style & substance – hold me close, hold me tight

bra by 'blush lingerie' available at
Sweet Promise‘ by blush lingerie Fall/Winter 2013 available in all sizes (large & small) at

“A good bra is like a good man: he’s gotta be good looking, supportive and he’ll never let you down.”blushlogo

These are the kind of truths that Rebecca, the owner of La Petite Coquette (located in the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City) can throw at you in an everyday conversation. Re-blogged from Garance Doré.

And the thing is after talking, and mostly, trying bras with her, I kind of realized that in spite of all my efforts, my bra knowledge was very limited. It was time to take a lesson in bra fitting, and to ask her a few of the essential questions…

How do you figure out your size? I don’t believe in tape measures because they are not tried and true, it’s basically a gimmick. The most important thing is to go to your local lingerie store and try on bras. You need to give yourself 20-30 minutes to try on a few different styles. There is no standardization in bra sizing. Each manufacturer makes a different size. A C-cup in an American size is very different from a C-cup in a European size. You have to know how the bras fit.

jesus fernandes - 'Camille' from mujeres collection.
jesus fernandez – ‘Camille’

What to wear when bra shopping? Wear a simple a t-shirt or tank top. If you’re looking for a t-shirt bra, it should look like you’re not wearing anything at all, it should be smooth, round and high. You don’t need to bring multiple tops. You know when it fits, when it’s comfortable.

How do you know the bra fits? The middle part of the bra should go flat against your sternum and the band should be in the middle of the back.  You shouldn’t have spillage coming out. Always have your bra on the first hook, it should fit snug on your back so you’ll have places to go when it stretches out. The straps should not dig into your shoulder and they should fit snug.

How often should you be buying new bras? Bras always wear out but it’s the way you take care of them. If you hand wash and air dry them, they will always last much longer. Most women, I find, wear the same bra every single day. You have to rotate your bras. Don’t wear the same bra twice in a row– you sweat and the sides, back and straps stretch out.

What should you have in your bra wardrobe? Four to five bras for during the week, when you wear your work clothing, when you want your clothes to be smooth and fitting you well. You should have 3 or 4 sexy ones for when you want to go out at night or you are entertaining your man for seduction. Two strapless bras, one black and one nude (when you buy a strapless bra it should fit very, very snug, you can even go one size down sometimes).

jesus fernandes - 'chica' mujeres collection.
jesus fernandez – ‘chica’ mujeres collection.

*Shopping online for a bra or bra/panty set can sometimes be a challenge but plenty of women do.  There’s even a ‘panties by post’ website.  The trick is that you either know your standard size & place the order or spend a few extra minutes checking out your size from the sizing chart for each manufacturer on the website you’re placing the order from (as each company is different).  The difference in shopping for a bra online is that many times you’ll come across something extra special (artisan or vintage details) that you won’t be able to find in a department store or a lingerie boutique because they’re not your standard design.

Best brands for…
Small or Average size Chests: Timpa, Eberjey, Chantelle, jesus fernandez, Simone Perele, blush.
Large Chests: Freya, Chantelle, Simone Perele, Prima Donna, blush.
Petite: Wacoal, Lula Lu Petites, jesus fernandez

jesus fernandez – (made by passionate artisans in Buenos Aires is very special). Available in North America online at –

Have a peek at the lingerie boards for blush & jesus fernandez on Intrigue Imports at:

INtrigue INsider – Keeping FIT

Shopping online for a bra can be an ordeal. YET there are several lingerie websites that do incredibly well selling online.  One of my competitors Her Room is one of them. The problem is you see something you want but you’re not sure of the fit.  Then to make matters more confusing there’s the European & South American brands where size becomes a guessing game & you just hope for the best.

This from the Vancouver Sun - ad ad for Dianne's Lingerie where they do bra fittings.
This from the Vancouver Sun – ad for “Dianes Lingerie” where they offer bra fittings.
blush bustier
blush bustier

Intrigue Imports features two distinctive brands of lingerie. The beautiful blush line from Montreal in basic North American sizing so if you normally wear a size 36B then you would purchase the same size and there should be no problem – you can consult the blush sizing chart on our website just to make sure.

SI01B-chica - CopyThen we have the lovely jesus fernandez couture collection from Buenos Aires available in French sizing only.  Again, you can consult the jf sizing chart to find out what your equivalent North American size would be.  It might take a bit longer but I assure you it’s worth the extra trouble.

Tomima Edmark founded HerRoom selling lingerie online since 1998 and gets what women are looking for – at least when it comes to underwear. She started her business with entrepreneurial instinct and exhaustive research – learning from consumers, design teams and manufacturers. She probably knows more than she wants to about the complex engineering that goes into designing lingerie and about the unique relationships our bodies have with the lingerie we wear.  fit-tomimaTomima’s Bra Fitting Tip: “You’re a smart person. Since you’ll be wearing the bras, you’re better off taking a few minutes to understand what a perfect fitting bra should look and feel like, and recognize the signs if your bra is the wrong size for you.”

HOW TO  MEASURE AND FIT A BRA IN THREE EASY STEPS..                               Note: if you receive this blog via e-mail and the numbers come out in a jumbled mess please click on this link to my blog at

STEP 1: Measure for Band size:

Keeping the measuring tape parallel with the ground, measure around your bra directly under your bust after expelling all air from your lungs – you want this measurement to be as small as possible. Round all fractional measurements to the nearest whole number. Look below the measurement to find your correct band size.

Measurement:    27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38

Band size:          30, 32, 32, 32, 34, 34, 34, 36, 36, 36, 38, 38

After a 38 band size, the band size should be the closest higher even number to your actual measurement So, 41.5″ is a 42 band. A 41″ measurement is a 42 band.

STEP 2: Measure for Cup size:

Standing straight, with your arms at your side, measure at the fullest part of your bust (while wearing a non-padded bra) making sure the measuring tape is parallel with the ground and not binding.  Round all fractional measurements to the nearest whole number.

STEP 3: *Calculate your bra size:

Subtract your band measurement (step 1) from your cup measurement (step 2). Generally, for each inch in difference, the cup goes up by one size. See the cup size conversion chart below.

Step 1: 34″ under measurement = 36″ band size
Step 2: 39″ over measurement
Step 3: 39″ – 36″ = 3″ or C Cup Size
Your Size is probably a 36C

The cup size calculation starts falling apart at 4 inches larger than your band size, and if you have droopy or pendulous breasts, your measurement will not be accurate.

If The Differtence Is:

Your Standard Cup Size Is:


0″ to 1/2″ (1.3cm) AA
1/2″- 1″ (2.6 cm) A
2″ (5.1 cm) B
3″ (7.6 cm) C
3″ (7.6 cm) C
4″ (10.2 cm) D
5″ (12.7 cm) DD * or E *
6″ (15.2 cm) DDD * or F *
7″ (17.8 cm) G *
8″ (20.3 cm) H *
9″ (22.9 cm) I *
10″ (25.4 cm) J *

*Important Note: this measuring system tends to become less accurate as the cup sizes go above a D. Additionally, some manufacturers name larger cup sizes differently.