortunately it’s the only place I know of where I can try on Masquerade bras.

    I’m curious as to what you mean by ‘pull the underwires up’? I also have high-set breasts and need to shorten straps a lot, along with the gaping on bottom despite being shallow profiled…

    1. The Deco is a hard bra to fit, since it’s cups are so unnaturally round… but it’s usually fine. Also, it’s pretty much the best nude t-shirt bra for wearing with low-cut tops.

      That’s really strange though… it may have been the same person!

      Pulling the underwires up=pulling the bottom of the bra (in the front) up so it sits just under my breast tissues. My bras tend to fit 1-2 inches lower than my tissue, which feels bizarre. I can’t manage to get a bra to stay up. But even if I could, it would only be one cup smaller… so a 32F/32FF… definitely not a 32E.

  2. It’s a tough one. I am not convinced of the Copley store either. They also tried to tell me I am ok on the last hook when it came down to a rather expensive Aubade. Of course they make alterations, but I don’t really want alterations on a $150 bra…which wasn’t really in my budget anyway, just saying.

  3. I have the exact same issue with bras wanting to sit an inch below the root of my breasts on my ribcage! I figured out pulling up the underwires about six months ago and while it makes a huge different in fit, support, and comfort, I also cannot for the life of me get them to stay up.

    1. A tighter band has been doing the trick for me. My ribcage measures 31.5 inches, and I’ve been wearing my 32s on the tightest hook. My bras have been staying up. :) If I bought a bra right now, I’d go for a 30 band.

      1. My ribcage is actually 31 inches and I wear a tight 30, which has helped, but not totally solved the issue unfortunately. I think part of the issue is finding consistently firm 30 bands, so many are too stretchy.

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it. I am gonna add it to my list of big bust blogs. I too am on the eternal quest for the perfect bra. I had a similar experience at Nordstrom when I told the sales women I needed a 34H UK sizing and she said the Chantelles were European sizing. It may be a European company but there sizes are US sizes and the 34H is equivalent to a 34FF UK. No way my H cups are getting into that. Then she proceeded to tell me that she was an H cup as well and I noticed how ill fitting her bra was. It’s very frustrating when they don’t know their own product. They should really be trained on the different sizing systems because that is crucial in getting the right size. I often know more than the sales people. It’s not rocket science. I learned all I know from experience and the internet.

    1. Yeah, that sounds like my worst Nordstrom experience. :/ But on the whole, I’ve actually had my best luck there.

      You’re totally right about all the info that’s out there. It takes a little time and research, but it’s not that hard to figure out. :)

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