So. Bras. Touchy subject, and rightly so. I know we’re all sick of the “90% of women are wearing the wrong bra size” statistic, but I make all of my clients get fitted for a bra before we work together because … well, most of them are wearing the wrong bra size. Or wrong bra style for their figure and bust. It is really, truly hard to fit yourself for bras and most of us don’t know enough about them to make educated guesses.
But many people don’t have access to department or specialty stores with free fittings, and many more wear sizes that aren’t typically stocked. Ordering online is the best option because it’s the only option. But it can be monumentally frustrating.
So I was intrigued when Brayola reached out to me about a collaboration. The site offers hundreds of brands, styles, and sizes – from 28A to 56H, which impressed me – and relies on crowdsourcing to help its customers find a good fit.
To get started, you need to have a bra style and size that you KNOW fit you properly. Enter the brand, style, and size when prompted to move the process along. Now, I must admit this was a bit of a stumbling block for me. I’ve worn the same Bali bra style for four happy years and never even looked around. This didn’t provide much data for the algorithm, but a few bras that qualified as Perfect Matches.
Perfect Match bras are sizes and styles that have worked for other women who also love the style and size you’ve input. So my matches were from women who also love the Bali One Smooth U style in size 34C. The site also offers tools like Fit or Not, a community where you can upload photos of yourself in certain styles and get feedback on fit from other customers and #bModel, where photos from customers are posted side by side with model images so you can see how the bras look on non-model figures and shapes.
Despite the fact that I’ve worn the same style for years, I know how I need bras to be constructed based on various fittings I’ve had over the years: I need full coverage due to my tissue shape and size, I need lightly padded cups for nipple reasons, I loathe push-up and balconette styles, and I do best with a wide band. I am a pretty true 34C and prefer the look of t-shirt bras. So I tried ordering a round of bras from Brayola using my own knowledge and the information provided by listing photos and descriptions. All bras are 34C. Let’s take a look. (Below are lots of photos of me in bras – you’ve been warned!)
As a control, here’s my Bali One Smooth U bra:
This is the Barely There We Have Your Back bra:
This is the Wacoal Amazing Assets Back-smoothing T-shirt Bra:
This is the Natori Body Double with Lace Contour Bra:
I’m not going to go into great detail here because I didn’t keep any of these. None of them fit as well or felt as comfortable and supportive as my own bra. The Barely There and Wacoal bras were uncomfortably tight, and it was hard for me to determine if that was due to sizing or design. The Natori was comfortable but felt like it was already stretched out after months of wear. Most of them looked passable from the front, but less so from the back. I felt that my Bali bra was a better choice than any of these.
THEN I ordered two of my Brayola Perfect Match bras, and another of my own choosing. Tank top is the same size and style, all bras are 34C. Again, here’s the Bali bra I’ve been wearing:
This is a Perfect Match, the Warner’s This is Not a Bra Tailored Full Coverage:
Has many of the same design features as the Bali and a decent fit, but squishes me a bit more in the back. Definitely comfortable and supportive, and a good basic bra.
This is a Perfect Match, the Wacoal Lace Embrace Contour Bra:
Man, did I want this one to work. I rely heavily on my nude bras, especially in summer, and this one was so danged pretty. It felt supportive and looked great from the front, but the narrow band cut into my upper back.
This is the bra I picked out myself, the Scandale Sirene Smooth Back Bra:
Definitely comfortable, nice firm band, and looks decent from the back … though there’s some spillage above the band near my armpits for sure. And those cups aren’t my preferred full coverage so I’m not really used to the front view and profile. (The cups looked much fuller on the fit model.) This bra was final sale, so I’m keeping it and I think it might grow on me over time.
Honestly, I’m not madly in love with any of these. BUT I will say this: They all fit better than my first round of flying blind. And my Brayola contact made some really good points as we were discussing my experience, saying, “Not sure that you could find something ‘perfect’ if you keep comparing the feel to a bra you’ve been wearing for years and that has basically grown on you and molded around your body. As far as I understand from our experts and other trusted sources, that’s exactly why women need to experiment more and allow themselves to discover a bra that may be better and more comfortable, even if takes a few wears to adjust to it. It definitely makes sense when you think of your favorite pair of jeans, comparing day 1 to, say, 3 months later.”
I’m certain, too, that if I had more data about bras that fit me properly to feed into the Brayola system, my Perfect Match bras would be more tailored to suit me. My overall impression is that the site and its system would be fabulous for anyone who has had several great bras in the recent past and is interested in trying similar styles, and will also be a good resource for anyone who just plain has trouble finding bras in her size. You’ll find everything from minimizers to nursing bras in stock, and pricing is definitely competitive. I’d change two things about the shopping experience: I’d love to be able to give data about bra features or brands that I do not like, and I wish return shipping were complimentary. The company is very open to user feedback, so we might see those changes in the future.
As a self-proclaimed online shopping expert, I was frustrated – but not surprised – to find that my own knowledge wasn’t sufficient to land me a great bra. The Brayola system got me closer, and based on user feedback I’ve read works far better if you have more data to provide. I know many of you are bra and lingerie devotees, and I’d encourage you to try the system out. I’m the perfect example of someone who finds a bra style she likes and never branches out … but if Bali ever stops making my One Smooth U, I’m sunk. And having a crowdsourced system like Brayola’s could be quite helpful.
Anyone else tried ordering from Brayola? Do you have enough bra experimentation experience to feed more than two or three styles into the algorithm? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Disclosure: I do not accept sponsored posts, but I was provided with a shopping credit to Brayola to enable me to try several bra styles.