We’ve all done the back-of-the-bra-store electric slide. The steps go a little something like this: Standing shirtless with your arms splayed over our boobs, a tape measure is wrapped around you, then turn, a tape measure is wrapped around you in a different spot, then inhale, exhale, and then, with a final bow, a flurry of lace and padding is handed to us to “see how that does.” Sure, the sizing and trial and error method works, but what about now? In the age of social distancing, our bra shopping dance is going to have to look a little bit different. With Zoom officially taking over the world, I tried two virtual bra fittings, and—can I just say—this is the future.
Admittedly, I was skeptical about virtual fittings. The idea of standing in my bedroom talking to a stranger in my knickers at noon was not how I expected to spend my lunch break from work. But after meeting the experts from Knix and CUUP and trying out the bras, my doubts disappeared faster than you can say 34C.
My first surprise was how easy the whole process is. You sign up online, get sent a unique meeting link, and log on at the designated time to a smiling face ready to solve all of your bra shopping woes. Ideally, it’s best to have a soft tape measure ready prior to the fitting, but since I didn’t have one, I got creative with a hard tape measure from my tool box and a pair of headphones to wrap around where my breasts meet my ribcage, the fullest part of my breast at the nipple, and my hips. There was no hassle of waiting in a fitting room, cold and topless, for a fitter to finally assist you. The whole experience (which is free, by the way) takes less than 20 minutes. After the fitting, you receive an email with your size and suggested styles.
The second surprise was the absence of the dreaded awkwardness. CUUP’s professionals, called Fit Therapists, are not novices to the world of virtual sizing. They have been using video fittings since the brand launched in 2017, and, due to the pandemic, are only becoming more popular. After a bit of small talk where you get to know the expert and explain what size and kind of bra you currently wear and what you’re looking for, it’s time to measure with either your shirt on or off (depending on your comfort level). As Tania, my virtual bra expert from CUUP explained, “When you’re talking to women about bras, it’s so intimate so you need the warmth and human connection that you can only have when you are talking to a person.” Additionally, because CUUP has 40 sizes for a whole spectrum of breast shapes, the multiple measurements taken with the help of a person guiding and correcting you is instrumental in finding the most accurate size. For the types of clothes I wear and the light coverage that I’m looking for in a bra, Tania recommended The Plunge ($68) in a 34C because, though it has an underwire, it is still sheer and flexible like a bralette.
Knix, a Toronto-based e-commerce brand known for its seamless, wireless bras that fit all shapes and sizes (and its period underwear), has been doing virtual fittings for one year. Finding the perfect fit and style isn’t easy. My fit expert, Maxine, explained that it’s “more of an art than a science.” And if that art isn’t your speed, you can get a full refund, exchange, or second fitting for 30 days. Maxine recommended the WingWoman Contour Bra ($60) in a size 4 for my specific bottom heavy breast shape. It’s so comfortable that I forget that it’s on during the day, and I can even sleep in it. I also love how smooth it is, so there are no pesky lumps and bumps under a thin t-shirt.
A 2008 survey published in the journal Chiropractic & Osteopathy and conducted by bra manufacturer Triumph found that 80 percent of women wore the wrong sized bra. These virtual fittings taught me that with friendly, informative, and personal direction when sizing oneself, this doesn’t need to be the case. Thanks to an online meeting and a measuring tape, my boobs have never been happier.