I realize how lucky I am to live in the Boston area when I hear that some people don’t live anywhere near a store that sells D+ bras. When I’m at college, I’m pretty much out of luck… but at least I can try things on when I’m home for holidays. The scene in Boston isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than other parts of the US. I’ve been trying to think of solutions for people who really need a good fitting, but who live nowhere near a good bra store.
A few months ago, I stumbled across some reviews of Butterfly Collection. They are a fairly new company (started in 2010), but seem to have their stuff together. They carry a pretty good selection of brands (including Alegro, which is fairly new on the scene) and appear to not airbrush the lumps and bumps out of their models! Wow! My favourite part is that their models all wear snug bands, and the slight indent that accompanies a snug band isn’t photoshopped out. I cannot overemphasize the importance of showing what a well-fitting bra looks like!
(Back view of Cleo Lucy)
As though the images of well-fitting bras were not enough, they also have a fairly accurate calculator. Their instructions to wear a thin bra while measuring the bust are BRILLIANT. When I measure without a bra, I get an absurdly huge measurement, due to the shape of my breasts. When I measure with a bra on, the measurement is a lot closer to the size I actually wear. Most calculators put me at a 32HH or 32I (UK). Since their calculator doesn’t accept half inches, I rounded up. Their calculator puts me at a 32H (UK), with options of 30I or 34GG. I wear 30GG (in non-Deco bras), so that’s the most accurate result I’ve seen form a calculator! Their “bra school” is also pretty informative.
I noticed their online “free bra size consultation” and gave it a go! I took measurements wearing my 36DD Aerie bra and listed it as my “best fitting” bra. The online form asks a few questions: underbust and overbust measurements, dress size, best fitting bra, high, current bra problems, and what types of bras you’re interested in. Less than 24 hrs later, I got a lovely email suggesting that I try a 32H (UK). Since the questions they asked didn’t quite leave room to explain how small the cup was, the suggestion wasn’t too different from the calculator.
But not only was the email friendly and reassuring, it was also educational (why a smaller band would keep straps from cutting in, etc) and quite helpful! The fitter suggested a few styles of bras, based on my current problems and the types of bras that I’d said I was interested in. If you don’t usually have issues with bra calculators putting you in absurd sizes, I’d definitely recommend their free bra size consultation.
[Their email name is “Butterfly Support”. How fitting! (so many puns here)]
They also offer Skype bra fittings, which I find quite awesome, since it’s really difficult to find stores in the US that stock small band/large cup bras! A Skype fitting, perfect for people who live nowhere near a good store, seemed almost too good to be true. I decided to try it out, again with a terribly fitting 36DD. Why the 36DD? Because, realistically, stores like VS would try to put someone with my measurements in a 36DD (or 38DD)… and people wearing ill-fitting bras are the people who need a good fitting the most!
My fitter, Claire, the owner, was incredibly nice and informative. She helped me measure myself accurately (it’s difficult to do alone!) and managed to size me at a 30H just based on my underbust (30.5) and bust (41) measurements and my standing infront of a webcam while wearing a 36DD. A 30H is within my current size ballpark, though I only wear that size in bras that run very small. Had I worn a less inaccurate size for the fitting, she would have probably suggested a 30GG… but I was trying to stick with the limitations that most women have. From the looks of their return/exchange policy, had I bought a 30H, I would have been able to evaluate the fit and then exchange it for another size.
No fitting is “perfect”, but given the limitations of a) skype (vs in-store) and b) only one really ill-fitting bra to try on, this came incredibly close. I was also really impressed with how informative Claire was. She explained US vs UK sizing, why fitters tend to just go up band sizes to get the cups to fit, and how a well-fitting band can totally change the fit of a bra.
(Also, I’ve now had another person suggest a 30 band, which makes me feel better about it.)
Their selection is a little more limited than some larger stores, but the styles they do stock are great and they are working on expanding their selection. They carry wired, wire-free, strapless, nursing, plus-size, and sports bras… as well as matching panties. They also carry a few bra accessories (band extenders, nipple covers, etc) and “soak“, which appears to be this nifty bra wash that was originally developed for knitters.
Not every bra is available in every size. You can, however, search by size and spare yourself from the pain of falling in love with a bra, only to find that your size has sold out (you all know what I’m talking about). I am a pretty big fan of this search feature.
Another neat feature is the explanations of how each bra fits. There is nothing worse than ordering your usual size only to find that a certain bra defies normal sizing! With most online bra stores, I have to cross my fingers and hope that someone decided to review the bra and mention how it fits. I’ll still probably double check with Bratabase… but the “how this bra fits” section is a great feature!
The prices are higher than what I normally go for, but I believe that they are fairly normal, as far as D+ retail pricing goes. Luckily, they have free shipping to Canada and the US. I wouldn’t list them as a place to go if you’re looking for a super cheap bra, but their stuff is great quality!
The bras are a bit pricey, but I’m really impressed with what I’ve seen so far from Butterfly Collection, both in terms of their selection of products and their fitting services. I’d recommend them especially to those who don’t live near stores that sell D+ bras.
Oh, and in honour of how awesome Butterfly Collection is, I’m starting a list of Canadian D+ bra blogs! (If you know of any, let me know!)